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My brain — Universal Principles

Inspired by — My brain

Examples inspired by “my brain” are simply ones that I thought of myself or that come from my own life.


Surplus of energy

Make use of the moments when you have a surplus of energy to prepare for the times when you know you will be short on energy.

Truckload of novel plots, Robert Huffstutter

For example, pack your gym clothes for the next day before going to bed. Prepare dinner for next day while you’re cooking for today.

June 27, 2011   Comments Off

Trust your instincts

primal instincts, by By WinstonWong*Lately, I’ve been working on a small project at work. When it started I had to make some initial decisions, one of which was a choice between two very similar options. I didn’t fully understand the difference between them, so I just chose one and continued.

Somewhere, I felt that I probably should have taken a few moments to understand that difference, because it did feel rather important. But I felt rushed, so I didn’t.

Halfway into the project, we encountered a problem that forced me to redo most of the work. Guess what was the cause? That very uninformed choice, of course. Had I spent 10 minutes more up front, I’d saved myself several hours of of rework.

Moral of the story? Trust your instincts. Don’t ignore that uneasy feeling that something is not quite right.

May 28, 2011   2 Comments

Read as a teacher

Whenever you read something that you want to learn, read it as if you would teach it to someone else next day. Imagine you should talk about the subject for 10 minutes, giving an summary of the material you are reading. You’ll see that it is when you think about how to explain it to someone else that you will notice where your own understanding is lacking.

SJSA Fifth Grade, by Michael 1952

April 30, 2011   Comments Off

Summarize the year

When one year ends and another begins, it is a natural point to reflect on the year that has passed. As an exercise which might prove rather rewarding, try summarize all the great things you’ve done in the year past. Go through your calendar, your diary, your facebook wall, twitter, notes, your memory, and anything else which might remind you of the positive things you’ve done during the last 12 months. Or look at the principles on this site, and for each of them try to come up with positive examples of when you’ve followed them in your life. Gather all the things you come up with, big and small alike, in one long positive list.

So it goes, by Brian HathcockNow, pick your top 10 things from the list. Merge or summarize multiple items if you feel like it. Try to be concrete. Try to be positive. Don’t be shy even though it might feel like bragging. (It is bragging, and it is okay!)

Then create a document with these 10 items. Limit yourself to a single page. Choose some nice fonts, try to make a nice layout, or perhaps add some pictures. Anything which will make you happy when you look at it. Then print that document and put it clearly visible in your home, where you will see it during the day. It might be in your kitchen, next to your bed, or wherever fits you. Never mind if someone else sees it, that’s okay. After all, you have reason to be proud of the things on that list anyway!

Finally, to take my own advice, here are the 10 things that I’ve done during 2010 that I’m the most proud of.

  • Followed my heart and switched job
  • Purposefully acted to increase quality at my work
  • Got a new apartment with a first hand contract
  • Increased my salary by 10k SEK per month and saved 50k
  • Gained an overview and took control of my personal economy
  • Lived healthily and exercised regularly
  • Became more outgoing, made more presentations, and shared knowledge
  • Put together after works, parties, bachelor parties, and other events
  • Ran regularly and finished the half-marathon G√∂teborgsvarvet
  • Took a very challenging but rewarding course in personal development

December 30, 2010   Comments Off

Do not apologize

Sturnella superciliaris, by Dario Sanches

One of the board member at my first company once said to me: [FTBM]

You never need to apologize for being young or inexperienced. Be humble, certainly, but do not apologize for yourself!

Well, maybe this wasn’t worth publishing. I’m sorry I did. I won’t do it again…

December 30, 2010   2 Comments

So much to learn, so little time

Don't Breathe, by jensmith826

My thoughts on getting older.

I’m getting close to thirty years old. Some people start to panic and want to turn back time or at the very least stop it. I just realized the other day, a much better way to look at it. I’ve lived less than 30 years so far, and I’ve really learned quite a lot! I expect to live at least for 30 more years, perhaps even twice that. Imagine how much I will know in 30 or 60 years! It’s mind-blowing! :-)

My only problem, when I am 90 years old, there will be so many things I still don’t know, and so little time to learn them. ;-)

March 13, 2010   Comments Off

Share your passion

Let’s say you are interested in something. You might read a lot on that subject, you think about it, maybe even talk to other people about it. Perhaps you write notes about it, underline words or sentences in books or magazines.

IMG_0858, by Alysha  JordanIf you recognize yourself in this, here’s my suggestion for you. Don’t just write personal notes about it in a notebook no-one will ever see. Create a simple blog and post your thoughts there.

Now, most likely, you can give me a long list of different reasons why this would be a stupid idea. No-one would ever read it. You don’t know enough about the subject. You don’t have enough time. You are not a good enough speller. It would be embarrassing. People might see it and think you’re stupid. The list goes on.

Do you know where all of these excuses come from? The resistance. Your lizard brain. The part of your brain which is desperately trying to keep you out of danger, to keep things as they are, to be safe. It is your number one enemy to making your life better. It doesn’t want things to be better, just the same. It’s safer that way.

But if you really think about it, does the excuses above really hold water? Would no-one ever read it? Well, if no-one would, then it doesn’t hurt publishing it anyway. You don’t know enough about the subject? Well, if you’re interested enough in it to study it (which probably is more than most people are doing), then you most likely know more about it than most people. Maybe there are people who know more about it than you, but that doesn’t matter. You don’t have enough time? Just keep it simple, and publish the notes you are writing anyway. Would people think you are stupid when they saw it? Well, what if they did? People who think you’re stupid for sharing what you are passionate about aren’t worth knowing or caring about anyway.

In fact, a number of great and well-known blogs have been created this very way. Jeff Atwood, creator of Coding Horror which is arguably the number 1 blog for programmers, has the following to say on why he is blogging.

Mostly for selfish reasons. I needed a way to keep track of software development over time — whatever I am thinking about or working on. I research things I find interesting, then document my research with a public blog post, which I can easily find and refer to later. Hopefully other people will find these posts helpful, relevant, or interesting.

So, if you have passion for a subject, don’t keep that for yourself! Share it with the world, and you might very well notice that you learn even more from it!

February 8, 2010   Comments Off

You must make decisions

Project 365 #5: 050110: Snow Joke, by Pete

One of the realizations that has been most valuable to me.

You must make decisions. Not making a decision is a decision in itself.

Sounds almost stupid, but way too often we hope problems will go away if we don’t think about them.

January 31, 2010   Comments Off

The 7 Ps

Coffs Harbour 50 Megapixel Panorama!, by Erik Veland

A friend of mine told me about an adage named “the 7 Ps”. Apparently, it originates from the British Army. It suggests simply that you should plan properly or face the consequences.

Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance

It’s really that simple.

December 23, 2009   Comments Off