The pursuit of discomfort: a road to a big life

You might have heard of ‘hygge’, loosely translated as comfy or cozy in Danish, a word that has gained quite a lot of prominence recently in the popular Western culture. The concept acutely represents our species relentless pursuit for more and more ease and comfort in our lives.
 
Evolutionary psychologists would likely explain this search for ease through the inherent lack of danger, strenuous effort, or other waste of precious energy.  Ironically, however, while avoiding doing anything close to your mental or physical limits and experiencing discomfort may decrease wasting energy, with absolute comfort we actually step onto a slowly descending escalator to decay and disintegration.
 

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Mastering Yourself: 7 Paths to Developing Self Discipline

self-discipline
Imagine what would your life look like if you’d be able to do everything you ever set out to do without fail. No more missed training sessions, unwritten paragraphs, or ‘accidental’ afternoon sugar bombs. The good news is that you can live that life once you master self discipline. The bad news? Well, as humans we’re not exactly predisposed for accomplishing our goals through discipline.
Underscoring its importance, I see discipline also as the predecessor of habits, which are the cornerstone of long lasting behavioural change.  Anyone who’s even tried to develop new habits such as waking up early, eating healthy, or exercising more, knows that it is easier said than done. Particularly after the early eagerness and excitement evaporates, it requires tremendous self discipline to keep going before the new behaviour becomes hard wired into our operating system.
Given the role of self discipline on the journey to living a great life, I scoured the internet for ways to develop the control over my actions. Disillusioned by the available advice I decided to collate some actionable ideas I’ve found helpful, hopefully you’ll find them useful on your journey too.

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How to Become World Class at Asking Questions

thinking

Answers form our world and our beliefs, but they are always proceeded by questions. We focus on getting the answers we want, but forget to probe if we have the right questions. Intelligent questioning is one of most effective ways to influence both others and ourselves, yet it’s a skill not taught for most of us in any formal way. Through my own pursuit for asking better questions, I uncovered some ideas that can work as ladders on the pursuit for world class questioning. Read More

Happiness and the pursuit for growth & innovation – mutually exclusive?

 mountains

When you ask someone what’s their ultimate goal in life, most people would probably say happiness. In the pursuit of this elusive feeling we’re ready to work endless hours in a corporate world slowly climbing the ladder, or grinding the startup life waiting for the big brake. Happiness awaits us after the next promotion or after the IPO, we tell ourselves. But what happens once you manage to “reach” happiness? If you’re happy with how things are now, why would you continue to strive for more? Assuming you believe that as a human race we’re galaxies away from perfection, losing the drive to change and improve would be massively detrimental and would stagnate both an individual and a society. So the real question becomes, how can we be happy but not lose our hunger for reaching higher?

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76 days of learnings – Journal as a mirror to your mind

manuscript

Whether you’re keeping a journal or writing as a meditation, it’s the same thing. What’s important is you’re having a relationship with your mind. ~ Natalie Goldberg

For a long time I thought that a writing a diary or a journal is for those, who can’t cope with their emotional storms and had to channel their thoughts on paper. I even read somewhere that women who kept a diary were more likely to end their relationships since they could go back into the negative moments with their partners though the text, moments that otherwise would have been forgotten. But the more I read about famous philosophers, artists and entrepreneurs, the more I noticed a pattern of keeping a journal to measure and reflect. I started to see how writing can morph into a mirror and a benchmark, if used correctly. It can empower us to understand ourselves better and help with focusing our energy on things that matter.

During the past four years I’ve been trying to keep a journal where I write about different aspects of life. Unfortunately the practice has been extremely irregular and during these four years I’ve managed to scribble down around hundred entries. One of the things I decided to track after the first year was what have I learned during today. The idea was that if I’d learn something small every day, I’d be 365 bits wiser at the end of the year. In addition to forcing you to seek education every single day, by reflecting on the day’s teaching, you’re much more likely to remember it in the long run.

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Conquering the water – my journey from 50 to 2000 meters

swimming-pool

Yesterday I swam 2000 meters in a row for the first time in my life. It took me around 54 minutes, which is not very spectacular by any standards. What makes it more significant, however, is that mere two years ago I had a hard time getting from one end of the pool to the other. I attributed my deficiencies in the water to challenges in breathing because of asthma, which turned out to be complete BS.

In my early 20s I decided that I want to master the element of water. I saw myself doing mornings swims in the ocean, and participating in the Ironman competitions, which inspired taking action. Probably one of the events that sparked the ultimate change was watching a TED talk by Tim Ferris, where he described his own journey to mastering the skill of swimming. I could easily relate to his story and made the commitment to give it a try. My progress certainly wasn’t linear nor always easy, but I can say with clarity now – it was totally worth it. For example I’ve since gotten the PADI scuba diving licence, which would have been totally impossible few years back.

In this article I will lay out the biggest mistakes I made and how you can avoid them. The goal is to provide inspiration and practical tips to anyone who’s struggling the same way I was. This is not meant to be a comprehensive or scientific list, but rather a bunch of lessons from someone who’s been there and learned the hard way.

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