by Niall Doherty


Inspired by Caroline, I’ve stopped setting a key habit each day and now set a key intention instead. The idea with an intention is to invite something into my life, something beyond my control, like an opportunity or a gift. This morning the intention I wrote down was, “easy money”. Twelve hours later I was offered $100 for a half hour of work. Hmm.


I hand over my papers and wait. In ten minutes I’ll be out of here with a nine-digit number allowing me to reside indefinitely in this safe and liberal city. There are a lot of people in the world who would kill for the same privilege. I have it handed to me with minimal fuss because of where I happened to be born.


Another storytelling night down at Mezrab. I’m holding back for now so as not to distract from the work stuff, but I can see myself getting up and speaking frequently at such events in future. There’s something about live performance, the magic of a story well spoken and well received. With practice, I know I’ll excel at it someday.


Crosswalk green and an old couple step off the curb. The man turns back to wait for his wife, and almost gets mowed down by a young woman blasting between them on her bike. She doesn’t flinch, doesn’t look back, doesn’t give a shit. Two minutes later I’m outside my apartment and see the same lady locking her bike. I feel I should say something, but I don’t.


I wake up after five hours sleep and think fuck it, no way I’m going to meet this guy now. I text apologies and go down for another three hours, awake to sore responses. The man’s not happy. “Your loss,” he writes. But I don’t feel bad. I should never have agreed to meet in the first place, sure, but I didn’t know in advance how exhausted I’d be. Gotta be kind to myself first.

Evening sky in Amsterdam.

Evening sky in Amsterdam.


The coaching has been going pretty well, have had three clients for a couple of months now and they all seem to be making solid progress. So much of it is just listening and reflecting. You don’t have to have all the answers. Mostly you just have to ask good questions and let them find their own way. It’s different every time.


We talk about dating and I tell him I’ve been a lot more active lately going out and approaching women, but I haven’t been writing much about it. Why not? Because (a) I’ve written plenty about that topic in the past, and (b) I guess I feel somewhat embarrassed that I’m still working on this, that I’m not yet satisfied, far from it.


She’s from Spain, very cute and very petite and wearing a giant scarf. I met her here on the side of the street twenty minutes ago. Can’t remember the first thing I said, doesn’t really matter. We’ve hit it off and already exchanged numbers. Slight hitch though: she’s since become quite upset, and now she’s crying.


Andrew Maxwell put it well in an interview I listened to recently. To paraphrase: it’s not so much failure that we’re scared of as it is success. There’s a dark comfort in failure, because when you fail you get to stay the same, nothing really changes. But success equals transformation, and transformation equals uncertainty. And uncertainty is scary.


It’s about midnight as I park the bike and wander through Rembrandtplein. I pass a bunch of cool cats hanging about, looking like they stepped out of a fashion magazine, so I stop and tell them they look like they stepped out of a fashion magazine. That’s just the warm up. I won’t let myself go home until I make a beautiful woman smile.

Attack of the pigeons in Dam Square.

Attack of the pigeons at Dam Square.


Approaching a woman on the street is ineffective at the best of times. The odds of finding someone who’s a good match for you and hitting it off are pretty slim. So why do I still push myself to do cold approach? It’s a habit that keeps me feeling like a man of action, someone who goes after what he wants and isn’t afraid to express himself. It’s like reps in the gym, getting ready for the big game.


Looking back at my habit tracking for the month, there’s a pattern emerging. Contentment is high during the weekdays, when I’m focused on work and in my routine. And then it drops off on the weekends. I think much of that is down to later nights on weekends, less sleep, and spending more time being reactive rather than proactive.


I find the gym to be a weird scene. Granted, nobody goes there to be social, and I don’t either, but it seems most people go out of their way not to acknowledge each other in that environment. Even the gym rats, who see each other in there at the same time each day. I might have to become that overly-friendly guy who insists on saying hi to everyone.


There’s an elderly woman on stage singing about a rabbit and a canary and sometimes making up words that are neither Dutch nor English. She’s accompanied by an electric guitar and an accordion. The stage is backed by a glass wall, beyond which we can see cars, bicycles, boats, buses, trams, trains, and the occasional airplane cutting through the night.


The guy sitting beside me is in his fifties and opened the conversation talking about primary fields and the multiverse. Then he began rocking back and forth vigorously in his chair, frequently muttering something about stupid people, and informing us of his key takeaways from fifteen years studying the Bible.

7am at the gym.

7am at the gym.

In the comments below, let me know which of the above Momentos is your favorite. Which can you relate to?

« Previous Momentos | Comments