20 March 2023
27 February 2023
23 January 2023
The secret to a happy life - lessons from 8 decades of research - Robert Waldinger
The happiest and healthiest people are those who have warm connections with others, says psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, who leads the Harvard Study of Adult Development -- one of the longest-running studies of adult life ever conducted. Exploring the crucial link between social bonds and quality of life, he shares wisdom and insights into how to identify and strengthen the relationships that impact your well-being most.
The point on the importance of good relationships echoes the points in Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari.
04 January 2023
31 December 2022
Sapiens - Yuval Noah Harari
I recently reread Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It is one of the few books that I've ever read more than once. If you've not read it, I would definitely recommend it.
28 December 2022
How to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones - Dr Rangan Chatterjee with James Clear
Discusses some of the concepts from James Clear's book, Atomic Habits.
05 December 2022
Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover
I recently bought an Eight Sleep Pod 3 Cover to help improve my sleep. While I don't use a sleep tracker, I can say that my subjective view is that I am now getting significantly better sleep than I was without it. I was finding I would wake up early, e.g. 4am, and then not be able to get to sleep. Now, if that happens, I find I do fall back to sleep quickly and get about 8 hours of actual sleep.
28 November 2022
The Evolutionary Psychology Of Friendship - Modern Wisdom with Dr Jaimie Krems
and perhaps also on a similar note:
25 November 2022
24 November 2022
23 November 2022
The Hedonic Treadmill
Can you remember the last time you were dreaming of buying a new car, getting a promotion at work, moving into a nicer house or finding a partner to share life with? Do you remember fantasizing about how happy you would be if you attained those things? If you finally did attain one of those things, you may have found that the “happiness boost” didn’t last that long or wasn’t as intense as you’d imagined. Most of us have gone through this cycle. The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is a theory positing that people repeatedly return to their baseline level of happiness, regardless of what happens to them.
I think that happiness is best defined as the feeling of making progress towards your goals, not achieving them but making progress towards them. This means having some well thought out goals, e.g. building health and fitness, building better social relationships, setting specific challenges and living by a set of values (integrity, authenticity, respect and compassion for others and yourself, excellence and commitment, courage, personal responsibility, optimism and gratitude).
22 November 2022
Optimise for your future self not your current self
Recently I've heard/read about a mental framework called "Regret minimisation". With regret minimisation you ask yourself, "would my future self in x minutes/days/weeks/months/years regret doing this or regret not doing this?", and based on this you do what would be preferrable for your future self.
An short term example might be if you are considering eating a sugary snack, you ask yourself, "Would my future self in 15 minutes regret this?". If the answer is yes, then you do not eat it, if the answer is no, then you do eat it. Or if you are sitting on the sofa, and consider should you continue to scroll through various apps on your phone or should you get up and practise xyz. You ask yourself "Which option would my future self in 1 week prefer?" and go with that.
Typically, our current self is more likely to pick an option that is more comfortable in the moment, implicitly delaying anything that is immediately uncomfortable to our future self. However, the option that would optimise happiness and comfort for your future self is typically the one that is more uncomfortable in the moment, and thus less appealing to your current self. Thus it is better to think through what your future self wants in any scenario and go with that.
I prefer to think of this as optimising for your self rather than minimising the regret of your future self.
Understanding cardiovascular disease risk, cholesterol, and apoB - Peter Attia
Understanding cardiovascular disease risk, cholesterol, and apoB - Peter Attia:
Cardiovascular disease in women: prevention, risk factors, lipids, and more with Erin Michos:
Measuring cardiovascular disease risk and the importance of apoB - Peter Attia
Do We Know What Turns Women On - Modern Wisdom with Catherine Salmon
11 November 2022
Ketogenic diets effect on depression, anxiety and other mental disorders - The Tim Ferris Show, Andrew Huberman
A very interesting podcast from Tim Ferris with Dr Christopher M. Palmer, on how a ketogenic diet could help positively with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders.
Also a similar conversation with Andrew Huberman.
As a disclaimer, I am not a strong advocate of ketogenic diets but strongly believe in eating less processed foods which does generally mean less processed carbs and less carbs in general, as there is only so much fruit, vegetables and salad one can eat 😊.
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
- Eat fewer calories.
- Eat 2-3 meals, within an 8-10 hour window.
- Reduce refined carbs such as bread, pasta, pastries, alcoholic drinks and sugary drinks including juices. Replace these with fresh vegetables, fruit and salad.
- Eat quality protein like grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs.
- Eat sources of omega-3s and alpha-lipoic acid. Eat antioxidant-rich foods with resveratrol like dark chocolate.
- Prioritize getting 8 hours of sleep every night.
- Reduce stress with relaxation techniques like meditation or massage.
- Try heat therapy like sauna.
Use of hands and dopamine sparking words in meetings and presentations
I really liked the second and third points in this podcast on the effect of using hands and dopamine sparking words in meetings and presentations:
03 November 2022
Rocky Balboa's quote on resilience and responding positively to failure
One of my favourite quotes from Rocky Balboa is one that deals with resilience and responding positively to failure:
Let me tell you something you already know.
The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows.
It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.
But it ain't about how hard ya hit.
It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
How much you can take and keep moving forward.
That's how winning is done!
01 November 2022
Growth versus Fixed Mindset
In a fixed mindset people believe that their intelligence is fixed and static. Those who adopt a fixed mindset are more likely to:
- Want to PROVE intelligence or talent.
- Put in less effort to learn. Believe putting in effort is worthless.
- Stay in their comfort zone and avoid challenges to avoid failure.
- Quit easily at first failure, believing it is validation they will never master the talent.
- View feedback as personal criticism and ignore it. Hide flaws so as not to be judged by others.
- Feel threatened by the success of others.
In a growth mindset people believe that intelligence and talents can be improved through effort and learning. Those who adopt a growth mindset are more likely to:
- Want to IMPROVE intelligence or talent through life long learning.
- Put in more effort to learn. Believe putting in effort is worthwhile.
- Get out of their comfort zone and embrace challenges.
- Believe failures are just temporary setbacks and repetitions/opportunities to learn from.
- View feedback as an opportunity to learn.
- View others’ success as a source of inspiration.
29 October 2022
Physical mindfulness and flow states
A lot of advice on mindfulness focuses on activities that are not normally part of the average day, such as breathing exercises or focussing on a body part or specific aspect of your environment. I find it very difficult to dedicate time to this style of activity. However, I have found that I really enjoy physical activities such as golf and archery, that I believe bring the same benefits of mindfulness but with the enjoyment of the sport in question. In order to learn and master these crafts, you need to practise regularly, entering a flow state each time. Because I enjoy these activities, I am happy to practise 3-4 times per week, thus regularly entering a flow state.
Headspace defines flow state as "A sense of fluidity between your body and mind, where you are totally absorbed by and deeply focused on something, beyond the point of distraction. Time feels like it has slowed down. Your senses are heightened. You are at one with the task at hand, as action and awareness sync to create an effortless momentum. Some people describe this feeling as being in the zone. This is the flow state and it’s accessible to everyone, whether you’re engaged in a physical activity, a creative pursuit, or even a simple day-to-day task."
I like to refer to the use of fun physical activities, that allow you to easily enter a flow state, as "physical mindfulness".
28 September 2022
Happiness, Confidence, Confrontation and Rumination - Knowledge For Men
How to increase confidence. Confidence is defined as feeling sure of yourself and your abilities to handle a situation:
How to deal with confrontation:
How to stop ruminating:
22 September 2022
Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist - Jordan Peterson with Frans de Waal
An interesting podcast discussing how gender/sex differences affect humans with reference to what has been learned from primates and other animal species.