Art of Learning


#313 Keep it Achievable, Pleasurable, Sustainable

I’ve been publishing daily posts for 300+ days now.

The secret?

Writing less.

  • I don’t want to spend hours writing daily posts, so I keep them short.

  • I don’t want to drag myself to a 4-day writing session to create all posts for the coming week in advance (then not write for the rest of the week)

  • I don’t want to set writing goals that are painful to reach and make me feel burnt out.

  • I do want to write a little bit every day, so I prove to myself every single day that I’m a writer.

  • I do want to feel that writing that daily post is achievable and fun.

  • I do want to build momentum.

Keep it achievable. Keep it pleasurable. Keep it sustainable.

In other words: Tiny Trust Builders.


#310 Normalize the habit first

Only when it has become normal to write every day can you truly think about what you want to say.

Only when it has become normal to run every day can you truly think about the record time you want to run.

Only when it has become normal to practice yoga every day can you truly think about what it means to perform a pose.

First, you normalize the habit. Then you get the freedom to hone the skill.

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#282 You can write every day

If you truly believe you can write every day – not that it is generally possible to write every day, but that YOU can write every day – you would be doing it already.

So if you’re not, ask yourself:

Do you believe YOU can write every day?

If not, why not?

Is it physically impossible for you to write something every day? A page, a paragraph, a sentence… a word?

Deep down, you know the answer to that question.

And now we’ve established you can write every day; what other excuses come up?

That the work won’t be good?

That the words won’t capture what you want to say?

That you’ll disappoint others?

That you’ll disappoint yourself?

Put words to your fears, then ask yourself: what would happen if they all came true?

Would that stop you from writing? Or would it liberate you?

Would you maybe be just fine?

What would it be like to have overcome your fears and still be writing anyway?

Only one way to find out…

Write. Every. Day.


#267 Why intensity fades and consistency leads to change

When you write 50 pages a day, only to be forced to recover for a month.

When you start running 5 miles a day without any preparation, only to end up injured.

When you start studying a language for 5 hours a day, only to give up after a week.

When you fly so close to the sun, your wings melt.

When intensity and excitement radiate too brightly, and the reality of life suddenly slaps you in the face.

That’s when you start appreciating the slow, steady flame of consistency that burns long and becomes brighter over time.

And that’s when you’ll see lasting change.


#263 Stop, even if you could do more

Ernest Hemingway allegedly stopped his writing sessions in the middle of a sentence so he knew how to start his next session. He stopped writing, even if he could do more.

Julia Cameron teaches to write precisely three pages of stream-of-consciousness journaling a day. Stop journaling, even if you could do more.

I’ve gotten better results studying foreign languages 20 minutes a day for several months than rushing into a new language and studying it for 3 hours a day, then crashing and burning. I stop myself from learning, even if I could do more.

Because burnout and overindulgence stifle progress, and in the long run, moderation leads to more.

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#261 A simple way to train your intuition

Acting on the first hunch is a powerful move.

After all, hunches have their basis in our subconscious insights and intuitive understanding.

While they may not always lead us to the expected outcome, they invariably lead us to swift action and learning.

Either you’re right and you saved time.

Or you’re wrong so you can course correct, still saving you time.

So drink on the first sign of thirst.

Write on the first sign of an insight.

Make your choice on the first sign of a preference.

If it turns out bad, learn and change.

That’s how you train your intuition – not by distrusting it, but by using and honing it.

You already know how to do this.


#187 Causality on its head

You don’t have to feel certain to start taking action.

You take action to start feeling certain.

You don’t need to be calm to do yoga.

You do yoga to become calm.

You don’t need to have a quiet mind to meditate.

You meditate to cultivate a quiet mind.

You don’t have to speak Spanish fluently to have a conversation in Spanish.

You have a conversation in Spanish to learn to speak Spanish fluently.

You don’t need to know how to love to start loving someone.

You start loving someone to learn how to love.

And while this chain of causality sounds logical, sometimes the logical things are the hardest to remember.

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