by Niall Doherty

Various thoughts and musings on a Monday morning in Nepal…

Addicted To Change?

I leave my apartment tomorrow and move to another in Kathmandu. I’ve been two months in my current place, the longest I’ve stayed put in any one abode since last summer.

I find myself excited for the move, even though it’s just a few minutes across town. It’s like a little fresh start.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve become addicted to change. I find myself feeling a little down when I stay in one place for very long, when my surroundings grow overly familiar.

I’m not sure if this restlessness is a good thing or a bad thing. On the one hand it keeps me moving towards the new and the different, learning and growing constantly. On the other hand, I wonder if I’m becoming too dependent on external change to stimulate me.

In a few weeks I plan to do a 10-day Vipassana meditation course. That’s ten days of silence and meditation. No speaking, no reading, no eye contact… pretty much no external stimulation of any kind. If I really have become addicted to change, this course will be my rehab.

Muscle-Building Update

I’m almost six weeks into my two-month muscle-building experiment. After ten gym sessions, each lasting less than thirty minutes, I’ve gone from 184 lbs to 205 lbs, with a 2% increase in body fat.

I’ve definitely added muscle to my arms, shoulders and chest, but most of the fat seems to have gone to my midsection. I’m pretty sure the diet is beginning to take it’s toll on my energy levels, too; I’m feeling increasingly lethargic as the weeks go by.

For the final two weeks of the experiment, I’ll be changing things up a bit with the diet, and adding some additional exercises. Check back in a fortnight for full details of my training program, plus before-after pics.

Trust and Responsibility

I recently had a falling out with a friend here in Kathmandu. After getting along well for weeks, a few things happened and I began to feel I couldn’t trust him. Rather than keep my feelings to myself, I decided to talk it out and we had an hour-long discussion about everything.

One thing I realized from that discussion is that it doesn’t matter how well someone explains or justifies something. Trust isn’t a logical thing. Once you lose someone’s trust, you can’t earn it back with a few smooth words. It takes time.

I took some time after that discussion. In hindsight, I probably took too much. I didn’t contact my friend for a week, no attempt on my part to get together again and work at patching things up. At the end of the week, my friend apparently got sick of waiting and wrote me a long, critical email which effectively ended our friendship.

A lot of my faults and shortcomings were highlighted in that email. And that’s fine. I know I’m far from perfect and have a lot of things to work on. The message served as a good reminder.

What saddens me though is that only my faults and shortcomings were listed. My friend didn’t see fit to acknowledge any of his own. He didn’t accept any responsibility for the demise of our friendship, preferring to place the blame fully on my shoulders.

And that’s fine, too. My shoulders are bigger now, I can take the strain 😛

Joking aside, I tell this story because it bugs me when people point the finger. I believe they’re doing themselves a disservice when they insist that the problem is entirely external. As Stephen Covey once wrote…

“Anytime we think the problem is ‘out there,’ that thought is the problem.”

Yes, sometimes part of the problem is out there. I definitely could have done several things differently to help keep that friendship alive. My friend was spot on with many of his criticisms, and I’ll try take what he said to heart and do better in future.

But that my friend didn’t seem to take any responsibility for his part in all this makes me think that he’s likely to experience similar outcomes down the line.

Recommended Reading

Last thing: I finally got my finger out and updated my recommended reading page. Listed there are the books that have made a big impact on me over the years.

Sure feck it, while we’re here we might as well have a contest. First commenter who can tell me which book the following quote comes from wins their pick of any book on my list:

“No one is coming to rescue you. No one will hand you the career of your dreams, and no one will solve your relationship problems. No one will lose the extra fat on your body. If you don’t proactively solve your own problems, they’ll never be solved.”