Life is undoubtedly getting better in many ways thanks to technology and economic development. However, what we associate with “progress” often makes us more distracted and dependent. The trend is to select the default option, go with the flow and seek more convenience, e.g. the elevator apartment, getting food delivery, the new home entertainment system – all of which takes away from our ability to move, cook, learn, communicate or entertain ourselves (or be entertaining). It is a slow, invisible process of self-disablement that not only degrades essential life skills, but also reduces opportunities of self-expression and social interaction. When convenience is the goal, distraction is the result. We all feel it: there is this nagging emptiness that we can’t quite define. Personal Analytics helped me discover and get to the bottom of this after I recorded my personal habits, mood and objectives on a daily basis over an extended period of time (see also: Quantified Self). Quantifying my well-being helped me see invisible patterns in my life, most importantly I saw what worked for me and what didn’t – and I could prove it with numbers. I found that the key to doing better is to do less, re-introduce discipline, spend time with loved ones, seek an active lifestyle and remove distractions. That’s my personal formula – yours may be different. I truly believe that if we all had the tools to find out what really works for us (and what doesn’t) we’d have more empowered lives.
This is guest post from Stefan Heeke, founder of the unchained lifestyle movement. Stefan is a data analyst that applies his analytical skills to self improvement. I am always happy to meet Stefan at one of the Quantified Self events all over the world and highly recommend visiting his blog unchainyourlifestyle.
Posted by Florian Schumacher on 17. September 2011
Let’s be honest – who has ever truly felt comfortable with having to pose and paste on a smile for a picture? I know I never really used to be. Somehow I couldn’t let go and just smile. The iPhone app Everyday was a great tool to help me really improve this. Just as the name might suggest, Everyday offers to document a portrait of you every day, and then automatically combines each picture to create a short movie which shows you how your looks change over time. Is there any better way to celebrate your own personal development than by watching how you improve yourself from day to day?
The app was actually inspired by Noah Kalina, who took a picture of himself every single day for 6 years. He has a video posted on youtube which combines all the pictures into a 6 minute movie. It is actually quite moving to watch, you can see how time flies by and how each day, he changes just a little bit from the day before.
Create a video documentation for yourself with Everyday
What I really enjoy about the Everyday app is that it allows you to set a fixed time at which it will remind you to take your picture each day. On top of this, it will automatically calibrate and combine all the pictures you have taken to a video documentation of yourself. The app does not necessarily require you to look happy for your daily portraits, but it sure is a great way to learn how to overcome camera shyness and become more aware of your facial expressions.
Get control of your facial expressions by watching yourself Every Day
Just like hearing your voice recorded sounds kind of silly at first and takes a little getting used to, really watching your facial expressions each day can get you accustomed to understanding how others might see you. When interacting, our body language – which to a large extent consists of our facial expressions – confers more of our message than the words we choose to say it. Monitoring your facial expressions thus becomes a huge way to impact the way you communicate and interact with others; learning to control it means that you can really get your message across when you need to. By seeing yourself through a camera lens you can learn to better appreciate your expressions and the impact you can make on others.
In case you do decide to smile on your Everyday documentation, remember that a real smile isn’t just about showing your teeth. A happy smile comes from the heart, and people can tell you’re being genuine when your eyes crinkle up.
After reading a whole lot of literature on coaching and personal development, I started forming a clearer picture of who I wanted to be and what my core values are. In order to fortify certain characteristics about myself, I began playing a little game I had learned from Sir Winston Churchill. In his younger days, the famous politician had his desired traits for his own personality written on a set of flashcards . In order to develop his character, he then drew a card every day and practiced behaving accordingly to the specific characteristic.
Using a mobile app makes behavioral training fun for tech enthusiasts
Nowadays, thanks to modern technological advances, we no longer need to carry a batch of flashcards around with us. There are several flashcard applications available directly for your smartphone, which can make this training even more delightful.
Priming is a powerful tool to get focused on whats really important in life
For quite a while now, every morning I use the iPhone app “flashcard deluxe” which randomly picks my personal behavioral goal for the day. Doing this right after waking up takes advantage of the powerful phenomenon known as “priming”: A clear mind in the morning leaves your thoughts open for information which can easily be remembered and recalled throughout the rest of the day. So, whenever you have a quiet moment for your thoughts, remembering your behavioral goal for the day can help provide guidance on how to react to certain situations. I found it helpful to make my personal development game more precise by reflecting how certain characteristics might best be expressed in specific actions, then summarizing these actions on the back of my flashcards. For example, one can practice confident behavior by focusing on an upright posture and by speaking in a loud and clear voice. Or, being more relaxed might best be expressed by making sure to smile often, breathe deeply and generally taking things slowly.
Practicing behavioral pattern leads to personal development
Practicing behavior patterns forms and strengthens personal traits and widens your scope of reaction mechanisms. This will give you the freedom to choose how best to deal with different situation in your life. Mixing this training experience with randomly picked goals from your mobile device adds more fun into the equation, and you can easily get back to your training instructions whenever you need them. In my opinion, the experience of interacting with a mobile device in order to train personal goals is a simple showcase of a whole new palette of personal development tools and products which we will soon see popping up in the future.
Hi there! This blog is all about personal development in the age of mobile and connected devices. We are a group of tech enthusiasts who are particularly keen on personal development, and since we enjoy testing any and all new gadgets, apps and software services on ourselves, we figured it was time to share our insights with you. Welcome to our blog.
Unlike other reviews you might find on the web, this blog offers you not only regular updates from a technological point of view, we will also share our personal experience with you on how using the products impacted our own personal development. We will review trends and upcoming products, discuss software and biosensors already available, and in some cases, we will also cover software that wasn’t even actually intended for personal development goals, but still does a great job for self improvement, if you know how to use it just right. The possibilities are endless. Unleash the potential of your digital products for your personal growth.