How To Get What You Want Out Of Life


“Most people sleepwalk through life, not ever questioning or evaluating the life they’ve build for themselves. Eternally distracted by the next dopamine hit.”

We are currently living in pretty confusing – yet exciting – times.

Every industry is rapidly accelerating, which increases the amount of accumulated knowledge and the complexity of the tools in any field. More knowledge and tools means more (confusing) choices in how to handle our life’s challenges.

Let’s face it; Although more choice allows us to make better ones, there’s just too much confusing crap out there in order to be sure of the actions we’re taking.

So, how do we make our own map to get what we want out of life? And without losing our mind?

How do we keep life simple when the actual reality we try to understand is complex?


A Feedback System For Your Life

I’ve recently reread the book “principles” by Ray Dalio again and watched this talk with Elon Musk and what I saw is that both recommend having some sort of feedback system to get what you want out of life, which i found pretty interesting.

Obviously – being the fucking list-nerd that I am –  I assembled as much information about this as possible and made my own version, and that’s what I’m sharing here.


I don’t necessarily know if you’re going to find as much use in it as I do (I only think people who share similar analytic/list-thinking personality traits are going to really vibe with it).

But at least I hope I can make you see the value in having a system that enables you to make your own critical life-decisions and that allows you to catch yourself when you’re drifting too far off-track.

But before I write another 4000+ word self-improvement post, I’d like to start with this great quote from Mark Manson;

Our social media culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations: Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier, more popular, more productive, more envied, and more admired. Be perfect and amazing and crap out twelve-karat-gold nuggets before breakfast each morning while kissing your selfie-ready spouse and two and a half kids goodbye. Then fly your helicopter to your wonderfully fulfilling job, where you spend your days doing incredibly meaningful work that’s likely to save the planet one day. Ironically, this fixation on the positive—on what’s better, what’s superior—only serves to remind us over and over again of what we are not, of what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be.

We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. But the fact is, most of us are pretty average at most things we do. Even if you’re truly exceptional at one thing — say math, or jump rope, or making money off the black gun market — chances are you’re pretty average or below average at most other things. That’s just the nature of life. To become truly great at something, you have to dedicate time and energy to it. And because we all have limited time and energy, few of us ever become truly exceptional at more than one thing, if anything at all.

We can then say that it is a complete statistical improbability that any single person can be an extraordinary performer in all areas of their life, or even many areas of their life. Bruce Wayne does not exist. It just doesn’t happen. Brilliant businessmen are often fuck ups in their personal lives. Extraordinary athletes are often shallow and as dumb as a lobotomized rock. Most celebrities are probably just as clueless about life as the people who gawk at them and follow their every move.

We’re all, for the most part, pretty average people. It’s the extremes that get all of the publicity. We all kind of intuitively know this, but we rarely think and/or talk about it. The vast majority of us will never be truly exceptional at, well, anything. And that’s OK.

Which leads to an important point: that mediocrity, as a goal, sucks. But mediocrity, as a result, is OK.

All the crap I write on this blog (all the crap that’s being written on the internet really) is great and all. But how can you not constantly feel like you’re doing everything wrong because of it?

I don’t want this post to give you another ‘follow-this-14-step-schematic-or-else-your-life-will-become-miserable’-feeling.  Which is something I’ve come to experience with a lot of the self-improvement stuff lately. And I’m sick of it.

I. want. fucking. less.

I want less self improvement information input for more life quality output. I simply want more peace of mind. More bang for my self-improvement buck so to speak.

I ultimately just want a manageable system to keep me on track and correct my course whenever necessary and read some books/follow interesting people on the side. And that’s it.

And that’s all it should be.

Why do you need a feedback system?

I feel like many people spend more time in planning their next vacation than in evaluating their life and constructively working towards goals they’ve set out for themselves. Let alone do this consistently.

Fuck it, most don’t have any clue/care whatsoever where they put their time and energy. And then somehow they wonder why they didn’t achieve their ‘goals’. I’d like to make the following (non-scientific) arguments in favour of having a feedback system;

  • Without a long-term plan for your life you’ll fall into destructive short-term thinking by default (seeking stimulation and sedation). A feedback system forces you to ask the right questions – which forces your brain to run a “script” instead of humming along on its default setting. (is your life by design or by default?)
  • With a clear vision you’ll always know the best use of your time and energy so you won’t get trapped in “other people’s agenda” and keep working towards a life you want. It’s like a filter for where to best spend your time/energy/money (three most valuable resources).
  • It allows you to clearly measure your progress/achievements over time which – in retrospect – add tremendous value to your life. (measurable, progressive growth is a big factor for happiness)
  • It gives you the feeling that you’re actually going somewhere and that your days matter. A sense of engagement in life as a gladiator instead of watching it ooze by as a spectator. Life overall feels more “sorted out” and you have more trust in your ability to catch yourself when things get hard (self-reliance).

I’m not saying you need to use my feedback system. I’m saying you should build/make one that works for you.

How does my feedback system work?

Here’s a video explaining how I do it and a write-up that goes into some more detail of each aspect;


Here’s the planner I use

1) Vision

My feedback system basically starts by envisioning how you want your life to look like ideally in all areas. The long-term, big-picture view. This is completely made up and nothing should be filtered out. It’s not the intention to ever reach this, just to keep aiming for it and continuously working towards it. Remember;

That mediocrity, as a goal, sucks. But mediocrity, as a result, is OK.

Write one day-in-the-life story from waking up to going to bed. Use the 5 area’s of life if you have to. Make up your own area’s if you feel especially creative. Here’s some things I cover in my day;

  • Mind: How would your ideal mindset be? How would you behave. How would the world look like trough your eyes?
  • Health: What do you want your ultimate physical health to be? How do you want your body to look like? How much energy do you want to have?
  • Social: How do you want your friendships, family relations and love life to be?
  • Wealth: How do you envision your ultimate financial situation?
  • Fun/Meaning: What kind of fun experiences do you want to do in your life? What would you do to relax from the daily struggles of life? How would you combine your skills and interests to leave your mark on this world

I’ve read before that ‘how big you think becomes the launching pad for how high you achieve, but I haven’t necessarily experienced a correlation in that. I have – however – experienced a correlation between higher goals and higher disappointment. Happiness equals expectations minus reality right?

Overall I feel goals should be big and unfiltered though.


  • What does your ideal life look like? The house you live in, the body you see in the mirror, the girl you wake up to, the sun shining through the window, the scent that fills up your living room.. . Basically: Establish an ideal vision of what you want your life/you to look like.

2) Plan (What?)

Setting Goals

Life questions should be specific. That’s why I divided mine into these 5 areas;

  1. Mind (self-management, learning, self knowledge/direction)
  2. Health (Looks, training, nutrition & recovery)
  3. Wealth (creating, growing, buying)
  4. Social (friends, dating, family)
  5. Alive (excitement & meaning)

You don’t have to use these, but just remember that settings goals for your life needs to be specific and these 5 area’s help to keep a nice overview.

Try to see in each of the 5 areas of your life where you’re at right now. Then, project three months into the future. Based on your long-term vision you’ve set out in the previous step, what are some tangible outcomes that will make a serious dent in your life quality?

I used to be a huge fan of yearly and monthly goals, but over time they just appeared a lot less important than the quarterly ones.

If you knock down the quarterly goals, the yearly dominoes will tumble as well. I’ve found 3 months or 90 days the ideal timespan that’s long enough for achieving relevant goals and simultaneously short enough to keep your targets accurate/realistic.

Here’s what you should do;

  • Set product goals (something you can point at) for tangible outcomes
  • Set process goals (something you can do consistently) for intangible outcomes.

For example; (The bold text, those are my goals);

These end-goals don’t necessarily have to be things that are directly under your control. The most rewarding life achievements almost never are. And that’s okay. So; getting a job in <x>, moving out towards <x>, finding a new girlfriend are perfectly valid although they aren’t always directly under your control.

However – the way you choose to measure progress towards these goals (step 5) should be directly under your control (I’ll get back to that later)

Selecting Goals

Now if you’re ambitious you probably have A LOT of ideas about how your ideal life would look like.

I know I did.

But see, clarity doesn’t come when EVERYTHING needs to get done or when your to-do list runs endlessly. Therefore we’re going to reduce ALL your quarterly goals to your top three – five that will have the MOST IMPACT on the quality of your life in the next three months (Be sure to make these VERY SPECIFIC).

The less goals, the more chance you’ll achieve them.

I’m actually really fucking serious about this. You only get to pick 3 – 5, the fewer the better and the higher chance you’ll achieve them. THIS SELECTING PROCESS SHOULD BE PAINFUL/DIFFICULT.

the greatest barrier to achieving your goals is the other goals you have. In other words, your goals are competing with one another for your time and attention. Whenever you chase a new goal, you have to pull focus and energy from your other pursuits.

When you’ve selected, ask yourself; If I achieve the following 3-5 goals, would my life be significantly improved/be happier?

Discard all the rest (put them on a list in your onenote to evaluate next quarter or put them in white color in the spreadsheet so you don’t see them. To be achieved in another quarter). Don’t make them secondary nor try to pursue them in your ‘spare time’. Remove them totally from your list.

I want you to get what you want out of life – just realize it can’t be done at the same time. You have to understand that each of the following undertakings require a SHITLOAD of TIME, ENERGY, MONEY (most valuable resources) to see it through;

  • A great physique and 24/7 energy
  • A well-paid, enjoyable job without having to sacrifice other major parts of your life
  • A well-paying, enjoyable business without having to sacrifice other major parts of your life
  • (A) hot girlfriend(s) and great sex
  • Good close friends to share life experiences with
  • A place to call home (with your family)
  • Variety of fulfilling experiences (traveling the world, learning an instrument, athletic achievements, …)
  • A giant penis

Scratch that last one, that might just be me :/.

Read The Four Burner Theory and Warren Buffets 2 List Rule about this to better understand the necessity of focusing down on less in order to achieve what you want. They really accompany this post well.


  • What are 3-5 product/process goals that will significantly improve your life quality over the next three months?

3) Strategy (How? -> Long term)

So now we’ve established the “what”-part. You’ve got 3-5 big, shiny new goals that would actually make a decent dent in your life quality if you’re able to achieve them.


Now we’re going to move into the “how”-part. This is the most difficult and the most important. Goals don’t mean shit without a plan of action where you regularly track your progress and correct your course of action (hence why it’s called a feedback system – duh)

That said, you can never really know exactly which actions will take you to your desired end-goals. The best way to do this is to simply weigh-off your options and guess the highest-leverage actions you can take to reach your goals.

Yup, I said guess.

Not count/measure/analyse but simply make an educated guess.

Here’s what I’ve come to realize in my life;

The more I read books, follow courses and listen to other people the more I realise everyone has just one small part of truth and never a complete roadmap to give me exactly what I want. In the end, the only thing I’ve come to trust is my own critical mind. No-one can ultimately tell you what the best use is of your time and energy.

There is no recipe. There is no guidebook. There is no plan. You’re on your own for lifes’ hardest challenges. And no matter what quantity of books you read, advice you follow, seminars you take (you should do these things however). Nothing but experience and your own critical mind can give the answer to your life’s most important questions.

So what I would recommend to reach your goals is to just take your most educated guess by analysing your situation and copying what others who have you want are doing. Trust in the process and adjust it as you learn more about the topic.

That’s said, there are some ways to make a better educated decision and not screw up your life in major ways (I believe it’s very easy to do so)

Finding Solutions

The system I use to find solutions for my problems is called WIGWAM. Whenever you want to find a solution in order to reach a goal. You have to consider the following steps;

  1. Watch (What are the factors that influence this part of my life? What am I currently doing that’s working/positive effect and that isn’t working/negative effect?)
  2. Ideate & Guess (What are from my understanding, the existing options to improve this area?
    1. Brainstorm to find all the existing options
    2. Look at others who have achieved what you want and how they did it
    3. Incubate when the answer isn’t immediately apparent
  3. Which? (Pick top three and execute on this!)
  4. Apply & Measure (discussed in point 4 & 5)

Whenever I have a big question in life I usually get out a big piece of paper and write a specific question in the middle of it and try to anwser it through a method of self-elicitation and write down as many options as I can.

I believe that this creative process of asking yourself questions (whether verbally/written) and generating ideas is singlehandedly the most important step in solving your own challenges. Here’s what you should do;

  1. Writing a specific well-defined question in the center of a piece of paper that aims to solve one of your life’s more urgent problems/find a way to reach your goals.
  2. Brainstorming about the possible options and looking at how others got the result you desire.
  3. Making your best guess of the top three actions and deciding on a course of action.
  4. If the answer doesn’t come during the brainstorming session, continue with other activities and leave it for your unconscious to process further. (incubation)

The experience of leaving a problem for a period of time and then finding that the difficulty evaporates on returning to the problem, or, even more striking, that the solution “comes out of the blue” when thinking about something else, is widespread.

Ray Dalio (you should read his book ‘principles’) summarises this process as;

What do I want ? > What is true? / What is working> What needs to be done about it? > Execute & Adjust

After you’ve gone through this process you will now have about 5 or less clearly defined goals for the next three months, each having 3 or less strategies. This is the basis of my feedback system.

Now all that remains is dividing these into weekly/daily actions and track your performance on those to-do’s. (step 4, 5 & 6 -> the actual actionable part of the system).


  • For each goal you’ve outlined in the previous part, what are the available options to accomplish these?
  • Who has achieved this result you want and what did he/she do? What resources can I consult to learn about solving this problem?
  • Which of these possible strategies seems to be the most likely to get me what I want the fastest?

4) Tactics (How? -> Short term)

From this point onwards, we distill our tactics into weekly and daily tasks. The smallest building blocks for reaching our goals.

In the past I used a weekly paper planner to further divide my goals into weekly actionable points but lately I’ve been favouring keeping a weekly todoist app.

This way, my whole feedback system is completely digital, portable and accessible from any place.  I personally just use the todoist desktop app for my mac where I create the weekly tasks and recurring habits (gym, cooking, …) and during the day I cross them off on my phone!

Prioritisation & efficiency

So now you’ll have filled up your week with a load of high-leverage activities. So how do we efficiently do the actual work, and in which order?

There’s only one thing at a time that should get most of your focus. Problems in life should come one by one, just like only one grain of sand can pass through an hourglass at a time.

Plan your ONE highest-leverage activity first thing in the morning and execute it until it is done. Everything else besides that ONE THING is simply a distraction. For me currently, that’s mostly always the recurring 5 hours of deep work (aka programming). I knock that domino off first thing in the morning, almost every day.

Be relentless in this. Most every day of most every week you should be pushing your mind to grapple with activities which dramatically impact your life quality. Leave the socially conformed mindset of artificial busyness, email compulsion and social media posturing.

This means;

  • NO email checking before it’s done
  • NO Facebook/twitter/instagram/…
  • NO People interrupting
  • NO Phone alerts/calls

When I’m at home, I mostly work in a darkened room with the door locked, staring at a blank wall and having earphones in.


Take advantage of parkinons’ law by reducing the time available for your work by setting an endtime/shutdown routine every day (which forces you to limit your tasks to the essential) & use paretos law to limit tasks to the important (so you do less tasks in a day).

I highly recommend reading the book ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport and ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller to learn about focus and prioritisation respectively.


  • What’s currently the most important thing you should dedicate the most amount of your time to?
  • Which 20% of actions will get you 80% of the desired results in goal x? (pareto’s law)
  • At what hour will you stop working in the evening? (parkinson’s law)

5) Track  &  Measure

Off-course just checking boxes every day isn’t going to make a difference in an by itself. It should be quantified according to some clearly defined metrics/targets. These should be your ‘key performance indicators’ (KPI) that give you an idea how well the previous steps of your feedback system are working.

For each goal you’ve set, you’re going to pick a value/metric (max 3 objective ones) to keep track of your progress/action taking on that specific goal. These should be directly under your control and objective. For example;

  • # of approaches/week (dating)
  • hours of deep work (wealth)
  • hours of sleep (health)
  • number of clean meals/week. (health)
  • pages read/week (mind)

NOT: a feeling/happiness scale (subjective/open for interpretation), #of phone numbers in pick up (not directly under your control)

I basically fill-in this excel sheet once every week on sunday where I add the number/boolean for the KPI. Like so;


  • What are 3 (or less) objective, directly controllable KPI/metrics you can use to track your progress for each of your goals on a weekly/daily basis?

6) Reflection & Correction

After I’ve completed the tracking sheet on Sunday I also go over my weekly reflection section in onenote. Which is basically two-sided;

  1. A root-cause analysis of the suboptimal results I’m having in reaching my goals
  2. A list of questions I ask myself every week to keep myself on course and refocus on my problems/goals.

Root Cause Analysis

It’s basically a table where I identify any suboptimal results I’m having for any goal I’ve set, then asking a 5-fold why question (asking ‘why’ this suboptimal result occurred repeatedly) to get to its root cause and then just re-implement the strategise/brainstorm part to find new solutions/alternatives to overcome this root cause.

It’s pretty straightforward and majorly effective for correcting your course of action;

Reflection Questions

I basically keep a set of reflection questions for each area of my life that I go over regularly (about once a week) that make me think deeply on how I choose to live my life and evaluate on a higher, bigger-picture level on how I can improve my results. Josh Kaufman has some too.

Here’s a full list of all the questions I ask myself on a weekly basis. Note that these are tailored to problems I personally encounter a lot and shouldn’t just be blindly copy-pasted.


  • What are the suboptimal results you’re currently experiencing in achieving your goals?
  • Why do you think you are experiencing these suboptimal results? -> Why is that? -> Why is that? –> … (5x)
  • Repeat step 3 for finding new solutions for the root cause.
  • What are some reflection questions you can ask yourself on a weekly basis?

The feedback loop has now been completed! Congrats!

Extra Considerations

Can we have it all? (self-improvement vs self-acceptance)

Can we have a ripped six-pack, have our bank account resemble a phone-number whilst making plenty of time for family/friends and great relationships. And – oh yeah – not lose our minds in the process?

I feel like it’s incredibly difficult and most will never achieve it, but still possible to pull off (contrary to what Mark Manson said/believes in his quote). I feel like this guy has pulled it off (and there are probably others, but those are the exceptions).

I’ve been following him on-and-off for a while and I feel like he’s a bit the figurative Bruce Wayne of self-development since he incorporates all the lessons to a T. Visualisation, goal setting, reading, meditation, cleansing, gym, cooking, … . You name it.

He’s created an extraordinary life for himself in all areas from the looks of it. (You never truly know however)

  • Massive financial success with a dozen or so income streams
  • Solid health, looks & energy
  • Hot, intelligent girlfriend
  • Great place to live

People who (seemingly) have achieved a lot more than you make you wonder where you’ve spent your time and makes you think you’re doing something wrong.

Then again, I feel it’s useless to keep condemning yourself for everything you haven’t yet achieved. It makes your life miserable when you only allow yourself to feel as valuable as your latest achievement. Hence why I included the quote from Mark in the beginning of this article.

I feel you should strive for a better life every single day and work consistently and diligently towards it, but also cultivate the ability to let it go when things don’t work out as you expected.

Yes, we can have it all. But we’ll highly-likely never reach it.

And that’s okay.

What’s a good life supposed to feel like? (doubt)

Second thing I still wanted to address is how it’s supposed to feel when you’re climbing towards your goals and making small improvements.

See, when I first got my career in web development started, I felt really out of place and nervous that people would think that I’m some kind of fraud. When the worst of that passed and I became more comfortable talking about the technical subjects and gaining more experience, I started immediately thinking about the next steps to take to improve myself.

Never really absorbing the fact that getting a career started with a lot of future potential had significantly impacted my life quality. The result I actually had been striving towards for 9+ months. I kept feeling like there’s still so much shit that needed to be done.

I’ve realised that we will always have problems. No matter how ‘good’ our life gets. In growing we simply interchange these with new, slightly better problems.

Just like there’s no map, there’s no marked endpoint.

A good life should actually feel like a semi-constant hassle where you’re continuously fixing problems, achieving goals, being frustrated when you don’t and afterwards briefly enjoying your upgraded problems. It’s not supposed to feel all great, awesome, rainbows-coming-out-of-your-ass-ecstatic.

And that’s also ok.


It all looks more complicated than it really is. In the end it’s just a way to keep yourself and your stupid brain on track.

Once you get in the habit of it, you’ll ask yourself how you ever did without (or at least I did, but then again I’m a pretty big control freak. You might have noticed). Here’s the gist of it though;

  1. Make a day-in-the-life story of your ideal day.
  2. Set 3-5 specific goals for the next three months.
  3. Brainstorm/research about the strategies you can use and pick three you’ll be using the next quarter
  4. Then break it down in actionable steps on a weekly & daily basis (I recommend using todoist)
  5. Set max 3 KPI for each goal to track your progress towards your goal on a weekly basis.
  6. Do a weekly review where you analyse/backtrace the suboptimal results, the root cause and brainstorm about improved strategies. Maybe ask yourself some additional life questions too.

That’s it.

Note that I’m not forcing/arguing my feedback system on anyone. I just want you to know that it exists, that it can be helpful and it’s an option to consider in improving your life.

There’s MANY other systems and mine is like all others a growing process from +-3 years of  adjustments. In a year or three, it’ll probably be more fine-tuned. Just like it improved from 3 years ago or the year before that.

If you have any questions about anything discussed in this article, ask them below. I’ll respond to every question within a week.

If you have any improvement suggestions for this feedback system or a better alternative, be free to link to them or otherwise explain the improvements. I’m VERY interested in this.

Take care,


read more

How To Learn Any Skill Fast


“Your economic security lies in the trust you have in your own capacity to produce, to think, to learn, adapt and provide value”


I learn too fucking slow.

Recently (the last year actually) I’ve decided on learning how to program and become a web developer.

But I’ve found that I have gaps in the way I tackle my learning process and that I’m mostly just remembering checklists instead of truly understanding the things I’m doing.

Besides that, my learning isn’t organized in projects or sub-skills and the time between my repetitions is too long.

This is just useless memorization and doesn’t really lead to anything I can build a career on.

I’m honestly going to say I haven’t had much experience with learning skills like tim, josh or scott have, but I’ve developed my own framework that I’ll be using going forward.

So that’s what I’m sharing in this article.

(Press F11 to read in full-screen)

Why is this important?

Most young people who graduate from school don’t have any marketable skills that can separate them from the other applicants at a job.

Learning skills that are high in demand, centered around your strengths and difficult + doing this in a fast and adaptable manner will provide you financial security for a lifetime.


If something is not hard to do or someone could easily/rapidly learn how to do it, it’s just not worth outsourcing. It’s the same reason I don’t pay someone else to brush my teeth and the same reason I do pay for my food.

It doesn’t mean you should learn everything and do everything yourself. But you should have some marketable economic skill that you can use as leverage to trade for the products generated by the economically valuable skills of others.

  • Ex: Getting paid for repairing i-phones and trading that earned money to buy someone’s expertise in book-format.

In the following section, I’ll give you a breakdown of the framework I’ll be using to learn new skills and as an example I’ll be applying this to something I think is cool to learn; motion design. Of which I have currently (time of writing this sentence) 0 background/understanding of.

Here’s an overview;

learn any skill graph

Sorry no color this time ;). Let’s dive in.

You’ll get the most out of this if you actually follow along & ask yourself: What skill do I want to learn that would dramatically improve my life quality? **Here are a few hints**

How to Learn Any Skill 

1) Target 

Your learning should be product/outcome-oriented. As in an actual end-result that will be used as a benchmark to measure your expertise by.

So none of that piss-weak stuff like “I want to play the piano” or “I want to learn how to knit” or “I want to become a web developer” or whatever.

You’ll want to shoot for a tangible outcome (something you can actually point at as reference of your success) like an ebook, program, website, blog, YT-channel, video of you practicing, video of the outcome, whatever.

  • Ex for playing piano: Make a full video of yourself playing linking park in the end on the piano and post it on YouTube.
  • Ex for programming: Build a functioning real-time chat-application like Facebook messenger with ruby on rails and put it online for everyone to use.

You can add a deadline to it if you want to. But if it’s a really complicated skill you’re likely to miscalculate the scope and fall into planning fallacy. That’s why I (suggest to) skip that.

Thinking about how you’ll design the project (end result) will prevent hours/weeks of wasted/misplaced effort. Don’t just dive head deep into something without having a fucking plan of attack and knowing the end result you seek.

Core questions

  • What do I want to be able to do/be/have after <x time>?
  • What does “done/success” look like?

My Example

I want to make a 2 minute motion design reel for my freelance company TrueTech which explains all my services and the process of working with me. I want to do this with a professional female narrator which I’ll hire on

2) Deconstruct

Economically valuable skills are big and complex – make them small by dissecting them into their smallest components. This is the most important step (and the most difficult one, besides the actual practice).

  • Ex: Web developing consists out of different sub-skills like html, css, javascript, a back-end scripting language, sql and knowledge of several tools.
  • Ex: Cooking requires you to master things like cutting techniques, food-pairing and ingredient selection, ..  .

These are all subskills that – when combined – make up the end result that’s so desirable.

These are the core components you want to be practicing on individually (and after that in an integrated project).

The ultimate goal of this step is to create a sequential, nested bulleted list with subskills that lay out concrete ways (projects you want to reproduce, actions to undertake or tutorials you want to complete) that’ll help you practice these subskills (see image below for example)

Here’s how to tackle this;

  1. Use books, courses, DVD’s to get a “big picture overview” on what the most important sub-skills are (limit this to 2 hours of researching at max). Look for people who already have created a map for you.
    • Read the table of contents of 3 beginner/tutorial style books on amazon on this topic and you’ll get a GREAT high-level overview of any skill.
    • Look for different courses that teach you this skill and try to find out how they lay out the steps. What’s the “roadmap” you should follow?
  2. Start googling for resources (video’s/books/people) that will teach you how to practice these subskills
    • Search google for “How I learned <subskill>/how to practice <subskill>/how to learn <subskill>/<subskill> tutorials”
  3. Identify the critical tools that you’ll need to practice. Check if you need some physical/digital product you’ll have to acquire first.
    • Google: “Top x tools each <designer/developer/insert other> needs
    • Google: “Things I wish I knew before I started learning x”

Core questions

  • What are the smallest components of this skill?
  • What resources will I use to learn each sub-skill? What are some great, consecutive projects to reproduce/tutorials to follow?
  • If you got the money, you could try a course (I think the biggest value of a course would be the direct feedback/Q&A setting of a classroom. So IF you decide on paying for a course make it one that’s in person and come prepared.)
  • What are the core tools that I’ll need to start practicing immediately?

My example;

From what I can tell, motion design is separated into different categories like visual effects, 3D animations, cartoon animations, stop motion animations and explainer videos. I chose “2d motion design” as the main skill to work on and started to dig deeper into it.

I started on Google & Amazon searching for;

  • 2d motion design books, how to learn 2d motion design, how i learned 2d motion design, how to make explainer video’s, how I learned to make explainer video’s, …

I quickly realized that there were 2 main (critical) tools people are using to create these motion designs; adobe after effects and cinema 4D. Both aren’t supported for linux (the operating system I’m on), so I found blender and natron as an alternative.

Then I needed to build up a nested bulleted list of subskills and projects/tutorials. By skimming through the starter tutorials and the table of contents from the books on amazon I noticed that 2d motion design primarily consists out of 3 things;

  1. Image composition (Making 2d shapes)
  2. Keyframing (Moving/transforming 2d shapes over time)
  3. Storyboarding (Drawing out/wireframing the project before you start animating)

Next up was just looking for tutorials and projects that would help me practice each of these 3 subskills. Here’s my final result;

learn any skill plan

Here’s the actual file.

And voila, we’re done with planning (took me 2 hours, and I got a nice detailed plan of attack for learning this skill as fast as possible with all the sub-skills and tutorials for each).

The complexity of this project is doable in the confines of 1/2 weeks I believe. Then again, planning fallacy.

3) Fast, Distractionless Practice

The next thing you should be doing is start practicing on projects ASAP. Don’t read stuff, but for learning new skills it’s most important to work on projects that build towards your target goal.

Here’s some tips to keep in mind whilst doing this;

  • No cell phone, windows or pop-ups whilst practicing. You should have the ability to put in uninterrupted hours of complete focus in the acquisition of this.
  • Find or pay a mentor to ask questions to. (this makes it ALOT easier when you get stuck, then again professional support isn’t always available/cheap)
  • Practice the skill at least once a day in the morning for repetition and negating the ebbinghaus forget-curve
  • Lower the barrier to start practicing (make it easier to do daily). For example, if you wanted to learn the guitar, put it always in a visible place.
  • If you really want to get good at something and make a career out of it, it requires trade-offs where other things in your life will be on-hold or neglected. A bit like the four-burner theory from James Clear.
  • Create checklists and scaffolds to break actions down and achieve similar, consistent performance. In the beginning, you’ll have “checklist vision” where you might reach a certain result but don’t understand it deeply enough.
  • You might run into “expert language” that you don’t really grasp at all. You can use analogies or the feynman technique for difficult concepts. Analogies are the fundamental keystones for comprehension. Use googling like “<concept> simplified/made easy/explained” or ask a mentor for a great analogy.

Core questions

  • What should be removed from my environment so I can give this project my fullest focus? What should be added to encourage daily practice?
  • Who can I contact/what group can I join to ask questions to when I get stuck? What do I need explained to improve my practice sessions? Do I keep an active list of unanswered questions?
  • How can I translate this result/action into a checklist so I can replicate the outcome in the future?
  • How can I create fast feedback loops to watch my skill progress (How can I quickly notice the contrast between my actual performance and intended result?).
    • When it might take a long time to reach an end result (ex: building a house), you don’t want to compare your performance with the desired result only at the end. You’ll just build a crappy house and not learn how it should have been done. Give yourself x amount of time to work towards the end-result to the best of your ability and then compare it to what you want.
  • How can I make the loops smaller (time between performance & correction)? How can I make the feedback more clear/accurate?
  • How can I test my skills in a bigger, integrated scope (grand project) for a longer duration and a smaller, separated scope for a shorter duration?
  • What don’t I understand deeply enough that makes practicing harder? Am I spending too much time shotgun learning or voodoo learning?
    • Shotgun learning = Doing many random/disorganized things in order to get the result you want.
    • Voodoo learning = Following a certain checklist/steps to get a certain result without understanding how it works.
  • Are my practice sessions still uncomfortable?

My example

Well, I’m not going to start practicing motion design for now because I’m time-constrained so I’ll substitute this step with how I deliberately practice web development.

  • When I’m practicing, I have my phone on airplane mode, my curtains are closed and my desk is aimed at a blank wall. I keep the door of my room closed at all times and mostly ignore my family when they come in (which I explicitly tell them not to do, especially before noon)
  • I have a slack group for ruby programmers that I can contact for questions and the website stack-overflow that I can retrieve answers on. I’ve also hired a developer in the past to guide me through a project and I keep an active list of questions I wasn’t able to answer myself (but overall I’m pretty stubborn on learning everything myself. Which makes me stupid)
  • I don’t prioritize blogging, dating, family and friends whilst focusing on this, which is a trade-off I make for this period of my life.
  • I have a checklist for doing pretty much anything in programming in my onenote. I recommend creating a checklist for tackling pretty much anything you want to really excel at.
  • When a problem is open-ended I give myself a certain time (1-2 hours) to get as far into it as I can, and then compare where I’ve gotten with the solution.
  • I frequently visit explainer video’s on YouTube for concepts I don’t grasp and make drawings/diagrams to make difficult concepts easier to understand.

4) Spaced Repetition

Skills sharpen slowly and dull quickly.

This means that if you don’t repeat the skills often enough you will get bad at them fast. 

I’ve done a period last year where I approached x-amount of women a week to rapidly increase my social/dating skills but if I’d do that now I’d probably be worse than where I left off since I didn’t actively maintain it.


  • Create deliberate spaced repetition loops (to counter ebbinghaus curve). Use flashcards to repeat core information on a regular basis. This doesn’t have to be as intensive as the deliberate practice, just regular enough to keep the neural pathways strong.

Core questions

  • How can I space the repetition of this skill out in regular intervals? (When)
  • What are the core aspects I should know at any time and “overlearn”? (What)

My example;

5) Mastery

The first 4 steps will give you a solid foundation of understanding and expertise to build true mastery on. But what separates good results from GREAT is simply the amount of hours of deliberate practice you’re putting into it and the fact you’re continuously looking for ways to improve your craft (most experts don’t do this once they reach a comfortable level).

A true master/expert is someone who knows his whole industry and specializes in one subbranch/category. It’s not an excuse for ignorance. If you’ve truly decided to master a skill, here are some pointers to take it to the next level.

  • Become a master by analyzing the work of masters –> Ask people 10+years ahead of you of what they think is great <insert skill> or what separates it from average work. If access to experts is hard, find podcasts where you can be “a fly on the wall” and listen in on their talks.
  • Find your weak spots and relentlessly practice on those. Practice sessions should feel depressing and uncomfortable.
  • No stone unturned –> Read full-on books that deconstruct the topic to its smallest part.
    • Find these resources by googling: Advanced <skill>
  • Teach it to others –> The best way to master anything is to teach it to other people as teaching forces you to truly grasp/formalize the concepts in your head. Start a fucking blog or YouTube channel and start producing how-to content.
  • Improve by contrast –> Get around people who are better than you and make you feel inadequate all the time. When you’re the best of your team, it’s time to look for a better team.
  • Performance checklist –> Keep a series of questions you ask yourself before and after every time you tackle this skill. As a “quality check”. A preparation and reflection.

Core questions

  • Who are the high achievers in my industry and have 10+ years of experience that I could ask for examples/explanations of great work?
  • How could I teach the things I’m learning to an audience? Video’s, blogging or side-tutoring people for example.
  • What are the advanced components/cutting edge parts of my skill? How can I dive into these?
  • What are some questions I should ask myself every-time before I start practicing this skill and how should I reflect on this afterwards when the project is finished?

My example;

I’m not at the mastery stage yet but I do have idea’s on how to implement these (or am already doing some)

  • I have access to some recent projects of high achievers in my industry which I could dive in and research on. Alternatively, I can ask people in my slack group to send them examples of some of their best work or what they consider to be “great” work. (actually, just did that)
  • I’m blogging on my company website about technical stuff and making video’s on YouTube about it (just not frequently enough).
  • I’m planning on buying an advanced book called “crafting rails 4 apps”, which is a collection of expert practices which has been recommended to me by a podcast.
  • I listen to two ruby podcasts of experts who discuss several topics.
  • Ideally, I would get a permanent position at the biggest ruby on rails company in my country to improve by contrast in the presence of experts. I’ve applied there a couple weeks ago and I might get an internship.
  • I have a checklist of questions I ask myself before starting a project and for improving/reflecting after it.

The mental aspect of mastery

I didn’t write this post to help you play around with some new skill for the fun of it. It’s supposed to serve as a guiding framework to build a career-foundation on.

But learning a skill and getting paid for it are two entirely different worlds. Here’s what I want you to clearly understand;

Mastering any fucking complex (=valuable) skill will bring you to the point of ultimate depression and make you want to gouge your eyes out with a rusty spoon, twice.

Let that sink in.

No really, take the time.



Our self-esteem is HIGHLY correlated with the trust we have in our own capacity to provide for ourselves. And in rapidly changing times with a million of choices in any direction it’s HARD to trust your ability to adequately manage the challenges of life.

We now live in a global economy characterized by rapid change, accelerating scientific and technological  breakthroughs and an unprecedented level of competitiveness. These developments create demands for higher level of education and training than were required for previous generations. Likewise, these developments ask for a greater capacity for innovation, self-management, personal responsibility and self-direction. – Nathaniel Branden, 6 Pillars Of SE


Besides that, skills have never been harder to master, in both depth and breadth. In every industry thinkable, there’s a giant backlog of achievements. There’s just so much accumulated knowledge in any field that mastery is almost impossible (and it will be impossible at some point in the future).

Don’t let anyone tell you mastering a new skill is easy or will be fast. If you have set your sights on true mastery, expect pain and expect it often.

Expect to suffer through a lot of days grinding at your bottomless craft.

There’s never a place and time for true adequacy in the learning period. It’s a continuous emotional roller-coaster of self-doubt, distrust and relief. Every wrong step perceived as threat to your (financial) security.learn any skill process2Newcomers are welcomed by course-selling people which say that entry is easy. Ofcourse it’s easy in the beginning!

Everyone can take step 1, but do you have the persistence to get to step 80.258?  What do you do once the training wheels come off and you’re looking at an insurmountable challenge with no map to guide you? Here’s a quote I found about programming recently;

You’re going to get frustrated and screw things up and be embarrassed and want to quit. That never stops happening, no matter what level you get to (as far as I can tell). Programming is bottomless. You never reach that sweet spot where you’re sure you can solve any problem, and you definitely don’t reach the sweeter spot where you’re sure you can solve any problem elegantly and efficiently. Functional programming (subskill of programming) hurt my brain.


But I wanted to learn it. Now, it’s a core part of my work, but it took me about eight years of struggle to get comfortable with it. There were many times I came to a complete standstill with that “I just can’t get it” feeling. It didn’t feel like a temporary obstacle. It felt like an impossibility. Learning monads (or whatever) felt as impossible for me as turning myself invisible or growing a third arm. My brain screamed at me “Why even bother? It’s a waste of time. You’ve reached your capacity.


But I’ve learned to push past that. Now, I pretty much ignore “Why even bother?” Or, rather, I translate it to “I’m overtaxed. I need to take a break for a week, a month, or a year, and then try again.” What I’ve learned is that after a break, when I return to the subject, I have to backtrack (sometimes starting over) but I inevitably get farther than I did the last time. Sometimes it’s just a couple of steps farther, but it’s always progress.


Replace the word “programming” with any other complex skill, and it still rings true.

You will suck and continue to suck for quite a long period (even whole your career if true mastery is your aim). But what other options do you have? I feel like it’s a necessity to walk this path to reach a good life.

The rewards are on par with the challenge and the other options are shit anyway.

So here’s the mental process you’ll go trough for mastering any skill and turning it into a career. Graph courtesy of and based on the 4 stages of competence

learn any skill process

  1. The beginning is the most fun and least complex. There’s entry level tutorial/projects for any skill and the initial quick wins give you a surge of confidence. (1 – 2 months)
  2. Then reality sets in and the “beginner mind” passes where you’re faced with the ginormous crapload of stuff you didn’t even know existed and very scarce/spread out resources on how to practice these. Confidence takes a major hit and this is the most critical period to hustle/grind through. (4 – 18 months+, depending on complexity)
  3. Shit starts to make sense and the foggy pieces of the “puzzle of understanding” are starting to fill-in and become clear. You grasp the bigger picture and have a rudimentary approach to tackle problems. More importantly, you know where to search to solve the things you don’t know and are self-sustainable from this point. You’ve had enough “hits” to understand that failure is a sign to take a break and enough “wins” to understand the road you’re taking actually leads somewhere.
  4. Everything is fine and dandy.

So here’s some tips that have helped me to persist when I wanted to quit;

  • It might feel as if everyone else knows what they’re doing and you’re the only one who’s struggling. But that’s nowhere near the truth. Everyone else is playing catch-up their entire life and ALSO have a useless lump of fat for a brain that’s easily distracted and needs to be regulated accordingly.
  • Don’t ask for what you’re good at now, the chance you’re an expert in any field without planning for it is non-existent. Ask what you’re willing to get good at and struggle for. Nothing in life that’s worthwhile is easy (duh).
  • Any skill can be gone through. Step-by-step until it’s as obvious as any other skill. You’ve learned to read, pick-up girls, , … . It’s the exact same thing. Everything is simple if you understand it well enough. Nothing is fixed.
  • Expect failure, expect it often. Some feedback you get from practice might as well say “fuck you”. That’s ok. See it as an indicator of where you are, not what you are. Take a step back when overtaxed instead of going into a tired ‘brute force’ mode where you’re just shotgun-learning or voodoo-learning.
  • Escape when needed, but always rebound to reality. Don’t stay stuck in fantasy but use it as a recuperation tool/buffer in difficult periods. Escapism is a tool to use at low points, not a lifestyle. (especially considering the opportunities that’ll arrive in the near future. ex: virtual reality worlds/porn, taste manipulation, ..). Food, video games, tv, alcohol, … . Pick your crux.



I don’t really have much words left to wrap this up. I’ve given you a list of what I consider are the most important life skills to master and a framework to acquire them in an efficient manner.

From this point onward, it’s just about making a choice and grinding through it. Again, here’s the picture on how to pick a skill to base your career on;

learn any skill pathway career

  1. Building on strength will ensure you have a competitive advantage because of formed personality characteristics.
  2. By choosing something difficult, you’ll have fewer competitors (higher barrier of entry) & be more in demand.
  3. By choosing something in-demand you ensure that people are actually going to pay you (a lot) for it.

Paradox of choice will probably make this very difficult in the beginning but the longer you walk a certain career path, the less confusing the choices become. Once you’ve truly decided on a path and you’ve traveled sufficient distance along it, the confusion will dissapear since you’ll just won’t be blinded by all the possibilities. 

There’s a threshold you’ll eventually pass which clears up the confusion.

learn any skill pathway

But most people my age drift from job to job because it never really “feels right” from the beginning or they don’t have any “passion” for it. Which is why they never build up enough deep domain expertise, which is a prerequisite for career fulfillment.

Go long and stick with it. It’s supposed to be this way.


Note: There’s much fuzz about “learning to program” these days but in hindsight I think it’s more convenient/smarter to learn non-digital skills like plumbing, laying solar panels, repairing complex devices, specialized surgeries, … . This way you don’t directly compete with the whole world online (think about that). It does require another external course/extra tuition though instead of learning everything online. But maybe that’s exactly the barrier of entry you want for your career?

Notenote: I’m a broke, unemployed 22 year old man with a back injury who lives with his mother. I don’t pretend to know all the secrets to the universe – No-one really does. I’m just giving my perception on the world as I see fit and want to remind you constantly to keep in mind the references/results people have before taking their advice.

That’s it

Do you have other tips to improve this framework?

Take care, <3



read more

The 4 MOST Essential Life Skills (And How To Learn Them)

new-infographic_2967091_14265ebbe66e31f418291f9b8f91a3b73c7fce6b (1)

“Don’t rely on others to supply what you need to know. Figure out what you want out of life and teach yourself how to get it.”


That’s the emotion I’d say is governing my thoughts right now.

See – I’m pretty close to graduating at this point and find most of the stuff I’ve picked up over the years in my school to be completely and utterly useless. The last three months I’ve written 20k+ words on my thesis to meet “length” quota’s, worked 350h+ for free for my final internship and yesterday I took a two hour train drive for a required class about how to make a table in a word document.


And really? It frustrates me.

I’m being told how to run my life by people who don’t have any fucking clue what they’re talking about (in my eyes). It makes me resent people who claim my time for their own agenda or evaluate me based on their “expertise” without a showing track record, claiming that ‘experience’ or ‘age’ made them wise.

Cool fact: It’s possible to sit around for a long-ass time and don’t learn any useful life knowledge. Heck, it’s even common.

So, I believe it’s good policy to ignore everyone who doesn’t have the results you’re looking for. People have incredibly low standards of the advice they take these days. I even encourage you to be wary of mine;

Here are my “stats” atm:

  • Social: Close friends = 2, average meet-ups/week = 0.75
  • Dating: Girls slept with = 9, last time sex: beginning august 2016
  • Wealth: Money in bank = €650 + 300 in savings, assets/investments: none, live with my mom (financially dependent)
  • Health: 78.5kg, 8% body-fat, 183cm, average workouts/week = 2.6, average energy = 5.9

I’m just saying that you should take into account the references people have, before listening to them. Wannabe’s are simply not worth the time.

I wish more people actually reflected on their achievements before giving advice on certain topics.

Or at least stating that they might not be an expert on the things they’re saying.

Getting off-track here, back to the school issue..

Anyway, It’s nothing new to say schooling is dated and sucks. But it’s one thing to see the problem and bitch about how things aren’t going your way (a fools choice), it’s another to take responsibility for it and proactively steer your life in a better direction (great choice).

Always focus on solutions, never allow yourself to dwell on problems

Like Chris from good looking loser said in one of his posts on negativity;

when you’re negative, nothing changes and nobody cares.


Let’s make this post really practical – shall we?

I’ve been thinking about what I’d do differently if I could start college all over again. And hence I’ve searched the most essential life skills to learn and how I would got about learning those given my current knowledge.

In this article I’m going to talk about the most essential life skills I believe anyone should master. The ones with the lowest opportunity cost and highest return on investment. This way you won’t spend a lifetime chasing useless knowledge that doesn’t impact your life quality (which many do)

Like Seneca said;

Even if you had a large part of your life remaining before you, you would have to organize it very economically to have enough for all the things that are necessary; as things are, isn’t it the height of folly to learn inessential things when time’s so desperately short?


Why Learn These Essential Life Skills?

essential life skills - challenges

I believe times are going to get tougher in the future.

With the rapid-growing evolution of tech, increasing global population and shrinking fossil fuels, the means to life (water, money, food, energy, security, … ) will get scarcer and many jobs will be automated.

Don’t be fooled by people stating that tech will provide many more jobs. It will replace a lot more and the new job openings will mainly be for highly-skilled people.

The only way to (partially) defend yourself from that, is learning things that exponentially increase your life quality.

The main elephant in the room is naturally economic security. In this area you’ll outshine your competitors if you’re able to do work that’s hard to replicate (whether by deep expertise or a combination of unique skills)

Let me restate that: Being able to do something that no-one else can do will make you indispensable/irreplaceable in the future economy. Cal Newport is his most recent book “Deep Work” states that;

The people that will thrive in the future economy will be

  1. Highly tech-skilled workers (people who are good at working with machines)
  2. Superstars (the top percentile of every industry. It’s a ‘winner-take-all’ market out there. Especially considering digital skills where you directly compete with the whole world)
  3. Owners (people with enough capital available to invest, preferably in high-level tech startups which commonly have unprecedented ROI)


Other trends I’ve picked up is that the middle, working class (regular jobs) is slowly loosing its footing. Companies just don’t want the hassle anymore of having employees and would rather outsource everything to freelancers on a periodical basis instead of giving full salaries. James Altucher, writer of “Choose Yourself” states in one of his podcasts with Tim Ferriss that;

the middle class is slowly being fired or demoted from their jobs – and it’s a horrible thing.


This idea that the corporation is going to take us from cradle to grave from the time we leave high school or college to the time we retire and “the corporation will take care of us” [is wrong]


[Talking about companies who outsource their work] If you look at the rise and their revenues and compare that to the rise and revenues of other companies in the stock market, there’s no comparison. These companies are going up over the past five years, 300-400% in revenues because it’s not just people outsourcing secretaries.


It’s companies like the major accounting firms, law firms, businesses who are outsourcing vice president level functions to agencies because they don’t want to deal anymore with having employees because it’s too much risk if the economy goes down or too much risk with changing regulations.


First people wanted that lifestyle [referring to the four hour work week-lifestyle], now people have to learn that lifestyle.


I don’t believe it’s pessimism but realism to better prepare for the future and am convinced of its urgency (happy note: the competition isn’t great for high-level places though. Your competition is watching 9gag, checking facebook or catching a magikarp right now).

It’s just overall something I’ve been thinking about, especially the current demographic growth has peeked my interest in preparing better for the future as “temperature rises”. In another podcast with Joe Rogan, Tim Ferriss stated that;

“The more I look at the reality of how people behave in situations where there are scarce resources, especially water, I don’t think it’s that crazy of an idea to have 6 months worth of canned food. I think it’s cheap ensure”


Further he states that;

People behave as well as their circumstances allow them to.”


If I understand human psychology well enough (which I believe I do), I agree with that fact. Basically; when pressure rises and resources become scarce, people freak out and switch to “survival”-mode. Lord-of-the-flies-type shit.

There are very brilliant, very wealthy people who take this very far (think underground EMP-proof bunkers) to have a contingency for this Malthusian-esque type of situation. The demographic pyramid simply won’t hold.

Maybe some of this is media-fueled lunacy backed by a confirmation bias or there’s some realistic, proven solution I’m missing (notice the emphasis before commenting) – I don’t know for sure.

And I’ll never be.

Despite all that – the following advice is something I believe you should take regardless what the future holds. It’s IMO the best course of action for any 20-something.

I hope you’re somewhat convinced by this point, since I’ll be diving in some pointers on learning these skills.

How To Learn These Essential Life Skills?

essential life skills - learning and consistency

Before I start – and probably the most boring part of this whole post is stressing the importance of practice & repetition. And then I don’t mean putting effort in once or twice a week, but if you’re serious about improving anything and want to see results from it you’ll have to dedicate a focused amount of time to it over a period of time. Your neurons need time to build.

Skills sharpen slowly and dull quicklyessential life skills - roadmap

Making new neural connections is like carving your way through an overgrown jungle – you need to regularly clean it up/traverse it (aka recalling) or the path will fade out again and become overgrown.

Skills and other complex activities break down when not actively practiced (my writing could probably be better than it is now – then again, my programming is pretty on-point)

Forming neural pathways (memorizing stuff) takes time to build. Synapses grow stronger by frequent usage and spreading in time. (Same reason why “cramming” before tests is pointless in the long-run)


Enough talk – let’s get into what you should learn to really excel at life;

Note: Leave suggestions for other skills/learning methods to accelerate the ones mentioned in the comments below and I’ll add them to this post!

What Essential Life Skills To Learn?

1) Emotional Intelligence

I cheated (and will be doing more of that!) – these are four skills all combined. You’ve probably heard about the fad that is “emotional intelligence” and quotes like “EQ is a more important predictor for career success than IQ” and that kind of fairy unicorn stuff, right?

Well, it’s true – It has huge implications for you overall life quality and can have more impact on your life than any other skills;

What should you learn?

EQ consists out of;

  • Self knowledge (knowing your own strengths, weaknesses & personality to shift towards optimal conditions. Many people build their career on weakness which makes them resent their life later down the line. Build your life on a rock-solid foundation of who you really are.)
  • Self regulation (controlling emotions/instincts for better long-term solutions – this has wide applications like food choices, money management, directing sexual energy, self-motivation, anger, forcing yourself through unpleasant circumstances, …)
  • Social awareness (It’s basically the ability to see the world through the eyes of others, how does the other person feel & what does he say = empathy)
  • Social regulation (these come down to your overall social skills, how good are you at making other people feel good, understood, at ease and express yourself so they understand you. These include your written and verbal communication skills.)
  • Laws of reciprocity (Probably didn’t expect this one eh? You need to understand the dynamics between cooperation in humans and the psychology behind it. Great feats of societal stresses occur when reciprocity is expected yet not provided.)

How should you learn it?

  • Self knowledge
    1. Find your own strenghts through self-analysis, reading Managing Oneself, Strenghtsfinder 2.0, doing personality tests like the MBTI and Big Five TestHere’s an overview of everything I know about myselfto give you an idea for its uses and how you can learn more about yourself.
  • Self management
    1. Build up constructive habits in routines (dressing well, eating healthy, reading daily, working out regularly, tracking income & expenses, morning & evening routines, …). Many are laid out in my free ebook The Life Guide“.
    2. Learn how to effectively control your emotions. This could be a post by itself but what I do is make an IF > THEN plan to deal with the most common negative/blocking emotions I feel. Here is an example of how I routinely fix negativity. These should be as automated as possible.
    3. Find a system that allows you to plan your life, correct yourself when you’re off track through reflecting and re-set new objectives when achieved. Starting the 5 minute journal is HIGHLY recommended for this.
    4. Reading: Do The Work by Stephen Pressfield, The One Thing by Gary Keller and The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  • Social awareness
    1. Social awareness = Social experience (it comes with time). Do this by having a regular (2-3/week) social hobby/meetup with friends, chatting to strangers online, making more small talk everywhere. Analyze the words and body language of that person and try to think about how they feel and what they mean. I’ve written another (older) post on social skills
  • Social regulation
    1. Social regulation = Social experience (it also comes with time). Same way you practice social awareness but this time you try to steer the behavior/feelings of the other person where you want them to go and influence them.
  • Laws Of Reciprocity
    1. Basically this means that nothing is truly free and nothing is really unconditional. There’s an unwritten societal code you need to be aware of when it comes to giving/taking favors and it would be wise to take into account the following rules. I’m probably missing a few though;

Additional reading: Emotional Intelligence 2.0, How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Social Skills Guidebook by Chris MacLeod and Crucial Conversations (for diffusing/addressing difficult subjects)

2) Career Skills

Yeah – that’s also a collection of skills, but here’s what I mean by that; The skills required to financially support yourself for a lifetimeFor pretty much everyone these are the most important. If you don’t make enough money, your life will suck, period.

Money allows you to eliminate all many negative aspects from your life to focus on things you really care about (rise to the top of maslows’ hierarchy of needs), increase your happiness (up to 6000 dollar log income) and allow for a wide array of diverse interests. It’s critical to acquire this and probably the most important from this blogpost to take away. People who are financially set have all the time left to pursue their other interests and spent their life on activities they actually find meaningful.

DO NOT be fooled into the “follow-your-passion/do-what-you-love” mainstream self-development crap. Follow this career advice instead.

Fuck passion and fuck fun.

What should you learn?

  • Build up expertise in 1 industry & learn economicallyEssential Life Skills Career Advice valuable skills (to generate an income. Build up a skill that’s high in demand, difficult to learn and based around your strengths. No quick-fix short-term solutions. Learn a skill that you can grow into a business later. )
  • Selling (It’s not because you have the knowledge required to help people/make a product that you’ll actually succeed in your business – it doesn’t mean shit if you don’t know how to relate that to others and convince others of its value. Same thing goes for dating, soliciting, making friends. Selling yourself is always a key component of a GREAT life – whether you like it or not)
  • Financial intelligence (Know how to manage your own money, keep track of expenses and be able to invest it into appreciating assets when you finally start to make some. Know where to best allocate expenses and to automatically save regularly)
  • Entrepreneurship/law (Know your own bookkeeping, how taxation works, insurance, social contributions/welfare system, … – life consists out of a lot of boring-ass administration. You don’t have to know everything, but when it comes to money, this will enable you to keep more of it.)

How should you learn it?

  • Industry expertise & skill
    • Choose 1 industry for the rest of your life. The longer you wait/doubt/fidget to choose this, the longer it’ll take to build deep domain expertise which is prerequisite for a good career. It takes increasingly more time for breakthroughs to happen in each respective field as the “base knowledge” required to just get by increases rapidly.
    • Choose 1 skill that’s difficult to learn, high in demand and you have a natural advantage in it (by knowing your strengths). JUST FUCKING PICK SOMETHING AND STICK WITH IT. I recommend just skimming the job boards on LinkedIn, job advertisements in your local paper, fiverr gigs which sell really well and so-forth. Then just pick one and reverse-engineer it.
    • Reading: “So good they can’t ignore you” by Cal Newport and The Recession Proof Graduate by Charlie Hoehn
  • Selling
    • Watch the video of Chet Holmes on education-based marketing (he’s one of the best salesman ever)
    • Take up a part-time job where you sell a product/service you like or sell your own (invaluable life experience/part-time job!)
    • Reading: The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes (no-brainer)
  • Financial intelligence
    • Managing: Manage your money on a weekly basis by keeping a log/excel file of income and expenses, allocate most of it towards investments that bring you a return over time. Here’s an excel file I use – Finance Template (if it’s unclear, I might make a video for using it). For the love of God, please don’t waste your money on useless crap when you finally are making some decent $$$.
    • Investing: I’m not an expert in investing (will be someday) but real estate rental (houses, parking lots, hotel rooms, hostels, campings), object rental (power-equipment, industrial equipment/small trucks, musical instruments, furniture), automated businesses (carwash, laundromats, tanning salons, atm’s, vending machines), content systems (ecourses, books, products, …), advertisement (billboards), portfolio (stocks, bonds, high-yield ETF’s) seem like good potential investments for almost every budget. But don’t be a fool thinking you can outsmart people who trade stocks for a living – educate yourself first before gambling away your money on the market. And then still..
    • Quick math: Be able to quickly calculate percentages, make additions, subtractions, divisions and multiplications. I recommend to even review basic arithmetic like a multiplication table and do some simple mathematical exercises regularly.
    • Reading: The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham (this is quite possibe a very general and inaccurate recommendation since I haven’t even read it.)
  • Law
    • This is region/country specific most of the time and therefore I can’t give clear-cut advise on this. I suggest you just buy a standard “starting guide” book for self-employed people for you local law institution and start from there. Learn how to take advantage from taxes, the different social systems, difference between llc/c-corp and so forth. Maybe even take a course with an accountant to get to know the different ins- n outs. I did that – Definitely worth your time.

Additional reading: The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (top 3 level)

3) Psychology

This is huge. By understanding the real nature of humans and more deeply understand why you/others make certain (irrational) choices you’re always one step ahead. To see the cage of our nature is to partially escape it. Here’s the crucial elements you should master;

What should you learn?

  • Body language (making people feel at ease, making yourself feel better, know when girls are attracted, know when people feel upset, know how to notice tension,…)
  • Conditioning, biases & learning (know how fallible your own thinking is and re-direct this in better ways, understand how humans absorb knowledge and the optimal conditions/environment for retention)
  • Thinking, memory & retention (know how to improve your memory and long-term retention rate of the things you learn – Being able to learn fast (your speed) is what will separate good from GREAT people in the future.)
  • Motivation & emotion (learn why humans feel certain emotions and what their uses are, how to cope with depression, anger, frustration and sadness that block you from getting what you want in life if you let them linger. Be able to bounce back (quickly) from negative emotions/situations like death from a loved one, heavy physical trauma.)
  • Personality (Know the difference between temperament (inborn characteristics) and things that came from your environment. Know what factors molded who you are (and others) to make more accurate choices for the future. (ex: who to trust & under which circumstances, what career-path best suits you, what people are best suited for which tasks, …)
  • Social/group psychology (know how people are essentially social animals looking to belong to a certain group. How they act in groups and how to lead/educate a group)


How should you learn it?

  • Get a school textbook on standard psychology (the big 1000+ pages Essential Life Skills Psychologyones). Read it front to back, starting with the chapters most closely resembling the above points. Really. It’s well worth the time and will probably change your life forever.
  • Check out the most commonly used human fallacies on wikipediaIt’s a GREAT resource.
  • Make an IF>THEN plan for regular annoying emotions that block you from getting what you want.
  • Make an audio-tape for brainwashing yourself for greatness and play this every morning and every evening.
  • Get more expansive books/PDF’s on the different subsets of psychology like body language, learning faster (see next), retaining information, personality profiling and sociology/influencing.

4) Optimal Learning

Now this is a bit more interesting! Optimal learning will allow you to soak up new strategies to increase your life quality at maximum efficiency. And although the brain is incredibly inefficient at remembering let alone learning a new pattern you should definitely maximize your learning ability. This is the only skill of EVERYTHING on this list that I’d recommend to maximize instead of optimizing. Here’s the core everyone should master;

What should you learn?

  • How to learn new skills optimally
  • How to optimally read a book/information, summarize it & recollect the essential knowledge in it when you need it.
  • How to focus, prioritize and eliminate distractions (we live in an attention economy where people are constantly bombarded with ads, things that grab you attention/entertain you without adding substantial life value. People who can capitalize on deeply focused time are the (only?) ones who’ll excel in the coming decades.) How many links have you clicked on in this article so far?

How should you learn it?

  • Skill learning
    • I might write a deeper post about this in the near future, but for now I’ll just link to several good resources on skill acquisition like Tim Ferriss’s method (9:40) & Josh Kaufman (9:30). Here’s a summary of how I would approach it;
  • Book/information reading (you need a sort of framework for absorbing and filtering key information and repeating the most essential on a regular basis. I’ve written a post in this in the past and Ludvig from SGM also made a great entry on this recently.
  • Focusing, prioritizing and eliminating distractions. Read Deep Work by Cal Newport and The One Thing by Gary Keller.

Here’s a small bonus;

5) Specific Multipliers

Now that we’ve had the biggest areas you should be tackling that will be life-critical. Here are the next ones you should be tackling on the side as quickly as possible and should NOT be underestimated in importance.

  • Public speaking –> Allows you to quickly rise through the ranks as a leader when you’re able to explain your vision in accurate detail without flinching in front of a big crowd. I believe the ability to make your ideas clearly heard can mean the difference between a management position and a regular job. Use toastmasters or make YouTube video’s to practice them. No-one was born a miracle.
  • Dating –> Women are NOT going to come knocking on your door. Life never gives you what you want, it just sometimes gives you what you work incredibly hard for. If you want a high quality girl or just plain sex, it’s up to you to get out there and get whatever the fuck you want. Do x number of approaches a week/evening, ask them out on dates and Read Models by Mark Manson. Become a man worthy of dating through self-development. Don’t settle for committed relationships before your 30’s, because it’s easier to get constant sex. And never get married, there’s 0 benefits in that for a man.
  • Health, style & grooming –> Carve out some time in your weeks for at least 3 hours of strength training (this is a negligible amount for the health ROI), dressing well each morning with simple clothing (see my life guide for style advice) and taking care of regular hygiene. This is inexcusable.


The difference between the person you are right now and the people you admire is simply the books they’ve read. Don’t worry about all the book recommendations and the “time-pressure” I’ve outlined in this article. By the time you’re 30, you’ll have read almost every book on the planet if you’re consistent in following this path (which I believe you will).

You’ll probably be working at full capacity anyway – otherwise you wouldn’t have read this far.

There’s nothing grand or special about rising through the societal ranks, all it takes is;

  1. A more accurate image of reality
  2. A clarity of what needs to be done.

This post has given both.

All that’s left is action.

Realize it’s a marathon and not a sprint and that these skills will take a lifetime to master. Just do the best with what is currently available and try to strike a (difficult) balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance. I believe a regular appreciation ritual provides a nice equilibrium between the two.

What other essential life skills am I missing here?


Note: Here’s what Josh Kaufman considers the most important skills to know:

NoteNote: Take in mind that I’m a 22 year-old college student and my views could be highly inaccurate. Just over the years I’ve grown to trust only my own judgment by (accurately?) analyzing the world around me and making decisions based on that information. I realize some views expressed here are radical at times and I often doubt their accuracy (which is a good thing).

They are – however – still standing at the moment. I am always open to contrary evidence and better approaches to life and handle feedback really well. Despite that – I might not find it the best use of my time and energy to debate with/convince you of the accuracy of this information on this blog. I do respect your opinion and believe everyone has a right to have one and voice it.

NoteNoteNote: I’m also a fallible human being, retarded in more ways than you might think and highly-likely to be wrong on many of the things I say. I haven’t mastered all of these essential life skills yet and simply put out the best advice I can give based on current advice. Don’t ascribe superhuman abilities to random people based on what you’ve read about them on the internet.


I love my blogging monologue to vent ideas without opposition. Leave your (most-likely) very witty and intelligent brain-farts in the section below and I’ll be sure to respond whenever I carve out time out of my anally regimented schedule!

3 things;

  • Song recommendation: Been high writing on this
  • Question: Does anyone know any community-submitted forum where accomplished people from all walks in life (health, wealth and love) give advice on which strategy one should follow to achieve similar results? One without self-advertising their spammy shitproducts like quora tends to do?
  • Parting thoughts: Problems in life come one-by-one, just like only one grain of sand passes through the hourglass at a time.



read more

The Frustrating Inefficiency Of My Retarded Brain (Rant)


Biology is a software process. Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells, each governed by this process. You and I are walking around with outdated software running in our bodies, which evolved in a very different era. – Kurzweil

Humans are inefficient at nearly everything.

Yeah, that means you too.

We have a lump of fat between our eyes which is supposed to guide us in the right direction in life, but more often then not it blocks the pathway to exactly the things we want most.

Imagine an on-off switch for fear, social anxiety, willpower, energy, focus/drive and all that fun-stuff.


No, we get this incredible inefficient piece of junk that needs to be put in optimal conditions to get even remotely average work done.

We get sloppy, we get tired, we get afraid, we start resisting against actions that could potentially lead to a GREAT life.

Can someone give me an upgrade please? The human brain is long overdue..


The Story Of Your Divided Brain

First, let’s start with a little – visual – story of how your brain works (and why it sucks balls).

I know you like pretty pictures and fancy colors so that’s exactly what I’ll use.

Here’s your brain – Lets call him Gunther.


divided brain singularity homeostasis inefficiency maladapted

Stop asking questions – that’s why.

Inside Gunther lives Grumpy (not feeling that creative tonight – bear with me here.)

divided brain singularity homeostasis inefficiency maladapted resistance

You can picture Grumpy as the evil ghost from pacman, trying to make your life miserable.

It will constantly chase your ass down, keeping you from the work that needs to be done and literally tries to eat you alive.

It doesn’t care one thing about what you truly want to achieve in life.

It doesn’t care about your plans for the future.

Grumpy simply hates getting out of bed early, Grumpy hates going to the gym to lift heavy weights and grumpy certainly doesn’t want to eat broccoli. Stinking, nasty, slimy broccoli.

Mr grumpy just does not give a fuck unless it’s absolutely necessary.

He’s easily distracted and tries to drag you along to do stupid stuff like watching videos of whale penises on YouTube (you’re welcome) browsing Facebook for bikini pics of a girl you’re into (you wish), eating (too) spicy kebabs when you go out with your friends and so-on.

He’s the reason you lose focus the second something that looks – remotely – like a female enters your vision (lately it’s been everything with a pulse really). Yet makes your heart rate go up when you approach her.

Grumpy is the one that causes anxiety in big social environments, he dreads public speaking, is the main cause of negative self-talk and starts making you act like a complete and utter retard when an attractive girl is in the room.

God I hate this thing in my head.

It’s constantly looking for the fast, easy way out to get things done. Get rich quick, get healthy without having to work for it, watching porn and masturbating without having to go out and approach women, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and so-forth.

This is your limbic system. It makes instinctual/emotional (crapshit) decisions. It fires in ancient ways that have become useless this day and age.

He will kick, crawl, scream and do anything to stop you from exerting energy – And tell you anything you want to hear to justify those actions.

And want to know the fun part?

You can’t get rid of it. It’s an integral part of your brain and can’t be separated from your more “common sense”.

Here’s the thing though;

Grumpy is also always lying and always full of shit.

So, whatever he tells you; don’t you listen to him. (easy to say though)

“The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.” – Do The Work – Steven Pressfield

On the other hand, there’s Mr willpower (Yeah, that’s a lame name too. Deal with it. It’s late over here.)

divided brain singularity homeostasis inefficiency maladapted willpower

Mr willpower is your more recently developed neocortex which makes rational decisions. Mr willpower has a more long-term view on life and allows you to;

  • Go to the gym when you’re tired and sore
  • Wake up early when you’re supposed to
  • Fast for one/two+ days
  • Not watching porn nor masturbating
  • Pushing yourself to approach an attractive girl despite anxiety/fear
  • Standing in front of a large crowd and speaking in public confidently
  • Being open and honest despite being controversial/hurtful
  • Look up & walk proud like you actually deserve a place on this planet
  • Taking a cold shower
  • Choosing long-term rewards over short-term
  • Reaching out to strangers

Overall just doing something uncomfortable but you know is best for you. Mr willpower lets you act despite fatigue, despite laziness or irrational fear.

He’s the “badass” you.

Here’s the thing though;

In the beginning of the day, mr Willpower feels great and energetic and can easily drag the Grumpies around without much effort. He just “flexes them bi’s” and plows through their stupid urges.

divided brain singularity homeostasis inefficiency maladapted ego depletion
*This is an accurate representation of my biceps

But by having to drag them around on his back all day, he gets tired and starts collapsing. He just faints on the floor from exhaustion and needs to start recovering.

Now, the Grumpies are back in charge and with mr willpower completely down ‘n out they let loose; binge eating, unfocused behavior, sleeping in very late, wasting time, skipping on the gym, negative self-talk, watching porn, browsing youtube and so-forth.

A shitstorm of negative behavior.

This is called ego depletion

divided brain singularity homeostasis inefficiency maladapted ego depletion resistance willpower
*I always say “procrastinate procrastinate” when I’m procrastinating*


Who’s In Charge?

The problem is this; you mostly won’t know who’s talking to you and who isn’t. And the problem arises when we identify ourselves with mr grumpy instead of mr willpower.

You bang your head on the wall since you already should have dealed with this shit. How come an intelligent person like yourself still succumb to this?

Why the fuck is your mind-state not 100% – all the goddamn time?

Solid & firm like it should be?

You’ve meditated, you’ve tried the weird bouncy-breath exercises your friend told you about, you’ve done the paralyzing comfort zone challenges, you write in the fucking journal and do the reflections you’re supposed to do, you go to the damn gym and eat all the stinking broccoli you can find.

You’ve spent days in your room working on skills that will be valuable in the future, you’ve approached a ton of attractive girls, you get up when you’re supposed to and lift weights on days and hours people don’t even consider getting near the gym.

YET WHERE IS IT? Where is the permanent change, the reduction in resistance from your own brain?


It’s like a constant uphill battle between you and yourself. Everyday resetting as you go to bed. You’re not getting closer – despite the effort.

I know – rationally – I should dis-identify with the bullshit thoughts that only bring me down. understand my mind is biologically divided and that I’m the victim of never-ending garbage-thoughts of my ancient instinctive urges.

But why

Fucking – why

Can’t it change faster

“At the very biological level your brain is a battlefield between your nature and your nurture”

Hey brain, if you’re listening (I know you’re not): I’m 21 already, I’m dying here. 

Mastering The Brain

Like I said, a switch where you could turn on or off any trait you wanted would be heaven.

No more fear, no more tiredness, no more boredom, no more brain fog, no more resistance on tasks, no more distractions, no more anxiety, no more negative self-talk, no more foggy thoughts or other useless crap that poisons our life.

But unless we get some better, upgraded cyber-brains, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

So guess I’ll end this post on a practical note. There’s two main ways we can go about improving our brain really;

  • Train the brain to start resisting less (reduce the power of the grumpies) 
    1. Meditation/grounding/breathing exercises (I’ve started holosync recently)
    2. Neuro-feedback training (if you have the money – I’m skeptical though.)
    3. Build selective habits that have the highest ROI for your life quality. Routinize 80% of your life (especially mornings & evenings). Automatic brain patterns means less mental resources need to be spent on the same action.
    4. Visualize and experience situations you want to become desensitized too. Create the neural patterns required so it’ll be easier to traverse the path in the future.
  • Provide the brain with more mental resources to overcome resistance (make mr willpower stronger)
    1. Eat a paleolithic/ketogenic diet and take omega 3 & a vitamin d supplement, optimize your sleep. More energy means access to higher brain functions (e.g. your neocortex)
    2. Modafinil/provigil/adrafinil (nootropics – ordered my first dose right now actually). Again more mental resources.
    3. Build self-discipline to overcome laziness & courage to overcome fear. Like a muscle


Self-discipline is build by getting shit done – no matter what you feel like. Here’s activities that require self-discipline;

  • Implement new behavior
  • Filter distractions
  • Resist temptations
  • Suppress negative emotions
  • Restrain aggression
  • Choose long-term over short term reward

Every time you push that boundary – the ‘further’ you can go the next time.

There are probably some other ways to upgrade your brain – but I was distracted looking at boobs.


Getting your mindset right on a constant basis is the only thing that ultimately matters. Conversely, it’s the most difficult thing you’ll ever attempt. 


Let’s face it; our brain is simply not suited for the time we live in. Which can makes us feel really inadequate at pretty much everything we try. No matter how long we’ve been at it.

In this post I’ve outlined some basic actions you can must take if you want at least a satisfactory control over your life quality.

But some patterns are simply so deeply ingrained that they’re impossible to remove.

With the design of our brain, nature has found a cruel way to keep us engaged and reproducing in life. Fear, insecurity, lust are the “necessary” spice of life as they allow force us to adapt, improve and survive (although these encoded actions are rendered largely useless by now)

What’s free-will worth behind pre-programmed actions of a dated brain? Even worse when influenced by chemicals for useless pursuits like reproduction and status acquisition . (0:40)



“Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why? Why?

Why do you do it? Why? Why get up? Why keep fighting?

You believe you’re fighting for something for more than your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know?

Is it freedom or truth? Perhaps peace. Could it be for love?

Illusions, Mr. Anderson. Vagaries of Perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose.

And all of them as artificial as the Matrix itself!

Although, only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love.

Makes me wonder what the purpose is of reproduction? The “grand-scheme” of our brain on which all our energy and time is mostly spent. A thing of seemingly great importance.

Why reproduce? – simply because our brain tells us too?

Because the right amount of dopamine and oxcytocin shot into your brain creates a 6 to 8 month neurochemical addiction that gives you happy-happy fun-fun feelings?

Including withdrawal-like symptoms and a chance on a walking durex-ad.

Point being = Me and my brain have opposing agenda’s.

Humans are too bound by instinct to enter the transcendental plane of machines and too rational to be happy by living purely animalistic.

The only way being forward.

I hope there’s an upgrade soon.

divided brain singularity homeostasis inefficiency maladapted


Thanks for reading this article, if you found it helpful, be sure to share it around. If you’re having anymore questions or thoughts on this article be sure to share them with me in the comment section below.

Take care & stay strong

– Simon resetting for the day.

read more

How To Clear Your Mind And Become Present

Untitled Infographic (4)


That would be the one word I’d use to define my state of mind.

Constantly thinking about how to control the future and re-adjusting my direction based on the mistakes I made in the past.

I’ve  had a difficult time lately finding a balance between pushing myself enough and  self-acceptance. Finding a sense of “inner-peace”

as lame and cliché as that sounds.

I always seem to be (neurotically) striving towards an “end-goal”.

Trying to control something I have – in essence – no direct control over.

The pressure to overachieve leads to frustration, anxiety and a great deal of unwanted stress. This accompanied by the knowledge that you could – always – be doing better leads to dissatisfaction in your life.

How do we manage?


Acceptance Vs. Growth

You see, here’s the problem;

The more self-acceptance – The less desire you have to grow. You’re contented with your current state and become (imo) way too passive. When you take a look at Eckhart Tolle who’s never hurried, talks incredibly slow and seems almost lifeless – you’ll notice this is not the answer.

On the other hand;

The more you focus on growth and try to control the outcome – The more anxious and restless you get. You feel only as worthwhile as your latest achievement and can only feel at ease when you reach your (impossibly) high performance standards.

Which is never.

Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure. – Thomas Edison

It’s like dancing on a tightrope really.

How do we find a balance between too much woo-woo spirituality and actually getting shit done?

Here’s my take;

I believe it is a great idea to learn from the past by reflecting on it regularly (in a positive manner).

Additionally, I also believe it’s a great idea to set visual goals for the future based on where you want to go.

But from that point onward?

You should simply live in the now by focusing on the process/actions that’s required to get there. Become present to the moment and quiet your thoughts so you can get into a rhythmic work-flow.

Going forwards – but at ease.

  • Don’t try to change the past/dwell on it. You can only learn from it.
  • Don’t try to obsessively control the future (guilty) – you can’t. You can only control you own actions.

Here’s a nifty illustration I made on where your thoughts should be focused; slightly inclined towards the future.

become present grounded clear your mind meditation focus calm

Always looking for the next step to take – but no further than that.

(I agree – my info-graphic skills are truly amazing).

You can compare it to a flashlight that cuts through a thick layer of mist. You can only see what’s right in front of you and no further than that.

When you become detached from your past and present, your mind isn’t constantly spouting out bullshit about what people might be thinking, what consequences your actions might have or otherwise being reactive towards your environment.

You feel completely at ease with yourself and your life – peaceful, calm, serene.

You’ve probably already experienced such a state of mind already;

You are uninhibited, free-flowing, creative, you make better decisions and all that other good stuff. I believe disconnecting your thoughts from the past and the future is the “ideal state of mind” for your everyday life. 

By “sinking into your body” instead of being locked in your head you become the observer of your own life and detached from your thoughts. I call this state; “being grounded”

It seeps into nearly everything you do; Your voice, your body language, your eye contact, your decisions and so-forth. The full spectrum of your personality can come to the surface.

To illustrate what I mean, here’s some people who talk/live from a mentally grounded place;

See what I mean?

Solid eye contact, strong voice, humor, openness and honesty without being feared of opinions. Detached from present and future – calm.

It’s  the optimal state of mind I strive for daily; carrying yourself with effortless force.


How can you get into this state of mind?

Becoming Grounded

There’s something peculiar about this state and it feels amazing to be in. It makes you feel at ease with yourself and your life, unstifled in social situation, removed from judgments. There’s just so little thought bullshit passing trough your mind.

Everything feels kinda “sorted out”.

If you’re an over-thinker like myself you’ll probably recognize the value of becoming detached from your thoughts.

Here’s some ways I’m using to get into that state on a regular basis;

Brain dumping

Write down your thoughts to clear out your mental clutter. Something I’ve turned into a daily habit by journaling and writing on this blog.

Take out the mental trash.

become present grounded clear your mind meditation brain dumping


become present grounded clear your mind meditation

When you take time to pause your thoughts in the morning you carry that effect with you throughout the day.

Meditating makes me more open, relaxed and social as opposed to rigidly structured. Basically it’s a nice way to filter out the bullshit in your life and really become “present’ instead of being sad about the past or anxious about the future.

Try to focus on your breathing; 5 counts in – 5 hold – 5 out. Drink some tea whilst you’re at it and become an observer of your life. Remove all possible distractions (cell-phone, laptop, sounds, …) whilst you’re at it.

You can choose whether to close your eyes or not. I usually just do a blank stare at my dorm-wall for about 10 minutes and (try to) think about nothing.


There’s something about physical exercise that clears out your mind like nothing else. The rhythmic contractions of your muscles, the music, the endorphins flowing trough your veins.

Nothing is comparable really.

Pick up something cyclical/repetitive like weightlifting, cycling, running, swimming, walking, boxing and so-on.

Many types of exercise fit the bill.


become present grounded clear your mind meditation flow

We all have our unique activities in which we can “lose” our-self. The point in which we are totally immersed in the task at hand and where we lose track of time. Also referred to as “the zone”

From flow-moments we derive a high sense of satisfaction and emotional well-being. Everybody should have (at least) one of these. They are jobs/tasks that we enjoy for the mere sake of doing it, feeling competent at challenging work.

Flow can be found in many of your favorite activities; gardening, music, bowling, … .

I get this mainly from writing, weightlifting and cooking sometimes. Find a task you can empty your mind into.


Being grounded feels awesome – It allows you to be in “the flow of life. ”

One the one hand; strive towards your ideal self. If you’re fat, lazy, poor, socially handicapped you should feel bad about yourself. Passivity is self-destructive.

Self-acceptance for being less than you can be is not OK.

Strive towards becoming your best self, giving 100% at all times. But also, when you’re doing that, allow yourself to feel valuable

It’s OK (even mandatory) – to take some time in the morning to prospect on where you’re going in life, what kind of person you envision to be and what priorities you should complete that day.

It’s OK – To additionally reflect on your days at the end, to get better guidance for the future.

But from that point onward?

Allow yourself to clear your head of all the bullshit you’re telling yourself; meditate, write, exercise, find flow. Become detached from excessive thoughts which otherwise fuck up your life.

This way you’ll become at ease with who you are and where you’re going.

Not frantically working towards an end that you – ultimately – have no control over.

Self defined, Self directed, Self-supported.



Thanks for reading this short article on improving your state of mind. If you know anyone who would benefit from reading this article – be sure to throw him/her a link ;) Anyway; If you’re having some thoughts/suggestions on this article, be sure to leave those in the comment section below.

Take care & stay strong

– Simon

Note: A lot of the performance standards I have now are to compensate for the person (video game nerd) I used to be. Self-acceptance comes difficult sometimes.

NoteNote: These practices might not be sufficient to completely block out the constant stream of thoughts you’re having – but they’ll at least “turn down the volume” on the bullshit you’re telling yourself.

read more

The Origin Of All Problems (And How To Become Future Proof)


“Our brain are battlefields between our nature and our nurture.”


Life = struggle.

Life was never meant to be happy, life was meant to be effective.

We live in a lovy-dovy fairy-tale world where we try to twist our animalistic nature with sugar-coated social narratives.

Sorry to be so dramatic – but it’s quite true.

  • “Every boy can find the right girl”
  • “Sugar isn’t bad in moderation”
  • “Marriage can work easily if there’s just enough love”
  • “Follow your passion and everything will fall into place”

It doesn’t really work out that way, you know.

Accept for.. fairy tales maybe..

The world is controlled by natural laws, not cultural make-belief; gravity, evolution, climate change, aging, sexual selection and also; instinct. These are unavoidable no matter how hard you try.

And we’ve tried.. – believe me.

In our society the evolutionary agenda always seems to peek trough the surface layer of the social narrative we’re given – conflict soon followed.

For every drift we’ve made from our “natural way of living” we’ve suffered its respective consequences;

  • Over-consumption of trans-fats and sugar (mainly) leading to obesity, diabetes, heart-disease, … . Overindulged nature leads to self-destruction
  • Suppression of sexual instinct by cultural “morals” corrupt our behavior leading to stoning (in Arabic culture), mutilation of genitals, child abuse in the catholic church, porn addictions, … . Suppressed nature manifests itself in darker ways.
  • Advent of agriculture made private property possible and we shifted from a egalitarian society to a more capitalistic one.

What parts of culture are actually against human nature and how can we return to our origin? And more importantly; how can we thrive in this world and make ourselves future proof?

You are still an animal – stop pretending you’re not.

nature vs nurture future proof bonobo evolution
Mrs. Ples


The Origin Of All Problems

“Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills” – Arthur Shopenhauer


The way we are is the result of evolution; ALL the things we want have been planted in our DNA. Whether we like it or not. It’s there for a damn good reason.

Although we can choose what we want to do with our time – our options are limited to fulfilling our basic needs.

And what does every human want?

Survival & procreation.

Access to sex and resources is what everyone is after. It’s what drives most of our behavior and is of primary importance.

Not happiness, not passion, not meaning, not education, not love …

Sex & money

It’s only until these needs become suppressed or overindulged that we get a real problem.


How are we doing?

By becoming the most dominant species on this planet years ago we’ve practically guaranteed indefinite survival. At least in the more developed countries it’s like this.

  • You don’t have to go out hunting for your food daily
  • You don’t have to sleep on the streets anymore
  • Sex is something different – although we’ve found other ways to satisfy those needs (masturbation to free porn mainly)

Fact: Porn statistics are trough the roof.

Life purpose completed, right?

nature vs nurture future proof life purpose

Our instincts no longer have a clue what we’re supposed to do and therefore we’re just making up our own direction by filling up our time and finding our own meaning.

Most can’t handle this and fall into a black hole without direction. A situation Viktor Frankl coined The Existential Depression“. 

E.g. The Human Plant-Zombie

The main cause for this existential depression is that we’re going trough the fastest period of progression growth in human history ever.


Technology is going crazy, population is expanding at an enormous rate whilst fossil fuels can barely keep up our throwaway society.

Times are changing fast.

The main cause?

The start of agriculture

Since the agricultural revolution has arisen we’ve shifted from a egalitarian system of culturally imposed sharing to one of private property.

Everything changed.

Land could now be possessed, owned, and passed down the generations. Food that had been hunted and gathered now had to be sowed, tended, harvested, stored, defended, bought, and sold. Fences, walls, and irrigation systems had to be built and reinforced; armies to defend it all had to be raised, fed, and controlled. Because of private property, for the first time in the history of our species, paternity became a crucial concern


With agriculture, virtually everything changed: the nature of status and power, social and family structures, how humans interacted with the natural world, the gods they worshiped, the likelihood and nature of warfare between groups, quality of life, longevity and the rules governing sexuality – Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha

The term “prehistoric communism” definitely applies.

The Result?

Life became a struggle for resources & sex.

A struggle for the right to procreate and survive. As our population density grows and resources grow scarcer the world gets more competitive by the day.

In small groups egalitarianism is the best way to reduce risk by equally distributing resources and building strong social bonds.

Yet – in larger groups selfishness is harder to control and leads to a “free-rider”-effect

Meaning they take resources from the communal pile  – but don’t provide any back.

“What allows these chain-linked tragedies is the absence of local, personal shame. We ignore the fine-grain contours of life in small-scale communities where nobody “could have escaped public scrutiny and judgment,” in Rousseau’s words.


These tragedies become inevitable only when the group size exceeds our species’ capacity for keeping track of one another, a point that’s come to be known as Dunbar’s number

We become more selfish/corrupted as group-size increases and resources get scarcer as there aren’t social consequences for free-riding.

With rising competition we’ve tried our best to use, suppress, indulge and control these needs throughout history – leading to all kinds of modern problems.

Human desire is not to be suppressed nor indulged but controlled

The Symptoms

We’ve suffered consequences that can be seen in all areas of our life.


Relationships shifted from an egalitarian perspective where sex was mutually shared (Bonobo model) to one of private property. Women shifted from a high-status role in the tribe to another “possession” for the man to own besides his livestock and lands.

Unequal access to resources lead to a reproductive trade-off. The unspoken contract of status & wealth provided by the men for sexual fidelity by the women arose.

Power-struggles, income inequality and confused gender roles galore

The “paradox” of traditional gender roles is, in this sense, a product of the opposition between what our genes and past culture dispose us to do and what our present culture now prescribes.
The same traditional gender roles that facilitate men’s and
women’s attraction to each other may also, in the context of egalitarian social ideals, impede their ability to communicate and lead to dissatisfaction in their relationships. – William Ickes

Additionally; monogamy started to become the cultural norm – imposed by religion.

Religious extremism infected behavior to control our sexual instincts  throughout history- resulting (still up to this day) in divorce, mutilation, oppression, child abuse, corruption, adultery and whatnot.

“About 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.” – American Psychological Association

Not to say how many couples stay together for financial security, children, convenience and whatnot. How many are actually “happy”?

  • Happily-ever-after?
  • You just need enough “love”?

Against our nature is what I’d say.

Here’s another mess;


With agriculture came more carbohydrates; wheat, cane, squash & mainly sugar.

Probably the worst thing you can eat these days. Especially in the form of high fructose corn syrop.

Yes – It’s a cost-effective way to feed a lot of people but humans were not designed for such a diet. Our bodies can’t operate on such abundance of carbs.

Multinationals (who stopped caring about your health a looooong time ago) play into your natural desire for high-fat and high-sugary foods. So they manufacture and modify the desired ingredients to get the most dopamine-inducing foods possible.

Irresistible treats for our biological nature – addictive to a great extent.

nature vs nurture future proof carbohydrates vs fats
Eaaaaaat Meeeeeeee

Which destroys your brain and makes other, healthier foods taste like cardboard.

And off course;


“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”

Private property meant we now had resources to protect. Off-course you couldn’t keep everything to yourself (environment, theft, decay, …) and therefore we made houses where our resources were “safely” kept in the form of money.


Leading to a concentration of power without real social control/scrutiny in large groups.

What did I say about overindulged nature again?

Oh yes..

Moral corruption;


I can’t really criticize the world without providing an alternative – can I?


Yes I can – But I’ll try anyway;

I believe a more capitalistic system is necessary as population has simply grown too large. Greater groups leads to an uncontrolled “free-rider” effect where people take resources at the expense of others – leading to an immoral downward spiral of power struggles.

Here’s some more questions that need answering;

  • Are there enough resources for everyone? I don’t know
  • Can we get more social control to monitor free-riding? Maybe
  • Do we need global population control & resource management? Definitely

Now, for the best part;  How can you – considering these trends – make yourself future proof ?


Difficulty Level: Simple


Difficulty Level: Might Hurt/Be Uncomfortable 


  • Become a more confident, high-status man trough self-development
  • Look your best & have a sorted out lifestyle (money, hobbies, friends, ..)
  • Get better social skills (Read; How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie)
  • Make small circles of reciprocal kindness with close friends (practice egalitarianism in your own “select group”


  • Don’t get married, ever– lifelong monogamy is against human nature and will come back later to bite you in the ass. Coolidge-effect
  • Read “Models” by Mark Manson – Seriously. Best book on dating EVER
  • Don’t watch porn – it screws up your brain. Use the building arousal to “hunt” for real women. Approach.
  • Masturbation (dry orgasms preferably) and prostitution are still better than porn.

Note; I’m wondering what indefinite access to sex would do for our society in regards to conflict, rape, theft, adultery, violence & murder. I’d think we’d be a lot more relaxed if people weren’t so sexually deprived.


Difficulty Level: Dragging-your-balls-trough-a-desert-of-broken-glass-difficult

This might be the trickiest part.. . But from what I’ve learned so far, this is my best guess;

Being able to do what others cannot is what makes you valuable.

Anyone can sell shoes, anyone can run behind a dumpster truck, anyone can sell fast-food. But not everyone knows how to build a house, lay electrical wiring or perform an open-heart-surgery.

The more difficult and in-demand your skills are – the higher your pay-grade will rise.

For illustrative purposes I’ve made this fancy info-graphic; 

nature vs nurture future proof skills

This means that the barrier of entry for competitors will be high (less competition) and you work in a field where your skills are highly valued.



The world isn’t always sunshine and rainbows like our culture wants to make you believe.

Although humans are by nature altruistic, the world is getting more and more competitive. Overpopulation caused by agriculture makes humanity go head-forth towards an Malthusian catastrophe.

Don’t be the sucker who’s getting ill-treated because he’s unaware of the disguised interests of people around you. No human can completely resist their nature for sex and resources.

It doesn’t mean you have to become distrustful towards everybody just know to stay alert when it comes to money, relationships and health. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. 

Life has become a competitive game – learn to play it to your best abilities. 

So make good long-term choices in each area.

Passion is spewed around as being the holy grail of life (especially in self development circles) meaning we”ll slide across the rainbow happily ever after. But the point is simply this: If you aren’t highly skilled at a in-demand task there’s chances you won’t EVER be able to make a lot of money from it.

Marriage is supposed to be effortless and the “ideal” model for love – yet it goes against your polygamous nature. Lifelong monogamy is a culturally imposed hoax.

Carb are bad – Eat more fats.


Thanks for reading my post and congrats on getting this far! If you have any more thoughts or questions on this post feel free to leave them in the comment section below.

Take care & Stay Strong

– Simon

PS: This post might be a bit controversial – keep feedback constructive ;)
PPS: Cool quora discussion 

read more

The 5 Books You Should Read Before You’re Born

goal setting mental

Reading books is cool – They allow you to learn from other peoples’ mistakes and improve your life quality exponentially.

Yet there’s an abundance in non-fiction/self-improvement literature these days. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the never-ending supply of “must-have” books.

Here’s my personal top five that will dramatically improve the quality of your life.

Just five – that’s all.

These are ones that I keep returning to, the ones I’ve read front-to-back, multiple times. Five books I’m even considering buying hardback.

And I’m a cheapskate – trust me.


#1) 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey


“I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,”

Mindset, Productivity & Communication

This is probably the most practical, effective book on personal development you’ll ever read. The grandfather of all modern-day books that’ll make you 100% responsible for your life.

If you only read one book, pick this one. (Read notes at the end of this post first)

I return many times to it – now still. It talks about the inward-out personal growth based on character. It addresses topics like goal setting, productivity, time-management, visualization, relationships, communication, ethics, self-esteem and more in an elaborate manner.

A total package. There’s nothing I’ve found that’s quite like it. Maybe “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill but this one is much more practical (and better written) (and less ambiguous)

It’s the blueprint for personal (and interpersonal) effective living.

#2) Psycho-Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz


“Your brain serves you, not the other way around”


This book has introduced me to the workings of our brain (and psychology) and how we can use it to change how we think about ourself and our life. The way we see ourselves and the world around us will literally define our altitude in life. Mostly it’s not your potential that hold you back but your own damn mind.

Who needs enemies when you’ve got yourself, right?

He talks about visualization, self-image, belief systems, corrective feedback, aging and many more. It’s a total re-programming of your mind. (A bit comparable to “The Magic Of Thinking Big” by David J. Schwartz – but this one has a more scientific/reliable background)

Consider it the manual for your brain. It’s a mindset-builder.

#3) The Way Of The Superior Man – David Deida


“Men search freedom through challenge. Women search fullness through love”


This book addresses the need for men to re-find direction in their life and manage their relationship effectively after the existential depression and identity crises men deal with these days.

It solved the question for me why I was lost in this world and how I could re-find myself. It also was the first book that showed me what women really want, why they test you (and nag). How I can further develop my skills to deal with the day-to-day struggles in life and lay the blueprint to become an autonomous, self-directed man.

It also expanded greatly on the polarity between men and women. How there are “feminine” and “masculine” poles in each relationship and how to manage those.

It’s a bit (too?) “spiritual” but in my eyes it is the foundation on becoming a man.

(If you’re looking for a book specifically on dating/attraction – “Models” by Mark Manson)

#4) The One Thing – Gary Keller


“Extraordinary results are determined by how narrow your focus is”

Effectivity & Efficiency

The best I’ve read about getting things done. This book literally has zero filler. It talks about ego depletion, prioritization, goal setting, focus and time-management.

Further it expands on the myths about willpower, “big thinking”, multitasking, balancing work-life and to-do lists.

Want to get more stuff done? This condensed book will teach you how.

Can’t get any better than that.

Although there are some prioritization and time-management principles present in The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People already, I’ve found those insufficient to really focus on what matters.

#5) Millionaire Fastlane – MJ Demarco


“The leading cause of poorness is poor choices”


A complete guide on the differences between rich people and poor people. How they think, where they spend their money, how they generate income and much much more.

It goes into detail about the importance of business ownership. The tax advantages, how to avoid the trap of living a 9-5 paycheck-to-paycheck and “retire” young by making smarter choices in your life.

It expands on what kind of businesses you should get into, what factors you should look after, the essential components of each business and how to make better long-term decisions,

I had to choose between this one and Rich Dad, Poor Dad – but this one takes the crown on depth and detail by far. Although there’s some fluff in there like “The Sidewalk Roadmap” and “The Slowlane Roadmap” which basically talks about why people are poor.

It’s best to skip directly to “The Fastlane Roadmap” and learn why the rich are rich. (And how to emulate their behavior)

Notes On Buying Books

I’m reading six different books at the moment – which is incredibly stupid. Additionally, I have about four books I’ve bought but never even started in them.

I made bad purchasing decisions.

Here’s a few notes on how you can buy books you’ll actually read.

  • Don’t buy recommendations instantly just because someone tells you to. Check reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. Check the contents/chapters on Google Books and ask yourself; “How will this book help me?”
  • Read one book at a time (two max) – seriously. There will always be more stuff you want to read. Skipping back and forth between multiple books is inefficient.
  • If you won’t read a book in the next 7 days, don’t even buy it. Limit yourself to buying books until you’ve finished the former. Stock will be present, delivery will be instant – no reason to hurry.
  • Keep a “To Read” list. Mark down the author, title and the reason you want to read that book. Don’t buy books until you’ve found a legit reason to get it. If it says “Recommended By Simon” – delete it from your list.


Anyway, these 5 books will give you 80% of the knowledge you’ll need to get started with building a GREAT life for yourself. Five books that should be standard reading for everyone in all schools instead of heavy, classic, old, useless literature.

So many books are simply rehashes of previous copies or talk about the same damn subjects over and over again.

All of these five books are concentrated sources of essential knowledge. Gold mines.

They will effectively address your mindset, productivity, dating, social life, wealth, personal fulfillment, time management and a whole array of others.

The most bang for your buck IMO.

If I find better books – I’ll simply update this page (I’ll also include them in my Resources Page)

What are your top 5 Books?

Note: The links provided in the titles are affiliate links – meaning I’ll get a small commission if you decide to purchase the books through my link. The price stays the same.

NoteNote: Reading books is only potential powerAlways take more action than you’re reading books (This is something I only discovered recently). Knowledge is useless unless practically applicable to improve your life quality. I suggest you to be a “producer/action-taker” in the morning and a “consumer/manager” in the evening/afternoon.

NoteNoteNote: As final addition I recommend a school textbook on standard/evolutionary psychology. A big tome that includes the essentials on motivation, learning, social influence, instincts, emotions, intelligence, … . This should be standard in each school. (I haven’t read an English textbook on psychology so I can’t really recommend one)


If you’re having more questions about these books, be sure to leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get to you asap.

Take care,

– Simon

read more

The Shocking Truth About Introverts And “Natural” Talent

Stimulation vs (1)

I’ve been mindfucking myself lately.


I’ve been searching continuously for my personal strengths that I could develop into “my life’s work”. Something I had an inborn talent for that would give me a biological advantage over others.

I’ve done the MBTI-test, Clifton strengthsfinders, DISC-assessment, enneagram and tons of introspection to find that illusive pot of gold – which was nowhere to be found.

The whole nature vs nurture debate is mainly confusing and down-right ridiculous.

Here are some facts about me;

  • I’ve never liked the schooling system who (cost-efficiently) teaches many students in bulk.
  • I’ve always hated disliked group assignments, big crowds and frivolous/unstructured trips.
  • I get mentally tired really fast from heavy stimulating environments whilst others seem to be “recharged” by them.
  • I need a lot of quiet/down-time to recuperate myself.

Yet – I’ve always been forced to be more outgoing, speak up more, make faster decisions and become more sociable altogether. Since the talkative, decision-maker has been idealized (Oprah, Bill Clinton, …) as opposed to the reserved cerebral type (Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, …) in our current society.

But here’s the thing; both can thrive equally well – if put in the right circumstances.

Here’s my thorough conclusion on how you – as an introvert – can thrive professionally in an extroverted society;


Why Are Strengths Important?

In a world of 7.3 billion you have to find the things you’re strong at and build your career around those. The world is simply too competitive of a place to not put yourself up for a biological advantage. There’s many different aspects that need to be taken into account before you should pick a career yet you may stumble in the dark as no-one has really ever taught you about this subject.

People always say; “You can become whatever you want to be”. You just need to find your one true passion and you’ll be able to glide across the rainbow on your pink, fluffy unicorn.

Ok – maybe not so literally.

But here’s the point I’m making;

You can only perform optimally from strength;

“A person can only perform from strengths, and cannot build performance on weakness.


“Successful careers are not planned. They develop when people are prepared for opportunities because they know their strengths, their method of work, and their values.”


“It takes far less energy to move from first-rate performance to excellence than it does to move from incompetence to mediocrity.” – Peter Drucker

It’s imperative to find your strengths to position yourself in environments where you’ll be able to thrive optimally.

Do Talents Exist?

You often come to the conclusion that other peoples’ good fortune is derived from a factor outside of their control, that their favorable achievements can be attributed to circumstances.

  • Jim bought a nice car, what a lucky (insert displeased explicative)
  • Wow, little Tommy passed all his exams. Yeah he got that intelligence from his parents!

Whilst you’re inclined to blame unfavorable circumstances of someone else on factors like their personality, work ethic and so-on;

  • Jimmy can’t sit still in class? He’s always been unruly..
  • Jenny broke up with her boyfriend? Yeah, she’s very emotionally unstable.

You might not do this out-loud but subconsciously every person does this because we have an excessive self-regard tendency (meaning we like ourselves a lot..)

Additionally we’re mostly oblivious to the inner workings/habits of other people and underestimate situational factors.

And hey – it’s actually necessary for increasing our self image since some studies suggest that depressed people have a more objective self-image whilst generally happy people have a more positively biased (read: delusional) view of themselves.

The Talent “Formula”

Why am I saying all this you might ask?

Point being: Humans are poor judges of others performance by having an excessive self-regard tendency (which is necessary for your self-image), are oblivious to what goes on on the inside of another person and overvalue situational factors in others’ good fortune.

This obscures your view of talents and the actual work involved.

Talent does not exist in my opinion. They’re just projections of social bias combined with an excessive self-regard tendency that needs us to explain why others are doing better than us.

The things that matter most for expertise (the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance) is deep domain expertise (knowledge) combined with hours and hours of beating on your craft.

The most important accelerating factor being the age you start.

NOT talent.

Research suggest that;

People who start young take less time: both onset and the rate of expertise acquisition are accelerated”


introvert strengths brain filter natural talent age onset


Child prodigies? Not so much.

Remember golf-god Tiger Woods? He must’ve gotten that wicked golf-gene-talent at birth! The most talented/naturally gifted player of all time?

Nope – the truth is that he immersed himself in the sport from early childhood. He played more hours of golf at age 5 than any of you will ever do in your lifetime. At age three, he shot a 48 over nine holes over the Cypress Navy course (which is ridiculous)

Mozart? The musical genius and piano prodigy? He started composing from age five and was immersed in music from birth.

It’s what they’ve been wired to do after constant exposure to these subjects. It’s what they’ve been born to do. 

Another study concluded that;

“There is little evidence to suggest that any of the innate differences between people that might conceivably contribute to exceptionally high levels of performance in particular domains have influences that are predictable, specific to particular domains or skill areas, and identifiable in advance of the time at which unusual degrees of competence are exhibited, as is believed to be the case with innate gifts and talents.” – Study

Ascribing peoples’ success to talent makes us feel better about ourselves – yet it’s a myth.

If we want to condense “talent” into a formula, here it is;

introvert strengths brain filter natural talent formula

Start as young as possible and develop deep domain expertise by hours upon hours of beating on your craft.

Many people look for their talents and passions to “develop their life purpose” not knowingly they design it themselves. Skipping from subject to subject never really sticking with something they can build up to expertise level.

Become Who You Want To Be?

Alright! So if natural talent doesn’t exist my mommy was right after all and I can be who I want to be! :D

Nope – wrong again.

Humans are not born as blank slates.

As any mother of two can (anecdotally) confirm that their two toddlers where not alike from the very beginning.

Temperament is the governing factor for separating and selecting individual strengths.

Temperament refers to inborn behavioral/emotional patterns that are observable in infancy and early childhood.

What later will form your “personality” is a blend of this inborn temperament, your cultural influence and personal experiences.

The most heavily studied subject in temperament (and most important IMO) is the difference between extroverts and introverts.

The “man of action” and the “man of contemplation”.

What’s An Introvert?

Opposite to popular belief is that introverts are not marked by their shy, introspective character (mainly) but they are the ones who score high on a trait called “high-reactvity” which means they react more heavily to outside stimuli than other people. Whether these are sounds, scents, tastes, sights and touch (all the 5 senses)

The source for this difference can be found in the amygdala of our brain which is part of the limbic system (an evolutionary ancient structure in the brain – meaning it has been there a looong time already).

“Introverts” have more highly excitable amygdala.

Without going all-out nerd on you – I’ll just explain it simply;

The amygdala is the part of the brain that receives your sensory input (5 senses) and tells the rest of the brain and the nervous system how to respond. Introverts react more strongly to sensory input because they have excitable amygdalas. 

Children with highly excitable amygdala have a higher heart rate, dilated pupils, tighter vocal chords, more cortisol in their saliva (stress hormone) and have more rapid eye movements when processing information.

Why does this matter?

It indicates a lot about the amount of stimulus a person enjoys. You can see introversion and extroversion as a “filter” from the outside world.

introvert strengths brain filter natural talent

Introverts respond more heavily to stimuli which “drains” their mental batteries. They prefer calm environments to perform optimally and “recharge”. They become bored less rapidly.

Extroverts require higher level of stimulus to perform optimally. They “come alive” under people and heavy stimulating environments. They are bored more easily.

The point is finding an environment that’s suited to your desired level of stimulation so you can perform optimally.

Alright, what’s the deal Simon? How come they are this different and what’s the advantage of this?

Origin Of Introverts

There’s no real advantage since this sensitivity to stimulation is an evolutionary trade-off. It allows two different survival strategies. (which has actually been found in other vertebrates as well)

Which two?

Survival Strategy 1: Increase Reproduction Rate 

The low-reactive (extrovert) is the go-getter in the world, always geared to react with the stimuli provided and has a thicker filter for the world making him better suited to accommodate the competing demands on his attention (BIG reason for why they are so social). He likes to be in highly stimulating environments and will perform best in those. He gets bored more easily. He’s more aggressive & outgoing. He has commonly more sexual partners compared to introverts caused by his gregarious nature.

They are “geared to react”

Survival Stategy 2: Increase Survival Rate

The high-reactive has a thinner filter for the world, taking in stimuli more deeply. These are the ones that could spot danger faster than others. The ones that observe and process their environment more deeply which enabled them to avoid many dangers, failures and wasted energy. They process information to make optimal long-term decisions.

They are “geared to inspect” 

Are You An Introvert?

A quick way to test if you’re a high reactive/introvert is by squeezing a few drops of lemon juice on your tongue and see how heavily you react to that by producing saliva.

Do The Test

Compare it to your friends! (yeah, they’ll probably give you a weird face)

Strengths Of Introverts

“Once you understand introversion as preference for certain levels of stimulation, you can begin consciously trying to position yourself in environments favorable to your temperament.” – Susan Cain

The point of all this is finding a happy medium between over-stimulation and boredom to function optimally.

Because introverts are more sensitive to stimuli they’re most likely to excel in theoretic & aesthetic fields which provide a low stimulating environment. Fields like music, nature, art and physical beauty.

Here are some considerations you might take into account;

  • Limit surprises and search for a highly structured work-environment
  • Find autonomous work
  • Reduce necessary social interactions to a minimum to sustain clear focus (and not drain your mental batteries)
  • Make a darkened work-environment without distractions
  • Work with/on things instead of people (or small-groups at the most)
  • Learn a technical/manual skill (programming, repairing, building, editing, designing, writing, painting, …)
  • Make time for reading, planning, analyzing, writing and researching
  • Skip on small talk (you’ll most likely hate dislike it anyway)
  • Select a small group of really close friends instead of a lot of more superficial contacts. Be open & put in some extra effort to stay in touch. You’ll need them in the long-term
  • Speak up more and let your ideas be heard – They’re probably interesting

Jobs like programming, science fields, music, bodybuilding (not really a job), writing, inventing, financial planning, engineering (any kind), investing, designing, consulting are strong-suits for introverts.

NOTE: Temperament can be stretched to do tasks we would normally refrain from (public speaking, networking, parties, … ) IF it’s about things we consider important. It’s like a rubber band – which can be stretched – but not indefinitely.

We still perform optimally under our biological nature.


We’re getting pushed by society to be more gregarious, take on more group work to stimulate “creative thinking”. We encourage the rapid decision-makers but don’t promote introverted strengths.

Don’t listen – just position yourself where your strengths are able to shine.

Here’s what I want you to take away;

  • Everyone has an inborn temperament but there’s no such thing as biological predispositions for certain skills (e.g. talents).
  • You should choose your skills/job based on your temperament (although you can stretch yourselves in situations when it’s necessary.)
  • Team up with a member of the opposite temperament to gain valuable insights and profit both ways!
  • To become an expert in a field (and you must) I’d advice to choose something you’re already good at (and you like) and build on that. BUT if it’s totally not suited to your personality – switch. Introverts will never be top-performing news anchors, party hosts, pr managers or group coaches.

The point I’m trying to make is to play according to your temperament to put yourself in places that can be used to further develop your strengths.

I believe any skill can be learned trough practice and there’s no such thing as inborn talent but there are certain areas in which you excel better because of your biological disposition.

And that’s exactly the advantage you’ll need.

Are You An Introvert? How Has It Influenced Your Life?


Anyway, thanks for reading the article. If you have some more questions or input – leave a comment in the section below.


read more
1 2 3 10
Page 1 of 10