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Category : Life Hacks

Life Hacks

Your Life Has an Algorithm. Program It to Work in Your Favor.

Tim Denning Advice

Photo by Slava Pluzhnov on Unsplash


Tech algorithms run your online life.

What if there’s an algorithm similar to the one that powers your TikTok newsfeed that runs your life? And what if you can program it to work in your favor? There are ways.

Aldous Huxley says, “The brain is a reducing valve of consciousness.” The mind acts as an algorithm that determines what shows up in your life’s newsfeed. If left to run on auto-pilot, you’ll quickly find yourself believing the world is going to end or falling for fake news.

There’s a reason some crazies don’t believe in the global health crisis.

Their mind’s algorithm has been tampered with by life hackers, posing as helpful human beings, that are selfishly seeking to manipulate people for personal gain. Program your life’s algorithm to work in your favor like this.

“Where focus goes energy flows”

I find that anxiety, worry, and depression find me when I let random content enter my life. No matter how mentally tough you are, if you consume enough “America is dying” garbage you’ll start to believe it.

Doom is a weapon. Doom is how people can gain mass attention that earns them money. I’ll tell you the shortcut to fame and riches. You can deploy this strategy right now.

Pick any social media app and simply repeat the headlines from CNN. It’s one of the most popular business models in history and it’s guaranteed to work, because it taps into the negativity hard-coded into our minds by human evolution. You’ll tap into millions of people by being the next CNN, and accidentally ‘do evil.’

When doom runs your life’s algorithm you see the negative in everything. Someone won a contest? Must be a fraud. A new social media platform? They’ll fail. A friend quit their job? They’ll be begging for their job back. New car? Consumerism kills society. Bought a house? How dare they — the economy is going to sh*t, they’re screwed.

See what happens? There’s zero optimism left. Optimism is the foundation of creation. And creation is how we fix the things doomsayers talk about.

Any dumbo can repeat problems and make us believe we won’t solve them.

A true genius goes beyond problems and imagines a future in which solutions no one saw coming get invented. When you meet the next energy vampire that sucks the oxygen out of the room with their negativity, remember why. It’s because their life’s algorithm is programmed by daily overexposure to negativity.

Build a Zoom bookshelf

My business partner has a bookshelf behind him whenever we do a Zoom call. Multiple times we’ll be talking about a topic and he’ll swivel around and grab a book that demonstrates his point.

His bookshelf programs his life’s algorithm. In the room of his house where he does all his work, there are books everywhere that he can trip over (literally) when he’s in need of inspiration or a new idea.

A good book that improves your life isn’t supposed to be read once. No. A good book should be read multiple times over a lifetime. Why? A book reads differently each time, depending on what’s happening in your life.

I remember reading “Think And Grow Rich” right after a successful business venture, and then again right after a bad breakup. It was like reading two different books.

Books you trip over help to program your life’s algorithm.

Live in a social media algorithm bubble

Often friends will message me and say, “did you see what such and such person wrote on Twitter?” I’ll have no idea what they’re talking about and this is deliberate.

A social media algorithm programs your life’s algorithm.

I mute and unfollow bullsh*t. Life is hard enough. I don’t have time for undisciplined thinking that makes my world worse. You can do the same. Notice what comes into your email inbox and social media feeds. Is it helping you or taking advantage of you?

Follow people you disagree with

Wait, what? Hear me out. There are people who I strongly disagree with but are trying to improve society. Their thoughts program my mind with alternate possibilities. They seek to make me think rather than worship their point of view. I don’t agree with some of them, for example, when it comes to Bitcoin.

But on other topics I do. I try to have these folk sprinkled into my life’s algorithm, so I don’t become a victim of my own thoughts. A wild Mark Mason screaming at you once in a while is good for disrupting thought patterns.

Program thoughtful contrarians into your life’s algorithm.

Add hard things to your algorithm

My food algorithm is hyper-adjusted to prevent caloric disasters. I know that if there’s chocolate or sugary drinks around I’ll consume them. So, I don’t allow them into my pantry. Doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. I can still access junk food but I’ve made it much harder to get to.

I’m also prone to laziness. Some days I don’t move my body. I learned an old trick. Place your favorite gym outfit next to your bed. As soon as you wake up simply put in on. Then go and do your version of movement.

Repeat this process for 21 days and you have a habit. This works because the clothes next to your bed trigger a ritual. Once our life’s algorithm is used to a ritual it does it automatically.

Automatic thinking is powerful. It helps you avoid resistance and giving in to any excuses you try to come up with.

I try to program in hard things that make me fearful. For example, I’ll book myself to go to Toastmasters, where I know there’s a high chance I’ll have to give a speech. Just the proximity is enough for my life’s algorithm to do the rest of the work and defeat my fear.

Program the “magnet of opportunity” into your algorithm

Your life is a magnet. You attract people and things by what you put out.

Many opportunities I discover come from intentional serendipity. Here’s a strategy you can steal. Send one message per day with no agenda. I sent one today to the first person I ever interviewed as a writer.

I told him that my entire career started with the piece I wrote about his startup, that’s now a household name in America. The message spoke to how glad I was that his interview broke my writing virginity. And how it’s amazing the way life comes full circle.

What came back was an awesome reply and a chance to reconnect. Now we’re off talking about a new opportunity. You can go even further with this strategy and do a James Altucher. Add ten ideas at the bottom that the recipient might find helpful.

Messages with no hidden agenda program your life’s algorithm for future opportunities you’ll never see coming. Sprinkle in a little humility and a touch of kindness, and you’ve got a superpower.

Why all of this matters to you

Your life’s algorithm is controlled by your thoughts. Your thoughts are programmed by your inputs. The tiny thoughts you have turn into decisions that cut off other possibilities. Decisions then become actions. Actions shape your focus. And focus programs your life’s algorithm to create your future.

Rewire your life’s algorithm to work in your favor, by being intentional about what you subconsciously let program you. Doom causes faulty programming. Optimism hardcodes your brain for unlimited potential.


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Life Hacks

Ten of the Most Useful Rule of Thumbs I’ve Found

Rule of Thumbs

Image Credit–MichaelConstable


Decisions drain the life out of us.

Every tiny decision requires precious energy. That energy is taken away from our family, our ability to earn money, or our passion for hobbies. I spend my life obsessively looking for energy leaks. Rules of thumb (aka razors) help to automate decisions so you can gain back precious energy and use it to improve your life.

Here are the best ones I’ve found.

The most powerful rule of thumb ever

Let’s cut to the chase. People can easily set themselves up for failure when they fall for the lie that people are bad until proven otherwise.

Humans are a pretty good species. Sure there are a few crazies — but if you build your life around the idea that everybody is crazy, you’ll go nuts yourself. Assume people mean well until proven otherwise.

Give people a chance. Let them show you what they’re capable of. Give them enough rope to run with, without giving them so much rope that the odd crazy can use it to hang you with.

Social media has helped divide us. Believing people are good by nature will help repair the damage, and let you make decisions about people faster.

The “it freaking hurts” law

Every day opportunities get presented to us. It’s easy to be biased towards the ones that are in your comfort zone. An excellent rule of thumb is to do what former Navy Seal Commander Jocko suggests.

Choose the uncomfortable option.

What freaking hurts is where the growth is found.

Have you ever been in a scary situation and then retold the story years later? I told a friend recently about how when I was a teenager I went to a house party. We were having a good time and dancing to Dr Dre anthems like “Next Episode” in the main living room.

All of a sudden a group of youths came through the front door with machetes and started slicing through humans like dead cows. A knife cutting through flesh like butter sounds similar to slicing through a lettuce.

At the time the experience scared the crap out of me. When I retell the story now it’s from the perspective of a superhero. I learned so many lessons that night that have kept me safe. The uncomfortable visual has become a powerful life lesson. If you’d have asked me whether I wanted to see the knife wounds and blood everywhere back then, the answer would be no. But in a strange way I’m glad I saw my worst nightmare.

Now obviously don’t go to this extreme and be around wannabe teenage samurai. The message is to say yes to what scares you more often. You can always say no at the last minute if the challenge is too great. At least give yourself a chance to face your fear and level up because of it.

This one keeps you humble until you die

The afterlife is an interesting idea. Nobody can prove or disprove it. I use the lack of certainty about whether death is the end to keep me humble today.

My rule of thumb is I’ve been born in the western world and compared to places like Africa, I come from extreme privilege. Therefore, in the next life I’m going to live in poverty without an internet connection.

This way of thinking helps me see poverty and famine as my problem. If I don’t help to solve it then it will plague me in the next life. I’ll have to find a way to walk miles to get a bucket of water and risk getting a deadly disease when I go to quench my thirst.

Pretend you get the opposite of this life in the next life. The decision to be kind and solve global problems is easy then.

Shatner’s rule

William Shatner is the face of Star Trek. Oldies love him. I don’t mind him. Recently Shatner got a free ride on Jeff Bezos’ huge rocket ship.

When he returned to earth, Jeff conducted an awkward interview full of emotion. Jeff doesn’t perform well around emotion. He has a bulletproof man persona that can only be penetrated with the sudden bankruptcy of Amazon. Unlikely to happen.

Shatner describes space as very black. He thinks that being in space is what death must feel like. There’s nothing. But when he was in space he says you look down on earth and it’s this blue glow that signals life. Now back on earth, he realizes he’s on the same side as life, not death.

Shatner’s rule gives you all the motivation you need. You’re already lucky to exist in the blue part, not the black part. Enjoy the blue before you enter the blackness.

The Einstein mental model

Einstein was a smart cookie. Thought experiments ran his life. In 1919 most people had no idea who he was. A year later one of his thought experiments made him wildly famous. The experiment was a solar eclipse that made his theory of relativity true.

At any given time Einstein had an experiment running. He started with “imagine you’re…” Then he’d add an experiment. Imagine you’re chasing a beam of light through space. What happens? Imagine you’re on a train and lightning strikes while your friend outside watches. What happens? Imagine you have a twin. The moment you’re both born you stay on earth and your twin gets sent to space at the speed of light. How do you age?

These regular experiments made Einstein one of the most well-known people in history.

If you want to be smart it’s best to always have experiments running. Use the data to level up in the video game of your life. So next time you go to do a task for the first time, intentionally label it as an experiment. That way the outcome is learning rather than success or failure. You’ll make decisions faster as a result.

Feynman’s law

If you cannot explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it — Prof. Feynman

I use an edited version of the Feynman law. To ensure I understand something in simple terms I write about it. It’s why I’ve written so much about bitcoin — to understand it.

The process is then to see what parts people highlight of the article and what questions they have in the comments or on Twitter. This feedback shows me what parts I understand and what parts need work. I then go back to the original idea I wrote about to relearn.

Don’t guess whether you understand a complex idea. Use social media to share your learnings and then compile the feedback to see your blind spots.

The personal hero razor

Ever learned somebody you admire has done evil in the past? I remember I once wrote about Ellen Degeneres. Years later I learned she was an evil witch that treated humans like voodoo dolls. It broke my heart.

A useful rule of thumb is to assume your heroes have at least one enormous defect. That way when the eventual story leaks out about a night of debauchery they once had on Hollywood Boulevard, you won’t be outraged.

Cancel culture encourages us to be outraged when a person we place on a pedestal does something wrong. This is stupid. Everybody makes mistakes. Expect a famous person to screw up. Joe Rogan is another great example. His recent misinformation episodes are horrific. What I learned in his early podcasts, before he got famous, still has value to me though.

The point of an idol is to take the good you can learn from them and leave the bad behind. It means you don’t have to waste so much time making decisions about who to follow and who to mute. Learn from insights, not from perfect humans that don’t exist.

Use the law of the writer’s guillotine

Good writers use a guillotine on their work. They’re the executioners of their cute little idea babies.

Look at Sean Kernan. He uses a machine gun rather than a guillotine to murder unnecessary thoughts from his writing. It works.

This law goes beyond blogging. Whenever you have to prepare a presentation, video, podcast or speech, delete the worst point even if it’s good. It will make the rest of the content shine brighter.

The “everybody’s watching me” bullet to the head

I speak to a lot of wannabe writers. Many of them live in this fantasy world, where they imagine writing like taking their clothes off at a strip club and showing their private parts to strangers who whip out their phone, capture the moment and place it on instagram for eternity.

They think everybody is watching, therefore the risk to write online is too great. I can’t judge them because I used to be like that. I found a solution.

Forget about trying to get people to agree or disagree with you. Instead, settle for making them think. That one rule of thumb eliminates all the fantasies about having 100% of people agree with you.

You can never control who disagrees or agrees with you. It’s possible to make them think, though. Make it your default decision so you can unleash your creativity on the world.

The Steve Jobs Razor

Steve Jobs was an asshole. Let’s not be mistaken. But as per the personal hero razor, you can learn wisdom from anybody, even Jobs.

Steve taught me to be obsessed with simplicity. What got me was when he said “1000 songs in your pocket” to describe the iPod. If you break down this claim then it’s wrong. The number of 1000 songs is correct if you listen to 3-minute radio edits. But back in the early 2000s I listened to dance music which is 7- minutes per track. Fact-checkers got drunk on this claim.

But the detail doesn’t matter. It’s the idea that provides the insight. Jobs taught us to get to the point over worrying about tiny details.

Simplicity is a superpower. Apply it to everything you do in life and more people will understand what you’re trying to communicate.

Takeaways

  • Assume people mean well until proven otherwise.
  • Pretend you get the opposite of this life in the next life.
  • Earth is life. Space is death. You live on earth.
  • Always have experiments going.
  • Choose the uncomfortable option.
  • Assume your heroes have at least one enormous defect.
  • Don’t make people agree or disagree with you. Make them think.
  • Use simplicity over details to communicate better.

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Life Hacks

The Weird Device That Reprograms My Brain While I Work

Tinnitus is a sound generated by the brain.

Image taken by Tim Denning (Pictured: tiny device in my hand)


Painter Van Gogh chopped his ears off when he discovered he had tinnitus.

When I found out about my own tinnitus insane thoughts came flooding in. A high-pitched noise that drowns out humanity can feel like a punishment worse than prison. Since I originally shared my tinnitus story I got a lot of helpful information via direct messages.

What I discovered accidentally transcends the treatment of tinnitus and will help you think about the power of your brain differently.

The unfortunate cause many people are unaware of

(Always seek your own medical advice. This is just my experience.)

Nearly 50 million Americans alone suffer from tinnitus. If you go to the doctor like I did there is a high chance you’ll be told there’s no treatment.

At best you may be told that the high-pitched noise can be drowned out by playing white noise while you sleep and during the day. After I got my bad news I became pretty emotional. Instead of taking it as fact, I got many more opinions and wasted a lot of money.

Eventually I discovered two treatments for tinnitus. To understand the treatment you have to understand tinnitus in simple terms. Let me, Captain Simple, explain what it is.

Tinnitus is a sound generated by the brain. Sometimes it’s a temporary sound, like after you go to a rock concert and your ears ring the next day. Other times Tinnitus goes from being an occasional noise, to a frequent noise, to a 24/7 noise. That’s what happened to me.

Permanent tinnitus goes hand in hand with hearing loss. From a young age I played drums. Most of the time I wore earplugs but not always. Then I transitioned into DJing as a 16-year-old. That led to many late nights playing in nightclubs with music as loud as a jumbo jet engine. Then I transitioned again into sound engineering and spent 8–10 hour sessions in recording studios, making electronic music and recording vocals with singers.

Thankfully I gave up my music career in my 20s, partly due to mental illness. Then over the last two years I’ve worn noise-canceling headphones every day for long periods of time. Initially it seemed fine to do. That’s until I crossed the threshold of slight ringing in the ears only at night, to full-time tinnitus. No one knows for sure what created my permanent problem, but noise-canceling headphones were likely the cause.

When I saw multiple ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialists they all said the same thing: a job in music leads to tinnitus eventually. They expected it to occur in my 60s or older.

Then I asked about noise-canceling headphones. They couldn’t give me a definite answer. But one specialist said he was collecting data and had seen a pattern with the noise-canceling function. The research is still ongoing.

My brain programming device

After I posted my tinnitus story on LinkedIn I got a lot of recommended treatments. All of them — except two — were temporary treatments.

Anything from rubbing my head, to cortisol injections, to hypnotherapy, to meditation, to stand on one leg. Two of the suggestions were powerful though and they transcend tinnitus.

One treatment I’m using right now is a tiny device that reprograms my brain. It’s a hearing aid that is specially designed for tinnitus suffers. The hearing aid plays fractal sounds to my brain all day and night.

The sound is a bit like a wind chime or a 1990s doorbell. The brain is incredibly smart and gets used to sounds easily. To prevent the brain from getting used to the fractal sounds they constantly change.

The volume of the sound must be below the sound of my high-pitched tinnitus at all times. At night I wear them to bed. When I wake up I charge them.

Over a 6 month period this tiny device that sits behind my hear is supposed to reduce or even eliminate tinnitus. It’s been around since 2012 so it’s not exactly a new idea.

Leveraging cutting edge brain science

The weird device uses the concept of neuroplasticity to reprogram my brain.

The theory is if my brain can all of a sudden flip a hidden switch and start generating this painful noise, why can’t the brain be programmed through sound to stop doing it?

As soon as I heard the device used neuroplasticity to treat tinnitus, I leaped for joy. The idea of neuroplasticity is not new to me. Over 5 years ago I learned about neuroplasticity and used it (partly) to heal myself from mental illness. The idea it can apply more broadly to issues like tinnitus is exciting.

Becoming superhuman with the device

The device I wear is also a hearing aid. That means it can amplify sounds if the patient needs it. While I have hearing loss at 6 kHz, my specialist told me that I don’t need amplification yet.

When I first turn the tiny devices on they are set to a program that amplifies sounds. The devices I have are on loan and normally retail for about $11,000. The ones I will buy shortly will likely cost about $2000.

When amplification is turned on I suddenly get Superman hearing. The whole world changes around me. I can hear my own heartbeat. I can hear the tiniest rustle of my jacket. I can hear people that are two apartments from mine talking. The immense power it gives my hearing feels like I have superhuman powers.

The point is this: technology will be able to enhance our human features far beyond what we’re born with in the future. Superhero powers may not be that crazy with the innovation that’s still to come.

The father of Star Trek has a similar device

Turns out other people have discovered similar treatments. William Shatner of Star Trek fame had a similar device, except his used white noise to help put the high-pitched noise he heard into the background.

I wore the device for 24 hours a day for several months. Now, I don’t hear the tinnitus 95 percent of the time. So it’s important to let people know that in many cases, tinnitus can be managed. I’m living proof you can conquer it.

— William Shatner

A powerful possibility in the making

The second tinnitus treatment I’m about to try goes to the next level. It involves an app with a tone generator that I have to use to find the high frequency that I hear.

This sounds easy but it’s not. Because what I hear is generated by my brain, whenever I attempt to decode the sound for the purpose of treatment, my brain starts playing tricks on me.

After weeks of trying I have been unable to identify what sound I hear. Sometimes I feel like I hear one sound and other times it appears to be multiple sounds. Over the span of a week it can feel like the sound morphs.

The process is extremely frustrating. It’s like playing a game of hide and seek with your brain, except you always lose and don’t know why.

If I could identify what sound I hear then the idea is that I wear a headband to bed each night with headphones tucked inside. The app then plays an hour of white noise to help me sleep, then transitions to a program that plays back to my brain the high-pitched sound that I hear 24/7. The theory is based on neuromodulation. It’s the same idea that the brain can be reprogrammed to heal itself.

In a few weeks I’ve booked a soundproof room to try one last time to see if I can figure out what sound I hear when there’s complete silence and no distraction. We’ll see.

So far this treatment has had a lot of success in Australia. It’s been presented as a possible tinnitus cure to hundreds of Australian ENT specialists who are dying to offer another answer other than the current, “it’s permanent and there’s no cure” one they’ve been forced to give.

Takeaway

If you’re one of the millions of people who have tinnitus then have faith. Treatments that can reprogram your brain may become mainstream soon.

The more important lesson is that neuroplasticity is a powerful idea you should research. What if you could reprogram your brain and live an entirely different life? I’m one of the fortunate people who has experienced this. Maybe neuroplasticity can unlock a powerful alternate reality for you too.


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Life Hacks

Mental Models: Use Them to Hardwire Your Brain to Get What You Want

Mental models for self improvement

Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash


Mental models are a guidebook to humanity.

If there were ever a shortcut to living better, with less stress, more time and tonnes more joy, it would be the concept of mental models.

The problem with mental models is they sound like they’re written by scientists. That’s why most of us normies don’t use them or understand their power. I’m here to abolish the BS.

Our experiences help us unconsciously or consciously create a group of beliefs and ideas. They narrate the thoughts in our heads, tell us what to do in different situations, and help us make sense of the world we live in. So they’re pretty bloody important.

Neuroscience expert and PhD candidate Anne-Laure Le Cunff says “They’re basically thinking tools — shortcuts for reasoning.”

These unconventional mental models will help you get what you want.

Red pill content

Entrepreneur Shaan Puri has an awesome mental model for anybody who creates content. Most online content is a snoozefest. This is because creators haven’t stumbled across the red pill mental model.

Hand society something they’re not hearing anywhere. Society says blue pill. Your content says red pill. Shaan (via George Mack)

Images created by author using Canva

Writer Ayodeji Awosika is one of the best creators at using the red pill model to move hearts and minds. This hidden technique has built his entire career. Took me years of reading his work to discover his mental model.

Good content is not about what is right and wrong. No. Good content has a red pill that makes people think (that’s a red pill, too). Develop different ways of looking at cliche ideas. Dare to challenge people’s beliefs in content you publish online, otherwise, you sound like every other schmuck.

What’s your red pill?

Intellectual Compounding

Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet are hailed as the high priests of the investment world. People would happily spit shine their shoes for 5 seconds of investment advice.

There’s one problem. Charlie and old mate Warren aren’t investors. They’re collectors of mental models. They’re literally obsessed. Einstein calls financial compounding the 8th wonder of the world. Invest money, reinvest the returns, and wait many years. That’s how most people get filthy Lambo rich.

The co-creator of the game Farmville, Sizhao Yang, taught me about intellectual compounding. Munger and Buffett are both obsessed with reading. They read to collect mental models, not to be entertained by Harry Potter authors for sh*ts and giggles.

Sizhao says their collection of mental models allows them to “make large decisions quickly.” Those decisions help them invest money, reinvest the profits, and make squillions over multiple decades. This is done with intuition built on a foundation of strong mental models.

The takeaway he says is this: Intuition is simply reading a lot.

Read to collect mental models that improve your intuition and allow you to intellectually compound your knowledge into enormous value. That’s how you become a Buffet/Munger badass.

The Shopify Founder uses Crocker’s Law

Crocker is an editor at Wikipedia. He wanted everybody who edited his pages on the site to do so without painful sorries.

Feedback on his pages is how they became better. That’s a gift. He wanted to remove roadblocks that stopped people being blunt with their comments. So he made it clear for people to be ruthless with their critiques.

The key to this strategy is he took full accountability for his mental state. When he got offended he saw it as his fault. Nice.

Just give me the raw feedback without all the sh*t sandwich around it. It’s not meant to hurt. It’s meant to move things forward, to demystify something for you. I want frank feedback from everyone — Tobi Lutke (via George Mack)

Imagine if you used Crocker’s law to stop being offended by every damn thing. Well, then you’d be unstoppable. There’d be no critics blocking the doorway to your dreams.

The Rolls Royce contrast hack explains naughty, high-priced purchases

Rolls Royce, like any car company, used to exhibit their vehicles at car shows to make sales and bleed everyday humans of their life savings. At one point in their history they simply ceased going to car shows.

They started showing their cars off at exclusive aircraft shows. A Rolls Royce typically starts at $330,000. That’s a lot of cashola. But imagine you’re a high-class baller attending aircraft shows.

You’re looking to buy the better half a sneaky private jet for Valentine’s Day. All the aircraft start at $1 million or more. Then you see a grandpa’s wet dream tucked away in the corner of the aircraft hanger.

The price tag says $330,000. All of a sudden a Rolls Royce seems like a cheap gift. This contrast hack is how Rolls Royce was able to sell overpriced leather recliners to a group of elites and make them think they were throwing away loose change. It’s sometimes called price anchoring.

You can do the same. Think about the backdrop when you ask a huge question. The question Can I buy a Macbook? to your partner might be a hard one to get permission for. But take them out to a nice bite to eat over a green smoothie and they’re more likely to give you a permission slip.

Bitcoinism

Bitcoinism is a way of seeing the world in which people are fiercely loyal to their fellow bitcoiners above everybody else. This mental model is very useful for understanding why bitcoin has become so popular.

Unpopular opinion: Bitcoinism culture is bad. It forces random people on Twitter to takedown any other crypto project attempting to do anything cool. It causes people to think only one crypto can win. It creates blindspots in thinking that make people believe ethereum will never succeed even though it has already. It forgets that there are multiple problems that need to be solved beyond the plain vanilla use case of the store of value problem bitcoin solves.

Bitcoinism assumes there is one winner. This mental model of the world is toxic. Technology creates change. To assume one solution will solve a problem for eternity is extremely naive.

I love bitcoin but I hate Bitcoinism. Be careful getting caught up in the “one winner takes all” mental model that seeks to hate on every other alternative. Alternatives progress humanity. One-winner-syndrome creates dictatorships full of yes-men/women.

The Tim Denning Aussie Law

We name laws after people, so I thought I’d chuck one in the mix. It’s a law people have told me time and time again has changed their life. Here it is.

Work you do in the first year of a side hustle seems like it leads nowhere. Work you do for five or more years makes you look extremely lucky. The effort you put in compounds at an invisible pace. The results don’t appear in year one. By year five, if you stuck with it, you’d be super successful at whatever side hustle you committed to.

Time in the game is the name of the game.

No magical pixies with fairy dust and rainbow unicorns are going to show up in your life after one month or ninety days. This is an instagram fantasy, not reality. If you stick at a side hustle for five years, commit to learning while you do it and are humble, there’s no ceiling on your results. The problem is 5-year patience is an impossible thought in an age of 15-second TikTok videos.

Use this made-up law I created (to look smart) to get what you want in life. No more hacks, shortcuts, or tricks are needed. Time in the game is the ultimate decider. Now you know.

Final Thought

As you can see mental models are not only created by psychologists with Nobel Prizes. You can create your own mental models. When you do they help you make decisions quickly, sort ideas into categories, and shape your view of the world. Mental models are also highly shareable and a great way to teach.

Ask yourself: “How does this person think?” Then write your own mental model to package together their ideas and beliefs.

Mental models make you a genius because they automate complex thinking. We all need that advantage.


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Life Hacks

The Real Enemy Is Yourself. Here’s How to Win the War Against Your Three Biggest Enemies.

Self Improvement

Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash


Self-improvement isn’t about comparing the best morning routines.

Or your favorite place to take a cold shower and read the 4-hour workweek. The only person you’re up against in life is you. Mental illness taught me that. For years I thought everybody else was messed up because of the angry fire burning in my head, making me do dumb stuff. That’s when I discovered self-improvement. It wasn’t a cool new tool. Nope. It was a survival guide that saved my life.

There’s a war in our heads. There are three enemies we fight. When we learn how to tackle all three, optimal productivity can be reached.

Enemy #1 — Multi-tasking

Think of your mind like an internet browser. Half of the time we’ve got a million tabs open. This cognitive load slows our minds down. No wonder we can’t think straight and do basic tasks like sit down and write.

The way to beat the enemy is to focus on single tasks without distractions. If I have to complete a task on a computer, then I first save all my open browser tabs using a free plugin called OneTab. Then I open a new browser window and try to only open one tab. Apple now has a focus mode in its latest update. I use this to hide all notifications (aka distractions).

My to-do list for the day is focused on the most important task. In other words, what brings the biggest results. Yesterday it was the launch of my book. Today it’s my newsletter. On Sunday it’s the picnic with my long-lost friend. This doesn’t mean I don’t have other tasks. It simply means that anything on top of my most important task is a bonus.

When you train your brain to see tasks as added bonuses, it changes how you work. Ticking tasks off becomes a gift rather than a tiresome burden that leads to an eventual productivity burnout.

Enemy #2 — Overthinking

I’ve suffered from overthinking a lot in my life, most of it caused by mental illness. Fear would often overwhelm me and that led me to default to inaction. Motivational speaker and author Mel Robbins gave me a technique that allows anybody to destroy overthinking. It’s called “The 5-Second Rule.”

The rule is simple. When you catch yourself overthinking, you simply countdown 5–4–3–2–1 and then take immediate action.

The technique is so effective because it’s built on the idea that “hesitation is the kiss of death.” By forcing yourself to take action, it helps you use instincts and intuition rather than fear and mental death spirals to make decisions. Couple the technique with the mantra “feel the fear and do it anyway,” and you’ll become unstoppable against this enemy.

Confidence is built through one 5-second move at a time — Mel Robbins

Enemy #3 — Procrastination

My side hustle of writing comes with a lot of procrastination. Writing is a brain drain. It vacuums up all your mental energy, leaving you depleted at the end. A day full of writing feels like running a marathon to me. Naturally, my brain that loves comfort would rather delay the start time.

Productivity expert Ali Abdaal has a way to defeat this enemy with a rule.

The 10-minute rule is simple. If I’m finding myself procrastinating on something I have to do, I tell myself that I’m just going to do it for 10 minutes. No more, no less. Just 10 minutes.

Procrastination doesn’t stand a chance when you make the goal so tiny it would seem stupid not to do it. 10 minutes is easy. The mind works on logic so it easily falls right into the bear trap. The key isn’t to complete a goal. It’s to get momentum and the 10-minute rule enables that to occur. Once you’ve started for 10 minutes, most of the time, you will be able to keep going.

The rule works better if you take a huge task and break it into small tasks. You chose the task that’s easiest, and that can be completed in 10 minutes.

Like if I wanted to write a book from scratch then I wouldn’t start with the book title. Nope. I would start by writing the subtitle. Or I’d start by writing the table of contents. These are quick tasks I can do to build momentum. Then I tell myself, “I can always change it later.”

Giving yourself permission to do rework later helps stop the enemy of procrastination from causing a false start.

It all boils down to this

It’s easy to think some magical outside force is in your way. Nine times out of ten it’s not. You are in your own way. This is a good thing. That gives you full control.

Don’t let big goals be destroyed by the enemies of multi-tasking, over-thinking, and procrastination. Once you know your biggest enemies that are all mental, you can reprogram your mind to defeat them with simple misdirections and psychological tricks.


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Life Hacks

Want a 4-Hour Workday? It’s Possible If You Predetermine Your Value.

4-hour workday

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

I spend way too much time on “Money Twitter.” The popular niche is full of everyday people who work four-hour days. No, it’s not a fantasy. I figured out how they do it.

They simply have placed a different value on their time. When you increase how much you’re worth, the money you earn goes up. The extra money can buy you a Lambo, perhaps. But many in this Twitter crowd do something different. They use the extra money to buy their time back. That means they don’t need to work full days.

Your value is a mathematical calculation, not a pre-determined formula. You can play around with the numbers. I calculate my current value based on prior earnings and skills I’ve acquired to be about $100 per hour. This isn’t necessarily the most amount of money I’ve ever earned.

Admittedly, I’ve been paid way too much at certain times of my life. So I don’t calculate my value based on good fortune. In the good years, where I earned more than my fair share, I simply used the extra money to give back to causes I care about. What’s interesting is that while my net-worth went down, my self-worth went up. Money is only one component of your value.

Run your calendar based on your value

A decent value of $100 per hour on my time helps me make decisions. If I get asked to be on a podcast, then I think about the $100 of work that will be lost. Or I think to myself, “If I sell five eBooks, then my cost is recovered.” Not everything is about money, obviously, but it helps to know the price.

If we fail to do this, people will take advantage of our value. They’ll ask us to do free stuff, which often only benefits them. If you don’t know your value, you blindly say “yes.” When your value is known, your “nos” will happen faster.

Once, a friend who was on a migrant visa in Australia found out that he was being drastically underpaid by as much as 50% compared to local workers doing the same job for the same company. But if he dared complain about his seven-day weeks, he’d be threatened with, “We’ll send you back home if you don’t like it.” I told this story to another guy, who was also on a migrant visa. He couldn’t believe it. “You know your friend can have their migrant visa moved to a new company like ours and get almost double the salary and benefits,” he said.

My friend had no idea. He let his value be eroded away by a corporation. He recalculated his worth and switched to a new company. No more seven-day weeks. No more threats of deportation. No more lack of 401(k) payments. Your value is whatever you think it is.

Don’t let the outside world devalue you.

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone else’s inability to see your worth — Zig Ziglar

Recalibrate your value annually

When you get a job, you get used to a certain amount of money. As inflation and expenses rise over time, that value often gets stuck. Asking for a pay raise is a huge mistake.

Why would a company pay you more for the same job? What I learned is to go back into the market annually and have my value redetermined. When I did, I always got higher offers than my current salary. Then I’d simply give my employer the first chance to recalibrate my salary or weigh up my options. Some years I stayed, though many times I moved around.

Your value isn’t fixed. Your skills, experience and network of contacts grow every year, so why shouldn’t your value?

The web is democratizing everything. Salaries will eventually be disrupted.

I imagine a world where jobs become eBay auctions. You send out the death eater AI to go and hunt you the highest value with the best overall employer features. Then you simply transfer your employment contract autonomously over the blockchain to the new employer and have your IT credentials simultaneously shifted.

Call me crazy but your value will be frictionless to transfer in the future. Especially if a large part of our days are still spent on Zoom calls, where we’re less attached to an employer brand or even to people.

The bigger question

Money doesn’t impress me much. Over the years, I’ve learned to change how I value myself. I value free time more than anything else. If you have time you’re already a billionaire in my book.

That’s why the four-hour workday appeals to me. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s that I want my future family to see me a lot more than is normal. Plus, I am more effective in four hours of work than I am in eight hours.

When you weigh up your own value start with the financial side. Then, think about other forms of value like time.

Your value isn’t static. The work world just wants us to think that so they can profit from the difference and raise their stock price. Makes sense. Doesn’t mean you ever have to accept the value someone else places on your head.

You’re a free spirit. Calculate your value. Then dare to ask for it.

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