The Single Thing That Will Immediately Transform Your Life

This Week’s BIG Idea

What’s the single thing that can change your life? I recently watched a Mark Manson video where he discusses the five personality traits everyone should have. At some point in the video, Manson discusses how baffled he is when he hears someone say they have trouble approaching someone they’re attracted to in random places. This single thing has the potential to change your life. The author says that this activity is, by far, one that will bring you the highest return on investment and I happen to agree with him. I’m paraphrasing here, but Manson says something like best case scenario, you get to meet the other person, go out, and have fun, and over time this leads to a fulfilling and long-lasting relationship that brings joy to your life. Worst case scenario, you say something embarrassing, come across as an idiot, and waste ten seconds of your time. Similarly, while I’m mainly referring to a romantic relationship here, you could also approach someone and develop a friendship, a mentorship, or find a business partner. Approaching random people in the street or a bookstore sounds uncomfortable, but this practice will improve over time.

I often think about the activities that bring the highest ROI and that’s certainly one of them and one I’ll bear in mind from now on. Another activity that gives you a high return on investment is reading books. I’ve said this countless times before, but when you buy a book, you’re buying something that took the author years and years to write. You’re acquiring all that knowledge for a few bucks and if you leverage the contents of that book and use it to your advantage, what you can potentially get in return is almost infinite.

What I’m Working on

I just posted the 100th book summary on the site. Although that’s a big number, it’s still a number nonetheless. I didn’t like to focus on numbers when I first started the site because I wanted to choose quality over quantity. The fact that I ended up posting that many summaries of books was a side-effect of reading so many great books. I knew from the beginning that this was going to be unsustainable over time. While I still read a lot on a daily basis, not every book I read lends itself to summaries, and most books I don’t finish because they recycle ideas from previous books. Again, I love reading, but boasting the fact that you read several books means absolutely nothing. This is one of those classic examples where the 80/20 principle can be applied. You could read 20% of the books on the list and still get 80% of the knowledge. This is a humble reminder that numbers are meaningless, what’s important is how much you learn from them.

What I’m Listening to

I’ve been jumping back and forth between different episodes of The Tim Ferriss Show and my favorites so far have been the episodes where Ferriss interviews authors. I just started listening to the Marc Manson episode where the author goes over his origin story, working on a film adaptation of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, and putting up a team.

What I’m Reading

  • Quit Like a Millionaire by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung: reading personal finances books never hurts. While most of them cover the absolute basics, reading one of these books is always a good idea. I’m halfway through Quit Like a Millionaire and while there haven’t been any revolutionary ideas, most of the principles introduced in the book make a lot of sense.

What I’m Watching 

Although you don’t often hear productivity and entertainment talked about in the same conversation, I strongly believe you can consume entertainment productively, as long as you do it intentionally. With that in mind, I’ve been trying to reconnect with films for the past few weeks and I’ve had a ton of fun watching classic cinema. I recently came across this video where distinguished filmmaker Quentin Tarantino breaks down his favorite movies from 1992 to 2009 and I might try to rewatch some of the entries on this list at some point. Note that the first movie on the list is his favorite one and the rest are in alphabetical order.

  1. Battle Royale (Dir. Kinji Fukasaku 2000)
  2. Anything Else (Dir. Wood Allen 2003)
  3. Audition (Dir. Takashi Miike 1999)
  4. The Blade (Dir. Hark Tsui 1995)
  5. Boogie Nights (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson 1997)
  6. Dazed & Confused (Dir. Richard Linklater 1993)
  7. Dogville (Dir. Lars von Trier 2003)
  8. Fight Club (Dir. David Fincher 1999)
  9. Friday (Dir. F. Gary Gray 1995)
  10. The Host (Dir. Joon-ho Bong 2006)
  11. The Insider (Dir. Michael Mann 1999)
  12. Joint Security Area (Dir. Chan-wook Park 2000)
  13. Lost In Translation (Dir. Sofia Coppola 2003)
  14. The Matrix (Dir. Andy Wachowski & Larry Wachowski 1999)
  15. Memories of Murder (Dir. Joon-ho Bong 2003)
  16. Police Story 3: Super Cop (Dir. Stanley Tong)
  17. Shaun of the Dead (Dir. Edgar Wright 2004)
  18. Speed (Dir. Jan de Bont 1994)
  19. Team America (Dir. Trey Parker 2004)
  20. Unbreakable (Dir. M. Night Shyamalan 2000)

This Week’s Quote

“Small things matter when they accumulate. This is one of the main lessons of my work—and one of the principles I try to follow in my life. The details, when finely polished and carefully combined, add up to something remarkable.”

James Clear

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