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Robert H.

@robhh91

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The Lost Art Of Reading
  • There is not secret of reading more, and the only way is to just do it. It is like eating, a non-negotiable activity of our lives.
  • Still we need to find the motivation, the justification and the time to do what we should be doing anyway.
  • The problem is compounded in the last decade as the world gets more and more distractional.

@robhh91

How to Read More: Reasons and Strategies to Read More Books - RyanHoliday.net

ryanholiday.net

  1. Reading is our moral duty: We read because knowledge is power. We become weak and are easily manipulated if we don’t read.
  2. Reading is a way to see the future: The truth is old and preserved in most classic books, which is rehashed and repackaged into newer formats and writing styles to suit the modern generation.
  3. Reading makes you learn from the past: According to stoics, it is inexcusable to not learn from the past.
  4. Reading makes us an informed citizen: If you want to know what is going on in the world, read biographies, stoicism and psychology books. Go deep and find the real truth, instead of hanging on to the latest news spin.
  5. Reading softens your solitude: A library is a whispering post, a place where the voices of the greats are longing to get in your head, and even if you are alone, you can listen to them and be part of the greatest conversations in the world.
  6. Books are our true friends: Books are always there, not shouting or yelling at us. They quietly offer profound knowledge without asking anything in return, and they help us create imaginative worlds in our minds.
  • One is not really educated if the habit of reading is absent from their lives.
  • To not avail yourself of the treasure of knowledge is stupid.
  • To not take advice and valuable lessons and not apply them in your profession is often a costly mistake.

Our problems seem special and insurmountable, but they are petty and common. Most of them are already solved in the various books around us.

Reading is a conversation with the greatest people: Books are our conversations with Shakespeare, Lincoln, Einstein, and many others we wish to speak with. They are waiting for us, even after death, to sit and have a dialogue.

  • All leaders have to be good readers, not to impress people, but to be better at their role.
  • The knowledge that makes us better is worth knowing.
  • One does not have 20 lifetimes to do trail and error with life, and needs to stand on the shoulder of giants.
  1. Read first thing in the morning: Avoid social media and pick a good book.
  2. Read without haste or hurry, maybe just a page a day.
  3. Have a book with you always, and read while to commute or eat.
  4. Read while you relax to nourish your brain.
  5. Find a repository of ideas, quotes, anecdotes or observations, or make one.
  6. Read great books from the masters again and again: They change shape and colour, impacting your mind in different ways as you grow.
  7. Understand that you have ample time to read. If you don’t have time, you need to read why.

When you are thinking and thinking about something ask yourself: Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

It allows you to stop thinking about something and to focus your time and energy on something else that actually does matter to you.

How to Stop Overthinking Everything: 12 Simple Habits

positivityblog.com

  • For small decisions like if you should go and do the dishes, respond to an email or work out, give myself 30 seconds or less to make a decision.
  • For somewhat larger decisions that would  take you days or weeks to think through in general, use a deadline for 30 minutes or for the end of the workday.

  • Get a good start, that will set the tone for your day. (read or work-out and then start with the most important task of the day).
  • Single-task and take regular breaks. This will help you to keep a sharp focus during your day and to get what’s most important done while also allowing you to rest.
  • Minimize your daily input, especially from social media consumption. It will clutter your mind as the day progresses.

When you know how to get started with taking action consistently each day then you’ll procrastinate less by overthinking.

  • Set deadlines and a good tone for the day.
  • Take small steps forward and only focus on getting one small step done at a time.

Trying to do so simply doesn’t work because no one can see all possible scenarios in advance.

Trying to think things through 50 times can be a way to try to control everything. To cover every eventuality so you don't risk making a mistake, fail or looking like a fool.

Ask yourself: "What is the worst than can happen?".

You will find that the worst that could realistically happen is usually something that is not as scary as what your mind running wild with vague fear could produce.

When you haven’t slept enough then you become more vulnerable. Vulnerable to worrying and pessimism. To not thinking as clearly as you usually do. 

This rule was developed by Anders Ericsson and popularized by Malcolm Gladwell and states that we need  10,000 hours of deliberate practice to succeed at anything.

This may create feelings of frustration, especially if you feel you don't have enough time.

Seven Steps To Learn and Master Anything As Quickly As Possible - James Altucher

jamesaltucher.com

  • Plus: Find mentors, real (maybe someone from your work) or virtual (from books).  Learn from someone with more experience than you.
  • Minus: Explain what you are learning while you are learning it. Teach someone with less experience than you.
  • Equal: Find people who love what you love and spend as much time talking about this shared area as you can.

Every skill worth learning has dozens of micro-skills.

List the micro-skills. Figure out what you are good at, what you are bad at, and how you can learn to be better at each.

When you start learning something, you're usually pretty bad at it. This applies to everything worth learning.

But that's good news. You can’t learn as much from succeeding because it’s harder to pinpoint where mistakes are.

Without energy, you can’t learn.

If you don’t sleep enough, you’ll be too tired and you won’t learn. If you’re in a bad relationship, your brain will be distracted and you won’t learn.

Try to improve 1% a day at whatever it is you are trying to learn.

This seems like a small number. But 1% a day, compounded, is 3800% per year.

You can’t get better at chess just by reading about it. You have to play. Then you have to play in high stress situations (like a tournament).

The best-case scenario

The best-case scenario is seldom the one that happens. It is okay to hope for the best. Some degree of optimism is necessary for trying anything new. Without it, we would not start a business or enter a new relationship.

Even when the best-case scenario comes to pass, it rarely unfolds according to plan. Unforeseen problems may appear due to lack of information. Or our ideas may take much longer to implement.

The Best-Case Outcomes Are Statistical Outliers

fs.blog

Maya Angelou
"Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between".

We rarely achieve the ideal. The more complicated a situation, the more people it involves, the more variables and dependencies that exist, the more unlikely it will work out perfectly.

The problem is that while there are many possible outcomes for any given endeavour, we only consider the best case. While it might come to pass, you're better off preparing for the likelihood that it won't.

Knowing that the future will not work out exactly as planned, it is better to prepare for a variety of outcomes, including some of the bad ones. Then, when the worst-case scenario happens, we realize it's not all bad, and we can manage if it happens again.

It will give you peace of mind that you can handle a wide spectrum of possible challenges.

Intentional Knowledge: Selective Ignorance

Ignorance indeed is bliss, if practised selectively. News, people, topics, projects can drain a lot of our energy, and most of us seep into everything knowledgeable, thinking it’s the right thing to do.

The unlimited amount of information available on news sites, podcasts, social media can overwhelm anyone. One has to cultivate an intentional approach to one’s content consumption, work and relationships.

Selective ignorance: cultivating intentional knowledge in a chaotic world

nesslabs.com

While our brain has about a million GB of space, the real limitation or constraint is the time and mental energy. We do not really know how much physical energy we require just to do some mental work.

We need to focus on selective information, actively deciding to not engage in junk news consumption, and other mentally draining activities, saving our mental bandwidth for things we want to focus on.

  • Though we would like to, we cannot learn everything and do everything.
  • We need to be selective in our choices while consuming content from diverse sources, provided we find it enjoyable and worthwhile.
  • We have to say no to a thousand things to be able to focus on what truly matters and to cut out the noise.
  • Focusing selectively helps in removing distractions, reducing stress, and improving concentration.

Though it requires time and practice, one can start selective ignorance by pruning unproductive and boring activities, negativity, unhealthy choices, and irrelevant content.

We need to find the right balance between the stuff we like and what we find useful, leaving out the tedious and draining tasks, choices and activities.

  1. Choose the right information sources, moving towards joy and positivity.
    2. Avoid conversations that drain us and move towards stimulating ones.
  2. Cut back on the harmful, useless, negative and time-wasting social media content, unfollowing the toxic people.
  3. Start a journal and reflect on your personal growth and learning journey.
  4. Try to enjoy life and have fun, as much can be learned through play.
Daniel J. Boorstin
"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge".
Jeff Bezos's Regret-minimization framework
Project yourself forward to the age of 80. Looking back on your life, you want to minimize the number of regrets. 

Thinking about your potential regrets give you clarity. It also helps you to remove a few pieces of confusion in the present caused by alternative paths. It helps you make the right decision more easily.

Regret Minimization Framework - AgileLeanLife

agileleanlife.com

We Are Put Off By Fear

We always think about the risks involved in making a big chance in life. We consider the risks and then decide not to do it. But, the risks shouldn't scare us into inaction.

Always Protect The Downside - Darius Foroux

dariusforoux.com

You can't achieve anything if you lock yourself up in your home. To live life to the fullest, you need to make bold moves. And this doesn't necessarily imply risk-taking.

Try to limit your potential losses. Protect the downside.

Richard Branson

“It is only by being bold that you get anywhere. If you are a risk-taker, then the art is to protect the downside.”

Your most valuable resource is time. Yet, most spend their time working on other people's goals.

Use your time wisely by daily improving your skills, learning new things and building relationships. Then you will always have something to fall back on.

If you're in business, consider serving more than one group of customers, or focus on more than one industry.

When sales don't perform well in one area, you always have another option.

Invest in something that has an underlying value.

Limit your potential losses by diversifying. For instance, invest in an index fund, real estate, and business.

The purpose of protecting the downside is to prevent losing everything. You shouldn't put all your life energy into a single thing. This is true for your personal life too.

Education during epidemics

94% of countries implemented some form of remote learning during the pandemic. And this is not the first time that educators have made use of remote learning.

During a polio outbreak in 1937, the Chicago school system used radio to teach children. During other communicable illnesses, schools typically halted formal learning. Some kids played more while others went back to work at home or on family farms. School sometimes compensated for lost education by shifting the academic calendar or mandating Saturday attendance.

Remote learning isn't new: Radio instruction in the 1937 polio epidemic

theconversation.com

The radio school experiment during the polio outbreak was highly innovative and untested. Some 315,000 children in grades 3 through 8 received lessons on the radio while at home.

Chicago teachers collaborated to create on-air lessons for each grade, local radio stations donated air time, and local papers printed class schedules each morning. Classes were just 15 minutes, providing simple broad questions and assigning homework.

News stories reporting on radio school were mostly positive, but articles also pointed out the challenges. Some children didn't have access to radios. Other kids were distracted or struggled to follow the lessons. They could not ask questions in the moment, and kids needed more parental involvement.

In 2020, when the pandemic shut down schools, many countries turned to multiple platforms, such as television, radio, and internet. However, they continue to face similar challenges to those the radio school faced in the 1930s.

The current pandemic has highlighted the burdens of the digital divide. Children in high-poverty communities don't have access to technology. It highlights the need for funding to address technological inequalities in schools.

Pandemic teaching could ultimately improve education. It could reshape education once school moves back to the classroom. Digital tools could enrich the curriculum and could create new ways to connect with students beyond the traditional modes of learning.

Reading: A Meditation

Reading can be harnessed into a great opportunity for mindfulness, and provide us with space to be in the present moment.

Many times a day, we unconsciously read a banner advertisement or a text notification on our smartphones, not realizing that we only read passively, and not give much thought to this amazing ability.

How to Be Mindful While Reading

nytimes.com

  1. Find some quiet time to read when there is ample time to indulge and pick something engaging but not too challenging.
  2. Try to read from a physical book but if you have to read from a smartphone or tablet, disable notifications and turn on the soothing reading mode.
  3. As you progress in the book, notice the color, ink and the smell of the pages, your slowing down or getting sleepy is a good sign, it means your brain is responding to this new, refreshing cycle of activity.
  4. Notice the language, the rhythm of the sentences, the vibrant details that build a visual image inside your mind.
  5. Do not be frustrated if you wander, it is part of reading to get lost in something beautiful.
  6. Gently glide back in the book and enjoy whatever you get out of it.
When Studies Are Untrustworthy

Many layers of uncertainty along with thinking errors of scientists (blind spots) make the research or evidence untrustworthy about 42 percent of the time, according to a study.

Many studies lack validity, but researchers already being involved in the studies develop ‘learned helplessness’ and start believing in evidence even though there is none. A lack of evidence to prove the contrary is not evidence to support the theory.

Why 'Science-Backed' Advice Is Not Always Better

dariusforoux.com

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

When we read scientific studies, it helps to keep in mind the following:

  1. Scientists are prone to error just like everyone else.
  2. Single source claims are dubious.
  3. There is a lot we don’t know.
  4. We should not be biased towards a particular outcome.
  5. Independent tests of the findings can be done if possible.
  6. Proof of something does not mean it is true, and a lack of proof does not mean it is false.

The Zeigarnik Effect states that we remember unfinished and incomplete tasks much better than completed tasks. Things remain in our mind due to their being incomplete.

There are several studies that have failed to replicate Zeigarnik’s experiment. But this does not mean the theory is false. It means the concept might be true for some people, but not all people.

It is a good idea to remain critical as most psychological experiments are situational and may not stand the test of time.

Certain ideas that claim scientific evidence like the 10,000 hour rule or Grit, study a specific group of people, and are not universal theories.

There are very few absolutely certain, universal truths in life. We are quick to think a piece of information is 100 percent true if it's presented as a new, groundbreaking idea, making us have a lightbulb moment.

Apart from basic math, which is a universal truth, very few truths are found in our lifetime that resonate with us for decades.

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