Your actions and your values

From Charles GivensFinancial Self-Defence:

When your actions are out of alignment with your values, you can experience fear, guilt, frustration and emotional imbalance. Fortunately, you can get rid of those negative, unwanted feelings. You can either:

1. Change your actions to align with your values, or
2 Change your values to align with your actions.

In other words, you need to abolish Bad Faith, as covered in Issue Four. It is a simple procedure when put down in black and white, as above.

You either need to make the internal adjustments necessary to become the waiter/waitress you currently resemble; or you can stop pouring coffee and embark upon the actions required to save the turtles like you always wanted.

Only you can free yourself. What are you afraid of?

Boring career?

My priority was not to ‘retire’ per se but to escape the boring career I’d embarked upon as the result of naive compliance to suggestions from well-meaning parents, teachers and career advisors.

I have a new guest post over at Early Retirement Extreme. It’s called ‘The Push‘. New Escapologist readers might recognise the heart of this writing from ‘Plot your escape’ in Issue Three, readjusted somewhat.

If you’re viewing this site after following a link at Early Retirement Extreme, perhaps you’d consider subscribing to our blog by RSS?

An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 17.

Last year, I abandoned a 50-hour working week and expensive British lifestyle, and engineered a life of pleasant Bohemia in Montreal.

When planning for the escape, I had to wise up. If I was going to quit my job forever and elope to another country, I had to get serious about it.

For about nine months, everything I did was geared toward the escape. I would:

– work hard at generating money through my day job and other means;
– concoct new measures of frugality so that I could save as much as possible for the income-free months ahead;
– use my job to learn new skills, ensuring that I’d be re-employable should things fall apart;
– maintain a bare minimum of material possessions so that I could exit swiftly when the opportunity finally arose;
– work hard at accumulating the expensive and difficult-to-obtain documents required for my visa application.

In the pub and at parties, friends would ask how the escape was coming along and I’d entertain them with my enthusiasm. Most nights, however, I’d eschew the pub all together, choosing instead to go directly home from work (literally running home on occasion), drawing the curtains against the Glaswegian dusk and concentrating on my project.

I’d often be unable to sleep at night, exhillerated by the prospect of making a break for it and planning the best ways to exploit the next day’s resources to further the endeavor. I don’t think I have ever been so driven. Escape is one hell of an ‘upper’, as Emily Dickinson wrote:

I never hear the word ‘Escape’
Without a quicker blood,
A sudden expectation —
A flying attitude!

I doubt I conveyed this excitment in An Escapologist’s Diary as it was happening. I may have been embarrassed by my enthusiasm and reluctant to talk about something so personally important in a public forum. Now that it’s all over and the mission is accomplished, I’m more inclined to talk about it and to help others who want to make similar escapes.
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Shop update

Some of our international readers will be happy to hear that you can now purchase New Escapologist using US Dollars, Canadian Dollars and Euros.

We’ve also taken steps to reduce our international shipping charges. To be honest, I’m worried they’re too low, so buy your copies soon if you want to take advantage of a gross miscalculation.

Benefit of the doubt

An expression I’ve been thinking about lately is “benefit of the doubt”.

To fail to give someone the benefit of the doubt reveals more about your character than it does about the person you’re judging. For your default assumption to be that someone acts nefariously is to expose the fact that you would do the same in a given situation.

Furthermore, giving the benefit of the doubt helps to foster a “generosity of mind”. To be skeptical of the actions of a friend or associate is to be intellectually miserly. Miserliness, remember, is something the Escapologist seeks to avoid. By fostering a generosity of mind, you become less guarded toward your fellow man. Let him in! Escapologists have a hard enough time building muscles of resistance against normative living and honing critical faculties (asking ‘why?’ of normal behaviour) without eying peers with suspicion.

This has been today’s lesson in cod psychology.

Drink tea instead of coffee

Man, I love coffee. Left to my own devices, I will drink it all day and all night. I’ve often lived by the dialogue from Jim Jarmusch’s short film, Coffee and Cigarettes: “I drink a lot of coffee before I go to sleep. Then I can dream fast.”

Trouble is, you eventually suffer for this sort of behaviour, as I discovered for the umpteenth time this week.

So very tired.

It’s time to slow down and drink tea instead of coffee. Tea can clear the mind, gently blowing away the synaptic cobwebs and allowing for concentration again. When it comes to perking you up, the leaf is far less aggressive than the bean.

At a British Library exhibition last month, I saw a 1940s advert for tea. Among other things, it said:

If you are cold, tea will warm you.
If you are too heated, it will cool you.
If you are depressed, it will cheer you.
If you are excited, it will calm you.

I know this is an advertising poster and can hardly be trusted for unbiased wisdom, but I think there is an element of truth in this. Tea is good for everything. (I’ve since learned that this is a William Gladstone quote and he was as productive a fellow as you can get).

Part of the attraction of tea is the way in which you brew it. You can enjoy the very act of making of it as much as the drinking of it. The art of making a nice cup of tea is one of those simple pleasures that will put you on the right track to leading an easier, more enjoyable life. My tea tips:

– Use loose-leaf tea over teabags wherever possible: they are better for the environment and make much better tea. It also adds to the ritual of the brewing process.

– Always use a teapot: it allows the leaves to circulate better in the water. If you use teabags, one teabag is too much tea for one cup.

– If possible, filter your water before boiling it. Tea is mostly water, so don’t just take it lead-lined from the tap if you can help it.

– Warm the pot with a little hot water before introducing the tea.

– Allow the to steep properly. Give it at least three minutes in the pot before you pour it.

– Most importantly, make time to drink your tea mindfully rather than ‘on the go’. After a proper teabreak, you’ll be refreshed and ready for anything.

Tried work, didn’t like it.

A friend writes:

“I’ve decided I hate work, I might give it up altogether. I’m 30 now, I can retire now with a clear conscience. Tried work, didn’t like it. That’s fair, isn’t it?”

Indeed it is. How much dedication do these fuckers want? All of it, it seems.

An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 16.

My girlfriend and I are not religious but we engaged quite fully with the recent Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) last week and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) yesterday. Such events are as community-orientated as they are religious and, for me, it’s a good opportunity to get to know my girlfriend’s family better. Besides, Jewish holidays are fun. They involve far more eating and boozing and blowing of animal horns than Christian holidays. No offense, Pope.
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Four free sample articles

You can now view a sample article (in PDF format) for each of our printed editions via the shop.

Available are:

– An invitation to New Escapology (Issue One)
– The anti-cliché manifesto (Issue Two)
– Plot your escape (Issue Three)
– Editorial: for madmen only (Issue Four)

The aim here is to whet the appetites of those blog readers who have not bought one of our printed editions. Of course, this is not mandatory and you’re extremely welcome to continue reading the blog regardless, but you don’t know what you’re missing. Enjoy!

Also available at the shop are the amazing New Escapologist badges. Finally, your lapels can be as radical as you are.

NE at Czech typography conference

We put a lot of effort into the typography of our printed editions. It is part of how we justify the production of a print magazine in the age of the internet. It was gratifying, then, to be asked to present our approach to a typography conference.

The 4th International ConTeXt meeting was a gathering of TeX users (TeX being the type-setting system we use to make New Escapologist) in Brejlov, Czech Republic.

We couldn’t be at the event in person, but Tim put together a conference poster depicting pages from our printed editions alongside a macro code used in the production of the magazine. Also on display were copies of our first three issues and take-away copies of sample material in pamphlet-form.

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