➤ Assorted Thoughts

Some things that popped into my mind and I decided to write down. They may only apply to me. They may be incorrect. They may be well-known concepts that I’m reminding myself of. Take it all with a pinch of salt - but I’d love to hear any comments, so feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or email.

I’ll update this post every so often with additional thoughts.

  • Try to consciously pause for a split second and consider before acting. It can help break bad habits, and stop yourself doing or saying something stupid.
  • Is there a reason I shouldn’t do this?
  • I can eat it/watch it tomorrow. It won’t run out/disappear.
  • I should do it today. Compound improvement requires little and often. BUT! Be aware of the minimum effective dose. Two minutes, even if done daily, might not make a difference.
  • Try to catch the moments where you are (repeatedly) thinking about something unimportant or not urgent, and consciously tell yourself “later”. For me, this includes items on my to-do list that can’t be done until tomorrow, or whether option A or B is better when in reality I know it doesn’t matter.
  • Even though I don’t mind the cold and mentally treat it as a challenge, when I’m cold I’m more inclined to make bad decisions, such as overeat or not exercise. Although heating is bloody expensive right now, it’s an investment in a better me.
  • Use timers for productivity. The Pomodoro technique is great. I like Pomofocus.
  • When focussing (in deep work), have your phone recording in the background. If a thought arises that is distracting, speak/record it. Even if it would only take 30 seconds to check, it breaks your focus and reduces your productivity.
  • How much time do you spend planning vs doing?
  • Don’t task-switch while waiting for e.g. a webpage to load as you’ll forget to do the original task.
  • Rather than immediately pursuing a thought/idea, unless it is urgent, first write it down (e.g. on a to-do list) and come back to it. Although you might think it will only take 5 minutes, it could easily lead you down a rabbit hole and swallow up more time than you expect. If you are adamant about actioning it it at that time, set a hard, short time limit (e.g. 10 mintues).
  • Put 5~10% of your monthly income into a “no guilt” spend fund. Alternatively, use it for a reward for achieving a goal. This keeps you from being overly frugal.
  • Consider absolute as well as relative cost. For example, I’ve normally bought generic toothbrush heads. I could get 24 for £8; if they last 1.5 months each, that’s £3/year. Genuine ones are 8 for £18; let’s say they last 3 months each so £9/year - plus give you a better clean (but let’s exclude dentists fees etc here). So while the genuine ones are three times the price, in absolute terms, it’s only £6 a year. See also: Tim Ferriss on toilet paper (three-ply and a flushable wipe all the way!)
  • Consider when the best time to buy something is. For example, people selling unwanted “used” Christmas gifts in January. Obvious ones, such as winter clothes in spring and summer clothes in autumn (not summer and winter respectively as there often is no stock left). And of course consider holidays, such as gift-giving ones (Mother’s/Father’s Day), financial ones (Black Friday, Prime Day), or situational ones (back-to-school gear in Autumn). Do I need it now, or can I wait?
  • In the virtual world, people can simply not reply. It’s much harder in person, when you’re in front of them. Also, in person, you can choreograph coincidental meetings. While working from home has certain advantages, it can be a blocker to progress.
  • Your manager plays a key role in your success. Is your manager a go-getter, or more relaxed? A risk-taker, or after stability? It may be suboptimal if you are one and they are the other.
  • Being/working for a VC, or knowing VCs, could be a great way to meet new entrepreneurs and keep a feel on the pulse of innovation.
  • Many businesses start by solving a frustration in the world. If you’re too relaxed about the status quo, you might not experience the emotion of frustration - you need to want better. Alternatively, if you don’t engage with the world, you might not experience the driver of the frustration - you need to “live” more.
  • How can you make others pay for something you want? For example, want a £10k racing simulator - can you rent it out? Want a home studio - can you create monetised podcasts?
  • My preference in meditation postures: 정좌/正座 → on a stool → on a chair (too similar to other activities) → crossed-legged (uncomfortable to maintain a straight back due to flexibility issues) → lying down (too relaxing).
  • For meditation and NSDR, having a recorder app running (with transcript) lets you speak repetitive ideas aloud of later, which helps them float away.
  • Cory Allen’s Luminosity or Stillness are wonderful for NSDR-style motionlessness.
  • Have two diaries: 1, a written fact-based log of what took place; 2: an audio recording for feelings and emotions.
  • When meditating/relaxing and you catch yourself with a thought, track back to see what initiated it. For example, I recently caught myself thinking of a movie. Tracking back, I realised the path was: movie ← activity in the movie ← item involved in that activity ← the sensation of my foot touching that item.
  • Don’t “quick check” anything such as emails or social media before a planned meditation session - you might see something important and feel the need to sort it otherwise you’d be distracted. But almost nothing can be so urgent it can’t be done 10mins later.
  • When you’re ill, your body is already busy fighting. It’s not uncommon for you to catch something else at the same time, or soon after. Don’t panic. You’re not dying.
  • Curiosity can cause overwhelm. There’s simply too much to learn, watch, listen, read - especially in the modern world. For me, this makes it hard to relax, as I feel like it’s a waste of my limited time - although I rationally know relaxation is important. I still don’t have the solution to this. More meditation is a technique I’m testing.
  • Consuming media can be a form of self-medication against loneliness. People want to laugh, and statistics show we rarely laugh when we’re alone but often do with others. Watching TV or listening to podcasts of people talking and laughing and having fun makes you feel you’re part of it - but you’re not. This self-medication only works for very short periods, if at all. Social media works in a similar way.
  • Males tend to bond slowly through shared time doing activities. Women tend to bond through conversations. The former is an emphasis on time; the latter of intensity. As such, making male friendships can be more difficult.
  • Learn to speak concisely with structure. I feel I have become worse at this since leaving education, as I’ve had fewer opportunities you have to discuss complex topics with others. Practise alone (try recording yourself), and find opportunities to debate and deliberate with others.
    • I do this with writing - I spending ages crafting a message, to maximise content and clarity and minimise filler and extraneous details. Speaking is harder as it is in real time.
  • How do humans best learn? There is no answer. There are different tools and techniques, and some may be better for some than others. For example, some people can learn a language well through watching TV, but for me that doesn’t work at all!
  • Take all advice with a pinch of salt - however confidently it’s given. So much has been proven to be wrong, or at least not completely correct. Especially now with social media and the monetisation of mass-appear content, advice has become like opinions (and arseholes) - everyone has one. What to do? First, consider the advice-giver - Are they following their own advice? Do they have evidenced expertise? Is their life one you want (beyond the highlights they post on social media)? Second, absorb a range of ideas, to a) further entrench the feeling there is no “best”, b) see what resonates with you, c) find things to test on yourself.
  • If there is something you don’t want to do, but have to do, consider what you can learn from it.
  • You don’t need to be perfect for everything. What is the minimum level of proficiency you need to achieve your goal?
  • If you have to read multiple documents, skim-read them all first to see how they relate - it might be better to read them concurrently, for example, reading all the introductions, conclusions, and glossaries first, rather than reading each from start to finish in order.
  • If all the facts could be known, idiots could make the decisions; It’s okay to be uncertain.
  • There is no perfect, only progress.
  • What am I avoiding? What emotions are behind it?
  • Have I already been told this?
  • When you’re young, you’re proactive and put in extra effort, with the thought that it will pay off in the long run. As you age you realise a lot of this time and effort goes unrewarded, resulting in a loss of drive and motivation. The solution is to target your energy towards something with a higher chance of a positive outcome.