In January I decided to try growing some food in my apartment. I thought it would be fun, healthy, and better for the environment than buying food at the store. It turned out to be fun (although far more work than I’d expected), healthy (but expensive), and not nearly as environmentally friendly as I’d hoped. Let me share some more photos and then I’ll explain a bit more about the environmental piece.
In December I decided to donate to charity for the first time. I won’t explain here what charities I donated to or how much… I’ll just say that I mostly chose causes that I care about and think are important.
I’ll also explain a few interesting concepts that I learned while educating myself on how to donate effectively (these are all explained in the videos listed at the bottom of this blog post). Here are the concepts:
The percentage of your donation that goes to the cause isn’t important; what matters is the results generated by your donation
Peter Singer uses the example of helping blind people. If you wanted to help blind people one thing you could do is donate money to organizations that train guide dogs. In America it apparently costs about $40,000 to fully train a guide dog and to train the blind person to work with the dog. And it costs $20-$50 to cure a blind person in a developing country if they have trachoma. So if you have $40,000 to donate, you could either train one guide dog, or you could actually cure over 1,000 people of their blindness. I think it’s clear what the most effective use of the $40,000 would be.
Even if the guide dog organization put 90% of your donation towards training the dog and the blind person and used only 10% for their own overhead, whereas the organization that cured trachoma put only 10% of your donation towards the cause and used 90% for their own overhead… your donation would still generate far greater results in the hands of the trachoma-cure organization.
In early November I went on a personal development weekend for men put on by The Mankind Project (MKP). I also attended a men’s group meeting run by MKP for the rest of the month, and have continued attending it up until now.
Why I Did The Weekend
I did it because I’d met 3 people over the past year (one was my therapist) who had done it and they’d all found it worthwhile & recommended it to me, and because I was aware that I had (& still have) a lot of growing to do.
The New Warrior Training Adventure
The weekend itself, called the “New Warrior Training Adventure” was an intense and active and experiential weekend that was run by a staff of strong, compassionate, dedicated men.
I can’t explain [Read more...]
A while ago someone suggested to me that I needed a new “challenge” to which I could apply myself.
I wanted something that would be primarily a mental/psychological challenge – something that would push me outside my comfort zone and make me grow. I decided that hosting a podcast was definitely outside my comfort zone, but not so far outside that I’d necessarily botch it completely.
So I started The Green Podcast which was (and is) a challenge, and has the benefit of being about a topic that I’m happy to spend my energy on. It’s the type of podcast which, if done well, I’d like to listen to myself.
I was very nervous recording the first episode, and a bit less nervous for each of the next 2 (have only recorded 3 episodes as of this writing). [Read more...]
In September I did 2 new things (kundalini yoga, and thinking positive), which I suppose makes up for June when I did nothing new.
There are 2 reasons why I tried to think positive for a month:
1. I’d been feeling down and wanted to change that
2. I’d been having a hard time implmenting a technique that I’d learned for dealing with the self-critical voice in my head.
A few months ago, I learned a technique called “thought stopping” for dealing with the self-critical voice in my head (which I’ll refer to as “the critic”). Thought stopping has a few steps:
- Recognizing when the critic is “attacking” me
- Consciously stopping the attack
- Replace the critic’s message with a more constructive message that I’d come up with ahead of time
- Returning to a state of relaxation
There’s more [Read more...]