Since 2011 I've been working as a software engineer with projects of various sizes and complexity.
I'm a tech enthusiast passionate about the progress that we, as humanity, are making towards improving our lives. I'm especially excited about the areas involving energy, quality of life, environment, and health.
I also enjoy engaging in a variety of non-tech-related activities such as: reading, cooking, hiking, and working out, among other things.
Curious about something?If you want to learn more about something Robert might know, don't hesitate, just ask them to share an insight.
MY TOPICSTopic is a subject user would like to share its knowledge about.
While reading the book "A Brief History of Time" written by Stephen Hawking I kept noticing the fact that nowadays we have the ability to study and appreciate the works of great thinkers of the past (distant and not so distant) thanks to their desire to record all that.
Conversely, how many ideas did not get the deserved attention just because they weren't recorded in any form?
Now we are living in the age when recording and sharing your ideas has never been easier in history. Furthermore, thanks to the tools that we now have, those ideas have the potential to reach the people who are looking for them.
Something that might seem obvious and simple to you might just as well inspire someone or make their day a bit better.
Have you ever noticed what type of content usually dominates the news?
After opening a website of a typical news organisation, we are flooded with negativity.
As explained in more detail in the book Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler, over the course of our evolution we developed sensitivity to danger. In the distant past, having sharp instincts could mean a difference between life and death. Especially, when you might need to react to a wild animal hiding in a bush.
Now the majority of dangers for a typical person are probabilistic. E.g. How an event will affect the economy of a country? What will be the impact of a policy for a certain demographic?
Dangers are different in their nature, but our reactions are very similar.
News organisations often tend to exploit this quirk of our brains in order to drive more traffic toward their content.
While some of the events happening in the world might look relevant, many of them won't have a noticeable impact on our lives. As a result, they get a significant share of our limited attention and thinking capacity which could otherwise be allocated to the activities in the sphere of our influence.
I find news aggregators (Hacker News, /r/worldnews, etc) to be an efficient way of staying on top of what's happening in the world. While they aren't immune to bias and excessive negativity, their content is curated and ranked by the public which can improve signal-to-noise ratio.
How do you stay aware of attention-worthy events while respecting your time and energy?
Over the last several months I've been deliberately decluttering a few aspects of my day-to-day life in order to bring more purpose and focus to what I do.
One of those aspects is the physical objects that I own.
I sold/gave away/thrown out plenty of things that had accumulated in my apartment that I no longer needed. That made a profound effect not only on the way I feel while being there but also on how I make decisions before buying something.
I accidentally stumbled upon the concept which I've been often unconsciously adhering to. Sharing it here and perhaps someone might benefit from it in some of their life areas as well:
A nugget of motivational material.
Today while driving I was listening to an audiobook version of The Snowball by Alice Schroeder (a biography of Warren Buffett). One of its sections stuck with me and it hasn't faded away yet. Sharing a text version of it below.
“When I was sixteen, I had just two things on my mind - girls and cars. I wasn't very good with girls. So I thought about cars. I thought about girls, too, but I had more luck with cars.
Let's say that when I turned sixteen, a genie had appeared to me. And that genie said, 'Warren, I'm going to give you the car of your choice. It'll be here tomorrow morning with a big bow tied on it. Brand-new. And it's all yours.'
Having heard all the genie stories, I would say, 'What's the catch?' And the genie would answer, 'There's only one catch. This is the last car you're ever going to get in your life. So it's got to last a lifetime.'
If that had happened, I would have picked out that car. But, can you imagine, knowing it had to last a lifetime, what I would do with it?
I would read the manual about five times. I would always keep it garaged. If there was the least little dent or scratch, I'd have it fixed right away because I wouldn't want it rusting. I would baby that car, because it would have to last a lifetime.
That's exactly the position you are in concerning your mind and body. You only get one mind and one body. And it's got to last a lifetime. Now, it's very easy to let them ride for many years. But if you don't take care of that mind and that body, they'll be a wreck forty years later, just like the car would be.
It's what you do right now, today, that determines how your mind and body will operate ten, twenty, and thirty years from now.”
Listening to this while operating a car made me appreciate the gravity of the above point on a weirdly visceral level.
Has anything struck you (in a good way) recently when you wasn't expecting it?
Let's talk about productivity.
Some time ago I discovered an app called Focusmate (focusmate.com) (not an ad). The app essentially forces you to get things done with the help of accountability. It matches you with another person for a 50 minute session where each of you work on your tasks live (camera mandatory, mic optional). Since then, I've used it for both personal and professional activities with really good results.
What are some techniques or tools that you like to use when you want to stay focused for longer periods of time or when you don't feel like doing that thing?