101 SAVED IDEAS
The way to minimize bad decisions, focus on things that matter, think independently, and have a life of freedom is: Sitting in solitude.
Thinking takes time, space and energy and we don’t do ourselves any favours by being constantly distracted or interrupted by the world. If we give ourselves fifteen or more minutes of uninterrupted time to think, we become better at decision making.
Social isolation in large doses increases the probability of physical and psychological problems like heart disease or depression.
Short-term aloneness is beneficial and for that, we need to first figure out how our life is going and how can we fit in solitude time in our day.
We can make use of a morning ritual where we are alone with a good book, a pen, a journal, just letting the thoughts flow.
We can also try spending a weekend alone, or doing something completely opposite of what we usually do.
By listening to our minds, we can come up with innovative, authentic ideas and judgements that combine the outer world with our inner world.
Just two hours alone in a week with our pen and notebook, and our thoughts flowing will have a substantial impact.
Consistent success cannot be attained by anyone without practising goal-aligned behaviours on a regular basis, and the good news is that consistency can be acquired and controlled.
There can be many factors that make highly successful people different from many of us. Natural ability, luck, access to various resources, genetics and environment, all play a big role in making someone famous and on top of their game.
The brain loves rewards, which it associates with novelty and happiness. If one focuses on the reward that comes when completing a task, it becomes enticing, and doesn’t take much effort. If one focuses on the challenges or on the effort required to complete the task, it becomes a pain.
Your direction of focus is the reason most new year resolutions fail, and also why you can’t wake up at 5:00 am.
When we decide to write more often or go to the gym every day we are setting vague, undefined goals, that are bound to be dismissed by the mind.
Setting up bold, clear and intentional statements makes us want to implement them. Example: I want to spend 30 minutes jogging at 7:00 am with this playlist on.
Too much friction diminishes the probability of our doing the desired task.
If our new habit requires a lot of effort, mind and energy, we are less likely to do it. If we want to paint, for example, and the colours and canvas are nowhere to be found, kept away in closets or the garage, we are less likely to start painting, due to the added friction.
One solution is to game your environment to facilitate certain good habits, triggering the desired behaviour. It’s also a good idea to automate certain behaviour patterns by using phone notifications or reminders.
If we focus too much on the destination we lose the flavour and the fun of the journey. Our brain gets tired of waiting for the reward and craves something in the present moment. The reward is also not completely certain, making it a zero-sum game.
The solution is to reframe your outcome as a learning goal, focusing on the mastery and fresh new skills you gain along the way. Example: Instead of learning coding languages for a degree that can land you a job, focus on learning the actual languages to improve your skills, enjoying the challenge of learning something new.
We try to use willpower to move past the million distractions that come in the way of us and our goals. It isn’t very effective. There is a shortcut that does not require heroic self-control and willpower all the time.
One can try implementing the Ulysses Pact, or a commitment device, which is a way to hack your behaviour in order to resist temptation. Example: Keeping your phone switched off or locked up until you have completed a certain task.
Philosophy, for the deep thinkers, was a daily discipline that put an end to the anxiety and suffering.
Great men like Socrates, the many Stoics, Epicureans and many others knew about the fundamental flaw in our judgement that is the reason for our misery: Valuing superficial things like money, prestige and material comforts.
We all have a mistaken belief that happiness can be bought by money, and that more is always better, or that success at the cost of integrity is a great bargain.
Living well means shifting our focus from external stuff we feel will bring us happiness, towards our own behaviour, judgements, pursuit and preferences. Working over our own inner worlds and behaviour is a kind of inner engineering which is deeply fulfilling, and is beyond material wealth or popularity.
Shifting our focus from the external to the internal is no easy task, and this was anticipated by ancient philosophers. Many of them understood that living in accordance with this philosophy requires continuous effort.
Like the Roman emperor and philosopher Marcus Aurelius, one has to mentally prepare themselves for the challenges that might be faced by them each day. This can be done by certain spiritual exercises, guidelines that ready the mind and encourage an attitude of compassion.
Say to yourself first thing in the morning: today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious and unsocial. All of this has afflicted them through their ignorance of true good and evil. But I have seen that the nature of good is what is right, and the nature of evil what is wrong; and I have reflected that the nature of the offender himself is akin to my own…
Ancient writings describe varied spiritual exercises that encourage behavioural change, promote good habits, and generally change one’s way of thinking.
Example: Set a period of some days or weeks in which you will be content with very little food of the cheapest variety, along with coarse, uncomfortable clothing.
These exercises prepare us for a sudden change in fortune, and remind us to not be too attached to the superficial luxuries of life. We are subsequently encouraged to adopt an attitude of gratitude.
In years passed, coffee drinkers didn't know how coffee was produced or brewed. Coffee was cheap, tasted bitter, and was purposed for medicine or fuel. But over the decades, coffee has been elevated to craft level.
Filter or drip coffee can taste smooth and sweet like chocolate or taste fruity. The expansion of flavours is partly due to new roasting techniques. Roasting at relatively low temperatures for a shorter time tends to bring out the flavours of the bean itself and where it was grown.
High-quality coffee is more expensive, and spending a bit more means your coffee is more likely to be ethically produced.
Coffee producers have historically been exploited, and even fair trade prices are not always enough. Where possible, buy your coffee from roasters who purchase their beans ethically.
Freshly boiled water acts as a solvent to the coffee molecules. The molecules that contribute to the acidity and sweetness tend to extract more quickly than those that contribute to bitterness.
An under-extracted cup that wasn't brewed long enough makes the coffee taste too sour. An over-extracted cup makes the coffee taste overly astringent. The correct timing depends on your device and coffee you're using. The size of your grounds also influences the timing. For beginners, the classic French press is recommended, using very course grounds and brewing for eight minutes. Medium to medium-fine grounds works best for pour-over devices.
Milk and sugar are often added to coffee to balance the bitterness of flavours. With the right high-quality coffee, you may not need these extras.
The more coffee you use, the stronger your cup will be. A ratio of between 1:15 (1 gramme of coffee to 15 grammes of water) and 1:17 is good to start with. Then experiment to discover what you like best.
Many new graduates face the stress of figuring out what to do after they get their degree. The post-grad crisis represents a general problem all of us face - figuring out what to do once you've won your major battles.
If your goal was to lose 20lbs, what next? Or if you aimed to graduate with your MBA, now what? An exit strategy could be to tweak your diet to keep your ideal weight, or apply for a promotion at your current job once you've graduated with your MBA.