#32: my favourite problems

👋 Welcome to the 32nd volume of Out of Curiosity, a weekly newsletter promoting ideas to help get 1% better everyday.

Every week, I go through nearly 100 pieces of content (from books and podcasts to newsletters and tweets), and bring you the best in this newsletter together with what I publish on my personal blog.

In this issue:

🤔 My 12 favourite problems

📈 Small habits make a difference

🎬 What if you could do it all over?

😐 Is modern society making us depressed?

🌻 100 tips for a better life

🤔 My 12 favourite problems

A few years ago, I started making a list of my principles.

Since then, whenever I read or hear something that aligns with my values (and makes me go HELL YEAH!), I add it to that list. Every once in a while, I merge the ones that are identical in nature and cross out what doesn’t resonate with me anymore.

I then use these principles as a compass to make big or small decisions around my career, relationships and other life areas. I even turn some of them into daily tasks to make sure I’m constantly reminded to follow them.

Recently, I came across a somewhat similar framework popularized by Richard Feynman that intrigued me to think more deeply about my priorities:

You have to keep a dozen of your favourite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will live in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, "How did he do it? He must be a genius!


📈 Small habits make a difference

When we think of compounding we typically think of finance and positive returns. But compounding just reinforces what’s already happening — good or bad. There is no judgment. And compounding works outside of finance. So while we can compound money positively and negatively, we can compound ourselves as well.

The neutrality of compounding is what makes it interesting — as we can get it work for us. If we can replace a negatively compounding habit or mental discipline with one that’s neutral or positive, we instantly get better.

And if we can accelerate positive compounding, we can really see the results.

{2-min read}

🎬 What if you could do it all over?

We do more than we give ourselves credit for; our real lives are richer than we think. This is why, if you keep a diary, you may feel more satisfied with the life you live.

{15-min read}

😐 Is modern society making us depressed?

Johann Hari (author of Lost Connections) joked about his former KFC addiction, and profanely-paraphrased Confucius quote:

If you think life is about money and status and showing off, you’re gonna feel like shit.

The podcast covers a wide range of topics related to this idea that depression is, to a large extent, societally created and what we can do to make our societies happier.

The idea that the state of our mental health is largely a reflection of the world around us.

{93-min listen}

🌻 100 tips for a better life

  • Keep your desk and workspace bare. Treat every object as an imposition upon your attention, because it is.

  • Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation.

  • You can improve your communication skills with practice much more effectively than you can improve your intelligence with practice. If you’re not that smart but can communicate ideas clearly, you have a great advantage over everybody who can’t communicate clearly.

  • How you spend every day is how you spend your life.

And 96 others on rationality, relationships, productivity and self.

{11-min read}

Your home is an extension of your energy field.

This is why practices

like cleaning your home,

rearranging furniture,

organizing your closet

and getting rid of objects that are

cluttering your space can have

a profound impact on your own mind,

body and spirit.

Maryam Hasnaa

Over the last year, I've had the opportunity to connect with several exceptional entrepreneurs and creators!

I'm excited to share our conversations on habits, mindsets and creativity with you all in the podcast format.

Stay tuned for the first episode! In the meantime 👇

Check out the Trailer

👋 Until next week,