Modern Bread and Games

In ancient Rome emperors tried to win the approval of the public with food and entertainment.

Today, this idea has evolved.

You are being addicted to food by the high amount of sugar in it, so you can’t stop eating it.
You are being addicted to the entertainment you consume by the way it is designed, so you can’t stop consuming it.
You are being addicted to comfort by the conveniences you have, so you try to avoid difficulty.

In contrast to ancient Rome no emperor tries to win your approval. You decide to eat that food, consume that entertainment and avoid difficulty yourself.

You make these choices.

Thus, it’s your responsibility to resist these addictions.

If you don’t…
… the food you eat will make you fat, sick and live a shorter life.
… the entertainment you consume will make you waste your time.
… the comfort you seek will make you weak.

If you do…
… you’ll be fit, healthy and attractive.
… you’ll be productive, creative and proud.
… you’ll be stronger, tougher and better.

The modern challenge is to resist these addiction to live a better life.

Less is More

Conventional wisdom suggests more is more.

If we lack results, we ought to work on more.
If we are unhappy, we ought to own more.
If we are bored, we ought to experience more.

What if, instead of…

…working on more, we work on less and focus on what is important?
… buying more, we appreciate what we have and develop gratitude?
… trying to escape boredom, we sit with it and examine it?

Doing less, buying less and experiencing less can lead to more.

More work that matters.
More satisfaction and happiness.
More self-awareness and tranquility.

Differentiate between meaningful and meaningless work.
Cultivate gratitude and self-respect.
Embrace boredom and learn from it.

Do less, be more.

Dealing with Setbacks

Whenever I encounter setbacks, feel frustrated or discouraged I turn to a specific page out of Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss.

The writing on this page reminds me that whatever I’m going through is temporary, that the pursuit of excellence is difficult and that I shouldn’t beat myself up for small bumps in the road.

Whenever you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope this helps you as well:

“Dealing with the temporary frustration of not making progress is an integral part of the path towards excellence. …
If the pursuit of excellence was easy, everyone would do it.
In fact, this impatience in dealing with frustration is the primary reason that most people fail to achieve their goals. Unreasonable expectations timewise, resulting in unnecessary frustration, due to a perceived feeling of failure.
Achieving the extraordinary is not a linear process.
The secret is to show up, do the work, and go home. A blue collar work ethic married to indomitable will. … Once the decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse to compromise.
And accept that quality long-term results, require quality long-term focus. No emotion. No drama. No beating yourself up over small bumps in the road.
Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. This is especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with those all too brief moments of triumph at the end.
Certainly celebrate the moments of triumph when they occur. More importantly, learn from defeats when they happen. In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough.
And absolutely refuse to accept less than your best.”

Christopher Summer, Tools of Titans

This is an edited version out of the book for better readability and understanding.

New Year in December

Most people make New Year’s resolutions around New Year.

But, what if you’d make New Year’s resolutions in December?

The idea is to specify what you want to do in 2020 one month in advance and execute.

One advantage of this strategy is that you’re on track when most people will go off track. When most people slack off and give way to bad habits between Christmas and New Year, you make progress. While most people struggle uphill, you go into January with quiet confidence.

Additionally, you have already gathered feedback on your resolutions when it’s New Year. While most people struggle to get into the game, you already have momentum on your side. While others delay by making plans, you evaluate your progress, adjust and keep going.

In this way you set yourself up for future success. While most people quit in January, you leverage your progress to get further ahead. This will make it more likely that you’ll stick with your resolutions long enough to turn them into a lifestyle.

If you make New Year’s resolutions in December you set yourself up for a head start in January. You have momentum that you can leverage to turn your resolutions into a lifestyle.

The Stop-Start-Method

can improve the world.

You can stop doing the things that are wrong.

These are things you shouldn’t be doing. Wasting time, eating unhealthy food or being mean towards other people.

Additionally, you can also start doing the things that are good.

These are things that you should be doing. Using your time productively, eating healthy food and addressing problems that you avoid.

You can stop doing what’s wrong and start doing what’s good.

Black Friday

On Black Friday most people spend too much money on things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.

Instead of letting Black Friday take advantage of you, take advantage of Black Friday – here is how:

Prepare.
Take time to list all things you think you need. Revisit your list often and remove what you no longer think you need.

Focus.
Stick to this list on Black Friday. No matter how attractive a deal looks, you’ve already decided that you don’t need it. Focus on what you need and resist the temptation to buy more.

Reduce exposure.
After shopping don’t expose yourself to more deals to avoid the risk of buying more things. Spend a limited time shopping and schedule meaningful activities for the rest of the day.

Bonus tip.
Use Black Friday to stock up on items you need most often during a year.

This way you use Black Friday for meaningful shopping.