I installed an app called Deepstash to scout most important English written blogs. Ever since search engines like Google started favoring content, blog articles started to be long but with few ideas. This is exactly the issue that Deepstash app solves: it summarizes blog articles by extracting the main ideas. It took me a couple of weeks to save some of the most relevant ideas and I will mention them here for you, along with some explanations where I feel necessary. Be prepared for very dense information as I don’t like to speak that much.
Parkinson’s law: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. This is not the case for everybody and not even for me in some situations. But at work when I have a deadline I usually take my time and not complete the task too early but also not too late. Most often I complete my job tasks just in time.
How to stick to my goals when I lost motivation. This is something I rarely tried. I usually try it only with medium and long term goals and it works but I should try it with short term goals too. Basically I focus on my emotional reward, on how I feel after finishing something important to me. I did this regarding my two Agile Scrum certifications (medium term goals) and I’m doing with with long term goals too like writing this book and reworking my house. The point is to imagine the task done and feel some of the following: the adrenaline rush, the feeling of being fit and healthy, the relief after finishing a project or the pride for an accomplishment. I usually imagine myself in the future talking with someone I want to impress (usually girls). And in my imaginary conversations I say things like I did this in this way and I detail it. This is how I plan things, I am rarely a spontaneous person.
The benefits of keeping a journal: I know three: personal growth and development, problem solving and stress reduction. Journaling helps in personal growth and development because by recording my thoughts I gain insight into my behaviors and moods. It is all about patterns and journaling makes them obvious. Journaling also helps in problem solving because a complicated issue becomes easier if it is written down and detailed. The amazing part of journaling is that I never know where the first written idea will lead me. And journaling also helps in stress reduction and also frustration reduction. Basically when I write down what bothers me I become aware of it and I have the chance to tackle it. It is well known the fact that journaling improves mental health. I gave up paper journals and started using a digital journal called Penzu. It has mobile and web apps which are synchronized.
A good entry in my journal occurred after I read the idea to take a break. I totally recommend this. I took a break and wrote down how I imagined myself 10 years from that moment. Here are my life goals in the long run, the most important things for me that will matter in even 10 years from now.
- Spend time with my family, especially my parents and my nephew. They are the most vulnerable.
- Rebuild my house and buy studios.
- Never give up on finding love.
- Never stop learning, taking programming courses and reading self development books.
- Write books and continue my blog.
The next idea is about improving optimism. It seems that imagining my ideal future can improve my optimism. I do this very often in my head and I can say I’m an optimist, not a realist or pessimist. But there is also an exercise I recommend. Basically imagine your ideal life in 10 years, how it would look like and how it would feel. And you can write it down every week for the next two months.
Here is my first entries in my journal regarding this exercise:
This is my ideal life thus I can dream.
In 10 years I would like to own a house and a couple of studios that would allow me to earn passive income. I would feel freedom just like I did when I was a child. Freedom from having to be employed and having to respect the job rules. But I would still work, I would work on writing books, creating applications and doing therapy. This would bring me a sense of purpose, it would make me feel like my life has meaning.
Next I would like to have a wife and two kids. This would make me feel accomplished and loved.
And last but not least I would like to be a therapist.
Another great idea or better said an observation: successful people stick to their reading habit. Most successful people in this world a common trait has been noticed: the love for books. They just love reading books.
The next one: validate, not solve. This is a mistake I made too. There were times when people complained and I rushed to the problem solving mode by offering them solutions. I even got frustrated when I noticed they don’t care about my solutions. There is only one mistake here: people in this kind of situations need to be listened and their problems, their struggles, validated. Everybody likes a good listener, I learned this lesson the hard way. When people need solutions they ask for them, they don’t complain.
Recognizing warning signs. The most dangerous emotions are the ones I’m not aware of. When we are aware of our negative emotions we can do something constructive about them. But when we’re not aware, psychotherapy, meditation or a journal may come in handy. A therapist is an expert in helping one identify its emotions. And when the therapist was not around the following exercise proved formidable: I wrote in my journal my thoughts, how I felt and what actions I was driven to take. Now I rarely write down things that bother me because I became used to meditate upon them. The light of meditation burns any negative emotion, it literally consumes it.
How to have difficult conversations: the short answer, like most doctors. That is a direct and quickly to the point style. Difficult conversations become even more difficult when the delivery is complicated and most of the time the other person knows when a critique is coming.
The three components of active listening:
- Paraphrase: repeating to the speaker a summary of what they said so that he feels understood.
- Inquire: obtain all the relevant information needed to understand the topic or the issue.
- Acknowledge: this is about the response that the topic or issue has been understood.
Mistakes we make in conversations: we judge what someone is saying and we agree or disagree. We give counsel, advice or solution to problems when they are not asked for. And we analize others motives and behaviors based on our own experiences. Another common mistake in communication is to asume our message has been understood. We need to check that we’re understood by asking open questions that start with how, why or what.
The paradox of choice: we think we would be happier with more choices but in reality the more choices we have the more difficult is to choose one and the less satisfied we are with our choice.
A few ideas for a happier life: daily meditation, enough sleep, spending time in nature, self rewards, spending time alone to reflect, morning ritual (mine is based on hygiene and coffee) and self care.
Life is not linear, life is a cycle of good times and bad times. I used to have a phrase when I was younger: if we wouldn’t have rainy days we couldn’t appreciate the sunny ones. Basically our hardships have their purpose: to help us appreciate the good times.
For most people it takes more time to make money than to spend it. All I can say is that I’m not always careful with my expenses.
Since we are on the topic called money how about debt? There is a solid rule to never get into debt by buying things that go down in value over time like a car or electronics. But debt may be an option for investing in real estate or education. I prefer to avoid debt even in this situations by delaying my rewards. Any reward feels better when I’m waiting for it.
Small things add up: small choices but consistent over time make a big difference. It is always best to start small and grow in time.
The best money tip from Warren Buffett: small price and big value. To make it obvious we get fouled when we pay a big price for things we hardly use. But on the other hand to buy quality stuff that we would use often and on sale is advantageous.
The best investment in is ourselves. By gaining skills and improving our talents, nobody can take them away or tax them.
A few tips to build up resilience. Resilience is a quality that helps us start over again. One of the tips is to create a support group, that can be easily achieved with the help of family and loved one. But a therapist or enrolling to group therapy is also an option. Resilient people also view rejection as a new direction, when somebody leaves another one takes its place. I have seen this with women, friends and colleagues like all the time.
Success comes to those who take action. My therapist told me a lot of times to move out of my comfort zone. Now she doesn’t need to tell me anymore, I like to be out of my comfort zone. When you learn something for example you are outside your comfort zone so this is the most accessible way to get there. The comfort zone provides numbing for the mind and consumes time while providing no benefit what so ever. People stagnate when they are in the comfort zone, they basically stop evolving.