Random March 14, 2014 Edition

So much cool stuff, so little time. These are some things I've collected from around the web lately.Work musicIt's hard to find music to fit your mood. It's even harder to find music that fits your mood when you are working. Digitally Imported comes close.http://www.di.fm/ResonateDo you write, present, speak or do anything that needs to connect with people and change their minds. You need to read this book. Nancy Duarte goes through exactly what makes famous speeches and presentations resonate with people.http://resonate.duarte.com/Ultra-runner adviceI think I'll be picking some of this stuff up. It's good.

  1. 1 legged practice - do everything on one leg
  2. Bridges
  3. Planks

And do them daily!http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/the-current/raising-rippers/The-cross-training-secrets-of-ultrarunner-sally-mcrae.htmlTrelloBest thing I've found for managing tasks. It keeps them clear and the feeling of actually moving things around is like moving stickies around on a whiteboard.Tips 1: Make a main board that links to each project board that shows your high level view for each context, home, work, personal projects.Tip 2: Add attachments to Google Docs to store information. Don't try to store things in Trello cards.https://trello.comMurallyThe dashboard for your life. The closest thing I've been able to find online to a whiteboard. You can drag and drop Has a "catcher" app for Android and iPhonehttps://mural.lyMicro Clearfix HackIf you have spent any time in HTML and CSS you know the floats are a bugger and getting rid of them is even worse. The Clear-fix hack has been around for a while but it just got even smaller.http://nicolasgallagher.com/micro-clearfix-hack/CrossFit Open 14.3 ReleasedWe're in the middle of the CrossFit Open Competition right now. I just did this one today. A 8 minute AMRAP of box jumps and deadlifts. I made up into the 275 pound deadlifts. Going to be sore tomorrow.http://games.crossfit.com/workouts/the-open/2014#tabs-3Deliberate practice, flow to performI've been thinking and reading a lot about Deliberate Practice and Flow. Deliberate Practice is the hard error-wrought practice time that you have to push through to get good at anything. You have to continue to push hard if you want to become the best at anything. It's very difficult but required for being the best. Flow is less frustrating and exists where too easy and too hard meet. It's the goldilocks of task difficulty where it's right in the middle and just right. Too easy and you get bored, too hard and you get frustrated. Deliberate Practice is pushing through flow where you may not be learning much and getting frustrated, but learning more.

Clarifying the problem is 99% of the solution

When I'm writing a new application or program for my website or a project, I spend a lot of time troubleshooting and debugging. For the non-programmers, that means something isn't working right with your program and you have to dig into the details to see why it's not working. It's kind of like something not working on your car and having to test a bunch of things before you know what's going on.With how complicated computers are getting these days and how much code we put together in various arrangements, things get big and hairy real fast. When data flows from one system to another to another to another and somewhere in that whole flow is one little piece that doesn't work, it can be tough to work it all the way through.One of the most important pieces of advice that I think Einstein had something to do with is that clarifying the problem is 99% of the solution. I'm not sure if that percentage is right but 99% feels right.The idea is that if you don't know the problem inside and out, top to bottom, left to right, then it's going to be harder to find a solution. Solutions to problems that aren't thought through often make the situation works or just don't work. Trial and error can sometimes work as a solution-finding method. Often, though, it's just because you don't know the problem well know.So the next time you find yourself with some problem to tackle and you are stuck for solutions, ask yourself, "Do I know the problem inside and out?"

$100 Startup Reading Circle: Part 1 - Unexpected Entrepreneurs

I've just returned from the first group meeting in the Ignite Reading Circle on the $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau.I've read the book through already once before soon after I got it last year after attending Chris' World Domination Summit in Portland. I loved it. The idea of the micro-business is once that's catching on like wildfire around the world. You see peoples eyes widen in amazement when they hear the stories about what some of these entrepreneurs are doing with small, sometimes accidental, bootstrapped business. Many of these ideas are just not thought possible before you see them in action for the first time.We had our big kick-off a couple weeks ago and now this is the first group meeting we've had to talk about what we've read. So far we've all read through the first section, Unexpected Entrepreneurs. This section talks about how you probably already have skills that you could make a small business around. Business is about giving people fish, not showing them every little detail about how it's cooked (unless that's your business model: teaching). Following your passion may be what you want to do but it's not necessarily the right way to go. Location doesn't matter when your business is online and some of the old categories for customers are going out the window in favour of a new model.That's what the book was about. This post is more a recap to touch on big ideas that came up in our conversations. Talking about these ideas always park the best ideas or solidify others. These are probably a little random and may not have an obvious connection to one another, I just wanted to highlight for you guys some good ideas and resources that came up that you might want to check out.4- hour work week by Tim Ferriss - This came up quickly and rightly so. It's a bible among some entrepreneurs and Location Independent folk. One of the highlights were the stories about how much you can actually outsource to a Virtual Assistant. They will do pretty much anything for you. This is not necessarily a good thing for your business but if you know how to use them well then it can take a lot of work off your shoulders.Stories - It's all about the stories. Everyone is talking about stories these days and Chris talks about them right off the bat with his, err, story about the ranch that sells an experience of escaping the city and becoming  cowboy (cowgirl? cowperson?) instead of just the basic element of riding a horse. Yes you get to ride a horse but the underlying story, and the one that people are actually drawn to, is the idea of escaping from their life and entering into another for the week or weekend. A good tourism book about this ideas is the Experience Economy.  I likened this idea to McDonalds versus Starbucks. They both make coffee.  Starbucks has a much better story for me which why I go there more than McDonalds.Lots of short project-based experiments - This has been a big one for me lately, one that I'm focusing on with everything I do. We all learn so much from doing. Reading is good, learning is good but doing is the ultimate teacher. Experiments are great because they are a task that is designed from the outset to have a possible outcome. It doesn't HAVE to work, it MIGHT work. If you are relying on your experiments to support you , you probably want to experiments with less risk but no matter how much risk you have they are very valuable learning tools. Everything you do is an experiment. Some are low risk and some are high risk. you learn more with bigger experiments. I say short and project based because experiments need an end date. Set a start date and end date for the project. By that date the experiment will have succeeded or failed. Done. Gone. Move on to the next one. There are a lot of things you can only learn by completing the project and not letting in drag into something that goes forever. Then it becomes a maintenance nightmare and you hate doing it. End date. Set it. And short because you learn so much from completing projects. Done. Shipped. Out the door. To the public. A 3 month project and a year long project both have one end date. If you learn the same amount from shipping a year long project and a 3 month project, why spend the extra 9 months working? If you just need 3 to see if it will work or not, just use three. If it will only require 1, just use one. Absolute minimum amount of time required.Pat Flynn at SmartPassiveIncome.com has a cool story about how he started his business with putting his LEED Certification study notes online. He noticed they were getting a lot of traffic and interest online. He made a product with the information and how to study for the LEED Certification exam and started to sell it to the people reading the notes on the blog. He's still making good money off that site.Online learning is taking off. We talked about the Khan Academy and how it's revolutionizing individual and group learning. I've taken a bunch of online courses this past year and it's been awesome. Self-paced, interesting, good information, low-cost. That's how education should be.Adjacent Possible.Getting that big, huge, crazy idea. Big, huge, crazy, out there ideas are often just the next step in someone's path. They've gone from 0 to 100 in their level of knowledge about some area, industry, space, niche, whatever you want to call it. They know that space extremely well. You can only see a couple of numbers away when you are learning. If I'm at 10, I can only see to 11, 12 and maybe 13. I can't see any farther than that because I don't have the knowledge. Once I get to 11, I'll be able to see a little further to 14. When you are at 100, 101 and maybe 102 will become visible as the next steps. That's where the "crazy" starts to happen. But it's not crazy when you are at 100. 101 is just the next step. To a person that is just at level 0 or 1 at their level of knowledge though, 101 is not even fathomable. This is where hard work comes in. You can't go from 1 to 100 over night. You have to go through 2, 3, 4, 50, 60, and everything in between. Lots of short-project based experiments and mentors will make this learning faster but there is no other way to get from 0 to 100.Focus. Going from a knowledge level of 0 to 100 on something is hard enough. Trying to do it on 5 things at the same time is WAY harder. Becoming an expert in 5 different things at the same time is really really hard. Best to get to the level you want in one thing, and then take that experience to learning the next one. Trying to work 5 different paths at the same time takes much longer and since seeing progress is a huge motivator to learning more, we often stall on all the projects. Compare that with focusing on one area or one project and only that one. Since you are focusing all your time on that one, you make good progress on it, and it's easy to see, you get a lot done and you're shipping things regularly. That very obvious progress is a huge motivator to doing more. What's more is that once you get to a level 40 or 50 of knowledge in something you begin to get perks because of your knowledge level. Companies and people start to notice that you know a lot or are very good at something. You get special treatment, free product or free access to things. And you can use this special treatment to advance your other areas of knowledge and skills faster. it's al about working serially on projects and skills, one after another, than working on them in parallel or at the same time. This is a very subjective leveling scheme there, no idea what it means, it's all relative!Idea Experiment Cycle - I think of a cycle that starts with an idea, leads to an experiment to test that idea which will succeed or fail. At the end of that you start again. Another idea (or hypothesis), another test and another result. This goes back to having fast project-based experiments. Learn faster because it's a short cycle, stay interested because it doesn't drag on forever and remember their just experiments and take the pressure off yourself to make it perfect and huge. Short and fast. Small experiments.That's my idea explosion for the night. One of the "problems" with meeting with people to talk about good books in an area you're interested in is that a million ideas come out of it. Blog posts are the best form of experiment though. They are short fast experiments to see if these ideas resonate with anyone. Maybe these could lead into books someday, or some online training. Experiment #1 done.Experiment on.

Superhero Learning: Go Slow

[Note: This post was originally posted as just a draft. Well, it was hardly a draft, it was a sentence that I was going to write about later. Oops. You can now read the full post here]I've been pushing hard with the Superhero Challenge lately. I miss the odd thing here and there but for the most part it's going well.One of the biggest challenges with a new challenge is habits. Habits stand in the way of us now and that bright and shiny, new person at the end of the challenge that has broken all their old, bad habits and is soaked in new, uber-productive ones.Of course that rarely happens when you do a challenge. Big changes are often incremental but they can still add up to big things in the end.One of the ways to adjust these awesome (terrible?) habits is to be mindful about them. It's not a great long term strategy to be mindful about all of your habits in an effort to change them because that would require you to be "on" 100% of the time and alert for signs of habits happening. That's really hard to do. You can do it some of the time though. There is one time in particular I've noticed where it's very difficult to be mindful of your habits and what you're doing.Don't rushThe first thing to go out the window when you rush around is mindfullness about what you are doing. Most of the time when you are rushing around it's because you're late or you want to get on with the next thing you had on your todo list. That's the last time you'll be truly focusing on what you are doing and evaluating it. Slowing down to evaluate is exactly what you need to be doing when you want to change a habit or behaviour.Go slowBeing mindful can happen when you are moving fast but it's tough. I find it easier to move slower when I'm being very mindful about what I'm doing. Just the act of moving slower than I normally would reminds me that I'm doing something different. I'm not moving out of habit. I'm not engaging automatically. I'm moving deliberately. I'm making slow, thoughtful decisions and doing exactly the things I want to do. You wouldn't do this every 100% of the time because it would take your ages to get anything done but in the initial stages of a habit change it might just be the thing that knocks you of your habits and routines and sheds like on the very behaviours  you want to change.Going slow is the last thing you want to do when you are learning something new but it might be the best thing you could do.

Superhero Challenge: Lesson 1 - Sleep and Journaling are Non-Negotiables

These last couple weeks have been a bit of a blur. I'm up to my eyeballs in the Superhero Challenge.Things are going well with it and I'm hitting my goal measurements pretty much every day. I had no idea what my scores were going to be like after things got rolling. Obviously I hoped to blast right through and not even have an issue with any of it but some of the numbers have been challenging to get each day. 2 things popped out right away as the foundation of this challenge. Without them, I'm completely lost.Good SleepNo sleep = no challenge. Simple as that. Without good sleep every night, I feel useless. I feel scattered, have no patience, and haven't got much willpower. If I could sleep in late I'd be fine but I get up at 5 on weekdays. Just getting up at 5 without adequate sleep is an epic task. Trying to do a bunch of writing and a workout just after 5 in the morning without adequate sleep is hopeless.I'm focusing much more on sleep than I was before. I knew it was important but thought it could slide a bit without much harm. I was wrong.JournalingKeeping my journal in front of me throughout the day has been the only reason I've remembered to do some of the things on my list. The CrossFit Challenge with 2014 dips, pushups and pullups is proving to be one of the toughest things. I can't do 70 pushups at once right now so I have to break them up. That means 10 or 15 at a time. Doing 10 pushups is easy. Remembering to do 7 sets of 10 over the course of the day when there's already lots to do is much harder.Focusing on my checklist in my journal has been the only reason I've gotten as far as I have. I've still missed things here and there, inevitably when I haven't looked at my journal for a while.Till next update...CommentsHow do you find sleep affects your big goals?

The 2014 Superhero Challenge

Resolutions? Ick.January is a time for resolutions. I've always hated resolutions, but not because they aren't a challenge or they don't make your life better or they aren't fun. Resolutions just seem to  have such negative connotations for most people. Making a commitment at the beginning of the year to make your life better in one small way could be such a good idea but most people never follow through.  Most resolution talk 1 month into a new year inevitably ends up with "I've already broken mine" or "I'm doomed to fail. Why start?"I've always set resolutions but I've never made a solid commitment to them all year long, until now, I've never made resolutions that were actually doable and I actually really wanted. They are fun for a bit and then it's back to normal, comfortable life.I read a great blog post on resolution tips for entrepreneurs recently and this fits in well with one of the tips: Get uncomfortable.My resolutions this year are going to be uncomfortable. Let's get into it.

What is the Superhero Challenge?

I'm a firm believer in hormesis which is the idea that when you push your body it will adapt to what small stresses you put on it. Lots of stress every day is definitely bad and leads to me freaking out and doing absolutely nothing for a few days while I recover. Little stresses here and there, lead to better adaptation and systems to handle them.All of the things in the challenge I've been working on in one way or another, and this is just a concerted push to the next level for each of them. They aren't brand new to me. Why not do them all at the same time?Time is the huge limiter, but when you want to do something and you don't have enough time, you hack it down to make it fit, right? I like living the multipotentialite or autodidact life and doing a lot of different things so I've come to the conclusion that I'm just going to have to learn how to work faster, not do less.Every part of this challenge is about getting healthier and working more on things I love. Instead of dragging on a slow shift in my life to doing more of what I love, I'd rather just upend the entire system of my life and reset things. What better time to do that than at the beginning of a new year. 

How this Challenge is going to work

All my past resolutions have failed because I forgot about them. They were were never integrated into my life in any way. There were no reminders. There was no incentives to keep going. There were no stakes if I failed. There was no measurement. All the things you are supposed to do to keep proper goals over a long term, I did none of them. No none of them lasted longer than a few weeks.Journaling has changed all that. I've never journaled before in my life but writing almost every day in 2013 changed that completely. I didn't get to journal every single day but I made it to 270 entries. I have a notebook in Evernote that all the entries go into, one for each day, and I can add to it over the day from any device I'm on. This completely changed journaling for me. I regularly write over 2000 words.For this challenge, I keep a list of what I'm measuring on my goals at the top of each journal entry. I add to them over the day when I complete something. Keeping this list in front of my face all day every day is the only way it's all going to get done. Best part of all is that I write down all my ideas for making it work better the next day right there in my journal. I'm bringing out my implementation intentions in force.All the goals have measurements. Each day will have measurements.  Each day I have a number I want to hit for something, or zero for something I'm stopping. I'm trying hard to not make any judgements when I miss a day on something, just write the number for the day and move on. I used to beat myself up for not getting something perfect the first time. Now I realize that's a ridiculous expectation, especially for something this hard. Measuring progress is very important for motivation. If I don't see any numbers, I'd probably stop within a few days. Counting down the days until I'm finished is a huge pull for me.Here's what's in the challenge. 

The List: What's in this crazy challenge?

Daily JournalingThis is the foundation of the challenge. Not only is it strengthening my journaling habit, it's also how I keep track and remember everything I'm doing each day. The challenge activities aren't hugely time consuming but there are a lot of them.  Without looking at my journal every day, I don't think any of this would happen. This is one of the year long goals. I'm aiming for over 300 journal entries this year.Daily WritingJournaling and writing are a big part of this challenge. Some of it will be in my journal, some will be for sections of one of the websites. I'll be working on at least one article every day. I had the grand vision of publishing an article a day but with my limited amount of time, that's not going to happen. Every few days, I'll be able to put out an article or section of a new Epic Guide I'm working on. This exercise is to help keep organized, get my thoughts out of my head and down on paper, and create digital products and blog post for PureOutside. This will most likely continue at some level all year.Daily MeditationMeditation has slowly grown into something I'm seeing everywhere but haven't had the patience to really put into practice myself. By some accounts, it's the wonder drug, and solves many different problems (usually ones that are mostly in your head). Like all things, the benefits come after regular practice so that's what this will start. This is another goal that will continue all year.Daily ExerciseI'm pretty good at exercising regularly but it can get tough with so much going on sometimes. I stretch and do a basic workout in the mornings and then head to CrossFit after work 2 times a week. I'm at least walking the dog after work most days but sometimes it's a run. A few years back I got sick of doing a ton of exercising over the summer, only to lose it all in the winter plus 10 pounds. I told myself I'd never do that again, and that winter was for continuing my exercise and working out, not reversing it. My goal is to be ahead of where I was last year before summer starts so that I can progress even further.Strict PaleoStrict paleo for 2 months. No gluten, no dairy. Some sweet potatoes to keep up the carbs for working out. My goal is to stay off the rice as well but we'll see how my workouts go. If I'm tanking every workout then I'll have to work something back in. I did a strict paleo challege for 6 weeks last year and it was fantastic... after the first week. Once we got our process and recipes sorted it worked well.No coffeeThis is going to be the hardest thing on the list. I sit in front of a computer all day around a bunch of coffee drinkers. It's excruciating sometimes keeping myself away from it. The caffeine draw goes away but the rest of the habits that go along with coffee drinking are pretty fierce. That combined with every story I read comes from some freelancer or entrepreneur in a coffee shop somewhere with their Macbook Pro, moleskin note book and, you guessed it, a coffee. Apparently the writing world runs on coffee.8 hours sleepGetting up at 5am is great if you can get to bed early enough. Last year I started getting up at 5am but was still up late. That definitely doesn't work. To shift your wake up time you have to shift your bed time. The coffee was making it more difficult so now that that's out, it's much easier to get to sleep at a decent hour. This one takes constant vigilance. If I stop thinking about it, I'm instantly back in my old routine.No procrastinationProcrastination is evil and it can creep into everything stalling projects, killing momentum and preventing anything from moving forward. If you can nip procrastination in the bud and push through before it even can come up, then you're well on your way to getting a ton of stuff done. I'm trying out the Getting Things Done method of doing something right away if it's going to take less than two minutes.Planning the next dayPart of each days journal is a section about the plan for the next day. This helps find problems before they happen and smooth the way for each of the things I'm trying to do in the challenge. When you pre-organize everything, you run into far fewer problems. The times when you're in a rush and things just aren't working are when you are going to say screw it and toss those resolutions in the trash. If you can organize everything before-hand your day will go more smoothly.Book ReadingI read like crazy already, blog posts, books, magazines, anything I can get my hands on. Good ideas have to have a good base and books are the best. I used to think blog posts would take over the world but after trying to seriously learn complex new skills and ideas by blog post I tossed that idea. Blog posts are fragmented ideas. They are great when they are organized into something bigger showing the whole picture but so few people do that. Books are whole ideas. They show the whole picture. They give you the background, all the steps, all the information. The problem with books is they take so long to read. My goal for the challenge is to actually finish a bunch of the books I've started.Slowing down and relaxingRushing all the time doesn't mean you'll be more productive. It really just means you'll be more stressed. I'm learning that now. Moving slowly and intentionally is far better than flailing. You probably get more done in the long run too because you're not redoing all the things you flailed through. Even typing and walking slower than usual reminds me of this idea. I write out stories of times during the day where I catch myself rushing and slowing down in my journal.January CrossFit Challenge2014 pullups, pushups and dips. That's the challenge for January at the CrossFit Nanaimo gym. Our combined total for the month of pullups, puhups and dips should be over 2,014 reps. This is about 70 per day minus a few. I'm front-loading them when I can because I know I'll miss a few here and there. The challenge with this is one is doing them throughout the day. 70 pushups all at once is tough. And when you miss a day you have to do 140 in a day. Even harder. It's totally doable though. 5 here, 5 there. Another great use for implementation intentions. For example, when I get up to get a glass of water, do 5 pushups. When I go to the bathroom, do 5 dips on the bathtub. 

Why is it going to be hard?

Resolutions are a tough cookie to crack. They often get forgotten and missed as the year goes on. What was once a fiery, intense, save-the-world kind of idea and resolution becomes "I'll do it later" 2 months in. I wanted to make sure that didn't happen with mine.So many things to rememberOne of the cardinal rules with resolutions and behaviour change is one thing at a time. Only do one thing at a time, they say. It makes sense. The more things you have on your plate, the less you can focus on each. Changing behaviour requires an enormous amount of thought and willpower and at the end of the a long day the motivation to do that new workout drops sharply. I'm going to use my journal to keep a checklist for each day front and centre. I look at my journal at least 3 times a day writing ideas and completing my checklist. This has worked so far with smaller lists but this one is much larger.PlanningDoing new things requires more planning than those old routines. Routines and habits don't take much thought at all, they just happen. You don't need to think much about them. New activities require a ton of thinking, remembering, reminding, scheduling and figuring out what works and what doesn't for you each day. It would be great if there was one perfect schedule that fit everything fit nicely but there definitely isn't. Journalling helps with all things. Thinking through what went well (or not so well) with today's plans and how to best tackle tomorrow's plans is a perfect thing to jot down in your journal over the course of the day.TimeSome days there's just not enough time to do everything. Making whole Paleo food every day is time-consuming. I'm thankful there is at least one raw food restaurant in town that we can eat while we're doing strict Paleo if we need to. Having enough time for everything is part planning and part shoving other things out of the way for now and saying no. I'm getting better at saying no to new commitments but I'm still finding myself excited about some new commitment only to realize I've said yes to another time consuming activity. Doh. 

What's going to happen after March 1?

The challenge ends March 1. Things will definitely relax but I'll continue some things until the end of 2014 and then reassess.PaleoPaleo eating is going to continue at about 70-80%. I love eating paleo and it's getting easier with every challenge and new recipe we learn but it's fairly expensive and it's nice to branch out for variety once in a while. I don't like being that person in a group of friends that's always the difficult one because of their diet so I'll let it slide sometimes. The more I read about what all these new-fangled foods are doing to our bodies and minds though, I'm letting it slide less and less.CrossFitCrossFit will continue for the rest of my life. Well, maybe not that long but I can't get enough of it lately so it's going to continue at least 2 days a week for the rest of the year. The Open competition is starting in March so that's a big goal for me right now. I'd love to get through the first round of the Open to Regionals but I'm not sure I have the time to devote to training this year to get me to Regionals. I'm going to give it my best shot with the limited time I have but it's not my #1 priority.WritingAs with CrossFit journaling will continue until the end of time. It's proven to be so incredibly helpful for, well, everything. Training in CrossFit, making plans and keeping them, coming up with new ideas, making old ideas stick, "wandering around" ideas I'm thinking of, keeping resolutions, measuring my performance in anything I do. It just has so many uses.Also with all the writing, the more I do, the more products I'll create for PureOutside.com. Essentially, the more I write, the more money I'll make with digital products. That sounds like a good trade-off to me.CoffeeCoffee Rules: 1 bulletproof coffee in the morning and 1 at coffeshops with friends before 2pm. None at work. Sleep is just so essential to performing at a high level and too much coffee screws with my sleep right away.  I like the idea of sitting down with a cup of coffee and writing so I'll keep it around for now but might be turning to a green smoothie or something of that sort soon.

Wrap-Up

The best part about these challenges is the break after. You've pushed so hard through the challenge, not having to think about all the details and track every single thing once it's done is so freeing. Not everything goes back to normal after the challenges. The focus and things you learn to finish the challenge and get through every day sticks around for a while. Not everything disappears completely. All those habits you build up in the month or 2 of the challenge tend to stay after and help you out, maybe not to the same level as the challenge but better than things were before. I find myself eating much better for long after challenges are done. I've worked so hard to get to that point, it's hard to give it up. I won't be so strict and it feels good to relax but there's no reason to dive into burgers and cake right after a good, clean Challenge.I'll be writing more about how the challenge is going in the coming weeks and what I'm learning. Stay tuned.Comments? Questions?What are you doing for your resolution? How do you remind yourself and track your progress?  

Book Review: Fitness for Geeks by Bruce Perry; O'Reilly Books

What is Fitness for Geeks about?

fitnessforgeekscoverFitness and nutrition is a terrible industry to look for any kind of accurate information. The internet is riddled with tips and ideas that are inaccurate, vague or just plain wrong. Bruce Perry and O'Reilly Books have put together a fantastic book covering the basics of fitness and nutrition. Fitness for Geeks is the perfect quick start guide to health for anyone looking to quickly get an overview of the most important topics.The awesome (read terrible?) jokes and references in the book are aimed at programmers who spend a lot of time inside sitting on the computer drinking Redbull and eating vending machine fare. If you eat better then that, you'll have no problem with the info. I thought this book was a perfect fit for me because I'm right in between the tech and fitness industries. I spend half my day coding and the other half running around and reading how to eat better.This is a quick review of the book and the main topics.

Chair Living

From Fitness for Geeks:"Scientists have coined a new term for our trend: chair living. We're living in chairs, at home, in our car, at the office, at friends, out being entertained. Chair living is linked to all sorts of physical problems and disease."Humans are meant to move, that's what we've evolved to do, and we're very good at it. We've also evolved to rest every chance we get. When you were chased down by saber-toothed tigers, you never knew when you were going to get a solid rest in. We've obviously evolved to eat too. But with today's foods, it's easy to eat way more than we need too. Food is everywhere these days, and so are chairs. We are the at the peak of human evolution and a lot of what we do is just sitting and eating. This leads to problems.Bruce is here to explain how to fix those problems with exercise and nutrition.

Apps and Gadgets

Being for geeks one of the first sections is a good list of apps, websites and gadgets that help when you want accurate fitness and nutrition information. Many can track your stats and export them to different formats. NutritionData and FitDay are a couple of good ones for accurate information.We can now track some of the health measurements that used to cost hundreds or thousands of dollars for professionals to do. They can help us measure what we're doing so we can stay on track with our plans. These apps and gadgets obviously can't eat and run for us, but they can make it much simpler to track the information we should be seeing to make smart decisions.Our smartphones are one of the best gadgets for tracking. When we have it on us all the time, we don't even have to think about remembering it. We do have to remember to start the apps though!

Macronutrients: fats carbs and proteins

Nutrition is a huge part of how we feel, look and perform and macronutrients are the big building blocks of food.Macronutrients are what we all think of the basics of foods, fats, carbs and proteins. Bruce talks about the proper ratio of fats to carbs to proteins that are recommended and why they probably aren't what you're eating now. He subscribes to the idea that we should be eating closer to the ratio of macronutrients that we had thousands of years ago. This approach is very similar to the Paleo diet that a lot of people are talking about these days. We've evolved to eat that way before a lot of our modern human technology changed our foods, and that's what keeps us the healthiest.The book is a great reference on which of the fats are good and which of the fats are bad. Your body needs some of them and some of them are bad. I can never remember which is which so I'm always consulting the descriptions in the book.It's hard knowing exactly what's in your food but the internet comes to your rescue! FitDay is a great website for figuring out what macronutrients and other things are in your food.

Micronutrients: vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals

Micronutrients are all the other things you can get from your food that you body needs. They come in tiny amounts but those tiny amounts are important. Miss any small amount of these and you'll end up with some pretty nasty diseases. The best places for these to come from is your food, they'll digest better and you'll get a pile of other good micronutrients as well. These are part of the reason why it's good to have a variety of food in your diet. Even the healthiest foods on the planet don't have every single nutrient in them you need so you'll have to cover all your bases with other foods.Some "Superfoods" are super because they have so many micronutrients in them. These aren't a replacement for all the food in your diet but they'll help you get a lot of the micronutrients you need during the day.I like to think of all the food I eat as a big long list with the healthiest foods at the top and the least healthy foods at the bottom. I try to go to the top of the list and eat those first. Once I'm full of healthy foods,I'm not really hungry for more and the unhealthy stuff at the bottom just doesn't seem as appealing. It's easy to eat way to much of the unhealthy stuff when you're starving hungry, because everything looks super tasty!Two things to be cautious of with micronutrients.  One is that they can get cooked out of food. And two: just because you are eating them doesn't mean they are being absorbed into your body. All sorts of "anti-nutrients" exist that prevent some nutrients from being absorbed.

Food hacks: when to eat, fasting and how to find good food

As a hacker himself, Bruce goes into detail about a bunch of ways of more efficiently finding food. Just getting the food to your house and eating it can be a challenge so he has some tips and tricks for doing that in a healthy way. New research is uncovering some of the details on how important the timing of your eating is as well. Eating all day long or eating during set times can change how you body deals with all that food.

Working out, outside and in the gym

After he covers all the nutrition information in the book, Bruce gets into the fitness section. This is my favourite part of the book. He goes over the basics of working out, why you need to do it and what the basics are. Because us programmers tend to default to sedentary indoor activities, he lists the huge number of benefits to working out outside in the sun and fresh air. My preference is to be outside but when the weather is wet and cold and miserable, working out inside is better than nothing.

Why do you need to rest?

With all this eating and working out, we're going to need some rest. Rest is important. With too much of it it we don't get anything done, but with too little of it, we get injured and end up not being able to do anything either.  Rest is important from a fitness perspective and also from a overall health perspective. Many studies have shown that lack of sleep is a huge detriment to our performance during the day and long term health. We can't do much without enough sleep yet so many of us are cutting sleep here and there just to get more done during the day. I constantly battle with the alarm clock and how early to get up in the morning just to get an earlier start to the day. I wouldn't sleep if I didn't have to but unfortunately there's really no way around it.Resting between workouts is important for fitness as well. Working out puts small rips and tears in your muscles. Rest gives them time to repair and come back up to full strength before working out again. After repairing the muscles are stronger. On a smaller scale, rest between lifting each weight in a workout will give your muscles time to recover and get the energy they need for the next lift. Sometimes the point of a fast workout is to not give your muscles time to recover. Fitness trainers factor that in when they program workouts so follow your workout plan and you should be ok.

What is hormesis?

First of all what's hormesis? In the parting section of the book Bruce leaves us with an interesting question. Hormesis is the idea that when a stress is applied to our bodies and minds they can adapt to recover from it. This is how we adapt to new things in our lives, learn new skills or make muscle gains when we work out. Our bodies are adapting to the stresses we put them through.We have to be careful not to put too much stress on our bodies at a time, they can only handle so much. By applying just enough stress to cause a change and then backing off and letting our bodies and our minds rest with sleep and days off from working out, our bodies recover and end up stronger than before. An important thing to remember about the stress is that constant stress all day long is very bad for our health long term. Short controlled stresses, like some time in the gym, or short sessions learning a new language are very good for our health.Some new research has shown that cold showers or cold swims can be beneficial to our health. Like flu shots, our bodies adapt to to these small stressors and be stronger than they were before.

Interviews

As one last note before the end of this review, I was happy to see that there were a couple of interviews with well known nutrition experts from around the internet. One of my favourite nutrition writers online is Mark Sisson, who writes about the Primal lifestyle on MarksDailyApple.com. Primal is similar to Paleo with it's focus on "eating like a caveman" but has slight differences with some of the foods. Mark includes more base information about the fitness aspect of the Primal lifestyle as well which is not included in Paleo. You are left to your own devices when practicing Paleo.

Wrap-up

fitnessforgeekscoverNutrition is a notoriously difficult subject to research and understand. I've been working with it the last couple years, learning more and more, and every time a turn around there's a new rabbit hole of research and information to go down that's exactly the opposite of what I had read the previous week. It can be tough to keep on top of it all. In Fitness for Geeks, Bruce does a very good job at simplifying the details and pulling out the most important parts that you need to know to start.If you are looking to know more about nutrition and fitness and are learning towards the natural, outdoor Paleo-esque styles of eating and working out, I highly recommend this book. It's especially geared towards computer programmers with some of the jokes but 99% of the content still makes perfect sense if you aren't someone who speaks in 1's and 0's.Read more about Fitness for Geeks on the O'Reilly site.

Time for a change

I needed something. I wasn't sure exactly what. It was time for a change.Welcome to rockThink. I'm sure you're wondering what the change is from rcThink.com.I'll be posting new information over here at rockThink. New information about making a good life, digital nomadism, productivity and more of the really cool ideas I found all over the web.This isn't just going to be another blog that posts links to everything else online. I'm going to do my best to pull together the best of the best and put my own unique spin on it. I don't want to just puke out more links to stuff you've probably already seen. I want to take a moment to think about it, to take a moment to really dig into some of the best ideas around the web and why they're important. I want to see how we can take these amazing ideas that make my brain spin they're so cool and bring them down to a regular person level where you and I can put them into our lives and spin them just how we want to.There will be some writing on nature and outdoor adventure. I spend most of my day wishing I was outside so I'm bound to write about it at some point.There will be some lessons learned from building PureOutside and my day job as a programmer. I spend 3/4 of my day doing one those 2 things. I better have learned a few things.And there will be some writing on random ideas I've found on the internet that I thought were really cool. Not really useful but really cool. Often ideas end up being useful at some point. But most of the things I find aren't terribly useful yet. I will find a use for them eventually. Really!Oh, and there will be some pretty photos to look at as well. Some will be mine, most will be from the wonderful interwebs. Wherever they are from, pretty photos are pretty.Here are a few of my favourite posts from over the years.Move. Play. Go Outside.Why Start?A big pile of bones under Paris6 new habits to help you get those projects done2011: Year of the HustleGlad you could make it and happy reading.

The only mindset you need to push yourself

I've been getting up at 5am and spending 1 hour to write 1000 words and work on the next product I'm working on for PureOutside. What I didn't realize was how big of a change that would be to everything in my life.

Getting up an hour earlier in the morning seems like it's just getting up an hour earlier in the morning but that's it but getting up earlier usually requires going to bed earlier. That requires a shift in evening activities to make everything line up for an earlier time to bed (which is not working that well right now). I tend to be pretty zombie like when I wake up at 5am so my morning routine has to be fairly rigid. But rigid is good, I don't have to think about anything. Same thing every day. Same breakfast, same cup of tea, same music. I also have to be very clear on what I'm working on because not many good decisions are made at 5am. I can write but I can't do a bunch of big picture planning. Everything I'm going to be doing needs to be laid out before hand.I've been doing it a little over a month now and it's  made a huge difference in my life. I'm getting much more done on my product. I'm writing a huge amount because of the 1000 words, most of that being in the 5am writing session. I'm forced to think about getting a good sleep and arranging my evening around that. But it would have never worked out if I had been hard on myself.Some days just aren't perfect. I get up a little later, I get less done than I had hoped, something doesn't work right on my computer and I have to fix it, or I get to bed late and I'm bagged. After over 26 years (probably less than that, little kids aren't really hard on themselves) of being incredibly tough on myself, putting down my every decision because it could be better and slagging every performance because it sucked, I decided that that method isn't working any more.Any time I screw up or I don't do something right or it's just not what I thought it was going to be like there's no judgement, there's no slagging, there's no tough talk. All there is now is what happened, and how can I make it better next time. There's no need to waste time putting yourself down. There's no need to spend all that emotional energy. There's just no need.Instead of berating myself every time I had to press snooze an extra time instead of getting up at 5am sharp, I just adjust things so it's easier to do it and move on. No energy wasted. No emotional backlash.I'm working much better now.*** Photo Credit: Ant1_G

Training Mindset vs the Competing Mindset

Heidi Grant Halvorson talks about the Be Good mentality vs the Get Better Mentality.When you are in the Be Good mentality you have to look better and smarter than others. You are validating and proving your skills.The Get Better mentality is where you are learning and testing and focusing on improvement.Most of us are stuck in the Be Good mentality every day.Working out at Crossfit there is a visible like between these 2 things.When Training you are in the Get Better mindset. You are practicing and experimenting and see what works, how things feel and how far you can go. Your goal is to learn as much as possible.When you are Competing in a timed Workout of the Day or in an actual full-on competition, you are forced to get into the Be Good mindset. Your goal is to look perfect.In daily life the Training or Get Better mindset is going to benefit you in the long run far more than the Competing or Be Good mindset will.photo credit

Project Momentum

I've just recently finished off a big project that I've had going for over a year.It feels good.It feels really good.It feels good to be done. It feels good to be able to think about other things. It feels good to not have that nagging project saying, "I'm still not done yet." It feels good to say that I finished it.With that momentum, I'm going to carry on trucking right through into the next project I have lined up. Riding this wave of momentum I can get a big chunk of the next project done.That wave isn't going to last forever though and so I've taken steps to work times into my day where I focus on the project. Building the habits and routine around getting the work done is so important for big projects. Little things can be completed with a wave of inspiration and initial momentum. Big things need more than that. They need structure, a framework to get work done on a regular basis. Creating that structure has been a big struggle for me over the last year. I'm finally understanding how important it is. When something can't be completed in a day, it something to help. The longer it takes the more important the structure is.With completing this project I've learned about structure for big projects. I've also learned how important it is to ignore shiny new things. Those shiny things are a curse to big projects. They offer the warm-fuzzy short term satisfaction that a big project just doesn't give. They also suck, drain, rip and tear all your free time until it's non-existent. You can say so long to that awesome big project with all those little shiny things around.Slow and steady should be the name of the game for big projects, not the adrenaline rush of small shiny things.

Slow and Steady

Sometimes I catch myself rushing through things. Rushing through work. Rushing through plans with friends. Rushing through working out. Rushing through talking.Why?Why am I rushing? Where am I rushing to get to? Why am I trying to hurry through what I'm doing?I'm not sure.It takes a lot to even realize I'm rushing. My muscles are tight. I'm focused intently on what I'm doing. Yes, it gets my current task done faster but why does it need to be done faster? And how much does the quality suffer when I rush? How much does my stress level increase when I rush?Rushing isn't sustainable. It's not slow and steady. It's a spring. It increases stress. It decreases quality.I'm trying to slow down more now. Smell the flowers a bit. Enjoy the scenery.The downside is that I feel like I have less time to do things. The benefit to that is that I only have time to do important things.

The Do Percentage

What percentage of time do you spend doing and creating vs consuming, thinking and planning?It should be high on the side of doing and creating.Doing and creating: good.Consuming, thinking and planning: not so good.You need both for sure. But we get stuck in Consumption and never get to do.Doing feels good.Doing makes you feel accomplished.Doing makes you more satisfied.Doing is more fun.Doing is what helps other people.Doing is what gets you paid.Doing is how you make mistakes and learn.Doing is how you succeed.

Remember Hormesis When Doing Something New

Wikipedia says hormesis is "the term for generally favorable biological responses to low exposures to toxins and other stressors".2 examples of stressors that we endure regularly in our lives are flu shots and exercise. We get a small dose of something that is actually harmful to us and then we come back stronger. We get get a small dose of the flu and then our immune system ramps up it's response in preparation of a full on sickness. During exercise our muscles rip and tear. Rest repairs those muscles and brings them up to a state stronger than before.Travel is similar. It can be tough the first few days in a new country but each day it gets easier. We get used to it. Then when we go home, life is a little bit easier.Any time you're building a strength in one area it's going to affect all others. The only way to build that strength that is through hormesis. Initially it's going to be hard. You're not used to it. Realize that until you've done it a few times, it is going to be harder. Train and rest, train and rest. Push to the next level, and the level below will feel easy.In the arena,Ross

A Life List Update: Sailing Adventures

Wow, it's been a while since I've written over here. So much going on at PureOutside.I've been talking to people about Life Lists lately and remembered that this one needed some attention once in a while. I read through Jenn's List and Erin's List and it made me think about the stuff I've accomplished and have yet to. It really brought me back to mine and the big goals I want to accomplish.One of my goals revolves around sailing on a trip of my own. It doesn't have to be by myself but it is going to be me as skipper. I would probably be able to take a boat out right now if I had my own but seeing as most places don't trust you until you have the right certificiations, I'm waiting on the courses to do those.I've got some big sailing adventures on the boat I race on coming up in the next 2 years so my time and sailing budget will be going to gear and courses for those big goals there. I'll be updating you on those because they will be awesome stories! Till then a story about our Swiftsure race last year will have to do. I'm working on that and it will be out soon. It was only 24 hours but that was definitely long enough for my first big race!That's one of the goals I've been working on. Here are a few others.2 Products on a websiteI've been working away on my first product for PureOutside. It was a bit of a test to see if I could do it and it's come out rather well. There's going to be lots of updates to it in the next year or 2 to make it exactly what I want but now that the template is done, I'll be pushing out more products using the same structure. Once the first is done, I've got 2 more slated for the first 6 months of next year using the $100 from WDS this year. I'll be posting about that project soon.$1000 on a websiteThis goes along with the 2 products goal above. I've run into an issue with time and money limiting the projects I can do for PureOutside and this site. I'm hoping the new products will help with the money issue. The time issue is going to be a problem for a while though I think.Hike for 5 daysPart of the 2 products for PureOutside will be researching 2 large trails on Vancouver Island. Those trips will be early next year. One of them will be a big hiking trip of 5 to 7 days. The trail can be done in 5 and that would be easier for me to organize but it would be much nicer to spend 7 days on the trail. More time on the trail means more pictures, more videos, more stories but more time off work. I'll be posting the details of my trips next year as the time gets closer.Play 10 songs on the guitarThe guitar seems to be gathering dust in the corner most of the time but every once in a while I can get to it and start to put together more and more of a song. I certainly can't play all of one but I've got a few chords down and am piecing together a couple simple songs. I'll post some audio of that when I can get a whole song together. I'd love to sit around the campfire next summer and pull out some good tunes.How is your list going? Big plans for the end of this year?

Questions About "Stuff"

I was thinking about minimalism a lot lately because of people Colin and Everett and how I can apply it to my life. These guys love living with less than 100 things.Although it's alluring to live a life like that, I've said in a previous post that I wouldn't be able to do that. My interests and what I do on a regular basis aren't compatible with a life with less than 100 things.Even if I can't have less than 100 things, it's still a incredibly good inspiration to get rid of some of the things I've got sitting around. If these guys can lead awesome lives with less than 100, I should be able to with less than what I've got now, right?Why?If just being able to travel around the world with a carry on bag isn't enough for you to start tossing excess stuff, maybe a few other practical reasons might help. These are some other good side effects of having less stuff.

  • When there is less stuff it's easier to clean. Fewer things mean less stuff is out of place at any one time. If you only have a few things, then you put a few things away and you're done.
  • It's easier to find things. The less stuff you have the less there is to look through when you need to find something. You'll spend less time looking for things because you don't own them any more.
  • You'll have less stuff to worry about. Ever sit and try to figure out how things look best in a space? It's harder with more stuff. You won't have to see what doodads or thingy's fit with a colour scheme in a room because you won't have any doodads or thingy's. Another benefit to this is your place is ever broken into, there is less stuff to take. The downside to this that those few things are probably very important.

Where to start?Ok, so you've got a house full of stuff. How do you decide what stays and what goes? Where do you start?Question Everything. The first step to figuring out what you want to keep and what you don't is questioning every single thing in your house. Things that have been there forever may not need to be there. Does that desk need to be there? Do you need those chairs? Do you really need all those shoes? What would happen if you just got rid of all those files and books? It's like an interview with everything that's not attached to the house. Every single thing needs to be questioned and needs to have a very good reason for staying.Anything that could possible come into the house needs to be questioned as well. Buying something for the house? Do you really need it? Could you make do without it? What does it accomplish? Try and wait a month and see if you really need it. What happened? Nothing? You didn't really need it.Everything needs a home. This is one of my favorites. If you don't have much stuff it might not help much but if you have a lot and need to start organizing, it's a great way to get moving. It basically means that every single thing that you have in your home needs a permanent place to live. It's probably where everything goes when your place is perfectly clean and tidy. Everything is in it's place. Nothing is uncluttered. If you find something that doesn't have a home, find a good home for it or get rid of it. A good home is not on the floor or the counter looking cluttered. It's a permanent, tidy home that is always available to store that thing. It can't be shared with anything else. Until every single thing you own has a home, you have too much stuff.Just buy another one. So you've got  box of stuff you haven't used in ages. You're not sure what to do with it. You don't want to get rid of it in case you need to use something from it. Ask yourself this: How hard is it to buy another one? Can you just walk to the store and buy another? Get rid of it.Remember why you have it. Pick up something near you. Anything. Can you remember why you have it? Is there a good reason why you have it? Maybe a friend or family member gave it to you as a present. Maybe you got it because it was on sale. Maybe you thought it would look amazing with the painting you don't have any more. Nail down the reason why you have it and if it's not a good one, get rid of it.Don't be lazy. Most people own a lot of stuff because it saves them time. It makes doing something more convenient for them. A lot of the time these items overlap each other and we could be doing a couple things with just one item, or we buy something and it takes the place of a few other things but we still have that other stuff. Buy things that are high quality and can do multiple things.  If you can buy 4 things or 1, just get the 1.Another point to this is that a lot of people are afraid of work. They don't want to do what they don't have to so they buy lots of stuff to do the work for them. How much time does it save really? How much money could you have saved by just not buying it? There are some things that are a mixed blessing. Like cars. I try not to drive as much as possibl. My truck is multi-purpose though and allows me to get around offroad to the secluded places I like to hike and bike. During the week, I walk to work and try to batch trips places I drive as much as possible.Do it again. I went through many rounds of cleaning and getting rid of things. I feel like I'm getting close to a level where I use everything I own regularly. It's an iterative process though. Go through everything you have once and get rid of what you can. Then, start the process over again and go through everything that's left. You'll gain momentum each time you do this and become more critical of what you've got. Eventually you'll be able to easily look at something and keep it or leave it and know you've made the right choice.No matter how much stuff you have, you can always benefit with less. It is hard figuring out what you can and can't live without but it all starts with questioning what you've got then getting rid of what you can.

Stuck? Take an R&D Day

Whenever I'm stuck creatively, I head over to my R&D department to see what they've got cooking.What I mean by that is that I start thinking like I'm in the R&D Department instead of the lame report-writing department. This is all pretend because I don't have an actual R&D department.R&D means research and development if you weren't sure.Most of what I do is a one man show so that means I'm customer service, finance, research and development, reports, product 1 team, product 2 team and product 3 team.Being in all these different places at once can be exciting but it can also be a little stressful. There are products to push out, admin tasks to handle, new crazy ideas to come up with.My favorite place of all is research and development. Here the new ideas see the light of day. You can do anything you want. You can try new things, experiment, just try stuff just for the sake of it, all in an effort to bring new, innovative ideas to the table. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. The important part is to play with new ideas.Some of these ideas might grow into whole new products or an entire new business. Others might just be the perfect solution for an issue you're having with one of your products or services. You never when they might come in handy. You might even be able to give them to others who could use them.Most of the time you'll be in your work mode. Cranking out work on product A or B or doing work for client C. This can get monotonous though and you may find yourself doing the same work over and over again. Time to switch things up. Head into Room 1, as the guys at the 99 Percent refer to it,  and get some big airy ideas out, do some brainstorming, and try out something new.Who knows. What you come up with in your R&D time might be the next big thing.

Why Photography is Not Simple

It's not. Just not just the point and shoot kind of thing that most people think it is.Take Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO for instance. Three things that most people haven't even heard of. Yet they're the basis for the process of getting an amazing photo. One of the reasons most people don't see them is because they can't change them on their camera. Point and Shoots can't do advanced things.Aperture is the hole the light goes through in your camera to hit the sensor, the digital thingy that has taken the place of film. In automatic modes you can't change the settings of the aperture, they are set by the camera. In more advanced cameras you can play with the aperture settings, making it bigger or smaller when you take the shot. This will increase or decrease the amount of light that hits the sensor.Shutter Speed is just that, the speed of the shutter. When you click the button, it goes opens the shutter, letting the light through the aperture to hit the sensor. When you have a slow shutter speed, you let a lot of light in. When you have a fast shutter speed, you let less light in. When things start to get blurry in low light or because they're too fast, it means your shutter speed is too long for the movement that is happening and the available light. The answer is to decrease and shutter speed and increase the light. You can increase the light by using lights, a flash, or by increasing the ISO.ISO is the "speed" of the sensor to capture the image. In film days you got a roll of ISO 200 film and took what pictures you could with that. A higher ISO means that the picture is exposed faster on the film meaning you get the exposed photo in less time. The tradeoff is that when you expose things faster the image gets grainy. It's not very noticeable at low ISO's but as you get higher, it gets grainier. Higher ISO's do come in handy in low light situations, like shooting during the evening or shooting a band play inside. If you can use a flash to get the light you need but it might no be appropriate then a high ISO can help.Between shutter speed, aperture and ISO you can some crazy things with photos. If you want  freeze action, you'll want a fast shutter speed, but if you want things blurred you can slow it down.Sounds easy right? Well not always.There are a lot of other variables that affect how the photo ends up. There's the lens you have on the camera, the distance from you to your subject, the distance from your subject to the background, how fast they're moving, the intensity and direction of light thats hitting the camera and subject and a whole host of other things to think about.Needless to say, it ends up being a intensive process to get the experience required to think of a photo, set it up and get the exact photo you want. And for it to look good.A friend told me that your first 10,000 photos are gonna be junk when you first start taking photographs. Remember, I'm thinking ones with excellent light, color, and composition not your party shots from last weekend.I think I'm photo 492?