Tag: life

Reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

After mentioning that I was reading Influence to my good friend [cached]Adrienne, she recommended [cached]Drive as my next book. The theme is quickly explained: While there are three different ways to motivate us - biological urges like hunger or sex, external reward & punishment, and intrinsic reward from performing a task - only intrinsic reward can consistently foster creative behavior.

Pink starts out by showing how traditional external motivation - cash bonuses et al. - overly constrain our focus, interfere with creativity, extinguish internal rewards and even lead to unethical behavior (think doctoring sales numbers to meet a bonus target). Only in special …


Relevant Reading

How much of what you read today would you still want to read if it was a week from now? A year? A decade, a century?

Too much of the information hammering us is ephemeral infotainment, not enough brings lasting value.

The test I apply is simple: would I still want to read this if I had to wait a year, even if it was the only thing I could read that day?


Taking Notes

I always thought taking notes was a waste of time. Surely you could just look back at the slides if you forgot something?

But I realized I might have had it backwards all this time. What if you take notes not to have something to refer to, but because it forces you to listen with greater attention and strengthens your memory?

To really take notes you need to understand the subject well enough to pick out the key phrases and concepts in real time, all while the lecturer is speaking on and on. It's similar to how actually doing the …


Reading Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

The theme of [cached]Influence is clear: unable to keep up with the onslaught of information and decisions we fall back to mental shortcuts and learned behavior.

Robert Cialdini orders them into six large groups:

  • Reciprocation. Giving a gift or doing a favor makes us much more likely to comply with a subsequent request, even if the favor was unwanted. The same concept applies to making an initial high demand and then "conceding" to a lower one. Example: charities giving you a free gift.
  • Commitment and Consistency. We will change our opinions and desires to be in line with our …

A Walk around Umbrella Revolution

Umbrella Revolution sign

The Umbrella Revolution (from the umbrellas used to protect against tear gas) has been going on for nearly a month, yet publicity is scarce; fading out almost completely in the last two weeks.

Which is a shame - here's a vibrant city struggling for a most basic right, fair and independent elections, and yet we in the west, so proud of our democracies, stand by and watch?

all that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing

By chance I've been in Hong Kong for the past few days, and meeting these protesters - both young and old - really struck a chord in me. They risk their freedom and lives for something …


I Travel

I travel to explore the world, I travel for the thrill of the unknown, to broaden my mind, to taste the unexpected, to learn and keep growing. I travel for chance encounters and randomly meeting again halfway across the globe. I travel because it's the easiest way to multpily my (remembered) life span. I travel to break the daily routine, to upset hardened molds, to escape boredom, to make new friends and meet old ones again.

I travel not to feel alone, to meet new people and fall in love for a brief romance, to share moments and explore together …


Setting your day up for Productivity

I have this habit of saving interesting articles to read them later on, maybe when I'm commuting on the tube (using Pocket). Sometimes I keep them after reading, to peruse again at a later time, mull them over a little. Case in point, [cached]An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day And Finding Focus from Farnam Street.

After reading it for the third or fourth time, I realized that my days really need some structure. Or, more specifically, a game plan of the most important goals that I plan to achieve that day. Yes, I'm generally quite productive anyway - I've …


Reflections

Walking just forces me to think, requires me to take from all the reading and practicing I normally keep myself busy with. When I'm walking down the street there's no paper on Deep Learning I can read, no Feyman Lectures I can study, no Kanji I can practice, just me and my thoughts.

The same is not true for running, there the exercise and exertions distracts me, my competitive drive propels me to run as fast as I can, leaving no energy for idle thoughts. It's only in these slow walks - which ironically I used to regard as wasted time …


Immortality is already here, it's just unevenly distributed

Often we are told to "pursue what you really want, not just what pays the bills" by pithy blog posts, filled with thoughtful quotes from successful people. We are encouraged to follow our dreams, to stop doing things that don't bring us enjoyment. After all, we all only have a finite amount of time, 24 hours a day, a few paltry decades, maybe close to a century if we are lucky.

But what if this advice is terribly wrong? What if doing some more of that horribly boring work could get you disproportionately more time, if you could just buy …


Motivation Hacking

After [cached]Anna recommended that I read [cached]The Motivation Hacker, I went down the rabbit hole. I had already discovered [cached]Beeminder the day before, and now I was truly motivated to set myself up with some goals.

You can see them on my public [cached]goal page, but for now they are primarily about keeping up my language studies, spending a bit more time on piano and making sure I go for a run regularly. I'm not sure if I actually care about the money betting features, but just seeing the steady line of past effort is quite …

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