More on Personal Growth
6 months ago
A Day in the Life of Lex Fridman Can Help You Hit 6-Month Goals
The Lex Fridman podcast host has interviewed Elon Musk.
Lex is a minimalist YouTuber. His videos are sloppy. Suits are his trademark.
In a video, he shares a typical day. I've smashed my 6-month goals using its ideas.
Here's his schedule.
Not woo-woo. Lex's mantra reflects his practicality.
"I remember the game's rules," he says.
Sleeping 6–8 hours nightly
1–3 times a day, he checks social media.
Every day, despite pain, he exercises. "I exercise uninjured body parts."
He imagines his day. "Like Sims..."
He says three things he's grateful for and contemplates death.
"Today may be my last"
Then he visualizes his goals. He starts big. Five-year goals.
Short-term goals follow. Lex says they're year-end goals.
Near but out of reach.
He lists his principles. Assertions. His goals.
He acknowledges his cliche beliefs. Compassion, empathy, and strength are key.
Here's my mantra routine:
Four-Hour Deep Work
Lex begins a four-hour deep work session after his mantra routine. Today's toughest.
AI is Lex's specialty. His video doesn't explain what he does.
Clearly, he works hard.
Before starting, he has water, coffee, and a bathroom break.
"During deep work sessions, I minimize breaks."
He's distraction-free. Phoneless. Silence. Nothing. Any loose ideas are typed into a Google doc for later. He wants to work.
"Just get the job done. Don’t think about it too much and feel good once it’s complete." — Lex Fridman
30-Minute Social Media & Music
After his first deep work session, Lex rewards himself.
10 minutes on social media, 20 on music. Upload content and respond to comments in 10 minutes. 20 minutes for guitar or piano.
"In the real world, I’m currently single, but in the music world, I’m in an open relationship with this beautiful guitar. Open relationship because sometimes I cheat on her with the acoustic." — Lex Fridman
Then exercise for two hours.
Daily runs six miles. Then he chooses how far to go. Run time is an hour.
He does bodyweight exercises. Every minute for 15 minutes, do five pull-ups and ten push-ups. It's David Goggins-inspired. He aims for an hour a day.
He's hungry. Before running, he takes a salt pill for electrolytes.
He'll then take a one-minute cold shower while listening to cheesy songs. Afterward, he might eat.
Four-Hour Deep Work
Lex's second work session.
He works 8 hours a day.
Again, zero distractions.
The video's meal doesn't look appetizing, but it's healthy.
It's ground beef with vegetables. Cauliflower is his "ground-floor" veggie. "Carrots are my go-to party food."
Lex's keto diet includes 1800–2000 calories.
He drinks a "nutrient-packed" Atheltic Greens shake and takes tablets. It's:
One daily tablet of sodium.
Magnesium glycinate tablets stopped his keto headaches.
Potassium — "For electrolytes"
Fish oil: healthy joints
“So much of nutrition science is barely a science… I like to listen to my own body and do a one-person, one-subject scientific experiment to feel good.” — Lex Fridman
Four-hour shallow session
This work isn't as mentally taxing.
Lex planned to:
Finish last session's deep work (about an hour)
Adobe Premiere podcasting (about two hours).
Email-check (about an hour). Three times a day max. First, check for emergencies.
If he's sick, he may watch Netflix or YouTube documentaries or visit friends.
“The possibilities of chaos are wide open, so I can do whatever the hell I want.” — Lex Fridman
Two-hour evening reading
Lex ends the day reading academic papers for an hour. "Today I'm skimming two machine learning and neuroscience papers"
This helps him "think beyond the paper."
He reads for an hour.
“When I have a lot of energy, I just chill on the bed and read… When I’m feeling tired, I jump to the desk…” — Lex Fridman
Lex's day-in-the-life video is inspiring.
He has positive energy and works hard every day.
Mantra Routine includes rules, visualizing, goals, and principles.
Deep Work Session #1: Four hours of focus.
10 minutes social media, 20 minutes guitar or piano. "Music brings me joy"
Six-mile run, then bodyweight workout. Two hours total.
Deep Work #2: Four hours with no distractions. Google Docs stores random thoughts.
Lex supplements his keto diet.
This four-hour session is "open to chaos."
Evening reading: academic papers followed by fiction.
"I value some things in life. Work is one. The other is loving others. With those two things, life is great." — Lex Fridman
6 months ago
The world's 36th richest man uses a 5-step system to get what he wants.
Ray Dalio's super-effective roadmap
Ray Dalio's $22 billion net worth ranks him 36th globally. From 1975 to 2011, he built the world's most successful hedge fund, never losing more than 4% from 1991 to 2020. (and only doing so during 3 calendar years).
Dalio describes a 5-step process in his best-selling book Principles. It's the playbook he's used to build his hedge fund, beat the markets, and face personal challenges.
This 5-step system is so valuable and well-explained that I didn't edit or change anything; I only added my own insights in the parts I found most relevant and/or relatable as a young entrepreneur. The system's overview:
Have clear goals
Identify and don’t tolerate problems
Diagnose problems to get at their root causes
Design plans that will get you around those problems
Do what is necessary to push through the plans to get results
If you follow these 5 steps in a virtuous loop, you'll almost always see results. Repeat the process for each goal you have.
1. Have clear goals
a) Prioritize: You can have almost anything, but not everything.
I started and never launched dozens of projects for 10 years because I was scattered. I opened a t-shirt store, traded algorithms, sold art on Instagram, painted skateboards, and tinkered with electronics. I decided to try blogging for 6 months to see where it took me. Still going after 3 years.
b) Don’t confuse goals with desires.
A goal inspires you to act. Unreasonable desires prevent you from achieving your goals.
c) Reconcile your goals and desires to decide what you want.
d) Don't confuse success with its trappings.
e) Never dismiss a goal as unattainable.
Always one path is best. Your perception of what's possible depends on what you know now. I never thought I'd make money writing online so quickly, and now I see a whole new horizon of business opportunities I didn't know about before.
f) Expectations create abilities.
Don't limit your abilities. More you strive, the more you'll achieve.
g) Flexibility and self-accountability can almost guarantee success.
Flexible people accept what reality or others teach them. Self-accountability is the ability to recognize your mistakes and be more creative, flexible, and determined.
h) Handling setbacks well is as important as moving forward.
Learn when to minimize losses and when to let go and move on.
2. Don't ignore problems
a) See painful problems as improvement opportunities.
Every problem, painful situation, and challenge is an opportunity. Read The Art of Happiness for more.
b) Don't avoid problems because of harsh realities.
Recognizing your weaknesses isn't the same as giving in. It's the first step in overcoming them.
c) Specify your issues.
There is no "one-size-fits-all" solution.
d) Don’t mistake a cause of a problem with the real problem.
"I can't sleep" is a cause, not a problem. "I'm underperforming" could be a problem.
e) Separate big from small problems.
You have limited time and energy, so focus on the biggest problems.
f) Don't ignore a problem.
Identifying a problem and tolerating it is like not identifying it.
3. Identify problems' root causes
a) Decide "what to do" after assessing "what is."
"A good diagnosis takes 15 to 60 minutes, depending on its accuracy and complexity. [...] Like principles, root causes recur in different situations.
b) Separate proximate and root causes.
"You can only solve problems by removing their root causes, and to do that, you must distinguish symptoms from disease."
c) Knowing someone's (or your own) personality can help you predict their behavior.
4. Design plans that will get you around the problems
a) Retrace your steps.
Analyze your past to determine your future.
b) Consider your problem a machine's output.
Consider how to improve your machine. It's a game then.
c) There are many ways to reach your goals.
Find a solution.
d) Visualize who will do what in your plan like a movie script.
Consider your movie's actors and script's turning points, then act accordingly. The game continues.
e) Document your plan so others can judge your progress.
Accountability boosts success.
f) Know that a good plan doesn't take much time.
The execution is usually the hardest part, but most people either don't have a plan or keep changing it. Don't drive while building the car. Build it first, because it'll be bumpy.
5. Do what is necessary to push through the plans to get results
a) Great planners without execution fail.
Life is won with more than just planning. Similarly, practice without talent beats talent without practice.
b) Work ethic is undervalued.
Hyper-productivity is praised in corporate America, even if it leads nowhere. To get things done, use checklists, fewer emails, and more desk time.
c) Set clear metrics to ensure plan adherence.
I've written about the OKR strategy for organizations with multiple people here. If you're on your own, I recommend the Wheel of Life approach. Both systems start with goals and tasks to achieve them. Then start executing on a realistic timeline.
If you find solutions, weaknesses don't matter.
Everyone's weak. You, me, Gates, Dalio, even Musk. Nobody will be great at all 5 steps of the system because no one can think in all the ways required. Some are good at analyzing and diagnosing but bad at executing. Some are good planners but poor communicators. Others lack self-discipline.
Stay humble and ask for help when needed. Nobody has ever succeeded 100% on their own, without anyone else's help. That's the paradox of individual success: teamwork is the only way to get there.
Most people won't have the skills to execute even the best plan. You can get missing skills in two ways:
Others' (requires humility) light
On knowing what to do with your life
“Some people have good mental maps and know what to do on their own. Maybe they learned them or were blessed with common sense. They have more answers than others. Others are more humble and open-minded. […] Open-mindedness and mental maps are most powerful.” — Ray Dalio
I've always known what I wanted to do, so I'm lucky. I'm almost 30 and have always had trouble executing. Good thing I never stopped experimenting, but I never committed to anything long-term. I jumped between projects. I decided 3 years ago to stick to one project for at least 6 months and haven't looked back.
Maybe you're good at staying focused and executing, but you don't know what to do. Maybe you have none of these because you haven't found your purpose. Always try new projects and talk to as many people as possible. It will give you inspiration and ideas and set you up for success.
There is almost always a way to achieve a crazy goal or idea.
Enjoy the journey, whichever path you take.
2 months ago
Three Books That Can Change Your Life in a Day
I've summarized each.
Anne Lamott said books are important. Books help us understand ourselves and our behavior. They teach us about community, friendship, and death.
I read. One of my few life-changing habits. 100+ books a year improve my life. I'll list life-changing books you can read in a day. I hope you like them too.
Let's get started!
1) Seneca's Letters from a Stoic
One of my favorite philosophy books. Ryan Holiday, Naval Ravikant, and other prolific readers recommend it.
Seneca wrote 124 letters at the end of his life after working for Nero. Death, friendship, and virtue are discussed.
It's worth rereading. When I'm in trouble, I consult Seneca.
It's brief. The book could be read in one day. However, use it for guidance during difficult times.
My favorite book quotes:
Many men find that becoming wealthy only alters their problems rather than solving them.
You will never be poor if you live in harmony with nature; you will never be wealthy if you live according to what other people think.
We suffer more frequently in our imagination than in reality; there are more things that are likely to frighten us than to crush us.
2) Steven Pressfield's book The War of Art
I’ve read this book twice. I'll likely reread it before 2022 is over.
The War Of Art is the best productivity book. Steven offers procrastination-fighting tips.
Writers, musicians, and creative types will love The War of Art. Workplace procrastinators should also read this book.
My favorite book quotes:
The act of creation is what matters most in art. Other than sitting down and making an effort every day, nothing else matters.
Working creatively is not a selfish endeavor or an attempt by the actor to gain attention. It serves as a gift for all living things in the world. Don't steal your contribution from us. Give us everything you have.
Fear is healthy. Fear is a signal, just like self-doubt. Fear instructs us on what to do. The more terrified we are of a task or calling, the more certain we can be that we must complete it.
3) Darren Hardy's The Compound Effect
The Compound Effect offers practical tips to boost productivity by 10x.
The author believes each choice shapes your future. Pizza may seem harmless. However, daily use increases heart disease risk.
Positive outcomes too. Daily gym visits improve fitness. Reading an hour each night can help you learn. Writing 1,000 words per day would allow you to write a novel in under a year.
Your daily choices affect compound interest and your future. Thus, better habits can improve your life.
My favorite book quotes:
Until you alter a daily habit, you cannot change your life. The key to your success can be found in the actions you take each day.
The hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things are what distinguish the ordinary from the extraordinary; it is not the big things that add up in the end.
Don't worry about willpower. Time to use why-power. Only when you relate your decisions to your aspirations and dreams will they have any real meaning. The decisions that are in line with what you define as your purpose, your core self, and your highest values are the wisest and most inspiring ones. To avoid giving up too easily, you must want something and understand why you want it.
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3 months ago
Here's what happened after I launched my second product on Gumroad.
One-hour ebook sales, affiliate relationships, and more.
If you follow me, you may know I started a new ebook in August 2022.
Despite publishing on this platform, my website, and Quora, I'm not a writer.
My writing speed is slow, 2,000 words a day, and I struggle to communicate cohesively.
In April 2022, I wrote a successful guide on How to Write Google-Friendly Blog Posts.
I had no email list or social media presence. I've made $1,600+ selling ebooks.
My first digital offering isn't a book.
It's an actionable guide with my tried-and-true process for writing Google-friendly content.
I'm not bragging.
Established authors like Tim Denning make more from my ebook sales with one newsletter.
This experience taught me writing isn't a privilege.
Writing a book and making money online doesn't require expertise.
Many don't consult experts. They want someone approachable.
Two years passed before I realized my own limits.
I have a brain, two hands, and Internet to spread my message.
I wrote and published a second ebook after the first's success.
On Gumroad, I released my second digital product.
Here's my complete Gumroad evaluation.
Gumroad is a marketplace for content providers to develop and sell sales pages.
Gumroad handles payments and client requests. It's helpful when someone sends a bogus payment receipt requesting an ebook (actual story!).
You'll forget administrative concerns after your first ebook sale.
After my first ebook sale, I did this: I made additional cash!
After every sale, I tell myself, "I built a new semi-passive revenue source."
This thinking shift helps me become less busy while increasing my income and quality of life.
Besides helping others, folks sell evergreen digital things to earn passive money.
It's in my second ebook.
I explain how I built and sold 50+ copies of my SEO writing ebook without being an influencer.
I show how anyone can sell ebooks on Gumroad and automate their sales process.
This is my ebook.
After publicizing the ebook release, I sold three copies within an hour.
Wow, or meh?
I don’t know.
The answer is different for everyone.
These three sales came from a small email list of 40 motivated fans waiting for my ebook release.
I had bigger plans.
I'll market my ebook on Medium, my website, Quora, and email.
I'm testing affiliate partnerships this time.
One of my ebook buyers is now promoting it for 40% commission.
Become my affiliate if you think your readers would like my ebook.
My ebook is a few days old, but I'm interested to see where it goes.
My SEO writing book started without an email list, affiliates, or 4,000 website visitors. I've made four figures.
I'm slowly expanding my communication avenues to have more impact.
Even a small project can open doors you never knew existed.
So began my writing career.
If you dare, every concept can become a profitable trip.
Before, I couldn't conceive of creating an ebook.
How to Sell eBooks on Gumroad is my second digital product.
Marketing and writing taught me that anything can be sold online.
7 months ago
The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups
The Top 8 Growth Hacking Techniques for Startups
These startups, and how they used growth-hack marketing to flourish, are some of the more ethical ones, while others are less so.
Before the 1970 World Cup began, Puma paid footballer Pele $120,000 to tie his shoes. The cameras naturally focused on Pele and his Pumas, causing people to realize that Puma was the top football brand in the world.
Early workers of Uber canceled over 5,000 taxi orders made on competing applications in an effort to financially hurt any of their rivals.
PayPal developed a bot that advertised cheap goods on eBay, purchased them, and paid for them with PayPal, fooling eBay into believing that customers preferred this payment option. Naturally, Paypal became eBay's primary method of payment.
Anyone renting a space on Craigslist had their emails collected by AirBnB, who then urged them to use their service instead. A one-click interface was also created to list immediately on AirBnB from Craigslist.
To entice potential single people looking for love, Tinder developed hundreds of bogus accounts of attractive people. Additionally, for at least a year, users were "accidentally" linked.
Reddit initially created a huge number of phony accounts and forced them all to communicate with one another. It eventually attracted actual users—the real meaning of "fake it 'til you make it"! Additionally, this gave Reddit control over the tone of voice they wanted for their site, which is still present today.
To disrupt the conferences of their main rival, Salesforce recruited fictitious protestors. The founder then took over all of the event's taxis and gave a 45-minute pitch for his startup. No place to hide!
When a wholesaler required a minimum purchase of 10, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wanted a way to purchase only one book from them. A wholesaler would deliver the one book he ordered along with an apology for the other eight books after he discovered a loophole and bought the one book before ordering nine books about lichens. On Amazon, he increased this across all of the users.
Original post available here
9 months ago
10 Sneaker Terms Every Beginner Should Know
So you want to get into sneakers? Buying a few sneakers and figuring it out seems simple. Then you miss out on the weekend's instant-sellout releases, so you head to eBay, Twitter, or your local sneaker group to see what's available, since you're probably not ready to pay Flight Club prices just yet.
That's when you're bombarded with new nicknames, abbreviations, and general sneaker slang. It would take months to explain every word and sneaker, so here's a starter kit of ten simple terms to get you started. (Yeah, mostly Jordan. Does anyone really start with Kith or Nike SB?)
Colorways are a common term in fashion, design, and other visual fields. It's just the product's color scheme. In the case of sneakers, the colorway is often as important as the actual model. Are this year's "Chicago" Air Jordan 1s more durable than last year's "Black/Gum" colorway? Because of their colorway and rarity, the Chicagos are worth roughly three pairs of the Black/Gum kicks.
Pro Tip: A colorway with a well-known nickname is almost always worth more than one without, and the same goes for collaborations.
A “beater” is a well-worn, likely older model of shoe that has significant wear and tear on it. Rarely sold with the original box or extra laces, beaters rarely sell for much. Unlike most “worn” sneakers, beaters are used for rainy days and the gym. It's exactly what it sounds like, a box full of beaters, and they're a good place to start if you're looking for some cheap old kicks.
Pro Tip: Know which shoes clean up nicely. The shape of lower top sneakers with wider profiles, like SB Dunk Lows and Air Jordan 3s, tends to hold better over time than their higher and narrower cousins.
In the world of Jordan Brand, a “Retro” release is simply a release (or re-release) of a colorway after the shoe model's initial release. For example, the original Air Jordan 7 was released in 1992, but the Bordeaux colorway was re-released in 2011 and recently (2015). An Air Jordan model is released every year, and while half of them are unpopular and unlikely to be Retroed soon, any of them could be re-released whenever Nike and Jordan felt like it.
Pro Tip: Now that the Air Jordan line has been around for so long, the model that tends to be heavily retroed in a year is whichever shoe came out 23 (Michael Jordan’s number during the prime of his career) years ago. The Air Jordan 6 (1991) got new colorways last year, the Air Jordan 7 this year, and more Air Jordan 8s will be released later this year and early next year (1993).
In spite of the fact that eBay takes roughly 10% of the final price, many sneaker buyers and sellers prefer to work directly with PayPal. Selling sneakers for $100 via PayPal invoice or $100 via PayPal friends/family is common on social media. Because no one wants their eBay account suspended for promoting PayPal deals, many eBay sellers will simply state “Message me for a better price.”
Pro Tip: PayPal invoices protect buyers well, but gifting or using Google Wallet does not. Unless you're certain the seller is legitimate, only use invoiced goods/services payments.
Kanye West and his sneakers are known as Yeezys. The rapper's first two Yeezys were made by Nike before switching to Adidas. Everything Yeezy-related will be significantly more expensive (and therefore have significantly more fakes made). Not only is the Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October” one of the most sought-after sneakers, but the Yeezy influence can be seen everywhere.
Pro Tip: If you're going to buy Yeezys, make sure you buy them from a reputable retailer or reseller. With so many fakes out there, it's not worth spending a grand on something you're not 100% sure is real.
Regardless of how visually repulsive, uncomfortable, and/or impractical a sneaker is, if it’s rare enough, people will still want it. GR stands for General Release, which means they're usually available at retail. Reselling a “Limited Edition” release is costly. Supply and demand, but in this case, the limited supply drives up demand. If you want to get some of the colorways made for rappers, NBA players (Player Exclusive or PE models), and other celebrities, be prepared to pay a premium.
Pro Tip: Limited edition sneakers, like the annual Doernbecher Freestyle sneakers Nike creates with kids from Portland's Doernbecher Children's Hospital, will always be more expensive and limited. Or, you can use automated sneaker-buying software.
A “grail” is a pair of sneakers that someone desires above all others. To obtain their personal grails, people are willing to pay significantly more than the retail price. There doesn't have to be any rhyme or reason why someone chose a specific pair as their grails.
Pro Tip: For those who don't have them, the OG "Bred" or "Royal" Air Jordan 1s, the "Concord" Air Jordan 11s, etc., are all grails.
Anything released in “Bred” (black and red) will sell out quickly. Most resale Air Jordans (and other sneakers) come in the Bred colorway, which is a fan favorite. Bred is a good choice for a first colorway, especially on a solid sneaker silhouette.
Pro Tip: Apart from satisfying the world's hypebeasts, Bred sneakers will probably match a lot of your closet.
DS = Deadstock = New. That's it. If something has been worn or tried on, it is no longer DS. Very Near Deadstock (VNDS) Pass As Deadstock It's a cute way of saying your sneakers have been worn but are still in good shape. In the sneaker world, “worn” means they are no longer new, but not too old or beat up.
Pro Tip: Ask for photos of any marks or defects to see what you’re getting before you buy used shoes, also find out if they come with the original box and extra laces, because that can be a sign that they’re in better shape.
The words “Unauthorized,” “Replica,” “B-grades,” and “Super Perfect” all mean the shoes are fake. It means they aren't made by the actual company, no matter how close or how good the quality. If that's what you want, go ahead and get them. Do not wear them if you do not want the rest of the sneaker world to mock them.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure if shoes are real or not, do a “Legit Check” on Twitter or Facebook. You'll get dozens of responses in no time.