Tip 1 – Think Consciously
What did you spend your time thinking about today? Most of us think the same thoughts over and over again, day in day out. We rarely stop to think if we should be thinking what we are thinking, and if it is useful to be spending time and energy on that specific thought. Our brain, while only 2% of our body mass takes up 20% of our energy.
Our thoughts consume valuable calories, so it makes sense to optimize our thinking on what is most important. We allow ourselves to get distracted by what others talk to us about, worries about the future that may never come true, regrets about the past, events on the news that have no impact on our lives, advertisements that are trying to get us to consume and the list goes on. Once you start to be conscious of the time and energy you spend thinking, you’ll find out how important it is not to waste your thinking on meaningless, pointless and irrelevant topics.
You’ll want to optimize your incoming information, what you watch, read, listen to, who you talk to, message and spend time communicating with. You’ll re-evaluate everything you spend time thinking about, even transition time in between activities or travel time when you are moving from one place to another. Your thoughts are your currency, how will you spend them? Every thought counts.
Tip 2 – Solidify your Daily Routines and Habits
We make thousands of decisions a day, over 200 just about food. Each decision we have to make drains a bit of our daily available willpower, and the harder the decision the more willpower it drains. In order to have more willpower available for our priorities later in the day it’s useful to automate as much of your daily decision making as possible. Automating activities you encounter everyday like what you will eat for breakfast, what you will wear, whether you go to the gym etc. means that you’ll be able to spend more willpower when it really counts.
How you do this is through the power of habit. If you do something consistently for a period of time, you build and strengthen new neural pathways which replace the old ones. Contrary to the popular “3 weeks to build a new habit” myth, simple habits can be built in a few days and complex habits can take months. But once the habit is set it doesn’t take any willpower to complete so your willpower is freed up to develop new useful habits. Willpower is like a muscle and by forcing yourself to take on new habits, you can exercise your willpower and increase your daily available amount, meaning you can build new habits faster and take on more difficult habits.
Tip 3 – Hack Systems of Life
How can some people get extraordinary results in a short time and others try their best for years and only get mediocre results? School, Work, Business, Dating, every area of your life can be broken down into systems, and every system can be hacked. You just need to understand the system well enough to find the unlocked back door and walk right in. We as humans tend to do what everyone else does because, well that’s what everyone does. But common practice gets common results. You may have heard of the 80-20 Pareto Principle, that 80% of your results comes from 20% of your activity. Wouldn’t it make sense then to spend some time figuring out what that 20% is and focus on doing that rather than waste most of your life on ineffective methods?
First off, make very clear what your goal is and work backwards from the goal. Then you can question everything you think you know about how things should be done to reach that goal. You can use the 3 whys method, and you’ll find that often there isn’t a very good reason for doing something a certain way. As Einstein said, “Ignore Convention!” So give yourself permission to test doing things differently. With the internet there is now a wealth of options to choose from. So test and measure what works for you and what doesn’t. Be aware of the tipping point and there’s no need for 100% perfection in everything you do, just find the 20% that gives you 80% of the results and move on to the next system of life you’d like to hack.
Technique 1 – Design a Live Plan for your Future
How many times have you had a New Years Resolution only to make the same one again the year after, and the year after? New Year’s resolutions don’t work, yet we keep making them year after year, hoping that this year will be different. We all have to-do lists, usually that keep getting longer until they are unmanageable so they get avoided, ignored or binned and then the process starts all over again. What I’m suggesting here is neither of those. Imagine a future you would love to live, as far in the future as you can imagine. It doesn’t have to be realistic, just something that inspires you. Then work backwards starting with big steps, and figure out how you could make that future a reality.
What you would you need to do this decade? This year? This month? This week? Today? Then create a daily plan before your day starts, a weekly plan before your week starts, a monthly plan before every month starts and so on. Continue to adapt your vision of the future as you learn more about yourself and how the world works. An empire is not built in a day, but rather with a vision and consistent tweaks adapting to the ever-changing environment.
The plan is a guide, it is not set in stone, and it is not to beat yourself up about not completing. It is for direction, but if you find something better along the way, give yourself the permission and trust yourself to make the right decision. Incorporate flexibility into your plan so that you are open to new opportunities that arrive. Your plans not only can change, but will change as it is impossible for you to predict how things will change in the future.
Technique 2 – Use visualization to mould your Reality
Your brain can’t distinguish between what you visualize and what you see. That’s why dreams always seem so real. By actively practicing visualizing what you would like to happen focuses your mind to find opportunities in your life to make what you have visualized a reality. One of the problems is that people often worry about things going wrong and even visualize it happening how they don’t want it to happen. By doing that, they are actually making what they don’t want to happen more likely to occur. So spend a bit of time everyday focusing on what you would like your future to be like, make it as clear and detailed as you can, and you’ll find your life will naturally start flowing in that direction and you’ll attract what you want into your life.
Technique 3 – Be SMART & Agile
SMART and Agile are principles from the business world that apply readily to personal life too. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. So when you set a goal make sure you are clear about the specific outcome by being very specific. Set some sort of metric to be able to measure results even if it’s not something that is normally measured. Check that the goal you have is realistic or if you should set smaller goals to hit first that you know are achievable.
Make sure that it is actually a useful goal and relevant to the bigger picture of the vision you have for your life. Set a deadline for yourself to push yourself to get it done. To oversimplify, the Agile methodology is a way of getting things ready without waiting for perfection. If you can set a minimum viable outcome that would satisfy the need, it can be useful to get that done first. Then after it is ready if you decide to improve it, you can do a round of improvements, but you have already achieved the basic outcome that you were looking for. Using these two principles will help you stop wasting time and get things done by making your goal setting and implementation effective.
Tool 1 – Get a Coach to Keep you Accountable
Do you find that you have good ideas, good intentions and the desire to improve, but we still don’t achieve your goals? Do you know you are not fulfilling your potential and could be doing better? We get distracted, procrastinate and make excuses for why we aren’t succeeding but the truth is, it rarely happens without an outside force to keep us accountable, whether that’s a deadline forced upon us or a promise we make to someone else. Whether it’s an executive, career, business or life coach, they are proven to help you get results, fast.
Contrary to popular belief, the most important factor in your success with a coach is not the skill of the coach or how well they are trained. According to research, the most important variable is your commitment, second most important variable is your relationship with the coach, and the third is the methodology/skill of the coach. So are you committed to making a change? Who will you get to help you?
Tool 2 – Boost your Brain with Nootropics
Your brain consists of neurons that send signals to each other through Neurotransmitters. Depending on the nutrients available in your body, there may or may not be an ample supply of materials needed for these neurotransmitters and signals can flow smoothly through your brain. Nootropics are smart drugs that improve cognitive function, memory, creativity, or motivation levels by optimizing the balance chemicals available for your brain to function. An important point to note is to do proper research so as not to overuse these drugs, either in terms of dosage or frequency, as doing so can lead to addiction or brain damage. Some nootropics that you likely know are Omega 3, Caffeine, Nicotine, Creatine and Adderall.
Our brain is mostly fats and water, so being well hydrated and having enough Omega-3 in your diet will keep your brain healthy. If you are looking to boost brain function, Caffeine and Nicotine (not in cigarette form) can be used in moderation, but lose most of their positive effects if overused as then the brain becomes dependent and needs them to just to function normally.
Creatine, though usually used for it’s physical rather than mental benefits, has been shown to have positive effects on IQ, especially in vegetarians or vegans who have no natural source in their diet. Adderall, while usually prescribed to people diagnosed with ADD, is becoming a common drug used by students when they need to focus. There are plenty of other less less well known nootropics such as Racetams, Modafinil, L-theanine and many more that are becoming increasingly popular, so if you are in need of improved memory, focus, relaxation or motivation do a bit of research and find which nootropic might be able to help you.
Tool 3 – Outsource Work
How much is an hour of your time worth? Is there anything you spend time doing that someone else could do cheaper? You are probably really great at some things and enjoy doing them. There are other things you would prefer not have to do and likely someone else could do it better. We now live in a world where you can get someone to do almost anything for you with a few exceptions such as eating, exercising and making love. Do you cook? Do you clean your house? Do you drive your car? Do you answer your emails? The list goes on. The fact is that in today’s world, doing those activities is a choice. If you enjoy doing them then go right ahead, but if you would prefer be doing something else, you can outsource to someone else that either enjoys doing it more than you, is better at it than you, or is just happy to be able to use their skills to make income they otherwise would not have.
Technology 1 – Delegate to AI & Robots
Wait a minute, aren’t robots and AI going to take our jobs? Well yes, and that’s a good thing, because then we can stop doing work we can’t do very well (and often hate) and instead focus on work we really enjoy. The same way that machines have taken over agricultural labor and factory work, in the next few years you will be able to delegate more and more to Robots and Artificial Intelligence. We have all heard of Siri, now you will find yourself voice to voice with more and more Digital Assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Facebook’s M. There are already robots that can clean your house. Within a few decades, all vehicles will be self-driving. Think about what your personal competitive advantage is that robots or AI can’t do or at least can’t do as well as you. Get really good at that. Delegate everything else.
Technology 2 – Augment your Reality
As Elon Musk says, “We are already cyborgs.” The smartphone in your hand gives you superhuman abilities. We already live in a form of augmented reality, depending on the apps in our smartphone to communicate, to work and to function. Without our smartphones we feel naked. We have just entered the era of wearables and Augmented Reality, and it’s just the beginning. VR goggles have exploded in the last year and soon we will all be walking around with some sort of devices that filter information that comes into our eyes and augment it with the information that is relevant to us. This has begun with google glass and within the next decade can be done with a contact lens, making digital devices disappear and freeing our hands up to do more.
Technology 3 – Inject a Neural Lace
Imagine for a second that you could inject superintelligence into your brain. You’d be able to perform telekinesis, telepathy and know all the knowledge that humankind possesses. We’re not quite there yet, but with the progress of Artificial Intelligence and Brain Machine Interfaces it’s likely to be a reality within a few decades. Watch Elon Musk’s new company Neuralink for updates on the progress of this technology which he predicts will be available for commercial use in less than 10 years. If you are interested in understanding more about the neural lace see the best blog post I’ve ever read (all 36,400 words of it) from Wait But Why.
Smartphones, laptops and wearables are an extension of our digital identities. The problem with these devices as our window into the digital world is that our input and output are very low. We communicate as fast as we can type, often only with two thumbs, and we could be communicating at the speed of thoughts. In order to do this we would need a direct brain to cloud connection, which may also be our best chance as a species at surviving the rise of superintelligent AI – to merge with it. This would redefine what it means to be human or rather, we would no longer be Homo sapiens but upgrade to a higher form of intelligent life – Homo superior.