All Posts in “Life”

Nostradamus’ Law

The benifit of making a correct public prediction vastly outweighs the consequences of making an incorrect prediction.

In normal day to day life, if you make predictions to your friends and they come up wrong consistently, people will remember and they will care less about your opinion. You pay a social price for being wrong.

But the internet changes your predictions in two ways:

– It allows you to keep a public record of your original prediction which makes it easier to predict further in the future.
– It allows you to reach people outside of your social circle with your predictions, removing the social price of being wrong.

If you make a mid to long-term prediction (3 months to a year or longer out), and you’re wrong, you’re prediction will be forgotten by most people. But if you are right, you can revisit and hype the original prediction to showcase your incredible forsight.

You can become “the man who predicted BTC $10,000” and add it to your bio. People will be impressed that you made a correct prediction in the past and forget to ask how many incorrect predictions you made.

In the past, you had to have a big media job to make big public predictions and gain from this public bias, but now anyone can. Since you can start a blog and use social media, you can make big guesses about the future. If they miss, almost no one will notice, but if they hit you will be able to use it for a large social benifit.

Since you have a large benifit from being right and a small cost when wrong, it is almost always “profitable” to make public predictions about the future. So the takeaways are:

  1. Start making public predictions about big events in the mid to long-term future.
  2. Stop listening to other peoples predictions, because they are likely full of shit and not accountable for being wrong.

Non-Verbal Communication

It is certainly possible to communicate without words. Body language, eye contact, or even tone of voice all communicate a lot more than the things that are being said.

Learning how to pick up on non-verbal cues is very valuable for getting along with people and getting what you want in day to day life.

But as a communicator, there can never be any expectation that someone is “hearing” what you aren’t saying.

If someone asks you directly about something, and you agree, but do so with a tone of voice that implies you aren’t happy about it, it not the other person’s responsibility for taking you up on the offer.

Convincing yourself that you are a victim after the fact because your passive non-verbal communication wasn’t picked up will lead you to a life of bitterness and shallow and unfulfilling relationships.

Say what you want. Say what you don’t want. Don’t expect others to read your non-verbal communication.

Ideas Come When You Need Them

Sitting around waiting for good ideas almost never leads to good ideas.

If you only write when you have a novel idea that you are inspired to write about, you will end up not blogging very often at all. That is why you can’t act on the condition of having a good idea.

If you commit to writing whether you have a good idea or not you create an environment for generating ideas. You pay closer attention to your thoughts and observations, and you notice and track ideas that may have passed you by. You have a personal incentive for coming up with ideas (because you don’t want your blog post to suck) and as a result, you have way more ideas.

A lot of those ideas won’t lead to anything but some will be great ideas that you would never have thought about if you didn’t have a need for them.

Why I Love Starbucks

Lots of people hate on Starbucks. Whether it is the McCafé, “Starbucks customers are wasting their money” crowd, or the sipping hipster latte “Starbucks is evil” crowd, there is not much public love for the worlds biggest coffee shop.

But the market tells a different story. All around the world you can find Starbucks locations thriving and busy with customers.

I used to feel indifferent towards Starbucks, but over the past two years of traveling I have grown more and more fond for Starbucks.

There is something beautiful about knowing exactly what you are going get no matter where you are. If you’re in Korea, China, Mexico, Slovenia, or Canada your americano will taste almost the same. You know there will be some nice seats to work at, pretty quality wifi, and friendly service.

It doesn’t remind me of home, but it brings a welcome sense of consistency, an a oasis of peace, and a good location to work from no matter if I’m in Tapei, Bangkok, Calgary, or Mexico City.

The Decency of a Robber

Taxes suck.

Having your wealth extorted from you is not enjoyable, but what makes losing your money worse is how much work you have to do to facilitate the extortion.

A thief who comes to your house and takes your TV at least has the decency to do the moving work. He doesn’t expect you to help him take it off the wall mount. He doesn’t come back in 4 weeks demanding a new TV if your stolen TV breaks. He knows that he is taking your stuff and does the work involved to take it.

The government expects you to do the work. They are like a thief that invades your house, forces you to help them take your most valuable possessions and then decides to move into your guest bedroom.

Robbery and mugging are terrible, but compared to the government everyday thieves have great customer service.

Celebrate vs. Escape

Days off are not to escape, they are to celebrate the hard work that you’ve done. You aren’t entitled to enjoy them, you earn the ability to enjoy them with your hard work.

By showing up, working hard, and doing your best over a period of time you earn the ability to celebrate.

This is something most people don’t understand. They use the weekend and vacations as a way to escape from the responsibilities of daily life, they imagine that if their employer grants them more vacation time they would be happier. What they miss is that a celebration is empty unless you have something to celebrate.

If you aren’t working hard, if you aren’t proud of the work you do, the break will feel empty and you will be driven to escapism. Only when you work hard can you be present and enjoy your time off.

One Day at a Time

New Years is a time when people are thinking about making big changes. Most people fixate on long-term results and the outcomes they want in the distant future. A distant goal can be a good motivator, but for me what has worked best is to focus on consistent daily action in the direction of my goals.

Right now I have four activities that I am committed to every single day and I use a simple app called Way of Life that keeps track of them.

After you reach a certain point (around 10 or 15 days for me), the pain of losing your streak becomes a great motivator. Even at 1 am when sleep is calling, I will sit down and blog to protect the streak.

I’ve built some solid momentum over the past two months:

  • Meditating 57 days in a row
  • Blogging 54 days in a row
  • Writing Gratitude 41 days in a row
  • Reading 15 minutes of Mastering Bitcoin 11 days in a row

I know that taking care of these activities each day will lead me in a direction that makes my life better.

For each daily activity, I have very low standards. Most days I meditate for 15 minutes in the morning, but 1 minute of quiet, focused breathing counts.

Some days I will write out long blog posts, but even a small 100-word post counts.

Some days I will write out a detailed paragraph about someone I’m grateful for. But, even writing their name and thinking about why I appreciate them counts.

The bar is low so that even when I am tired, sick, and disconnected from my goals, it is still possible to jump over.

If you’re interested in the idea of setting daily challenges instead of results-focused goals, Isaac Morehouse has a great post on the topic that I first read as a Praxis participant in the fall of 2015. It motived to experiment more with daily challenges and that experimentation led me to my current view on the value of daily challenges over result focused goals. Check out his post here: https://isaacmorehouse.com/2015/09/03/tiny-ridiculous-daily-challenges-work-better-for-me-than-big-goals/

Being Remembered Isn’t Worth It

Society admires dead heroes.

Great statues, famous painting, modern books, and federal holidays pay homage to great figures from the past. These historical heroes are held in high esteem, so people today admire and sometimes envy their position. People alive today decide that they too want to be remembered by history.

This urge to be remembered is based on a prediction that it would feel good to be in that position. We desire the position of status and esteem, because of an imagined feeling. A projection of what it would be like to be held in the same regard. Without thinking about it deeply, we unconsciously feel that it would feel good to be remembered by history. But we forget that when you’re dead you don’t feel anything.

A clear example of this is Franz Kafka. Kafka is one of the most popular and significant authors of the 20th century. If you visit Prague today you can visit the Kafka museum, you can see where he grew up, you can read plaques about him around the city, and take tours that tell the story of his life. He is remembered by history, but he died before publishing any of his work.

He was incredibly self-critical, didn’t like his work, and before he died he requested that a friend dispose of his manuscripts.

Many artists admire Kafka, they aspire to reach a position of similar esteem. To be considered great. To revolutionize the trajectory of their craft. But to Franz Kafka, all of this remembrance is worthless. He died unhappy and with no knowledge of the impact that his work would have. He did not take any pleasure from his work.

Doing something significant in your lifetime often means that you are remembered when you’re gone. But being remembered should never be the goal. It is a side effect of living a life of meaning and having a positive impact on the people around you. But when you’re dead it doesn’t matter how many people know your name. What matters is the fulfillment and meaning you derive from your work while you are living.

Forged Not Built

The most valuable skills and capabilities are not built in advance, they are forged through experience.

We like to think that we can build new capabilities before we are actually challenged to put them into action. This the big theory behind the school system. It will help you build skills that will make you’re ready to enter the real world.

But that is not how reality works.

Real growth happens when you throw yourself into the fire and let your environment shape you.

If you struggle with procrastination and organization, it is natural to think that you shouldn’t take on new responsibilities until you’ve improved to a point where you feel confident in your ability to get things done. This is the idea that you should build your capabilities in organization and productivity before you take more on.

But if you don’t have the extra responsibilities pushing you to your limit, you will never have the motivation to make a change.

Instead, if you throw yourself into a context that pushes you to your limits, you will find that you don’t even think about Facebook, YouTube, or other forms of social media. Once you feel the pain day to day of being disorganized you will find it enjoyable and easy to invest time in implementing an organization system.

This applies too much more than organization. If you want to truly learn something, put yourself in a context where you will have to learn it or else you will fail spectacularly. In that context, you will forge the skill from experience instead of being unsuccessful in trying to build it in preparation.

 

 

How to Learn What You’ve Learned

Learning from experience teaches you a lot, but it is easy to miss the lesson if your head is buried in work. If you’re not conscious it’s easy to take deep and valuable lessons for granted.

Taking lessons for granted is dangerous because it means you are undervaluing educational opportunities. You may not be aware that you are learning things that will be very valuable to you in the future, and as a result you may give up or quit, letting valuable knowledge and experience slip right through your figures.

The way to avoid this trap is to build a habit of reflection. To build in time for reflection about the ways you are learning, growing, and improving. Some ways that I find most productive are:

  • Journalling: Every evening (or morning) take 3 minutes and write out a list of lessons, big and small, that you learned during the day. This small act of writing out lessons learned shifts your perspective will help you realize what you’re learning, and will generally make you happier, progress=happiness
  • Coaching: There are many forms of coaching, but finding someone to regularly talk to and reflect on your work is extremely valuable. Like journaling, it helps draw your attention to progress your making but has the added benefit of another person’s perspective, questions, and suggestions.
  • Walking / Meditating: Taking time to be present and free of inputs allows you to gain perspective on your work and life in general. It helps you zoom out and realize that big stressors aren’t that big in the big picture and it helps you see the value and blessings in your life that you may be overlooking.

If you are feeling stuck and like you’re not growing, it may because of your enviroment, but it may just be your perspective. You may overlooking the progress your making and the value that you are getting from simply showing up and grinding day in and day out. A simple change in perspective to notice the things you’re learning can makte all the difference in the way your day feels.