I am a healthy such-and-such

Part two of Timeless You is called “Live Your Perfect Age”. It leads off with a guided meditation (of sorts) where you visualize a number that represents an age within the last 15 years you would like to be. This is your “biostat” and you’re instructed to repeat a mantra 5 times a day: “Every day, in every way, I am improving my physical and mental capacity. My biostat is set at a healthy __ years of age — I look and feel a healthy __ years old.”

Again, I’m probably at the bottom end of this demographic. 15 years ago, I was 20, and while, sure, there are probably things about being 20 I’d like again, I was not very healthy — in general — when I was 20. In fact, I was kind of anorexic, often forgoing or forgetting to eat meals and the stuff I did eat was often boxed crap from the frozen aisle. So, I decided on a somewhat more modest 25.

Now, I understand that the power of mantras is in believing that they can work. It’s a way of hacking your brain and, in fact, Deepak explains this a bit later in the module. Does knowing that make it less likely to work? I’ve always had a hard time with this, because I understand what it’s trying to do and, in so understanding, know that it’s not some magical or mystical thing going on, it’s more of a self-fulfilling prophecy…like the power of positive thinking — if you think positively you end up being generally in a better mood with a more positive outlook. I’ve always had a hard time with that, too.

This module concludes with another 2 minute clip of Deepak talking. (And I have to say, the jewels studding his glasses do a lot to diminish the Buddha-on-the-Mountain aspect of his lessons.) But the highlight was the guided meditation. Not so much because of what it was, but because, when Deepak was relaying the mantra, he, of course, needed to leave room for the listeners to enter in their own age. He started off with an example “so if you were 65 years of age…” and then repeated it again with no age, leaving the blanks in place, ending with the line “I am a healthy such-and-such.” E and I found this hilariously funny and couldn’t stop laughing about it until we went to bed. Healthy such-and-such, indeed.

Perception is Reality

The modules/chapters/sections/whatever you want to call them are short. 15 – 20 minutes each. This is shorter than I expected but it means they are pretty quick and easy to go through. Each module is split into a few sections with a blog post and maybe an activity or something to go with it. Not all of them have a video. I’m really more interested in listening to Deepak espouse wisdom like an Indian Yoda with nuggets like “you are in a prison with no bars…this prison is your conditioning” than reading the extra stuff, but I get it. I create online training courses, so I understand the value of using different media to help emphasize the point. So far, I’m interested, but there’s really like 4 minutes of Deepak footage total.

The videos themselves are very well produced. High-def, looks like a Vimeo player. From a technical standpoint, there were no glitches — I never had to wait for the videos to buffer, which I often have to do with high-def videos that aren’t YouTube (including Vimeo) — if they’re self-hosting these videos, they’ve got an awfully nice CDN delivering the content.

I should point out that this course is co-sponsored by grandparents.com. I should further point out that I am not a grandparent. I think that the general ideas are probably applicable to anyone, but the specifics may be outside my demographic — especially when we start talking about biological age vs. chronological age. This lesson is all about changing your perception of what aging means, which, I dunno…I’m 35. Sometimes I feel old, but that’s just relative to where I’ve been. In general, I’m not really feeling over-the-hill. That doesn’t kick in until you’re 40, right?

Timeless Me

I’m a geek. A tech guy. I spend most of my day sitting on my ass and staring at my iMac. I’m vegan and gluten-free, so I generally think that I eat pretty well, but the constant activity (in front of the computer) in order to do things like finish projects and get paid doesn’t leave much time for other things like exercise (or so I tell myself).

It is with this prelude that I received an email from Blaine, a marketing manager for Siminars. Siminars is sort of like a cross between TED.com and what I’ve been doing for Pluralsight. They offer a library multi-part courses but, rather than being focussed on teaching a particular skill the way Pluralsight is, it’s more about the types of topics one might learn about at TED with an emphasis on self-improvement.

Hey, I’m not going to knock improving oneself. I know I’ve got a lot to improve on, even if the term “self-help” kind of makes me cringe.

Blaine specifically wanted me to take Deepak Chopra’s new course called Timeless You — which, in general terms, is about slowing the aging process by taking better care of yourself. As I said, I’m well aware that I’ve got areas for improvement, and being familiar with Deepak Chopra’s work (who isn’t?), I was interested. In exchange for a free run through this course (and an Amazon gift card), I’d write an honest blog post (or series of blog posts, as the case may be) about my reaction and experience with the course.

I’ve decided to do a series of posts as I go through the course, rather than one big post at the end, so I can better organize my thoughts and reactions when they’re fresh in my head.

Do we really need comments anymore?

Once upon a time, comments were king. The number of comments you got on a post not only represented the conversation surrounding that post but also measured its impact. This inevitably led to ways of gaming the system — spammers used comments to implant their backlinks to their black market viagra sites, and would-be and/or fake blogging mavens used them to artificially enhance their own reputation by having posts with seemingly lots of comments. (I regretfully admit that I’ve been duped in the past by fake commenters masquerading as different people. It happened on this blog, even — though ultimately I was able to root it out by identifying two, similarly-named free email accounts and an identical IP address.) Blog comments suddenly became more about the numbers and less about the discussion.

Newer, minimalist blog platforms (like Medium, Ghost and Dropplets) don’t deal with comments at all, instead encouraging users to continue the discussion where it’s actually happening (or more likely to happen) — Twitter. A while back, I wrote a mod for Dropplets (now, sadly, outdated) that would embed a Twitter search widget that displayed the conversation in a comment-like area if tweets referenced the blog post. I’m on Twitter a lot and — thanks to the fact that TweetDeck chirps at me whenever I get an @ mention — I see replies sent to me on Twitter faster than I would see them otherwise (on my blog, via email, etc). Twitter isn’t great for long discussions, but it’s fast, it’s simple, and it’s good enough to say “hey, you wrote this post over here? Well I have a post over here that responds to that” if you’ve written something that required more than 140 characters to explain. And today I read that Popular Science disabled comments because reading comments from other users had the undesired effect of polarizing the audience before they even read the article.

I admit, sometimes the comments are the best part of the article. But usually that’s at the expense of the commenters (unless you’re looking at Gizmodo or Slashdot or BoingBoing in which case it’s a fight for who can be the snarkiest). For us normal folk, why bother with comments at all? Why not just drop them and take the conversation to Twitter?

This has gotten me thinking, especially since the comments on this blog are something I often think (and sometimes worry) about and, really, what’s the point? This will never be a high-traffic blog in which case the numbers don’t matter — be they sharing numbers or comment numbers. And interacting with a real human — as opposed to writing a reply to someone’s comment that they may or may not ever see again — in more-or-less real time on Twitter is a lot more appealing to me. So, I think I’ll be looking for a plugin that replaces the WordPress commenting system with a link to discuss the post on Twitter and if that doesn’t exist, I may well just write my own.