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Nik Nicholas

Nik Nicholas

2 months ago

A simple go-to-market formula

More on Entrepreneurship

Greg Lim

Greg Lim

3 months ago

How I made $160,000 from non-fiction books

I've sold over 40,000 non-fiction books on Amazon and made over $160,000 in six years while writing on the side.

I have a full-time job and three young sons; I can't spend 40 hours a week writing. This article describes my journey.

I write mainly tech books:

Thanks to my readers, many wrote positive evaluations. Several are bestsellers.

A few have been adopted by universities as textbooks:

My books' passive income allows me more time with my family.

Knowing I could quit my job and write full time gave me more confidence. And I find purpose in my work (i am in christian ministry).

I'm always eager to write. When work is a dread or something bad happens, writing gives me energy. Writing isn't scary. In fact, I can’t stop myself from writing!

Writing has also established my tech authority. Universities use my books, as I've said. Traditional publishers have asked me to write books.

These mindsets helped me become a successful nonfiction author:

1. You don’t have to be an Authority

Yes, I have computer science experience. But I'm no expert on my topics. Before authoring "Beginning Node.js, Express & MongoDB," my most profitable book, I had no experience with those topics. Node was a new server-side technology for me. Would that stop me from writing a book? It can. I liked learning a new technology. So I read the top three Node books, took the top online courses, and put them into my own book (which makes me know more than 90 percent of people already).

I didn't have to worry about using too much jargon because I was learning as I wrote. An expert forgets a beginner's hardship.

"The fellow learner can aid more than the master since he knows less," says C.S. Lewis. The problem he must explain is recent. The expert has forgotten.”

2. Solve a micro-problem (Niching down)

I didn't set out to write a definitive handbook. I found a market with several challenges and wrote one book. Ex:

3. Piggy Backing Trends

The above topics may still be a competitive market. E.g.  Angular, React.   To stand out, include the latest technologies or trends in your book. Learn iOS 15 instead of iOS programming. Instead of personal finance, what about personal finance with NFTs.

Even though you're a newbie author, your topic is well-known.

4. Publish short books

My books are known for being direct. Many people like this:

Your reader will appreciate you cutting out the fluff and getting to the good stuff. A reader can finish and review your book.

Second, short books are easier to write. Instead of creating a 500-page book for $50 (which few will buy), write a 100-page book that answers a subset of the problem and sell it for less. (You make less, but that's another subject). At least it got published instead of languishing. Less time spent creating a book means less time wasted if it fails. Write a small-bets book portfolio like Daniel Vassallo!

Third, it's $2.99-$9.99 on Amazon (gets 70 percent royalties for ebooks). Anything less receives 35% royalties. $9.99 books have 20,000–30,000 words. If you write more and charge more over $9.99, you get 35% royalties. Why not make it a $9.99 book?

(This is the ebook version.) Paperbacks cost more. Higher royalties allow for higher prices.

5. Validate book idea

Amazon will tell you if your book concept, title, and related phrases are popular. See? Check its best-sellers list.

150,000 is preferable. It sells 2–3 copies daily. Consider your rivals. Profitable niches have high demand and low competition.

Don't be afraid of competitive niches. First, it shows high demand. Secondly, what are the ways you can undercut the completion? Better book? Or cheaper option? There was lots of competition in my NodeJS book's area. None received 4.5 stars or more. I wrote a NodeJS book. Today, it's a best-selling Node book.

What’s Next

So long. Part II follows. Meanwhile, I will continue to write more books!

Follow my journey on Twitter.


This post is a summary. Read full article here

Pat Vieljeux

Pat Vieljeux

1 month ago

Your entrepreneurial experience can either be a beautiful adventure or a living hell with just one decision.

Choose.

Bakhrom Tursunov — Unsplash

DNA makes us distinct.

We act alike. Most people follow the same road, ignoring differences. We remain quiet about our uniqueness for fear of exclusion (family, social background, religion). We live a more or less imposed life.

Off the beaten path, we stand out from the others. We obey without realizing we're sewing a shroud. We're told to do as everyone else and spend 40 years dreaming of a golden retirement and regretting not living.

“One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.” - Shannon L. Alder

Others dare. Again, few are creative; most follow the example of those who establish a business for the sake of entrepreneurship. To live.

They pick a potential market and model their MVP on an existing solution. Most mimic others, alter a few things, appear to be original, and end up with bland products, adding to an already crowded market.

SaaS, PaaS, etc. followed suit. It's reduced pricing, profitability, and product lifespan.

As competitors become more aggressive, their profitability diminishes, making life horrible for them and their employees. They fail to innovate, cut costs, and close their company.

Few of them look happy and fulfilled.

How did they do it?

The answer is unsettlingly simple.

They are themselves.

  • They start their company, propelled at first by a passion or maybe a calling.

  • Then, at their own pace, they create it with the intention of resolving a dilemma.

  • They assess what others are doing and consider how they might improve it.

  • In contrast to them, they respond to it in their own way by adding a unique personal touch. Therefore, it is obvious.

Originals, like their DNA, can't be copied. Or if they are, they're poorly printed. Originals are unmatched. Artist-like. True collectors only buy Picasso paintings by the master, not forgeries, no matter how good.

Imaginative people are constantly ahead. Copycats fall behind unless they innovate. They watch their competition continuously. Their solution or product isn't sexy. They hope to cash in on their copied product by flooding the market.

They're mostly pirates. They're short-sighted, unlike creators.

Creators see further ahead and have no rivals. They use copiers to confirm a necessity. To maintain their individuality, creators avoid copying others. They find copying boring. It's boring. They oppose plagiarism.

It's thrilling and inspiring.

It will also make them more able to withstand their opponents' tension. Not to mention roadblocks. For creators, impediments are games.

Others fear it. They race against the clock and fear threats that could interrupt their momentum since they lack inventiveness and their product has a short life cycle.

Creators have time on their side. They're dedicated. Clearly. Passionate booksellers will have their own bookstore. Their passion shows in their book choices. Only the ones they love.

The copier wants to display as many as possible, including mediocre authors, and will cut costs. All this to dominate the market. They're digging their own grave.

The bookseller is just one example. I could give you tons of them.

Closing remarks

Entrepreneurs might follow others or be themselves. They risk exhaustion trying to predict what their followers will do.

It's true.

Life offers choices.

Being oneself or doing as others do, with the possibility of regretting not expressing our uniqueness and not having lived.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken”. Oscar Wilde

The choice is yours.

Andy Raskin

Andy Raskin

1 month ago

I've Never Seen a Sales Deck This Good

Photo by Olu Eletu

It’s Zuora’s, and it’s brilliant. Here’s why.

My friend Tim got a sales position at a Series-C software company that garnered $60 million from A-list investors. He's one of the best salespeople I know, yet he emailed me after starting to struggle.

Tim has a few modest clients. “Big companies ignore my pitch”. Tim said.

I love helping teams write the strategic story that drives sales, marketing, and fundraising. Tim and I had lunch at Amber India on Market Street to evaluate his deck.

After a feast, I asked Tim when prospects tune out.

He said, “several slides in”.

Intent on maximizing dining ROI, Tim went back to the buffet for seconds. When he returned, I pulled out my laptop and launched into a Powerpoint presentation.

“What’s this?” Tim asked.

“This,” I said, “is the greatest sales deck I have ever seen.”

Five Essentials of a Great Sales Narrative

I showed Tim a sales slide from IPO-bound Zuora, which sells a SaaS platform for subscription billing. Zuora supports recurring payments (e.g. enterprise software).

Ex-Zuora salesman gave me the deck, saying it helped him close his largest business. (I don't know anyone who works at Zuora.) After reading this, a few Zuora employees contacted me.)

Tim abandoned his naan in a pool of goat curry and took notes while we discussed the Zuora deck.

We remarked how well the deck led prospects through five elements:

(The ex-Zuora salesperson begged me not to release the Zuora deck publicly.) All of the images below originate from Zuora's website and SlideShare channel.)

#1. Name a Significant Change in the World

Don't start a sales presentation with mentioning your product, headquarters, investors, clients, or yourself.

Name the world shift that raises enormous stakes and urgency for your prospect.

Every Zuora sales deck begins with this slide:

Zuora coined the term subscription economy to describe a new market where purchasers prefer regular service payments over outright purchases. Zuora then shows a slide with the change's history.

Most pitch recommendation advises starting with the problem. When you claim a problem, you put prospects on the defensive. They may be unaware of or uncomfortable admitting the situation.

When you highlight a global trend, prospects open up about how it affects them, worries them, and where they see opportunity. You capture their interest. Robert McKee says:

…what attracts human attention is change. …if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings — that gets your attention. The way in which a story begins is a starting event that creates a moment of change.

#2. Show There’ll Be Winners and Losers

Loss aversion affects all prospects. They avoid a loss by sticking with the status quo rather than risking a gain by changing.

To fight loss aversion, show how the change will create winners and losers. You must show both

  1. that if the prospect can adjust to the modification you mentioned, the outcome will probably be quite favorable; and

  2. That failing to do so is likely to have an unacceptable negative impact on the prospect's future

Zuora shows a mass extinction among Fortune 500 firms.

…and then showing how the “winners” have shifted from product ownership to subscription services. Those include upstarts…

…as well as rejuvenated incumbents:

To illustrate, Zuora asks:

Winners utilize Zuora's subscription service models.

#3. Tease the Promised Land

It's tempting to get into product or service details now. Resist that urge.

Prospects won't understand why product/service details are crucial if you introduce them too soon, therefore they'll tune out.

Instead, providing a teaser image of the happily-ever-after your product/service will assist the prospect reach.

Your Promised Land should be appealing and hard to achieve without support. Otherwise, why does your company exist?

Zuora shows this Promised Land slide after explaining that the subscription economy will have winners and losers.

Not your product or service, but a new future state.

(I asked my friend Tim to describe his Promised Land, and he answered, "You’ll have the most innovative platform for ____." Nope: the Promised Land isn't possessing your technology, but living with it.)

Your Promised Land helps prospects market your solution to coworkers after your sales meeting. Your coworkers will wonder what you do without you. Your prospects are more likely to provide a persuasive answer with a captivating Promised Land.

#4. Present Features as “Mystic Gifts” for Overcoming Difficulties on the Road to the Promised Land

Successful sales decks follow the same format as epic films and fairy tales. Obi Wan gives Luke a lightsaber to help him destroy the Empire. You're Gandalf, helping Frodo destroy the ring. Your prospect is Cinderella, and you're her fairy godmother.

Position your product or service's skills as mystical gifts to aid your main character (prospect) achieve the Promised Land.

Zuora's client record slide is shown above. Without context, even the most technical prospect would be bored.

Positioned in the context of shifting from an “old” to a “new world”, it's the foundation for a compelling conversation with prospects—technical and otherwise—about why traditional solutions can't reach the Promised Land.

#5. Show Proof That You Can Make the Story True.

In this sense, you're promising possibilities that if they follow you, they'll reach the Promised Land.

The journey to the Promised Land is by definition rocky, so prospects are right to be cautious. The final part of the pitch is proof that you can make the story come true.

The most convincing proof is a success story about how you assisted someone comparable to the prospect. Zuora's sales people use a deck of customer success stories, but this one gets the essence.

I particularly appreciate this one from an NCR exec (a Zuora customer), which relates more strongly to Zuora's Promised Land:

Not enough successful customers? Product demos are the next best evidence, but features should always be presented in the context of helping a prospect achieve the Promised Land.

The best sales narrative is one that is told by everyone.

Success rarely comes from a fantastic deck alone. To be effective, salespeople need an organization-wide story about change, Promised Land, and Magic Gifts.

Zuora exemplifies this. If you hear a Zuora executive, including CEO Tien Tzuo, talk, you'll likely hear about the subscription economy and its winners and losers. This is the theme of the company's marketing communications, campaigns, and vision statement.

According to the ex-Zuora salesperson, company-wide story alignment made him successful.

The Zuora marketing folks ran campaigns and branding around this shift to the subscription economy, and [CEO] Tien [Tzuo] talked it up all the time. All of that was like air cover for my in-person sales ground attack. By the time I arrived, prospects were already convinced they had to act. It was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to sales nirvana.

The largest deal ever

Tim contacted me three weeks after our lunch to tell me that prospects at large organizations were responding well to his new deck, which we modeled on Zuora's framework. First, prospects revealed their obstacles more quickly. The new pitch engages CFOs and other top gatekeepers better, he said.

A week later, Tim emailed that he'd signed his company's biggest agreement.

Next week, we’re headed back to Amber India to celebrate.

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Theo Seeds

Theo Seeds

1 month ago

The nine novels that have fundamentally altered the way I view the world

I read 53 novels last year and hope to do so again.

Books are best if you love learning. You get a range of perspectives, unlike podcasts and YouTube channels where you get the same ones.

Book quality varies. I've read useless books. Most books teach me something.

These 9 novels have changed my outlook in recent years. They've made me rethink what I believed or introduced me to a fresh perspective that changed my worldview.

You can order these books yourself. Or, read my summaries to learn what I've synthesized.

Enjoy!

Fooled By Randomness

Nassim Taleb worked as a Wall Street analyst. He used options trading to bet on unlikely events like stock market crashes.

Using financial models, investors predict stock prices. The models assume constant, predictable company growth.

These models base their assumptions on historical data, so they assume the future will be like the past.

Fooled By Randomness argues that the future won't be like the past. We often see impossible market crashes like 2008's housing market collapse. The world changes too quickly to use historical data: by the time we understand how it works, it's changed.

Most people don't live to see history unfold. We think our childhood world will last forever. That goes double for stable societies like the U.S., which hasn't seen major turbulence in anyone's lifetime.

Fooled By Randomness taught me to expect the unexpected. The world is deceptive and rarely works as we expect. You can't always trust your past successes or what you've learned.

Antifragile

More Taleb. Some things, like the restaurant industry and the human body, improve under conditions of volatility and turbulence.

We didn't have a word for this counterintuitive concept until Taleb wrote Antifragile. The human body (which responds to some stressors, like exercise, by getting stronger) and the restaurant industry both benefit long-term from disorder (when economic turbulence happens, bad restaurants go out of business, improving the industry as a whole).

Many human systems are designed to minimize short-term variance because humans don't understand it. By eliminating short-term variation, we increase the likelihood of a major disaster.

Once, we put out every forest fire we found. Then, dead wood piled up in forests, causing catastrophic fires.

We don't like price changes, so politicians prop up markets with stimulus packages and printing money. This leads to a bigger crash later. Two years ago, we printed a ton of money for stimulus checks, and now we have double-digit inflation.

Antifragile taught me how important Plan B is. A system with one or two major weaknesses will fail. Make large systems redundant, foolproof, and change-responsive.

Reality is broken

We dread work. Work is tedious. Right?

Wrong. Work gives many people purpose. People are happiest when working. (That's why some are workaholics.)

Factory work saps your soul, office work is boring, and working for a large company you don't believe in and that operates unethically isn't satisfying.

Jane McGonigal says in Reality Is Broken that meaningful work makes us happy. People love games because they simulate good work. McGonigal says work should be more fun.

Some think they'd be happy on a private island sipping cocktails all day. That's not true. Without anything to do, most people would be bored. Unemployed people are miserable. Many retirees die within 2 years, much more than expected.

Instead of complaining, find meaningful work. If you don't like your job, it's because you're in the wrong environment. Find the right setting.

The Lean Startup

Before the airplane was invented, Harvard scientists researched flying machines. Who knew two North Carolina weirdos would beat them?

The Wright Brothers' plane design was key. Harvard researchers were mostly theoretical, designing an airplane on paper and trying to make it fly in theory. They'd build it, test it, and it wouldn't fly.

The Wright Brothers were different. They'd build a cheap plane, test it, and it'd crash. Then they'd learn from their mistakes, build another plane, and it'd crash.

They repeated this until they fixed all the problems and one of their planes stayed aloft.

Mistakes are considered bad. On the African savannah, one mistake meant death. Even today, if you make a costly mistake at work, you'll be fired as a scapegoat. Most people avoid failing.

In reality, making mistakes is the best way to learn.

Eric Reis offers an unintuitive recipe in The Lean Startup: come up with a hypothesis, test it, and fail. Then, try again with a new hypothesis. Keep trying, learning from each failure.

This is a great startup strategy. Startups are new businesses. Startups face uncertainty. Run lots of low-cost experiments to fail, learn, and succeed.

Don't fear failing. Low-cost failure is good because you learn more from it than you lose. As long as your worst-case scenario is acceptable, risk-taking is good.

The Sovereign Individual

Today, nation-states rule the world. The UN recognizes 195 countries, and they claim almost all land outside of Antarctica.

We agree. For the past 2,000 years, much of the world's territory was ungoverned.

Why today? Because technology has created incentives for nation-states for most of the past 500 years. The logic of violence favors nation-states, according to James Dale Davidson, author of the Sovereign Individual. Governments have a lot to gain by conquering as much territory as possible, so they do.

Not always. During the Dark Ages, Europe was fragmented and had few central governments. Partly because of armor. With armor, a sword, and a horse, you couldn't be stopped. Large states were hard to form because they rely on the threat of violence.

When gunpowder became popular in Europe, violence changed. In a world with guns, assembling large armies and conquest are cheaper.

James Dale Davidson says the internet will make nation-states obsolete. Most of the world's wealth will be online and in people's heads, making capital mobile.

Nation-states rely on predatory taxation of the rich to fund large militaries and welfare programs.

When capital is mobile, people can live anywhere in the world, Davidson says, making predatory taxation impossible. They're not bound by their job, land, or factory location. Wherever they're treated best.

Davidson says that over the next century, nation-states will collapse because they won't have enough money to operate as they do now. He imagines a world of small city-states, like Italy before 1900. (or Singapore today).

We've already seen some movement toward a more Sovereign Individual-like world. The pandemic proved large-scale remote work is possible, freeing workers from their location. Many cities and countries offer remote workers incentives to relocate.

Many Western businesspeople live in tax havens, and more people are renouncing their US citizenship due to high taxes. Increasing globalization has led to poor economic conditions and resentment among average people in the West, which is why politicians like Trump and Sanders rose to popularity with angry rhetoric, even though Obama rose to popularity with a more hopeful message.

The Sovereign Individual convinced me that the future will be different than Nassim Taleb's. Large countries like the U.S. will likely lose influence in the coming decades, while Portugal, Singapore, and Turkey will rise. If the trend toward less freedom continues, people may flee the West en masse.

So a traditional life of college, a big firm job, hard work, and corporate advancement may not be wise. Young people should learn as much as possible and develop flexible skills to adapt to the future.

Sapiens

Sapiens is a history of humanity, from proto-humans in Ethiopia to our internet society today, with some future speculation.

Sapiens views humans (and Homo sapiens) as a unique species on Earth. We were animals 100,000 years ago. We're slowly becoming gods, able to affect the climate, travel to every corner of the Earth (and the Moon), build weapons that can kill us all, and wipe out thousands of species.

Sapiens examines what makes Homo sapiens unique. Humans can believe in myths like religion, money, and human-made entities like countries and LLCs.

These myths facilitate large-scale cooperation. Ants from the same colony can cooperate. Any two humans can trade, though. Even if they're not genetically related, large groups can bond over religion and nationality.

Combine that with intelligence, and you have a species capable of amazing feats.

Sapiens may make your head explode because it looks at the world without presupposing values, unlike most books. It questions things that aren't usually questioned and says provocative things.

It also shows how human history works. It may help you understand and predict the world. Maybe.

The 4-hour Workweek

Things can be done better.

Tradition, laziness, bad bosses, or incentive structures cause complacency. If you're willing to make changes and not settle for the status quo, you can do whatever you do better and achieve more in less time.

The Four-Hour Work Week advocates this. Tim Ferriss explains how he made more sales in 2 hours than his 8-hour-a-day colleagues.

By firing 2 of his most annoying customers and empowering his customer service reps to make more decisions, he was able to leave his business and travel to Europe.

Ferriss shows how to escape your 9-to-5, outsource your life, develop a business that feeds you with little time, and go on mini-retirement adventures abroad.

Don't accept the status quo. Instead, level up. Find a way to improve your results. And try new things.

Why Nations Fail

Nogales, Arizona and Mexico were once one town. The US/Mexico border was arbitrarily drawn.

Both towns have similar cultures and populations. Nogales, Arizona is well-developed and has a high standard of living. Nogales, Mexico is underdeveloped and has a low standard of living. Whoa!

Why Nations Fail explains how government-created institutions affect country development. Strong property rights, capitalism, and non-corrupt governments promote development. Countries without capitalism, strong property rights, or corrupt governments don't develop.

Successful countries must also embrace creative destruction. They must offer ordinary citizens a way to improve their lot by creating value for others, not reducing them to slaves, serfs, or peasants. Authors say that ordinary people could get rich on trading expeditions in 11th-century Venice.

East and West Germany and North and South Korea have different economies because their citizens are motivated differently. It explains why Chile, China, and Singapore grow so quickly after becoming market economies.

People have spent a lot of money on third-world poverty. According to Why Nations Fail, education and infrastructure aren't the answer. Developing nations must adopt free-market economic policies.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the world's richest man, but that’s not a good way to describe him. Elon Musk is the world's richest man, which is like calling Steve Jobs a turtleneck-wearer or Benjamin Franklin a printer.

Elon Musk does cool sci-fi stuff to help humanity avoid existential threats.

Oil will run out. We've delayed this by developing better extraction methods. We only have so much nonrenewable oil.

Our society is doomed if it depends on oil. Elon Musk invested heavily in Tesla and SolarCity to speed the shift to renewable energy.

Musk worries about AI: we'll build machines smarter than us. We won't be able to stop these machines if something goes wrong, just like cows can't fight humans. Neuralink: we need to be smarter to compete with AI when the time comes.

If Earth becomes uninhabitable, we need a backup plan. Asteroid or nuclear war could strike Earth at any moment. We may not have much time to react if it happens in a few days. We must build a new civilization while times are good and resources are plentiful.

Short-term problems dominate our politics, but long-term issues are more important. Long-term problems can cause mass casualties and homelessness. Musk demonstrates how to think long-term.

The main reason people are impressed by Elon Musk, and why Ashlee Vances' biography influenced me so much, is that he does impossible things.

Electric cars were once considered unprofitable, but Tesla has made them mainstream. SpaceX is the world's largest private space company.

People lack imagination and dismiss ununderstood ideas as impossible. Humanity is about pushing limits. Don't worry if your dreams seem impossible. Try it.

Thanks for reading.

Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

3 months ago

10 Alternatives to Smartphone Scrolling

"Don't let technology control you; manage your phone."

"Don't become a slave to technology," said Richard Branson. "Manage your phone, don't let it manage you."

Unfortunately, most people are addicted to smartphones.


Worrying smartphone statistics:

  • 46% of smartphone users spend 5–6 hours daily on their device.

  • The average adult spends 3 hours 54 minutes per day on mobile devices.

  • We check our phones 150–344 times per day (every 4 minutes).

  • During the pandemic, children's daily smartphone use doubled.

Having a list of productive, healthy, and fulfilling replacement activities is an effective way to reduce smartphone use.

The more you practice these smartphone replacements, the less time you'll waste.

Skills Development

Most people say they 'don't have time' to learn new skills or read more. Lazy justification. The issue isn't time, but time management. Distractions and low-quality entertainment waste hours every day.

The majority of time is spent in low-quality ways, according to Richard Koch, author of The 80/20 Principle.

What if you swapped daily phone scrolling for skill-building?

There are dozens of skills to learn, from high-value skills to make more money to new languages and party tricks.

Learning a new skill will last for years, if not a lifetime, compared to scrolling through your phone.

Watch Docs

Love documentaries. It's educational and relaxing. A good documentary helps you understand the world, broadens your mind, and inspires you to change.

Recent documentaries I liked include:

  • 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible

  • The Social Dilemma

  • Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond

  • Fantastic Fungi

Make money online

If you've ever complained about not earning enough money, put away your phone and get to work.

Instead of passively consuming mobile content, start creating it. Create something worthwhile. Freelance.

Internet makes starting a business or earning extra money easier than ever.

(Grand)parents didn't have this. Someone made them work 40+ hours. Few alternatives existed.

Today, all you need is internet and a monetizable skill. Use the internet instead of letting it distract you. Profit from it.

Bookworm

Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup For The Soul, said, "Everyone spends 2–3 hours a day watching TV." If you read that much, you'll be in the top 1% of your field."

Few people have more than two hours per day to read.

If you read 15 pages daily, you'd finish 27 books a year (as the average non-fiction book is about 200 pages).

Jack Canfield's quote remains relevant even though 15 pages can be read in 20–30 minutes per day. Most spend this time watching TV or on their phones.

What if you swapped 20 minutes of mindless scrolling for reading? You'd gain knowledge and skills.

Favorite books include:

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen R. Covey

  • The War of Art — Steven Pressfield

  • The Psychology of Money — Morgan Housel

  • A New Earth — Eckart Tolle

Get Organized

All that screen time could've been spent organizing. It could have been used to clean, cook, or plan your week.

If you're always 'behind,' spend 15 minutes less on your phone to get organized.

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I'll spend the first four sharpening the ax," said Abraham Lincoln. Getting organized is like sharpening an ax, making each day more efficient.

Creativity

Why not be creative instead of consuming others'? Do something creative, like:

  • Painting

  • Musically

  • Photography\sWriting

  • Do-it-yourself

  • Construction/repair

Creative projects boost happiness, cognitive functioning, and reduce stress and anxiety. Creative pursuits induce a flow state, a powerful mental state.

This contrasts with smartphones' effects. Heavy smartphone use correlates with stress, depression, and anxiety.

Hike

People spend 90% of their time indoors, according to research. This generation is the 'Indoor Generation'

We lack an active lifestyle, fresh air, and vitamin D3 due to our indoor lifestyle (generated through direct sunlight exposure). Mental and physical health issues result.

Put away your phone and get outside. Go on nature walks. Explore your city on foot (or by bike, as we do in Amsterdam) if you live in a city. Move around! Outdoors!

You can't spend your whole life staring at screens.

Podcasting

Okay, a smartphone is needed to listen to podcasts. When you use your phone to get smarter, you're more productive than 95% of people.

Favorite podcasts:

  • The Pomp Podcast (about cryptocurrencies)

  • The Joe Rogan Experience

  • Kwik Brain (by Jim Kwik)

Podcasts can be enjoyed while walking, cleaning, or doing laundry. Win-win.

Journalize

I find journaling helpful for mental clarity. Writing helps organize thoughts.

Instead of reading internet opinions, comments, and discussions, look inward. Instead of Twitter or TikTok, look inward.

It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” — Marcus Aurelius


Give your mind free reign with pen and paper. It will highlight important thoughts, emotions, or ideas.

Never write for another person. You want unfiltered writing. So you get the best ideas.

Find your best hobbies

List your best hobbies. I guarantee 95% of people won't list smartphone scrolling.

It's often low-quality entertainment. The dopamine spike is short-lived, and it leaves us feeling emotionally 'empty'

High-quality leisure sparks happiness. They make us happy and alive. Everyone has different interests, so these activities vary.

My favorite quality hobbies are:

  • Nature walks (especially the mountains)

  • Video game party

  • Watching a film with my girlfriend

  • Gym weightlifting

  • Complexity learning (such as the blockchain and the universe)

This brings me joy. They make me feel more fulfilled and 'rich' than social media scrolling.

Make a list of your best hobbies to refer to when you're spending too much time on your phone.

Darshak Rana

Darshak Rana

5 months ago

17 Google Secrets 99 Percent of People Don't Know 

What can't Google do?
Seriously, nothing! Google rocks.
Google is a major player in online tools and services. We use it for everything, from research to entertainment.
Did I say entertain yourself?
Yes, with so many features and options, it can be difficult to fully utilize Google.

#1. Drive Google Mad

You can make Google's homepage dance if you want to be silly.
Just type “Google Gravity” into Google.com. Then select I'm lucky.
See the page unstick before your eyes!

#2 Play With Google Image

Google isn't just for work.
Then have fun with it!
You can play games right in your search results. When you need a break, google “Solitaire” or “Tic Tac Toe”. 

#3. Do a Barrel Roll

Need a little more excitement in your life? Want to see Google dance?
Type “Do a barrel roll” into the Google search bar.
Then relax and watch your screen do a 360. 

#4  No Internet?  No issue!

This is a fun trick to use when you have no internet.
If your browser shows a “No Internet” page, simply press Space.
Boom!
We have dinosaurs! Now use arrow keys to save your pixelated T-Rex from extinction.

#5 Google Can Help

Play this Google coin flip game to see if you're lucky.
Enter “Flip a coin” into the search engine.
You'll see a coin flipping animation. If you get heads or tails, click it. 

#6. Think with Google

My favorite Google find so far is the “Think with Google” website.
Think with Google is a website that offers marketing insights, research, and case studies.
I highly recommend it to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and anyone interested in online marketing. 

#7. Google Can Read Images!

This is a cool Google trick that few know about.
You can search for images by keyword or upload your own by clicking the camera icon on Google Images.
Google will then show you all of its similar images.

Caution: You should be fine with your uploaded images being public. 

#8. Modify the Google Logo!

Clicking on the “I'm Feeling Lucky” button on Google.com takes you to a random Google Doodle.
Each year, Google creates a Doodle to commemorate holidays, anniversaries, and other occasions.

#9. What is my IP?

Simply type “What is my IP” into Google to find out.
Your IP address will appear on the results page.

#10. Send a Self-Destructing Email With Gmail, 

Create a new message in Gmail. Find an icon that resembles a lock and a clock near the SEND button. That's where the Confidential Mode is.
By clicking it, you can set an expiration date for your email. Expiring emails are automatically deleted from both your and the recipient's inbox.

#11. Blink, Google Blink!

This is a unique Google trick.
Type “blink HTML” into Google. The words “blink HTML” will appear and then disappear.
The text is displayed for a split second before being deleted.
To make this work, Google reads the HTML code and executes the “blink” command. 

#12. The Answer To Everything

This is for all Douglas Adams fans.
The answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42, according to Google.
An allusion to Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which Ford Prefect seeks to understand life, the universe, and everything.

#13. Google in 1998

It's a blast!
Type “Google in 1998” into Google. "I'm feeling lucky"
You'll be taken to an old-school Google homepage.
It's a nostalgic trip for long-time Google users. 

#14. Scholarships and Internships

Google can help you find college funding!
Type “scholarships” or “internships” into Google.
The number of results will surprise you. 

#15. OK, Google. Dice!

To roll a die, simply type “Roll a die” into Google.
On the results page is a virtual dice that you can click to roll. 

#16. Google has secret codes!

Hit the nine squares on the right side of your Google homepage to go to My Account. Then Personal Info.
You can add your favorite language to the “General preferences for the web” tab. 

#17. Google Terminal 

You can feel like a true hacker.
Just type “Google Terminal” into Google.com. "I'm feeling lucky"
Voila~!
You'll be taken to an old-school computer terminal-style page.
You can then type commands to see what happens.

Have you tried any of these activities? Tell me in the comments.

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