6 things I learnt this week: 9th August 2019

Taking time to do a “business plan” for your life is an amazing thing to do. I’ve spent countless months of my life doing them for work, and so why not for my own life? I always value the process of taking time away from the noise and focusing on a clean vision and how to execute it – turns out, it’s even more fun doing it for your life. I’ve spent the last 6 weeks doing the Lifebook Onlinecourse through Mindvalley and it’s been incredible – clarifying and hugely motivating. I will write a detailed post on the programme but it’s worth taking a look if you can allocate 3-4 hours per week for 6 weeks. I’ve also met a brilliant 3,000-strong community of like-minded people from around the world thanks to its Facebook Tribe.
Duolingo is a fantastic – and highly addictive – app for learning languages.Thanks to my Lifebook introspection, I decided to dust off my knowledge of French again. Duolingo is a seriously clever way of building vocabulary and grammar lessons through themed modules. The default pace is pretty thorough but you can test out of each level and pick up speed more quickly. The most common languages on Duolingo are Spanish and English, and more people are now learning Irish through Duolingo than there are native Irish speakers left – incredible! Tempted to dust off my German too and pick up Italian along the way … 
The best way to read a non-fiction book is not cover-to-cover initially but to (1) check out the contents to get a grasp of the overall structure and (2) go through it once quickly, skimming it and reading in particular the last page of each chapter, where the author usually can’t resist summing up the chapter’s main argument. Then you can go back through and read it thoroughly. This makes a lot of sense to me. This is the conclusion of How to Read a Book, by Charles Van Doren and Mortimer Adler. I had heard that this was a bit of a tome so I cheated and instead read the amazing notes by Derek Sivers …
Derek Sivers has quickly become my go-to for incredible book notes. I often google a book name preceded by Sivers to (a) get a jist for the main structure / content / arguments of the book and (b) see if it’s worth my reading in full. I particularly love Derek’s brain and his site is free, but the Blinkist app does a similar job of summarising books. If you need any ideas for a reading list, his is well worth checking out and is sorted high-low from a 10/10 rating down. https://sivers.org/book
The Money Dial is a cool concept by Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to be Rich. Tim Ferriss interviewed him on his podcast and it’s a great episode. I loved the Money Dial concept. HIs argument is that we should spend a good % of our income on the stuff that is most important to us (even asking ourselves the question, what would my travel / fitness / car look like if I spent 10x my current budget on it?), while being incredibly careful – tight, basically – on the stuff that we don’t care about. It’s made me feel less bad about the copious amounts we spend on buying the best food for our family, while anyone who’s seen our car will know that we’re not getting caught up spending in the areas we’re not bothered about! (NB, I wasn’t crazy about Sethi’s book but the podcast is a good listen)
RAIN can be a useful acronym to help you with addiction. Addiction can be defined as “continued use despite adverse consequences” and therefore we’re all addicts – Instagram scrolling anyone? Judson Brewer, author of The Craving Mind, says that mindfulness can be much more effective than willpower. When he urges a smoker to be very mindful when smoking their next cigarette, they often notice that it tastes and smells disgusting to them! RAIN = 
Recognise – realise how you feel when a craving arises and what’s triggering it 
Allow – invite it in, be with what’s arising – don’t push the craving away. This allows you to get close to it, so you can …
Investigate – choose curiosity over craving. Switch from unpleasant craving to pleasant curiosity. What’s happening in my body / my mind? Then you realise it’s just sensations 
Note – out loud, what your experience is – map out what you’re sensing when in the craving. Then you realise it’s temporary. 
I haven’t read the book but his interview on the Goop podcast is very good.

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