How to get attention

By Christian Staal

If you want people’s attention, there are two methods you can use:

  • The Megaphone Method: Be loud and force them to listen. (Examples: spam mails and paid advertising.)
  • The Gift Method: Offer something of value, that people would miss if it disappeared (Examples: TED Talks, free podcasts and many blogs.)

Which method are you using?


Noticed vs. missed (article) by Seth Godin



What is the Meaning of Life?

By Christian Staal

Imagine asking a chess master about the best possible move in chess:

Asking about the meaning of life is the same thing. There is no universal meaning of life – it depends on the circumstances of your life.

Man’s Search for Meaning (book) by Viktor E. Frankl (I totally stole the analogy from this brilliant book!)

Primary Pain vs Secondary Pain

By Christian Staal

Psychologists distinguish between two types of pain:

  • Primary pain relates to a specific event (e.g. worrying about a job interview)
  • Secondary pain is emotional gasoline thrown into the fire (e.g. being sad/angry/worried about being worried)

Secondary pain accounts for more misery than primary pain. You can reduce secondary pain by accepting – rather than fighting – primary pain (one way to train this is meditation).

What do you carry? (Puzzle.blog)
The Upside of Your Dark Side (book) by Robert Biswas-Diener and Todd Kashdan


By Christian Staal

When conducting a post-mortem, you look at what went wrong (why did the patient die? Why did the project fail?). In a pre-mortem you imagine that your project has failed, and then ask yourself:

  • Why did it fail?
  • How can you prevent it from actually happening?



Performing a Project Premortem (Article, Harvard Business Review) by Gary Klein

Meaningful Work: Building a Cathedral

By Christian Staal

A traveller came upon two bricklayers, and asked them what they were doing:

Your perception of your work influences your motivation, productivity and happiness. Are you laying bricks, or building a cathedral?


Man’s Search for Meaning (book) by Viktor Frankl
Want To Make Your Work More Meaningful? (article) by Michelle McQuaid



Tony Robbins’s Secret Weapon: RPM

By Christian Staal

Tony Robbins’s RPM-model helps you stay proactive in tough situations:

R – Results. (What do you want out of this situation?)
P – Purpose. (Why is this important to you?)
M – Map. (Write down everything you can do to achieve your desired results. Then identify the 20% that will produce 80% of the results.)

The trick is to start with why, and follow through with massive action.

The James Altucher Show: 217 –  (Tony explains it right here)

Decision-Making Hack: Which problem do you want?

By Christian Staal

Problem: You have a decision to make, but can’t make up your mind, because you don’t know what you really want.

Solution: Turn the decision on it’s head. Ask yourself which problem you prefer to live with (which negative consequences are you best equipped to handle?). In some cases, this exercise gives you a new perspective.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (book) by Mark Manson

PERMA: A theory of well-being

By Christian Staal

Everybody wants to be happy, but what is happiness? One of the most widely recognised theories of happiness, is Martin Seligman’s PERMA-model, which posits five elements of psychological well-being:

  • Positive emotions (feeling good)
  • Engagement (experiencing flow, using your strengths)
  • Relationships (connecting with other people)
  • Meaning (making a difference)
  • Achievement (accomplishing something worthwhile)

Flourish (book) by Martin Seligman
The New Era of Positive Psychology (TED Talk) by Martin Seligman
Grit (TED Talk) by Angela Duckworth
Flow (TED Talk) by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Second-Order Consequences

By Christian Staal

Do you think about the consequences of your actions? Most people think about the direct effects of their actions (the first-order consequences).

If you want to take your thinking to the next level, start thinking about what happens as a result of the direct effects of your actions (the second-order consequences).

Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform (article) by Farnam Street.

Principles (book) by Ray Dalio

The Peak-End Rule

By Christian Staal

Think of one of your most cherished memories. What do you think determines how you remember it today? You would think that your memory of the experience is determined by how good you felt, and for how long. However, research shows that the duration of an experience is mostly neglected when we think about our past.

Two things influence how you remember an experience: how you felt at the emotional peak of the experience, and how you felt at the end. 

The riddle of experience vs. memory (TED Talk) by Daniel Kahneman
Thinking, Fast and Slow (book) by Daniel Kahneman

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