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What am I working on now? [updated: 2017-03-08]
I am working on a course on spotting and overcoming cognitive biases. I’m exploring different ways to present these ideas – it’s a topic that other people cover and I want to add something new. For now, I have no time-frame for this. I will call it finished when I’m happy that it adds something unique.
Another idea I’m working on came to me while I was buying groceries. A woman stopped me on the street and tried to sell me some product. My usual approach is to wave these salespeople off but instead I had a chat with her. I did the same thing with another salesperson half an hour later. I said upfront that I only wanted to talk and I didn’t want to buy anything. They agreed and we spoke about whatever.
The point is that these salespeople are usually a small nuisance, yet I walked away from these conversations feeling great. I connected with people who just wanted to talk like robots. It was nice. And then I realised that there are hundreds of things like this in life – minor irritants that, with the right mindset, can help us relax, grow or learn. I want to turn this idea into a course or resource. My slightly-ambitious release date for this is sometime in April.
What minor irritations to you face on a regular basis? Email me your thoughts at contact (at) mindwalker.co
I come across a lot of valuable links when developing courses. I’ll steadily add to this list over time.
- Binaural Beats. Want to enhance your focus and productivity? Binaural beats are like performance-enhancing drugs in music form. The best ones are so good they should be illegal.
This is a complete list of the books mentioned in blogs and courses. Each of these comes with my personal endorsement. Each of these has changed my life. I promise they will change yours, too.
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg
- Your Creative Brain – Dr Shelley Carson
- Choose Yourself – James Altucher
- How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big – Scott Adams
- Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
- Make it Stick – Brown, Roediger, McDaniel
- Launch – Jeff Walker
- Presence – Amy Cuddy
- Tools of Titans – Tim Ferris
- Moonwalking with Einstein – Joshua Foer
- Soft-wired – Dr Michael Merzenich
A simple stretch for correcting your posture
It’s amazing the things you can get out of books.
Like a stretch that, in seconds, aligns your back into the correct posture. Most advice calls for months of developing your shoulder muscles (you should do that, too – but in the meantime, do this!)
I don’t know – you might have different results. But for me, this stretch instantly and effortlessly sets my neck, shoulders and hips all in their correct alignment. I’d never heard of this stretch before and some quick YouTube searches turn up nothing. I guess this isn’t common but it should be – it’s been part of my daily routine since.
The original stretch is called a J-curve but there seem to be a few things with that name. The version I read about uses a barbell, but I find it works using body weight. The process is:
- Stand upright, hands by your side, feet shoulder width apart.
- Tuck your chin to your chest. Feel the top of your spine curve forward.
- Make the next vertebrae curl forward in the same manner.
- Keep working your way down, one vertebra at a time, until you can reach your toes (or get as close as you can).
- Straighten up, starting with your lowermost vertebrae. Work your way up your spine.
- Untucking your chin should be the last bit of straightening.
- Relax and notice how well your posture settles into place.
The key to making this work is Step 3. You’re not so much bending your back as… well… kind of melting, is the way I think about it. If you imagine that you’re holding a barbell (like the original J-curve calls for), it will hug your legs the entire time.
What I like about this exercise is that it’s quick and simple. You can do it at your desk without looking too weird. Yesterday I did it in a toilet cubicle while wearing a suit right before a job interview. I must have done it dozens of times over the last few days and it always works.
Anyway, I thought I’d share this. May it serve you as well as it has served me.
(For those that are curious, the book is Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris. I’m a tiny way through it and have found at least six life-changing strategies. Can recommend.)
Two simple litanies
Litany of Tarski
If the box contains a diamond,
I desire to believe that the box contains a diamond;
If the box does not contain a diamond,
I desire to believe that the box does not contain a diamond;
Let me not become attached to beliefs I may not want.
Litany of Gendlin
What is true is already so.
Owning up to it doesn’t make it worse.
Not being open about it doesn’t make it go away.
And because it’s true, it is what is there to be interacted with.
Anything untrue isn’t there to be lived.
People can stand what is true,
for they are already enduring it.
These are so simple that anyone can understand them.
These are so advanced that few people live by them.
… how powerful…
… your thinking would be if you did.
A visual guide to Bayesian Thinking – Julia Galef
I’m always looking for ways to improve the art of thinking. Here’s a cool video introducing Bayesian Thinking. If you know about Bayes, you already know it’s a valuable tool for calculating probabilities… and changing the way you view the world. For a low-maths, visual, story-driven introduction to the topic, watch the video.
A simple way to tap into your energy and unlock your motivation is with a mantra. A mantra is a short, aspiration phrase. It is small but it is BIG. What do I mean? In a few words, in captures what you will become or what you will achieve if you are wildly, fantastically successful. It is the ultimate goal, the highest peak.
It starts with action. Some examples are:
- I will become…
- I will achieve…
- I will dominate…
- I will be…
It’s a reminder of what your future self will do. The second part is more personal. No one can tell you what your mantra is or should be. It has to be something that works for you. You’ll know it when you hear something that gets you fired up, that makes you enthusiastic about the journey ahead. Anything that makes you want to tackle your biggest obstacles is perfect.
I’ll share my mantra. I remind you that what works for me probably won’t work for you. This is especially true, since my mantra is a bit odd. Ready? It is:
I will be a RESONATOR
Most people would say “huh? What do you mean, a resonator?” For me, the imagery is perfect. It’s someone with global impact, that takes what is already there and elevates it to new heights. A resonator is powerful, unique and effective.
I doubt it has the same impact for you. For me, it gets me pumped. Every time I read it I get a burst of energy and inspiration. I want to conquer the world, make my presence felt. It makes me dream big and work towards it.
You probably shouldn’t share your mantra. If you picked it well, it probably means nothing to most people. I’m showing you mine to demonstrate what a mantra can look like. There’s no such thing as too strange, so long as it works for you.
Awesome exercises for boosting energy
You shouldn’t take exercise advice from skinny bloggers. Having said that, what I tell you is different from most advice because the goal is different. This won’t make you slender, buff or anything. If you want to look good or get fit, look elsewhere. If you want more energy and to be a little healthier, I’m your guy.
Both cardio and weights are important. But they aren’t equally important. In my experience, it depends on your body/personality type:
- If you are slim and energetic, and want to develop a calm focus – lift weights.
- If you are stocky and calm, and want to fire yourself up – do cardio.
A simple rule. An oversimplification, for sure, but it seems to work.
Start of slow. If you are feeling the workout, you are doing it right. If not, do it for longer. If you start feeling pain, stop. Think about it this way – you want to be able to exercise every day. In fact, you should be able to exercise again a few hours later. If you are too sore or tired, you have done too much, too soon.
Build up steadily. If you plateau, mix up your routine. If you slip, that’s okay. Be kind to yourself. You’re not a professional athlete – allow yourself the occasional bad week. But get back onto it as soon as you can.
If you stick with it, you’ll find yourself craving exercise. The cravings take hold stronger and faster if you exercise daily. Make a plan to do it every day for a few weeks then see how you feel. You’ll be amazed at what even light exercise can do.