Upgrading My Operating System

Last month started my monthly challenges — where I take on a set of three challenges and analyze the results. The goals — in the categories of writing, health, and lifestyle — are all things I’d like to work on and accomplish (if possible), but the monthly challenges are not simply unto themselves. There is a higher motive.

That motive is the idea of self-success and systemization. This motive started with a year goal: to develop a framework for myself that can work with any challenge or project and lead to success. It may take a month or seven years, but if I can develop a system or process that works for me, I theorize that I can take anything on be successful. There are several examples of people who have done this, but one that sticks out is Arnold. The man has been (beyond) successful in three facets of life, taking his own process in with him each step of the way. I’d like to start the process of developing that for myself. But I don’t know what it is.

So I’m in the processing of figuring that out. Each month’s challenges give a testing ground for examining myself and my system for success. And that brings me here.

This month’s writing challenge is meta. I’m going to write five (5) blogposts about this journey and year goal — this will help me both understand my mission more clearly, and also give an opportunity to explain myself in writing and muse on the journey a bit more. It’ll also allow me to point people to the posts to explain what I have some trouble doing in words.

SO, all that said. Here’s blogpost #1.

In a podcast with Tim Ferriss, Peter Diamondis brought an analogy to the table that has since stuck with me. It fit with his whole theme of not looking at the small problems and coming up with small solutions — and his analogy was the human as a phone.

Diamondis says that you can think of your brain much like hardwiring of your smart phone. It’s fixed. It’s amazingly complicated and profound, but it takes enormous efforts to change small parts. The synopses and connections of our brain will function a certain way, but changing that functioning is very difficult. It takes brain damage, surgery, or something else drastic to change the reality of this.

The brain, in this way, is not unlike the hardware of your smart phone. It’s fixed, locked-in, and incredibly complicated and capable. But to change it would mean undergoing something serious, and most of the time, this is not undertaken and instead new phones are bought, or released unto the market.

What is altered though, and updated constantly is the phone’s operating system. We see this in iPhones with their incremental upgrades. iOS 6.1.4, OSX 10.9.2, etc… These are changed, updated, and made to alter how a person interacts with his/her phone (ostensibly to make for a better experience). In the analogy’s terms, this is our character, our personality. This is what governs how we act and what we do (and when). Much like the operating system, this is our fundamental character — and it’s usually worked and changed to make things better.

The last part is applications. Apps are built on top of that operating system. Apps are designed to do one thing and to do it well. Take your Maps app. It, itself, is always being upgraded, but it’s meant to do one thing — one thing built through code which matches with your operating system to produce the application and its work in real-time. In the analogy in which we are a smart phone, Apps are skills that we have, Diamondis says. Math, for instance, is an app. Spanish, or any other foreign language, is also an app.

So we have a set-up now. As Diamondis goes on, he explains that too many people get caught up in Apps. That seeing ways to improve themselves, they look to Apps to do so. Some try to learn a different language, a different skill (like coding), or take on a different hobby. The trick he says is that too few people look to upgrading their operating system — and instead default to adding apps, or improving old ones.

It’s a borrowed metaphor but I’m writing these posts to clarify my goals — both in the monthly challenges and in my greater goal for the year. I want to improve my operating system. I want to make it so that any app (new or old) can be made great by existing on top of a solid foundation, and succeed thanks to a success framework. In explaining my mission, this is the closest I’ve gotten to an accessible rundown. The rest of my posts will elaborate on from here!