a death countdown clock and other useful tools

#58 – Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss

ferriss is a human guinea pig who tries different things to find shortcuts to success.

this book collects the wisdom of the guests on his podcasts which include some of my favourite people on this planet: derek sivers, seth godin, brene brown, cheryl strayed, alain de botton.

i like the format of this book. each chapter is short enough to consume in minutes so i recommend you buy the digital edition and keep it on your phone.

use in an emergency, overcome indifference, change your life.

here are some nuggets I am using.

A Life (or Death) Countdown Clock – Kevin Kelley

“I actually have a countdown clock that Matt Groening at Futurama was inspired by, and they did a little episode of Futurama about it. I took the actuarial tables for the estimated age of my death, for someone born when I was born, and I worked back the number of days. I have that showing on my computer, how many days. I tell you, nothing concentrates your time like knowing how many days you have left.”

1. Google “life expectancy of {gender} {country}”. Look for results that also tell you your life expectancy according to the year you are born in. In my case, a Singaporean male born in 1974, my life expectancy is c.70.

2. Add your life expectancy to your birthdate. That will give you estimated date of death.

3. Use a date duration calculator to determine the number of days you have left.

4. You should install an app (I use Days Until on the iPhone) which will give you a visual reminder of the days remaining in your life. Mine was 9,928 at the time of writing.

5. Then say to yourself, “Fuck, i have XXXX days left. Better start doing shit.”

I love you – Whitney Cummings

“My trauma therapist said every time you meet someone, just in your head say, ‘I love you’ before you have a conversation with them, and that conversation is going to go a lot better.” – Whitney Cummings

this idea is so crazy i have to try it.

next time you talk to me and i have the look of love, try not to throw up.

Similar to this is Chade-Meng Tan’s idea of wishing other happiness:

“In many of my public talks, I guide a very simple 10-second exercise. I tell the audience members to each identify two human beings in the room and just think, “I wish for this person to be happy, and I wish for that person to be happy.” That is it. I remind them to not do or say anything, just think—this is an entirely thinking exercise. The entire exercise is just 10 seconds’ worth of thinking.

Everybody emerges from this exercise smiling, happier than 10 seconds before. This is the joy of loving-kindness.”

I’m thinking about the enemy – Jocko Willink

“I’m up and getting after it by 4:45. I like to have that psychological win over the enemy. For me, when I wake up in the morning—and I don’t know why—I’m thinking about the enemy and what they’re doing. I know I’m not on active duty anymore, but it’s still in my head: that there’s a guy in a cave somewhere, he’s rocking back and forth, and he’s got a machine gun in one hand and a grenade in the other. He’s waiting for me, and we’re going to meet. When I wake up in the morning, I’m thinking to myself: What can I do to be ready for that moment, which is coming? That propels me out of bed.”

this man is a legend in the special operations world, i.e. he’s the opposite of me who can’t do even one proper push up.

but he made me think – who’s my enemy and can i use my enemy to create fire in my belly?

and what’s my mission?

i want to be propelled out of bed.

an early thesis of my mission: people reading more books.

that needs refinement.

my enemies: people who distort the truth for their own advantage.

does this mean the whole world is my enemy? including me.

Wisdom is the ability to take your own advice – Sam Harris

“On one level, wisdom is nothing more than the ability to take your own advice. It’s actually very easy to give people good advice. It’s very hard to follow the advice that you know is good. . . . If someone came to me with my list of problems, I would be able to sort that person out very easily.” – Sam Harris

the previous line is so true.

that’s my work for my next session of journaling. write down my list of problems and sort myself out.

What if we don’t have mentors? – Tim Ferriss

“We don’t need in-person mentors as often as we think. Every day, using people from this book, I will ask myself questions like “What would Matt Mullenweg do?” or “What would Jocko say?”

even before reading this book, i had the idea of creating a blog where i would have imaginary conversations with tim ferriss, seth godin and cheryl strayed (originally Brene Brown until I read tiny beautiful things) offering a powerful cocktail of fearless experimentation, overcoming resistance and brutal honesty.

they would be kicking my ass and guiding me in life.

but mostly kicking my ass.


Mark Zuckerberg inspired me to start an annual personal project – read a non-fiction book every week and write about it. 

My previous newsletters are here: https://isaiahlim.wordpress.com/category/isaiahlim_newsletter/

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