In the news:
The Stock markets tank.
Amazon is using masterful methods in habit and momentum to keep you coming back.
Coming soon, book reviews: Win Bigly by Scott Adams, When by Daniel Pink, and The Power of Broke by Daymond John.
In the news:
The Stock markets tank.
Amazon is using masterful methods in habit and momentum to keep you coming back.
Coming soon, book reviews: Win Bigly by Scott Adams, When by Daniel Pink, and The Power of Broke by Daymond John.
Many people attempt new years resolutions. The vast majority of these fail in just a few weeks. For behavior to be permanent it must be sustainable. How do we make behavior sustainable? Use autopilot. Make behavior automatic and instinctual without having to exert effort or think about it. Here are 2 podcast episodes where I discuss habits and strategies.
Predicting future events is critical for investing, business planning, and politics just to name 3. In the books Superforecasting and The Signal And The Noise, probability of the occurrence of events is discussed and how to best predict such events.
I loved learning how the brain really works in the book Brain Rules. The following 3 podcast episodes are a summary and in-depth review of the book.
I found it very useful learning about Deep Work.
And the difference between the two.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink
Read and working on podcast episodes:
The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage by Daymond John and Daniel Paisner
Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter by Scott Adams
The Science of Likability: 27 Studies to Master Charisma, Attract Friends, Captivate People, and Take Advantage of Human Psychology by Patrick King
In the queue to read:
The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google by Scott Galloway
To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others by Daniel H. Pink
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath
Examples of negative behavior are: Overeating, excessive TV/gaming/Web surfing/alcohol/smoking.
Use all resources available to help you.
Mini habits – walk 5 minutes a day
Curate your environment – throw out snacks, booze. Put away video games, TV remotes. Stock cupboard with healthy snacks like fruit and nuts.
Create autopilot habits that need little effort and guide you into the right direction – exercise first thing after work, create recurring health-conscious grocery list, batch cook healthy meals.
Be kind to yourself – if you fall off the bandwagon don’t beat yourself up. Rather objectively look at how it happened and how to avoid the mistake.
Be aware of triggers – what sets you off to want to drink or smoke? Being at bars or around friends doing it? Avoid those triggers.
Journal – this is so important. Often we are not aware of our behaviors that lead up to the bad habit. If we journal in detailed manner, we will gather the evidence we need to assess the situation. Journaling is the reality mirror. Be as accurate as possible. Write down what you do and exactly how you do it. Like got up at midnight and ate a whole pint of ice cream. We can’t fix what we don’t measure.
Don’t tell others what you are doing. Research shows that telling others about your plans affects the brain in a similar way to actually doing the plan. It erodes hunger and desire to follow through with your plan. Some people think telling others will put you in a position of accountability but in reality the effect on your brain as experiencing it and thinking it’s done is a stronger influence. It is good to have an accountability partner, this is different than bragging about your plans then not following through. The accountability partner is a single person or group that works with you to get it done. They can be exercise partners, moral support, or others with the same goal offering a bit of FRIENDLY competition (how many steps did you do today, I did 15K steps…)
The marshmallow test.
Willpower is an exhaustive and renewable resource. Use willpower like tinder to start a fire. The fire is the good habit or behavior. Use willpower sparingly. Problem is many people rely too much on willpower.
To build a fire you must start with a spark and tinder. Then catch small twigs on fire, then sticks, then eventually the large logs which can burn for hours.
Strategies can steer you away from temptations and vices. Distract yourself with exercise and activities. Use habits to guide your behavior into the right direction.
Be patient – many people give up too soon. Big change takes a while. But try to keep progressing. Sometimes we hit a plateau because we are not trying hard enough. The most growth happens outside your comfort zone.
Remember you can’t reach your personal best every day. When we hit a PR we get excited and try to exceed it every day. Of course a PR is a peak, this won’t be a daily occurrence. Sadly we get demotivated if we can’t be doing better every subsequent day. Don’t let that stop your progress. Chart your average and track that, the average is much more important over time than individual PR’s. But when you do hit a PR make sure to celebrate your hard work.
Make sure you are performing deliberate practice if your goal is to perfect a technique. Masterful coaching is also very important. And 10k hours.
I was impressed by the following article about how memories are processed. Real life events, factual data learned, and fictional data imagined or seen in a movie are processed the same way. Similar memories are grouped together regardless if they were real or imagined. This is how a distorted perspective can be created.
Dr. John Medina discusses in his book and on his web site how memories are processed during sleep. Some memories are still being processed a decade later from being exposed to that event! Ironically, last night I had a dream about my grandparents house and I havent been there in over 25 years.
I have heard stories about peoples’ dreams coming true, as if they were premonition of the future. I do not believe in the supernatural, I believe that there are valid scientific explanations for all events. In the case of a dream coming true, we think and dream about many things, the vast majority are not noteworthy and are totally forgotten about. On rare occasion we have a coincidence where a random thought or dream parallels with an actual event in life. We take exceptional notice to these coincidences and they make a tremendous inpact on our beliefs.
“The Reticular Activation System (RAS) was first introduced by Anthony Robbins in his bestselling book Awaken the Giant Within. It shouldn’t be confused with the part of the brain known as the Reticular Activating System, however they are related.
The RAS determines what we consciously decide to give our attention to at any moment in time, while the remaining data gets filtered out and transferred to the unconscious parts of the brain.“
The RAS will discount or forget data that is irrelevant, predictions that don’t come true, assumptions you made that turned out to be wrong. This is from evolutionary psychology. Our ancestors’ survival depended on assimilating accurate data while discarding anything that was irrelevant or didn’t serve them. We do this even today in our modern lives. So dreams that coincide with actual events appear to be premonitions of the future. They make a big impact on us emotionally, and as you remeber from the above references, the brain responsible for emotions is also critical for memory. This makes sense because important things are emotional, like survival and mating, are the most memorable. So the next time you have a dream that comes true, think about the many countless dreams you had that didn’t, and that were long since forgotten about.
An analogy can be made to travel. Statistically speaking, flying is much safer than driving. Yet many people are terrified to fly. I must admit that I even hold that irrational fear and occasionally get a bit anxious when flying. One big reason why we fear flight is that when a plane crash actually happens, it is covered extensively in the news. While car accidents happen every day and something like 1.3 million people a year die globally due to driving, nobody thinks twice about getting in their car to go somewhere.
Nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year, on average 3,287deaths a day. An additional 20-50million are injured or disabled. More than half of all road traffic deaths occur among young adults ages 15-44.
This is a cognitive bias at work. The trauma of an airplane accident is amplified by media and our fears. Just as a dream coming true is amplified by our amazement that it happened. While all the other dreams that never come to fruition are like all those uneventful days that we drove to work, the store, or to a friends house.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker, The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong
Recommended book for beginner/intermediate. The first half of the book introduced me to some new information and the second half was a review of what I’ve already known. Still good stuff though.
Givers, takers, matchers. Givers are at the top and bottom of the list are the Nice guys that finish last. The givers at the bottom let themselves get taken advantage of. The givers at the top of the list learn to trust people and therefore take more chances and become more successful. Matchers are people who get and give in more or less equal amounts. Takers make sure they “come out ahead” and take more than they give.Givers at the bottom, takers and matchers are in the middle, and givers who trust are at the top in achievement and success.
Pirates, gangs, and organized crime use trust and an honor system to organize their activities. Allegedly Blackbeard killed exactly 0 people and made exactly 0 people walk the plank. Because that’s expensive in doing business. You’d rather scare the merchants into giving up right away versus having to fight them which is costly to both sides.
Moldova does very poorly economically because nobody trusts each other.
Jerks finish 1st in the beginning. However this is not sustainable and in time they will finish last.
Valedictorians and good employees never become super successful. It’s the outliers and the major deviation that become great. Dandelions vs. orchids.
Stick to your expertise, your niche – be true to your self and you will be successful and happy.
Picking the right pond. Are you in a place that recognizes and respects your qualities.
Multiple yardsticks used to measure happiness in life is required. You need various metrics. The 4 metrics:
1. Happiness: Feelings of pleasure or contentment in and about your life.
2. Achievement: Accomplishments that compare favorably against similar goals others have strived for.
3. Significance: A positive impact on people you care about.
counting to others
4. Legacy: Establishing your values or accomplishments in ways that help others find future success. extending
Collapsing strategy – just focusing on one metric, like making money (double down on one metric)
Sequencing strategy – first make money, then focus on relationships, then health (focus on one while neglecting the others)
You can’t achieve success in your life sequentially. For example the guy on his deathbed says he wish he worked less and spent more time of this family.
Eric Barker really goes into detail with this topic on his blog:
People who practice gratitude are happier people overall.
Having too many choices is bad. Limitless freedom is paralyzing.
Satisficing is living with good enough.
Maximizing is exploring all options and getting the best.
Satisficers are happier. Local vs. global maxima – engineering. Traveling Salesman problem. NP-Complete.
Big networks make you successful. Organic, authentic relationships and making friends is a much more effective way to network than just making a lot of acquaintances. Operate at a level of Confidence that is natural and authentic. The Superconnectors of Gladwell’s Tipping Point.
filtered vs. unfiltered leaders. Filtered – heavily vetted. Unfiltered – less classically trained, less predictable.
The author discusses Angela Duckworth’s work in the area of Grit. The author also mentions the work of Martin Seligman on optimism. Grit requires optimism. Optimists say bad stuff is temporary and isn’t universal and not their fault. This concept works for individuals and groups. Seligman and colleagues proposed that our ability to deal with setbacks is largely determined by three P’s of Explanatory style:
1 personalization — the belief that we are at fault
2 pervasiveness — the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life
3 permanence — the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever
Flexible optimism is tendency to face reality with a positive outlook without dwelling unduly on the negatives.
Viktor Frankl – “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Friedrich Nietzsche – “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
You can have false memories, caused by confabulation, or the brain’s attempt to fill in missing memory gaps by adding fabricated facts and experiences. The human memory can’t be trusted to be exactly accurate. It assimilates similar experiences, even if they are unrelated.
Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
1 – Be Proactive
You choose your life
Take responsibility in your life
Circle of Influence and Circle of Concern
proactive vs. reactive
Own it, then you can change it. No excuses allowed!
Between the stimulus and the response is your greatest power–you have the freedom to choose your response
2 – Begin with the End in Mind
all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation
Envision what you want
Fast progress doesn’t help if it’s in the wrong direction
Understand how people make decisions
act based on principles
Are you who you want to be?
How do you want to be remembered?
develop a Personal Mission Statement
3 – Put First Things First
Prioritize and triage
1) Important and Urgent
2) Important and not-urgent
3) Not Important and Urgent
4) Not important and Not urgent
Pareto Principle 80 / 20 rule
The next three habits talk about Interdependence and working with others
4 – Think Win-Win
Zero sum gain
Abundance Mentality/Mindset vs. Scarcity
Desired Result: What is to be done and by when
Guidelines: What can and can’t be done
Resources: Who and what can help
Accountability: How will we measure success and how often
5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
We usually respond to someone in 4 autobiographical responses:
1. Evaluate: agree or disagree with what is said
2. Probe: ask questions from our own frame of reference
3. Advise: give counsel based on our own experience
4. Interpret: try to figure out the person’s motives and behavior based on our own
Use empathetic listening
Gain understanding of their circumstances
The Habit 5 is greatly embraced in the Greek philosophy represented by 3 words:
1) Ethos – your personal credibility. It’s the trust that you inspire, your Emotional Bank Account.
2) Pathos is the empathic side — it’s the alignment with the emotional trust of another person communication.
3) Logos is the logic — the reasoning part of the presentation.
paradigm, paradigm shift
6 – Synergize
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
7 – Sharpen the Saw – Continuous Improvements
four intelligences – physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual
Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service
The 8th Habit
Some quests take years or even decades to complete.
“Deciding to improve one’s life, however meaningful it might be on a personal level, is not a quest. Quit smoking, lose weight, get out of debt, are not quests.
Has a clear goal and a specific end point.
Presents a clear challenge.
Requires sacrifice of some kind.
Is often driven by a calling or sense of mission.
Requires a series of small steps and incremental progress towards the goal.
Reasons to quest:
Self-discovery (find yourself).
Reclaiming (re-discover heritage or new cultures).
Response to external events (Getting laid off).
Desire for ownership and empowerment (Being told you can’t do that).
Taking a stand for something (Activism).
Why start a Quest:
Do you like lists?
Enjoy setting goals?
Motivated by making progress?
Misunderstood hobby or passion?
Daydream about a different life?
Obsessed with a hobby or passion?
John Francis walked across america. Activist against folssil fuel based transportation.
struggling with the “what next” which can feel quite a bit like postpartum depression
Estimate the cost of the quest. Quests can cost time, money, opportunity.
Don’t let risks stop you. Mitigate risks.
Risk and cost make the quest challenging.
Pursuing a quest can make you happy and/or fulfilled. Don’t confuse the two.
You will figure things out along the way. Walk across america
Live with urgency. Make your life count.
Some discussion about how people on their deathbed let go of BS. They get very real and honest. I read something else recently that had a similar theme. This struck a chord with me.
Recall the author saying a quest “Presents a clear challenge” and “requires sacrifice of some kind”. Something to think about, people who commit to a quest must have the resources and circumstances to do so. People with young children or pets will find it very challenging to commit to a quest. Especially the types of quests that require peoples time in great amounts. The girl who sailed around the world, the man who walked across the country. These people can’t have commitments like a job, pets, or kids. There are other quests that one can fit into their life with some sacrifice, such as the cooking a meal from each country or taking pictures of birds. I can imagine that the time required for a quest would significantly eat into watching their kids’ soccer practice or taking them to the mall/birthday parties. It is a simple observation to me that for your activity to meet the authors definition of a quest, is not feasible to the average soccer mom or dad.
Does this mean a quest is reserved only for the rich or care-free childless or empty nest household? I would say no. You can use the inspiration of the quest to drive you forward to a quest-like mission. In the book, the author discusses how working to lose weight, get out of debt, or read more are not “quests”, they can still be pursued like a quest. Don’t give up on a noble activity because it’s not a quest. The problem with modern society is that we are flooded with news of peoples larger than life accomplishments. They seem to take away from our accomplishments. You ran 5 miles today? I ran 20. etc. I feel your accomplishments are yours to celebrate. Running 5 miles is more than running 1 mile. And if you are running 1 mile a day, up from zero, then that’s an accomplishment!
Avoid the “go big or go home” syndrome. A win is a win, take a win when you can. Don’t let your social media friend demotivate you because they ran farther, lifted more weight at the gym, or bought a nicer car. Measure your progress against yourself, not others. Also it’s possible to engage in a quest someday in the future when you have more time and resources. But do what you can today – don’t wait to live your life. There is always some kind of mini-quest you can do, today.
It’s funny because I didn’t think this book would be about quests. I read the title and thought it would be about the fact that it’s more important to be satisfied because you are doing things in life vs. trying to be “happy”. I have read elsewhere that the pursuit of happiness is really chasing after a dopamine rush. This is a fake happiness. The chemical reaction causes addiction. People start chasing the dopamine rush by doing things not beneficial in their lives like using substances, spending money, partying, etc. It is better to pursue something like a quest. Have a purpose and a mission. Doing things has rewards, and those rewards also give a dopamine rush. Except this time it’s not an empty addiction. It’s sustainable and has rewards outside just feelings.
Business/Development books usually fall into 3 categories:
Provide actionable intelligence
Last minute pro tips:
1. 5 gallon buckets (available at Lowes and Home Depot for example) are great for use in storing water, food, or used as a latrine. A potty seat is available at camping stores that fit on top of the bucket. Lids are available that make the buckets pretty much waterproof. You can also store non-food items that are at risk of water damage.
2. A decent flashlight is a must. LED and at least 100 lumen or greater. Waterproof is a huge plus. Most high end flashlights are about 300+ Lumens and are waterproof. Avoid batteries that are AAA, C, D, 9V. AA and 18650 Lithium rechargeables work great. CR123A are ok and common for high end flashlights. The batteries are not as easily found as AA but they are available at Lowes, Home Depot, and any store carrying camping goods. CR123A rechargeables are not advised as they tend to shut off when running low, giving little to no warning when they are nearing end of charge. 18650’s do the same but I have found they last longer and give more warnings, like dimming lights or causing the flashlight to switch to a lower lumen mode.
Olight S1R Turbo S rechargeable 900 Lumens CREE XP-L LED Flashlight
Great tactical light-
Fenix Flashlights FX-PD35TAC Flashlight, 1000 Lumen
3. Cell phones are likely to have coverage loss during disasters, but they are still recommended since they may still offer signal and a way to call for help, receive information, and entertain one while they wait for the all clear. Use waterproof pouches like Dandy Case, they are reusable and water tight. A zip loc bag works in a pinch. Squeeze out as much air as possible. Double bag for extra protection. Bring a power bank for recharging. Old cell phones that no longer have active service (working SIM) are great for emergencies. Charge them fully, shut off, and place in a waterproof bag. They work like a tablet and can be used to call 911.
4. Food. Count on the loss of power, so all refrigerated food will be lost. Obviously eat that first. Don’t count on utilities like natural gas or running water. A propane grill or camping stove is a great way to cook during power loss. Have canned goods, freeze dried food, dry goods like crackers, beans, and rice on-hand for long term. You can go 30 days without food, but you can only survive a few days without water. If you run out of stored water, a water filter is a great backup plan. Katadyne and other manufacturers offer pumps, water bottles with built in filters, and real time filtration like the Life Straw. Always have a filter as a backup to bottled water.
5. Remember survival fundamentals: avoid injury, regulate core temperature, stay dry, hydrate, and maintain food rations.
6. Self defense may become necessary. Firearms work well if the operator has training. Non-lethal options like pepper spray are a good backup. I advise against stun guns, they don’t work when they get wet and you run the risk of shocking yourself, and they must be used at close range. I also advise against bladed weapons unless you are an expert in hand to hand combat. The best solution is avoidance. De-escalate when possible. Situational awareness is 80% of the battle.
7. Transportation. Last minute evacuation or escape (from imminent threat) may be necessary. Keeping a kayak or inflatable boat is recommended if possible. Inflatable mattresses work in a pinch but are not stable and hard to navigate (i.e. you fall off when sitting on the edge – required to paddle). Cars aren’t always practical – flooded roads, traffic jams, fallen trees, eroded roads, and other obstacles are likely. A motorcycle is the best solution for long distance travel on less than favorable terrain. Bicycles are excellent as they don’t require gas but range is obviously limited. Evaluate what you have and what you are capable of using. I.e. small children rule out some options.
8. Communication and plan. Have a plan and communicate it with friends and family. One of the biggest problems with war and natural disasters is the lack of communications. Communication is essential to avoid unnecessary casualties. i.e. relative goes looking for you when you are safe, and is injured or killed unnecessarily. Evacuation plan. Meetup points/times. Don’t count on the cell phone. 2-way radios when close enough. Have a paper map or waterproof GPS device for navigation.
9. Tools. Have a knife on you at all times. Fixed blades are most useful for survival but quality folders work well and are more practical in certain situations. Multi-tools work well for various purposes but are poor knives (clumsy). In emergencies a tool may be required to fix or build something that can provide transportation, shelter, etc. It’s hard to tell what will be needed ahead of time. Large tool sets work well when bugging in. Go lightweight when bugging out. There are some most frequently used tools that can be carried – Leatherman with bit set. Fire starter is handy but I recommend the small Bic lighters. Get a handful for a buck each and they last a long time. Carry several.
Benchmade – Griptilian 551 Knife, Drop-Point, plain edge with satin finish
Swiss army knife
Leatherman – Wave Multitool, Stainless Steel
Leatherman 931014 Black 21 Piece Bit Kit
Fixed blade knife with kydex sheath – Boker Magnum Urban King Knife Fixed Blade
10. Secure property. Put up shutters, tie down things, bring stuff inside.
bug in vs. bug out
Bug out bag
Rules of survival
regulate core temp
powerbank for cell
case for phone