I've been trying to sleep less, ideally between 4 and 7 hours a night. It's amazing when you get 20 hours in a day - it's almost like two distinctively different days. I feel twice as alive as when sleeping 8, 10, or 12 hours.
I'm still adjusting to it, though. Often I'm slower immediately upon waking up, which is not great, but not terrible. The way I start my day is by stretching and going for a walk or otherwise exercising, then eating some simple food, and having a shower. That first hour or two comes pretty automatically.
But then, I find my energy waxes and wanes more when on lower sleep. I actually feel more alert during my peak moments when sleeping less, but then I hit a low patch of exhaustion for 20 minutes to an hour every so often. During this time, my mind is mostly empty and scrambled.
The danger is that it's easy to get into some mindless clicking around at that point, and get stuck in click-click-click-click online for the next few hours. Normally when my mind is foggy, I like to do really low level admin that doesn't require thought: Reply to routine emails, clean something, things like that. Right now, though, it was a little frustrating, because I have basically no low level tasks to be done. Inbox is pretty much empty, no errands to run, my things are generally clean and orderly. So I was starting to click-click-click mindlessly.
I mixed some instant coffee and went outside. I'm staying on top of Mount Davis on Hong Kong Island, and lightning was striking across the water on the Kowloon Peninsula. So I sat out there watching the lightning strike again and again.
My mate Ryan sent this my way. Great talk:
I'd seen some of this science before, I might've read the original paper. It's good and interesting stuff, I love this topic. And the animation on this particular video was really cool and beautiful.
I like building organizations along those lines - a great purpose on an individual and organizational level, autonomy and great amounts of freedom to get to agreed upon objectives however people want, and lots of opportunities to learn, grow, and excel. It's the kind of place I like to work, and I like managing at the kind of place I like to work.
But then I had another thought - how much is this is universally applicable, and how much of it is good because it goes largely against the grain? See, the studies he cited are interesting, but I imagine there's a certain type of person who is incredibly motivated by financial concerns, perhaps that sort of person sees more money as unlocking autonomy, mastery, and purpose - if someone already has a distinct, driving, enduring meaning for their life, then more money could well translate directly into more of their purpose, more mastery, and more autonomy.
I think this is my favorite song... pretty much sums up the essence of living a masculine life.
And now the end is near And so I face the final curtain My friend I'll say it clear I'll state my case of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full I traveled each and every highway And more, much more than this I did it my way
Regrets I've had a few But then again too few to mention I did what I had to do And saw it through without exemption
TED Talk by Simon Sinek: How Great Leaders Inspire Action
"The Common Man's Guide Making Google Page 1" - a simple description of how high in Google for your own name. This just takes some time to get done, I'll probably gradually implement all of this.
30 Days, 5 Sites, Google Page 1
Discussed on Hacker News here
I eat pretty well and take pretty good care of myself. But it's taken quite a while to get here - before 2006, I had a pretty standard American diet. Lots of pizza, junk food, fast food, liquor, soda, sweets, etc. I smoked cigarettes, cigars, sheesha, and other kinds of tobacco.
Since then I've refined my diet and I eat pretty well. I have more energy, feel better, look better, and God willing, I'll live a lot longer as a result. It's a gradual process though, and I'm still improving. There's a few things I use to do it:
First, I'm all about incremental improvement - I think trying to crash change your diet is unlikely to work unless you have immense amounts of willpower and self-discipline. If you do have these Herculean amounts of will and discipline, you know who you are and don't need my advice. If you're more mortal, then you'll want to pick one or two things to be refining in your diet at a time.
Second, there's two ways I quit food or habits I don't like - "hard quitting" (cold turkey) and "soft quitting" (gradually reduce my consumption and eventually eliminate it). I pick which of these routes to go based on how convenient it is to quit something outright and if there's any detox process. If there's detox (like there was with nicotine), I think it's better to just get it over with once instead of constantly feeling deprived as your body re-adjusts to its new biochemical levels. The most successful method for quitting smoking is cold turkey, isn't it? Something like 80% of successful attempts to quit smoking are cold turkey? I don't have the statistics onhand, but that's the general idea. Quitting something like sugar, bad oils, or excess salt might be easier to do incrementally, since you need to replace the consumption with something else.
Which brings us to third point - I actively introduce new good behaviors before and during the time I quit something. Now, I don't know if the following is a good strategy, but it's what I did - when I started cutting down the sweets I ate, I increased my consumption of the kinds of salty foods I already ate: Chips, french fries, nuts, etc. Later I cut the salt content back. I don't know if that's a good habit, but it's worked okay for me. I also try to actively introduce fruits and vegetables before I quit something - it's hard to go from no fiber food that's highly processed to stimulate you immediately to fruits and vegetables. Fruit tastes bland compared to ice cream. So I introduce fruits and vegetables first, get comfortable with them, then increase my consumption of them as I decrease or eliminate bad consumption.
This is one of my favorite videos. We're living in the future. It's amazing.
I try not to forget it. I just got off Skype with Yifei in Boston. I called him on SkypeOut (cost: 10 cents USD) to get on Skype (free). Now I'm talking to a fella on the other side of the world. For free. I'm in Hong Kong on top of a mountain. He's in the middle of a city on the other side of the world. And we're talking to each other, real time, for free. No problem. My voice gets converted into digital stuffs, send through wireless signal to a router, which goes through fiberoptics under the ocean to Boston, which gets to Yifei's router and beams it to his laptop.
We're editing in Google docs (free). I can watch as he types and it instantly appears on my screen. This is so marvelously amazing. We're living in the future. I can't get over how amazing this is. Watch that video if you haven't yet. Or watch it again. It's so funny and so true. We're in the future. Wow.
I have a checklist that I use throughout the day, every single day. It slowly evolves as I delete items that are automatic or aren't helpful, I add and change things I want to become new habits.
GENERAL - One or two things to remember through the day, for building new habits START OF DAY - My morning routine, to ideally be done every morning, or at least tracked MOST KEY ITEM - My biggest one or two things for the day. I evaluate whether a day is successful or not by whether I do one most key item PEOPLE - More and more, I realize most important and meaningful things need to be done with people. GENERAL - Funny that I named two sections General, hadn't realized until now. This is thinking about my life goals, cash has been added recently for tracking. END OF DAY - A review of the day and some thoughts on the next day. Also, I add what time I went to sleep.
Here it is:
------------------------------------------- GENERAL: *Be decisive. Look at it once, make a decision, done. *Live in the borderlands, awareness of the end in my heart ------------------------------------------- START OF DAY: Time awake: Total sleep: Vitamin C and Fish oil: Stretching?: Walk/run?: Situps?: Listen to audio?: Food?: Breathe: Borderlands: ------------------------------------------- MOST KEY ITEM: Next milestones: Objectives for today: Time started: Result: ------------------------------------------- PEOPLE: Blog post?: New People (FB, Twitter, emails): Current people: Help someone: Consorting: Emails in box, start: Emails in box, finish (and - why they there?): ------------------------------------------- GENERAL: *What are my key life goals? Spent 5 minutes on this. *Expenses for the day (estimate)? *Cash gotten or worked towards today ------------------------------------------- END OF DAY: What did I do right to move me towards my goals? What would I do differently if I had the day to live over? Plan tomorrow
It just dawned on me - there's the "you can do anything, be anything, have anything" crowd - and obviously, that's not literally true. Could anyone play professional golf and win the Masters and perform as first chair violin at a prestigious symphony? Nah, probably not.
But I always think to myself, "I can do anything except the things I can't do yet, and I could learn those and do them if I want to." Most successful people I know think the same way.
Trying to reconcile that, I start thinking: You might need natural talent to win at a zero-sum game, or if you're competing for limited pieces of pie.
But you don't need natural talent for positive sum games. Positive sum games make multiple winners and expand the pie more than what the person eats.
NBA? On the court, it's a zero sum game. Every "W" in the win column comes at the expense of putting an "L" in another team's loss column. There's 5 starters, and if you want to start, you've got to take someone else's spot when they retire or get sent to the bench. Then there's a few more rotation spots, and a few more non-rotation bench spots. And that's pretty much it.
I was seething. I was furious. And I was even more furious that I was furious. Agh, this is so bloody irrational of me, I can't believe I'm getting bent out of shape over this.
I'm transitioning into meta-furious. This is both bad and ridiculous.
I had been waiting for a shuttle bus and met two Chinese girls from Guangzho. Pretty girls, very so-so English, seemed like nice people. And as we were striking up a nice conversation, a very awkward guy jumped in to CHAT!!! Let's CHATTT!!!! HEY WHERE YOU FROM WHERE YOU GOING HOW LONG ARE YOU HERE?!?
Now, I can deal with someone jumping in to a conversation. Okay, maybe it's not always great. But you can roll with it. Usually. But not this time.
This time it was the proverbial Bull in the China Shop.
I started listening to Sun Tzu's "Art of War" on audiobook recently. I'd tried to get through it before, but the translations I picked up were a little too dry, or I wasn't in the right state of mind for it.
Listening to the narrator speak out Sun Tzu's strategy made me realize something - the fundamental judgment errors people make are independent of any particular field. Going on tilt in poker or attacking immediately with exhausted troops after it's taken three months to build siege engines - are these not the same thing? Overpursuit past objectives in war, and deviating from core investment strategies after a short term win or loss - certainly, this is a similar judgment flaw.
This particular audio version includes commentary written by other Chinese military strategists, and one story is how one commander and his officers were at a neighboring kingdom trying to convince them to make an alliance against the barbarians they were fighting. After a week of great treatment, the neighboring king grew more cold and distant to the commander.
Being perceptive, the commander guessed that the barbarians might have also sent envoys, and now the king was choosing which side to support. The commander captured and interrogated one of the palace attendants, who said yes, the barbarians did send envoys.
The commander's party was less than 30 men, it was him and some of his officers. The barbarian envoy had over 100 men. But, in the cover of night they snuck to the barbarian camp, lit it on fire, played war drums to make their forces look larger than they were, and shot down barbarians with bow and arrow and crossbows, and completely destroyed the enemy forces.