I. IDENTIFY CORE COMPONENTS
II. DELIBERATE PRACTICE
III. BREAKING PLATEAUS
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
Mastery by George Leonard
Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin
Mastery by Robert Greene
The Four Hour Chef by Tim Ferriss
The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin
How much time do you really spend on social networks? Before you answer, consider how you arrived at this post:
During a slot in your calendar marked ‘Read Facebook’ or ‘Check Tumblr’?
Our brains are conditioned to crave the instant gratification and social validation of sites such as these. For most of us, visiting networks is a habit ingrained into our subconscious from years of non-deliberate practice.
While there are existing solutions in the form of site-blockers, I’ve never found long-term success with them. They are too easily circumvented by switching browsers and devices. I propose an alternate solution:
As you go through your day, make a list of everything you do. Including, most importantly, which websites you visit: every time you search, switch tabs, check your phone, etc. EVERY SINGLE TIME. By writing it down, you will have ripped your automatic habit into the realm of conscious action. At this point, visiting the network becomes choice, rather than an impalpable obligation.
You should write down everything because ‘write down everything’ is much easier to remember than ‘write down websites’. As a side benefit, you’ll likely find other areas that desire improvement. (Or business ideas, which was the initial purpose of this exercise.) It may seem like a big time investment, but the 5 seconds spent writing ‘Facebook’ and closing the window is far less than the 5 minutes/hours you could have spent there.
I don’t advocate giving up social networks entirely - they offer a glimpse into the development of both our closest friends and distant strangers. But consider how much of your time is spent making genuine connections, and how much of it is mindlessly scrolling through gifs.
Takeaway: Make a list of everything you do to eliminate bad habits.
I Wanna Be the Guy
There are hard games. And then there is Guy. Eight stages of merciless double-jumping cherry-dodging post-retro Mike Tyson whopping. It took me over 6 hours just to beat the final boss.
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Peter Thiel’s Stanford Course on Startups
If The Lean Startup is a guide to practical functions of startups, then this class is the philosophical side. Namely - why should you start a company, and what should it do? The course covered a wide range of topics, from company culture to future speculation to mimetic theory.
In short: Why be a king, when you can be a Jobs?
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Ubersleep: Nap Based Sleep Schedules
Polyphasic Sleeping is a technique that allows you to spend more time awake by replacing your normal sleep with naps throughout the day. It is the holy grail of life hacks.
I attempted the ‘Everyman 3’ schedule - 3.5 hours of core sleep, and three 20 minute naps. This worked for a few days until my parents forced me to watch American Hustle and I missed a nap, thus throwing off the whole schedule.
If you find yourself unmotivated to reach a goal, make the goal bigger.
I tried Uberman. 6 naps per day, with 3.7 hours between each one. By the second day I was so tired, I forgot when the naps were and spent the whole day in bed so I wouldn’t miss one. (The caffeine withdrawal didn’t help either.) I’m back to a regular schedule now, but there are alternate methods I may try in the future.
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