On Decision Making

Impatience and discomfort with uncertainty and a feeling that time is running out can make it appealing to make decisions prematurely.

In these instances, I feel uncomfortable until I’ve made up my mind and want to do little else until the decision has been made. This not only leads to lower quality decisions, it also takes longer, because you end up going back on the superficial decision you made and it’s hard to really stand behind a decision that’s made under such conditions. It’s ok to be intense and push for an answer, you can’t wait forever and the opportunity cost of indecision is often massive. However, you shouldn’t stop what you’re doing to make the decision, you should take the time to work on the problem, then continue with other tasks. Conveniently, this means you don’t have to neglect daily duties and activities while making important decisions, in fact, it’s better to carry on mostly as usual. It stops your thinking becoming narrow, strained, brittle and allows for deeper synthesis.

The way to make a big decision is to be persistent with the question – to remind yourself of the question so that it sits in the back of your mind all the time – and then to carry on with life as usual.

Eventually, your subconscious will solve the problem, and you’ll make the decision based on a much deeper synthesis.

If on the other hand you try to force the decision prematurely, the decision you make will be made based on a far narrower set of ideas and experiences.

In other words, don’t rush important decisions, but DO be persistent in asking important questions.

Significant Insights March-Sept 2020 – Taken from Sat Ref

Rank ordered in terms of significance:

On this trip I reflected on my career, money and identity. I decided to plan my weeks around naturalism, music and God’s Work. This seems like a proper balance for me. ‘God’s work’ means to work for what is the most meaningful thing I can see in my life and to do my damn job, music is obvious, naturalism is about making sure every week I’m thinking about how I can spend time in nature, since it has a profound effect on my wellbeing. Music does too.

 I want to be rich so that I am independent and free to take on whimsical or noble personal projects. Money isn’t dirty and neither is aiming to get it. It’s only dirty if you spend it on dirt or secure it through bad means. 

The idea is that I should be pushing creative projects forward with teams that include real doers with periods of rest in between projects. I also decided that I wanted to go into creative media and design, specifically relating to gamification, education and possibly the outdoors.

I have decided to be more committed to my e-commerce project and allow it to take over my life somewhat

Two other big takeaways: ‘discipline is a precondition for freedom’ and I am kind of disgusted by a lack of discipline because I know that it involves being slavish. Xenophon’s Socrates was exactly right. & ‘Your awareness should be oriented around worthwhile projects, not yourself’. This is the solution to self-centeredness – being absorbed in wholesome projects.

When it comes to planning your week and your life, extrinsic motivations have a tendency to dominate and bully intrinsic ones with less obvious utility. E.g. writing poetry may seem less important than planning a business strategy. This overinvestment in the extrinsic results in massive losses over a lifetime and economically often shoots itself in the foot by making you an uninspired, low-energy person. Your competitive advantage is being more energetic and inspired. A secret to happiness, effectiveness and usefulness – for me – is to pursue what I would pursue if I wanted for nothing. It’s an unconventional opinion, but I believe that in my case this is my only hope for making lots of money too. If you don’t have work ethic, what can you have? Only obsession and passion can provide the necessary energy.

I always create and complete day plans – it’s easier to complete 100% of day plans than it is to complete 50%. You have high expectancy and it becomes a positive thing and more habitual eventually. Likewise at work, motivation comes more easily when you work hard as you get better feedback and time goes faster when you work harder – this effect is very pronounced. 

 I’d rather be a detached, cool and calm worker that relishes in satisfaction of jobs well done, rather than getting giddy or anxious over ultimate outcomes of my work. 

 I had a deep moment in which I realised some of the costs that being distracted and not disciplining myself to stay on-task has caused in my life. It renewed a deep desire to conquer distraction and see it for what it is – ‘the thief’.Intentional, structured and planned activity is necessary to keep at bay distraction. The mind’s default is to scatter itself and spread thin your effort, rendering you ineffective like a limp dick.

Thought about Betrand Russel saying about focusing attention on people etc instead of self, realised that that would be a very good life strategy, as the potential for enjoyment and satisfaction from people is very high /// just makes sense to think much more about who the people are in my life, what life is like for them, what they want etc.

I am so excited to start planning and going on weekend trips in wild areas, linking this with maps, kayaking, swimming, climbing etc AND blessing others through this.

my productive output is speech and writing designed to serve others.

Took up a new hobby, freediving wildlife photography.

The controller has been making lots of progress and the explorer feels somewhat neglected. If you can’t find serious time for beauty/novelty/creative pursuit for the sake of beauty in your days and weeks, you’re living wrong

Insights condensed: 

I must develop discipline. It’s easier to commit 100% than to commit 50% when it comes to daily work practices and fitness routines.

Pick the right projects – intrinsically appealing ones – meaningful ones. Find time for nature and music in your weeks. Don’t let order stifle you, know when and how to step back fully.

Really try to help people through your work. Make money a major metric and have ambitious financial goals and do not feel disgust over your desire to earn money. It’s fuel for your projects and secures you a life in which you get to have expensive projects that – whether you like it or not – you really, really want.

Your craft is speech and writing. There you go. That’s your career in the abstract – making money by helping people using speech and writing skills.

Imagining looking back on life

If my 89-year-old self was put in my body now and could live all over again, what would they do and what insight might they have that could help me?

I can almost guarantee a BIG one will be:

  • Take it really really easy because most of it doesn’t matter that much, and not taking it easy doesn’t actually help you to do what does matter anyway. (this idea is expressed in dance, I think. Dance is FOR saying this, and forcing your body and mind to accept the idea which is so hard to accept in other ways)

Honour your own whims, and honour and encourage others with theirs too. Whims are often the inclination to do something intrinsically enjoyable for its own sake. These things need help happening because they’re not official ‘priorities’, and yet should be. That might be quite right too, but a lack of whims causes midlife crises so are worthwhile to avoid that for starters… heh heh heh. Help people achieve their whims when you can, and treat yours as if they’re serious too.

Know when to work like mad and when to step back. It’s good to work with a high intensity and the rewards of that can be fun. You should work harder when you know you ought, but business is what you do once your personal and families affairs are in order, it’s for your leftover energy after those things.

Think more of the people around you, if it’s easier, focus especially on the people that you actually like. Relationships don’t last forever, partly because people die, move away etc. Your time with those you love and like is precious. Always be the one that goes the extra mile with relationships. If there is animosity in your relationships, be as gracious as you can and be quick and genuine in how you put right your errors.

If you take everything seriously, you grind yourself down. Guard yourself against unnecessary heavy conversation, which is often trifling conversation in disguise. The sooner you learn when the time is to take it easy and be light and airy in your thoughts and discourse, and when to be serious and emotive, the better. People will respect you more if you don’t react to things. Often the best way to help the wounded is with light easiness, not with sombreness.

Use your energy and your inspiration to help others and aim singularly to give others a good time. The extent to which you focus on helping others in your career with your skills is the extent to which your career will seem worthwhile.

Don’t worry about money and don’t get into much debt to buy a place to live, it’s not worth it for the added stress. Relish in the joys of a lower standard of living.

Realize that every person in your life is like a glistening jewel. When you’re young, your generation will see this as the 70’s. You’re in your generations 70’s right now.

e-Commerce Journal 01

If I’m selling stuff on the internet for a living, I don’t want to sell people stuff that they ‘want’ but that ultimately means fuck all.

In other words, I don’t think going into business is worth it if what you produce doesn’t improve somebodies like in a non-trivial way. Why would I work so hard for something that means fuck all? … to get rich? I think I’d rather be a smelly hippy and find a way of working 4 hours a day rather than start an online business if it means fuck all to anyone.

If I can actually help to get people active, engaged and appreciating the outdoors, then it’s worthwhile. If I deliver no added value beyond what they could find somewhere else I’m just not interested. I don’t care if it seems spoilt or coming from a place of excessive abundance (e.g. ‘if you knew what money meant you’d sell whatever you could sell’ – nah fuck off)

Work takes on meaning only as an extension of care or inspiration. In business, if you create something people want then that’s enough – fuck that shit. People want McDonalds – that doesn’t mean McDonalds improves people’s lives or the world in some way. Therefore, McDonalds is not doing something meaningful. ‘It creates jobs’ – oh how pathetic – there are plenty of things that can create jobs that do add genuine value, people can do those things instead.

If I don’t think it’s seriously meaningful – I’m just not going to do it and will live in the woods.

Having said that, you have to be in the game to create something valuable. Not everything you do has to add a new form of value, some things you must do for the business to survive. But whenever you get a chance to make something meaningful, do it.

Negative thoughts after sugar crash (but maybe true)

what if the personal change is virtually impossible? what if the idea of self-improvement is fundamentally based on a lie? what if people’s nature’s are innate and the rest is environmental – your own efforts to change are negligable. If that’s the case, the only real thing you can do to improve your life is:

  • Accept yourself and go against the culture which tells you conscientiousness is a virtue. Choose a new moral and motivational framework that suits who you are, rather than using one that works against you. (e.g. if you’re a lazy mother fucker, focus on surfing around the world, not climbing the corporate ladder. You will encounter people that share your unconventional moral and motivational framework and will feel better).
  • Choose your environment very carefully (e.g. your friends, colleagues, long term commitments)

What if everything else is just an uphill battle you will never win.

I predict that these ideas will be ignored until one reaches rock bottom, then you accept that trying to be something you aren’t, including a type of morality that doesn’t appeal to you, leads to burn out.

Just listened to Blake Mycoskie’s interview on the Tim Ferris Show. I was struck by how yet another one of my personal heroes seems to have dominant narcissistic traits.

It seems to me right now that business success typically requires massive drive, and that drive rarely comes from positive sources. A business is often an emotional crutch. A person might not feel that they have enough status, that they will be snubbed etc if they do not achieve a certain level of recognizable achievement.

Surely Ecclesiastes is right, this is chasing the wind.

And what is people’s motivation really?

Is it money? No. I do not see any evidence that people like me have any need to try hard to make money. What do you need it for? Everything is so cheap when you’re not chasing status. Don’t drive much, ride a bike. Don’t live in a flashy house, live in a cheap house that’s very close to beautiful places where you can spend your time. People say ‘you’re spoilt and don’t understand what it’s like to have no money’. What do they think I would do all day if I didn’t care about money? You’re still going to work! And if when you work you do so not in a spirit of necessity but because you can’t think of anything better to do, that work is more likely to be genuine work – that is – shit that actually helps people. Then guess what? You’re probably going to get paid for it.

It’s fucking status people are after. Everyone seems so corrupted by it.

Why are people so damned competitive? I can’t be fucked with this. I know you can’t escape it. You run from mainstream competitions into more niche one’s – like being the hippest hippy, the most bitter bohemian or whatever. You’re still playing stupid games.

I can’t escape, I’m only fucking human.


On a walk I was reflecting on what to do at the end of my job. I noticed there were two very different ways of thinking about what to do next. I could create a ‘realistic’ plan, based on developing valuable skills and getting increasingly well paid jobs OR I could begin not with money in mind but with inspiration relating to a vision.

The vision that came to mind in that moment was to help people manage their time better.

Here’s the idea-cluster:

  • Knowledge workers, remote workers and people in rich countries have increasing amounts of unstructured time. This is time in which they have the power to determine what happens. This creates a fundamental problem with extremely high stakes – how will they use that time? Will it be used productively and to increase well-being, or will it be used to their and society’s detriment? I believe it is often
  • I also believe that effective time management is something very few people do well and most people could be much better at, but that it’s actually very difficult to look at your time accurately with a birds-eye view. Therefore, there is a need here.
  • My main academic interest is human psychology and how people in different cultures live. I believe that cultural and historical analysis as well as modern happiness research can provide valuable insights for people that can help them live better. Specifically, I think that looking at how people from different cultures and times have spent their time can help us to see more clearly how social norms are not always ‘normal’. The default option set by your culture isn’t necessarily the best. I believe that most people do not spend enough time engaged in nature or hanging out casually with friends and that because of our society, we think this is normal when it’s actually very unhealthy.
  • I would really like to have access to inspiring content and tools that help me to manage my time better and inspire me to live differently. I would really appreciate content on how to do this and believe that I would respond strongly to content that promised to help you take control of your time and win because of it.


The essential idea: 

  • A website that sells courses and initially coaching sessions with me, with courses on schedule design, communicated through interesting stories from history, psychology & anthropology and related back to a simple calendar. The audience is a) people with ADHD b) entrepreneurs & wantrepreneurs.  This audience is ambitious and wants personal change. I will reach these people initially through Youtube videos, essays on Medium and a TedX talk. The company slogan is ‘Make Your Schedule Your Friend’.


Who is your first user going to be, after yourself? What’s the MVP? How can you manually get clients before your online presence does this for you? How will you plan for the emotional challenges of positioning yourself as a life coach?

  • What things put ME off certain coaches and off the idea of becoming one? This will help design the product.

I don’t want to run with this idea for the following reasons:

  • I still feel that I struggle with this problem and have not actually solve it, which means that I feel negative when thinking about the topic. I would feel like a hypocrit starting a business in this area. I would like to do something more feel-good first, that’s why outdoor pursuits is a good option.

A Hit Piece on Excuses for Distractability

You’ve got a plan – it’s in your calendar, it’s on your to-do list.

Things can get in the way of you completing that plan and realising the potential within it.

Some of these things are internal, others external.

For me, there are many internal distractions that come in the form of ideas. They are always related in some way to something high stakes – either the potential for massive gain or loss. These ideas are always novel and big-picture. The kind of ideas that can genuinely change your life if you act on them. For instance, I’ll get excited about investing, camping, a business idea, a new way of doing something…

And  I’m here to say, they don’t mean shit.

Well, sometimes they are useful and you don’t want to miss your best ideas because you dismissed them all. But you also don’t want to allow ideas to destroy your efforts at taking action by getting in the way of plans, commitments and the execution of older, staler, less vivid ideas which you’ve already started. Ultimately, it’s better to act with deliberation, patience and composure – neither overexcited nor made anxious by abstractions.

For a while on this blog I have been gradually removing unnecessary noise from my internal world.

It’s been blissful at times as I shed what’s useless.

Now it’s time to accept that no idea is ever so good that it should stop you from doing basic things like planning your week or doing your work.

Ultimately, what changes you and what changes your life is not what you think about for a while – no matter how inspired you feel in that moment. It’s what you take action to make concrete and real. When you can make something tangible with sweat and focus and discipline, that’s when the beauty of an idea is worth something.

Without that basic routine of getting stuff done no matter what – ideas are worthless for you.

Schedule time to develop the idea properly. Give it the space it needs, but do not let it demand everything because then it will take everything and you cannot trust an abstraction to give you everything back again.

People are wired differently

Just had a meeting with my boss in which I was supposed to have prepared some work. The work was done sloppily and I couldn’t remember anything useful about the work, which meant that both of us will look bad to somebody that I think might be quite senior in the business.

Surely this should make me feel stressed? I felt negative emotions – slightly depressed about my lack of ability “I must be really lazy to have not done that” and guilt for letting James down. I felt a little sorry for him that he hired me.

However, I don’t feel any noticeable stress at all, in fact I feel quite relaxed and it hasn’t really bothered me very much.

I think I am bothered by the abstract concept of what others think, but less so by the day to day reality of what others think. In other words, the idea of being judged negatively by a group I respect would certainly bother me, but actually being judged in the moment, with the exception of a few specific people, would not bother me very much.

Or maybe it’s just my mood today because I’m feeling a bit down about Matt’s breakup.

Mr Money Mustache Car Tips

  1. Don’t even buy a stupid car – look at your specific purposes and consider if it is the best, most efficient choice for what you’re using it for. Buy for what you will use it for most, not what you will use it for occassionally.
  2. Only drive when you need to drive. Most driving is unnecessary. Ride a bike instead with a carrier on the back.
  3. Drive like an adult not a teenager. Don’t race it or bully it, drive very smoothly and don’t take it out in tough conditions like icy etc. When it gets icy, put on more expensive winter wheels for the job.
  4. Do the small maintainance yourself – changing tires, oil etc.
  5. Made small car improvements myself to look after the car and keep it on good form. Including battery maintainance etc.