onsdag 13 augusti 2014

Wall of Wisdom

I have a set of unstructured notes on a worksheet in Excel. I keep the notes in the same workbook as I keep my notes and calculations on my economy, so I know I'll never misplace them.

The notes consist of quotations, my own distilled knowledge, lists of things to do, lists of role models, lists of scientists, lists of areas to invest in etc. Yesterday I tried to cut through the unruly spaghetti of savantry to come up with some communicable advice.

This is it:

  1. Laugh - it's both a lot of fun and healthy. Actually, laughing could make up the entire list; maximize your laughing and you have it made.
  2. Sleep - It is hard to stress this enough. Make sure you sleep enough. Use tricks if needed, but avoid chemicals. Keep your bedroom dark and cool, sleep barefoot with your feet outside the covers, or even outside the bed (like I do)
  3. Walk - walk when you want to think, walk if you feel bored, walk if you feel depressed. Whatever you do, don't lie apathetically on the couch, remote in hand, flipping through channels feeling lazy, fat and bored. Just go for a walk and you'll see what a difference it makes.
  4. Know yourself - This is the hard one for many. Pay attention to your own state of mind in different situations. Ignore other people, the crowd. Identify when you actually feel good in yourself, as opposed to the cheap fixes of being admired for spending money. I am, e.g., much happier doing a free fall ride, than accelerating hard with a sports car, or having middle-aged men like myself admiring it.
  5. Be yourself - you know that uncomfortable feeling when you tweak your behaviour or your comments to conform to external pressure? Avoid that (unless you have a very specific short term goal you can fulfill by pretending). Be frank but don't be rude or lewd about it
  6. Touch - feel the world around you. Touch animals, dogs, people, structures, yourself. It releases oxytocin which calms, heals and makes you happy. We are made to move around in and touch the physical world, not passively watch it on a screen
  7. Life is not a dress rehearsal - be the real you instead of a poor copy of somebody else, or even worse, a ridiculous imitation of what somebody else might think you should be
  8. Do one thing at a time and do it mindfully. Savour the situation, experience it fully. Go for flow. Trying to multitask usually only makes you slower, the process annoying and difficult and the outcome worse. Household work, however, can and should be multitasked; vacuum the floors, turn on the dishwasher and the washing machine at the same time. But first remember to oil the teak floor on the roof terrace since that takes longer to absorb.
  9. Keep clear goals - if you are goal oriented, make sure the goals are distinct and tangible
  10. Identify your obstacles - without knowing your problems it is hard to reach your goals. Diagnose them thoroughly and parse them into manageable bits to find solutions
  11. Aim low - If you aim low, you expect little, and have both a higher likelihood of achieving your goals and attaining happiness
  12. Switch perspectives - remember to switch between the bird's eye view and a focus on details. Back and forward. It can work wonders for any problem, from weight lifting, to mathematics, difficult work or personal life decisions etc.
  13. De-personalize big decisions - pretend they pertain to your best friend and you are to give advice
  14. Read - read anything, just start reading and your taste will evolve. Other people's memes will provoke thought and knowledge in you. Try not to get stuck in just one genre.
  15. Read slowly, thoughtfully, mindfully. Never rush through a text (if it is worth a damn), unless you have some short term external demand forcing you. But make sure those situations are kept at a minimum. Whenever you control your own reading, never speed read.
  16. Listen - really listen to others. They will like it and you will learn things you might never have otherwise.
  17. Explain - synthesize your knowledge for yourself (and others if anybody wants to listen). It will deepen your understanding
  18. Ask - ask questions, ask them several times. In interview situations I have found that about three times for the same question is a good rule of thumb to get somebody to spill it. Ask in general, if you want anything. Do you want comments on your blog post? Just ask and you shall receive.
  19. Take risks - wisdom demands deep and acute attention and nothing beats fear and loss for learning. So, take risks, win, lose, cry, create a life topography to feel alive and slow down the perception of time
  20. Do something new or scary periodically - apart from acquiring knowledge it slows down perception of time and aging. Do enough new or scary things every year and you will beat the feeling of the years rushing by faster and faster. And it is fun. Remember to acknowledge failure and laugh about it
  21. Experiment - Devote a couple of percent of your time at work, or hobby, or gym, or vacation to experimenting to avoid getting stuck in a rutt.
  22. Say yes - if it goes wrong the brain will find a way to rationalize, but if you do nothing you'll have to live with regret. The brain abhors inactive disappointments. But remember to say no as well; to things that are not compatible with being you. Don't let people mislead you just beacuse you are a fun-loving, experimental-minded yes:er
  23. Be grateful - think about gratitude, what, who and why. Express your gratitude silently to yourself but also out loud to the people concerned. It will make both you and them happy.
  24. Eat fatty fish - salmon, mackerel (or drink high quality omega3 oil with documented anti-oxidation formula and not contaminated by Omega6). It makes you less prone to inflammation, less ill, quicker to recover from exercise and injury.
  25. Fast - not a general tip, but I like it. Perhaps I should say "don't be afraid of fasting", since you can still get big and strong while enjoying the freedom of not having to eat all the time, not to mention the self-healing and anti-aging processes that fasting triggers
  26. Avoid sub-optimization - rather than devoting your whole life on becoming an expert at just one thing (unless you really want to and couldn't care less about being whole), go for the 80/20 rule or 70/5 rule or something similar. Invest 100 hours or 20 hours with complete focus on as many areas as possible. That would be the 5% or 20% effort needed to achieve a good enough standard to get ahead (accomplish 70-80% learning). Why not establish a 50/1 rule; 1% effort, 50% learning? It's eassier to know what you want and where your talents lie if you try a lot of things. Don't be that old guy who is really good at chess, albeit no true master and definitely gets beaten by any computer program, but knows nothing else.
  27. Ignore what you can't change - if there is no remedy, just forget about it, don't let it bother you. Do something else with your energy.
  28. Stop hating - don't hate that cross-fit guy flopping around on the chin-up bar, or your old class mate who is a devout communist. Try to learn something instead or just ignore them.
  29. Watch the stars - perhaps not the most general of advice, but I love watching the stars and the milky way on a dark and clear night far away from the city. Did you know the dung beetle actually navigates using the angle of the milky way? All creatures that can see the starry night have the fascination for it ingrained in their DNA since before the electrical light was invented, I think.
  30. Relax - take a deep breath, breathe out slowly, let down your shoulders, look to the horizon (or the stars)
  31. Don't be busy - do a lot of things if you like, but don't be busy, don't feel overloaded.
  32. KISS - keep it simple stupid. E.g., the stock market either goes up or down. That's it. There are a million variables governing the market, too many to keep track of, and their correlations change chaotically. If you can't know it, don't even try. Look for a short cut. It goes up or down, probably because the collective investing mind thinks there is money to be made. So, perhaps (perceived) valuations are important. My take then is to go for objective valuations and wait for the various cycles to move the market to obviously overvalued or undervalued situations and then make my investments. Or, you could simply buy and hold over the long term (right now, however, after such a long bull market and particular factors at play, would seem a very stupid time to begin with a BAH strategy)
  33. Don't chase happiness - happiness is a byproduct. Live instead. Live mindfully, healthily, while taking calculated risks, sleeping well and exploring the world (people, nature, the universe)
and, unnumbered:

Insulate yourself from adversity by exposing yourself to moderate amounts of poison, pleasure postponement and unpleasant company. By eating moderate amounts of lightly poisonous foods, like broccoli, the body is stimulated to become better, healthier and stronger. By postponing the cup of coffee, snack or candy you just came to think of you will build willpower (but don't overdo it, not too much or too often, since that can wear out your supply of willpower that you need for the really difficult situations). Spending an hour each day with an annoying colleague or acquaintance, prepares you for other problem-solving or conflicts. If you don't practice everyday conflicts you may end up getting a divorce over not having milk in the fridge on a Saturday morning.

1 kommentar:

  1. Thanks for an interesting post. I like what you are doing at this blog.

    SvaraRadera