🔥 The Fireside #18

Deliberate life, Life-changing ideas and How to read.

🔥 The Fireside #18

Welcome to Issue 18 of TheFireside!

And more importantly: Welcome to 2020 :)

Recently I’ve done a great deal of thinking about what I’ve achieved in the last decade and what I want to achieve in the next one.

And I’ve realised two things. The first one is that if we don’t take a break every now and then in our busy lives to list and celebrate our achievements, we will feel like we have not achieved much.

Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
- Bill Gates

The second thing I’ve realised is that if we are not deliberate in designing our life for the outcomes we want, whether is spending more time with our family, running a successful business, do deep and meaningful work, etc, life will take over and dictate its priorities on us.

So go ahead and make a list of what you’ve achieved in the last 10 years. You will feel instantly better. Here’s my list.

What I’ve achieved in the last decade:

  • traveled to 33 countries
  • started 2 companies
  • became fluent in a second language (English)
  • created a lifestyle with a fairly large degree of freedom
  • last but not least… I found the love of my life :)

What I want to achieve in the next 10 years:

  • kids
  • buy a house
  • maybe buy a farm
  • achieve total financial and geographical freedom
  • being more deliberate in how I design my life

On to The Fireside...

New blog posts: speaking of celebrating achievements, this is my Year in Review post  about everything I’ve done (or not done) in 2019.

New Book: and speaking of living a more deliberate life, one of the best books I’ve read recently is “Digital Minimalist” by Cal Newport. It’s a book about our addiction, as a society, to technology (especially social-media) and how we can be more deliberate about our relationship with it instead of just using it mindlessly. (PS: Another book from this author, “So good they can’t ignore you“ was mentioned in TheFireside #15)

On to The Fireside...

💡 Ideas that changed my life

[Manuel's best pick] You spend years trying to learn new stuff but then look back and realize that maybe 10 big ideas truly changed how you think and drive most of what you believe. This post is about half a dozen of such big ideas.

🎧 AirPods are a tragedy

Apple AirPods symbolise everything that is wrong with consumerism: an overpriced product designed to last 18 months and then die.

“Even if you only own AirPods for a few years, the earth owns them forever. They can’t be easily recycled, because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell. When you die, your bones will decompose in less than a century, but the plastic shell of AirPods won’t decompose for at least a millennia.

🥇 The Surprisingly Relaxed Lives of Elite Achievers

Most people think elite players are such because they are more dedicated and willing to put in the long hours. But according to several studies, it’s not the number of hours spent practicing that make you an elite player, but rather what you do during these hours. There is a special type of practice that makes you more likely to achieve elite status.

Important read if your goal is to produce high-quality work while also working less. (I also recommend this related read from the same author, Cal Newport, who’s also the author of the book mentioned above “Digital Minimalist“)

📚 How to Read: Lots of Inputs and a Strong Filter

Books are easily the investment with the highest ROI on the planet. A book costs, on average, $10 to $20 so even if only 1 every 100 books you read changes your life in a significant way, the return on investment is outrageously high.

However most people still think they must read books to the end, even when they don’t like them or they are not valuable. So how do you solve this and start getting a lot out of reading: lots of inputs and a strong filter.

🎓 What you’ll wish you’d known

This 15 years old essay by Paul Graham, wrote originally for a high school talk, contains some of the best advice ever about finding your path in life. While the vast majority of you are probably not in high-school anymore, anyone can learn something from it, especially if you have kids or are just interested in education.

★ Other things from the internet

(That may or may not make you look smart at dinner parties)

🏃🏻‍♂️ The craziest sport event of all time

The 1904 Summer Olympics Men's marathon is easily the craziest sport event ever recorded. Among other things:

  • Temperatures during the marathon reached 33 °C (92 °F) and humidity reached into the 90s. Despite this, the only source of water for the competitors was a well at about the 11-mile mark.
  • The first to arrive at the finish line, Fred Lorz, actually dropped out of the race after nine miles and hitched a ride back to the stadium in a car, waving at spectators and runners alike during the ride. When the car broke down at the 19th mile, Lorz re-entered the race and jogged across the finish line.
  • The actual winner of the event, Thomas Hicks, received several doses of strychnine (a common rat poison, which stimulates the nervous system in small doses) mixed with brandy. He continued to battle onwards, hallucinating, barely able to walk for most of the course. Despite this, the judges decided this was acceptable, and gave him the gold medal.
  • Another participant called William Garcia was found lying in the road along the marathon course with severe internal injuries caused by breathing the clouds of dust kicked up by the race officials' cars.
  • 18 out of 32 entrants didn’t even finish the race and the winner recorded the slowest winning time ever - 3:28:45.

☀️ The ACTUAL scale of the solar system

Have you ever seen a model of the solar system? I mean, an ACTUAL scale model of the solar system?

💵 Explained by marketing

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? And you should get 10,000 steps a day to be healthy, correct? Wrong. Or rather, we have no scientific evidence for it. Then why do these “truths“ persist? Because it’s great for marketing and easy to remember, despite it being completely made up.