Funding Friday: The Reflection Ritual

A friend of a friend is doing this project to make a workbook that can help us step back and take measure of our lives, what they are, and what we want them to be.

It’s a neat idea and I think it can be quite helpful, particularly if you feel stuck right now.

I backed it earlier this week and you may want to do the same.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Self-reflection…I think it’s one of those things I do best alone.

    1. JamesHRH

      in front of a mirror?

    2. Salt Shaker

      Prob 2nd best

    3. Lawrence Brass

      Do you talk with the guy?

  2. Guy Lepage

    Great goal setting starts with reflection.

    1. Ben Messner

      Guy-Totally agree!Ben MessnerFounder, The Reflection Ritual

  3. awaldstein

    Good salesperson.Love the idea, dunno whether I would actually use it.Like where he takes the proven behavioral benefits of doing a gratitude journal (great app btw) and takes it to a timeline, though hard to bring this idea of satisfaction with the storyline of our lives which invariably on expression is a reflection we bring to the world not just ourselves.I may support it just for spurring this thought.

    1. Ben Messner

      Thanks!!!Let me know if I can answer any further questions for you around the Journal.Ben MessnerFounder, The Reflection Ritual

  4. jason wright

    no post-election reflection?Is Cuomo a dynasty? Dynasties are not healthy for democracy, society, economy, and collective progress.

  5. Dan Corbin

    I’m looking forward to completing my reflection journal. I love the idea of writing down my experiences from the past 6-12 months, focusing on gratitude, and then having those words help me set my goals going forward. Definitely a healthy exercise for us all to do periodically.

  6. jaymosio

    I like that he set it up as one session to complete, and not a daily or weekly task. Ordered one for me and one for my wife to try it out, it’ll be fun to compare!

    1. Ben Messner

      Yes, my goal was to design this for the busy person but everyone can take as much time as they want to complete. I usually schedule 2 days.Ben MessnerFounder, The Reflection Ritual

      1. jaymosio

        I think the main idea is to sit down and get started. And to do that, if you tell someone “schedule 40 hours for this”, they’re not going to do it. I can give 2-3 though, and if I get started and like it, I’ll keep going.

  7. JamesHRH

    Perspective is always valuable – looks interesting.On a side note, cross your fingers for AVCer @jlm whose new HQ in Wrightsville BEach, NC is in under assault from Mother Nature.

    1. JLM

      .Not to worry, remodeling is a hoot. Island is under water. Insured AF.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  8. JLM

    .This is the best Kickstarter project you have ever suggested. Bravo.People are very short sighted. They will plan for a business, a trip, a vacation, but they don’t plan their own lives.From the time I got out of college, I used to do an annual plan for myself. I still have some of them. When I go back and look at some of the 40-years ago plans, God was I naive, but I accomplished almost everything I ever set out to do.It used to take me easily 30 hours to make the plan. I would spend another 4 hours updating and scoring it quarterly. I used to review it weekly.I had pics of things I wanted. The whole visual success, be the ball shtick. Which works. When I got them, I used to put a big red X across them.One time one of my kids got into one and said, “Dad, you’re a psycho.” The other one said, “Sure, Dad’s a psycho, but he gets a lot of stuff done.”The only thing I heard I don’t like is the notion that the annual plan can be made in 2-3 hours. I spend more time than that shopping at Sams every month.Bravo, well played, bon chance. The guy has already 4X-ed his objective. He got some of my money.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Ben Messner

      JLM, Thanks for your support for the Reflection Ritual campaign and concept! I love the process that you shared here. I definitely agree that yearly reflection can take more than 2-3 hours…mine takes 2 days. But I wanted to create a resources that worked for people on a limited schedule (IE: busy moms and such). Would love to hear your feedback once you receive the Journal.Ben MessnerFounder, The Reflection Ritual

      1. JLM

        .Thanks, Ben. Looking forward to getting my books.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    2. sigmaalgebra

      The planning was all pretty easy. Everything went well according to the plans except for the unknown unknowns.Plan:Plan 1. Get a Ph.D. in physics then get a good job applying what learned.Result. The physics community does sloppy math that could cause me to make mistakes. So, got a Ph.D. in solid pure and applied math.Still have an interest in physics; now that have a LOT of relevant math, am ASTOUNDED at how outrageously sloppy physics is, especially with the math. My ugrad physics prof was sloppy with the math, but much worse is the Adams lectures on quantum mechanics at YouTube and from MIT. E.g., his use of the Fourier transform is garbage. Come ON, prof; be clear what the heck you are talking about; it’s an INNER PRODUCT you obscure doofus, complete with Bessel’s inequality, then in one line the Schwarz inequality, of course the Gram-Schmidt process, and then both the Riesz-Fischer theorem and the von Neumann spectral theory of self-adjoint operators on Hilbert space. Several lectures in, you still haven’t even given a definition of self-adjoint and, even worse, the connections with physics. He keeps saying that the wave functions form a Hilbert space — flatly wrong. His explanations of superposition are close to those of black magic — tough to believe he really understands what he’s talking about or even basic linearity. If I were in that course trying to learn with my grade and career on the line, I’d be climbing the walls and screaming bloody murder. Nearly all the students in that course raised their hands saying they want to be in theoretical physics, and nearly none of them ever will be; the physics community sadistically abuses its students and commonly passes out just intellectual, mathematical, and scientific junk. It’s possible, eventually, for a diligent, bright person to straighten out much of that stuff, but the straight stuff definitely is NOT in the courses. I have a friend, student of a member of Bourbaki, who, for something easy in retirement, much easier than his usual research, is 500 pages of TeX into getting that garbage straight. I spent $109 for a book on quantum mechanics by a Harvard physics Ph.D.; he, too, claims that the wave functions form a Hilbert space. The whole physics community is an echo chamber that just keeps saying that, but it’s just flatly WRONG and deserves no more than a simple, early exercise after a first lecture on Hilbert space. In my Ph.D. program, I had REALLY good lectures and texts on Hilbert space — the standards were right up to Bourbaki, without a single ‘i’ undotted. The department Chair didn’t always do good, but his standards were clear: The math will be solid and clear or some people will be sorry. The physics echo chamber keeps saying Hilbert space but doesn’t even know the definition — it’s a complete inner product space, you dummies. Outrageous. Where’d you learn the definition, from the physics echo chamber? You dummies, it’s MATH so learn it from competent mathematicians.Plan 2. Get a good job.Result. It worked well for Dad. By the time I tried that, it became clear that a salary wouldn’t give much financial security. So, change plan to try to own something and make it valuable. FedEx promised stock in two weeks. Eighteen months later, I’d saved the company twice, was reporting essentially directly to the founder Smith, and was on track fairly easily to save the company millions a year, but still no stock. Went for the Ph.D. in math and got it.Once a lawyer let me in on some of the secret saying “Never but never give equity to anyone without direct P&L responsibility.”Plan 3. Get married. Have both wife and I get Ph.D. degrees.Result. Did that.Plan 4. Get two jobs, save money, buy a house, have kids, enjoy family, music, math, and science, and work to own a business and make it valuable.Result. Stress from wife’s Ph.D. threw her into clinical depression, and I had to learn about that. Cared for her; took a lot of time, money, and effort and hurt my career and our finances. She never recovered and died; while she was visiting her mother at her family farm, her body was found floating in a lake. Think of her many times a day.Lesson: First cut, without some strong exceptional reasons, never but NEVER have a woman go for a research university Ph.D. For such reasons, Valedictorian, PBK, Summa Cum Laude, Woodrow Wilson fellowship, NSF fellowships, genuine, astounding brilliance, endurance on meager sleep, etc. to outwork 10 men are still not good enough exceptional reasons. Tough lesson.Why? The issue is not rational or intellectual but just emotional in ways unique to human females and that have long had reproductive advantage. Sorry if that is politically incorrect.Plan 5. To care for wife, take a stable job.Result. Worked in AI at IBM’s Watson lab. Saved a major part of our AI language: Saw what one of our programmers was doing, awful code for a solution that would take him weeks and, still, make a total train wreck out of much of our language; at dinner had a better idea, REALLY good for the language and MUCH easier to program and much, MUCH faster to run; pulled an all-nighter (took advantage of the stack of dynamic descendancy for some reentrant run-time code and an entry variable), wrote prototype code, sent e-mail to the team, got some sleep, back at noon; our programmer finished that afternoon; I got an award; productive 12 hours or so; so got a 50:1 or so coding speedup and much more in quality of the work. Ah, computer science is easy stuff! Other work solved a major problem in our goals; some applied math, published in Information Sciences. Worked successfully with GM Research and gave a paper. IBM got sick, and, with some really dirty politics, whole group pushed out or fired. Most important job qualification — dirty office politics, e.g., gossip, sabotage, lies, and cliques. Big waste of time, money, and effort. Cost of living in NYS so high, net, lost money working at IBM. Saved money rapidly in early career in national security, even as a B-school prof, and even while in grad school; lost money working at IBM.Plan 6. Build a Web site to solve a big problem on the Internet. Use some original applied math as the crucial, enabling core.Result. Got technical work done; code is FAST and appears to run as intended and ready for serious production.Got high blood pressure; pills slowed the work; lost weight; blood pressure now normal without pills; strong again. Rushing to alpha test, beta test, going live, getting revenue.Main unknown unknowns:(A) One salary as an employee, GE, FedEx, IBM, B-school prof (no surprise there; took slot to have more time to care for wife; but ran over the university CIO, longest sitting in US higher education, and served on a committee for his replacement), etc., insufficient to buy a house (never could) and support a wife and family (never in financial condition to have kids). Main cause: Likely money US wasted on Cold War, Viet Nam, Gulf War II, due to neocons, and flooding the US with immigrants and having US taxpayers, who can’t pay for college for their own children, pay for college for the immigrants, due to slavers — US native born citizen population shrinking. Instead of a salary, just MUST start, own, and make valuable a BUSINESS. MUST. No alternative.(B) Ph.D. fatal for wife. HUGE loss.(C) IBM got REALLY sick, in 3 years lost $16 B and went from 407,000 head count to 209,000 and has continued shrinking. BIG setback.(D) Getting good with Microsoft’s .NET, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, SQL Server took finding, downloading, reading, abstracting, indexing 5000+ Web page URLs with some really poor technical writing. The ideas were all easy; the actual .NET code looks good; nearly all the technical writing was AWFUL, e.g., missing crucial explanations and awash in undefined terminology and acronyms — evidence of inarticulate, nearly illiterate, hacker culture that can’t document their work. Add that up, 5000+ Web pages at maybe 10 a day …. BIG sink of time and effort.(E) Venture capital no help in starting business: By the time they would write a check, my business wouldn’t need it or accept it. BIG surprise; a LOT of time and effort wasted discovering this fact. In STRONG conflict with own experience in technology in academics, business, and US national security. BIG unknown unknown, hidden, apparently often deliberately, e.g., a case of bait and switch, chuckhole in the road.(F) Got high blood pressure. Pills REALLY slowed work. No physical damage but BIG time delay.

    3. Frank Traylor

      Thanks for your take on the method JLM. Backed the KS and would love to hear how others approach life planning. I’m sure there myriad ways with common themes.

  9. Alexander Charles Boase

    Love this idea. I’ve never done anything like this, but writing goals is something I’ve been meaning to do for so long. Can’t wait to get my my hands on one of these!

  10. ShanaC

    i love this. It is really hard to diary every day. It is important to reflect. it’s so smart of consolidate.Also I now really want to meet the founder. he’s seems to empathetic.

  11. jason wright

    my fine liberal friends, you really need to sit down in a quite hour and watch this;

    1. sigmaalgebra

      So, they are worried about “ecological meltdown” and “AI killer robots” and are unsure why they should have kids. Toxic sewage typical of the NYT.There is no such “meltdown”; the suggestion that there is or will be is just the NYT trying to scare people to grab them by the heart, the gut, and below the belt. For the “AI” — total garbage. That view of AI is just ignorant hyperhype, again, typical of the NYT as a way to scare people and ….For having children, that’s one of the most rewarding things a person can do. Children are the center of a family unit, and that is by far the best way not to be alone; else are at high risk of being alone. Doing a good job rearing children is very challenging, one of the most important roles in society, but, again, done well, very rewarding because get to build a strong family. Then get to see the kids grow up and, then, get to help as grand parents, which is crucial to good child rearing since the parents typically are too young and inexperienced to know how.That the woman is in doubt about children and, even worse, fears a useless life are just more from the sick-o NYT and NYC culture. Since having kids is so expensive in NYC, it’s easy for NYC to be full of people who don’t emphasize having kids.The good news about that NYC/NYT culture is that Darwin is strongly on the case and ensuring that those totally sick-o things will be plucked from the gene pool.Again, the thing to do with the sick-o NYC, NYT, MSM stuff is just to ignore it and let it die like some plant sprayed with Roundup.

      1. jason wright


        1. sigmaalgebra

          Gee, via Hacker News I just ran into the artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) topic “auto encoding.”So, I followed a link at Hacker News and then did a fast Google search.Here’s what I learned:At times they try to work with probability theory, but they don’t know how to write the math. They just didn’t take the right courses in school, and they can’t reinvent the material. E.g., they have the concept of a probability density but not the concept of a random variable.They jump to a multivariate Gaussian density for no good reason, apparently just to have a source of randomness. Via the central limit theorem, infinite divisibility, sufficient statistics, etc., there are some good reasons for the Gaussian, but their approach appears to be uninformed and quasi-religious.Apparently much of what they are trying for is to take a dozen or so handwriting examples of the digit 7 and automatically conclude that the hidden, latent meaning is something like:With a pencil on paper, move right 2 units and then move down 6 units and left 1 unit.They have been trying to get this from principle components, 100 year old math from factor analysis and the polar decomposition from linear algebra. Just what is going on with principle components is fully clear; what they are expecting from it seems to involve smoking funny stuff.Then they will, maybe,(1) Identify the “latent” meaning of how to write a 7.(2) With (1), get a start on “intelligence” for hand writing such that continuing in this way will get a lot of all of natural intelligence — that is, AI.(3) Be able to “compress” hand written data and, then, reproduce it later from the compressed version.(4) Maybe somehow be better able to recognize a 7 if it is distorted or corrupted by noise.In this work, they have not very clear objectives or good criteria. Maybe at best they will be able to take a big sample of handwriting and empirically see how close they are to what a human could do in hand writing recognition, still without any very clear criteria about their approximation to a 7.So, intuitively and heuristically, they keep trying this and that and lots of other things borrowing from some math, statistics, and geometry and just whatever they can guess and, then, test empirically. The work is like a child in Dad’s workshop taking this and that wood, steel, copper, aluminum, nuts, bolts, screws, rivets, Silicone, epoxy, wires, wheels, rubber bands, little electric motors, little model airplane motors, etc. and trying to make SOMETHING interesting.And they don’t have any very clear idea just what the heck they are trying to do in practice with just a 7.And all of this is, for now, just for a 7.And the NYT is scaring people that this work in AI/ML will soon have armies of fiendish robots marching down our main streets and taking over the country.Those AI/ML people have not picked a good problem. They have no very good criteria or objectives for success. And valuable applications are still vague clouds out in the ozone.Apparently computer science got good at programming language syntax, lexical scan, syntactic scan, semantic checking, compiling, code generation, and linking, database, and some algorithms and data structures and now doesn’t know what the heck to do.So, they are pursuing lots of anthropomorphic terminology and hype and otherwise engaging in intellectual self-abuse.For AI/ML from the computer science community, f’get about AI/ML.

  12. sigmaalgebra

    From watching the video — GARBAGE, really BAD advice.You are, net, doing harm. Apparently you are really badly informed, apparently badly taken in, deceived, by the forces causing harm and that you seek to conquer.Like millions of people, likely a majority of the US, you are a victim of some strong forces that have been working hard to take advantage of you — they have been hurting you. The suffering you see is real, and you, too, have been suffering.But the solution is simple, and here I will explain it plenty well enough for you and your target audience:Here is MUCH better advice:For that remark early in the video about people being swamped or some such with advice about life, there is only one main, good answer — JUNK that advice.There some really big reasons why:Nearly all the advice, images, expectations you described well enough come from or via the mainstream media (MSM). But have to realize that essentially all the content of the MSM is deliberately manipulation to take advantage of you in ways that promise to hurt you, your family, and your life. The content of the MSM is bubbling, fuming, reeking, flaming, sticky, toxic sewage, the best candidate for a chemical pollution Super Fund site.Why? Five standard reasons:(1) “Always look for the hidden agenda.”(2) “Money talks.”(3) “Follow the money.”(4) “Essentially everything you see in the MSM was put there and paid for by some people who want to influence your opinion.”(5) The MSM is essentially all propaganda, lies, and harmful manipulations, using the methods of Nazi Dr. J. Goebbels and his “If you tell a lie often enough, then people will believe it. Even you will come to believe it.”So, junk the MSM. Turn it OFF. Unplug the TV. Absolutely refuse to pay any attention at all to ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, HuffPost, Politico, NYT, WaPo, Boston Globe, etc. Solidly reject essentially anything and everything directly from any newsie.If the MSM puts on some credible expert who apparently is giving good, credible, objective, complete, well founded, well documented and referenced, uninterrupted, unedited, uncensored information, then listen with high skepticism. Otherwise ignore it.In particular, if you want to know what Trump says, then go to his Twitter feed or White House or YouTube videos of his giving speeches. For anything and everything any newsies say about anything Trump said, JUNK it.Better admit to your home a rabid skunk than the MSM newsie toxic sewage. All you have to do is just ignore it.Get your news and other information ONLY from clearly serious, credible, reliable, objective, complete, unedited sources. There is plenty of solid news and information out there, especially via the Internet, but NOT via the MSM.First cut, insist that the sources follow at least common high school term paper writing standards with complete quotes WITH context, clear references to primary sources, clear claims, backed with solid evidence, with impeccable reputations for accuracy and objectivity. So, right, that filters out essentially all the MSM. Not a surprise: It was worse in Jefferson’s day. The main technique of the MSM is just to lie, and no doubt people have been good at that for many thousands of years. After the lying, the main technique is harmful manipulation. Do NOT permit it into your house, family, or life.The US is just awash in high quality writing and information in the best, but mostly ONLY the best, of math, physical science, medical science, engineering, law, and finance.If an airplane were designed with the quality of the MSM, then it’d never get off the ground; if by some fluke it did get off the ground, then there would soon be a big smoking hole. Similarly, tall buildings would fall; bridges would collapse; ships would sink; long tunnels would flood with the roof falling in; the electric power would go out about 12 hours of each 24; the roadsides would be packed with 18 wheel trucks that quit; the cans with foods would quickly expand, corrode, and burst; and no one would go to a hospital no matter how badly they hurt.Instead, the best of math, …, finance are astounding things — GPS, Hubble, the 3 K background radiation, WMAP, LIGO, Moore’s law, the Internet, solid state lasers lighting optical fibers, medical MRI, the victories against smallpox, polio, and tobacco, anti-biotics, agricultural, manufacturing, and transportation productivity, the proof of Fermat’s last theorem, stealth aircraft with super cruise, the B-23, and much, much more.Junk the MSM. The NYT? On paper it can’t compete with Charmin. On the Internet, it’s useless for wrapping dead fish heads. Otherwise, it’s deliberately manipulative, highly harmful toxic content. IGNORE it. The rest of the MSM is generally even worse.For your document, do a version in PDF and arrange for a server that can do downloads. Done.

    1. jason wright

      Well said.