I'm constantly on the lookout for words and phrases that map well to reality.
If you study history and if you study language, even just a little bit, you wind up realizing that for most of history, there was often a distinct lack of words and phrases crucial to understand reality.
I'm not just talking about technical terms — obviously we didn't know about "DNA" before its discovery and codification from 1869-1953.
No, it's easy to understand how scientific concepts were missing from our vocabulary before the relevant discoveries. Rather, what I'm on the lookout for are concepts that map well to human nature and how individuals and groups of people interact with each other — things which are real but which lack precise wording around them, thus making them harder to think about and talk about.
The modern usage of the word propaganda dates only to the late-1700s, and only truly hit its modern form of the word in the 1920s. Of course, there's likely been at least simple propaganda since the dawn of human civilization, but we didn't have a simple word for it.
From my journal. Status: quite speculative, but there's something here.
We could probably put a -5 to +5 scale of behavior together that was logarithmic about the enduring good/bad impact of various activities.
Something totally neutral — say, neutral leisure that’s not particularly recharging nor distracting — that might be 0.
I started listening, just a bit, to punk rock lately.
It's okay. It's uneven. Some of it is, uhh, not very good. But some of it is good.
Punk rock is almost offensive on a mathematical level. I usually listen to techno or classical music, where everything is perfect. Punk music isn't like that. In the span of seconds, ostensibly the exact same guitar chords will have a sloppy erratic uneven quality to them. That's without getting into the lyrics, which are more often than not... also, umm, uneven.
It just sounds like some guys or girls getting drunk, maybe getting into a fistfight, and then jamming in a garage without caring about the musicalness of the music. Which of course, is precisely how a lot of it was made.
1. We're hiring at Ultraworking.
We're growing like crazy and delivering some amazing results to maybe the best customerbase ever, brilliant people across 25+ countries. We're hiring for our Tech team and Growth team. You can get an idea of what it's like to work at Ultraworking and apply here —
2. Next free Ultraworking event is scheduled for July.
We're doing Monthly Planning the last weekend of July, to set you to max out in August. There's 744 hours in August... maybe it'd make sense to spend 2-3 hours to set yourself up to maximize the month? You can register for free here —
A round of free Work Cycles are scheduled for June. People always dig these, a good way to get a lot done —
Hello old friend,
We're offering perhaps the most unique and cool Valentine's Day gift ever at Ultraworking —
The Pentathlon's been terrific for married and dating couples to compete in together in the past, and for Valentine's Day, you can get a spot for you and your loved one for less than the price of a normal full-price entry. Great way to thrive together, support each other, and potentially learn some life-long lessons about how to communicate and support each other forever.
The New Year's Pentathlon runs from January 6th to January 21st. It's the 6th Pentathlon we've held, and each one gets rave reviews. (Check the page for many testimonials.) It's a great way to start 2018 off with a bang and have two weeks of peak performance to start the year, as well as take lessons and skills forward with you all year.
For Cyber Monday only, when you get your spot on the Pentathlon, you get a +1 to give to whoever you'd like: a friend, family member, coworker, or colleague. The Pentathlon works great when you do it alongside someone you know and care about — we've had cofounders come together, husband/wife teams come together, we've had brothers do it together and connect more through it... it's pretty great.
Also potentially a great holiday gift. Normal price is $300, so it's a snazzy thing to be given. (You can inquire in advance if the person is available from Jan 6-21.)
if you're curious, check out —
I recently recorded a podcast episode of Nat Chat with Nat Eliason. It was super cool and I really enjoyed it — Nat's a brilliant guy and someone I've greatly enjoyed getting to know recently, and the podcast was quite fun and informative. The episode will be out in the next week or two.
One thing we talked about was time tracking and its value. Time tracking is super valuable and important. By explicitly tracking your time, even for a short little while, you get a much better and more objective grip on how your life is going — and then you can start making improvements.
I wrote about this somewhat years ago, but I hadn't publicly gone through what I do in a while. So in this post, I want to walk you briefly through the theory, what I do (which is a little complex), and what I recommend you do to get started (which is very simple and easy).
I. The theory: You need to know where your time goes.
One of my favorite books is Peter Drucker's The Effective Executive. I re-read it around once per year. The first chapter is titled "Effectiveness Can Be Learned." The second? "Know Thy Time."
One of the nicest benefits about doing science-y and ops-y things in public is that you prompt a lot of conversations with smart people, which makes you smarter in turn.
My friend Mike Johnson -- scientist and philosopher par excellence -- wrote to me recently with some interesting thoughts, and with his permission, I'm sharing them with you.
Mike initially wrote to Kai and I,
"Philosophical digression: I was really struck by Sebastian's question, 'How do you get people to install whatever makes them care about improving their life? How do you get people to start?' -- this seems like the million-dollar question. I also wonder if we could find a good way of understanding the neuroscience of what's going on in the brains of people who are engaged in a self-improvement spiral, vs those who aren't."
Two announcements --
1. The Strategic Review is now on Medium.
After many years of consciously choosing not to syndicate TSR, I just made the switch.
The potential downside, as I saw it, is that maybe I'd be more hesitant to cover potentially controversial topics like the Danger Flags series was -- but, what pushed me over the edge is that the newest series, Background Ops, is both incredibly useful and totally mainstream-friendly. That's a winning combination!
So Background Ops #1: Strict Limit is on Medium -- check it out: