The Ability to Improve

“For them it’s not about immediate perfection. It’s about learning something over time: confronting a challenge and making progress.”
-Carol Dweck. ‘Mindset.’

Moody. Annoyed with those around me. Short tempered in the morning. Self-centered. Purposely avoided talking to certain people. Left without saying goodbye. Cherry-picked who I had the energy to be nice to.  Expected people to move out of my way. Greed. Anger. Felt like the world ‘owed’ me. Had super focus on my exam studies, (which resulted in) being proud and boastful. Snapped, (at more than just one person.) Impatient. Self-seeking. Rude.

These are (unfortunate) realities of the past week in my life. I know that as a human being, forgiving myself for these flaws are the only way to move past them and improve. However here’s what I don’t do when hormonal imperfections seem to catch up with me.

I don’t chose to ignore them.

When inappropriate mood strikes, I am hyper-aware of my actions. I try to take an objective and observing  approach. This enables me to make changes and necessary improvements in the future.

I tread my emotional life as you would that of a child. I don’t yell, judge, make a scene or send the kid to their room. I sit down and reflect, and try to learn what could have been done differently. I try to draw conclusions on how I am going to approach situations, like this one, in the future.

Regardless of my wish to ALWAYS be humble, smiling, kind and perfect, I know it’s just not the reality of life. I am in a progress. The goal for me isn’t changing into some superhuman saint. The primary goal is the simple progression of learning. Love, kindness and social abilities are not something you wake up one day and just are. It isn’t a epiphany. It is skills you develop over time. Life throws you curb balls and you fall flat on your face? Then you get back up, and you might have a slightly different perspective than before. Everything you go through will serve as experience. Experience is practice, and practice will further your skills and development.

I’ve spend hours, upon hours, guilting myself because I didn’t live up to my personal expectations of love. Why didn’t / couldn’t I, just do it? This approach is the opposite of humility. Without practice the standard is ultimately unreachable.

How do you expect someone to become a varsity level player, before putting them through the basics training first? You don’t. To improve in sports, we practice. We fall down, we get up and we continue to practice. Then we practice some more, and even when we are great players, we keep showing up for practice.

These same principals count when we are in social surroundings. Personally, I find it very challenging to be in the midst of social situations. In sports there is predicted outcomes. To prepare for social situations are quite different. You can’t predict outcomes. I used to think that I was condemned to be a social moody misfit. I have come to believe that the reality is quite different. Social interaction and the love for my peers, are skills that can flourish over time, with practice and a fundamental nurture towards the small steps. Pause, reflect and chase improvement, that is the way of the growing mindset.

Freja Blay.
Aarhus, Denmark.
21st of May 2017.

BOOK REVIEW “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” by Timothy Ferriss

“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.” –Timothy Ferriss

The influence we as humans have on each other, are unavoidable. This impact that extend far beyond physical interactions.  There are people, fictional or otherwise, who inspire and motivate me to change and see things from a different perspective. They can be viewed as temporary teachers. Exemplary, the author, have the mastery and power in his possession to influence others regardless of physical presence.

Timothy Ferriss is one of those people who have played such a role in my life. Tim is the author of ‘The 4-Hour Work Week’, ’The 4-Hour Body’, ’The 4-Hour Chef’ and most recently ‘Tools of Titans’. He is also the creator of the ever-popular podcast ‘The Tim Ferriss Show.’

First and foremost, the 4HWW is practical. It’s very easily to accumulate the information provided, and immediately put it to practical use. And. It. Works! This is the book, I can honestly NOT stop recommending to everyone. Feel deprived in life? Read the 4HWW. No money? Want to travel? Read the 4HWW. Problems with your grandma? READ IT.

The 4HWW have taken me from ‘being stuck in the daily maze of 9-5’ to living a life based on personal freedom, opportunities, and the ability to do MORE with my time. Most importantly? It has created mental space. The book gives a practical road-map to get ‘unstuck’ from what is ‘normal and expected’ in today’s society. It gives a foundation for putting a why in front of easily accepted truths, that surrounds us on a daily basis. 
One of the most important takeaways, was the ability to do things differently and allowing everything to be possible. The principals in this manual allows you to question everything you thought you knew, and swim against the stream. Even if just a few of the keys in this book is applied, the changes still have the ability to have life-changing impact. I didn’t have to start my own company to apply the necessary foundations otherwise mentioned in the literature and see a mayor changes in my life.

The 4HWW is my first review because it has been one of the biggest game changers, added to my life in years. It’s the one thing that really pushed me to taking a closer look at my fears, and actually getting on that airplane to Poland (ALONE). It was less than a month and a half after reading it, when I found myself 1000 kilometers away from home, feeling excited and proud of my newly found courage and freedom. This book helped expand my horizon and possibilities. It eliminates excuses that clutter life, mind and our ability to maximize the potential we got right in front of us. The potential to truly and freely happy. I suggest you give this book a go. Apply what is appropriate, and leave the rest for someone else. Honestly my life has become much more exiting and real since I picked up the 4HWW. Globe-trotting has become one of my new favorite activities. (Did I mention I’m leaving again next month after finals?)

Freja Blay,
Aarhus, Denmark.
2nd of May, 2017.

 

Krakow, a city build in sorrow.

‘It is so hard to leave — until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.’
John Green, Paper Towns.


The first thing I saw flying into Poland, was the formations of what was left after the communist movement of Stalin. Krakow is every emotion; it is beautiful, old, historic, proud and it easily tops as one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. It is a boiling pot of the old: Castles, churches and ruins and on the other hand it is also a mix of what is left from industrial communism. Broken buildings. Houses that are falling apart. Apartments build with cheaper solution materials, in the midst of WW2. Beautiful historic buildings with broken in windows, left for death, because nobody has the resources or means to care for them any longer. These are things whom speaks poverty and sorrow, which gives Krakow a strange but unique identity. It tells a story, not grounded in suffering alone, but also in victory and survival. The roads are so very dusty, but are fairly empty for trash and littering. The generation older than thirty are very difficult to communicate with, but are mostly friendly and seem like they want to be helpful, despite the language barrier.

I like it a lot here. The food is very nice, lots of sauerkraut and sausages, and the eggs taste absolutely amazing, (I don’t know why, they are so flavorful. I have eaten SO many eggs since I got here.) The weather have been on my side: amazing. I swear it was like the most perfect summer weather yesterday. I must have waked around between five and six hours, just taking in the city and trying to navigate.

I can’t believe that I brought myself here. Honestly it a mental border I didn’t imagine myself crossing. That’s the thought that keeps returning to my mind. I’m really proud of myself. Proud for making a leap. Proud for having courage. Proud for making it work, even when everything seems to be a chaotic mess. I guess I owe some of the honer to Tim Ferriss, for writing the 4-hour Work Week, and inspiring me to break my mental matrix. Allowing me to put my excuses to rest and leave my fears in a Danish forest. Because ‘Who Says’ I can’t? Maybe, next year I will actually plan a trip to Japan and go? Thanks, John.

Here’s the truth; staying in the same place too long, is, and have been, very unhealthy for me. What happens is that I get stuck in the same routines, which has a tendency of being a tad on the the obsessive compulsive side of what is good. I do the same things day in, and day out. Why? Simply because it’s comfortable and safe. It is however not healthy. Not for my perspective. Not for my perception, and not for my spiritual life. It can be very hard to recognize these truths, when I am stuck in the midst of it all.

So, I am here. Krakow. To see. To feel; Both myself and something besides myself. To get over myself. To meet myself, and to meet something besides myself.


Partly this trip is meant to take the air out of some of my obsessive behaviors. They have grown so effortlessly. Lost in the months spend in my everyday slumber. Nothing takes the air out of the compulsive sails, like being thrown into a foreign setting. Nothing here is like it usually is at home. In Krakow it is not possible to do what I usually do. Away from my daily routine, I become strictly aware of these nasty habits, I’ve gathered around me like naughty little ducklings.

SHORT HONEST LIST OF MY DARK DUCKS :
(a.) artificial sweeteners (which I have a mayor suspicion really fucks with my hormones)
(b.) my necessity to be in the gym, for at least two hours every day.
(c.) My general oversensitivity to smells and the smell of cigarettes, in the strange apartment I’m staying at.
(d.) General controlling eating habits and my compulsion to wanna check macros (fat, protein, carbs) on everything I’m eating. Here, I am unable to check things, which gives me a chance to ACTUALLY learn to be fucking flexible. I’m not, but in Krakow, I get to grind it out and learn to be. And it’s great for me. (Not really a total pleasure, but a really good for both my body and for my mental health.)


In short I’m forced to loosen up my grid, give up control and go with the flow. Be carried on the winds of Krakow. Altogether, this is really great for me. So if you want ‘change’, just go ahead and relocate your ass somewhere foreign, because shit will for sure hit the fan, and there is no choice but to laugh and find the silver lining.

So when I find myself in a strange apartment in Krakow, Poland, which kinda smells like smoke and everything is unfamiliar and I can’t even translate the food label to know how much protein I’m getting, it’s still OKAY. Because it’s an adventure. And I’m in love with the learning. And the living. And the loving myself, kindly and with a laugh, when things go south. Without it I wouldn’t last.
Okay? Okay!

Freja Blay.
Krakow, Poland.
11th of April 2017.

Oceans

We are but an ocean 
Sign to the heart 
Line up the stars 
We are but a subtle notion

I wasn’t meant to be tied down
Boats they leave and come to shore 
Carried into oceans roar 
Staying here will make me drown

We are but an ocean 
Sign to the heart 
Line up the stars 
We are but a subtle notion

You are more than this place 
Seagulls gather as they fly
Afar you only hear them cry
We should leave without a trace

Freja Blay. Aarhus, Denmark.
28th of March 2017.

Grinding it Out

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Yesterday. Yesterday just so happened to be one of those days, where peace finally set in after another storm. That’s a metaphorical storm and in my opinion, the worst kind. The state of rollercoaster sadness and heartaching despair is awful. 
I have these days, quite too many if you ask me, where life is barely sustainable. Times like these, where it becomes a task to just get through my daily grind and functioning to a reasonably normal standard in society is a challenge itself.

Hold fast to me here; I’m not going down some self-pity train of destruction, or taking an ego trip. Stay with me.

I think it’s quite common to strike periods where the grind gets tougher and shit hits the fan. It’s quite normal to have rough days (maybe not as many as my OCD laden self, but still.) You don’t get used to pain, but there are ways to cope, when the lightning strikes.
Let me just say, I do not consider myself even remotely graceful in suffering or painful situations of life, but I am still here and that means I survived life this far. I think of myself sort of like an elephant in a glasshouse, which to my astonishment and wonder aren’t breaking.

There are tools to get through times, despite things that actually include directly running in the opposite direction of  the pain. I don’t try and run away from the painful states because (1.) It’s not durable, and (2.) even if it works shortly, it is just that: Temporary. Non-sustainable. (Like using alcohol or drugs to dull the pain.) 
I don’t run from fear, unless maybe at the exception of a lion, or something that will be of immediate danger to my existence.

The only thing I’ve found of long time sustainability is persistence and grinding it out. I know that ain’t the sexy answer, most would like to hear, but I have found that regardless of the situation, the suffering or pain never lasts forever. Though it may seem that way at times, everything comes to an end. Pain, happiness and even life itself at some point. (Another unsexy truth. I’m on a roll here.)
The second tool that I’ve found useful is continuing my daily routines, such as school, work and going to the gym to train, follow my mealplan etc. If this is possible, it is the best way to cope.
It isn’t good for me to give into suffering, I need to get out and get on with life. If I can pull off going to school, the gym and so on, there is a chance that I will survive yet another day, with my mind ‘sort of intact’. My life is most often better, after I have created meaning outside of myself and put in a decent amount of ‘Doing.’  It may still not be great or optimal, but most often it is better than I woke up crying and not wanting to get out of my apartment.

Too much time to think, will be potentially poisonous in the midst of a mental meltdown. Getting out (literally moving my ass, from point A. to point B.) and talking to other humans, is by far the best emergency plan I’ve come up with. The worst decisions are made without consulting others and letting my fears grow into monsters.

Yesterday. Yesterday was the first warm day, leading into summer. It was lovely and awesome. These thoughts are floating around inside of my being, not because I am sad in this instant. No, because I’ve just gone through yet another rough path. Everything seemed to be going to hell (but didn’t) once again, for no apparent reason. It is like losing a job or breaking a leg, like my whole world is collapsing, without evidence of reason. It sucks.

But now, it is better and lighter and lovelier outside, and I’m grateful for that. I am grateful to have this life, despite it’s challenges. It is a good life.
If you are looking for something to read, I can recommend ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl. It puts suffering and pain in perspective and gives reason, or at least reflection to pain, loss and prosperity. It’s a book that I’m currently working though, since I’m going to Poland in the beginning of next month, with the sole purpose of visiting the Auschwitz concentration camps.

More on that later!

Thanks for reading,

Freja Blay. Aarhus, Denmark.
24th of March 2017.

The life of being a non-instant

“The time that leads to mastery is dependent on the intensity of our focus.”
Robert Greene, Mastery

Let it be told, that I do not in any particular way or form, fit into a world where ‘instant’ is becoming the norm and a necessary of social behaviour. I kindly reject the compulsive tendency to make everything live. I am a perfect contemplator. I greatly prefer thinking things over (a million times) before making my move. I need time to think. I resent making rash attempts or sudden changes, for the sake of making them. I like strong and steady, so when the storm comes I’ll be prepared.

I don’t like instant messenger, or the expectation that I’ll instantly respond to messages and the fact that other people can actually see that I read their message and presume an – instant – response, makes me frigid and anxious at times. Which also lead, in part, to the deleting of my non-active Facebook account, after deciding that it didn’t bring reasonable amounts of joy into my existence and therefore had no purposely good reason, to continue its annoyance of me.

My Instagram is a perfect example of this factor. Most of my posts are either written or taken days, and sometimes weeks, prior to the actual posting date. I’ve had quite different reactions to this matter, because it apparently is expected that instant, actually means ‘This is happening in this very moment. RIGHT NOW’ If this is your belief, then I apologize, because it ain’t the case, and probably won’t ever be, at least for me. I prefer giving the best of my best and maximize quality over quantity. The sad truth is that I can’t perform BOTH. Really well written posts don’t come cheaply, they cost a greater deal of my mental capacity. It takes time for me to dig out the best pictures and footage from let’s say, leg day.

Maybe it’s a bit to perfectionistic of me to put so much energy and though into something like Instagram, but that dear Hudson is simply a part of my personality. I like that the things I give life aren’t shit, and my Instagram is, well, many hours of work and something I’m proud of.

If you take a look at it, you will see a pattern of Amino Acids and daily pictures of my life. Individually they can be broken up, and will tell a story. If you on the other hand, look at it as a whole you’ll see a pattern of art as well. It’s not a strange coincidence that my Instagram profile happens to be that way, it was well though through and mapped out, -before I even started. That’s just how I roll baby, welcome to my OCD* laden world, where everything is symmetrical and the Oxford English Dictionary* is laden with hours of potential entertainment.

(*I kid you not, I have one, it’s porn)

My Amino Acids (on my Instagram) for example are a product, of probably roughly 15 hours of total work including research. I got a back land of an amino acid study, because I actually didn’t know a dahm thing about the amino family, before I stated looking into it. Instagram became my tool or so-called presentation of the ‘finished’ product.

So, in a world of rush I prefer to be slow and calculated. Don’t get me wrong here, it’s both a blessing and a curse. I tend to just not get as much shit done as my peers. What I do get done is aced and diced to the needlepoint, which isn’t a great quality in, let’s say, getting out of a burning building, but when it comes to life in general I’ll take gradual over instant anything any day.

It takes around 10.000 hours to master a skill and become an expert, and there is nothing ‘instant’ about that.

*Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Yes, I am in fact, actually diagnosed with this magical mindset.

Thanks for reading,

Freja Blay. Aarhus, Denmark.
17th of March 2017.

How did this happen?

“When you can write well, you can think well.”

Matt Mullenweg, developer of WordPress and founder of Automattic

There is no good way to start a blog. None. Null. Otherwise, I may have done it a long time ago. Blogging has been an ever-so-often fleeing thought of mine since, well… Since I realized, that I wanted one, and there was no good way to start a blog. Hence the waiting time, and for that I apologize, this being foremost to myself, because let’s be honest. I am the primary individual benefiting from writing and getting things out of my crowded and every bit as thought-clouded mind.

So…

Everything that has a beginning must have somewhat of a purpose, whether that purpose is baking cookies, every day for one year and sharing the recipes and becoming a chubby chief famous cookie master. That’s not my purpose, but let’s call that our plan B, since it actually does have an awfully tempting appeal and I do in fact love cookies (but maybe not enough to start an entire blog about them).
If I do change my plan thought, I will be sure to give a heads up. That is, if the drastic and sudden change of content from barbells to cookie-pictures doesn’t give me away flat out. Also this will be your quo to find another blog to follow, if you aren’t into baked goods.

However, until all else fails.

I am, in fact not a chocolate chip extraordinaire. I guess the title page in sorts gives me away. I’d like to call myself writer, but storyteller is a more of an accurate subtitle. I mindfully have debated Chief Executive Storyteller (CES), and I may just have to give that title some extra consideration.

I tell stories, it’s one of my many talents. Or you could call it a long time fascination, something that has stuck with me ever since, well, since someone explained that the purpose behind learning the alphabet was to read and write. This was also the sole reasoning behind me being a ‘slow’ reader, for a very long time. Nobody bothered to explain the main reason behind the actual importance of the alphabet. 
If things don’t make logical sense, it has an unhealthy tendency to flat out bore me.

Fortuitously, someone caught me before I turned thirty and gave me a heart to heart, told me the common essentials of the importance of learning new things, in order to be a self-sufficient information machine. So I figured out the alphabet and took to books and stories, like a baby octopus to water. (The baby octopus is actually commonly referred to as octopus’ larvae, in case anybody’s interested)

Long story short, I learned to read and write ‘late’, but when the ball finally dropped, oh boy, did it drop. (LIKE IT’S HOT)

I still have the people around me accused of teaching me stills, as reading and writing to occupy me, so I wouldn’t speak so much. That’s only a theory though, they would never cop to that of cause.

I found another one of my flow states, sort of by accident, in the beginning of 2016. I used to blindly believe that I liked running. This was until I started lifting weights. (Then I realized I don’t. I really don’t. After a while it just becomes a really boring game, that you cannot win. Sort of like Farmville)
Lifting weights are for me, like music are for others. It’s a form of meditative state of being, it’s become a necessity of optimal survival for me.

I suppose that either bodybuilding or powerlifting would have been a more accurate definition than strength training, but it just happens so, that bodybuilding and storytelling didn’t go very well together and that Strength Training and Story Telling is more memorable, and gets superior PPC hits on google, and to be honest sounds pretty darn good, if I may say myself.

So, back to the subject at hand, WHAT THE HECK IS THIS ABOUT.

Well, it’s about me. Some writing and storytelling, part refection’s, science-geeky stuff, fragments of everything that makes a human into a person.

Ultimately, I am writing because I can’t not, and I may as well be shared in the world of ever-growing information, the internet. Otherwise it will just take up space in my cloud, where it only benefits microscopically conspiracy trolls of the cyberspace. 


I am a storyteller with a story to tell. If that intrigues you, this may you be the place for a moment of your fleeing interest.

I hope you enjoy, whoever, wherever and whatever you are.

Thanks for reading,

Freja Blay. Aarhus, Denmark.
9th of March 2017.