Notes to Myself

Below is an ongoing list of advice I’ve compiled for myself in a note in my phone. I started writing it as a way to remember the things that have worked well for me in the past because I was tired of forgetting them, then having to rediscover them months or years later. The cycle would go something like this:

  • I’d find something that worked well for me -- a habit, a mindset, a food, anything.
  • I’d integrate it into my life for a while.
  • I’d eventually forget about it weeks or months later and would have to solve the same problem from scratch multiple times.
  • I’d eventually rediscover this thing that had helped me in the past and integrate it into my life once again.

This list covers various areas of my life and is somewhat random. It’s mostly unedited, except for clarity and (most) grammatical errors.

In my phone, at the top of the list, I’ve written:


Full disclosure -- I don’t look at this list often enough. Hopefully sharing it here with you will help me follow my own advice more regularly. (Don't let the numbered list fool you, it is in no particular order).


1. “You don’t have to create a masterpiece every single day. Some days you just need to paint.” (something Vanessa told me when I was beating myself up for not creating something amazing every day).

2. It’s important that you stick to talking about what’s important to you and what you find interesting, not what you think other people will find interesting. When you talk about what you find interesting, that’s where you’ll have the most insight and unique perspectives. The people who have contributed most to the world have identified where their true interests lie and centered all of their work around it.

3. Speak with confidence. You are just as smart as the people you admire and even smarter in some areas. Be confident of the validity and strength of your own ideas, perspectives, and arguments.

4. I feel best when I:
- Wake up early.
- Do physical activity during the day to tire myself out.
- Work on things I'm excited about.
- Eat a high protein, moderate carb diet.
- Go to sleep early.
- Sleep 7-8 hours.

5. Foods that my body loves (in pretty much any quantity):
Sweet potatoes, eggs, turkey, mangoes, berries, all coconut products, walnuts, hemp seeds, oats, green powders.

6. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be lighthearted. Nothing is that big of a deal. Nobody cares that much. Your existence is less than a speck in time. Have fun while you’re here.

7. Release expectations of the outcome and just enjoy the process.

8. The more you behave independently from the opinions of others, the more attractive you become.

9. Momentum in life comes from increased fluidity, a willingness to always try more, to continually move in a less constricted fashion, even (and especially) as you experience success.

10. Trust yourself. Trust your intuition. Trust your wisdom. Trust your knowledge. You already have the answers you’re looking for. You already know what to do, what to say and how to act in every situation. Every life experience you’ve ever had is recorded in your subconscious mind and you have access to all of it -- every movie you’ve watched, every book you’ve read, every class you’ve taken, everything you’ve learned. The subconscious mind never forgets. Life is easier when you follow the guidance of your subconscious rather than trying to logic your way through every little thing.

11. Always be prepared. Plan for the worst, expect the best. Never be caught off-guard.

12. Always look for ways to give and serve others. Expect nothing in return. “If you’re not making someone else's life better, you're wasting your time.” -- Will Smith

13. Act like someone is always watching you (because they probably are). Who you are when no one is watching you is how you will be perceived when they are.

14. Stop thinking there is something else you need to be doing. Just be present and enjoy what you are doing now.

15. Simply being aware of the fact that life is a mental game puts you way ahead and tilts things in your favor.

16. When listening to a podcast (or any material I want to internalize) listen as though the speaker is talking directly to me -- as if I was the one who asked the question they are answering. Also, listen as though you have to teach it to someone else later.

17. Don’t create content for the masses. Create for one or two specific people, as if you were writing a message to a friend.

18. Have confidence in yourself. Most people are too self-conscious/wrapped up in their own lives to tell you you’re doing a good job (even though they may think very highly of you).

19. You don’t have to feel alone when trying to figure out the world. For any subject you want to learn, or question you have, there are others who have come before you that have wanted to learn the same thing. There are other people like you, you just have to find them. (IWantToLearn subreddit, Quora, etc.)

20. You might only need one or two really good ideas to improve 80%+ of your life (Pareto’s law). Figure out what those are. It’s not so much about knowing every single personal development strategy, but about finding the ones that have the most "bang for your buck" when applied to your life.

21. Act like the person you want to be.

22. Tips for avoiding information overwhelm and learning more effectively:

  • Don't think you need to remember everything. Trust that the information you need will be there when you need it, as long as you were present when you initially received the information.
  • Organize information hierarchically in order to discern what’s important (Principles, strategies, tactics).
  • Focus on information you will use now, not at some point in the unforeseeable future.

23. Don’t over-learn. Cramming your brain with too much stuff too often can clog it up and make you feel mentally foggy. Take a break from reading/studying every so often to give your brain a chance to absorb what you’ve learned. Research shows that if you give yourself time to “forget” information just enough to be able to recall it later, it will have a better chance of sticking with you because you strengthen that neural connection.

24. "I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten. Even so, they have made me.” -- Emerson

Translation: It’s okay if you don’t remember every detail of every book. Over time, the ideas seep into your subconscious and influence you in ways you’re not even fully aware of. “The person you will be in five years depends largely on the books you read, the people you spend time with, etc”

25. “Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think.” -- Einstein

Translation: Don’t concern yourself so much with learning facts or memorizing other people’s ideas. Rather, concern yourself with learning how the people you admire arrived at their conclusions so you can arrive at your own. Focus on first principles.

26. “Leap and the net will appear.” -- Zen proverb

27. Creativity is just connecting things.

28. "You create value by finding the connection between two or more things that no one else has seen before and making a third unique thing for the world."-- The War of Art

29. You need restrictions. You are more creative and do better work when you have restrictions as opposed to when you feel you can do anything. This goes for structuring your day, too. Discipline equals freedom. 

30. Philosophy over tactic.

31. Sometimes people just need something to relate to, not a tidy personal development strategy. (Think: music).

32. What makes me qualified to teach others? An expert is someone who knows more than the person they are teaching. We are all “experts” to someone else. (The better I get, the higher level of student I will attract).

33. Reading helps you figure yourself out.