At 16, I discovered the best way to be productive: narrow down your to-do list to one thing only.
I called it MIT — not the university, but as in Most Important Task.
I found that reducing your to-do list to one big thing not just simplifies the day, it’s also way more efficient than shooting a dozen little things.
Six years have gone by.
And I now think that our ultimate Most Important Task is to simply make ourselves happy.
What makes you happy?
It’s a simple (even trite) yet essential question to ask yourself each morning.
It’s usually the little things. Friends. Music. Books. Nature. Dogs. Sex. Coffee. Love. Moleskine notebooks. Guacamole. The beach. The Beach Boys. Learning something new. Laughing until your belly hurts. Running. Swimming. Hiking. Bicycle. Surfing. Yoga. Pilates. Meditation. Goat cheese. Red wine. White wine. Fresh mint tea. …
We want to learn to catch, while all we need is to learn to throw. And let the catching take care of itself.
We write books and blogs and want them to be great.
We start businesses and want them to succeed and make us a million dollars.
We launch podcasts and assume we’ll beat Tim Ferris.
We’re doing it wrong.
How about we forget about getting and focus instead on giving? And I don’t mean people, I mean the task at hand.
In his new book on shipping creative work, The Practice, Seth Godin talks about a great metaphor for learning how to do anything creative. …
Everyone wants freedom.
But freedom itself is meaningless.
We become happier in the absence of freedom. When we have self-imposed constraints and limitations. When we have routines and habits. When we liberate ourselves from the mental burden of trying to understand where to go next and rely on our calendars’ predictability.
Paradoxically, we achieve everything we wished to achieve with freedom by not being free.
The key to internal freedom, it turns out, is not the absence of limitations — it’s the freedom to pick our limitations.
What to eat. Whom to date. What to wear. …
Insecure people (like yours truly) like to think. A lot. And the more we think, the less we do. Sometimes, my brain is my worst enemy.
But here’s the thing.
From the point of life in general, it doesn’t matter what you think. All that matters is what you do and what you feel.
Your actions define the course of your life, while your feelings define your experience of it.
What’s more important is that our actions are more important than feelings. We tend to act in a certain way because we feel a certain way. …
There’s no such thing as writer’s block. People confuse terminology.
When we say, “I’ve got a writer’s block” what we’re really referring to is “I want to write great and I can’t.”
There are two problems with this.
First, who told you that your writing is not great? You?
Just because you’re a talented writer doesn’t mean you’re a talented critic. You’re not in a position to judge or critique. Your job is to simply write. Let the market decide where you stand.
Second, where is your bad writing? Of course, you can’t expect to write great all the time. Sometimes you’ll write shit. Perhaps the time is now. But you must still write, because the good stuff has a tendency to break through the cracks, 1 out of 10. …
The extent to which you engage in life is defined by only one thing: your energy level.
And it is 100% under your control.
Your energy level is defined by:
If you eat shit, drink every day, smoke, and live in a polluted city with angry people around you (this is starting to sound very much like Moscow) — your energy level will be close to 0. …
We’ve all heard the phrase, “trust yourself.”
It’s popular. It feels good. It’s even true.
As my dad likes to say, “We’re the ultimate experts of ourselves.” Nobody can tell you what life you should live, what to eat for breakfast, whom to date, and where to work.
When you’re young, trusting yourself is a double-edged sword.
Yes, it’s important to “follow your bliss” and all of that. But if there’s anything you lack in your twenties, it’s experience. (Also, wit, knowledge, and perspective.)
Choices that seem right at first glance (e.g., go travel the world with a backpack) might actually be stupid choices. Dreams that seem yours (e.g., become a multi-millionaire by 30) might not be such. Beliefs that seem right (e.g., …
When you don’t know how to make a decision, chances are you already know what you want. You’re confused because there are other people’s voices in your head.
Step one is to shut them all off.
Once you’ve isolated yourself from unsolicited advice, it’s time to make a decision.
What do you actually want? Not what’s “right,” but what do you want? Sometimes these things correlate. Other times they don’t.
Heads or tails? Throw a nickel. It doesn’t matter which side wins. …
When I was applying to college, I had an SAT tutor from the States.
I guess I liked to talk during class. Because he once told me, “Opinions are like assholes… everyone has one. And they stink.”
After a while, I stopped coming to classes or paying him. But six years since, I still have opinions about everything.
Hell, this blog is nothing but a collection of my opinions — things I’ve noticed, seen, thought, or heard about myself or the world at large. …
When you’re young and stupid, it’s tempting to be free.
Roam the world, liberated from the shackles of obligations, commitments, and ‘security.’
But here’s the thing.
After living like this for a while, there inevitably comes the point when you start feeling worried for no apparent reason. And then it gets worse.
You’ll start indulging in self-destructive behavior. You’ll think you need to get away from it all. You’ll call it your existential crisis.
(I once heard somebody call it half-jokingly a ‘quarter-life crisis.’)
What it is, in reality, is just a high level of uncertainty.
The world is full of chaos. Look at Donald Trump, COVID-19, U.S. riots, global warming, Bitcoin spikes… As the world accelerates and becomes increasingly complex, the chaos will only increase. (The second law of thermodynamics.) …