On Stoicism

Looking back at 2016 at what had the biggest impact on my thinking and behavior. It was without a doubt finding out about stoiscm. Tim Ferriss once called it his “operating system” and I couldnt agree more.

Some of the main “rules of life” stoicism can teach us:

  1. Negative Visualisation, thinking about our death can be extremly motivationg and it at the same time puts things into perspective. So the main idea here to visualize not only our death but the worst things that could happen to us to gain gratitude for the present.
  2. Distinguish between what you can and what you can`t effect. This might the most fundamental lessons I got out of it. Not everything is in our power so focus your energy only on the things you actually can change. Quote: “grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Epictetus
  3. Always prepare, but accept whatever happens. Preperation is key but when things dont turn out as you wanted them to accept it.
  4. Live only in the NOW, learn from he past and plan for the future but focus on the present. (Good book on that: The Power of Now)
  5. Dont take insults personally, or better take nothing personally.
  6. Keep your emotions in check, try to keep them balanced never in extremes. Emotions cloud your vision.
  7. Voluntary Discomfort. Put yourself into uncomforable positions regulary to experience that special feeling. This could mean take cold shower or talk to strangers etc.
  8. Simplify your lifestyle. Most things we do are not nessesary or even bad for us, keep it simple.
  9. Gratitude for what you have. I personally write down three (different!!) things everyday that I am thankful for.
  10. There is nothing more valuable than time. (See The Shortness of Life)

These are only some of the lessons the can get out of stoic philosphy.

The best books I found on Stoism were: Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, The Shortness of Life and Letters of a Stoic by Seneca and as a overview The Guide to the Good Life by William Irvin and lastly The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.

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”

Habits and how to change them

1. The Cue: This is the trigger that launches you into “zombie mode.” The cue may be something as simple as seeing the first item on your to-do list (time to start next week’s homework!) or seeing a text message from a friend (time to dawdle!). A cue by itself is neither helpful nor harmful. It’s the routine—what we do in reaction to that cue—that matters.

2. The Routine: This is your zombie mode—the routine, habitual response your brain is used to falling into when it receives the cue. Zombie responses can be harmless, useful, or, in the worst case, so destructive that they defy common sense.

3. The Reward: Habits develop and continue because they reward us—give us a dollop of pleasure. Procrastination is an easy habit to develop because the reward—moving your mind’s focus to something more pleasant—happens so quickly. But good habits can also be rewarded. Finding ways to reward good study habits in math and science is vital to escaping procrastination.

4. The Belief: Habits have power because of your belief in them. For example, you might feel that you’ll never be able to change your habit of putting off your studies until late in the day. To change a habit, you’ll need to change your underlying belief.

Hab

How to change:
The only thing I can change:

The Cue: Recognize what launches you into your zombie, procrastination mode. Cues usually fall into one of the following categories: location, time, how you feel, reactions to other people, or something that just happened

 

I got this from the great book: A Mind for Numbers

 

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

A Mind for Numbers, Book Notes

Here are my unedited notes on the book:

focused mode and diffuse mode , respectively—these modes are highly important for learning. 2 It seems you frequently switch back and forth between these two modes in your day-to-day activities

You’re in either one mode or the other.
Focused Mode = Deep Work.Turn your attention to something and bam —the focused mode is on
Diffuse Mode = Relax, take a step back. Diffuse-mode thinking is what happens when you relax your attention and just let your mind wander
Einstellung effect (pronounced EYE-nshtellung ). In this phenomenon, an idea you already have in mind, or your simple initial thought, prevents a better idea or solution from being found. I get stuck on the first idea and stop the search.
If you are trying to understand or figure out something new, your best bet is to turn off your precision-focused thinking and turn on your “big picture” diffuse mode
(But the learning process is all about working your way out of confusion. Articulating your question is 80 percent of the battle.)
By the time you’ve figured out what’s confusing, you’re likely to have answered the question yourself!”
The bottom line is that problem solving in any discipline often involves an exchange between the two fundamentally different modes. One mode will process the information it receives and then send the result back to the other mode
To figure out new ideas and solve problems, it’s important not only to focus initially, but also to subsequently turn our focus away from what we want to learn.
{ 3 } learning is creating
Once you are distracted from the problem at hand, the diffuse mode has access and can begin pinging about in its big-picture way to settle on a solution.
Step back from the Problem
Enlisting the diffuse mode helps you learn at a deep and creative level.
Mistakes are inevitable. To work past them, start early on your assignments and, unless you are really enjoying what you are doing, keep your working sessions short .
Remember, when you take breaks, your diffuse mode is still working away in the background
Sleep is probably the most effective and important factor in allowing your diffuse mode to tackle a difficult problem.
But the longer you spend in focused mode, the more mental resources you use = Willpower
General Diffuse-Mode Activators Go to the gym Play a sport like soccer or basketball Jog, walk, or swim Dance Go for a drive (or tag along for the ride) Draw or paint Take a bath or shower Listen to music, especially without words Play songs you know well on a musical instrument Meditate or pray Sleep (the ultimate diffuse mode!)
diffuse-mode activators are best used briefly, as rewards
The resting times between your focused-mode efforts should be long enough to get your conscious mind completely off the problem you’re working on
Usually a few hours is long enough for the diffuse mode to make significant progress but not so long that its insights fade away before being passed on to the focused mode. A good rule of thumb, when you are first learning new concepts, is not to let things go untouched for longer than a day.
Rising frustration is usually a good time-out
spaced repetition: Take some time between testing my knowledge
(simply being awake creates toxic products in your brain. During sleep, your cells shrink, causing a striking increase in the space between your cells. This is equivalent to turning on a faucet—it allows fluid to wash past and push the toxins out.)
procrastination is an issue, try setting a timer for twenty-five minutes and focusing –> set a time limit
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” I try to look at this daily, and I aim to do something fearless every day.
Be willing to be disagreeable. There is a negative correlation between the level of creativity and “agreeableness,” so those who are the most disagreeable tend to be most creative
{ 4 } chunking and avoiding illusions of competence
Chunks are pieces of information that are bound together through meaning.
one of the first steps toward gaining expertise in math and science is to create conceptual chunks—mental leaps that unite separate bits of information through meaning
Basic Steps to Forming a Chunk:
Just memorizing a fact (center) without understanding or context doesn’t help you
Chunking (right) is the mental leap that helps you unite bits of information together through meaning.
1. The first step in chunking, then, is to simply focus your attention on the information you want to chunk .
2. The second step in chunking is to understand the basic idea you are trying to chunk,
3. The third step to chunking is gaining context so you see not just how, but also when to use this chunk. Context means going beyond the initial problem and seeing more broadly, repeating and practicing with both related and unrelated problems so you see not only when to use the chunk, but when not to use it.
Learning Tips:
Learn the major concepts or points first—these are often the key parts of a good instructor or book chapter’s outline, flow charts, tables, or concept maps. Once you have this done, fill in the details.
Attempting to recall the material you are trying to learn—retrieval practice—is far more effective than simply rereading the material
You may be surprised to learn that highlighting and underlining must be done carefully—otherwise they can be not only ineffective but also misleading.
When marking up the text, train yourself to look for main ideas before making any marks and keep your text markings to a minimum—one sentence or less per paragraph.
rewrite your notes
Merely glancing at the solution to a problem and thinking you truly know it yourself is one of the most common illusions of competence in learning.
the retrieval process itself enhances deep learning
Interleaving means practice by doing a mixture of different kinds of problems requiring different strategies. problems that require different techniques
Ask myself question to a book etc. is the best way to learn.

The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle, Book Notes

I recently read this book and here are the notes I took from it. The main message is: Talent great but success comes never without hard work and hours and hours of practice. There is no easy route to mastery.

When you steal, focus on specifics, not general impressions. Capture concrete facts: the angle of a golfer’s left elbow at the top of the backswing

 

When “stealing” from somebody else:
• What, exactly, are the critical moves here? • How do they perform those moves differently than I do?

Have a daily performance journal

BEFORE YOU START, FIGURE OUT IF IT’S A HARD SKILL OR A SOFT SKILL

HARD, HIGH-PRECISION SKILLS are actions that are performed as correctly and consistently as possible, every time
(Math, CoD, Driving)

SOFT, HIGH-FLEXIBILITY SKILLS , on the other hand, are those that have many paths to a good result, not just one.
(Sales, Mma)

Soft skills are about the three Rs: Reading, Recognizing, and Reacting.

Is a teacher or coach usually involved in the early stages? If the answer is yes, then it’s likely a hard skill.

When you learn hard skills, be precise and measured. Go slowly.

soft skills are built by playing and exploring inside challenging, ever-changing environments. Aggressive, curious, and experimental, always seeking new ways to challenge yourself.

Prioritize the hard skills because in the long run they’re more important to your talent.

 

Find the Sweet Spot, Then Reach practice is to reach. This means to stretch yourself slightly beyond your current ability, ability, spending time in the zone of difficulty called the sweet spot

Comfort Zone Sensations: Ease, effortlessness. You’re working, but not reaching or struggling. Percentage of Successful Attempts: 80 percent and above.

Sweet Spot] Sensations: Frustration, difficulty, alertness to errors. You’re fully engaged in an intense struggle—as if you’re stretching with all your might for a nearly unreachable goal, brushing it with your fingertips, then reaching again. Percentage of Successful Attempts: 50–80 percent. THIS IS WHERE YOU WANT TO BE

Survival Zone] Sensations: Confusion, desperation. You’re overmatched: scrambling, thrashing, and guessing. You guess right sometimes, but it’s mostly luck. Percentage of Successful Attempts: Below 50 percent.

Albert Einstein said, “One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.”

Instead of counting minutes or hours, count reaches and reps.

To begin chunking,
first engrave the blueprint of the skill on your mind (see Tip #2 ). Then ask yourself: 1) What is the smallest single element of this skill that I can master? 2) What other chunks link to that chunk?

EACH DAY, TRY TO BUILD ONE PERFECT CHUNK

CHOOSE FIVE MINUTES A DAY OVER AN HOUR A WEEK of intense Deep Work

0.25 seconds after a mistake is made, in which people do one of two things—they look hard at the mistake or they ignore it.

Develop the habit of attending to your errors right away.

SLOW IT DOWN Super-slow practice works like a magnifying glass: It lets us sense our errors more clearly, and thus fix them.

CLOSE YOUR EYES why practicing to intensivy your focus

Napping is good for the learning brain, because it helps strengthen the connections formed during practice and prepare the brain for the next session,

Learning is reaching . Passively reading a book—a relatively effortless process, letting the words wash over you like a warm bath—doesn’t put you in the sweet spot.

… closing the book and writing a summary forces you to figure out the key points (one set of reaches), process and organize those ideas so they make sense (more reaches), and write them on the page (still more reaches, along with repetition).
The equation is always the same: More reaching equals more learning.

But when it comes to learning, the science is clear: Exhaustion is the enemy.

Embrace Repetition, and Keep Big Goals Secret

FOR EVERY HOUR OF COMPETITION, SPEND FIVE HOURS PRACTICING

 

You can Buy this book here.

The Charisma Myth, Book Notes

People are not simply born charismatic, we can learin it.

Charisma Demystified
Don’t have to be naturally outgoing, you don’t have to be physically attractive, and you won’t have to change your personality
Lower the intonation of your voice at the end of your sentences. Reduce how quickly and how often you nod. Pause for two full seconds before you speak.
The Charismatic Behaviors: Presence, Power, and Warmth
  • Powerful means being perceived as able to affect the world.
  • Warmth, simply put, is goodwill.
  • Presence means being fully there.
 Overcoming the Obstacles
Step One: Destigmatize Discomfort simply by understanding that it’s normal, common, and nothing to be anxious about or ashamed of
Step Two: Neutralize Negativity realize that your thoughts aren’t necessarily accurate at all. Mind’s view of reality can be, and often is, completely distorted.
Assign a label to your negative experience
Step Three: Rewrite Reality. What if this unfortunate, unpleasant experience is absolutely perfect just as it is
In what way can this turn out to be absolutely perfect for me?
Zoom out your focus to see yourself as one little person sitting in a room with certain chemicals flooding his system.
Delving into discomfort
Delve into those very sensations of discomfort
full attention to the very sensations you’d instinctively want to push away.
To be charismatic, you must first learn to overcome the primary obstacle to charisma: internal discomfort.
Creating Charismatic Mental States
You can increase both warmth and confidence by practicing gratitude, goodwill, and compassion for others as well as for yourself.
Different Charisma Styles
 
Focus Charisma: Presence and Confidence
Good listening skills are nonnegotiable, as is a certain degree of patience
Visionary Charisma: Belief and Confidence knowing how to craft a bold vision and knowing how to deliver the message charismatically
keys to communicating your visionary charisma is getting yourself into a state of complete conviction, shedding any doubt.
Kindness Charisma: Warmth and Confidence gratitude, goodwill, compassion, and self-compassion avoid any body language of tension, criticism, or coldness
Authority Charisma: Status and Confidence most powerful evaluate someone’s authority charisma through four indicators: body language, appearance, title, and the reactions of others.
Clothing is one of our first and strongest clues
project power by displaying signs of status and confidenc
body language and appearance
take up space” with your posture, reduce nonverbal reassurances (such as excessive nodding), and avoid fidgeting.
fidgeting. You may need to speak less, to speak more slowly, to know how and when to pause your sentences, or how to modulate your intonation.
Stretch out of your comfort zone in low-stakes situations.
Speaking—and Listening—with Charisma
pause before they answer.
  • They finish their sentence
  • Your face absorbs Your face reacts
  • Then, and only then, you answer
Things people look for in a conversation:
Entertainment: Make your e-mail or meeting enjoyable.
Information: Give interesting or informative content that they can use.
Good feelings: Find ways to make them feel important or good about themselves.

To become a professional in anything?

Ericsson is the person behind the 10.000 hour rule, therefore the leading expert on the topic of practice and how to become the best of the best.
The first thing to realize is that just doing something again and again does not make you world-class. There need to be a system behind it.
Here are the point you have to incorporate into your practice of whatever you want to master, called Deliberate Practice:
  1. You need someone who already mastered what you want to master, you will need some guidance along the path.
  2. You need to leave your comfort zone !!
  3. When in practice do it with full focus, focus on performing those actions right.
  4. Find something or someone who motivates you deeply
  5. Find a way to get immediate feedback (as good as possible) so you can see what works and what not.

 

You can apply this approach to any skill the only thing I find is that you can’t always have a personal guide, but books, seminars, online programs etc. can do the job too.

 Note: The 10.000 Hour rule which states that is takes 10.000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class is no fixed number but depending on the skill.