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Youtube Videos That Will Change Your Life

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Videos | 0 comments

Alright this post is going to be a work in progress. I will update it as I come across more videos I want to share so bookmark the page and check back periodically.

My Morning Ritual – How To Be Productive, Happy & Healthy Everyday

Stefan Pylarinos of Project Mastery goes through his morning rituals. You don’t need to take on everything he suggests to get massive value out of watching this. Just the idea of planning a ritual you do when you wake up and laying out systematically is GOLD for putting you in a good mood right off the bat and getting a ton of stuff done. With that said, you can’t go far wrong copying most of what he suggests.

Discipline of Do Easy — Gus Van Sant

It might sound strange but this short film by Gus Van Sant literally changed my life. Not in a “I’ve converted to Islam” kind of a way but rather after watching it I viewed everything through a new lens. Specifically it’s made me more aware of when I’m going around in auto-pilot and not taking care to do things properly. Now when I stub my toe or bump into something I actually LEARN from it and it wakes me up to the fact that I wasn’t living ‘do-easy’. The idea also has deeper implications which are more subtle and harder to explain. I hope you get as much out of it as I have.

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Not failing is a joke!

Posted by on Jan 13, 2013 in Articles | 1 comment

A few days ago I was climbing (indoors) with a friend for the first time this year. We had just completed a couple of warm-up climbs and I boasted, as a joke:

“So far in 2013 I have a 100% successful record for completing routes I’ve attempted! My New Year’s Resolution is going to be to keep this record going for the WHOLE YEAR!”

Okay, so I’m not going to win any comedy awards but what’s important here is  that it is recognizably a jokeI’ll spell it out just in case:

The humour here is in the idea that you could go a whole year without failing  a single route. The only way this would be possible would be if you only ever climbed way below your level. If you stuck to warm-up routes for the entire year. And the implicit joke there is that this would be completely ridiculous. Why is it ridiculous? Because if you were never failing you would never be improving. To put the joke goal in different words:

“My New Year’s Resolution is to climb only the easiest routes for the WHOLE YEAR!”

Or, My Goal for the year is not to improve!

But although, in this context, the statement seems quite absurd, it’s actually what holds most people back from getting anywhere in life!

The truth behind the gag can be summed up like this:

You need to fail if you want to improve.

Not even “Don’t worry about failing.”

But that you need to fail to improve!

Unless you’re the best in the world in your favourite activity there is probably an area where you are less than perfect. How can you improve your skills in that area? By failing!

Failing should be reframed as something you need to do.

If you’re not failing you are not pushing yourself.

If you’re not failing then you are, almost by definition, repeating over and over what you have already perfected.

Do you think Leonardo DaVinci never created paintings or sketches that he wasn’t happy with? When you go to a Museum and see their masterpieces you are seeing the final product that they want you to see.

What you don’t see are all of the “failures” that lead up to it.

Without those failures there is 0% chance the masterpieces could have been created.

So what’s the takeaway here?

We shouldn’t let “failure” stop us from taking on new challenges. We shouldn’t even hope that we don’t  fail. Instead we should use failure as a barometer of how hard we’re pushing ourselves. The more we fail the better we get and the less we fail the more we stagnate in our comfort zone.

And the word failure can be dropped too. “Failure” is better thought of as “learning.” When we call it by its proper name it becomes obvious that it is necessary for all improvement.

Show me the person who never fails (learns from mistakes) and I can guarantee you’ll be showing me a person who isn’t going anywhere or achieving anything. The person who has stopped learning.

And when we stop learning we’re already dead.

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How to learn new words

Posted by on Dec 16, 2012 in Articles | 2 comments

Do you regularly look up definitions of words only to forget them immediately?

Do you subscribe to Dictionary.com’s “word of the day” only to find as soon as you try to remember one word the previous day’s has disappeared from your mind?

Do you want to trick easily-impressed people into respecting you by increasing your vocabulary?

The following technique might be for you.

The problem with trying to remember new words:

Rote memorization is a terrible way to learn things. Anybody who has ever crammed for an exam will tell you that once it’s over the majority of the information you ‘learnt’ goes with it. The problem is that if you don’t use what you’re learning in a practical way the brain can’t integrate it into its model of the universe and so it evaporates from the mind like steam.

When you look at a new word and its definition for a while your brain is going to have a hard time remembering it because it hasn’t seen how the word is used in practice; in real conversation.

Bi-linguists will tell you that the fastest way to learn a new language is to immerse yourself amongst native speakers. By actually using the language and getting instant feedback the words will ‘stick’. They are being used in the real world for real reasons and this is how the brain ‘locks in’ knowledge for the long-haul.

If you ever doubt this just look at how a baby learns new words. They are constantly pointing to things and identifying them. Constantly solidifying their knowledge by using words in practical ways.

With this in mind I will explain my system for learning new words:

Davy’s incredible system to improve your vocabulary incredibly.

STEP 1: The first thing you want to do if you’re making a commitment to increase your vocabulary is to start noting down words that you don’t know the meaning of so you can study them later. I have a notebook where I jot them down. If I’m at the computer when I come across the word I want to learn then I might just go straight to step 2 immediately. I live my life by nobody else’s rules! Here is an example of a page from my  notebook:

List of words to learn

STEP 2: Identify a word from your list that you’d like to learn (and actually remember) and look up it’s definition. For the sake of this example we’ll use the word ‘Reprove’. Pro-Tip: Google has a built in dictionary. Just type “Definition: Reprove” into their search box and you’ll get the goods without having to click through to another site:

definition of reprove
Soak in the meaning for a moment or two and then move onto step 3, the most important step of all

STEP 3: So far nothing new, right? Well step 3 is the part you’re probably not currently doing and if you start doing it your retention rate for new words is going to go through the roof. As we discussed before, the best way to retain knowledge is to use it in some practical way. Because of this most people intuitively realize they should try to use their new word in actual speech or writing to better cement it into their memory. The problem is that this is often hard to do in a natural way and a lot of the time you won’t be quite sure how the word even should be used in the first place.

What I’ve found to be the best way to really “get” a new word is to see the word used in lots of different contexts by people who already know the word.

How do we do this? Well the method I use is as follows:

Go to an extremely popular forum with a database of millions of posts. I like to play Poker so I use the forums at 2+2, but you can use whichever ones you prefer, so long as they have a large post count.

Go to their advanced search feature.

Type in the word you want to see used in context and make sure to choose the ‘show results as posts’ option (circled):

twoplustwo-search

You’ll now be taken to the search results which will be a series of posts which all incorporate the word ‘reprove’ in normal writing. For this search 2+2 had 30 posts to read to see the word in context. My technique is to ctrl+click on each post which opens it in a new tab. I then quickly go over each tab reading how it has been used in a variety of contexts. Once this is done it’s almost impossible to forget the meaning of the word and you will be highly likely to remember to use it at the appropriate time because it now feels real. You’ve actually seen it in real discussion rather than in the theoretical confines of a dictionary.

STEP 4: At this point, if you really want to cement the word into your brainskull then by all means get on Facebook and start showing off. Why not go to your friend’s favourite profile picture and let them know “I’m reproving you for making FB uglier.”* This final step will help to spread intellectual excellence and ensure you give yourself the absolute best chance of adding a +1 to your internal dictionary.

Thanks for reading and I hope this technique is useful to you guys. Feedback in the comments is appreciated and if anybody has a different technique for learning new words with a high retention rate, I’d really love to hear it.

Since writing this article I have seen two books recommended more than once which might serve to improve your vocabulary even further if you want to invest a few sheckles:

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The story of Davy

Posted by on Sep 24, 2012 in Articles | 0 comments

On a cold morning in January of 1884  a child was born in a little mining-village in southern England. By the time the child was 14 he had already shaken up the entire philosophical backbone of the nation.

This is the extraordinary story of Davy James.

Diagnosed as legally blind when just 14 months old Davy never let hardship get in the way of accomplishing incredible things.

At the age of 7 Davy invented the precursor to the modern steam-engine.

At the age of 19 Davy had already built and sold a small media empire which floated on the original London stock exchange for £2,750 (£1,224 million adjusted for inflation).

When he was 32 Davy had been named ‘Man of the year’ by Time magazine and spent several years living alone on a raft off the coast of Tibet.

But it wasn’t until 2012, at the age of 128 that he launched his greatest work; work that critics have already presumptively hailed  as “visionary” and “not fair to the competition”.

He launched this blog.

Things will never be the same again.

Stay tuned…

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