Nerd Corner #51

success, habits, and more!

Hi All!

This week it’s going to be a short one.

I’ve been catching up on some reading and working on some cool stuff. I’ll have more to say pretty soon!

In the meantime, I published my latest book notes, this time about “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing”. The book is super short and makes for a nice introduction to the crazy world of marketing. Are you a marketer, what other resources do you recommend?

What I am reading 📚

I just finished reading “The Moviegoer” by Walker Percy. A fine novel, for sure, but one that I’ll need to revisit in the coming weeks as there are certain bits that I still need to digest fully. The main character Jack Binx is a contradictory but relatable character and I still haven’t come to terms with it just yet.

Since I’ve been traveling for a while now, I find it easiest to read essays on my phone than to carry a book everywhere I go. It helps that I found a nice flow with Instapaper to read, take notes, and highlight important parts all of which get synced to my computer so I can later revise and edit them.

Two articles stood out this week. 

The first is a Ribbonfarm post on “A text Renaissance”. This blog has some very thoughtful and original articles and this is no exception. Rao argues that traditional blogs are disappearing in favor of more nuanced and original formats that combine different styles and note-taking approaches. A great example of this are Andy Matuschak’s notes, a web of interlinked notes that resemble a Zettelkasten.

The second is an article by Ryan Holiday that I’ve been rereading and revisiting as I try to think more deeply about what I want to do and how do I measure success in my own life. In particular, I’ve been thinking about these two pieces:

Forget Alive Time vs Dead Time, most people live in “I’m so busy, I haven’t thought about it”-time. And then they are surprised when stuff doesn’t work out — or, when it does, why they’re not happy with it.

They want to write a book, but don’t want to take the time to ask what purpose it serves. They talk about what they’d like to do but have no idea how to get there. They jump into starting a company or a site or any number of time intensive commitments, without actually asking: What does success here look like? And will that success be something I actually enjoy?

Nerd Corner 🤓

With all the running I’ve been doing, I’ve been exploring the science and psychology of habits. I’m especially interested in learning what are the most successful strategies to sustain a habit and what habits are worth cultivating. Like Charles Duhigg says in his book “The Power of Habit”,

Some habits, matter more than others in remaking businesses and lives. These are “keystone habits”, and they can influence how people work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate. Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything.

But most self-help books, apps, and courses that I’ve tried focus only on how to get the ball rolling. These are usually a good starting point. However, the benefits of practicing something new come only after a lot of repetition, when the activity really becomes a habit

And, in my experience the key to build long-term sustainable habits are based on three pillars:

  • System trumps motivation. When you’re first starting you need to make it easy for yourself. Don’t count on willpower or motivation. Build a system that’s easy to follow and use a habit tracker. Something powerful starts happening in your brain when you see a long streak of days in which you’ve practiced your habit.

  • Build accountability. You don’t have to do it alone. Join a community of like-minded people, put some money on the line. Share your goals with people that will motivate you to be better.

  • Learn from others. Once you start on your habit journey you’ll have on and off days. When things become difficult you start thinking about quitting, or taking a break. But you shouldn’t. Go online and read the experience of others, learn about psychology, and the science behind habit-building and you’ll make it easier for yourself to carry on.

Cool Finds 🤯

  • A 777 model made from manila folders. If you liked the paper airplanes link from a few weeks ago, you’ll love this one as well 😮. 

  • F-15 controls walkthrough. Speaking of airplanes, this video is mind-blowing. Gotta love some great engineering!

  • “Arts & Culture”. If you still can’t travel and want to explore historical or architectural sites, Google has an amazing compilation of historical sites that you can navigate through. It’s very easy to get lost in there for hours!

I have two questions for you! 😎

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Until next week,