Derek Sivers
Personal Development for Smart People - by Steve Pavlina

Personal Development for Smart People - by Steve Pavlina

ISBN: 1401922759
Date read: 2008-12-27
How strongly I recommend it: 6/10
(See my list of 360+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

A broad look at all different aspects of self-improvement. Some unique insights. But it's based on this abstract pyramid of power/love/oneness stuff that I couldn't relate to. Though inbetween those lie some great concrete ideas.

my notes

########## TRUTH

"What seems nasty, painful, evil can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind." - Henry Miller

Your first commitment must be to discover and accept new truths, no matter how difficult or unpleasant the consequences.

Perception is the most basic aspect of truth. If you want to improve some part of your life, you have to look at it first.

For example, if you want to know how your relationship is doing, you ask yourself, "How do I feel about this relationship? What parts are working well? What parts need improvement?"

You can't get from point A to point B if you refuse to acknowledge that you're at point A!

What do you perceive about your life that you'd like to change?
Are there any addictions or destructive habits you'd like to break?

Look around you and notice what you like and dislike about your life.

Prediction is how you learn from experience, enabling you to discover what is true. As you observe any new situation or event, one of two things can happen: either the experience will meet your expectations, or it won't. When an experience meets your expectations, your mental model of reality remains intact. But when an experience violates your expectations, your mind must update its model of reality to fit the new information. This is how you learn from experience and discover new truths.

If something satisfies all your expectations, you won't learn anything new. To help you grow, something (this book) must violate your expectations and give you some unexpected "Aha!" moments.

There are two powerful ways you can apply your mind's predictive powers to accelerate your personal growth:

1. Embrace new experiences that are unlike anything you've previously encountered.

You'll literally become more intelligent. New situations shift your mind into learning mode, which enables you to discover new patterns. The more patterns your mind learns, the better it gets at prediction, and the smarter you become.

Read a book on a topic that's completely alien to you. Talk to people you'd normally avoid. Visit an unfamiliar city. Stretch beyond the patterns your mind has already learned. In order to grow, you must repeatedly tackle fresh challenges and consider new ideas to give your mind fresh input. If you merely repeat the same experiences, you'll stagnate, and your mental capacity will atrophy.

If you want to become smarter, you must keep stirring things up.

2. Make conscious deliberate predictions and use those predictions to make better decisions.

Think about where you're headed and ask yourself, "How do I honestly expect my life to turn out?"

Imagine that a very logical impartial observer examines your situation in detail, and predicts what your life will look like in 20 years, based on your current behavior. What kind of future will this person predict for you?

Positive feelings stem from positive predictions.
When you feel good, your mind is anticipating a positive outcome.
When you feel bad, your mind expects an unfavorable outcome.

The closer your internal model of reality matches actual reality, the more capable you become.

Accept the long-term consequences of your predictions.

Do you accept the truth of where you'll likely end up?
Are you willing to live with those consequences?

Whatever you fear, you must eventually face.

Don't deny the truth of the situation.
Never pretend to be happy.

Make your important decisions from the most reasonable thinking you can muster - when you feel alert, clearheaded, and intelligent. Put the decisions in writing and fully commit yourself to them. When you inevitably sink back to lower states and lose sight of the higher perspective, continue to act on those decisions even though you may no longer feel as committed to them.

When you make choices from a place of anger, fear, sadness, or guilt, you cannot be aligned with truth because your predictions will be negatively biased by those lower states.

Positive emotions can make you overly optimistic, encouraging you to take unreasonable risks and to make overaggressive promises that you won't keep.

Secondary gain is when you temporarily benefit(gain) by embracing falsehood. Lying to get ahead. Etc.

The more you succumb to secondary gain, the phonier you become as a human being.

Instead of abiding friendship and human intimacy, you settle for a sea of casual contacts, none of whom know, accept, and love the real you.

The pursuit of secondary gain leads to persistent dissatisfaction, emptiness, and unhappiness.

Rate the different areas of your life each from 1 to 10:
- Habits & daily routine
- Career & work
- Money & finances
- Health & fitness
- Education
- Social & relationships
- Home & family
- Emotions
- Character & integrity
- Life purpose & contribution
- Spiritual development

Take every rating that isn't a 9 or 10 and replace it with a 1.

A 7 is what you get when you allow too much falsehood and denial to creep into your life - when you know you don't have what you want, but you aren't ready to face up to it yet. A 7 is a comfortable living arrangement instead of a deeply fulfilling relationship.

Look at each part of your life again, and ask yourself:
What do I truly want?
What is my dream, my grand vision?
What is the deep desire I've been longing for - the one that I hesitate to admit because I don't think I can have it?
What path do I most want to experience?

Accept that you want what you want, and stop living in denial of your true desires.

Media fast : For 30 days, no TV, and avoid all newspapers, magazines, online media sources. Unplug yourself completely and see what happens.

########## LOVE

One of the fundamental choices you face in every encounter is the choice to approach or avoid.
You can try to connect with people, or you can pull away from them.
You can immerse yourself in your day's work, or you can procrastinate.
You can approach any person, place, or thing with the intention to connect, or you can remain aloof and keep your distance.
The decision to connect is the essence of love.

By your actions, you decide what to link up with and what to avoid.

Whenever you choose to make one connection, you simultaneously choose not to connect with all of the other possibilities.

Your life becomes a reflection of what you choose to connect with most often. When you feel good about your connections, you come into greater alignment with the principle of love.

You must master the art of forming connections.
Give something your attention. Think about it. Engage with it.
Whether groups, objects, places, ideas, values, and activities.
Establishing a link requires nothing but your attention.
Put your attention on something and you immediately connect with it.

The best way to fulfill our desires is to walk up to whatever interests us and engage with it directly.

You communicate effectively by first connecting with the familiar and then branching out into the unfamiliar. When you meet someone new, the first step is to discover your shared interests, values, and attitudes. This creates a basic bond of trust and friendship. The next step is to explore and learn from your differences.

Don't forget that the primary purpose of communication is to create a connection with the other person.

Your connection with another person is whatever you think it is. Your belief makes the relationship real. If you cease to believe in it, it no longer exists.

The true purpose of relationships is self-exploration. When you feel a deep sense of communion with another person, you're actually connecting deeply with an important part of yourself. By communing with others, you learn to love yourself more fully.

Presuppose everyone else is a part of you, just like one of your own dream characters. There are no strangers. There are no insignificant people. Everyone has something to teach you.

Instead of having to break the ice with someone, assume there is no ice.

When you fail to release incompatibilities from your life, you settle for mere tolerance and prevent compatible new connections from forming.

# Time Travel Meditation:
Imagine having a conversation with your future self, 5 years from now.
Ask anything you want, and listen for the answers.
Imagine having a conversation with your past self, from 5 years ago.
I am now that person's future self.
What was my life like 5 years ago? What would he be asking the current me?
Imagine answering how life turned out, answering with reassurance.
Tell my past self about the challenges coming in the years ahead (that I've already faced).
Now future self comes back into the room. The 3 versions merge into light.

One of the easiest ways to lovingly connect with a person is to share something with them. Share a conversation. Share experiences. Share stories. Share laughs. Share a meal. Share a game. Share yourself.

When you want to develop a deeper bond with someone you've just met, mentally fast-forward your relationship with that person in your mind's eye. Imagine a future time when the two of you have been friends for years. Feel the emotional bond between you becoming stronger.

When you learn to love everyone and everything, you come into alignment with your true self.

########## POWER

Power is your ability to consciously and deliberately create the world around you.

No matter your history, the burden of responsibility for your life now rests squarely on your shoulders. Blame can only make you powerless.

No one is coming to rescue you.

If you don't proactively solve your own problems, they'll never be solved.

If you want different results, you must go out and create them yourself.

Desire is the fuel of power. Enjoy the progressive fulfillment of your desires through the exercise of your power.

What do you want?
What do you fantasize about?
What do you long for so badly that you can't stop thinking about it, even if you consider it impossible?
Never deny that you want what you want. When you deny your desires, you fall out of alignment.

You're completely free to decide what you want.
You don't need anyone's permission or approval.
Your choices are yours to make and can never be dictated by others.
You never need to justify what you want.
You want what you want, and that is enough.

Life is constantly asking, "What do you want?"
Answer that question however you wish.

True power only exists in the present.
There is no power in the past. It's done.
There is no power in the future. It's only in your imagination.
You have no power to act yesterday or tomorrow.
Whenever you project beyond the present, you make yourself powerless because you're succumbing to an illusion.

The purpose of goal-setting isn't to control the future.
The point of goal-setting is to improve the quality of the present.
Ask, "How does setting this goal improve my present reality?"
If it doesn't, then the goal is pointless.
But if it brings greater clarity, focus, and motivation to your life when you think about it, it's a keeper.

Set goals that make you feel powerful, motivated, and driven when you focus on them, long before the final outcome is actually achieved. Avoid setting goals that make you feel powerless, stressed, or weak.

When you set a goal that improves your present reality, what does it matter how long it takes to achieve the final outcome? Whether it takes one week or five years is irrelevant. The whole path is fun and enjoyable.

Whenever I focus on an inspiring goal, I feel extremely driven and motivated.

Material goals always de-motivate me.

If you find yourself unmotivated, you've set the wrong goals. You need to set goals that are so inspiring to you that you can't wait to take action.

Self-discipline is the willingness to do what it takes to achieve the results you want regardless of your mood.

When you're feeling unmotivated, apathetic, bored or lazy, self-discipline provides your second wind and keeps you moving.

Motivation is highest at the beginning of a project. Self-discipline can prevent you from quitting. Motivation starts the race, but self-discipline crosses the finish line.

Self-discipline remains one of the most significant aspects of personal development.

Progressive training requires that once you succeed, you must increase the challenge. If you keep working at the same level, you won't get much stronger.

The first hour is the rudder of the day. Adopt a disciplined routine for the first waking hour, and you'll enjoy a highly productive day.

########## ONENESS

Ask myself, "Where is the joy?"
Listen for the right frequency.
Once I got it, increase the volume until I'm feeling extremely joyful and connected.

Strive to be direct and forthright. Genuine honesty is truth tempered with love. Using truth as a weapon is not a loving act, but shedding light on an otherwise dark situation is certainly in our best interests.

Even when it seems painful and embarrassing to tell the truth, you do more damage by holding back.

In order to truly experience unconditional love, you must make yourself naked to the world.

Instead of being more generous with your friends and family members as opposed to strangers, oneness will encourage you to be more generous in those areas where you can have a greater impact, regardless of your current social loyalties.

Everyone is part of your family.

In a broader social context, fairness takes the form of justice. We must make decisions that fairly balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the larger whole. Whenever we turn a blind eye to injustice, we embrace separation instead of oneness.

If you live entirely for yourself, like will amount to very little against the backdrop of all humanity.

By aligning yourself with the highest good, your role takes on much greater significance.

You can't continue making decisions solely at the personal, family, or communal level. You must consider how your thoughts and actions impact the planet as a whole.

To deny such responsibility is to succumb to an illusion. You can't avoid the responsibility for what happens on earth because you're a part of it.

If you think the planet needs saving, you're responsible for saving it.
If you think our leaders have gotten off track, you're responsible for getting us back on track.
If you see problems in the world that aren't adequately being addressed, you're responsible for addressing those problems.

You don't need to build a vast global operation to cure every problem on earth. You just need to remain aware of how your actions affect the whole and start making decisions today to align yourself with the greater good.

Spending time in nature is one of the simplest things you can do to experience oneness. Stop doing, stop thinking, and just be among the plants and animals.

########## AUTHORITY

Authority is the principle devised from truth and power.
Truth without power accomplishes nothing.
Power without truth generates wasted action.

When you live without authority, your default behavior is to squander your time.
You may acquire some knowledge, but you won't apply it well.
You may take some action, but your movements will be chaotic and unfocused.
You have the potential to live a powerful self-directed life of your choosing, but until you step into your true authority, this potential remains a fantasy.

With authority, you not only assume responsibility for your life, you take complete command of it.

There's only one true authority in your life, and it's you. You make the decisions.

There's no higher authority in this life than you.

If you fail to claim authority over your own life, someone else will surely claim it for you. Many people allow their spouse, parents, or boss to practically run their lives. You become increasingly helpless as you distance yourself from your true nature. You are meant to be free.

Look around you and notice the results you're currently getting. Life is simply obeying your commands. If you want different results, you must issue different orders.

Effectiveness is the true measure of authority.

Consider two questions:
1. Am I making the correct decisions?
2. Am I taking the correct actions?

Notice how elegantly the principles of truth and power work together to improve your personal effectiveness over time:
First, you identify one of your desires and make a decision to move toward it.
Then you use your predictive abilities to select a reasonable course of action.
As you progress toward your goal, you need only identify the next action you predict will move you in the correct direction.
You use your power to move yourself forward, one step at a time.
Even as you take these microsteps, your predictive mind is always looking ahead, continually refining its selections and evaluating the results of the decisions you've already implemented.
Maybe you reach your goal; maybe you don't. Either way you experience a powerful gain.
When you succeed, your successful predictions, decisions, and behaviors are reinforced.
When you fail, your mind learns that its predictions were inaccurate, and it updates your model of reality to help prevent you from repeating the same mistakes.

Failure is your friend. While it's often disappointing to miss the goal you aimed for, there's always a consolation prize. When you fail, you become smarter. You teach your mind to become better at prediction. This is an immensely powerful result.

After thousands of cycles of identifying and fixing mistakes, I became a very good programmer.

You can't expect to be competent when you tackle something new, but you can expect that you'll improve over time.
All you have to do is set a goal, make decisions that you think will lead you in the right direction, and keep taking action.
Either you'll succeed, or you'll learn from your failures.
If you fail a great deal, it just means you have more to learn before you're ready to succeed.

Be willing to make decisions that may fail. Even though failure may have negative consequences, it also yields important positive results. It ultimately teaches you to succeed. You can't be a true authority unless you commit to being a lifelong student.

If you quit too early, you'll never complete the shift from novice to expert. The expert level is where most of the rewards are found.

Understand that failure and success are not opposites. Failure is an unavoidable part of success. When you fail, it means you're taking action, so you're making mistakes and educating yourself. Success happens naturally once you finally learn how to take the correct actions.

Don't pressure yourself to achieve massive success the first time out. Just do the best you can. At first, your best may be barely above idiot. Eventually you'll gain some basic competency, and farther down the road, people will call you an expert. An expert being a person who's failed enough to succeed.

Eventually they learn what they need to learn. They successfully adapt their predictions to fit reality, and finally their actions begin producing the intended results.

If you're clear about what you want, settle for nothing less. Accept that success will take time, perhaps much longer than you'd like. Rid yourself of the fast and easy, something-for-nothing mindset. Keep your head down, work hard, and know that your efforts will eventually pay off, as long as you keep learning and growing.

As you perceive reality with increasing accuracy, your decisions will improve, and in turn so will your actions and thereby your results.

Accurate beliefs lead to effective results, and confidence is the emotional residue of effectiveness. You feel confident when you can expect positive results from your actions with a high degree of certainty.

Power can be applied to meaningless pursuits, or it can be channeled toward significant achievements.

What's important to you in life?
What's a relative waste of your time?

TRIAGE can help you focus your attention on the most significant actions. Divide between:
1. projects that will fail to have a significant impact, whether you do them or not
2. projects that will succeed anyway, whether you do them or not
3. projects that will have a significant impact only if you complete them in a timely manner

Ask yourself, "Is this the most important thing for me to be doing right now?"

What are the group-3 projects that are dying in the trenches, but can still be saved if you reach them in time?
Your health?
Your relationship?
Your career?
In order to make time to save them, which group-1-and-2 are you willing to pass up?

Don't blindly follow the advice of experts.
Find out what works best for you by conducting personal experiments.

Don't dismiss any ideas until you've actually tried them.

Get in touch with what's most important to you in life. If you felt responsible for the entire world, what would you want to change first?

########## COURAGE

When your mind predicts a positive long-term outcome, but a negative short-term outcome from a course of action, courage is required to bridge the gap.

Courage is the application of power to break through short-term challenges in order to achieve long-term goals.

Whatever you fear, you must eventually face.

What if you know you're on the wrong path, but don't know how to find the right one? Get off the road you're on. Just stop. If you can't see the right path from your current location, go out and explore.

Don't wait for a new career, a new relationship, or other opportunities to come to you. Go out and actively create what you want. Life is waiting for you to make the first move.

If you want something, ask for it. Accept the risk of rejection and summon the courage to take action anyway. If you don't get rejected, you'll achieve your outcome in the fastest and simplest way possible.

An honest rejection is always better than a clever deception.

Short bursts of courage can overcome many obstacles.

Consciously commit yourself to a principle-centered life. This commitment is called honor.

The guiding force of honor is your conscience.

Service to self and service to others are the same thing.

When you feel lazy and unmotivated, you're feeling disconnected. Remember who you are. Reconnect with what excites you. Revisit those times in your life when you were on fire - not because of external events, but because you were aligned with your truth.

Whatever scares you, learn more about it. The knowledge you acquire will help you act more courageously and intelligently.

It's amazing how many opportunities we deny ourselves due to lack of knowledge or experience. In this info age, "I don't know" is not a valid excuse. All the information you need is readily accessible online, in books, or on other people's minds. If ignorance is holding you back in any area of your life, take the initiative and educate yourself.

Make commitments that don't require much courage to accept, but that require significant courage to implement.


Intelligence is alignment with truth, love, and power.

As you interact with others, neither exaggerate nor downplay what's true for you. Be completely real. Your honest won't always get you a positive response, but allow others to have their reactions without feeling you must pretend to be something you're not. If you try to slant the truth in order to tell people what you think they want to hear, you disconnect from your true self, and you encourage others to live in denial of their own power.

For many years, I believed the best way to relate to other people was to try to meet them at their own level of power. If someone was timid, I'd downplay my accomplishments because I didn't want them to feel uncomfortable. These friendships were rooted in falsehood, and to maintain them, I became increasingly disconnected with myself.

When I stay connected with myself, I am more selective about the people I decide to connect with, so I seek out friends who are consciously growth oriented and not complacent or apathetic.

A fascinating quality of intelligence is that it seeks its own improvement. The smartest choice we can make is to attempt to become smarter, and growth is the mechanism through which this is achieved. It is intelligent to grow.

Working on your personal growth is the most selfless thing you can possibly do. You increase your capacity to serve others.

The most intelligent thing you can do with your life is to grow.

The state of flow results from conscious thought and action in the direction of your dreams. Learn to satisfy your desires and fulfill your dreams instead of pretending they don't matter to you.

When you maintain the state of flow it will feel as if there's powerful energy working through you, driving you onward. You know without a doubt that you're on the right track as you make progress toward something meaningful and important.

Knowing you're on the right pathw will reduce your feelings of doubt, worry, and stress. A deep sense of inner peace will arise in their place.

It's comforting to know that truth, love, and power are the only guiding principles you really need. You don't need to live by a complicated set of rules, laws, or values.

Assess your current alignment with the 7 principles:

- Am I truthful with myself and others, or do I feel compelled to lie about anything?
- What do I predict will happen if I continue on my current course?
- Are my predictions reasonable and accurate, or am I too optimistic or pessimistic?
- Do I fully accept the truth of my situation or am I living in denial?
- What do I need to learn next, and what's the best way to learn it?
- What can I do righ tnow to become more truthful?

- Do I take time to connect with myself and others, or do I feel disconnected and alone?
- Do I express my true self when I communicate, or do I project a false image?
- Do I love and accept myself and others unconditionally?
- Do I seek out compatible new relationships?
- How can I exercise and improve my social skills?
- What can I do right now to become more loving?

- Do I accept complete responsibility for everything in my life?
- What do I really want, and what am I willing to do to get it?
- Am I focusing on what's most important to me, or am I distracting myself?
- Am I putting in the time to do what needs to be done?
- How can I continue to build my self-discipline?
- What can I do right now to become more powerful?

- Do I recognize the truth that we're all connected, like individual cells in a larger body?
- Can I empathically tune in to the joy and sorrow of others?
- Do I treat others with compassion and fairness?
- Am I making a meaningful contribution to the world?
- Do I think and act with a sense of unity?
- What can I do right now to experience more oneness?

- Do I take command of my life, or do I blindly follow others?
- Are my actions effective, producing the results I want?
- Do I persist in the face of obstacles and setbacks, or do I give up too easily?
- Am I confident that I'll achieve the goals I set for myself?
- How can I spend my time on what's truly important and avoid wasting time on trivialities?
- What can I do right now to increase my authority?

- Do I live boldly and courageously, or do I succumb to fear, timidity, and cowardice?
- Where is the path with a heart, and what can I do to honor that path right now?
- Do I take the initiative, or am I stuck in a waiting mode?
- Do I courageously pursue the most direct course, or do I follow a slower more manipulative route?
- How can I train and educate myself to overcome my fear?
- What can I do right now to exercise my courage?

- Do I live in alignment with truth, love, and power?
- Are my interactions with others authentic or phony?
- Do I have the right message and the medium for creative self-expression?
- Do I enjoy the state of flow by taking intelligent action?
- How can I improve myself today?
- What can I do right now to express my intelligence?

GROWTH BLITZING: For each of the svent principles, set a specific growth target. Decide to make a small improvement in each area. For example:

- Confess to a lie or secret you've been concealing.
- Write down your most realistic prediction for what you think your life will look like 5 years from now. Ask someone to make a similar prediction for you, and compare the answers.
- Read a book on a topic you know nothing about.
- Invite an intelligent friend to debate you on a subject where you suspect you may hold inaccurate beliefs.
- Begin a 30-day media fast.

- Send someone a handwritten letter, just to connect.
- Start a conversation with a total stranger, and try to figure out what's most important to that person.
- Find a creative way to say "I love you" to someone who's never heard it from you before.
- Give someone an unexpected gift to let them know they're appreciated by you.
- Invite someone over for dinner who's never been to your house before.

- Write a fresh list of goals for every area of your life.
- Set aside at least one hour to work on your single most important project, and nothing else.
- Do something you've always wanted to do that you can accomplish in less than a day.
- Schedule your next day from wake to sleep. Give yourself a 1-10 score at the end of the day. Beat that score next time.
- Play a competitive game & bet that you'll win. Bet for something other than money.

- Perform an act of kindness for a stranger.
- Post a painful story from your past, online - so others can benefit from your lessons learned.
- Identify where you've been unfair to someone, and take immediate action to remedy the situation.
- Spend a couple hours alone in nature. Quiet your thoughts and pay attention to your senses.
- Email with someone in another country and find out what you have in common.

- Cancel an activity that no longer serves you.
- Volunteer to be in charge of a group and see it through to completion by delegating tasks to others.
- Do a personal experiment you've always wanted to, such as a new diet, sleeping pattern, or way of interacting.
- Wear an outfit that nobody likes but you.
- Teach someone else how to perform a task you're very good at.

- Make a new request of someone who recently rejected you.
- Do something worthwhile that you've been afraid to pursue.
- Walk up to someone and tell them exactly what you want from them.
- Make an advance commitment to something specific that makes facing one of your fears unavoidable.
- Do one thing today that scares you.

- Call someone you know and communicate as authentically as possible during the entire call.
- Draw something that represents the real you.
- Identify a recent setback, and make a creative plan to work around it.
- Visit a museum and look for expressions of truth, love, and power in every exhibit.
- Brainstorm a list of 20 new ideas you can use to improve your life.

One week is a reasonable timeframe for completing one action from each principle.

Whenever you add another activity to your life, treat it as a small universe that comes pre-aligned with truth, love, and power.

########## HABITS

Habits are memorized solutions. When your mind figures out how to get something done, it saves the solution, which is reinforced whenever you apply it.

Habits are your mind's approach to time management. It would be extremely inefficient for you to consciously decide how to spend every minute of every day - and solve the same problems over & over - so it delegates known problems to your subconscious mind in order to recall and apply the memorized solutions. Now your conscious mind is free to focus on higher-level functions.

Sometimes your subconscious mind will memorize inefficient, inaccurate, or ineffective solutions. You must eventually uproot and replace habits that have serious negative side effects.

What are your best habits?
What are your worst?
Do you have any addictions?
What habits are you hiding?
What habits are you most proud of?

If you could snap your fingers and change this habit immediately, would you?

Brainstorm all the habits you'd like to implement.
If you successfully adopt these habits today, what will your life look like 10 years from now?

Enlist the help of others to dramatically increase your chances of success.

Seek out role models who've already achieved what you desire, and request advice or mentoring.

Ask yourself if there are any incompatible connections you need to release.

Change your circumstances to stop reinforcing your old patterns. Assemble the proper scaffolding to support your new desired behaviors.

*** Here's a list of habits that can help boost your personal effectiveness:

- Daily goals. Set targets for each day in advance. Decide what you'll do, then do it. Without a clear focus, it's too easy to succumb to distractions.

- Worst first. To defeat procrastination, learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning, instead of delaying it until later. The small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.

- Peak times. Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times. Work on minor tasks during your nonpeak times.

- No-comm zones. Allocate uninterruptable blocks of time for solo work where you must concentrate. Schedule light, interruptable tasks for your open-communication periods and more challenging projects for your blackout periods.

- Mini-milestones. When you begin a task, identify the target you must reach before you can stop working. For example when writing a book, you could decide not to get up until you've written at least 1000 words. Hit your target no matter what.

- Timeboxing. Give yourself a fixed time period - 30 minutes for example - to make a dent in a task. Don't worry about how far you get. Just put in the time.

- Batching. Batch similar tasks such as phone calls or errands together, and knock them out in a single session.

- Early bird. Get up at 5am and go straight to work on your most important task. You can get more done before 8am than most people do in a full day.

- Pyramid. Spend 15-30 minutes doing easy tasks to warm up, then tackle your most difficult project for several hours. Finally end with another 15-30 minutes of easy tasks to transition out of work mode.

- Tempo. Deliberately pick up the pace and try to move a little faster than usual.

- Neat freak. Reduce stress by making a relaxing clutter-free home and office.

- Agendas. Provide clear written agendas to meeting participants in advance. Improves focus and efficiency.

- Pareto principle : 80-20 rule. Focus on that 20% and don't overengineer the noncritical 80%.

- Ready-fire-aim. Bust procrastination by immediately taking action on a goal, even if the action isn't perfectly planned. Adjust your course along the way.

- Minuteman. Once you have the info you need to make a decision, give yourself 60 seconds to come to a clear choice. One the decision is made, take some kind of action to set it in motion.

- Set a deadline for task completion, and use it as a focal point to stay on track.

- Promise. Tell others of your commitments so they'll hold you accountable.

- Punctuality. Arrive early for appointments. Punctuality enhances authority.

- Gap reading. Read books & articles while waiting for an appointment or standing in line.

- Resonance. Visualize your goal as already accomplished. Put yourself into a state of already being there.

- Prizes. Give yourself frequent rewards for achievement. Movie, massage, amusement park.

- Prioritize important from merely urgent. Exercise, writing, relationship. Put aside time for these.

- At the end of the day, identify the first thing you'll do tomorrow. Set materials in advance.

- Break complex projects into smaller well-defined tasks. Focus on completing just one.

- Once you begin a task, stick with it until it's 100% complete. Don't switch in the middle. When distractions arise, write them down to deal with later.

- Pick a random piece of a larger project, and complete it. Then select another random one and repeat.

- Defeat perfectionism by completing a task in an intentionally horrible way. Then nowhere to go but up.

- Convince someone else to do something for you. Offer fair trade or reasonable payment.

- Learn new skills that are unrelated to work. Martial arts, foreign language, chess. Ideas will cross-pollinate.

- Go with your gut intuition. It's probably right.

- Identify the proceses you use most, and write them down step-by-step. Rework them for greater efficiency, then test your improved processes. Sometimes we can't see what's in front of us until we use a microscope.

- Do one hideous project for just one session a week, 15 minutes total. Then stop & wait another week.

- Schedule a specific time for working on a particular task or habit. One hour a day could leave you with a healthier body, finished book, or new business a year later.

- Build a new habit by tacking a task onto one of your existing habits. Water the plants after you eat lunch. Send thank-you notes after you check email.

- Inject a task into another. Read while eating. Return calls while commuting. Listen to audio while shopping.

- Send a thank-you card.

- Train up your skill in various productivity habits. Increase typing speed. Improve communication skills.

- Say no to noncritical requests for your time. If people get upset, let them.

- Reclaim other people's wasted time for yourself. Visualize goals during boring speeches.

- Mastermind. Explain your most challenging problems to several people, and invite all the advice and criticism you can handle.

- Write down 20 creative ideas for improving your effectiveness.

- Make a task harder and more challenging. It's more engaging and motivating than boring ones. Do chores with your nondominant hand. Answer all emails in haiku.

- Do boring tasks as if insane. In crayon. In weird accents.

- Experiment with how music can boost your effectiveness.

- Estimate how long a task will take to complete. Then push yourself to complete it in half that time.

- When something undesirable is delegated to you, delegate it to someone else.

- When something undesirable is delegated to you, bounce it back to the person who assigned it to you, and challenge them to justify its necessity.

- Quit clubs, projects, and subscriptions that take more of your time than they're worth.

- Stop caffeine.

- Delay noncritical tasks as long as you can. Many won't need to be done at all.

- Stop TV.

- Time and log all your tasks for an entire day or an entire week. Monitoring your time can boost effectiveness tremendously.

- Do the task that scares you the most. Tackle it immediately.

- Run errands at unpopular times to avoid the crowd.

- Do all shopping online.

- Add reminders to your calendar in advance, so you can buy gifts then instead of last-minute.

- Do it now! Recite this over & over until you're sick of it, cave it, and get to work.

- Hire a personal coach to stay motivated, focused, and accountable.

- Read books and articles, listen to audio, and attend seminars to absorb fresh ideas and inspiration.

- Gym rat. Exercise daily. Boost metabolism, concentration, and mental clarity in 30 minutes a day.

- Banish trolls from your life. Associate with positive happy people instead. No pity posse.

- Practice giving someone the evil eye, and use it when someone interrupts your important tasks.

- Outsource your problems. How many can be solved more easily if you define them in financial terms?

- Modeling. Find people who are already getting the results you want, interview them, and adopt their attitudes, beliefs, and behavior.

- Even if others disagree with you, take action anyway, and deal with the consequences later.

- Real life : give online life a rest, and reinvest that time into your real offline life.

For each habit you consider, ask yourself:
Is this really me?
Is this consistent with who I want to be?
If any part of your life feels phony and inauthentic, replace it with a more genuine alternative.

Your habits put your results on autopilot, so you need to ensure that those results are aligned with what you want.

########## CAREER

Most job titles are defined in terms of media, including doctors, lawyers, pilots, etc. But the medium is only a shell.

Your medium is how you express yourself, but your message is what you express.

Someone could use the same media to express an entirely different message. A doctor's message could be about healing, compassion, discovery, education, or anything else. Just because two people share the same medium (being a doctor) doesn't mean they have the same message.

Your true career path is about your message, not your medium.

Write, "What is my true purpose in life?" Write down any answer. Repeat until you write the answer that makes you cry.

The author's is "To live consciously and courageously. To enjoy, increase, and share peace, energy, passion, and abundance. To resonate with love and compassion. To awaken the great spirits within others. And to fully embrace this present moment."

Where is the career path that terrifies you - stirs your soul - that you secretly fantasize about?

If you aren't doing something that scares you and challenges you, you're missing golden opportunities that could make a real difference.

When people ask me what their odds of success are in some endeavor, my response is, "If you train in martial arts, what are the odds of becoming a black belt? Does it make any difference what percentage of white belts become black belts? All that matters is whether you're committed to becoming a black belt. You decide whether you make it or not."

########## MONEY

Money is the primary social resource. We assign it value through social agreements.

Money is social credit - an IOU from society. The more money you have, the more society owes you, and the more value you can extract.

The truth about what it means to earn money : Since money is a social resource, earning money means acquiring more of that resource. When you spend, you convert money to value. But when you earn, you convert value to money.

The difference between earning $25/hr vesus $250/hr is that the latter work has much greater social value. This isn't anyone's fault. The difference is due to the social consensus about the value of certain work.

Either you're creating genuine social value and being fairly compensated for it, or you're mooching off the value created by others.

If you want to earn income, you must impart social value, not personal value.

Personal value is whatever you say it is. You're free to decide what has value for you personally, and it doesn't matter if anyone agrees with you. Social value, however, is determined by social consensus. If you believe that your work has tremendous value, but virtually no one else does, then your work may have high personal value but little or no social worth. Your income depends on the social value of your work, not the personal value.

Since money is a social resource backed by collective value, it makes sense that you won't get paid much for providing something of little or no importance to the group. Find a need and fill it.

If you want to earn more money, develop your skills and talents to facilitate the creation of lots of social value. Focus on giving, and the getting will largely take care of itself.

As you earn a higher income, moochers will project their values onto you, concluding that you must be taking advantage of others for personal gain, just as they are.

Instead of focusing on specific financial goals, aim directly for what you think money will give you.
If you think money will provide you the freedom to travel, set travel goals instead.
If you think money will get you a nicer house, set a goal to have a nicer house instead.
If you think money will allow you to make a bigger contribution, set a goal to make bigger contribution instead.
There are many ways to achieve your goals that require little or no money.

When you decide in advance that a lack of funds is an obstacle to achieving your goals, you disempower yourself.

Don't automatically assume that money is necessary to achieve a particular goal. This narrows your options and stunts your creativity.

The best way to earn money is to do what you feel is best for everyone - not just yourself.

Ask, "Would anyone cry if I went out of business?" If the answer is no, you're on the wrong path.

When you attempt to satisfy your personal values without providing any real social value, you get the starving-artist syndrome : you may be inspired by work you love doing, but it won't pay the bills.

The solution is to work within the area of overlap between your personal values and social values. This will enable you to do what you love while creating something that others treasure as well. Don't force yourself to choose between your integrity and your income - demand that both be satisfied.

Ofte the simplest way to create value for others is by sharing what you love to do.

Being self-sacrificing runs contrary to the principle of oneness. To sacrifice myself to help others without receiving fair value in return is to enter into an abusive relationship.

Keep asking yourself these two questions:
How can I create and deliver more value?
How can I increase my capacity for value creation?

If you want to earn more money, you must train yourself to create and deliver more social value.

Don't expect someone else to know what your skills and talents are worth. If you let others determine your salary, it's a safe bet you're being underpaid. You must take the initiative and ask for what you want. If the price you ask is fair and reasonable and if there's genuine social demand for the value you can provide, someone will surely pay you for your efforts.

Build a solid case for why you deserve it.

Optimize for long-term value creation instead of short-term profit. Bypass the low-hanging fruit and go after the big opportunities, the ones that inspire and challenge you to grow.

If there was a charity doing something I thought was so important that I should donate a substantial amount of my own money to it, I'd be doing that work myself.

If you give more value than you receive while ensuring you're being treated fairly, and not falling into a pattern of self-sacrifice, the excess value you provide will overflow into public goodwill.


Do your relationships empower or disempower you?
Is something still missing?
What do you contribute to the people closest to you?

Pay special attention to your feelings, since they contain their own predictive intelligence. Positive emotions represent positive predictions, and negative emotions reveal negative predictions.

When something feels wrong to me, I know the best thing I can do is go to the other person and explain that something doesn't seem right so that we can work together to sort it out. When you bring truth to your relationships, you build closeness and trust.

If you stop deliberately injecting fresh truth into your relationship on a regular basis, distance is created by default.

All human relationships are guaranteed to be temporary.

What mix of truth, love, and power do you use to connect with others? Realize that your weakest channel will be the source of many of your communication problems. You can actually achieve significant growth in your relationshipsby learning to use your weakest channel when communicating in addition to your strengths.

In order to connect, we need some overlap in communication styles.
In order to grow, we need some differences in our strategies.

The best relationships increase your power. The point of entering into a relationship is to increase your alignment with truth, love, and power.

Your best relationships will help you meet your needs, fulfill your desires, gain clarity, and feel more connected.

If you succumb to relationships that weaken you or make you feel trapped, you're giving your power away.

What do you really want from your relationships?
What character qualities do you find most attractive in others?

It's important to set standards for deeper levels of bonding.

I don't form very close bonds with those who are dishonest, unintelligent, unaware, apathetic, abusive, unfocused, undisciplined, or irresponsible.

I look for a commitment to conscious growth.

Be careful to avoid relinquishing your power to your relationships. In order to achieve an empowering level of interdependence, you must retain a reasonable degree of independence. If you find yourself unable to make decisions as an individual and must defer to someone else to make all the important choices, you're giving away your power and shirking your responsibility to live your own life.

The best way to break the ice with someone is to assume there never was any ice to begin with.

If your primary relationship prevents you from connecting deeply with others, you have a cage, not a conscious partnership.

(I'm up-front and friendly with people.) If I get a cold response, I move on. Someone who'd respond with aloofness to a friendly overture isn't going to be compatible with me anyway, so there's no need for me to push such people to connect. I'd rather engage with someone who's naturally open and friendly instead of trying to reel in a cold fish.

Don't settle for a life filled with shallow, empty interaction. Go for deep connections, and ensure your life is filled with plenty of heart.

If it's clear that your current situation is leading you astray, end it. Once you're on your own again, you'll have the opportunity to attract a new partner.


Quiet reflection and meditation can be powerful spiritual practices to help you connect within, but it's best if they're combined with abundant social interaction.

Personal relationships can be a tremendous source of spiritual growth. While it's possible for us to fall out of touch with reality if we spend too much time alone, such problems are less likely with abundant interaction. If we become too impractical in our thinking, the people around us will tell us we've gone off the deep end. The pursuit of spirituality is really the pursuit of accuracy, where our goal is to develop the most accurate model of reality we can. If we fail to include other human beings in this model, we toss away too much potentially valid information, and our model is doomed to inaccuracy.

Are you a capitalist? A Christian? A skeptic? The way these questions are asked assumes you must respond with a yes or a no. But this is like asking if you're an eye, an ear, a nose. It would be more sensible to ask questions such as, "Do you understand the viewpoint of Christianity?"

One way to balance yourself financially, emotionally, and spiritually is to center your life around service to others. If you focus your efforts on geniune value creation and contribution, you'll eventually be able to manifest happiness, wealth, and a sense of meaning. If you look at this solution financially, it makes sense. If you look at it emotionally, it also works. And if you look at it spiritually, it works there as well.

How can you effectively train your spiritual depth perception? Find others with different belief systems that seem to empower them in some specific way, and learn from them. Study people from other cultures. Find out why a Buddhist monk seems so calm, why an athlete can maintain such a high fitness level, or why a billionaire is able to enjoy so much financial abundance.