The legendary Jocko Willink says that Discipline Equals Freedom. I take this to mean that accepting and embracing discipline and structure in your life will take away the need for willpower as well as paralysis by analysis and procrastination. In recent days, I’ve been feeling good and I think it’s down to making decisions, quick decisions and good decisions about things big and small. Deciding yesterday in a Waterloo pub that I’d book us in for lunch in 25 minutes in St. John and Uber it there was pretty good. (Angelique seemed to like the decisiveness) And today, we took inspiration from my sister and decided to sell our flat and buy a bigger one. It’s a decision we’ve put off and off, but having made it in 5 minutes of discussion in the car on the way to dim sum with my Dad, was decisive for sure. Of course, …[Read More]
Everyone agrees that you should be yourself. Just be yourself, they say. In all situations. but wtf does this actually mean? Possible meanings: Don’t try to be someone else or something else other than you are. Live and act with no difference between the actual you and the you that you present to the world How can we achieve this? Tell people what you really think about everything – okay now this is really hard. If you’re a liberal and identify as such, having the odd racist, sexist, homophobic thought is going to be hard to articulate. Wear what you want, read what you want, listen to what you want – don’t give a fuck about what you think others might think of you Don’t try and be cool on social media – present warts and all Rinse and repeat, everyday.
Last week, I was out with one of my best mates. The conversation moved onto one of his friends with whom I had explored hiring. Let’s call him Bob. He had set up a consultancy and I thought that the company I work for might benefit from his insight. My friend said that Bob felt I was too nice. In fact, so nice, that he felt himself wanting to take advantage of me. To fuck me over. I was surprised. But what really surprised me was that Bob is himself a very nice guy. Here he was saying that, even as a nice guy himself, the fact that I was being so nice was enough to trigger an aggressive response. He wanted to rip my throat out with his teeth. Can you be too nice? Of course you can. Think of Pollyanna (look it up). Am I too nice? It definitely …[Read More]
Look in the mirror before you leave the house. Stand there for a second. What impression do you think you give to the outside world? Are you well-groomed? Have you had a haircut recently? Have you shaved or tidied up your beard? Are you standing upright with your head up and your shoulders back or are you slightly slouched over? Is your outfit appropriate for work? Is your outfit fit to face customers and clients? Will your co-workers think you’ve made an effort today? Do you stand out or do you blend into the background? Is your shirt ironed? Are your shoes polished? Have you cut your fingernails? Have you brushed your teeth? Have you flossed? Are you wearing fresh underwear? Do your socks match? Are you wearing a nice watch? Are you carrying excess body fat? Is your skin clear and healthy? …[Read More]
I’ve been thinking a lot about diminishing marginal returns. In a nutshell, diminishing marginal returns is the idea that we get less benefit the more we do something. Imagine yourself at McDonald’s. That first Big Mac you’ve been craving is awesome. So is the second one, but less awesome than the first. The third is good but less good than the second one. And so on. By the time you get to the fifth, you feel sick. Each successive Big Mac had smaller benefits than the previous one. Diminishing marginal returns. I had this thought on a recent Instagram uploading binge. My Instagram is all about food and travel. I looked at other Instagrams I follow and they’re all about fitness or travel or food. At what point are the returns on a passion or obsession diminished to pointlessness? Is chasing the 55th photo …[Read More]
Military units have long had mottos to help guide their members to their desired vision of what their members should be like. Old families too. Ancient institutions like the Royal Family and universities have had mottos since their beginnings. So why shouldn’t you? One classic military motto is: Royal Gurkha Rifles: Better to die than live a coward. My favourite educational one is: Monash University: Ancora Imparo (I am still learning) A motto acts like a heuristic. It acts like a mental shortcut you can use in times of uncertainty, stress and panic. Imagine you were a Gurkha with the motto above: Better to die than live a coward. Pretty hardcore right? Every day at mealtimes, you saw that on your regimental crest. Your fellow brother soldiers said that. Your regimental forebears said that. You say that. Everyday. You end up believing in that to your bones and to your soul. I’m …[Read More]
For lots of guys, changing up your style can be an uncomfortable experience. Loads of thoughts start running through your head. “That’s a bit tight. Won’t I look like I’m trying too hard?” “I could never pull that off.” “Only tall models would look good in that.” “My mates are going to take the piss out of me.” And then you think twice about your style change. You stick with what you know. With what’s comfortable. What’s safe. Unknowingly, you’ve just met with what Steven Pressfield calls The Resistance. In his book The War of Art, Pressfield calls anything that gets you away from the path (in his case creativity and the creation of art) as Resistance, obstacles that you put in the way. Many of these things are of your own doing. Take the above thoughts running through your head. There are two ways to approach these. You can run …[Read More]
This TED Talk by Amy Cuddy on how deeply your body language affects you is one of the most viewed TED Talks of all time. Summary Professor Cuddy demonstrates just how closely linked the physical is with the psychological. We heard of psychosomatic, where your mind can influence your body, eg when anxiety affects your bodily health. Cuddy explains how our body language affects our mental states, i.e. the reverse is also true. For example, if you’re hunched over, with your shoulders rolled forward, looking down at the ground, it’s likely that you’re in a nervous state of mind. Now exaggerate the opposite posture. Sit back, lean backwards, open up your chest, breathe deeply and you’re likely now feeling more relaxed, less anxious and more at ease. We can exaggerate this further. There’s a universal pose for victory and feeling victorious. Studies show that even those unable to see make …[Read More]