Understand what most people does, so you can do the opposite

In any kind of society, it will always be difficult to be different from the majority. A lot of social pressure mechanisms is usually put in place, to make us feel bad if we choose not to conform to the cultural norms around us.

However, once we realize this, and start asking ourselves what is most important to us – theirs or our own vision for our lives’ trajectory – we may be able to look passed these external expectations and think for ourselves.

As a concrete example, I can tell you about the immense social pressure me and my wife feel these days, to have kids, as we are currently in the perfect stage, according to the convention, to start our own family. We have no desire to do this at the moment, and whenever we aren’t bothered by family members, who can’t shut up about our “soon to arrive fictional kids”, we see the tremendous freedom and carelessness it wins us to go against the current.

Most of my friends are having kids these days, and I am not saying that they are making bad choices. I am just saying, that I am happy for me and my wife, that we are not making the same choice right now.

It is not always beneficial to do the opposite of the mainstream. But sometimes it is, and it is worth thinking about when this might be, so you can experience the life equivalent of a blue ocean strategy.

Think about this:

Most people move to the city.

And this influences housing prices. For a lot of people, it would pay them well to consider moving to the countryside, as the cost of living is usually 5 times lower there. It is mind boggling to think about, how the poor population of every society is usually concentrated where housing prices are highest – in the inner cities.

 

Most people eat meat with every meal.

I am not advocating veganism, I just want to point out how almost everyone I know, can’t imagine eating a single meal without meat included. This makes meat very expensive compared to other good sources of protein. Try mixing it up!

 

Most people watch TV every day.

And this makes the general public’s knowledge very homogenous. Everyone knows about the latest football match, scandal or terrorist attack. Let them be the experts on these subjects, and you can then learn about something completely different.

This will make your personal knowledge very much specialized and unique, whereas every averagely smart person you meet, will have a lot to teach you, in case you are curious to know what’s in the news these days.

 

Most people accumulate stuff.

Therefore, they have to work very hard, day after day, in order to afford and be able to store all of their stuff. Once you jump off this bandwagon, you can immediately stop yourself in your tracks, and ask what it is you really would like to do in life?

 

Most people are incredibly busy with their career.

In this category, I personally feel incredible social pressure from my peers, as everyone is constantly comparing themselves to each other. This makes it very important for everybody to compete on salary and status, and nobody can ever relax and enjoy anything. Busyness becomes endemic, and actually enjoying life gets postponed until retirement (if that ever comes).

My life has become ten times more relaxed, ever since I quit this race.

In some cases, going against the current may hurt you, whereas it might pay off in others if you can muster the courage.

It is up to you to decide, what is true for you in all of life’s larger decisions.

The Great Benefits of an Old School Notebook

On a recent episode of the Less Doing Podcast (#100), there was a great segment in the end, where a group of health and productivity experts gave their best tips for being more effective in life.

A guy named Stephen Robbins talked about how his best advice for productivity was getting a beautiful notebook. More specifically a notebook from Moleskine.

Being the big productivity nut, that I am, I had to try it. So I went out and bought one for myself.

I have now had a few weeks to get familiar with my notebook, and I would therefore like to tell you why I love it so much as well.

 

It’s physical/it’s a ritual

I want to emphasize what I just said. It is my notebook.

It is like an extension of my own brain, that I carry around with me everywhere I go. It turns in to something very private, and you don’t feel “complete” if you walk out the door without it.

Your brain is a very fluid thing. It changes constantly, comes up with new ideas and then suddenly forgets them again. A notebook is a physical thing, you can use it to capture those fluid thoughts. Once they are written down, they don’t go away again.

At some point, you also begin to make the subconscious connection between opening up the notebook physically, and opening up your brain for new ideas. It becomes a ritual.

 

Great for idea lists

I am reading this great book by James Altucher right now: Choose Yourself

In it, he talks about how you can become an “idea machine”, that comes up with new ideas for great businesses and ways to change the world.

He prescribes making idea lists every day. Lists of 10 ideas, that doesn’t have to be good at all – they just have to be ideas. The logic is, after a year of doing this, you should have about 3600 ideas, and you can at least expect a few of them to be good.

To me, coming up with idea lists like that, is infinitely better done in hand, than in an Evernote document. You get to reflect over them again, when you eventually put all the best ones in to Evernote later, when you want to make them searchable. But when making the first draft, you should just write them down.

 

Adds another layer of creative possibility

What if you are writing about an idea, and then quickly want to do a drawing for the concept? Good luck doing that on your computer (quickly)!

Let’s say you get a new idea for structuring your website. Are you going to write with words, what it is going to look like? Most certainly not.

 

Better for structuring and editing

Before writing this article, I quickly wrote out the structure in hand. One advantage of doing it like that, is that you can see the whole picture on your page. Often times, when you do it on your computer, you need to scroll up and down to see everything, and you quickly loose the sense of the full picture.

When you start to edit and changing the original structure, you are still able to see your first draft, because you can’t delete anything. On a computer, you most likely delete everything you originally wrote, when you change something. This makes it hard to go back and see, if something from the original structure was actually better.

Again, when editing, you can also quickly make drawings like arrows and other symbols.

 

Remember more

Some months ago, a study came out saying, students where better able to remember stuff, if they wrote it down in hand, instead of typing it on a computer.

Maybe, it is because it takes longer, and you get to reflect on the concept for a longer time.

Maybe, it is because it requires more and different muscles to write with a pen, and the memory get stored better because of the greater physical engagement.

Maybe, it is because writing in hand resembles making a drawing/making art much more than writing on a computer, and the human brain is much better at remembering pictures than written sentences.

Maybe, it is a little bit of everything – I don’t know.

 

Anyway, as you can hear – I like walking around with a notebook in my bag a lot. Maybe you will too.

Thanks for reading!

5 Golden Nuggets on Mobility and Lifestyle

Here is another great book, that I have recently added to the Book Club for Top Performance. I really enjoyed reading it, and in this blog post, I will give you some of the best lessons I have learned from it.

I almost only like books that are practical. Books that give you tips or tools, that you can put to use right away. You saw in an earlier post why I have a minor problem with Transcendental Meditation for this reason – however, this book is just the opposite.

Mostly it teaches you some of the basic standards your body should be able to live up to, in order to be an excellent runner, but many of the tips that it gives you, are very relevant to anybody.

 

Here are 5 of the best Golden nugget Ready to Run gives you on mobility and Lifestyle.

 

1. Hydrate properly

The book talks about how you are not going to get much hydration from water alone. The water needs to be delivered with other nutrients to your body, to enhance absorption.

One way to better absorb your water, is to drink it with salt. This means water and food goes great together. When you drink water without eating anything, you should consider spiking it with regular table salt, or if you can’t stand the taste, with an electrolyte capsule.

Ensuring that you are fully hydrated is going to give you maximized sports performance, plus protected joints, as you connective tissues also need to stay moist as well.

 

2. Wear compression gear

Wearing compression gear, has greater benefits than you would think. It increases blood and lymphatic circulation, which makes it great to wear at the office, where you sit or stand still all day, and it will also help you recover quicker from workouts.

 

3. Wear flat shoes

Wearing flat shoes will restore the natural expression of your foot. If you walk around in too supported shoes everyday, it will destroy the arches of your foot and the natural movement mechanics in your ankles, which will lead you to a great potential for injuries and inefficiency in movement.

 

4. Mind how you stand

Many of us have never been taught to stand correctly ever. This means many people make fatal mistakes in the way they position their body.

One of the first things you should remember is, to always point your toes straight forward, both when you walk and stand. This will among many things reduce your risk for knee injuries.

Further more should you mind if your spine is in a natural position. You shouldn’t slouch, and you shouldn’t over arch your back either. Find a neutral position.

 

5. Find 10 minutes to do mobility exercises everyday

This is the only amount of time the book requires from you.

I have started to try and do a few of all the mobility exercises every morning. That gives you a nice calm start on the day, and you just spend 2 minutes on each position at a time.

 

You can of course learn a lot more from the book, but here are a few ways you can start enhancing your life, now.

Thanks for reading.