The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking

Categories *FREE*, HappinessPosted on

We all want to be happy and who better than to learn from scandinavians in particular, Denmark which particular tops all the time in happiness rankings. What makes danes happy is the country’s sense of community . 9 out of 10 danes are happy to pay taxes because they trust it will be for common good and they will be take care of , if they get sick or loose a job.

A sense of community starts of happiness, a 1967 article “Children Should have 100 parents” led to cohousing communities in Denmark and this has grown rapidly and reaped its rewards. Along with a sense of community being in the real world and disconnecting from the virtual world helps reduce loneliness and increase satisfaction.

Normally it is thought that wealthier countries tend to rank higher in happiness but it is untrue, South Korea is a case in e.g, very wealthy but has the highest rate of suicides per capita and ranked 55th on the World Happiness report.

Experience and anticipation of experiences keeps us happy. It is not the product purchase alone but the anticipation of making that purchase that makes us happy. We can then link a certain goal to a upcoming purchase and be more happy. Knowing that good times are round the corner keeps us more happy. In the same breadth comparison to what other people have spurs unhappiness.

Being fit, is another reason that makes danes happy.Cycling is the norm and bicycles are everywhere, more than 63% people bike to work,. That itself says it all, for the social effect of this one deed. So if you want to be happy start walking/biking more.

Trust, health, fairness and generous communities are recipe of a country’s happiness.One of the important aspects of happiness is freedom and this includes free time. Danes spend fewer hours at work than in the US/India. Parents have 52 weeks of paid leave divided between them. New parents are less happy than their peers who have no kids because of lack of support system to address this Denmark created the Bonus Grandparents program to connect senior citizens to the community. Parent get more free time and seniors get more activities in their life- this is a real win-win.

When we trust others more, we experience more happiness. If people trust that their dropped wallet will be returned, their are likely to feel better and secure. This starts with having empathy. Hence, it is important to develop social and emotional skills of children and improve sensitivities. This can be done by reading stories together. This is a common classroom activity in all Scandinavian countries.

Countries with more economic equality are places of more trust and happiness, since people feel secure and see others as cooperators , not competitors. Therefore social inequality rising has a beating on happiness. This has been proven in scientific experiments. As a analogy, researcher Katherine DeCelles of HBS has found that for cases of air rage, the worst contributor to the feeling of injustice is the first class section in aeroplanes. If we could have the economy section passengers walk through a seperate gate , passengers may feel lesser air rage.

When you do something nice, you get helpers high, It comes from nucleus accumbens that is also responsible for good feelings of eating and sex. In a way helping each other is an evolutionary key to our survival. Volunteering makes you happy. You may think people who volunteer are already happy but it is likely to be reverse that volunteers feel more grateful for what they know now, that is how fortunate they are and what it means to be poor. Further it boosts friendships and social relationships as well. 70% of danes volunteer and hence get helpers high.

So start a random act of kindness today, Be happy !

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The strength switch by Lea Waters

Categories *FREE*, RelationshipsPosted on

The strength switch offers scientifically grounded solution on on strength based parenting. Human nature sees fault in everything, the same is true for parenting, when our attention is selective we only see our child’s faults. The author Dr Walters saw the same when her child Nick did not park his bicycle at the place told, despite reminders. She noticed this but failed to notice his warm welcoming her home everyday or his neatly putting shoes and lunch box at the right place rather than just throwing away.

However, things did not improve, it was only when she lovingly mentioned her child’s strengths that improvements happened. Strengths are in part genetically determined and some are shaped by the environment. Children genetic ability gets multiplied by repeated efforts and they excel. The lesson here is to give the child an environment which reinforces here genetic strengths.

Neuroscientist E.R Sorrell says that from age of six till adolescence the brain density dramatically increases and it produces more cells than it will ever need. Its natural then to be involved in too many new activities and have chaos.Parents should be relaxed and nudge children to their strengths in this phase.In adolescence these strengths are consolidated. Cells diminish, create neural circuits and consolidate. Hence strengths must be focused even more.

Our attention is 20-30 mins and for a child it is even less, for 3 years it is 3-5 mins. If your child is focusing on a single activity it is likely they are putting natural strengths to use. It is important to praise such kind of concentration. But helpful praise is always specific praise.

Guilt and shaming are common methods of disciplining children. But shaming should be avoided. Guilt can act as a reminder of child’s responsibilities and stimulate empathy and remorsefulness but shame preys on the child very person and makes them feel rejected. If you see your child teasing other kids at school a reminder of occasions she displayed empathy and kindness and expressing disappointment that she did not use those special strengths is a good way to work on improving behaviors.

In all, we need to help work on children strength while being mindful and calm ourselves. This creates an environment to prosper.

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Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Categories *FREE*, ExperiencesPosted on

Can’t Hurt Me is about how David Goggins transformed himself through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work. He details his personal tools like The Accountability Mirror, The Governor, The 40% Rule, The Cookie Jar and Taking Souls

He didn’t come from a perfect family or had God-given talent, he says “It came from personal accountability which brought me self respect, and self-respect will always light a way forward.”

“Very few people know how the bottom feels, but I do. It’s like quicksand. It grabs you, sucks you under, and won’t let go. When life is like that it’s easy to drift and continue to make the same comfortable choices that are killing you, over and over again.”

“You’re probably living at about 40 percent of your true capability.”

“Heraclitus, a philosopher born in the Persian Empire back in the fifth century BC, had it right when he wrote about men on the battlefield. ‘Out of every one hundred men,” he wrote, “ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior…’”

“From the time you take your first breath, you become eligible to die. You also become eligible to find your greatness and become the One Warrior. But it is up to you to equip yourself for the battle ahead.”

“Only you can master your mind, which is what it takes to live a bold life filled with accomplishments most people consider beyond their capability.”

“Human beings change through study, habit, and stories. Through my story, you will learn what the body and mind are capable of when they’re driven to maximum capacity, and how to get there. Because when you’re driven, whatever is in front of you, whether it’s racism, sexism, injuries, divorce, depression, obesity, tragedy, or poverty, becomes fuel for your metamorphosis.”

“I brainwashed myself into craving discomfort. If it was raining, I would go run. Whenever it started snowing, my mind would say, Get your fu*king running shoes on. Sometimes I wussed out and had to deal with it at the Accountability Mirror. But facing that mirror, facing myself, motivated me to fight through uncomfortable experiences, and, as a result, I became tougher. And being tough and resilient helped me meet my goals.”

“Everything in life is a mind game! Whenever we get swept under by life’s dramas, large and small, we are forgetting that no matter how bad the pain gets, no matter how harrowing the torture, all bad things end.”

Goggins’s Commanding Officer told him,

In a society where mediocrity is too often the standard and too often rewarded. There is an intense fascination with men who detest mediocrity, who refuse to define themselves in conventional terms, and who seek to transcend traditionally recognized human capabilities. This is exactly the type of person BUD/S is meant to find. The man who finds a way to complete each and every task to the best of his ability. The man who will adapt and overcome any and all obstacles.

Goggins began changing his life by speaking to himself in the mirror every night.

He writes, I set goals, wrote them on Post-It notes, and tagged them to what I now call the Accountability Mirror because each day I’d hold myself accountable to the goals I’d set. At first, my goals involved shaping up my appearance and accomplishing all my chores without having to be asked. […] [It] kept me on point from then on, and though I was still young when this strategy came through me, since then I’ve found it useful for people at any stage in life.

According to Goggins, like a car with a governor that places a ceiling on the car’s performance, we, too, have a governor that impedes us from reaching our true potential.

In his own words,Our governor is buried deep in our minds, intertwined with our very identity. It knows what and who we love and hate; it’s read our whole life story and forms the way we see ourselves and how we’d like to be seen. It’s the software that delivers personalized feedback—in the form of pain and exhaustion, but also fear and insecurity, and it uses all of that to encourage us to stop before we risk it all. But, here’s the thing, it doesn’t have absolute control. Unlike the governor in an engine, ours can’t stop us unless we buy into its bulls*t and agree to quit.

Goggins writes that many of us live at 40% of their true capability. Only when we callous our mind through stepping out of our comfort zone on a regular basis can we move beyond it.

He writes, Most of us give up when we’ve only given around 40 percent of our maximum effort. Even when we feel like we’ve reached our absolute limit, we still have 60 percent more to give! […] Once you know that to be true, it’s simply a matter of stretching your pain tolerance, letting go of your identity and all your self-limiting stories, so you can get to 60 percent, then 80 percent and beyond without giving up. I call this The 40% Rule, and the reason it’s so powerful is that if you follow it, you will unlock your mind to new levels of performance and excellence in sports and in life, and your rewards will run far deeper than mere material success.

Before eating a cookie as a child, Goggins always took the time to admire it first as a way of practicing gratitude. Today, “The Cookie Jar” is a concept he employs whenever he needs a reminder of who he is and what he’s capable of.

In his own words, We all have a cookie jar inside us, because life, being what it is, has always tested us. Even if you’re feeling low and beat down by life right now, I guarantee you can think of a time or two when you overcame odds and tasted success. It doesn’t have to be a big victory either. It can be something small.

On the toughest day of the hardest week in the world’s toughest training, Goggins tormented his instructors by motivating his team to push themselves harder.

Goggins coined the term “Taking Souls” after motivating himself to push him and his team harder as a means of getting inside his instructors’ heads.

He writes, Taking Souls is a ticket to finding your own reserve power and riding a second wind. It’s the tool you can call upon to win any competition or overcome every life obstacle. […] This is a tactic for you to be your best when duty calls. It’s a mind game you’re playing on yourself. Taking someone’s soul means you’ve gained a tactical advantage. Life is all about looking for tactical advantages.

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Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

Categories *FREE*Posted on

Bad Blood is about Elizabeth Holmes and her startup Theranos . She was considered the female Steve Jobs in the making. But the company she and her Stanford alumni peer Shaunak Roy built  was a house of cards, trapped in lies and trickery .The startup promised a  tiny, ultra-portable, cheap and quick blood-testing device capable of screening for 200 conditions.

The idea was a wearable patch which would test patients’ blood over the course of a day using microneedles. It only aimed to do away not only with the needles but also provide real-time information on bloodwork to assist ongoing diagnoses. It was hailed as a “miracle machine.” However, there was just one problem: the machines was virtually impossible to build and what they built did not live up to the promise they had made. However, rather than owing it.

At one time in 2014, this company selling a device that didn’t work was valued at $9 billion and had agreements to supply the Edison to global distribution heavyweights Safeway and Walgreens; Theranos mislead regulators, investors and customers and risked the lives of millions of people and even prompted an employee suicide.

When they knew microneedles wouldn’t be able to draw enough blood. They had a credit-card-sized blood-testing machine which would draw a few drops of blood using a pinprick. This could be plugged to another machine to check for 240 common ailments from vitamin D deficiency to HIV.The machine was called Edison. But it soon ran into trouble.The idea of using a single pinprick was unworkable. That was a problem – after all, it was the Edison’s main selling point. But it proved impossible to screen for 240 ailments using such a tiny blood sample. Timothy Hamill, the vice chairman of the University of California’s San Francisco-based Department of Laboratory Medicine, went on the record to say that it was unlikely that you’d be able to run 240 separate tests on a single drop of blood even if you worked on a solution for a thousand years

The company tried special microchambers to move the blood around. But  nothing worked for more than 80 common illnesses. The accuracy was questionable, the blood became diluted during the with low reliability of the results. The Edison was also temperature-sensitive and not workable in different  climates. The pipettes became clogged up and became useless in a month .  Cleaning required a physical employee to do it. The machine had  problems determining sodium and potassium levels. Red blood cells split apart when they’re extracted with a pinprick, making the results dubious at best.

But Holmes was seen as  female Steve Jobs, Investors lined up and , and cash started pouring into the company. Holmes chose Apple’s ad to represent Theranos. People looked at her, as an icon in the making – the first self-made billionaire businesswoman who earned her fortune making a machine that saved lives!

Theranos hired Larry Ellison, the respected Oracle ex CEO. he  applied his software model sending out buggy software and working on perfecting it later during beta-testing. Theranos was in such a rush to get its products to market.

Theranos started deceiving and fooling its investors as well as journalists and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about its devices.  She said tests could be done in 30 mins . The vast majority of tests, for example, weren’t even carried out by the Edison! On a good day, the boxes were capable of running around 20 of the 240 most important tests.. Hematology and chemical tests were performed using the traditional method of extracting blood from a vein. The vial containing the customer’s blood was then express-couriered to a lab in Palo Alto where it was tested using machines produced by other manufacturers, notably Siemens. So what did Theranos do? They secretly used third-party machines to do the tests, knowing full well that the regulators would assume they were using their own Edison.

Theranos wasn’t just lying to its investors and customers. The company was also deceiving the entire medical establishment and press. By this point, team Theranos had become a past master at manipulating and cherry-picking data to polish its image. Theranos also liked to boast that the efficiency of its Edison had been verified in peer-reviewed journals.That turned out to be a bogus claim.The only “peer-reviewed” article published about the device appeared in an obscure pay-to-publish Italian journal called Hematology Reports. The article’s data set was drawn from a mere six patients.

So how did the company continue to attract investment given that their product was performing so poorly?Unsurprisingly, they lied some more. The demonstrations shown to angel investors were also fake.

The levels of deception practiced here bordered on the surreal. In the early stages of product development, Theranos even used mock machines incapable of performing real blood tests.

Blood could be seen percolating through the device before false readings popped up on the display.

The investors were kept in the dark. When VIPs visited Palo Alto, a pinprick of their blood was put in the Edison for show. Once they’d left the room, however, the blood sample was quickly dispatched to a lab and processed in a Siemens machine!

By now, you might be wondering how Theranos managed to pull off its scam in such a carefully regulated market. The answer is simple: it went to extraordinary lengths to dodge FDA regulation. The key to Theranos’ ploy was to pretend that the Edison wasn’t a medical device at all.Because the results were forwarded to Palo Alto for analysis, it claimed, the device was simply a tool for sending information. That meant it wasn’t subject to FDA regulation.

Theranos reluctantly changed its tack when Dr. Shoemaker, a lieutenant colonel in the US Army, insisted on having the boxes approved by the FDA before he would consider installing them in military field hospitals.The company promised that it’d conform to FDA standards but stalled just long enough for Shoemaker to retire. After that, the whole project was quietly dropped.

Discontent among employees was high, and the company had a huge staff turnover. Theranos protected its secrets by making workers sign confidentiality agreements, preventing the disgruntled from leaking compromising details to the press. Theranos had a trick up its sleeve,: it systematically hired Indian employees who were dependant on their work visas to remain in the United States. Recruiting staff from India was easy enough. Elizabeth’s boyfriend and second-in-command Sunny Balwani was Indian and had excellent connections in the country’s tech industry.

But these policies soon resulted in tragedy.Ian Gibbons, a British biochemist who’d been tirelessly working on Theranos’ immunoassays for years, committed suicide in 2013. Earlier, he’d been demoted for questioning the company’s honesty regarding the machines it was using for tests.As a result of his objections, he was replaced by a junior scientist with far fewer qualifications but one key asset: he didn’t rock the boat like Gibbons.

No one knows how many patients died as a result of Theranos’ reckless behavior. What we do know is that its Edison boxes were used one million times in Arizona alone before Walgreens pulled the plug on its collaboration with the company. Theranos was forced to repay the $4.65 billion it had received for carrying out blood tests in the state.

A lesson for entrepreneurs not to get carried away too far on their idea.

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Zero To One by Peter Thiel Summary

Categories *FREE*, EntrepreneurPosted on

Zero To One is an inside look at Peter Thiel’s philosophy and strategy for making your startup a success by looking at the lessons he learned from founding and selling PayPal, investing in Facebook and becoming a billionaire in the process.

There are books that give you great strategies for selling, marketing and planning your business. And then there are books that tell you to forget about all of that, so you can take an approach that’s so radically different, that you won’t even play in the same league as the readers of those other books.

This is one of those books. Peter Thiel is an anomaly, to say the least. A chess master under age 21, a doctorate in law by age 25, and a company sale for $1.5 billion at age 35.

Zero To One will teach you the way he thinks, how he approaches business, and what you can do to build your startup’s own future and shape the future of the world in the process.

Here are 3 lessons from the book:

  • The biggest leaps in progress are vertical, not horizontal.
  • Monopolies are good, for both business and society.
  • Founders need a vision to take their business from zero toone.

Let’s see how the future is made!

Lesson 1: The biggest leaps in progress are vertical, not horizontal.

Can you imagine what the year 2200 will look like? It’s hard, isn’t it? That’s because you know the world is making tremendous progress every year, but it’s almost impossible to know what that will look like.

But not all progress is created equal. Most of the progress we see on a day-to-day basis is horizontal. This kind of progress spreads existing ideas and technologies from one to many or 1 to n. An example would be Apple making the computer personal – with the Apple II it finally became affordable for the masses to own one.

Vertical progress is what it takes to go from zero to one and create the technology or idea in the first place. Apple did this too when they came up with the iPhone in 2007 and changed the way we see and use phones altogether.

If you want to create a startup that’ll not only improve but drastically change the world, you have to go from zero to one, not one to many. You can only do that by critically questioning a lot of the assumptions you hold about the present.

Can people live on the moon? Is a world without cars possible? Will we be able to fully live off renewable energies?

These are the kinds of questions you should concern yourself with if you want to play (and win) big.

Lesson 2: Monopolies aren’t bad. They’re good. For business, and society.

How often have you complained about something not working the way you want it on a Windows computer? Don’t tell me, I’ve been a Microsoft user, I know. With 75% of the market running on Windows, they’re pretty much a monopoly – but is that really a bad thing?

No! Peter Thiel says that a monopoly simply means one company is doing something so much better than everyone else, that simply no one else can survive. This is actually good for everyone.

Think about Google. You love to use Google, because you know it’s the best search engine out there. Google loves setting its own prices and reaping 25% of their revenue as profit, so it can make its service even better.

And society should love it, because if ever someone came along and did beat Google, it would mean their search engine would probably have to be pretty spankin’ fantastic! Monopolies are nothing to scoff at – they’re actually what any business or startup should shoot for.

Lesson 3: If the founders don’t have a vision, a company can never go from zero to one.

But building a monopoly surely doesn’t happen over night. Thiel and a 50 person Paypal team spent years getting it to a place where it was the number one payment processor used by ebay customers, so they could finally leverage their monopoly position into selling the company.

Where did they find the motivation to stick with it? One word: vision.

When you look at founders of successful companies, you’ll find 90% of them are, in a way, weirdos. Steve Jobs is only the most prominent example, but actually plenty of entrepreneurs have a few quirks – and that’s good.

Being a little weird is what lets leaders develop a grand, if slightly delusional, vision for the future, which is exactly what companies need to go from zero to one.

Way back in 1999 Thiel said: “PayPal will give citizens worldwide more direct control over their currencies than they ever had before.” A mouthful? Sure! But he was right. His vision of the future showed an entirely different reality than the one he lived in, and the drive it instilled in himself and his team is exactly what led them to creating the very future they imagined.

So think big. As they say: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it, you’ll be among the stars.”

My personal take-aways

I always wonder what the best approach to success is. Do you start small, build something, then make it a little bigger next time, and iterate year after year, until you have something big? Or do you go straight for the top?

It seems like if you develop the mindset for the latter, you’ll end up playing in an entirely different league right from the start. A radical and eye-opening book, let the summary hook you and the book then convince you. Should you have even the slightest entrepreneurial inclination, then it’s time you learn how to go from Zero To One.

When by Daniel H. Pink: Summary

Categories *FREE*, ProductivityPosted on

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing breaks down the science of time so you can stop guessing when to do things and pick the best times to work, eat, sleep, have your coffee and even quit your job.

Here are 3 lessons about timing that’ll help you structure your life in better ways:

  • Our emotions run through the same cycle every single day.
  • Knowing how you “tick” will help you do your best at work.
  • Taking a break or an afternoon nap is not counterproductive,if anything, it helps you save time.

Lesson 1: There’s an emotional pattern each of us follows on any given day.

If I asked you to divide your day into three parts, you’d most likely first think of morning, afternoon, and evening. For thousands of years, humans have lived through this pattern. However, if I asked you to write down the dominating emotion for each of those parts for a week, we’d spot another, much subtler pattern, as a study by Cornell University analyzing 500 million tweets has found:

Morning peak. Whether it’s right after waking up or 1-2 hours later, most people feel pretty good early in the day.

Afternoon trough. You know how it’s tough to stay awake after lunch? This is it.

Evening rebound. Once you knock off work, even the toughest days take a turn, don’t they?

Regardless of age, race, gender, and nationality, we all go through some variant of this pattern on a daily basis. Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking Fast and Slow, confirmed this with the Day Reconstruction Method. This holds powerful implications for how we should go about our day, but it’s also a good pattern to be aware of to deal with your emotions more efficiently.

Lesson 2: Figure out your chronotype to produce your best work.

Keeping our daily, emotional cycle in mind, we can learn even more about ourselves if we combine it with something more familiar: our circadian rhythm. Over time, we naturally come to some insight as to when we have our highs and lows throughout the day. “I just can’t get up before 7,” “I’m a night owl,” and “I love to get up early” are lines we’ve all said or heard before.

While it’s easy to dismiss those as people not being used to certain behaviors, science says there’s some truth to all of them. How you feel at certain times during the day is called your chronotype, and there are three major ones, says Dan:

The lark. People like me, who love to get up early, and have all their emotional highs and lows a few hours earlier than most people.

The owl. If you don’t like getting up early and can really get to work around 9 PM, that’s you.

The third bird. The majority of people, who are neither late, nor early, and just follow the standard pattern.

Over 50% of folks go into the last category, meaning they should do analytical, logic-based work in the mornings, when they’re most alert. The more creative tasks, where it’s helpful if your mind wanders, should be reserved for the late afternoon. Larks should do the same earlier, while owls might want to do cognitive work late at night.

Whichever type you are, doing boring admin stuff in the afternoon trough is always a good idea!

Lesson 3: Regular breaks and nappuccinos help you save time, not lose it.

Public awareness about health has risen dramatically in recent years, so the view that breaks are a waste of time is largely outdated, though still prevalent in some older companies and institutions. The science behind how much we should work and how much we should relax is surprisingly much in favor of chilling out.

Time tracking company DeskTime did a study using millions of data points from their software, determining the ideal break to be 17 minutes for every 52 minutes of work. That’s one hour of down time for every three hours you work! While it’s easy to think that there’s no way this could lead to better results, they found that the quality of the work ended up being higher overall, compared to shorter or less frequent breaks.

But even if your boss won’t allow so much “slacking,” taking five minutes every hour to get up, move around, walk outside, get some fresh air, and have a glass of water, can make a significant difference in your productivity. Lastly, Dan recommends the ‘nappuccino.’ Ideally after lunch, you have a coffee, then set your timer to 20 minutes. If it takes you seven minutes to fall asleep, you’ll wake up a little later, fully refreshed and with the caffeine just kicking in.

Saving time by doing less, what a great motto, don’t you think?

The Five Big Ideas

  • Our cognitive abilities fluctuate over the course of a day.
  • Innovation and creativity are greatest when we are not at our best, at least with respect to our circadian rhythms. This is known as, “The Inspiration Paradox.”
  • Between 60 percent and 80 percent of people are “third birds”—neither larks or owls.
  • Lunch, not breakfast, is the most important meal of the day.
  • If you’re feeling stuck in the middle of a project, picture one person who’ll benefit from your efforts. Dedicating your work to that person will deepen your dedication to your task.

By Chapter Below:

Chapter 1. The Hidden Pattern of Everyday Life

In one study, positive affect—language revealing that Twitter users felt active, engaged, and hopeful—generally rose in the morning, plummeted in the afternoon, and climbed back up again in the early evening.

An important takeaway from one study on corporate executives is that communications with investors, and probably other critical managerial decisions and negotiations, should be conducted earlier in the day.

Scientists that measure the effect of time of day on brainpower have drawn three conclusions:

First, our cognitive abilities do not remain static over the course of a day. As Pink writes, “We are smarter, faster, dimmer, slower, more creative, and less creative in some parts of the day than others.”

Second, these daily fluctuations are more extreme than we realize. In fact, according to Russell Foster, a neuroscientist and chronobiologist at the University of Oxford, “[T]he performance change between the daily high point and the daily low point can be equivalent to the effect on performance of drinking the legal limit of alcohol,”

Third, how we do depends on what we’re doing. “Perhaps the main conclusion to be drawn from studies on the effects of time of day on performance,” says British psychologist Simon Folkard, “is that the best time to perform a particular task depends on the nature of that task.”

Innovation and creativity are greatest when we are not at our best, at least with respect to our circadian rhythms. This is known as “inspiration paradox.”

Our moods and performance oscillate during the day. For most of us, mood follows a common pattern: a peak, a trough, and a rebound. In the mornings, during the peak, most of us excel at analytic work that requires sharpness, vigilance, and focus. Later in the day, during the recovery, most of us do better on insight work that requires less inhibition and resolve.

According to research over several decades and across different continents, between about 60 percent and 80 percent of us are what Pink calls, “third birds”—neither larks or owls.

People born in the fall and winter are more likely to be larks; people born in the spring and summer are more likely to be owls.

To solve insight problems, type, task, and time need to align—what social scientists call “the synchrony effect.”

“All of us experience the day in three stages—a peak, a trough, and a rebound. And about three-quarters of us (larks and third birds) experience it in that order. But about one in four people, those whose genes or age make them night owls, experience the day in something closer to the reverse order—recovery, trough, peak.”

To do better in the morning:

Drink a glass of water when you wake up;

Avoid coffee immediately after you wake up;

Soak up the morning sun; and

Schedule talk-therapy appointments for the morning.

Chapter 2. Afternoons and Coffeespoons

In one study, judges were more likely to issue a favorable ruling— granting the prisoner parole or allowing him to remove an ankle monitor—in the morning than in the afternoon.

Science offers five guiding principles for restorative breaks:

Something beats nothing. High performers work for fifty-two minutes and then break for seventeen minutes.

Moving beats stationary. One study showed that hourly five-minute walking breaks boosted energy levels, sharpened focus, and “improved mood throughout the day and reduced feelings of fatigue in the late afternoon.”

Social beats solo. Research in South Korean workplaces shows that social breaks—talking with coworkers about something other than work—are more effective at reducing stress and improving mood than either cognitive breaks (answering e-mail) or nutrition breaks (getting a snack).

Outside beats inside. People who take short walks outdoors return with better moods and greater replenishment than people who walk indoors.

Fully detached beats semi-detached. Tech-free breaks also increase vigor and reduce emotional exhaustion.

“The most powerful lunch breaks have two key ingredients—autonomy and detachment. Autonomy—exercising some control over what you do, how you do it, when you do it, and whom you do it with—is critical for high performance, especially on complex tasks. But it’s equally crucial when we take breaks from complex tasks.”

Lunch, not breakfast, is the most important meal of the day.

The ideal naps— those that combine effectiveness with efficiency—are usually between ten and twenty minutes.

“Each day, alongside your list of tasks to complete, meetings to attend, and deadlines to hit, make a list of the breaks you’re going to take. Start by trying three breaks per day. List when you’re going to take those breaks, how long they’re going to last, and what you’re going to do in each. Even better, put the breaks into your phone or computer calendar so one of those annoying pings will remind you.”

The 20–20–20 rule: Before you begin a task, set a timer. Then, every twenty minutes, look at something twenty feet away for twenty seconds. If you’re working at a computer, this micro-break will rest your eyes and improve your posture, both of which can fight fatigue.

One of the simplest breaks of all: Stand up for sixty seconds, shake your arms and legs, flex your muscles, rotate your core, sit back down.

Take a five-minute walk every hour.

“In [Anders] Ericsson’s study, one factor that distinguished the best from the rest is that they took complete breaks during the afternoon (many even napped as part of their routine), whereas non-experts were less rigorous about pauses. We might think that superstars power straight through the day for hours on end. In fact, they practice with intense focus for forty-five- to ninety-minute bursts, then take meaningful restorative breaks.”

Chapter 3. Beginnings: Starting Right, Starting Again, and Starting Together

Beginnings have a far greater impact than most of us understand. Beginnings, in fact, can matter to the end.

“Although we can’t always determine when we start, we can exert some influence on beginnings—and considerable influence on the consequences of less than ideal ones. The recipe is straightforward. In most endeavors, we should be awake to the power of beginnings and aim to make a strong start. If that fails, we can try to make a fresh start. And if the beginning is beyond our control, we can enlist others to attempt a group start.”

These are the three principles of successful beginnings: Start right. Start again. Start together.

Before the project begins, convene with your team for a premortem. Ask them, “Assume it’s eighteen months from now and our project is a complete disaster. What went wrong?”

“By imagining failure in advance—by thinking through what might cause a false start—you can anticipate some of the potential problems and avoid them once the actual project begins.”

There are eighty-six days that are especially effective for making a fresh start:

  • Thefirst day of the month (twelve)
  • Mondays(fifty-two)
  • Thefirst day of spring, summer, fall, and winter (four)
  • Yourcountry’s Independence Day or the equivalent (one)
  • Theday of an important religious holiday—for example, Easter, Rosh Hashanah, Eidal-Fitr (one)
  • Yourbirthday (one)
  • Aloved one’s birthday (one)
  • Thefirst day of school or the first day of a semester (two)
  • Thefirst day of a new job (one)
  • The day after graduation (one)
  • Thefirst day back from vacation (two)
  • Theanniversary of your wedding, first date, or divorce (three)
  • Theanniversary of the day you started your job, the day you became a citizen, theday you adopted your dog or cat, the day you graduated from school oruniversity (four)
  • Theday you finish this book (one)

There are four situations when you should go first:

  • If you’re on a ballot (county commissioner, prom queen, the Oscars), being listed first gives you an edge.
  • If you’re not the default choice—for example, if you’re pitching against a firm that already has the account you’re seeking—going first can help you get afresh look from the decision-makers.
  • If there are relatively few competitors (say, five or fewer), going first can help you take advantage of the “primacy effect,” the tendency people have to remember the first thing in a series better than those that come later.
  • If you’re interviewing for a job and you’re up against several strong candidates, you might gain an edge from being first.

There are four situations when you should NOT go first:

  • If you are the default choice, don’t go first.
  • If there are many competitors (not necessarily strong ones, just a large number of them), going later can confer a small advantage and going last can confer a huge one.
  • If you’re operating in an uncertain environment, not being first can work to your benefit.
  • If the competition is meager, going toward the end can give you an edge by highlighting your differences.

To make a fast start in a new job:

Begin before you begin (e.g. pick a specific day and time when you visualize yourself “transforming” into your new role).

Let your results do the talking.

Stockpile your motivation.

Sustain your morale with small wins.

Chapter 4. Midpoints: What Hanukkah Candles and Midlife Malaise Can Teach Us About Motivation

“Happiness climbs high early in adulthood but begins to slide downward in the late thirties and early forties, dipping to a low in the fifties. But we recover quickly from this slump, and well-being later in life often exceeds that of our younger years.”

In one study, teams that were behind by just one point were more likely to win. In fact, home teams with a one-point deficit at halftime won more than 58 percent of the time.

According to the researchers, “[M]erely telling people they were slightly behind an opponent led them to exert more effort.”

The best hope for turning a slump into a spark involves three steps. First, be aware of midpoints. Don’t let them remain invisible. Second, use them to wake up rather than roll over. Third, at the midpoint, imagine that you’re behind to spark your motivation—but only by a little.

If you’re feeling stuck in the middle of a project, picture one person who’ll benefit from your efforts. Dedicating your work to that person will deepen your dedication to your task.

Chapter 5. Endings: Marathons, Chocolates, and the Power of Poignancy

“Endings of all kinds—of experiences, projects, semesters, negotiations, stages of life—shape our behavior in four predictable ways. They help us energize. They help us encode. They help us edit. And they help us elevate.”

“Someone who’s forty-nine is about three times more likely to run a marathon than someone who’s just a year older.”

“At the beginning of a pursuit, we’re generally more motivated by how far we’ve progressed; at the end, we’re generally more energized by trying to close the small gap that remains.”

“When we remember an event we assign the greatest weight to its most intense moment (the peak) and how it culminates (the end).” (For more on this, read The Power of Moments by Chip & Dan Heath.)

We downplay how long an episode lasts and magnify what happens at the end. Daniel Kahneman calls it “duration neglect.”

“This “end of life bias,” as the researchers call it, suggests that we believe people’s true selves are revealed at the end—even if their death is unexpected and the bulk of their lives evinced a far different self.”

“Adding a small component of sadness to an otherwise happy moment elevates that moment rather than diminishes it.”

“The best endings don’t leave us happy. Instead, they produce something richer—a rush of unexpected insight, a fleeting moment of transcendence, the possibility that by discarding what we wanted we’ve gotten what we need.”

If your answer to two or more of these is no, it might be time to quit your job.

Do you want to be in this job on your next work anniversary?

Is your current job both demanding and in your control?

If your job doesn’t provide both challenge and autonomy, and there’s nothing you can do to make things better, consider a move.

Does your boss allow you to do your best work?

Are you outside the three-to-five-year salary bump window?

Does your daily work align with your long-term goals?

Chapter 6. Synching Fast and Slow: The Secrets of Group Timings

“Groups must synchronize on three levels—to the boss, to the tribe, and to the heart.”

“The first principle of synching fast and slow is that group timing requires a boss—someone or something above and apart from the group itself to set the pace, maintain the standards, and focus the collective mind.”

“After individuals synch to the boss, the external standard that sets the pace of their work, they must synch to the tribe—to one another. That requires a deep sense of belonging.”

“Synching to the heart is the third principle of group timing. Synchronizing makes us feel good—and feeling good helps a group’s wheels turn more smoothly. Coordinating with others also makes us do good—and doing good enhances synchronization.”

Chapter 7. Thinking in Tenses: A Few Finals Words

“Research has shown we plan more effectively and behave more responsibly when the future feels more closely connected to the current moment and our current selves.”

Other Books by Daniel H. Pink

Drive

To Sell Is Human

Recommended Reading-If you like When, you may also enjoy the following books:

Ego is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Buy The Book: When

Print | Hardcover | Audiobook

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki : Summary

Categories *FREE*, MoneyPosted on
Robert Kiyosaki tells the story of his two Dad’s in his childhood. His own father and the father of his best friend. While he loved both, they were very different when it came to dealing with finances and  both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing.Rich Dad Poor Dad shows you how to start a journey to wealth by teaching you the right mindset, accounting basics and wealth building strategies, even if you’ve had no clue about personal finance until now.This book is a modern classic of personal finance. Although controversial and often heavily criticized, people have decided it’s worth reading – otherwise it wouldn’t have sold over 2 million copies.Rich Dad Poor Dad LessonsLesson 1: The Rich Don’t Work for MoneyLesson 2: Why Teach Financial Literacy?Lesson 3: Mind Your Own BusinessLesson 4: The History of Taxes and The Power of CorporationsLesson 5: The Rich Invent MoneyLesson 6: Work to Learn—Don’t Work for MoneyMany of us are too afraid of being branded as a weirdo, in order to exit the rat race. We let two main emotions everyone has around money dominate our decisions: fear and greed. That’s why we still stick to the outdated mantra “Go to school, go to college, get a job, play it safe.” when in reality no job is safe any more.For example, when you get a raise at your job, a wise choice would be to invest the extra money in something that builds wealth like stocks or bonds, which has medium to high risk, but also a very high reward. Maybe you find a good fund with a 60% chance to double your money within a year, but a 40% chance of losing it all. However, most likely your fear of losing the money altogether will keep you from doing so.But when your greed takes over, you might then spend the extra money on an improved lifestyle, like buying a car, and the payments eat up the money – this way you’re guaranteed to lose 100%. This already gives you a glimpse of how important it is to educate yourself financially. Since we receive no financial education in school or college, sadly, this is entirely up to you.Look around and you’ll see plenty of financially ignorant people in your own life. Just take a look at local politicians. Is their city in debt? Your mayor might be a great mayor, but unfortunately, no one ever taught him how to deal with money.For the same reason 38% of Americans don’t save anything for their retirement. The only way for you to counteract this is to start now. Today is the youngest you’ll ever be, so take a close look at what you can and can’t afford. This way you’ll be able to set realistic financial goals, even if it means waiting a few more years for that shiny new BMW.Next, adopt the mindset of “work to learn” instead of “work to earn”. Take a job in a field you have no clue about, such as sales, customer service or communications, to develop new skills – you never know what they might be good for. Set aside 5% of your income each month to buy books, courses and attend seminars on personal finance to start building your financial IQ.The first step towards building wealth lies in the mindset of managing risks, instead of avoiding them and learning about investments will teach you that it’s better to not play it safe, because that always means missing out on big potential rewards. Don’t start big, just set aside a small amount, like $1,000 or even $100, and invest it in stocks, bonds, or even tax lien certificates. Treat the money as if it’s gone forever and you’ll worry less about losing it.As soon as you start your journey towards wealth, you’ll realize that it’ll be quite a long one. That’s why it’s important to stay motivated. Kiyosaki suggests creating an “I want” and an “I don’t want” list, with items like: “I want to retire at age 50.” or “I don’t want to end up like my broke uncle.”Another idea is to pay yourself first each month. Take the portion of your salary you want to spend on stocks or your financial education, invest it and pay your bills afterwards. It’ll create pressure to be creative in making money and show you what you can afford.Use your money to acquire assets instead of liabilities. Assets are stocks, bonds, real estate that you rent out, royalties (for example from music) and anything that generates money and increases in value over time. Liabilities can be cars or electronics with maintenance costs and monthly payments, a house with a mortgage, and of course debt – basically anything that takes money out of your pocket each month.There’s no rush. Just stay at your full time job and “mind your own business”. In this case, your job is what pays the bills and your business is what makes you wealthy. Build your business on the side and use it to invest in assets until your assets eventually become the main source of your income. You can even file a corporation to be taxed only after you’ve earned and invested, instead of being taxed before investing as an employee and trying to live off what’s left.The most important thing is that you start today. You are your own biggest asset, so the first thing you should put some money into is yourself.My Rich Dad Poor Dad ReviewIt is said that that most of the story is made up but that there’s so much criticism around Robert and the book. However, that doesn’t make it less of a good story or advice.The book isn’t too long either, and the initial story is mostly covered in the first 50 pages, so I highly recommend you get a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad and read it yourself. ?Who would I recommend the Rich Dad Poor Dad summary to?The 9 year old who just got her first allowance, the 42 year old who’s worried about her job being secure and anyone who doesn’t know what the definition of an asset is.Rich Dad Poor Dad Summary“There is a difference between being poor and being broke. Broke is temporary. Poor is eternal.”“Money comes and goes, but if you have the education about how money works, you gain power over it and can begin building wealth.”“People’s lives are forever controlled by two emotions: fear and greed.”“So many people say, ‘Oh, I’m not interested in money.’ Yet they’ll work at a job for eight hours a day.”“Thinking that a job makes you secure is lying to yourself.”“Intelligence solves problems and produces money.”“You must know the difference between an asset and a liability, and buy assets.”An asset puts money in your pocket. A liability takes money out of your pocket.“Illiteracy, both in words and numbers, is the foundation of financial struggle.”“Money often makes obvious our tragic human flaws, putting a spotlight on what we don’t know.”“Cash flow tells the story of how a person handles money.”“Most people don’t understand why they struggle financially because they don’t understand cash flow.”“The number-one expense for most people is taxes.”Higher incomes cause higher taxes. This is known as “bracket creep.”“More money seldom solves someone’s money problems.”“The fear of being different prevents most people from seeking new ways to solve their problems.”“A person can be highly educated, professionally successful, and financially illiterate.”“Many financial problems are caused by trying to keep up with the Joneses.”Once you understand the difference between assets and liabilities, concentrate your efforts on buying income-generating assets.“The problem with simply working harder is that each of these three levels takes a greater share of your increased efforts. You need to learn how to have your increased efforts benefit you and your family directly.”“Wealth is a person’s ability to survive so many number of days forward—or, if I stopped working today, how long could I survive?”“The rich buy assets. The poor only have expenses. The middle class buy liabilities they think are assets.”“The rich focus on their asset columns while everyone else focuses on their income statements.”“Financial struggle is often directly the result of people working all their lives for someone else.”“The mistake in becoming what you study is that too many people forget to mind their own business. They spend their lives minding someone else’s business and making that person rich.”“To become financially secure, a person needs to mind their own business.”“Financial struggle is often the result of people working all their lives for someone else.”“The primary reason the majority of the poor and middle class are fiscally conservative—which means, ‘I can’t afford to take risks’—is that they have no financial foundation.”“One of the main reasons net worth is not accurate is simply because, the moment you begin selling your assets, you are taxed for any gains.”“A new car loses nearly 25 percent of the price you pay for it the moment you drive it off the lot.”“Keep expenses low, reduce liabilities, and diligently build a base of solid assets.”According to Kiyosaki, real assets fall into the following categories:Stocks, Bonds,Income-generating real estate,  Notes (IOUs), Royalties from intellectual property such as music, scripts, and patents. Anything else that has value, produces income or appreciates, and has a ready market“Businesses that do not require my presence I own them, but they are managed or run by other people. If I have to work there, it’s not a business. It becomes my job.”“For people who hate real estate, they shouldn’t buy it.”Kiyosaki generally holds real estate less than seven years.Start minding your own business. Keep your daytime job, but start buying real assets, not liabilities. When Kiyosaki says mind your own business, he means building and keeping your asset column strong. Once a dollar goes into it, never let it come out.“The best thing about money is that it works 24 hours a day and can work for generations.”“An important distinction is that rich people buy luxuries last, while the poor and middle-class tend to buy luxuries first.”“A true luxury is a reward for investing in and developing a real asset.”Kiyosaki’s rich dad did not see Robin Hood as a hero. He called Robin Hood a crook.“If you work for money, you give the power to you employer. If money works for you, you keep the power and control it.”“Each dollar in my asset column was a great employee, working hard to make more employees and buy the boss a new Porsche.”Kiyosaki reminds people that financial IQ is made up of knowledge from four broad areas of expertise:Accounting, Investing, Understanding markets, The law“A corporation earns, spends everything it can, and is taxed on anything that is left. It’s one of the biggest legal tax loopholes that the rich use.”“Garret Sutton’s books on corporations provide wonderful insight into the power of personal corporations.”“Often in the real world, it’s not the smart who get ahead, but the bold.”Kiyosaki sees one thing in common in all of us, himself included. We all have tremendous potential, and we all are blessed with gifts. Yet the one thing that holds all of us back is some degree of self-doubt.In Kiyosaki’s personal experience, your financial genius requires both technical knowledge as well as courage.Kiyosaki always encourages adult students to look at games as reflecting back to them what they know and what they need to learn.“Games reflect behavior. They are instant feedback systems.”“Financial intelligence is simply having more options.”“The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth.”“The world is always handing you opportunities of a lifetime, every day of your life, but all too often we fail to see them.”Richard uses two main vehicles to achieve financial growth: real estate and small-cap stocks.“Simple math and common sense are all you need to do well financially.”“The problem with ‘secure’ investments is that they are often sanitized, that is, made so safe that the gains are less.”“It is not gambling if you know what you’re doing. It is gambling if you’re just throwing money into a deal and praying.”“Most people never get wealthy simply because they are not trained financially to recognize opportunities right in front of them.”“Great opportunities are not seen with your eyes. They are seen with your mind.”“You want to know a little about a lot” was rich dad’s suggestion.“Job is an acronym for ‘Just Over Broke.’”“Look down the road at what skills they want to acquire before choosing a specific profession and before getting trapped in the Rat Race.”“Education is more valuable than money, in the long run.”“The reason so many talented people are poor is because they focus on building a better hamburger and know little to nothing about business systems.”The main management skills needed for success are:Management of cash flowManagement of systemsManagement of people“The most important specialized skills are sales and marketing.”“To be truly rich, we need to be able to give as well as to receive.”“Giving money is the secret to most great wealthy families.”“The primary difference between a rich person and a poor person is how they manage fear.”There are five main reasons why financially literate people may still not develop abundant asset columns that could produce a large cash flow. The five reasons are:Fear, Cynicism ,Laziness, Bad habits , Arrogance“For most people, the reason they don’t win financially is because the pain of losing money is far greater than the joy of being rich.”“Failure inspires winners. Failure defeats losers.”“Real estate is a powerful investment tool for anyone seeking financial independence or freedom.”“A great property manager is key to success in real estate.”The most common form of laziness is staying busy.“Rich dad believed that the words ‘I can’t afford it’ shut down your brain. ‘How can I afford it?’ opens up possibilities, excitement, and dreams.”“Whenever you find yourself avoiding something you know you should be doing, then the only thing to ask yourself is, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Be a little greedy. It’s the best cure for laziness.”Richard has found that many people use arrogance to try to hide their own ignorance.“There is gold everywhere. Most people are not trained to see it.”“To find million-dollar ‘deals of a lifetime’ requires us to call on our financial genius.”A reason or a purpose is a combination of ‘wants’ and ‘don’t wants.’”“Most people simply buy investments rather than first investing in learning about investing.”Richard believes one of the hardest things about wealth-building is to be true to yourself and to be willing to not go along with the crowd.“The rich know that savings are only used to create more money, not to pay bills.”“The sophisticated investor’s first question is: ‘How fast do I get my money back?’”If Richard could leave one single idea with you, it is that idea. Whenever you feel short or in need of something, give what you want first and it will come back in buckets.In the world of accounting, there are three different types of income:Ordinary earned, Portfolio, PassiveRecommended ReadingIf you like Rich Dad Poor Dad, you may also enjoy the following books:How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale CarnegieSecrets of The Millionaire Mind by T. Harv EkerThink and Grow Rich by Napolean HillBuy The Book: Rich Dad Poor Dad

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Categories *FREE*, Personal growthPosted on

Finding something important and meaningful in your life is the most productive use of your time and energy. This is true because every life has problems associated with it and finding meaning in your life will help you sustain the effort needed to overcome the particular problems you face. Thus, we can say that the key to living a good life is not giving a fuck about more things, but rather, giving a fuck only about the things that align with your personal values.

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck does away with the positive psychology craze to instead give you a Stoic, no bullshit approach to living a life that might not always be happy, but meaningful and centered only around what’s important to you.

Lesson 1: Only hold values you control.

Mark(the author) is a very stoic guy and it shines through his writing and advice. A common idea in Stoicism is to focus only on the things you can control. This is easy enough to understand and implement when it comes to your actions, but it can be applied to more intangible aspects of your life as well.

Take your values, for example. I know it’s hard to put them into words, but if you try to describe yourself in, say, three adjectives, you already have a good idea of which values most dictate your life. Let’s say you chose the words honest, punctual and popular. Here’s where Mark makes an interesting remark: Only choose to have values you can control.

Most of us give up some of our ideals as we grow up, try to have a career and make money. While that’s just part of real life, it’s important you don’t hand off the steering wheel altogether. Values you don’t control are bad, because they’ll be a constant source of unnecessary suffering in your life.

When we look at the three we just mentioned, honesty is 100% in your control. Only you know how honest you are, but no one else needs to. Punctuality is partially in your control. If you always leave with plenty of buffer time, you can compensate for most potential obstacles. Popularity, however, is totally out of your grasp. Sure, you can be nice and friendly to everyone, but you can’t control other peoples’ opinions. Some will always hate you, no matter what you do.

Therefore, popularity isn’t the best value to focus on and you could try replacing it with one more controllable, such as kindness.

Lesson 2: Certainty hampers growth.

What a great principle distilled into just three words: certainty hampers growth. Imagine you could choose between two modes of moving through the world: one in which you think everything you know is 100% true and one in which you think nothing you know is 100% true. Both are stressful, but which one do you think would help you make better decisions?

The latter, of course. While there’s some middle ground to be found here, rejecting the idea that you know anything for sure is a great base to start learning from. This is true for discovering factual knowledge, such as using the scientific method to build business hypotheses helps arrive at better conclusions, but it is also true for gaining conceptual knowledge.

The second kind is more implicit knowledge about the relationships between various entities. Let’s take your place in the social hierarchy at school, for example. If you’re convinced you’re ugly, you’ll be sad a lot. But if you notice that you get lots of compliments at school, people call you charming and some have a crush on you, that’s evidence your brain is playing you with false certainty.

If you allow yourself to have a little doubt, you can then disprove this limiting belief you hold about yourself.

Lesson 3: Don’t obsess about leaving a legacy.

Here’s an uncomfortable, but important reminder: You’re going to die one day. We all are. Whether we admit it or not, when the time comes closer, we’re all scared. That’s why many of us want to leave a legacy, myself included. However, Mark says that might ruin our short amount of precious time here on earth.

The more we’re driven to build a great body of work, the more start chasing fame, working too much and focusing on the future. What if instead, we just tried to be useful in the present? We could still help a ton of people, enjoy our days and fully be here, while we’re here.

Mark’s stance is clear: Find ways to bring yourself, your loved ones and the people you meet joy in the now and let the legacy part take care of itself.

For as much as I love positive psychology, sometimes it just doesn’t work, even for me. There’s another mode that might sound odd, but still works: toiling. You know how you have the occasional week where it’s literally just grinding? Even if you usually like your job, nothing exciting happens for a few days, you have a lot of deadlines and you just toil away to get it done.

It’s the mode I’m in right now and weirdly, it’s still kinda satisfying. Probably, because it feels liberating not to have to ooze happy vibes all the time. Blogging demigod Mark Manson has coined a better phrase for this mode of operation: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck. His first “proper” book, this instant New York Times bestseller is a no BS self-help book for people who usually hate self-help.

Mark gets that life has become overwhelming and the only way to find our center around the things that really matter to us is to not give a f*ck about anything else.

Here are my 3 favorite lessons:

  • Values you can’t control are bad values to follow.
  • Don’tbelieve you know anything with certainty, for it keeps you from improving.
  • Tryingto leave a legacy might ruin your life.

The trick of not giving a fuck about most things is that you’ll be able to give one about what really matters to you. Let’s see how we can get a bit closer to that!

Lesson 1: Only hold values you control.

Mark is a very Stoic guy and it shines through his writing and advice. A common idea in Stoicism is to focus only on the things you can control. This is easy enough to understand and implement when it comes to your actions, but it can be applied to more intangible aspects of your life as well.

Take your values, for example. I know it’s hard to put them into words, but if you try to describe yourself in, say, three adjectives, you already have a good idea of which values most dictate your life. Let’s say you chose the words honest, punctual and popular. Here’s where Mark makes an interesting remark: Only choose to have values you can control.

Most of us give up some of our ideals as we grow up, try to have a career and make money. While that’s just part of real life, it’s important you don’t hand off the steering wheel altogether. Values you don’t control are bad, because they’ll be a constant source of unnecessary suffering in your life.

When we look at the three we just mentioned, honesty is 100% in your control. Only you know how honest you are, but no one else needs to. Punctuality is partially in your control. If you always leave with plenty of buffer time, you can compensate for most potential obstacles. Popularity, however, is totally out of your grasp. Sure, you can be nice and friendly to everyone, but you can’t control other peoples’ opinions. Some will always hate you, no matter what you do.

Therefore, popularity isn’t the best value to focus on and you could try replacing it with one more controllable, such as kindness.

Lesson 2: Certainty hampers growth.

What a great principle distilled into just three words: certainty hampers growth. Imagine you could choose between two modes of moving through the world: one in which you think everything you know is 100% true and one in which you think nothing you know is 100% true. Both are stressful, but which one do you think would help you make better decisions?

The latter, of course. While there’s some middle ground to be found here, rejecting the idea that you know anything for sure is a great base to start learning from. This is true for discovering factual knowledge, such as using the scientific method to build business hypotheses helps arrive at better conclusions, but it is also true for gaining conceptual knowledge.

The second kind is more implicit knowledge about the relationships between various entities. Let’s take your place in the social hierarchy at school, for example. If you’re convinced you’re ugly, you’ll be sad a lot. But if you notice that you get lots of compliments at school, people call you charming and some have a crush on you, that’s evidence your brain is playing you with false certainty.

If you allow yourself to have a little doubt, you can then disprove this limiting belief you hold about yourself.

Lesson 3: Don’t obsess about leaving a legacy.

Here’s an uncomfortable, but important reminder: You’re going to die one day. We all are. Whether we admit it or not, when the time comes closer, we’re all scared. That’s why many of us want to leave a legacy, myself included. However, Mark says that might ruin our short amount of precious time here on earth.

The more we’re driven to build a great body of work, the more start chasing fame, working too much and focusing on the future. What if instead, we just tried to be useful in the present? We could still help a ton of people, enjoy our days and fully be here, while we’re here.

Mark’s stance is clear: Find ways to bring yourself, your loved ones and the people you meet joy in the now and let the legacy part take care of itself.

My personal take-aways

Mark’s writing is funny and to the point. No bullshit, lots of curse words, but lots of insight too. It’s a medium long book with just over 200 pages, but light in terms of how fast you get through, because Mark uses many examples too. I already learned another lesson from the first chapter: success has nothing to do with self-improvement. You can read that chapter as a free preview on Scribd.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is a book that challenges the conventions of self-help by inviting the reader to NOT try, say no often and embrace negative thinking.

Not giving a f*ck is about being comfortable with being different and caring about something more important than adversity.

You must give a f*ck about something.

The Five Big Ideas

Conventional self-help advice focuses on what you’re NOT. Further, it zeros in on what you perceive your personal shortcomings and failures to already be, and highlights them for you.

The key to a good life is not giving a f*ck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.

When you feel angry about feeling angry or anxious about feeling anxious, you’re stuck in what Manson calls, “The Feedback Loop from Hell.”

However, by not giving a f*ck that you feel bad, you short-circuit the Feedback Loop from Hell; you say to yourself, “I feel like s*it, but who gives a f*ck?”

Because there’s an infinite amount of things we can now see or know, there is also an infinite number of ways we can discover that we don’t measure up, that we’re not good enough, that things aren’t as great as they could be. And this rips us apart inside.

What Not Giving a F*ck Means

Subtlety #1: Not giving a f*ck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

A sneaky truth about life. There’s no such thing as not giving a f*ck. You must give a f*ck about something.

You can’t be an important and life-changing presence for some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.

Subtlety #2: To not give a f*ck about adversity, you must first give a f*ck about something more important than adversity.

If you find yourself consistently giving too many f*cks about trivial s*it that bothers you, chances are you don’t have much going on in your life to give a legitimate f*ck about.

Subtlety #3: Whether you realize it or not, you are always choosing what to give a f*ck about.

Maturity is what happens when one learns to only give a f*ck about what’s truly f*ckworthy.

The idea of not giving a f*ck is a simple way of reorienting our expectations for life and choosing what is important and what is not.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Summary

The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.

The more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. Philosopher Alan Watts used to refer to as “The Backwards Law” (further reading: the hedonic treadmill).

Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.

To not give a f*ck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action.

When you give too many f*cks—when you give a f*ck about everyone and everything—you will feel that you’re perpetually entitled to be comfortable and happy at all times, that everything is supposed to be just exactly the f*cking way you want it to be.

Pain and loss are inevitable and we should let go of trying to resist them.

The greatest truths in life are usually the most unpleasant to hear.

We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful. It is nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change.

Don’t hope for a life without problems. There’s no such thing. Instead, hope for a life full of good problems.

Problems never stop; they merely get exchanged and/or upgraded.

Happiness comes from problems you enjoy having and solving.

Nobody who is actually happy has to stand in front of a mirror and tell himself that he’s happy.

Emotions are simply biological signals designed to nudge you in the direction of beneficial change.

Negative emotions are a call to action. When you feel them, it’s because you’re supposed to do something. (Tony Robbins discusses this in detail in Awaken the Giant Within.)

Just because something feels good doesn’t mean it is good.

Everything comes with an inherent sacrifice—whatever makes us feel good will also inevitably make us feel bad.

A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider, is, “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

What determines your success isn’t, “What do you want to enjoy?” The relevant question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The path to happiness is a path full of s*itheaps and shame.

Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.

Our struggles determine our successes.

Our problems birth our happiness, along with slightly better, slightly upgraded problems.

The problem with the self-esteem movement is that it measured self-esteem by how positively people felt about themselves. But a true and accurate measurement of one’s self-worth is how people feel about the negative aspects of themselves.

People who feel entitled view every occurrence in their life as either an affirmation of or a threat to, their own greatness.

The true measurement of self-worth is not how a person feels about her positive experiences, but rather how she feels about her negative experiences.

A person who actually has a high self-worth is able to look at the negative parts of his character frankly—“Yes, sometimes I’m irresponsible with money,” “Yes, sometimes I exaggerate my own successes,” “Yes, I rely too much on others to support me and should be more self-reliant”—and then acts to improve upon them.

A lot of people are afraid to accept mediocrity because they believe that if they accept it, they’ll never achieve anything, never improve and that their life won’t matter.

The rare people who do become truly exceptional at something do so not because they believe they’re exceptional. On the contrary, they become amazing because they’re obsessed with improvement. And that obsession with improvement stems from an unerring belief that they are, in fact, not that great at all.

If suffering is inevitable, if our problems in life are unavoidable, then the question we should be asking is not “How do I stop suffering?” but “Why am I suffering—for what purpose?”

Self-awareness is like an onion. The first layer is a simple understanding of one’s emotions. The second layer is an ability to ask why we feel certain emotions. This layer of questioning helps us understand the root cause of the emotions that overwhelm us. Once we understand that root cause, we can ideally do something to change it. The third level is our personal values: Why do I consider this to be success/failure? How am I choosing to measure myself? By what standard am I judging myself and everyone around me?

Values underlie everything we are and do. If what we value is unhelpful, if what we consider success/failure is poorly chosen, then everything based upon those values—the thoughts, the emotions, the day-to-day feelings—will all be out of whack.

Much of the advice out there operates at a shallow level of simply trying to make people feel good in the short term, while the real long-term problems never get solved.

Take a moment and think of something that’s really bugging you. Now ask yourself why it bugs you. Chances are the answer will involve a failure of some sort.

What is objectively true about your situation is not as important as how you come to see the situation, how you choose to measure it and value it.

Our values determine the metrics by which we measure ourselves and everyone else.

If you want to change how you see your problems, you have to change what you value and/or how you measure failure/success.

Pleasure is not the cause of happiness; rather, it is the effect.

Research shows that once one is able to provide for basic physical needs (food, shelter, and so on), the correlation between happiness and worldly success quickly approaches zero.

Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems—problems which, by the way, if you’re choosing the right values and metrics, should be invigorating you and motivating you.

When we force ourselves to stay positive at all times, we deny the existence of our life’s problems. And when we deny our problems, we rob ourselves of the chance to solve them and generate happiness.

Problems add a sense of meaning and importance to our lives.

Some of the greatest moments of one’s life are not pleasant, not successful, not known, and not positive.

Good values are 1) reality-based, 2) socially constructive, and 3) immediate and controllable. Bad values are 1) superstitious, 2) socially destructive, and 3) not immediate or controllable.

When we have poor values—that is, poor standards we set for ourselves and others—we are essentially giving f*cks about the things that don’t matter, things that in fact make our life worse.

Often the only difference between a problem being painful or being powerful is a sense that we chose it, and that we are responsible for it.

If you’re miserable in your current situation, chances are it’s because you feel like some part of it is outside your control—that there’s a problem you have no ability to solve, a problem that was somehow thrust upon you without your choosing.

We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond. (Ryan Holiday writes at length about perspective in The Obstacle Is the Way.)

The more we choose to accept responsibility for our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. (“Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life” is Principle #1 in The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.)

Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them.

A lot of people hesitate to take responsibility for their problems because they believe that to be responsible for your problems is to also be at fault for your problems.

The responsibility/fault fallacy allows people to pass off the responsibility for solving their problems to others.

Our beliefs are malleable, and our memories are horribly unreliable.

The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it. Manson calls this, “The Law of Avoidance”

When we let go of the stories we tell about ourselves, to ourselves, we free ourselves up to actually act (and fail) and grow.

There is little that is unique or special about your problems. That’s why letting go is so liberating.

The narrower and rarer the identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible.

Questions that will help you breed more uncertainty in your life.

What if I’m wrong?

What would it mean if I were wrong?

Would being wrong create a better or a worse problem than my current problem, for both myself and others?

It’s worth remembering that for any change to happen in your life, you must be wrong about something.

Being able to look at and evaluate different values without necessarily adopting them is perhaps the central skill required in changing one’s own life in a meaningful way.

Manson tries to live with few rules, but one that he’s adopted over the years is this: if it’s down to him being screwed up, or everybody else being screwed up, it is far, far, far more likely that he’s the one who’s screwed up.

If it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are it’s really just you versus yourself.

Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures, and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something. If someone is better than you at something, then it’s likely because she has failed at it more than you have. If someone is worse than you, it’s likely because he hasn’t been through all of the painful learning experiences you have.

We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.

Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway.

Action isn’t just the effect of motivation; it’s also the cause of it.

If you lack the motivation to make an important change in your life, do something—anything, really—and then harness the reaction to that action as a way to begin motivating yourself.

When the standard of success becomes merely acting—when any result is regarded as progress and important, when inspiration is seen as a reward rather than a prerequisite—we propel ourselves ahead. We feel free to fail, and that failure moves us forward.

Ultimately, the only way to achieve meaning and a sense of importance in one’s life is through a rejection of alternatives, a narrowing of freedom, a choice of commitment to one place, one belief, or (gulp) one person.

We all must give a f*ck about something, in order to value something. And to value something, we must reject what is not that something.

The desire to avoid rejection at all costs, to avoid confrontation and conflict, the desire to attempt to accept everything equally and to make everything cohere and harmonize, is a deep and subtle form of entitlement.

The difference between a healthy and an unhealthy relationship comes down to two things: 1) how well each person in the relationship accepts responsibility, and 2) the willingness of each person to both reject and be rejected by their partner.

The mark of an unhealthy relationship is two people who try to solve each other’s problems in order to feel good about themselves. Rather, a healthy relationship is when two people solve their own problems in order to feel good about each other.

Entitled people who blame others for their own emotions and actions do so because they believe that if they constantly paint themselves as victims, eventually someone will come along and save them, and they will receive the love they’ve always wanted. Entitled people who take the blame for other people’s emotions and actions do so because they believe that if they “fix” their partner and save him or her, they will receive the love and appreciation they’ve always wanted.

It can be difficult for people to recognize the difference between doing something out of obligation and doing it voluntarily. So here’s a litmus test: ask yourself, “If I refused, how would the relationship change?” Similarly, ask, “If my partner refused something I wanted, how would the relationship change?”

It’s not about giving a f*ck about everything your partner gives a f*ck about; it’s about giving a f*ck about your partner regardless of the f*cks he or she gives.

Conflict exists to show us who is there for us unconditionally and who is just there for the benefits.

For a relationship to be healthy, both people must be willing and able to both say no and hear no.

When trust is destroyed, it can be rebuilt only if the following two steps happen: 1) the trust-breaker admits the true values that caused the breach and owns up to them, and 2) the trust-breaker builds a solid track record of improved behavior over time.

Death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured.

Confronting the reality of our own mortality is important because it obliterates all the crappy, fragile, superficial values in life.

You are going to die, and that’s because you were fortunate enough to have lived.

If you like The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, you may also enjoy the following books:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven

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