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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

The world is getting better

By Christian Staal

Most people think that the world is getting worse. That’s the picture painted by the news. It seems like there’s more violence and misery in the world than ever before.

In reality, the opposite is true: the world is richer, happier, healthier and safer than ever before.


Feeling overwhelmed? Try this.

By Christian Staal

What do you when you’re feeling overwhelmed? My favourite answer to this question comes from Jocko Willink (former Navy SEAL Commander): “Prioritize and execute.”

It’s as simple as that. Make a list, get clear on what’s most important, and executive on your priorities.

Tribe of Mentors (book) by Tim Ferriss, p. 539.

How do you make people feel?

By Christian Staal

People are emotional creatures. When you’re having a discussion, creating a piece of art or helping someone you love, be mindful of your emotional impact on your fellow human beings. As Maya Angelou said: people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. 


How to Win Friends and Influence People (book) by Dale Carnegie.

Origin of the Maya Angelou quote (quoteinvestigator.com).

What are you bad at?

By Christian Staal

It’s never fun to find out that you’re bad at something, but it’s often a blessing in disguise. Everybody has weaknesses, and only by seeing yours clearly, can you overcome them.

In Principles, Ray Dalio puts it eloquently: You shouldn’t be upset if you find out that you’re bad at something – you should be happy that you found out, because knowing that and dealing with it will improve your chances of getting what you want.


Principles (book) by Ray Dalio [from principle #1.10e]

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