Categories
Life Self-awareness

From Chaotic to Harmonized Mindset

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This post first appeared on the 1st things 1st blog.

It’s 2020, and a lot of things happening now might seem very chaotic and confusing. Brexit inescapably happened. Man-caused global warming is changing landscapes. Oceans are flooded with plastic. The Covid19 pandemic brings risk to our lives and limits our mobility. Wildfires in Australia and the USA kill live beings. People are still experiencing discrimination and brutality because of skin color. Moreover, you might believe in some conspiracy theories that add to stress and anxiety about the current world situation. But do you want to stay under that stress, or would you instead want to have peace of mind?

First of all, what you can do is think about whether you can change any of that? Is it in your scope of control, or is it outside of your abilities? If you can’t control something, detach yourself from it. It is as it is. You have to adapt to it, but there is no necessity to keep worrying about it day after day.

If adversity happens to you directly and you are affected badly, you have to calm down and focus on what you can do to solve your situation. For example, if you lost a job due to Covid19, you have to find another one. Maybe even get some skills in another area than what you know already. Don’t panic. Clear your mind and surroundings at first.

If you have a chaotic mind, you probably also have a messy home. Start cleaning up your mind by cleaning up your home. Define places for each thing you want to keep. Get rid of or hide the things that bring you bad memories and emotions. It might take hours or days, but you will finally have a system for something you see every day.

Take a problem you want to solve and plan the way how you are going to solve it. Divide the path to the solution into multiple steps that you can take one by one. For example, you were in a restaurant business but decided to learn software development. So you will borrow some money, take online courses on some technologies, create a project for a friend, work on your LinkedIn profile, and apply for a junior position at a chosen IT company.

If you feel down, maybe you are lack of brain fuel. The human brain runs on glucose and needs at least 420 kcals per day to maintain normal function. That’s 42 grapes or cherries, 4 bananas, or 4 big apples a day. It can as well be more or less depending on your body mass and the mental work intensity.

To have a harmonious mind, make sure to spend time with people you care about. But also have some time alone. You need both: a feeling of connection and love; and time for meditation or prayer, journaling, and exercising.

When doing something, try not to multitask. Focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking brings you more stress and makes you less productive. If you have several or many things to do in a day, create time blocks for each of those things. For example, you will spend two hours reading and answering emails, one hour for the industry news, and one hour for an online meeting. Try to stick to your plan.

Simplify your life. It is recommendable to choose up to three most important tasks every day and only focus on them. Quality is more important than quantity. When you work a lot, you have a risk of mental burnout. That’s especially often in the tech industry.

Try to get information in your head classified. Either connect the points of knowledge in your head and group them into categories. Or read more about your interests and find some categorizations on Wikipedia or other resources. This gives you more trust in yourself and your opinions.

Get an essential objective in your life. It should be a big aim worth pursuing. Then make a plan for how you will achieve your dreams. And try to progress towards it. Know that failures will happen on the way. But focus on the process and enjoy the ride.


Cover photo by Hello I’m Nik.

Categories
Life Self-awareness

What Was Your Name Again?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This post first appeared on the 1st things 1st blog.

Whether your first name is James, Mary, or X Æ A-Xii, your name not only identifies you but also shapes your character and influences how other people will accept you. With the wrong name, you could have problems with being accepted by the society you are living in. With the wrong name, you can have difficulties getting a partner or job you want. With the wrong name, you can have a weight of associations that people bring to it. When you are about to have a baby, don’t give them the wrong name.

Our story

My wife and I are from Lithuania, and we are living in Berlin, Germany. Before the births of our kids, we did some name researches to find names that would be well accepted in Germany as well as being Lithuanian. I wouldn’t be a programmer if I wouldn’t take 500 most popular names in Germany and filter them using Python programming language to see the ones with Lithuanian word endings. From that point, we got just a handful of names and intuitively chose the ones that we liked most. I hope that Joris and Laura will enjoy the names they got at birth and will live integral and successful lives.

If we didn’t trust our intuition, we could have used the strategic prioritizer 1st things 1st to analyze a few names by multiple aspects. Let’s see how we could have done that.

Using the prioritizer

At 1st things 1st, you can evaluate anything (like first names) by multiple criteria (like aspects) and get calculated priorities. The workflow looks like this:

  1. You define your criteria or aspects.
  2. You list out your things, like first names.
  3. You evaluate each name by each aspect.
  4. You explore the prioritized first names.

Step 1. Define your aspects

Let’s brainstorm for some aspects that we can use to evaluate first names:

  • Both parents like it
  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to spell
  • Sounds good together with the last name
  • Doesn’t have negative associations
  • Has a nice meaning
  • Unique
  • Traditional
  • Globally recognized
  • Authentic in your native country
  • Ethnically appropriate
  • Doesn’t prompt negative nicknames
  • Doesn’t sound foolish for a middle-aged person
  • Some relative has it
  • A person you admire has it
  • A favorite book or movie character has it

I will choose the ones that are most important to me and enter into the prioritizer.

Both parents like it
Easy to pronounce
Easy to spell
Globally recognized
Doesn't sound foolish for a middle aged person

Here they are all added to the tool:

Step 2. List out the first names

Now let’s list some first names that you thought could be good candidates, let’s say, for a daughter:

  • Lina
  • Laura
  • Ada
  • Lara
  • Emma

Step 3. Evaluate each name by each aspect

Then I go through the list of aspects and names and rate how each name matches each aspect.

Step 4. Explore the prioritized names

In the last step, I get all first names prioritized by how much they match all the aspects. “Laura” is in the first position with a 100% match. Other names got fewer points, so they are less recommended to choose. 

Last thoughts

If people call you by another name already or you want to start a new chapter in your life, you can still officially change your first name in some countries. But if you care about your kids’ well being, choose their names wisely as soon as they come into this world.


Cover photo by Yoann Boyer

Categories
Life

Cold Brew Coffee – Refreshing Drink for Productive Summer

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As I spend a lot of time at a computer solving technical problems, it’s no secret that I need to keep myself awake and focused for extended spans. One of the things I do to support my energy levels is drinking caffeinated drinks. This year I discovered a coffee-based drink that’s perfect for hot summer days, and I want to share a recipe with you. It’s called cold brew coffee.

For cold brew coffee, you need:

  • 1 cup of ground coffee beans.
  • 3 cups of cold drinking water.
  • More water, milk, or vegan milk alternatives.
  • Ice cubes (optional).

This is how to make it:

1. Take 1 cup of ground coffee beans and 3 cups of clean drinking water. Pour them into a pot and stir them with a spoon.

Take one cup of ground coffee.

2. Let the coffee grounds absorb the water for five minutes and then stir them once again. Put the pot into the fridge for 12 hours, and you will get the concentrate.

Mix it with three cups of cold water.

3. Use a paper filter to filter the grounds from the concentrate. Put a pot of clean concentrate to the fridge.

After 12 hours, filter the concentrate.

4. When you are hot and thirsty, mix one-third of the concentrate with two-thirds of water, milk, or vegan milk alternatives. Add some ice and enjoy it. You can have around seven glasses of cold brew coffee out of that concentrate.

Mix one-third of concentrate with two-thirds of water or milk and enjoy.

You can try Cold Brew Coffee at Starbucks, Espresso House, Coffee Fellows, and some other franchise coffee shops. But if you spend a lot of time at home or office, why not make that type of coffee by yourself, especially when the recipe is so simple?


Cover photo by Mike Kenneally.
Other photos by Aidas Bendoraitis.

Categories
Life

How Game Development Influenced my Life

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you know me for quite a while, you probably remember how obsessed I was with game development culture. To me, game development had a significant influence since I played my first video game at 12 or so. I chose to study computer science to learn how to create games. Later I blogged about game development. I created a few small games (but usually I didn’t finalize them till polished projects). Also, I attended a few game development jams and other related events.

As I matured and developed my personality and self and global awareness, I concluded that video games are not an area where I want and need to spend the rest of my life. Yes, they were fun and challenging, but unfortunately too narrow, too fictional, and required a lot of mental power for short-lived results. Instead, I would promote searching for the truth and interconnectedness, finding your place in the world, and making a positive impact in your environment.

So the idea of “Make Impact” came to me. It encompasses many technical areas that are interesting to me: blogging, gamification, recommendation systems, social interactions, content creation, etc. It also has a noteworthy meaning: people are encouraged to donate to organizations of their choice to make a positive impact around them. The platform is in development, and if you want to have a sneak preview, drop a comment below.

After taking considerations of crowdfunding or venture capital, I decided to bootstrap another software project, so that I could fund the donation platform. I developed a commercial strategic prioritizer, “1st things 1st“. It lets you evaluate anything by multiple criteria and calculates their priorities. It simplifies strategic decision making and allows you to make more rational life choices.

I don’t abandon video or mobile games altogether. I still play some logical games on my iPhone from time to time to sharpen my brain and have some quality free time. I will create some casual games as a hobby in the future, probably when my children grow. But for now, I am concentrating on the realization of the strategic prioritizer and the donation platform.

What lessons did I take from game development?

  • Intuitive user interfaces are essential.
  • Games are safe simulations of the real world.
  • Although games usually don’t solve real problems, they stimulate the brain by letting you solve artificial difficulties, and you can use them for training.
  • Video games are some of the most sophisticated software programs. You can use the knowledge gained from various game development in mapping software, self-driving cars, accounting software, different simulations, and probably even rocket science (Although I have never achieved this level at game development).
  • Virtual and augmented reality are bringing game elements to the real world.
  • Video games let you test innovative logical and technological ideas.

It’s interesting to see how the development of interactive software will evolve in the future when we have even faster graphic cards, more capable smartphones, and snappier Internet connections. Be it games or other types of software. And I believe that the two projects I am building at the moment will add up to the greater meaning and sustainable progress. Let’s strive for a bright future instead of a Black-Mirror-like dystopia.


Cover photo by Hello Lightbulb.