PIE: The end

Good morning everyone! Today is a momentous occasion – it is the very last day of July, marking the end of my Pursuit of Individual Excellence (PIE).

Throughout this month-long journey, there have been some interesting lessons learned, skills developed, and a fair amount of stress. Overall, I am grateful that I took the time and energy to perform this challenge and to stick with it. I think that I have definitely learned what aspects of my life should be prioritized going forward, as well as a concrete method to hold me accountable for trying new things (public shame).

First and foremost, here are some of the lessons I learned on this month-long journey:

  1. Being healthy is the best investment you can make. As a keystone habit, its qualities often translate to other aspects of your life. If you have the willpower to eat clean and exercise, you will be more likely to adhere to other goals.
  2. Being healthy feels incredible and is well worth the expenditure in the willpower department. There were many times that I was tempted to eat something outside of my diet or skip hitting the gym, but each time that I was able to overcome the small amount of psychological resistance, I reaped the benefits of feeling amazing.
  3. Binge drinking is terrible in almost every single way. I felt infinitely less social, had no willpower, and had the worst hangovers on the days I binged this month. When your body is used to being clean, the effects of the toxins in alcohol are amplified, for me at least. This is something I really want to avoid in the future.
  4. With that being said, there were many nights that it would have been easier to abstain than to just have a couple drinks. My advice: if you don’t want to binge drink on the weekends, do not have a single drink. Once you have a small amount of alcohol in your system and are tempted by a social atmosphere, it will be hard not to keep pounding beverages.
  5. Reading is best done in chunks, for me. I found it extremely tough to slowly progress through a book (e.g., 50 pages a night). I made the most progress on my books during long flights or dedicated reading periods. Once I reached a certain level of depth into the book, it was easy to keep going, but the initial push of a long session was always helpful.
  6. I love spending time with friends, having deep conversations. I would say that my happiness is directly correlated to the number of fascinating conversations that I had this month. Also, the fact that I have been blogging has improved my vulnerability and has given me confidence to speak my mind, independent of judgement.
  7. I love writing. It is an amazing way to structure my thoughts, build creativity, and share messages. I will continue to write for the immediate future, undoubtedly.
  8. While I love writing, I cannot wait to stop having the intense deadline of producing an article each day for public view. This was quite demanding and led to sub-par work. I aspire to produce something each day, but look forward to not having to show the world each and every day.
  9. Self reliance. Ultimately, I was the only one holding myself accountable during the entire month. If I failed, I was the only one accountable and affected; I had no cheerleader. This led to an extreme amount of independence and confidence. I know that I have a great deal more to learn about myself, but this month was a great learning experience.
  10. Fortune favors the bold. Be bold in everything you do. As long as you are honest with your intentions and true to yourself, the chips will end up in your favor most of the time. But, when they don’t, learn from your mistakes and don’t make the same one twice.

These are some of the first things that come to my mind with the challenge. Now for the results.

Intellectual – Met goal

Books read:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (read about a quarter of this and had to put it down for the sake of the challenge)

The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Captivate: Conversational Secrets

Overall, I was a fan of all of the books I read this month and would recommend any of them. The Icarus Deception was probably my favorite and a very quick read.

Amount owed: $0

Physical – Met goal

I was able to go to the gym at least four days per week (some weeks five or six times) and never broke the slow carb diet. In fact, I amplified my diet to a full ketogenic one for the final week (more strict). Overall, this is the best I have felt and looked in a long time.

Amount owed: $0

Virtuous – Missed goal

Most nights, I had a great deal of willpower and abstained from drinking or only had two. On four occasions however, I took the easy way out and binged. While two of the nights I only had 4 or 5 drinks, there were two nights that I went well beyond my limit, for both I will pay the price.

Amount owed: $20 (4 x $5)

Social – Met goal

I don’t think I have ever been this social before in my life. Whether it is a family member, a friend, an acquaintance, or a random person on the street, I have been doing my best to connect with everyone. This has been eye opening and refreshing. Being in a different time zone than of most of my friends has really made me appreciate the beauty of a phone call. On average, I had long conversations with people 6 days per week, beating my goal.

Amount owed: $0

Creative – Almost met goal

I composed a post each day this month, save for one. That day I didn’t feel especially creative and actually spend a lot of time working on a new side project (more on that soon!). This made me justify missing a post, but nonetheless, I must pay up. Check out all of my posting at the Home link of my blog.

Amount owed: $5 (1 x $5)

Total amount to Patriots fund: $25

I have purchased this monstrosity to wear to work for the next four Fridays. KILL ME NOW.

That is all for now folks – thanks to everyone for all of the support throughout this month, I love you all dearly. Please let me know what you think and please don’t hesitate to message me or comment. Cheers!

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