My Persuit of Happiness – A Day in the Life

Today has struck me as one of the happiest days I’ve had in a long time. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy my days. I love them. But today was exceptional. My interest in happiness and self development leads me naturally to look back on the hours that have just past and try to work out why it is I have become so happy. What is it that makes me feel this way? It’s such an important life question to ask, yet I’m sure hardly anybody actually ever wonders it. What made today particularly interesting is that nothing particularly special happened to me, so, instead I’m going to try to discover what it is that has happened on this ordinary day that’s made it so enjoyable. To do this I’m going to walk through it…

At 7:00am I woke up to the sound of Pink Floyd’s Any Colour You Like getting gradually louder as it eased me out of sleep. 7:00am and I went to sleep at around 2:00am, so I’ve only had five hours of sleep. I don’t feel good. But a quick shower and breakfast meant I was well fed for the morning and good to go. I find coffee an essential, and it  certainly helps to lift my spirits, and so, perhaps, this is the first factor that contributed to my great happy day that was unknowingly to myself at time time about to embark on. I knew that I was going to be meeting some new people today and so I dressed well; jeans, shirt (tucked in), tie, jacket (a few were tried out) and shoes. I grabbed some things, including my bag and laptop, and headed out for the bus station. After arriving at the bus station I waited in the drizzling rain for 10 minutes – not fun – for the first bus to arrive to be full and drove past. I wasn’t pleased and I was beginning to run late for my first lecture of the day. The second bus arrived and I was on my way.

I arrived in the lecture theater 10 minutes late and a little rushed. After finding a seat I set up my laptop and began recording. The lecture seemed interesting and made a good introduction to the course, but nothing special. After the lecture I made my way to a lab to continue working on a program to encipher and decipher text using a code, and managed to make good progress. Starting to feel quite good about how the work was progressing, I decided to spend half an hour sorting with my bank so I’m able to pay my tuition fees before October over the phone, which went smoothly. So things were going fairly well. One of my house mates sent me a text to inform me that we would be getting new carpets in all the rooms at our house. Very pleased.

From here things got interesting. I headed over to a meeting at Kro Bar for PASS leaders, where I would meet my partner for the sessions. The room was packed with friends from the course, and I enjoyed chatting to some guys about the training we’d been going through. The University bought everyone a drink which went down very well! Importantly, I met my partner, whom I would be working with over the year. I found him friendly and genuinely interesting, and we quickly got into a good conversation. And so here’s where my mood soared from good to exceptional. Kro Bar was a blast. The place was chilled, it was full of friends, and getting along with someone I’d only just met was incredible. I became immensely happy. To add even further to that feeling a quick reflection as I left the bar made me realise something incredible. I believe that I can get on with anyone no matter who they are. I’m so proud. I’ve managed to reflect on myself and build on my weaknesses (for example listening skills), as well as pursue active research into human relations to improve the way I can interact with people – because I always believe there’s room for improvement – and I can see the improvement. Today I became happy with my progress. I left the bar feeling on top of the world. The sun came out. I walked down Oxford Road to my next lecture, with my head high, strength in my step, and a comfortable smile on my lips as other students passed by. This sense of things going well. This realisation of achievement. This feeling was happiness. What made me this happy? Getting on with other people. Befriending people. Enjoying another person’s company and letting them enjoy mine. It’s all about people. This true happiness, I thought, doesn’t come often – but when it does it’s truly beautiful.

So my next two lectures were pretty interesting, as well as being a little more entertaining, being sat next to a good friend and a good laugh. The feeling stayed high.

Following that I had my first tutorial session with some other great friends from last year. We met our new tutor as well as a new group member that we got to know. Everybody in that session seemed happy. Everyone enjoyed each others company, and, perhaps most importantly for today, so did our new group member. My friendship with a particular member seemed refreshed and alive, and, because they mean so much to me, the things that meant were amazing. I left the session happy, and after leaving my friends, and headed for a bus home.

A short walk to the bus stop, and a major road to cross. The rain was coming down as a kind of drizzle, and the wind blew hard yet soft. I didn’t wear my jacket on the way home. I didn’t need to because warmth came from my heart. I crossed the road and waited in the middle for the cars coming towards me to pause for some lights further ahead. Three lanes of traffic speeding past me on one side and three further lanes of traffic on the other side. I stood looking down the road, the wind blowing through my hair and the light rain cooling my cheeks. Pure happiness.

On the bus back I reflected on my day. A tear came to my eye. Today was beautiful. But why? What makes me happy?


Manging Sleep

So over the summer I read Sleep Hacks by SleepWarrior. The book outlines various tricks and tips to managing sleep, focusing on creating strong deep sleep as well as maximising the amount of time you can spend awake. One technique stood out to me, known as the 28-Hour-Day.
The 28-Hour-Day is an alternative to the standard 24-Hour-Day, which condenses the 7 days per week into 6 days per week. The idea being that instead of spending 16 hours awake and 8 hours sleeping, you spend 20 hours awake and 8 hours sleeping. This provides two benefits:

1. You gain an extra 8 hours per week of awake time.
2. The time that you sleep varies throughout the week.

This means that you can go out on certain nights (later in the week) and not have to worry about moving your body clock back come monday morning!

So… here’s my plan for sleep based on this 28-Hour-Day model:

The time I’m awake is in green, and the time asleep is in blue (click to enlarge).


So it should work. The awake time is crucially set so as I don’t miss lectures during the week (unless there are any on Monday afternoon) and I’m able to go out Monday, Friday. Saturday, Sunday (and partially Thursday) nights without having to worry about my body clock.

The sleep plan’s based on the idea to move your body clock forward than it is to move it back. Because over the seven 24-Hour-Days the time when you sleep has moved forward by 6 (days) x 4 (amount of hours later you sleep each day) = 24 hours, after a standard 7 day week you’re back to the start and so on.

So here’s the problem. Today I woke up at 12:00am (Sunday), so in order to start following this plan I need to go to sleep at 12:00am on Monday. It’s now 5:30am on Monday, and so I have to stay awake for another 6.5 hours, which would mean I’ll have been awake for a total of 24 hours. Not the best time to start following the plan it seems, but I’m going to have a stab at it. I’ve just made a fresh coffee and my Lord of the Rings Online subscription has been renewed (I know…)

So let’s see how it goes…

Looking Forward to My Second Year

I’m a student at the University of Manchester, studying BcS Computer Science, and I’m just about to enter my second year. I’m looking forward to the new year, meeting friends, pursuing hobbies and goals, and of course continuing with my subject. I’ve done a considerable amount of reflection over the previous year, and have a few things I’d like to do differently. I’ve also been reading up on Computer Science so I’m hoping to have a bit of a head start.
Over the last week I’ve moved down (from York) to the house where I’ll be letting with four other good friends. I’ve managed to clean and set up my room and things are looking pretty good. I really think it’s important that you ensure you have a nice room you’re pleased with, and matches your style. I need somewhere to call base –  where I can centre myself, chill and make reflections in comfort. I know a lot of people that don’t really make their room their own and to be honest I can’t understand why. Personally, I love putting myself into the room and making sure it’s a place I’m proud of and enjoy being in. It’s base.
So I’ve decorated the place with posters of mountains, tropical beaches, cityscapes and chinese words. I had originally stuck up some sheets of blank paper on my window so as people can’t see in (my room is the front lower bedroom looking out onto the street). Now I’ve begun scribbling down motivating and important quotes that I wish to follow in life, for example,

“What separates the amateurs from the champions is the willingness to go through the pain period”.

I often see them whenever my eyes gaze up from the laptop screen and am sure they’ll soon be embedded into my unconscious and become part of who I am. Which is my aim, of course. I also have a pretty nice long mirror and two lava lamps as which makes a nice addition to my room last year.

Fresher’s week begins tomorrow, so the new year is soon about to begin!