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The Most Useful Life Hacks I’ve Found in the Last 12 Months

by | Nov 20, 2023 | Life Hacks

In 14 years he wrote 4000 blog posts.

Finally, he got his first book deal. The book hit the New York Times list and is now one of the highest-selling personal finance books of all time. His name is Morgan Housel.

He could’ve rushed things. He could’ve taken shortcuts or read tweet threads on how to self-publish a book in 30 days and become a millionaire.

He didn’t.

He did the hard work for long enough and had patience. The results were inevitable. Because you learn more by taking action for many years than you do chasing gurus, looking for shortcuts that lead to get-rich-quick schemes that keep you poor.

I wish more people knew this life hack. Here are the other most useful life hacks I’ve learned in the last 12 months.

Become unexplainable at dinner parties

My wife likes to invite friends over.

Last weekend we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday. Lots of guests came to our house to idolize her and shower her with gifts like the queen she is. I repeatedly got one question:

“What do you do for a living?”

I found it impossible to answer. How do you explain to normal people how writing on the internet works, how newsletters operate, and how an online business with nine different income streams functions?

I couldn’t. I’ve stopped trying.

The easy way to know you’ve picked a good path in life is when you’re doing something totally different from everyone else.

If it’s hard to explain it probably means it’s interesting, which means you’ll be interested in doing it for a long time and likely be successful at it.

Do the opposite of most people.

The “everyday formula” turns 54 years of results into 1 year

This is my favorite life hack of this year. It’s simple and easy to implement. Here goes:

Take a goal you have that currently happens weekly and switch it to daily. This takes 7 years of results and makes it happen in 1 year. Too many people are too slow with their goals.

I try to ask myself “How can I take what someone does in a year and achieve it in 30 days.” It helps me work smarter. If you apply the 1% compound interest rule to this formula it gets even cooler.

54 years of results happen in 1 year.

Weird behavior is more memorable

99% of people follow the same boring routines and are as predictable as a dog wanting a bone.

George Mack taught me a cool life hack. He says normal, predictable behavior is forgotten. But when you choose a weird behavior something different happens.

The example he gives is going to a restaurant. At the end of the meal you could not tell anyone and pay the entire bill yourself. Your fellow dinner guests would be shocked. They wouldn’t understand.

Fast-forward a few months or years, and it becomes a story everyone remembers. It becomes a memory people never forget and is hardwired into their brains thanks to nostalgia.

That’s what weird behavior does. It etches your short stay on planet earth in the minds that matter most. Kindness is probably the weirdest behavior you could embrace to make this reality happen.

Luck is a huge part of success (and no one wants to admit it)

When I remind people of this fact they get angry.

When we think of luck it makes us think the person didn’t deserve the results they achieved. That’s not quite right.

Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham says you can manufacture luck. You can make yourself a bigger target for it. Paul reads a lot of biographies of successful people and he says he always notices luck as a pattern.

He says it’s amazing how a chance meeting, unusual job choice, or random book can lead to an unpredictable path to success.

To make these seemingly random and lucky events happen he suggests you become more curious.

  • Experiment more than you currently do
  • Direct message people online or go to in-person events
  • Write on the internet to attract more of the right people
  • Ask 10x more questions than you do right now
  • Read more books

These five things are the birthplace of curiosity that leads to luck and eventual success.

Use this technique to find the best books

Books are a pain in the ass.

It’s hard to find good ones and each book you read often takes months off your life. Ryan Holiday’s research assistant, Billy Oppenheimer, taught me an insane life hack. It’s transformed how I read.

He says to start lots of books. But finish only a small few of them.

When you follow this strategy you’ll find certain books captivate you and hold your attention. At the end of the workday you can’t wait to read them. The goal is to find these books and finish them.

This is the best filter for good books. It makes the process easier. Don’t feel guilty for not finishing books. Make it your strategy.

Flying is an opportunity to escape reality that most people misunderstand

Flying in planes is how we travel.

Most people board the plane, sit down, and turn on whatever movies are streaming on the flight. This is a huge waste.

There are few moments in modern life when we’re disconnected from wi-fi and have a chance to think.

Flying is one of those opportunities.

On a flight you can choose to ignore the in-flight entertainment and reset your reality. It’s a time to think and solve big problems. There are no distractions and no one can call you.

Turn off the stimulation so you can exit the simulation.

Think of your mind as a supercomputer

Dan Koe has the best analogies on the internet.

He says our minds are supercomputers. Our attention is the RAM. Thoughts, regrets, fear, and tasks are the programs slowing your performance.

And the way to defrag, reboot, and upgrade our supercomputer is to write, meditate, and focus our attention on a single task. Using flow states is a further upgrade that’s like going from a dual-core to an 8-core processor.

Nightmares reveal a lot

Let’s get a little whacko.

I occasionally have nightmares. Whenever I do it’s always a teenage version of me. Schrodingr’s Brat on the X app reminded me why.

She says psychologists have documented that the age we are in our nightmares is the same age these bad memories were created. Even though we’re grown up now, a small part of the bad memory stays with us forever.

If those memories appear in your nightmares, it means you’re not over them. They still have some power over you.

This seems wild to me.

Some of my nightmares are about finishing high school. I did poorly in this area of life. And at the same age I hung around dangerous gangs and saw more knives and guns than most people see in a lifetime.

It makes sense these memories aren’t dead. They still have lessons to teach. The life hack here is don’t dismiss your nightmares — they have value.

Today’s rewards come from this weird place

It’s easy to take action and expect to be rewarded soon after. This expectation creates a lot of people’s failures.

What I’ve noticed is most of the rewards I get today are the result of things I did 5, 6, or even 9 years ago. But at the time I felt like my effort was wasted and would likely lead nowhere.

Do the work today so you’ll get the unexpected rewards in 1–5 years.

Also, don’t compare the rewards you have today with other people’s. It becomes a distraction.

You have no clue how they unlocked those rewards. And whatever story they tell you is mostly false so they can look and feel good and increase their status in society.

Instead…

Compare who you are today with who you were 1 year ago.

A simple strategy for dealing with difficult decisions

Jason Friend created the Basecamp software. He’s a smart dude.

He says every difficult decision he’s ever made would’ve been easier if he’d made it earlier. The thing about hard decisions is we put them off or take more time than we need to make them.

Our gut feeling often knows the right decision at the start. The life hack here is to make difficult decisions sooner, so you can get on with your life and potentially end a frustrating situation and replace it with a better one.

Life hacks can be dangerous

Wait, what?

Yep.

Don’t take these life hacks so seriously that you become this guy.

Screenshot taken from Reddit

Holy crap. Life isn’t meant to become a series of life hacks that make you take every little situation so seriously that you miss the point and forget to live. Your partner can wear sunglasses and not be trying to mess up your life and ruin your unborn kid’s future. Geez.

An often-forgotten life hack is to enjoy life, too.

Spend most of your time on the bucket list, not the to-do list

To-do lists never end.

Most of us are addicted to them like crack addicts. A useful reframe is to start spending more of your time on your bucket list items.

They’re the ones that produce the memories and secure your legacy. They’re what produce nostalgia which is one of the greatest feelings in the world (better than s3x).

So, for me, I spend more time with my daughter. Having a kid was a huge bucket list item and seeing her grow up and have amazing experiences occupies 80% of my bucket list. So I do more with her and less with customers or 9-5 bosses.

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