Chip Is Alive!, Issue 10

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Welcome to Issue 10 of Chip Is Alive!, where we examine thought-provoking life strategies and issues which may or may not be of interest to you. Chip Is Alive! is inspired by Chip Vivant, the app who thinks he's alive and wants to be your friend and help you in ways that other productivity apps can't. You can meet Chip at www.empathynow.com.

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In this issue, we'll discuss:

  • your lifelong To-Dos, or bucket list
  • interacting with Chip on your mobile phone

Enjoy. Feedback always welcome. If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider Liking the EmpathyNow Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Every little bit helps.

What Your Lifelong To-Dos Are Whispering to You....

One subject I bring up repeatedly on the website and these newsletters is the importance of identifying and honoring your lifelong To-Dos. I'm not the only one who sees this as important. Tim Ferriss touches on this subject in a blogpost[1] and there's an entire website devoted to enumerating and achieving the items in your "bucket list"[2]. (This website may become one of my "competitors" if I add social media stuff to EmpathyNow, so don't get too comfortable there :) )

Why is the subject of lifelong To-Dos so important to me? I've touched upon this before: in the first newsletter, where I talk about the moment I realized how quickly life goes by and in the previous newsletter where I talk about our subjective notion of time passing more quickly as we grow older. It's insanely easy to let our lives become a vehicle for other people's agendas, then grow so ego-depleted that we "recharge" by indulging in mindless soft addictions[3] that we end up regretting later.

Some 25 years ago, when I was fresh out of college and working for Data General in North Carolina, I would go to the UNC campus on Wednesday nights to partake of the free Hare Krishna dinners. (Disclaimer: I am not a Hare Krishna.) The woman who served the food was named Jahnavi and I'd have long discussions with her: about our past experiences abroad (she in Spain, me in Switzerland), our beliefs, our outlook, etc. We were about the same age and I really enjoyed our conversations. One day, I asked her if she saw herself spending the rest of her life with the Hare Krishnas. She said that she was certain that she would. Given that by my calculations, we both had about sixty or so years left on this earth, I asked her how she could say that with such certainty. She replied: "Mohan, sixty years go by in a flash!"

I had thought about what she said for the past 25 years, and also thought about calling her throughout these years. Finally, a couple of months ago (as I was launching this site), I decided to do so. I called the Hare Krishna temple in North Carolina and asked if Jahnavi was still there. The woman said she had left, but gave me the cellphone number of another woman who she believed still had contact with her. I called that woman and we had a nice discussion. She told me that Jahnavi had started a mountain retreat and gave me the website[4]. I managed to make contact with Jahnavi and we talked for a long time.

Although she isn't with the temple anymore, she still stuck with it for a long time afterwards and we both agreed that the 25 years had gone by exceedingly quickly. And in these 25 years, I've always found that I was the most at peace when I was being true to myself. Which brings us back to those To-Dos of ours: our lifelong To-Dos are a whispering invitation to honor our authentic selves. While attempting to accomplish them, we are reconnecting with our true selves. You can't get a simpler, more concrete technique for reconnecting with your true self than by simply attempting one of the items on your lifelong to-do list. What an easily-neglected, yet precious gift.

Chip's Tips: Interacting With Chip Using Your Mobile Phone

An obvious segue from the previous section would be to reiterate Chip's To-Do features. However, I feel like I've done that enough already so I'll elaborate on a feedback request I got this week:

Vashti: I'm more likely during the day to be near my phone than on my computer - a sad fact, since I do love my computer - and e-mail is somewhat inconvenient on my old Android. I would find Chip a bit more user-friendly if I could communicate with him through text message, especially on to-do items.

Mohan: Most cell phones are able to send messages to email addresses and have their own email address. What happens if you send a text message to [your gmail Account] from your Android phone, then check your GMail account? You should see an email address for your phone to which you should be able to send email messages. Does that work for you?

Vashti: I tried your suggestion with my cell phone. I can send messages back and forth from my GMail account, and I added it as a Contact on empathynow.com then texted Chip with "Hi Chip!", but didn't get the response back.

Oops. She's right. I had neglected to mention this:

Mohan: You're right that what you tried didn't work. The current implementation is a bit convoluted and confusing, but my intention was that people not be able to contact other people unwantedly. Since your EmpathyNow account doesn't know about or trust your mobile number, it ignores all incoming messages from it.

Try this:

  • Create a one-time notification for yourself. While creating the notification, use New Contact, then create a new contact for your cellphone. Call it "Vashti Cell" or something like that. Make sure you select Full Control.
  • Send your cellphone that notification.
  • Chip will send an opt-in message to your cellphone in the same way he did when you verified your GMail address when you first signed up. Follow the instructions to opt-in.

Now you should be able to say "Hi Chip!" directly from your cellphone.

Juggling Update

I had started my juggling regimen when I got the idea of contacting Klutz[5] and telling them about my idea and seeing if I could get any support / publicity from them. To my surprise and delight, they called me back and offered to send me a goodie package and were open to the possibility of promoting me on their Facebook page once I had learned to juggle. So I'm holding off on the self-training for a bit until I get their stuff. More to follow.

If you enjoy this newsletter, please consider Liking the EmpathyNow Facebook page and following us on Twitter. Every little bit helps.

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