Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL Officer, I read this great book by him recently, and here are my notes on it. The lessons in it are mainly on leadership.

  • There are no bad teams only bad leaders.
  • Take full Ownership of your Life. You have to take full responsibility for everything you do, there is no one to blame but you.
  • The Leader has to believe in his vision. Without that believe he can’t inspire people, especially when the goal is something outside most people’s comfort zone.
  • People have to have a Why for doing anything. Dont just give orders but give them a meaningful answer to “Why?” doing X.
  • Keep the Ego in check, go forward with humility. keep your Ego in check.
  • prioritize and execute. When shit hits the fan prioritize the next best step and move on, don’t get paralyzed by chaos. Just take the first step.

 

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A Few Lessons from Sherlock Holmes, Peter Bevelin

A fantastic book I recently read, here are my notes on it:
What distinguishes Holmes from most mortals is that he knows where to look and what questions to ask.
Holmes first gathered all the evidence he could that was relevant to his problem. At times, he performed experiments to obtain fresh data. He then surveyed the total evidence in the light of his vast knowledge of crime, and/or sciences relevant to crime, to arrive at the most probable hypothesis. Deductions were made from the hypothesis; then the theory was further tested against new evidence, revised if need be, until finally the truth emerged with a probability close to certainty.
But only what is useful – it can be dangerous to know too much
All the knowledge which he possessed was such as would be useful to him.
With every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
It is useful to know something about human nature and what motivates people
Work is the best antidote to sorrow,
Sorrow is often wisdom’s companion but it is better to learn from others sorrow to prevent our own
Note: Learn from the mistakes of others
Never jump to conclusions and try to collect facts as open-minded as possible
Dont make hasty judgments.
It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
The fatal mistake which the ordinary policeman make is this, that he gets his theory first, and then makes the facts fit it,
Observation – Start with collecting facts and follow them where they lead
More is missed by not looking than not knowing.
We can’t observe or collect facts without some kind of view – what to look for, how to look and how to interpret what we see
Make sure “facts” are facts – Is it really so? Is this really true? Are there exeptions?
Don’t miss the forest for the trees – It is not the amount of information that counts but the relevant one.
More information isn’t necessarily better information but it may falsely increase our confidence – What is not worth knowing is not worth knowing
“A wise man sees as much as he ought, not as much as he can.”
– Montaigne
We need to both observe the big picture – forest – and the details – trees.
Reasoning backwards – working back from observations/effects to causes
Note: Reverese Engineering
Simplify
Before you try a complicated hypothesis, you should make quite sure that no simplification of it will explain the facts equally well.
But don’t try to over-simplify complex matters – especially when we deal with systems with complicated interactions
History often repeats itself There is nothing new under the sun. It has all been done before. So look for lessons in history
But sometimes we learn more by looking for differences – not similarities – in situations
But remember that we see what we are looking for – if we look for similarities, this is what we see, if we look for the differences, that is what we find.
Eliminate possibilities – What can we exclude? – Assuming the true solution or explanation is among the considered possibilities old axiom that when all other contingencies fail, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
These deductions, gentlemen, must however be confirmed by absolute and concrete evidence…Never neglect to ratify your deductions.
Facts don’t lie but we may have interpreted or stated them wrong and therefore drawn the wrong conclusion
Distance gives perspective – Sometimes we need to remove ourselves from the problem and get a fresh perspective
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
It we could see the world the way others see it, we easier understand why they do what they do
A rule is only a rule if it’s always true!
Watch out for overconfidence
Do we really have an important case? Deal with things that really matter and that we can do something about
Don’t think about how to get things done, instead ask whether they’re worth doing in the first place

What makes Ideas stick?

What makes ideas stick and what makes them worth sharing? How can we make our Message stick? In the great book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath we get an answer, they call it the stickiness Factor:

Ideas must be

  1. Simple
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible
  5. Emotional
  6. Tell a Story
  1. Simple: Strip the Idea to the core! What is the most important thing you want people to take away from it? What is the main problem your idea seeks to solve? Keep it Simple
  2. Unexpected: Things that are boring don’t get shared so we have to grab attention by suprising people! How to do that?
    • Break a pattern people are used to
    • Pose a Question or a puzzle
    • Use a mystery story
    • Open a knowledge Gap, people get curios when they feel that they don’t understand something
  3. Concrete: Your Idea should be grasped and remembered! Be clear in your message.
  4. Credible: Make sure that your idea is believable! Some ways to do that:
    • Borrow someones credibility
    • Create stories with real people
    • No lies
    • Details matter
    • Give them something they can test themselves
  5. Emotional: People love drama so provide them with it. What emotions do I want to invoke in people?
  6. Story: Empower people to use an idea through narratives! Tell a story, the more hocks it has the more it will stick. Make sure to tell a compelling story.

These are the six factors that give your idea the biggest chance to get shared by other people.

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Related Blog Posts:

How to Fascinate?

How to be Fascinating …

Fascinating things/ people do/ are :

  • Provoke strong Emotions
  • Create Advocates
  • Become a cultural shorthand for a set of actions or values
  • Incites Conversations
  • Force the competition to conform to them
  • Are not afraid to challenge status quo

Triggers of Fascination:

  1. Alarm: Provocing a alarming signal in people does
  2. Lust: Talking to the senses. Sex sells.
  3. Trust: The only strategy to build long term commitment to something/ to someone is by establishing trust.
  4. Power: The show of Authority
  5. Prestige: What makes to the product/ person stand above the rest?
  6. Mistique: Sending mixed signals
  7. Vice: We like things that are forbidden, play with that

These are the 7 triggers that acording to the author make us fascinated of something, he recommends to use them wisely and never all at once.

Book on the subject: Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation

The 50th Law by Robert Greene, Book Summary

I recentyl read the 50th Law by Robert Greene, here is my complete summary of the book
Introduction
 
There are two ways of dealing with fear—one passive, the  other active. In the passive mode, we seek to avoid the  situation that causes us anxiety.
The 50th Law, however, states that there is one thing we can actually control—the mind-set with which we respond to these events around us.

CHAPTER 1 See Things for What They Are-Intense Realism
 ability to focus intensely on reality and see things for what they were. He was a living testament to the power of realism.
 Can stand as an individual bulwark to this trend and create power for yourself. You were born with the greatest weapon in all of nature—the rational, conscious mind. It has the power to expand your vision far and wide, giving you the unique capacity to distin guish patterns in events, learn from the past, glimpse into the future, see through appearances.
You must turn outward and become a keen observer of all that is around you. You are doing battle against all the fantasies that are thrown at you.
REDISCOVER CURIOSITY—OPENNESS
Experiment. Force yourself to hold the opposite opinion or see the world through your enemy’s eyes. Listen to the people around you with more attentiveness. See everything as a source for education—even the most banal encounters. Imagine that the world is still full of mystery.
Get a fingertip feel for everything going on in your environment—the complete. Get Ideas from everyone.
How could they have been foreseen? Generally there are signs that seem so obvious afterwards. Now imagine those very same signs that you are probably ignoring in the present.
In general, looking at people through the lens of your emotions will cloud what you see and make you misunderstand everything.
DETACHMENT
proper sense of detachment from yourself and from life. It is not that you want to feel this detachment at every moment. There are times that require you to act with heart and boldness, without doubts or self-distance. On many occasions, however, you need to be able to assess what is happening, without your ego or emotions coloring your perceptions. Moving to a calm, detached inner position to observe events will become a habit and something you can rely on amid any crisis.
Realism is in fact the ideal we must aspire to, the highest point of human rationality.

 CHAPTER 2 Make Everything Your Own—Self-Reliance
 
True ownership can come only from within. It comes from a disdain for anything or anybody that impinges upon your mobility, from a confidence in your own decisions, and from the use of your time in constant pursuit of education and improvement.
This should not be a source of fear but of freedom. When you prove to yourself that you can get things on your own, then you experience a sense of liberation.
Think of it this way: dependency is a habit that is so easy to acquire just above water. It is hard to resist. But once you give in, it is like a prison you enter that you cannot ever leave. You continually look outward for help and this severely limits your options and maneuverability. When the time comes, as it inevitably does, when you must make an important decision, you have nothing inside of yourself to depend on.
It is a kind of exercise you must practice on a daily basis—weaning yourself from dependencies, listening less to others’ voices and more to your own, cultivating new skills.
 Your life must be a progression towards ownership—first mentally of your independence, and then physically of your work, owning what you produce.
  1.  STEP ONE: RECLAIM DEAD TIME
  2. STEP TWO: CREATE LITTLE EMPIRES:  While still working for others, your goal at some point must be to carve out little areas that you can operate on your own, cultivating entrepreneurial skills.
  3. STEP THREE: MOVE HIGHER UP THE FOOD CHAIN
  4.  STEP FOUR: MAKE YOUR ENTERPRISE A REFLECTION OF YOUR INDIVIDUALITY; Understand: you are one of a kind. Your character traits are a kind of chemical mix that will never be repeated in history. You must not be afraid of your uniqueness and you must care less and less what people think of you.
 People who are self-sufficient are generally types who are more comfortable with themselves. They do not look for things that they need from other people. Paradoxically this makes them more attractive and seductive.

 
CHAPTER 3 Turn Shit into Sugar—Opportunism
 
 This is a common occurrence in history: almost all great military and political triumphs are preceded by some kind of crisis. That is because a substantial victory can only come out of a moment of danger and attack. Without these moments, leaders are never challenged, never get to prove themselves. If the path is too smooth, they grow arrogant and make a fatal mistake. The fearless types require some kind of adversity against which they can measure themselves.
  When things are going well, that is precisely when you must be concerned and vigilant. You know it will not last and you will not be caught unprepared. When things are going badly, that is when you are most encouraged and fearless. Finally you have material for a powerful reversal, a chance to prove yourself. It is only out of danger and difficulty that you can rise at all. By simply embracing the moment as something positive and necessary you have already converted it into gold.
The truth is that for the human mind, everything that crosses its path can be a potential tool for power and expansion.
This attitude is what we shall call “opportunism.” True opportunists do not require urgent, stressful circumstances to become alert and inventive. They operate this way on a daily basis. They channel their aggressive energy into hunting down possibilities for expansion in the most banal and insignificant events. Everything is an instrument in their hands, and with this enlarged notion of opportunity, they create more of it in their lives and gain great power.
One opportunity you can always bank on is that a younger generation will react against the sacred cows of the older generation. I move before you think you are ready. It is as if you are making it a little more difficult for yourself, deliberately creating obstacles in your path. But it is a law of power that your energy will always rise to the appropriate level. When you feel that you must work harder to get to your goal because you are not quite prepared, you are more alert and inventive.

CHAPTER 4 Keep Moving—Calculated Momentum
 
The fearless types in history all reveal a greater capacity to handle chaos and to use it for their purposes
Understand: it is not only what you do that must have flow, but also how you do things. It is your strategies, your methods of attacking problems, that must constantly be adapted to
circumstances. Strategy is the essence of human action—the bridge between an idea and its realization in the world. Too often these strategies become frozen into conventions, as people mindlessly imitate what worked before. By keeping your strategies attuned to the moment, you can be an agent of change.
  • MENTAL FLOW, This comes from widening your fields of study and observation, letting yourself be carried along by what you discover.
  • EMOTIONAL FLOW: Day to wash over you, to never hold on to one single emotion for very long. You are able to let go of any kind of obsessive feelin
You come to view periods of stability and order with mistrust. Something isn’t moving in your life and in your mind. On the other hand,
Moments of change and apparent chaos are what you thrive on—they make your mind and spirit jump to life.
Whenever you feel rooted and established in place, that is when you should be truly afraid.

CHAPTER 5: Be Bad at the right times
 
IF YOU INDICATE YOU’LL DO ANYTHING TO AVOID TROUBLE, THAT’S WHEN YOU GET TROUBLE.
The first step in overcoming this is to realize that the ability to deal with conflict is a function of inner strength versus fear, and that it has nothing to do with goodness or badness
You are willing to occasionally displease people and you are comfortable in taking on those who stand against your interests. From such a position of strength, you are able to handle friction in an effective manner, being bad when it is appropriate.
This means that in your daily life you must assert yourself more than usual—you take on an aggressor instead of avoiding him; you strategize and push for something you want instead of waiting for someone to give it to you.
You are sending signals to others that you have limits they cannot cross, that you have interests you are willing to defend or advance.
When you submit in spirit to aggressors or to an unjust and impossible situation, you do not buy yourself any real peace. You encourage people to go further, to take more from you, to use you for their own purposes.
Develop the opposite—a fighting stance that comes from deep within and cannot be shaken. You force some respect. The paradoxical law of human nature, trying to please people less will make them more likely in the long run to respect and treat you better.
 When the situation calls for it, he must be the lion—aggressive and direct in protecting his state, or grabbing something to secure its interests. At other times, he has to be the fox—getting his way through crafty maneuvers that disguise his aggression. And often he must play the lamb—the meek, deferential, and good creature exalted in culture. He is bad in the right way, calibrated to the situation, and careful to make his actions look justified to the public, reserving his nastier tactics for behind the scenes
Instead of taking this personally or concerning yourself with people’s intentions, you must simply work to protect and advance yourself in this competitive game, this bloody arena. Focus your attention on their maneuvers and how to deflect them.

CHAPTER 6: Lead from the front
The greatest generals in history, however, are invariably those who lead from the front and by themselves. They can be seen by the troops at the head of the army, exposing themselves to the same fate as any foot soldier.
it is much better to be feared and respected than to be loved
Roles I have to fill:
  1. THE VISIONARY It means seeing something practical and achievable several years down the road, and mapping out how this goal can be achieved. It means thinking in branches, coming up with several paths to get there, depending on circumstances. It means being emotionally attached to this idea, so that when a thousand distractions
  2. THE UNIFIER
  3. THE ROLE MODEL
  4. THE BOLD KNIGHT

CHAPTER 7: Connections the Environment
Understand: the opposite approach is the way to power in this world. It begins with a fundamental fearlessness—you do not feel afraid or affronted by people who have different ways of thinking or acting. You do not feel superior to those on the out side.
Your first move is to open up your spirit to these differences, to understand what makes the Other tick, to gain a feel for people’s inner lives, how they see the world. In this way, you continually expose yourself to wider and wider circles of people, building connections your ability to know everything that is going on around you, to be sensitive to changes, aware of the power structures that are imposed from without and within. There is no time or room to escape to some inner dreamland. You have a sense of urgency to stay connected to the environment and the people around you—your life depends on it.
 In any event, what you are seeking is maximum interaction, allowing you to get a feel for people from the inside
  •   CRUSH ALL DISTANCE
  •   OPEN INFORMAL CHANNELS OF CRITICISM AND FEEDBACK
  •   RECONNECT WITH YOUR BASE: Keep your associations with it alive, intense, and present. Return to your origins—the source of all inspiration and power.
  •   CREATE THE SOCIAL MIRROR: A physical mirror turns you into an object; you can see yourself as others see you
  Your ego cannot protect you—the mirror does not lie. You use it to correct your appearance and avoid ridicule.

CHAPTER 8: Self-Mastery
The effort to be a master at what you are doing.

CHAPTER 9: Beliefe in Oneself
Who you are is much more chaotic and fluid than this surface character; you are full of untapped potential and possibility.
You must experiment and feel the sensation of not concerning yourself with what others think or expect of you. You do not advance or retreat with their opinions in mind.
Understand: people will constantly attack you in life. One of their main weapons will be to instill in you doubts about yourself—your worth, your abilities, your potential. They will often disguise this as their objective opinion, but invariably it has a political purpose—they want to keep you down. You are continually prone to believe these opinions, particularly if your self-image is fragile. In every moment of life you can defy and deny people this power. You do so by maintain ing a sense of purpose, a high destiny you are fulfilling.
DEFY ALL CATEGORIES
CONSTANTLY REINVENT YOURSELF
Understand: people judge you by appearances, the image you project through your actions, words, and style. If you do not take control of this process, then people will see and define you the way they want to, often to your detriment.

CHAPTER 10: Confront Your Mortality—the Sublime
The fearless approach requires that you accept the fact that you have only so much time to live, and that life itself inevitably involves levels of pain and separation seeing death as something that you carry within. It is a part of you that cannot be repressed.

Continue reading “The 50th Law by Robert Greene, Book Summary”

Sell to Survive by Grant Cardone, Book Notes

My notes on the book:

Sales is Universal
Selling — (Merriam dictionary) the action of persuading or influencing another to a course of action or to the acceptance of something. Who does this not impact?
businesses fail first and foremost because their ideas weren’t sold quickly enough and in quantities great enough, and therefore they ran out of money
There’s no salary guaranteed in life. The whole world is on commission and the whole world is required to sell!
Health is a commission for taking care of yourself and your mind.
The point is, selling is about life and every area of life involves selling.
Every person, no matter what his profession is, relies on selling.
Become a Professional
COMMIT AND BE DONE WITH IT. Committing is when you make a firm decision, you quit wondering, and then
you follow your commitment through with actions.
The ability to predict is the first thing that happens when you become a professional,
(“objections” notebook and wrote down every customer objection.)
Conviction
If you’re not getting your way, you’re not sold.
Because of their lack of conviction, they are not consistent producers.
Conviction is the Make Break Point
If you really want something great to happen, you’ve got to be unreasonable even if it means convincing yourself beyond reason that what you have is better.
Being unreasonable means that you are sold on what you’re selling, and it is your conviction alone that will sell others.
Anytime you find yourself having trouble getting your way, look no further than your own degree of conviction in what you’re selling.
If your product is a great deal then wouldn’t it make sense that you’d be willing to buy it yourself?
people sell products that they don’t own themselves!
To the degree that you’re in disagreement with some product or idea, you won’t be able to sell it
If a person won’t spend money or tends to be really cheap in how he spends his money, he’ll always have trouble getting other people to their spend money!
If you won’t buy it yourself, then you’re not sold yourself!
The Price Myth
Consumers want to take home lots of things, not just one thing.
People love showing off.
Therefore, the second purchase reinforces that the first purchase was the right decision.
The People Business Not the “X” Business
If you understand the product before you under- stand people, you are putting the cart in front of the horse.
It has been said that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Communication = Sales If you don’t get into communication with the buyer you have no chance of ever making the sale.
Just talking about your product is not communicating because there’s no exchange of ideas between you and the buyer. In sales we’re interested in communication that gains access to information, which can be turned into action. To gain information means that your communication should include lots of questions.
People are senior to the products! People are senior to the processes employed by companies. No product or sales process will ever be successful if it doesn’t make people senior!
Never forget, people buy products and it’s your job to sell people on your product, not to sell your product to people.
The Magic of Agreement Always Agree With the Customer
The ability to agree with the customer is senior to all other rules in selling!
If you start the relationship off with agreement, you’ll have a chance to tell the prospect about your product.
Note: “I only have 5 min.”
There’s no easier way to instantly end an argument than by agreeing with the opposition.
Establishing Trust Show, Don’t Tell
Prospects Don’t Make Sales, Salespeople Do
Credibility is one of the most valuable assets you have as a salesperson. When something happens that puts your credibility into question, it becomes difficult to get the buyer to trust his decision to do business with you.
Great salespeople understand the buyer’s distrust, accept full responsibility for it and never take it personally.
I always assume that the buyer doesn’t trust a single word I say to them
People Believe What They See, Not What They Hear
The rule to handle a buyer’s distrust is to always use and show written material to support your presentation and proposal
When you’re documenting facts for your customer, it’s preferable to use third party materials that support what you’re saying.
Always, always, always write down what you’ve said, offered, proposed, promised, implied and suggested. Anytime you’re going for the close, insist on putting it in writing.
The more data, the better. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of data. – Keep your information current. – Have your written information available and easy to access. – Use third party data as much as possible. – The more you’re able to access the data in real time the better. Real time data is preferable to prepared data. – Use computer generated data whenever possible!
The Magic of Give, Give, Give
Selling is the act of giving not getting, serving not selling.
Tip: Problem = Opportunities for Future Sales.
Service is Senior to Selling
The Hard Sell
I do know that most people will not buy without someone asking them to and people will never say yes to someone who quit asking.
The willingness to stay and persist even when the prospect becomes noisy is what separates the professional, consistent closer from the amateur who randomly closes deals. If you don’t truly believe that your product will somehow bring the buyer more enjoyment, benefit or security greater than the numbers they have in the bank, then you’ll never be a great salesperson and you’ll never fully understand the concept of “hard sell.”
The Formula for Hard Sell
1. You must have the belief that what you’re offering is the right thing for the prospect.
2. You have to be trained to stay in the close no matter what happens. You’ll need to be armed with an arsenal of ways to handle stalls, emotional reactions and objections. My closing program is
Exercsise: Every morning I’d team up with another salesperson and we’d practice every possible situation we could possibly encounter that day. This turned me into a lethal individual at closing deals. If you can’t close, you lose.
Video yourself and perfect your techniques. I recorded myself everyday and watched my gestures, hand motions, even my emotional responses. Throughout the day I’d write down all of the objections I heard
Standing is for Losing, Sitting is for Closing
You’ll almost never close a deal if you’re standing up. Sit your client down and show them what you can do for them and support it with facts they can see and substantiate.
Take Massive Action
The fourth action, Massive Action, is by far the most successful tool I’ve had in my life and has resulted in more success for me than any other single thing I’ve done.
Massive Action = New Problems
When you’re not perfect and polished, the only way to compensate is by taking lots of action.
Production Yields Happiness
Most people don’t get enough in life only because they never do enough in life! Production makes people feel good
free advice like, “Slow down—smell the roses.” Disregard them and consider their suppressive comments as a sign that you are on the right track
Anyone who tells you that you’re working too hard is not working hard enough. Unfortunately, such people have given up their hopes of having an extraordinary life.
The 10X Rule If you want one thing, take massive action equal to at least ten times what you think it will take to ensure you attain that one thing.
Be mad in how much action you take until it becomes a habit, a way of life and normal for you.
Act like a madman when it comes to action and get completely unreasonable about what you think it will take to get the job done. Be without sanity or logic or reason when it comes to taking massive amounts of action
The Power Base
The first thing you need to do is make a list of your powerbase.
The purpose is to get in contact with them and to work and restore your powerbase.
Find out about them, what they’re doing, their work, the family and everything that’s going on. Restore the relationships.
Existing customers are the easiest sale there is to make and I always prefer them over a brand new prospect.
If you want to guarantee certainty in your sales production and assure yourself a long and happy career in selling, stay in touch with the people in your powerbase. Love them, call them, wine and dine them, send them presents and continue to show interest in them.
Time
Starting today, I want you to take a look at how much time you waste in a day. Every time you find yourself doing something that is not productive, make note of it.
Write it down and become aware of all the things you’re doing that don’t add up to moving your team and your company down the field.
My rule is if they work with me, they won’t buy from me and that excludes them from spending lunch with me.
Today I invest my lunchtime, breakfast and dinners with buyers, prospects and even long shots.
If you aren’t where you want to be in life, you’ve got to work every angle, every minute and snatch up every opportunity.
Remember that a product can be shopped, but a great attitude cannot. A price can be beat, but a great attitude is priceless. There’s nothing more valuable to anyone than a positive person.
Avoid:
1) Avoid newspapers, television and radio.
2) Stay away from “can’t do” people, people that have trouble in life and people that don’t do well. You
3) Get everyone in your life on the same page
4) Avoid drugs and alcohol because of the negative influence
5) Avoid hospitals and doctors if at all possible.
6) Treat negative talk like garbage
7) Start the Negativity Diet today. Commit to no negative thoughts, ideas or talk for the next twenty-four hours.
While selling is a career for many, it’s a requirement for all. You need to sell, negotiate and persuade others in life to get what you want.

 

Drive by Dan Pink // Motivation

The most crucial points of the book:
Motivation that come from the outside is never really lasting and effective, real motivation comes from within.
The three elements to true motivation:
1. Autonomy: People need to feel that they have some level of control over their enviroment. Give people a sense of control.
2. Mastery: People need to feel the possibility to improve, if there is no room for improvement no one will strive for it.
3. Purpose: Give people a good “Why” for doing something, frame it in their interests not in yours.

Only if all three elements are satisfied people are really motivated and happy to help you. But never forget, without giving something back no on will be motivated to help you for too long. Make sure to give back.

The Well-Being-Theory

Flourish by Martin Seligman // On Happiness

Short Summary of the Book: Flourish ny Seligman
According to the founder of positive psychology Martin Seligman there are five main elements of true well-being. 
Well-Being Theory:
1. Positive Emotions: This does not mean we have to be positive all the time but we should cultivate an overall positive outlook on life. Every time you feel yourself drifting into negativity try to disrupt is by arguing against it.
2. Engagement: Flow, the state in which we are fully engaged and focused at what we are doing while working on the edge of our abilities.
3. Meaning: A sense of a higher purpose for your life and the things you do.
4. Positive Relationships: Having the right kind of people around. Stay away from chronically negative complainers, they will steal your positivity.
5. Achievement: Winning makes us happy. Achievement for its own sake is also part of our well-being. Make sure that the game is winnable.
These are the main points of the book, for further details and more examples I recommend you read this book yourself.

The Subtle Art of not giving a Fuck, Book Notes

A suprisingly fantastic book I recently read. Here are my unedited notes

 

on it:

The Feedback Loop from Hell
Wanting positive experience is a negative experience; accepting negative experience is a positive experience.
Not giving a fuck works in reverse. If pursuing the positive is a negative, then pursuing the negative generates the positive. The pain you pursue in the gym results in better all-around health and energy
Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others.
avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.
To not give a fuck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck
Subtlety #1: Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.
There’s absolutely nothing admirable or confident about indifference. People who are indifferent are lame and scared. They’re couch potatoes and Internet trolls
Because here’s another sneaky little truth about life. You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.
The Misadventures of Disappointment Panda
We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful
Happiness comes from solving problems. The keyword here is “solving.” If you’re avoiding your problems or feel like you don’t have any problems, then you’re going to make yourself miserable
Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you
Emotions Are Overrated
if you feel crappy it’s because your brain is telling you that there’s a problem that’s unaddressed or unresolved. In other words, negative emotions are a call to action.
When you feel them, it’s because you’re supposed to do something.
Positive emotions, on the other hand, are rewards for taking the proper action
Choose Your Struggle
“What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.
I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love with not the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way. Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.
But a true and accurate measurement of one’s self-worth is how people feel about the negative aspects of themselves.
Entitled people exude a delusional degree of self-confidence
Things Fall Apart
It just means that you’re not special. Often, it’s this realization—that you and your problems are actually not privileged in their severity or pain—that is the first and most important step toward solving them.
The Tyranny of Exceptionalism entitlement
Is a western world epidemic. Every one thinks he is special, the next bill gates etc. while no one really is.
if everyone were extraordinary, then by definition no one would be extraordinary—is missed by most people
The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they’re exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement. And that obsession with improvement stems from an unerring belief that they are, in fact, not that great at all. It’s anti-entitlement. People who become great at something become great because they understand that they’re not already great—they are mediocre, they are average—and that they could be so much better
The Self-Awareness Onion
the first layer of the self-awareness onion is a simple understanding of one’s emotions. “This is when I feel happy.” “This makes me feel sad.”
The second layer of the self-awareness onion is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions
The third level is our personal values: Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me? This level, which takes constant questioning and effort, is incredibly difficult to reach
Honest self-questioning is difficult. It requires asking yourself simple questions that are uncomfortable to answer. In fact, in my experience, the more uncomfortable the answer, the more likely it is to be true.
Take a moment and think of something that’s really bugging you. Now ask yourself why it bugs you. Chances are the answer will involve a failure of some sort. Then take that failure and ask why it seems “true” to you. What if that failure wasn’t really a failure? What if you’ve been looking at it the wrong way?
Rock Star Problems
Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else.
If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success
Shitty Values
  1. Pleasure. Pleasure is great, but it’s a horrible value to prioritize your life around. Ask a man who almost ate himself to death how pleasure helped him solve his problems
  2. Material Success
  3. Always Being Right
  4. Staying Positive. Denying negative emotions leads to experiencing deeper and more prolonged negative emotions and to emotional dysfunction. Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems
Defining Good and Bad Values
Good values are 1) reality-based, 2) socially constructive, and 3) immediate and controllable. Bad values are 1) superstitious, 2) socially destructive, and 3) not immediate or controllable.
like: honesty, innovation, vulnerability, standing up for oneself, standing up for others, self-respect, curiosity, charity, humility, creativity.
Bad values are generally reliant on external events
This, in a nutshell, is what “self-improvement” is really about: prioritizing better values, choosing better things to give a fuck about. Because when you give better fucks, you get better problems. And when you get better problems, you get a better life.
 You Are Always Choosing
when you chose it freely and prepared for it, it was a glorious and important milestone in your life. When it was forced upon you against your will, it was one of the most terrifying and painful experiences of your life.
Often the only difference between a problem being painful or being powerful is a sense that we chose it, and that we are responsible for it.
The Choice
 
We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond
The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them
It might not be my fault but my reaction to it is my responseability
(What he didn’t realize was that he had chosen the value that was hurting him: height. Women, he assumed, are attracted only to height. He was screwed, no matter what he did.)
As you reassess your values, you will be met with internal and external resistance along the way.
 You’re Wrong About Everything (But So Am I)
Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from “wrong” to “right.” Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong.
Our values are our hypotheses: this behavior is good and important; that other behavior is not. Our actions are the experiments; the resulting emotions and thought patterns are our data.
It’s easier to sit in a painful certainty that nobody would find you attractive, that nobody appreciates your talents, than to actually test those beliefs and find out for sure.
Certainty is the enemy of growth. Nothing is for certain until it has already happened—and even then, it’s still debatable.
Architects of Our Own Beliefs
Most of our beliefs are wrong. Or, to be more exact, all beliefs are wrong—some are just less wrong than others
tThe human mind is a jumble of inaccuracy. And while this may make you uncomfortable, it’s an incredibly important concept to accept,
Be Careful What You Believe
experiences is to interpret them in such a way that they will cohere with all of our previous experiences, feelings, and beliefs
our beliefs are malleable, and our memories are horribly unreliable.
If we’re all wrong, all the time, then isn’t self-skepticism and the rigorous challenging of our own beliefs and assumptions the only logical route to progress?
The Dangers of Pure Certainty
It’s the backwards law again: the more you try to be certain about something, the more uncertain and insecure you will feel.
But the converse is true as well: the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know.
Manson’s Law of Avoidance
The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it
If I believe I’m a nice guy, I’ll avoid situations that could potentially contradict that belief
How to Be a Little Less Certain of Yourself:
Questioning ourselves and doubting our own thoughts and beliefs is one of the hardest skills to develop.
  1. Question #1: What if I’m wrong It’s worth remembering that for any change to happen in your life, you must be wrong about something
  2. Question #2: What would it mean if I were wrong?
  3. Question #3: Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?
if it’s down to me being screwed up, or everybody else being screwed up, it is far, far, far more likely that I’m the one who’s screwed up. I have learned this from experience
That’s simply reality: if it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are it’s really just you versus yourself.
The Failure/Success Paradox
Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something.
Better values, as we saw, are process-oriented. Something
Pain Is Part of the Process
pain is part of the process. It’s important to feel it. Because if you just chase after highs to cover up the pain, if you continue to indulge in entitlement and delusional positive thinking, if you continue to overindulge in various substances or activities, then you’ll never generate the requisite motivation to actually change.
Learn to sustain the pain you’ve chosen. When you choose a new value, you are choosing to introduce a new form of pain into your life
The “Do Something” Principle
If you’re stuck on a problem, don’t sit there and think about it; just start working on it. Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, the simple act of working on it will eventually cause the right ideas to show up in your head
Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.
Action → Inspiration → Motivation
Simply do something
 The Importance of Saying No
Ultimately, the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one’s life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief, or (gulp) one person.
Rejection Makes Your Life Better
The act of choosing a value for yourself requires rejecting alternative values.
Honesty is a natural human craving. But part of having honesty in our lives is becoming comfortable with saying and hearing the word “no.” In this way, rejection actually makes our relationships better and our emotional lives healthier Boundaries
The difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship comes down to two things: 1) how well each person in the relationship accepts responsibility, and 2) the willingness of each person to both reject and be rejected by their partner
In general, entitled people fall into one of two traps in their relationships. Either they expect other people to take responsibility for their problems
Or they take on too much responsibility for other people’s problems, victim and saver
Instead, victims and savers both use each other to achieve emotional highs. It’s like an addiction they fulfill in one another. Ironically, when presented with emotionally healthy people to date, they usually feel bored or lack “chemistry” with them.
 
How to Build Trust
Because honesty in my relationship is more important to me than feeling good all the time.
When our highest priority is to always make ourselves feel good, or to always make our partner feel good, then nobody ends up feeling good.
Freedom Through Commitment
Commitment gives you freedom because you’re no longer distracted by the unimportant and frivolous. Commitment gives you freedom because it hones your attention and focus, directing them toward what is most efficient at making you healthy and happy
The Choice Paradox = More Options make us go crazy. Less make us focused on them. Also I am a maximizer
death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero.
The Sunny Side of Death
You too are going to die, and that’s because you too were fortunate enough to have lived. You may not feel this there is nothing to be afraid of. Ever. And reminding myself of my own death repeatedly over the years—whether it be through meditation, through reading philosophy, or through doing crazy shit like standing on a cliff in South Africa

Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, Book Notes

Here are my notes:

Without access to a domain, and without the support of a field, a person has no chance of recognition.
So the first step toward a more creative life is the cultivation of curiosity and interest, that is, the allocation of attention to things for their own sake.
Creative individuals are childlike in that their curiosity remains fresh even at ninety years of age; they delight in the strange and the unknown. And because there is no end to the unknown, their delight also is endless
Try to be surprised by something every day. It could be something you see, hear, or read about
Be open to what the world is telling you. Life is nothing more than a stream of experiences—the more widely and deeply you swim in it, the richer your life will be.
Try to surprise at least one person every day . Instead of being your predictable self, say something unexpected, express an opinion that you have not dared to reveal, ask a question you wouldn’t ordinarily ask. Or break the routine of your activities:
Write down each day what surprised you and how you surprised others to record each evening the most surprising event that happened that day and your most surprising action.
When something strikes a spark of interest, follow it .
Wake up in the morning with a specific goal to look forward to . Creative individuals don’t have to be dragged out of bed; they are eager to start the day discover at least one thing every day that is worth waking up for. Choose a particular task that, compared to the rest of the day, should be relatively interesting and exciting
On FLow:
If you do anything well, it becomes enjoyable
To keep enjoying something, you need to increase its complexity
Nor can you enjoy the same activity over and over, unless you discover new challenges, new opportunities in it. Otherwise it becomes boring
After creative energy is awakened, it is necessary to protect it. We must erect barriers against distractions, dig channels so that energy can flow more freely, find ways to escape outside temptations and interruptions.
What can you do to build up habits that will make it possible to control attention
  • Take charge of your schedule
  • Make time for reflection and relaxation. These are times when you should not expect any task to be done, any decision to be reached. You should just indulge in the luxury of reflection for its own sake. Combine these periods of reflection with some other task that requires a certain amount of attention, but not all of it. Preferably this should involve some physical or kinesthetic component. Creative individuals usually sleep longer and claim that if they cut down on sleeptime the originality of their ideas suffers
  • Find out what you like and what you hate about life. Creative people always know the reason for what they are doing, and they are very sensitive to pain, to boredom, to joy, to interest, and to other emotion.
    1. The first thing is to keep a careful record of what you did each day and how you felt about it.
    2. Start doing more of what you love, less of what you hate.
    3. Develop what you lack .
The point here is that everyone can strengthen the missing end of the polarity. When an extrovert learns to experience the world like an introvert, or vice versa, it is as if he or she discovered a whole missing dimension to the world that creative persons are able to integrate is being open and receptive on the one hand, and focused and hard-driving on the other
  • Aim for complexity
To do so we need to explore and strengthen those traits that are now lacking, to learn to shift from openness to discipline, within a context of curiosity and awe for the miracle of life.
They question the obvious—not out of contrariness but because they see the shortcomings of accepted explanations before the rest
Look at problems from as many viewpoints as possible .
How you define a problem usually carries with it an explanation of what caused it
A good way to learn problem finding in everyday life is to stop yourself when you sense you have a problem and give it the best shot at a formulation.
This happened because the boss dislikes me.” As soon as you do this, reverse the formulation : “It happened because I dislike the boss.”
Nevertheless, it is extremely important to identify the nature of the problem, because what you will do next depends on it. By naming the problem and attributing a cause to it you will shape not only the past but, more important, the future.
Figure out the implications of the problem . Once you have created a formulation, you can begin to entertain possible solutions.
Implement the solution . Solving problems creatively involves continuous experimentation and revision learn from the emerging work;
Produce as many ideas as possible
First, come up with as many options as you can think of
Have as many different ideas as possible . Quantity is important, but try to avoid redundancy.
Try to produce unlikely ideas .