Starting from this week onward I will be doing a small experiment each week. Each experiment is a self-experiment in learning how to live an effective life. I will draw on the numerous podcasts, books, articles and conversations I have to structure these experiments.
The goal of the experiments is to find the best habits that work, for me, and implement these into my life. This means that I will go ‘extreme’ for a week. I will test out habits, principles and do things a bit different for one week at a time. I will be my own guinea pig and maybe even drag some of you along with me.
Habits Over Goals
I choose to test new habits, not goals. Goals are based on motivation, and motivation is fleeting. It takes willpower to work towards a goal, habits become automatic. And good habits, eventually lead to good outcomes (goals).
I still strongly believe in setting challenging goals. I believe now that great habits are the way to reach them. Learn more about motivation from Daniel Pink.
We live most of our lives on autopilot. Daniel Kahneman reminds us of this dichotomy in Thinking: Fast and Slow. He argues that almost always we use our automatic system I, our autopilot (e.g. What is 3×3?). And that only in very specific circumstances will we take a moment to think with the deliberate system II (e.g. What is 28×21?).
This weekly blog will be my system II moment. My moment to make a small change, and reprogram my system I. My moment to make better habits.
What I’m Working Towards
Malcolm Gladwell popularised the notion that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery. Anders Ericsson the original researcher and now writer of the book Peak, disagrees with Gladwell about the exact number but reiterates that mastery comes after long, and deliberate, practice. Only by actively working on myself, I believe, I can become a master in living an effective life.
This being said, I think I can always improve. My vision of an effective life may change over time. My ‘goal’ will always be moving forward. And my habits will hopefully always be moving me forward to a more fulfilling life.
To give an example. One part of an effective life is a healthy body. Before I had the exact goal of having a certain weight, at a certain date. But what if I reached that goal? What if I didn’t? And what about the days, weeks, months after reaching the goal? The last few months I’ve been working on habits for training my body (CrossFit, swimming, running) and for improving my knowledge about healthy food. And yes, I still have some immediate goals, but my habits will get me there and hopefully beyond.
What I’m Doing Each Week
Below is an overview of my plans for the weekly system II moments. Each week will centre around a specific theme. This can vary from healthy food choices to ancient philosophy. And from financial habits to applying startup lessons to my own life.
I like to believe that I’m CEO of the company ‘Floris Wolswijk’, and each week I will work on making the company run more effective, more fulfilling and just a little better each time.
(2017) week 24 – Week of Stoic Living
Here I test the ancient knowledge of the Stoic philosophers. Negative visualisation, controlling desires, voluntary discomfort, fatalism, meditation and more.
week 25 – Week of Finances
I brush up on my financial knowledge. Share my philosophy on saving money and how to invest it safely. And finally get to checking the Dutch rules and regulations.
week 26 – How Not To Die
week 27 – ¿Hablo Espanol?
week 28 – Covey Principles
week 29 – Lean Startup Life
Plus 100 dollar startup
week 30 – Journalling (Equador)
week 31 – Picture My Life (Equador)
week 32 – Morning Routines
week 33 – Giving Back (Iceland)
And here are some more ideas for future weeks: Artificial Intelligence, Getting Things Done, Week of Cold, Fasting, Microdosing, Nassim Taleb, Prepping, Writing,
Follow the Money
The habits I’m tackling here are all aimed at living the most effective life possible. That being said, I have a second motive and that is to turn the lessons I’ve learned into training/workshop/speaking engagements.
I don’t have an exact plan at the moment. But as you might have guessed, this could very well be the topic for one of the coming weeks.
I hope this blog inspires you to take action. And if you ever feel the need to challenge your thinking, feel free to reach out to me!