Maybe It’s Not All In Your Head

If your car broke down, you would take it to a mechanic.

Sometimes it’s a good mechanic, and sometimes they are so-so.

And it can be hard to tell the difference…

It’s the same with your doctor. I think we have a cognitive bias that doctors know everything that they should AND come to the correct conclusion in your specific case.

It’s not true – doctors can be wrong.

“Doctors are like mechanics.”
— Geoff Martin

Following are two specific examples of when my doctors were very wrong, and the point is you should have healthy skepticism when visiting yours.

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My Favourite Netflix Hack

Netflix is an insidious monster eating your life.

Seriously, Netflixzilla is right up there with low job satisfaction, sitting in traffic and air pollution.

Why?

Because the Big Netty is leeching your time via “binge watching”; two words that when they come together you should completely loathe.

Here’s what’s up…

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Beware Books with Subtitles

Awhile back I published a list of books I read; I wanted to be seen as someone that reads a lot of books.

And it works, friends would say “Michael, you read a lot of books.”

“I know”, I’d reply, nodding my head in smug agreement.

And then it got carried away…

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“I don’t use laundry detergent” and 7 Other Things I Do

A few weeks back I submitted my website to a user experience app; it helps you understand what an unknown visitor is thinking by providing quick video reviews. The reviewer looked at my site, muttered “pretty typical content” and then went back to her weekend. For Julie H. in North Carolina that was just another Saturday, but for me it was mildly scarring. I refuse to publish ANYTHING that is typical, and today’s post is another example of me sharing focussed nonsense that you won’t read anywhere else. In today’s post I’m sharing 9 things I do; at best this may inspire you to reconsider your defaults, but more likely you will realize I’m a total weirdo. Here’s the list…

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How to Get Out of a Slump

I think about the future a lot.

I think about where I’m going to live, and what I’m going to work on, and how it’s going to feel.

And while I believe thinking is a great first step to planning, it’s not always the best trade off in brain power. All the energy you spend thinking about five years or ten years from now could go into taking action this week instead.

Whenever I’m feeling totally in a slump, I use a strategy I call Five Day Plans to get out of it. Five Day Plans is the only way I’ve been able to successfully build multiple habits at once. And I believe that building multiple habits at once is a powerful force multiplier for performing at your best.

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My Pledge to End Child Slavery

I want my life’s work to be ending child slavery.

But I have a problem…

For years I’ve put the emphasis on the “want” instead of “work”. The result is that I’ve done nearly nothing to progress my goal or to help actual enslaved children. I have all kinds of excuses for delaying this:

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How to Get a Refund

How to ask for a refund is an important life skill, and it’s surprising how many people don’t know how to ask effectively. Getting your money back from a company is actually really easy. I’m going to share some word for word scripts below, and a detailed breakdown so you can customize the scripts for your own needs. You can copy these scripts for your own refund requests.

For your convenience, here are quick links to the example request for refund letters.

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Kristin Wong on How to Write for Major Media

Kristin Wong is a talented freelance writer. Kristin has written for sites like MSN, NBC, lifehacker, Get Rich Slowly, and many others.

I first found Kristin’s content last week when I was searching for another writer, and came across her profile on a popular blog. I reached out to interview Kristin because it’s clear she has a lot to share, and is a very effective communicator.

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Human Trafficking Resources

Here, you’ll find lists of books, talks and other sources that inform my understanding of child slavery. You can use the material to further your knowledge and to share with others. Press Ctrl+D to bookmark this page.

An Open Letter to Humanity

Millions of years ago, your guppy ancestors crawled out of the mud, looked around and said “this will do.” A bold, but understandable decision. Prehistoric Earth was f***ing dope.

Fast forward and you’ve built everything. You have Michael Bolton, Google, Dorito factories, and baseball.

And yet so much of what you’ve built hasn’t been for humanity at all, but at it’s expense. You continuously degrade the only planet you’ve got, you are level zero at delaying gratification, and you treat each other like shit. As far as you know, you are the only advanced civilization in the universe – is this really the best you can do?

Here’s what I think…

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I Ripped Off Groupon’s Business Model And Made $8200

My first project that made any money was a website called SaveRally.

In early July, 2010 I built a business site for a custom home builder and he paid me $2000 for it.

I was determined to take that $2000, re-invest it in a website I could “flip” for a quick profit, and then take that money and build something bigger.

SaveRally was that intermediary flip.

Spoiler: I eventually sold SaveRally for $2600 and then quickly built a similar site and sold it for $5600. I had another $50,000+ in sales lined up, but they all fell through because I’m bad at sales.

Here’s the full story…

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10 Things I Want to Be Better At, In No Particular Order

#1: Acknowledging the Tension

Sometimes you talk to people and it’s butterflies and petunias, and sometimes it’s riddled with tension. Tension happens! And there is a spectrum of ways to deal with it, most of them less healthy than optimal. Maybe you get mad and fire back with more tension. Maybe you are like me circa 2011 and just go “tell me more”, “tell me more”, “okay, tell me more”, which is useful but obnoxious. Maybe you are the passive stone letting the river of tension wash over you, unwavering in your resolve.

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Team Cruise 2016

Seven friends and I did a Caribbean Cruise focussed on growth & productivity. Team Cruise 2016 included:

  • self-facilitated workshops on hacking psychology, aikido, functional relationships, overcoming chronic pain, unhinging creativity, life principles, etc;
  • a hostile takeover of karaoke night;
  • pre-meal base layers, aka we ate a shit tonne of spinach;
  • coconut harvesting in Grand Cayman and Mexico;
  • put put, ping pong and sauna talks;
  • curious artifacts: the Tripod of Stability, Harmonica of Silence, Medal of Awesomeness & Bandanas of Solidarity;
  • soooooo many level red icebreakers.

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I Google-Stalked My Name Twins & Wrote This Creepy Post

My first online search was, “magic cards.”

The second search was my name.

The results for both? 90% porn. Pre-Google searches were pretty useless…

But today, you can easily find most of what you are looking for. Exception: the occupation of lottery winners. Over the years I’ve tried the name search again, and found some of the more interesting folks that I share a name with.

This post is an homage to name twins, and features several of mine in the order I’ve discovered them.

Let’s get to it…

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3 Rules of the Internet

Twenty years ago I found eBay and sold some stuff on it.

At the time you could sign up to eBay without a credit card, which meant you could easily create multiple accounts and submit fake bids to increase the final sale amount.

If I could email my 12 year old self I’d say, “that’s clever, but you should really optimize for integrity and not $10 gains.”

What a fool…

Since then I’ve spent a lot of time on the internet. I’ve written articles, hosted podcasts, built websites, freelanced, met girlfriends, met platonic-friends, invested in stuff, and sent about 800,000 emails.

I’m an internet expert!

And you are too, so let’s bond over three rules of the internet; observations I’ve found to be mostly true across the web.

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Likeroll

Pretty much the only way I’ve ever become better at something is by being terrible at it first. I began making terrible websites in 2009, and a few months later I graduated to building mediocre web apps.

Here’s my first one…

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Why I Buy Lottery Tickets

I have zero emotional attachment to the lottery. I don’t hope I win, and I don’t feel regret when I lose. For me, buying a lottery ticket is about as interesting as paying a parking ticket; and yet I buy lottery tickets anyway.

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