One of the unfortunate aspects of travel is when basic customs and practices are done very slightly differently, causing you to make a significant mistake.
One of the first that new travelers to Asia experience is that ATM machines don't always automatically release your debit card when you withdraw money. You have to press a button on the screen afterwards that says "Finished" or "Eject Card."
Many Americans -- where the ATM machines almost always spit out your card automatically before your cash -- forget to hit "Finished," and leave their card in the machine. Sometimes multiple times. It's a big hassle.
I adopted a rule to avoid this. I keep my wallet in my hand until I get my debit card back, or if I'm paying at a store, until my credit card is handed back to me.
My wallet won't go back into my pocket until the card is in it.
Salij MacNeacail, who is very smart, kicked off a good discussion on the comments of an old post, "The Philosophical Disposition vs. The Results Disposition."
You might find the whole discussion interesting and worth reading; there are a lot of good points in there.
One part that was flattering and made me write out my current conception of strategy was this,
I thought of the following while walking just now: one of the reasons I appreciate/value your blog so much, is that you don't divorce theory from practice... Effective strategy is a happy marriage between theory and practice, or between philosophy and action...
I've gotten tremendous gains out of breaking actions that are easy to fail into multiple steps so I know exactly where things worked or didn't.
The one I've written about before is in regards to healthy eating. I split "Eat Healthy" on my Lights Spreadsheet into two things I try to do in a day:
1. Eat Healthy -- Plan2. Eat Healthy -- Execute
In my experience, there's a tremendous difference between eating junk food as a result of no plan to eat healthy vs. a failure of execution and followthrough when you have a plan.
The vast majority of the times I've eaten poorly, it's been a result of not having a plan for where to get easy, fast, convenient good food. Transit days, the restaurant is closed, there's nothing in the refrigerator, or whatever else.
Counterintuitive but true —
Do you know that feeling where you can't fall asleep and it's really aggravating?
I've found that has zero correlation with next-day's success.
Laying down in bed, unable to sleep for whatever reason — this means I've already decided, ok, I'm done for the day. The inability to fall asleep, imperative as it seems at the time, is totally irrelevant and doesn't matter. Apparently lying there in bed is good enough for resting/recharging; the next goes well.
The flipside is that going to bed later than my scheduled times correlates really well with the next day going more poorly than normal.
If you're mulling over ideas and ethics, trying to decide what's right for your life, trying to think over conduct and actions...
...you might get to the point where you think, "Everyone's going to think I'm crazy, but..."
Here is a question I've found that helps with that:
What will people think, three generations hence?
I used to kind of think the opinions of others don't matter. There's lots of quotes from talented performers that say that.
Madison Maxey — a very insightful multi-discipline designer/technologist/entrepreneur/fashioner/etc briefly dialoged on this question with me, and graciously gave permission to share her to —
"How do you evaluate people to see whose "got it" and who hasn't?"
What a great question! I'm going to assume that "having it" means having some sort of promise for success (whatever one's definition of success may be). With that in mind, I've found that people who I've seen do really well live loosely by the same guiding mantras:
"I am putting small (or large), consistent amounts of effort into achieving my long term goal of X" (seeing success as a marathon or adventure rather than a sprint)
Small detail, outsized productivity benefit.
Listen to flow-inducing, world-drowning-out music when needing intense focus.
Listen to disruptive, stimulating, amusing, entertaining music when doing something boring, and let the mind enjoy the music while executing.
Started doing this and it's an extraordinary improvement. I'll put on minimal techno when doing deep work, and then put on 50 Cent or something when doing something boring.
Sounds small. It's actually pretty big. Play with your music choices based on activity, and let me know how it goes eh?
It was something of a shocking revelation to me, an epiphany, a breakthrough — these daydreams...
I let my mind wander a lot. I think it's good and healthy. Lots of good ideas will come suddenly to me.
But there's a whole class of thinking that seems valuable and is pleasurable at first, but of which almost nothing useful comes out of: daydreams about future successes.
There's a word for that —
Question from a reader --
My answer --
Consider using Freedom or SelfControl (or a similar app) to ensure you don't get online right away.
Do SOMETHING every day, even if it's imperfect. My default: pushups, situps, air squats, bicycle situps, jumping jacks, and -- if a chair/ledge is around -- dips. In a real hurry, I can bang out a quick version of that in 5-8 minutes, which is enough to get SOMETHING going.
It was a couple trips to Shanghai ago. The ever-brilliant CEO of ChaseFuture, Greg Nance, and I went running with a couple members of his team.
Nance is just hardcore, a total animal, always looking to expand and challenge himself in mountaineering, business, physical fitness, the nonprofit world, academia and policy, and just about everything else.
Not satisfied with just a couple mile run, Greg says drop it and hit the decks and do pushups at every red light.