Are you bad at something? Good for you!

By Christian Staal

Discovering that you have a weakness can be frustrating. However, we all have weaknesses, and it’s much better to be aware of them than to think that you’re perfect. Next time you discover that you’re bad at something, resist the temptation to feel sorry for yourself. Your weakness was there all along, and your new-found self-awareness has made you wiser and better equipped for reaching your goals. Awesome! 🥳⭐️💪


Principles (book) by Ray Dalio

Where do you get your news?

By Christian Staal

Most people are blind to the progress happening in the world. One reason is that news media mostly report on what is going wrong, as illustrated in this drawing by Matt Wuerker:

If you want a more optimistic and accurate worldview, it’s worth supplementing your news diet with:


Learning from Gandhi

By Christian Staal

A mother seeks out Gandhi, to ask for his help:


… being a good example is the strongest kind of leadership.


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (book) by Stephen Covey

The 8th Habit (book) by Stephen Covey


The New Puzzle.blog

By Christian Staal

Thanks to those of you who responded to my latest post. Puzzle.blog will continue, but at a slower pace. Instead a new post every week, there will be new posts once in a while.

Would You Miss This Blog?

By Christian Staal

Here’s the thing: I’m doing too many projects at the same time. I’m thinking about stopping puzzle.blog. If you’re loving this blog, and would be sad if it was gone, please let me know.

The Hedonic Treadmill

By Christian Staal

Most people assume that getting what we want (promotions, romance, world domination) will bring us happiness. But in most cases the effect is short-lived. This is because of The Hedonic Treadmill: Humans rapidly adapt to new circumstances, and therefore take things for granted, once we have them. The bright side is, that this same mechanism protects us, when something bad happens.

Hedonic treadmill (Wikipedia)
Reprieve (essay) by Tim Kreider
For a different perspective: read the chapter on happiness in Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

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

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