Let's draw a distinction between being decisive and being impulsive.
Decisive: As soon as enough relevant information is gathered and analyzed, a decision is made promptly and consistent action immediately follows the decision.
Impulsive: As above, but generated by primarily by emotion.
Impulsiveness is always decisive, but it's decisiveness based on... well, on impulse. On emotion and the first grasp of the situation. Decisiveness can be done without being impulsive, by first gathering and analyzing the information.
Decisiveness is an incredible virtue. It's something extraordinarily worth cultivating and will produce tremendous benefits for you if you cultivate it.
I got this really, really amazing email from a reader. I get a lot of emails, but this one in particular was fantastic. Check out his recommendations in here as well -
We exchanged a bit of email last year, but I felt the urge to reach out to you again to just say "thanks". When I started reading your site last year, I was a completely different person than I am now. I was 300lbs, unhappy with my life, my work, and my achievements.
Since then, I've completely turned my life around.
Reading your blog has been (by far) the biggest influence in my life changes, and I'm extremely grateful for all of your writings. I really associate with your writing a lot--I feel like I've always had lots of ambition and purpose, but was never able to harness it to do what I wanted to. Your blog has really helped me understand a lot of critical things in personal development.
Got a brilliant comment you need to read. Huge realization shift for me once I saw it. In "Self-Control and Enduring Success," I wrote -
"You know, the victors – the ones who build the really enduring victories – they’re often not the most brilliant or charismatic or brave. They’re the ones who are most patient, who are most rational, who have the most self-control."
Spike Morelli replies -
"As I read that a thought formed around modern culture and patience, rationality and self-control: none of them is very glamorous. In fact you could probably go as far as saying they are stigmatized and thought of as boring. On the other end impulsiveness and ambition are associated with dynamism and I'd argue have an overall positive perception with the large crowds/new generations. I'm wondering if this is leading to larger percentages of early high achievers never reaching their true potential and therefore overall detracting from our societies."
No language skills? No problem. You'll survive and get by.
That's the first thing to remember. You'll survive.
Maybe you'll have a bit of a hassle, but in any capital city or major tourist destination, you're going to be okay without speaking the local language. You might want to be careful about striking off into the countryside if the place is undeveloped and dangerous, but you'll be fine in any capital city.
Here's some things to bear in mind -
1. Someone will speak English. You might have to go to 3, 4, or 5 shops, but eventually you'll find someone.
"Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair." - Tokugawa Ieyasu, Unifier of Japan, Founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate
I've studied the Sengoku Era of Japanese history a lot. There are so many lessons in it - about courage, about restraint, about going too far, about not going far enough... about honor, about idealism, about pragmatism... about trust and distrust, love and hate, loyalty and betrayal...
It's rare that an era of history has so many unique and varied lessons to teach. The only thing that comes close, in my mind, is the Italian Renaissance. Certainly, there's been eras with a great many lessons to learn from them, but not so many with such a wildly diverse range of views. Sengoku was the crossroads that created Japan. The victors of the era were those who could appeal to tradition while using the most modern advantages - tapping into the samurai culture and spirit, while simultaneously beginning to employ firearms and other newly emergent technologies in war.
Out of Sengoku came Japan's "Three Great Unifiers" - Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu. It's a long story and you can read the history article I wrote on Sengoku that I linked if you're curious to see the whole thing.
But the basic idea is, Nobunaga and Hideyoshi were both probably more remarkable and more brilliant men than Ieyasu. But in the end, Ieyasu won and his family and administration ruled Japan for the next 250 years.
One thing I've been striving to do - often unsuccessfully - is remove moral judgments from my observation of situations.
Most people don't distinguish between observing and judging.
They say, "It's bad that it's raining outside." Well. Maybe, yeah. But there's two things going on there - first, it's raining. That's either true or false. Then there's that "bad" - which is an opinion, a moral judgment on the situation.
I think most people aren't aware of when they're making moral judgments and when they're making observations. That's not good for being able to think clearly.
Analysis and observation needs to be separated from moral evaluation to do it straightforwardly, or else you get blind to effects you don't expect and don't want to see.
I'm stealing sleep again! I love it!
Ah, yes, what's "stealing sleep"?
It's a dangerous but interesting strategy. It means having a hectic, busy schedule where you run on low sleep, and grab naps/short sleeps of between 20 minutes and 2-4 hours when you have a free chance.
I'm... not recommending it. But it can be a good time...
For me, at least, every time I sleep my mind kind of "resets" to some extent. Or something like that. Thus, for a short period of time (weeks, at most), I can get a lot more high level work out of myself when I'm on this kind of schedule.
Matt from 30Vanquish wrote that he's studied memory in the past and gotten quite a bit out of it, and he was kind enough to share some of his observations with us. Here's Matt -
So are you frustrated when you forget someone's phone number? Or when you forget one item to buy when you're at the grocery?
Well the reasons for forgetting aren't really forgetting.
It's more about interference.
The interference theory suggests that we are unable to remember memories, things, and events we encoded due to interference with other encoded memories, things, and events.
I've talked about time tracking a lot, most recently in "Daily Tracking Template v6."
One thing that's a mixed blessing is I do all my tracking by hand. I write it all down by hand, I add it up by hand, and I calculate out the results weekly by hand.
I do this for two reason - first, it makes my tracking very flexible about mixing notes in with times, changing/updating categories on the fly, and otherwise not locking me into a fixed format. Second, since I'm doing it the long way, it keeps it in the forefront of my mind. Almost always, automatically generated reports/numbers get less attention than going over them slowly by hand.
Additionally, trends about how the days ebb and flow start to emerge by going over them slowly. It only takes a few minutes a day, and I really think it's time well spent.
One downside, though, of doing it by hand - I don't have any nice way to find correlations. No fancy automatic output graphs or visualizations. If I want to see if there's some sort of correlation, I need to come up with a hypothesis on my own and then go dig through past records.
Joachim asks a good question in the comments -
I’d be interested in an expanded version of your thoughts on nationalism. My perspective is quite different – global problems require global solutions – but then you’re from the “USA! USA!” while my continent has been devastated by two world wars (more recently, consider e.g. the troubles in Yugoslavia.)
I think nationalism is like a catalyst or accelerator - it makes a place go more in the direction it's currently going. During a renaissance, nationalism makes more people excited to try new things, explore, invent, and expand. During a recovery period, nationalism encourages solidarity, a helping hand, and backing each other up instead of just feeling defeated.
It cuts both ways - in a beaten down, embarrassed nation that's paying reparations to the other side, nationalism really makes that anger and hostility get explosive - that's what Hitler whipped up. On the other hand, nationalism among the allies helped them carry on strongly, survive, and triumph. Keep calm and carry on...
Nationalism in North Korea translates to more loyalty to the insane regime, whereas nationalism in South Korea means hard work, modernization, and a high quality of life.