The 1 thing you need for decision making

If anyone has ever read Poor Charlie Munger’s Almanack, a fantastic insight into the partner of one of the best Investors on the planet. You will know what I mean when I say using multiple mental frameworks for making decisions.

I wholeheartedly agree with attacking things from multiple angles. When testing software such as apps or websites, you must have in mind the user, the product manager and the developer. Then attack from all those angles to improve the value of the software.

Charlie Munger though, takes it a lot further. Suggesting that we should use the basics of Maths, Psychology, Engineering, Biology including evolutionary biology to solve our problems. Suggesting to derive some 80 different types of mental frameworks from these subjects. Of course,  you can broaden the topics you find your mental models from, but not shrink them.

A very interesting and useful concept. It may seem difficult and odd to think of solving problems on these levels, but it can be done. Plus, it’s extremely effective in weeding out some of those things that you hadn’t thought about, because you are using multiple viewpoints.

For example, setting up new businesses, in the new world of software, we want to give the customer fast feedback on what is being created. This is so that you don’t waste huge amounts of effort that will not be useful to the customer later on.

This simple principle can be applied into any aspect of setting up a business. If you have an idea in mind, it’s much better to try it quickly and cheaply, then gather feedback and iterate over the idea.

Starting up a new business from an evolutionary perspective, you would try an array of ideas and pick the ones that shows promise and iterate over that until 1 or 2 ideas have wings.

I’ve just used a few mental models here to show you, but these can be broken down and looked at from even more mental models, like quality, decision tree theory, basic algebra, efficient ecosystems, human psychology and many more.

I believe that what we learn in one discipline is transferred in other disciplines. As you can see, things that I have learnt in software engineering have been transferred over into other areas like business and vice versa. I don’t see why you cannot transfer lessons learnt from martial arts and transfer those into your daily lives, while on the job or with your family life!

What opportunities do you have to attack problems from these new and wonderful viewpoints? If you’re not doing so, why not give it a try? You will be amazed at what you will find!


How to love the process

I’ve been away for a while and now I have come back to rescue my blog life 🙂

I wanted to talk about enjoying the learning experience. I have touched on this in my previous post, progress over perfection.

I’ve been trying to find a way to understand what this truly means and how to capture it. But I have come to realise that it doesn’t come from a realisation, it’s something that you do.

We live in times where we want the end results instantly, when things go wrong, we sort of get very frustrated and annoyed. Are we failing ourselves? Why can’t I do this? These types of questions. The important point to take away from this is that it’s not a failure at all, but rather an on going process of refinement. Refining our tools, our skill and reaching mastery.

Mastery has many obstacles and challenges, sometimes we must take a step back and slow down, in order to go forwards. It becomes frustrating to force yourself to do the things that you don’t want, because we want the end result quicker than the process allows. When we are not in unison with this concept, our failings begin to show.

I am talking about this because it’s been on my mind lately and I have gone through the frustrating times. Questioning myself and getting all to annoyed.

I want you to take away one thing to help you on your road to Mastery. That is, we must enjoy the learning process and only expend energy in that part. The goals we plant, but we must rotate the cogs in order for the machine to function.

A good way of doing this is to forget the the outcome, winning or losing is what causes us the pain, we love too far into the future when we are in this mode of pain. Just think about the enjoyment of your present self.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Why I choose progression over perfection!

To perfect or not to perfect?

Perfection is an idea. The idea of ‘perfection’ in my mind is most likely different to what perfection in your own mind is, which means, it must be subjective as with most things in life. So when we say we are ‘perfectionists’ or wanting something to be perfect, we want it to be it’s most ideal case. This idealistic view can be motivating, and it can also be very dangerous to our productivity. Think about it, when we start at the bottom of the mountain and look up, we see a mammoth task ahead of us. Now, imagine that perfection personifies the mountain. The mountain is an ever growing one, which means we will never reach it no matter how high we go up, because we will always see the flaw in our idea or creation. When we compare what we have with our idealistic view, or perfectionist state, it causes us to get frustrated and confused. Worse still, it can even paralyse us because we feel so inadequate, even though what we have actually done is excellent.

Progress over perfection

The idea that progression is the way forward is much better for our psychology and well being. That’s because, we are focusing on our improvement and that excites us and motivates us. How many times in your life have you felt extremely happy that you accomplished something, however minor it may seem, like tidying up your house, or getting that raise. This is very true to when we apply it to our goals, as long as we are going one step closer to our goals and seeking progression toward them, we are living our dream. This helps us live in the moment and not in the future, which is what the idea of perfection does.

The idea of living now means that you are truly living your life to the fullest, you are able to sense all the small things that you wouldn’t have noticed before.

Progress with high standards!

Not being a perfectionist does not mean that we still do not have high standards for our goals and dreams. We still make sure that we are doing our work to the best of our ability, and to the standards that WE set. It keeps us much more motivated to consistently hit our standards, and continue our excellent work.

The key is to practice being in the moment, and having presence now, coupled with discipline and routine, we can achieve tremendous things with these powerful forces.

The other thing I love about progression is that, although it is a never ending task, it means that you will always be improving, while living in the moment. This does wonders for your well being, and mental attitude. It’s a much more positive way of living. This is why I choose to focus on progress over perfection 🙂 What do you think? What are your thoughts on this matter? I’d love to hear them.

Why you need to focus on yourself first

I remember the times when I was trying my hardest to help those around me get better from their problems. I’d be there for them any time and I would drop everything to help them out. This isn’t always a bad thing, the problem was that I was also bottling up things inside myself. I would feel like I wanted them to come and help me without them even knowing that I was hurting inside! How was I supposed to help others, but not help myself? I would constantly give advice to my friends and rarely take that advice myself. How many of us have been in that situation before? And before I knew it, I was exploding my bottled feelings to the nearest casualty, usually the same friends/family that I was trying to help previously.

I realised the act of building these things up inside of me was not very healthy at all. I needed some way of overcoming these emotions and the best way, I realised, was to help myself get better by taking necessary steps to ensure that I was looking after myself, before I was able to help anyone else.

This isn’t a selfish thing to do, because you need to make sure you are well before you can offer advice to others. If we are giving advice that we do not follow, doesn’t that make us hypocrites? If this is still difficult for you to understand, then look at it this way; in an aeroplane when there is an emergency and the oxygen masks drop down, they tell you to put YOUR OWN oxygen mask on BEFORE anyone else’s. That’s right, before the old man next to you or the little toddler that’s opposite you. You do that first and foremost, THEN you help the other person with theirs if they need it.

Okay, the above example is life and death, but it’s psychologically the same thing here, if we help others before we help ourselves, then we are left with lots of problems built up inside that aren’t being addressed.

So, what are some of the ways that you can help yourself?

1) Make sure you give yourself time to follow your hobbies and passions.

I like to bang on about following your passions because this is a great way to express yourself and immerse yourself in these actions.

2) Learning to say no to requests

It may be difficult to say no to requests and invitations to social events but you need to be fair to yourself and give some time to yourself too.

3) Giving yourself plenty of rest

This is more important that anything, it’s vital to do this since how can you do anything well when you’re always tired?

4) Add some structure and routine to your life

Adding structure breeds discipline and discipline breeds structure. Doing this will help you manage your life in the best way.

Please be aware that I am not saying you should become self-centered and only think of your own gains. Rather, that you need to understand your own needs and put your wellbeing at the forefront. People like you and me, we like to help others. I’ve found that in doing so, it’s because I expect an outcome or literally put all my effort in all the time and not taking the time to rest yourself.

Ironically, helping others makes us feel good, and to practice this daily would be a good thing for us. Though not to the detriment of your health. Life is a balance and without a set of principles to discipline you, it will do with you what it likes. However, before you can help others (unless you’re forced to) you must know and understand yourself. If you understand yourself, you can understand others better.


Why it isn’t what happens to you but how you handle it that matters

I remember when I was young, I grew up without a father to properly help support me but my mum and the rest of my family kind of made up for that in a lot of ways. However, in some other ways I still used to feel the emptiness. I used to question why this happened to us, why were we subjected to this hardship? What did I do to deserve this? Sound familiar?

It may sound familiar because we all feel self pity at some point in our lives. We all want people to stop and give you a helping hand or drop whatever they have to aid us. Sometimes it’s necessary, but often I’ve found that doesn’t help a great deal. I’ve kicked myself mentally and wondered why I can’t change my situation.

The key is closer to home than you think. I started to understand that things will always happen to you, be it good or bad. We can’t change that, we can’t even change the environment that we may find ourselves in easily, sometimes. But it’s not what happens to you, it’s HOW you deal with it and how QUICKLY you can get back up.

Life is a boxing match

In a boxing match, the two fighters can take a beating, imagine if one boxer took a little break every time he got hit. How would that make the boxer feel? Probably like he is never going to get the upper hand. But that’s not what they do, they quite quickly get their composer back and figure out how to get their opponent down!

This same mentality can be translated into our everyday life. Life is that other boxer who is hitting you every now and again. You are the fighter taking the hits but not doing anything about it. Let that punch hit you if it does, so what? Now you come back, gain your composure and strike back with action! The only way to fight back is to fight back with composure and calmness.

So whenever life is hitting you and overwhelming you, just take a step back, find a place and a time in the day to block everything out and decompress. Do this by taking three long deep breaths from the diaphragm. You can stay there longer if you want. Now go back out there and plan your way to fight through to success in your own heart.

“Nobody is going to hit as hard as life, but it isn’t how hard you get hit, it’s how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” – Rocky Balboa

10 Ways to improve your self confidence

Welcome back guys, we are already in February and I’m grateful for all of you readers who have been reading my blog 🙂 I am wanting to expand my horizon and will be reaching out to other bloggers soon.

In this week’s Tuesday post I’m going to talk about the ways to improve your self confidence, from my experience.

In my past, I remember trying to improve my confidence even though at times I seemed to be loud and the life of the party, my confidence in my true ability was low. It did affect me and I wanted to break away from that. I also remember that one of the first things that I remember thinking was, to improve myself I must change the way I think. I’ve decided to list some things that I feel are strong ways to improve your self confidence.

1) Lo and behold, the first thing on my list is to improve your thought pattern. Improving your thought patterns  will help you improve your confidence. Just by altering the way you think, you can change your life.

2) Putting yourself in situations that are unfamiliar to you. You can learn an incredible amount by just putting yourself in unfamiliar situations. You will learn how to adapt, whether you like that situation and lots of other things about yourself.

3) Being grateful does wonders for your confidence. A great way to do this is to list all the things you are happy for right now. From all the hardships you have overcome to all those people in your life you truly support you.

4) Congratulate yourself on those small Victories. Whenever you have accomplished something, however small. Give yourself a pat on the back.

5) Be proud of your past suffering and hardships. Being accepting of your past, even if you weren’t the best person in the world is one of the best things you can do. You accept that you have had hardships and even through all of that you have still made it to where you are now. Let that fire you up!

6) Listening to music that uplifts you. I’m not joking! I listen to music that actually fires me up and has meaning to me. I really do feel like I can conquer anything when I listen to these types of songs.

7) Living with a set of defined principles. This is very important. Most people either adopt some principles and follow then weakly or don’t really have them at all. Now, of course it’s not easy to always follow them, but if you live by a set of principles then watch how your life has depth and meaning. For example, you could say one of your principles is not to lie, how many people do you know wholeheartedly abide by this?

8) List all of your strengths. By writing down your strengths or even listing them in your head, you invoke a feeling of strength and power. These are powerful emotions you can use to triumph.

9) Stand on your own two feet and make decisions that you feel will be good for you. Getting advice is a good thing and should be encouraged. However, you should also realise that their situation is different from yours and yours is different from someone else’s. So if someone is telling you to do this or that, question whether that is also what you want.

10) Look after yourself. I’ve said this before, but when you put the needs of others in front of your needs all the time, you will eventually wear out. This may seem noble in the beginning, but you’re only damaging yourself here.

Truthfully there are a lot of ways to improve your self confidence, but there is a principle underlying them all and that is to focus on improving yourself. Once you have learnt how to improve yourself, you can shift your focus a little more to helping others improve themselves. Since you have actually walked the path yourself, you have some experience of what it’s like.

5 steps to help you develop a powerful inner core

Developing a strong mental mind frame isn’t an easy task, but it isn’t as daunting to start off than you would think. People can be happy living in a life that has no purpose or direction and if that’s what makes you happy, then there nothing anyone can say to you! Sure, having a rough aim and guide to your career path is great, but what about the other aspects of your life? What about your principles and what you stand for? Most people accept their viewpoints from what is being forced down our throats by others.

It’s time to take back control of your life about and become a powerful individual, something that is overlooked.

1) Listen to your internal dialog

I’ve thought about this for a little while and when I remember starting on my journey. The first thing I’d make sure was right, was how I thought. I ask myself, how is this situation making me feel? Am I jealous? Angry? Indifferent?

Is your internal monologue more self defeating or self uplifting? Even starting to become more aware of this will help you understand your behaviours more. From gaining awareness of it you can change it.

2) Do one thing that gets you one step closer to your goal everyday

Everyday I aim to do some things big or small that gets me one step closer to my goal. That could be preparing a blog post, or researching investment topics. After I do this, I feel great, like I am accomplishing something.

It is the small things we do that will add up in the end that will be the difference between you getting to your target and not getting it.

3) Treat yourself like you would your best friend

This is so important and overlooked really easily. I know because even without realising, I piled on the pressure for myself and wouldn’t let myself have a well deserved rest because I didn’t feel like I could. It’s important to congratulate yourself and tell yourself, “you did well today”.

Do you give yourself a pat on the back whenever you’ve achieved something? They can be big or small. Victories don’t have to be gigantic. Make sure you treat yourself how you would your best friend! You wouldn’t beat your friend down if he made achieved mistake. So why are you doing it to yourself?

4) Practice detachment

This is a more challenging step, but something that is very rewarding if done correctly.This may seem contradictory, but actually, the act of doing should be the focus, not the end goal. Sure, we set a goal but from then on, you focus on the steps involved to get there.. not the end goal. It is the now when we are alive and we should focus on that more often 🙂

By doing this we don’t worry about the outcome. We don’t become attached to whether we succeed or fail. Other forms of detachment can go much deeper, but I will talk about that more in a later post!

4) Imagine your best version of yourself

Do you ever imagine how your greatest self is? Do you ever imagine a character in history or the films and think, I can be that person. Imagine yourself as that strong character and how you would deal with issues great or small. By visualising your best self, you actually become it.

Above all, is discipline, (I know I said 5!), but without discipline, it’s no easy task to develop a strong inner core. A core that allows you to be yourself wherever you go. A core that allows you to not put on a mask and pretend to be somebody you’re not. Real before everything and it starts with discipline!