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Jul 7, 2020

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The "poison apple"

In the late 1700s, Europeans thought tomatoes were poisonous. Aristocrats got sick and died after eating them. It was later discovered that the pewter plates used by wealthy Europeans were high in lead content. The high acidity of tomatoes would leach lead from the plate, resulting in death from lead poisoning.

In 1597, the tomato was classified as deadly nightshade where the whole plant was toxic. This view prevailed in Britain and the British North American colonies for over 200 years.

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Why the Tomato Was Feared in Europe for More Than 200 Years


Balancing Focus And Flexibility

Goal setting is an incredibly powerful tool for achieving results. However, goals can inadvertently lower our flexibility.

  • The first key to maintaining focus and flexibility is awareness
  • The second key to maintaining flexibility and focus is to accept growing pains.
  • The final key to maintaining flexibility and focus is to just do the best you can at the time.
Vacations Are Out Of Fashion
  • Vacations aren’t what they used to be.
  • Social media, email and business communication services like Slack make it harder for working professionals to be disconnected even outside of working hours.
  • Apart from Blackberry phones which started this always-connected trend, we have ourselves to blame as we don’t understand or realize how important a sabbatical, or a purposeful, year-long disconnection from work to do something else, is to our health and productivity.

6 Modern Sabbatical Ideas | Remote Year


Democritus and the existence of atoms

We know about atoms because of scientists and electron microscopes, but the idea goes back to the ancient Greeks.

Democritus first articulated the idea of atoms. He argued that it must exist. If we continually halved something, there would be no endpoint. Therefore, there must be a fundamental unit to the world from which everything else is made.

Ancient physics: How Democritus predicted the atom


Note-taking: a powerful tool for learning
  • Notes extend your memories: writing can be seen as an external enhancement of your brain, allowing you to think more complicated thoughts and solve harder problems.
  • Notes enhance your focus: The act of taking notes ensures your mind isn’t wandering and facilitates deeper understanding of what you're reading.

How to Take Notes While Reading


A study was done by a Harvard researcher on bomb-disposal operatives and split them into two groups: those who have been decorated for their work and those who hadn't. Their study showed that the operatives who've been decorated, when placed in the danger zone, entered a state of cold, meditative focus, where their heart rates went down as compared to the other group.

The confidence that they had with themselves is what made them calm and have a mezzanine level of consciousness.

Why do life-threatening situations make some people more calm? - Barking Up The Wrong Tree


While constructive feedback can be very valuable, we need to learn to ignore destructive feedback. When you are in a leadership position, everyone will have an opinion on how you could work better. However, not everyone's opinion is useful.

Instead of considering irrelevant feedback, label these comments as opinions and noise. Instead of reacting, hear the feedback, acknowledge it politely, and sift between the useful and the noise.

Don’t Let Self-Doubt Hold You Back


Living in an online age
  • The Internet has redefined the way we work. It has improved our lives and broadened our perspective of the world.
  • But in some cases, the digital age hasn't been as kind to workers. Some employers may use it to exploit their employees, demanding more work or longer days without paying overtime.
  • By blurring the lines between work and home life, the Internet also changed our cultural conception of patience, demanding immediate answers, or same-day delivery.

What Would a World Without Internet Look Like?


Catalysis makes it easier for a reaction to start. To motivate yourself for a task, add a personal catalyst.

  • Energetic linking. Try to link the task with an existing activity which requires low levels of activation energy. For example, to get yourself to listen to a podcast, play an episode while you shower.
  • Energize your environment. If you are trying to study, go to the library for a quiet environment.
  • Energy incentives. An accountability partner is a great way to create an incentive.

Activation energy: the chemistry of getting started - Ness Labs


  1. Assess yourself. We all have unique abilities and talents and however small we can do great things with them.
  2. Look to someone you admire
  3. Believe in yourself and keep in mind the things that allowed you to attain earlier goals.
  4. Be passionate about what you do. Be willing to constantly learn and adapt.
  5. Love what you do. Money is often not enough motivation. 
  6. Be the best you can be
  7. Remember your roots. After becoming rich Gardner still contributes to his communities and likes to remember where he came from.
  8. Protect your dream. If you want something, do what it takes to get it.
  9. Be agile so you can tackle more challenges in a shorter time and open up new opportunities.
  10. Have a plan that’s clear, concise, compelling and consistent and commit to that.

10 Success lessons from Chris Gardner - "From Homeless To Millionaire" for entrepreneurs



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