Young creative human-being, who likes to create blog posts and YouTube videos.
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Here is what average people do: They wake up at 10am, read some news, eat, watch Game of Thrones for 2 hours, eat more junk food, lay on the sofa and stare at their phones for three hours, and then probably watch more TV and sleep. Of course, there will be variations based on one’s social status and geographical locations - I’m largely generalizing, but this is what most average people do on weekends.

They don’t achieve much. They don’t have goals or plans, and they live everyday without much thought.

This is what I lived like for years.

Before highschool, all I wanted to do was get the girl I liked to notice me, or hang with all my friends and go out everyday. I wanted to get in a good highschool but I wasn’t actually willing to put in any effort. I didn’t actually work hard for anything.

You see the trend? I was comfortable.

And that’s where I got it wrong. I indulged in pleasure, not happiness. I let myself do whatever I wanted in the moment, without actually putting myself under pressure for a better future.

In school, I binge watched Modern Family instead of studying for my exam. In highschool, I ate chocolate and scrolled my Instagram for forty minutes instead of getting a head start on my project.

Mother of God, what was I doing?

If you want to be above average, you need get used to being uncomfortable. You need to get used to pain, to discomfort, to prolonged hours of just sitting there and forcing yourself to get through one more page of that fucking essay, one more lesson on code academy.

And in the age of distractions, it’s even harder. Messages, notifications, the allure ofmultiple social media accounts you gotta keep up to, piled with schoolwork and activities you gotta attend - it’s horror.

But those aren’t real excuses. Everyone goes through them. At the end of the day when you evaluate yourself, whether that’s when you graduate or when you die, you’ll see that nothing is excusable.

For me, my excuse for not working hard in high school was that “my mom forced me too much.” My mom’s excuse was that her mom "turned the TV on too loud so [she] couldn’t focus.”

Bull fucking shit.

You can lie to others but stop lying to yourself. The rest of this break, I want to get ahead on building traction for my blog as much as possible, and figure out what I want to do in the tech industry in the future.

If I say I “didn’t have enough time”, or “I was too tired”, then I’m lying to myself. I’m in Beijing for two and a half weeks and I have nothing to do.

So there. Fuck it. Fuck all the lies you keep telling yourself. If you want to be above average, then you have to be willing to drip blood and sweat for whatever you want to achieve - otherwise, you’ll just be left behind. A mere speck waiting to be extinguished by the trailing dust of the above-average.
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Nothing makes life worth living. The fact that this is even a question underlines the lack of life itself to provide a natural answer.

You can say: sex, children, a flower, a rainbow, the feelings of success , etc. But all of that lasts moments.

Most of life is a sentence of failures and pains, punctuated with only the briefest of moments of happiness.

While this seems overly pessimistic, it’s not. Think of your own life. Today I sleep, eat to satisfy hunger, go to the bathroom, do my job, deal with people I don’t always like and occasionally have a good laugh or read a book or kiss someone.

Again: seems depressing. So I’ll continue.

If you weren’t alive, what’s the big deal. Either there’s some sort of cool science-fiction-like afterworld. Or there’s nothing. Either way, it further makes our time here useless.

And why should our species be any better than any of the other billions of species on Earth. Our ants happy spending their entire lives just building ant farms and collecting food and then dying? Because that’s all we are: but with bigger brains (which means more anxieties and insomnias and mental illnesses).

It’s not depressing because it is what it is.

One thing that makes life worth living is that it’s really hard to kill yourself.

I know one person who shot himself in the head through the mouth (the most effective way).

He ended up with his face destroyed, one eye missing, and paralyzed.

To be fair, he married his nurse and now seems happy.

I know many people who tried to kill themselves with pills and failed. There’s no guarantees on how to kill yourself.

But you will paralyze yourself and make the next 60 years of your life miserable. The worst. So don’t do it.

Here’s what I do to make life worth living for me.

Every day:
  • freedom
  • competence
  • relationships
Improve 1% every day my ability to enjoy the above three things.

Perhaps with freedom I can either make more money or lower my expectations. Both of those buy me more freedom.

With competence, I can try to get better at the things I love doing.

And with relationships, I can spend time with my children, friends, or people I like to kiss.

If I do those every day, it makes life incredible. I don’t know if that means it’s “Worth” it. What does “worth” mean.

Today I’m incredibly content. Yesterday was hard for me. And maybe tomorrow will be. But all I have is right now.

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So many of us feel like we are alone in our loneliness when in reality they are so many people in the world who feel this every single day. It’s a reoccurring theme in a lot of peoples lives, everybody acts like they are not so then no one thinks that they’re lonely but then nobody knows to be nice to you or befriend you because you are acting like you are not lonely, so it’s kinda like a self fulfilling prophecy. There is definitely that level of shame that happens because nobody really knows how you feel when you go home and you open the door and that lonely feeling starts to sink in, I’ve definitely experience that and you can just fall deeper and deeper into it If you allow yourself to. It’s very isolating place to be.

Sometimes it’s really hard when you feel lonely and you question yourself ‘how to get out of this?’ and you think the only answer is, I have to have friends and I don’t have that so I’m never gonna not be lonely and you just give up, you don’t have someone to brainstorm with to be like, what do I do, you can’t talk to someone ‘cause there isn’t someone. You beat yourself up for it, well I’m in this situation because of myself and I suck, that’s why I’m lonely because no one wants to hang out with me and you kinda spiral around that and get sucked into that drain.

I tried to make this effort recently that was inspired by Maya Angelou quote where she says "Be a Rainbow in Someone Else's Cloud" it is just about, do something kind towards somebody, like smile at someone, say Hi to someone. It’s really cool to see how people respond, for example, I will be in an elevator and normally I will be on my phone or look around awkwardly and not say anything but just saying Hi! to another person or when they are about to walk out saying Have a nice day! and seeing their response it’s normally they smile and they are like, Omg someone asked me how I’m doing and told me to have a nice day and I don’t know this person. Seeing the way that they respond makes you feel affirmed in the action that you just put out in the world.

I just smiled them or I told them that their dog is really cute or gave them a compliment, it can really go along away and it’s so important especially in those person to person moments where you can physical, in real-time reaction from someone because via text message you don’t get that. That is something that we miss out a lot especially with technology and leads us to this idea that I was thinking about, how there are so many ways in which the internet and technology connect us but do you think there are ways in which technology can actually contribute to our feeling of loneliness?

Personally, it can really help to connect us to people that actually don’t live near us, like our family or friends that live  in other places. I think the more technology progress and the more we have this false, weird, real but not real connection with people through social media, it’s gonna ultimately make us feel way more lonely. If the technology didn’t exist there would be fewer opportunities to connect with people and meet new people but it would also force us to have more authentic interactions in person which I think it’s more meaningful generally than like an interaction online.
Those interactions I think are essential, if you would just think about animals or babies that don’t experience physical touch or love when they’re young and how much of an impact that has on a living being and that’s definitely the case as we become adults, when you don’t have that interaction, you may not become a feral animal but you start experiencing simmilair things that a feral animal would experience or a child who didn’t experience love and affection from a young age he starts feeling anxiety and the feeling of What do I do, I don’t know how to interact with people, I’m scared, those types of feelings. That’s why I think that kind of actual, physical contact is absolutely essential.

If you are not familiar with the attachment theory, in short, it’s this theory about the relationships that are cultivated at young age and how that affects you through your life and this book (Attached) takes attachment theory kind of to the next level and it examines it within your romantic relationships because before it was primarly focused on a child and their parent or guardian, whoever they were around when they were younger but as they were giving this brief history of the attachment theory and how it came to be before the 1950s it was actually suggested to parents that they minimize physical contact and affection with their children and that was because they believed it will create a perfect child who was able to be independent and make their own decisions because affection and what they would call cuddling would create a child that was too needy and it would be able to survive on it’s own in the world. Then they don’t know how to express their needs and their feelings because they  were brought up with this engrained feeling of shame and I think you can definitely see that in people from that generation for sure.

The other thing that I loved in the book is when they started talking about dependency, because I think that dependency has this negative connotation but in the book they say that if you actually have affective dependency in your life, with the people around you, it makes you more independent, daring person. Who will go out there and pursue the things that you want to pursue because you are getting fullfield in the ways that you need, which I thought THIS IS AMAZING.

There is this example in the book, a girlfriend needing a reinsurance from her boyfriend by holding her hand and he wasn’t giving that to her. Just something as simple as that, as reciprocating a small gesture can change the entire way that a person interacts in the world which is why it’s really important to understand how your partner and the people close to you receive affirmation. That is something that’s really helpful in terms of experiencing loneliness because we are so engrained with this idea of I have to be independent, I have to do this on my own.

Say to those who are close to you ‘It’s okay, lean on me. I’m here for you, you can depend on me’ it will make a big difference for them.

It’s okay to lean on other people and ask for help.
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“The way you start your day can affect your whole day."

(sorry, but couldn't find where this quote come from).

It took me a while to realize this, but now I am glad that I give great importance to my morning routine.

You know, I used to be that guy who would push the snooze button several times until I didn't have a choice and had to wake up. The first hours of my day would be frequently terrible. Always in a hurry, running against the time.

Quite frequently I wouldn't have a proper breakfast and showering wasn't a pleasurable and relaxing moment as it should be. My thoughts would be only focused on when I would finally open my computer and start working.

Four months ago I decided to change this and started implementing a few good habits while cutting the bad ones. When studying about habits, I stumbled upon the idea of "keystone habits". Duhigg, who wrote "The Power of Habits", explains it as the soil from which other habits grow. It's like an habit that once integrated into your life makes it much easier to build or change other habits.

In my case, the keystone habit that is helping me to start the day on the right note is a combination of 2: Sleeping well and waking up early.

Having at least 7 hours of good sleep provides me with the energy I need to get most things done. Managing to wake up early, gives me the necessary time to prepare my body and mind for the day, and make an effective plan to work towards my goals.

Ok, so let me go into more details about how I managed to build this keystone habit, how I prepare my body and mind for the day, and the kind of things I focus on when writing my effective plan:

1. Have at least 7 hours of sleep and Start Early

There's no magic about this. If you want to sleep for a minimum of 7 hours and wake up early in the morning you will have to go to bed in a decent time.

In the beginning, just force yourself to wake up early and in the end of the day you will be begging for your bed. Turn this into an habit, and in less then a week you will get used to sleep between 11pm and 12am and start your day at 6:30 am / 7 am.

One important trick here is to wake up with the first alarm, avoiding using the snooze button. Easy to say, right? Ok, so let me explain how I dealt with this:

First thing, put your phone far away from your bed. It has to be far enough that you cannot reach it without standing up, but not so far that you can't hear it (yes, I guess this is important).

Second point, remember to leave a bottle of water besides it. Water fires up your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins and gives your brain fuel. So as soon as your turn off the alarm, drink at least 500 ml of water. This will give you an energy that will motivate you to stay awake.

Third and last point, turn off the snooze option. This will create you some problems in the morning to sort out how to turn it on again. Hopefully, enough problems that will lead you to give up from sleeping another 10 minutes. Every phone should have the option to turn it off. Just search for it.

Like every habit, things will get better with time.

2. Take care of your body

Now that you managed to wake up early, it's time to have some proper breakfast.

Breakfast provides the body and brain with fuel after an overnight fast - That's actually where the name comes from: Breaking the fast. Researchers believe that breakfast may help to stabilise blood sugar levels, which regulate appetite and energy.

You can start to see now why waking up early is part of my keystone habit? I used to ignore breakfast most of the time because "I didn't have time for it".

Once done with breakfast, it's time for some exercises. If you are an intellectual and think that exercises won't make any difference in your life, did you know that exercises have a fundamental role in learning? Physical exercises increase the number of neurons being born and surviving. So work your ass off and do at least 10-15 minutes of exercise. It can be 2-3 series of push-ups or abs. Just do something.

Lastly, don't forget to keep drinking water every half an hour. As we saw before, water fires up your metabolism, hydrates you, helps your body flush out toxins and gives your brain fuel. So I guess we have enough reasons to drink a lot of water during the day.

3. Take care of your mind

This is one of the most important parts of my day. Your mind will guide you through hundred decisions throughout the day, some more important and some other less. So preparing your mind for this should be a crucial step in your morning routine.

I start with meditation. I could write another 10 paragraphs just about meditation. But just to give you a taste, here are a few benefits you can expect from meditating every day:

- Improve your focus: A study from the Psychological Science shows that intensive meditation can help people focus their attention and sustain it.

- Less anxiety: We often experience anxiety because we fixate on the past or on the future. However, when you’re meditating, you’re intentionally focused on the here and now.

- Better memory: A Study from Massachusetts General Hospital showed that regular meditation causes the brain's cerebral cortex to thicken. The cortex is responsible for higher mental functions like memory.
Beta waves activities before and after meditation.

Meditation is not an overrated practice. It is as good as it sounds.

However, meditation won't be easy at the beginning. So start with just 1 minute and try to add 15-30 seconds every day. The easier way to build habits is to start small and consistently practice the routine. If you are too busy in a certain day, just meditate for a minute or so and that's fine. What matters is to no break the chain.

When I am done with meditation I go to spend 5 to 10 minutes on gratitude. Gratitude means being thankful for the things you have, rather than being bitter about what you don’t have. Gratitude can help you become more positive about life, more generous and even lower your blood pressure. So it's worth taking a few minutes to speak you mind about all the things you are grateful for. You don't need to believe in God to do this. Just remind yourself about all the great things you have in your life and be grateful for it.

I then conclude my "spiritual" session working on what I call "my higher-self". This is actually an experiment I have been working on for a while. Basically, I created a mindmap with my name in the centre, and linked it to 4 words that I want to be the keystones of my life. From these 4 words, I drew lines to what it would be needed to achieve these 4 words. One example is the word "Explorer", which I linked to "Try new hobbies", "Engage with people you don't know", "Experiment new foods", "Travel to places you haven't been before", "Constantly stretch your comfort zone", etc.

I think you grasped the idea. The objective is to focus on what kind of person I want to become in order to live the kind of life that I want to live. By going through it every day, I not only remember myself about who I want to be, but also make a self-assessment to see if I am truly making progress towards my "higher self".

The next 30 minutes I spend on learning something.

I don't think there's much to say about that. Learning is so important to keep developing your mind and knowledge, that you should never stop doing it. My only suggestion here is that before learning anything, you should learn how to learn. This means that you should understand how working memory and long term memory works, and how to bring new concepts from the former to the later, how recall, deliberate practising, interleaving, spaced repetition and teaching can boost your learn, and also learn a few useful techniques like the Pomodoro technique to avoid procrastination, Einstellung and illusions of competence. And you thought you knew everything about learn how to learn, huh?

4. Plan your day

First thing to bear in mind: Plan an effective day, not an efficient one.

Efficient people are always busy. But when you ask them what they have accomplished during their day, they don't have much to say.

That's why I like to start by putting down in a paper my priority list. I try to not write more than 5 points, and when I am done I ask myself: If I manage to accomplish all these 5 things, will I get closer to achieve my goals? If I hesitate with any of them, I cut it from the list. If you end up with just 1 priority you should probably review your goals.

The second part of my daily plan is focused on my email.

Most people lose all their morning dragged in emails that doesn't add anything to their goals. The problem with email is that 90% of it is about other people's agenda. Your inbox is flooded with emails from people who need your help to achieve their objective, not yours.

So write down on the paper "email" and divide it in "Awaiting response" and "To Reach out".

In the awaiting side, just list the people who owe you a response for something related to your goals. If it's not related to your goals, it doesn't matter. In the other side you should do the same, but this time focusing on who you need to contact to help you achieve your objectives.

Ignore all other emails. Ignore all of them. Not even open them for now. Even better, send them to a folder named "answer when possible" or "later" and just deal with it once a week. Most people will find a way of solving their problems without your help, and you will realize that they will give more value to your time.

I then pass to my daily activities. Beware: Activities are a bit different from tasks. Activities are more like "Learning X", "Promoting my Business", Exercise", "Reading a Book", "Email", etc. The idea is to divide my day in chunks so I can concentrate 25 to 50 minutes in each activity, take breaks and balance my focus between activities which needs a high level of concentration and more relaxing activities, so I can also let my diffuse mode step in.

Let me give you a more tangible example. Here's a typical list of my daily activities:

- Email (15 mins)

- Learning (45 mins)

- Exercise (30 mins)

- Read a book (15 mins)

- Work: Meeting (30 min)

- Lunch (1 hour)

- Nap (20 mins)

- Email (15 mins)

- Work: Marketing (45 mins)

- Read a book (15 mins)

-  Work: Marketing (30 mins)

- Social media: (45 mins)

- Stretch my Comfort Zone (10 mins)

- Email (10 mins)

One psychology trick I like to use is to put in big capital letters the "QUITTING TIME". This helps me to keep concentrated on getting things done and actually work on most activities listed. It's obvious that you have to take your quitting time seriously to make it work. If you decide that 18:00 is your quitting time, then stop working when you reach this time. Maybe take an appointment with someone at that time so you don't have an excuse to keep working.

It usually takes 2 hours or more to go through all these routines. That's also why it's important to wake up early. People are obsessed about time management. I am more interested in energy management. If you sleep less than 7 hours, it's going to be difficult to manage your energy. So sleep well and wake up around 6 / 7 am.

Hope these ideas can inspire some of you to become more effective and achieve your goals.
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People (including you and I) do not change when you give them an option. They change when there is no option.

Tell a person to study, he won't do until last few hours before exam.
Tell a person to quit smoking, he wont until he coughs out blood.
Tell a person to change his attitude, he won't until his girlfriend leaves him.
Tell a person to work hard in office, he won't until he has a warning letter.
Tell a person to love his parents, he won't until the parents are admitted in hospital.
Tell a person to be less stubborn, he won't until he loses everything to stubbornness.
Tell a person to be more expressive, he won't until his crush has got engaged.

Silver lining: Change while you still have time.
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