Thoughts on: “Lost Connections” by Johann Hari

For a long time depression and anxiety has been believed to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and the solution is a lifetime pill popping. Hari challenges this idea, both the cause and the solution.

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His research shows 9 very different causes for depression – Disconnection from…

1. Meaningful work

2. Meaningful values

3. Other people

4. Status and respect

5. Childhood trauma

6. The natural world

7. A hopeful and secure future

8. & 9. The real role of genes and brain changes.

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📝 “You are not a machine with broken parts you are an animal whose need have not been met.”

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📝 When asked how many friends people have, “zero” is the most common answer.

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📝 Anxious and depressed people are prone to gaming addiction. Games have groups and teams, clear goals, and provides a sense of control.

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📝 Anti depressant Companies (who often finance studies) only publish what makes their product look good. Just like when we take selfies, we discard the double chins and post the one where we look ace! 🤳

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📝 The more people value things, the more likely they are to be depressed.

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📝 Obesity and loneliness are equally deadly.

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📝 Studies show that depression is in fact to a significant degree a problem not with your brain but with your life.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: I have not been depressed myself (I don’t think?) but like most people I have had periods that has been darker and more anxious than others. Reconnecting to the 9 areas pointed out by Hari definitely improved things for me. Whether it was starting to run in nature (6.), Meditation (5.), read books (2.) or work on this Insta account (1. & 3.). Unfortunately “Reconnection” is not as commercially lucrative and easy to package into a product as antidepressants.

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We all have people around us, friends or family members, that suffer from depression. Reading this book helped me gain a deeper understanding why modern society is a breeding ground for mental disorders.

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This books is a serious contender for Book of the Year for me – and it’s only beginning of February. ❤️

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What actions and habits in your life protect you from depression and anxiety? 🤔

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5/5

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Photo credit: @thelavinagency


Get the book right here or find other amazing reads in my reading lists! Also, if you want more notes from this book then checkout the Extended Notes, right here!

Thoughts on: Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Goggins, Goggins, Goggins! This guy is proper crazy!

He managed to escape an abusive family situation and decided become a navy S.E.A.L. The problem was that he was overweight, uneducated and unprepared. This was the starting point for the man that grew to become one of (if not THE), toughest endurance athletes I’ve come across.


📝 About his abusive childhood home: “Glossy surfaces reflect much more than they reveal”. Great expression!

📝 “Motivation is bullshit.”

📝 “I brainwashed myself to craving discomfort”. Schedule suffering into your life.

📝 It’s funny, humans tend to hatch their most challenging goals and dreams, the ones that demands the most effort and promises absolutely nothing, when we are tucked into our comfort zones.

📝 Ran 100 miles without training, on broken legs, pissing blood.

📝 Had the world record for most pull ups in 24 hours in 2013 (4030).

📝 When you think you done your upmost you’re probably only at 40%.


⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

The most common excuse Goggins hears for not working out is that people don’t have time. We get it, we all got stuff to do. “You must win the morning” and master the dark hours, when your spouse and kids are asleep, he says.

So, how do I act on this? I’m waking up 05:30 for the coming 66 days. The extra time in the mornings will be used for exercise, meditation, reading and writing.

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⚖️ VERDICT:

This book made me add another 10km on my regular run last Sunday. There where two reasons: First, the book is really solid and I didn’t want to turn off the audiobook. Second, Goggins made me realize I’m not putting in even half the effort I could.

This book will challenge you to set the bar higher for yourself, If you can look past the Navy jargon..

What your morning routine? 🤔


4/5

📷 credit: @portlandpickers


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Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “12 Rules for Life” – Jordan Peterson

Life is suffering. How do we deal with that?! We face it, we bare it. Hell is a bottomless pit and in spite of how fucked up and unfair things are, we still can make it even worse. Let’s not do that! What if we instead get our act together and prepare ourselves to face suffering when it comes knocking? That’s the better path. And we all know where we fall short.

Peterson puts the responibility of all the world and all of it’s suffering on the individual. “If we all lived properly, we will collectively flurish.” If we put ourselves in order, maybe we will do the same to the world?

📝 “Aim up, pay attention, fix what you can and don’t be arrogant in your knowledge , strive for humility, be aware of your weaknesses. Consider the murderousness of your own being before condemn and judge others. Maybe you missed the mark? And most importantly, don’t lie! Lying is the path to hell.”

The book is fantastic, but maybe more importantly – it led me to examine the world of Jungian psychology – and what a wonderful rabbit hole it is to dive into!Leading me books like these:

📖 Man and his symbols

📖 King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

📖 Demian (kinda related..)

📖 Women Who Run With with the Wolves

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Thoughts on: ‘Stoicism and the Art of Happiness’ by Donald Robertson

I have adopted many powerful principles the last couple of years that increased my baseline happiness levels. One of the big ones, second only to learning to stop giving a shit about what people might think of me and what I do (still W.I.P 😉) ,is the Stoic idea of being indifferent to thing that are not under ‘our direct control’.

The weather, death, traffic, other people, outcome of soccer games, train delays, sickness, international politics etc..

So much anger, anxiety and frustration has been avoided since I fully committed to this principle. What a great source of fulfillment and tranquility!

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This book does a great job summarizing Stoic philosophy! Here’s some notes:

  • Mindfulness of what is up to us and what’s not is one of the main remedies for emotional suffering.

  • Set you intentions each morning and evaluate how you did each evening. Where did you act virtuously and where did you miss the mark? Review your actions and evaluate you conduct.

  •  ‘Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them’ – Epictetus

  • Novice Stoics should begin by training themselves each day:

1️⃣ To endure what they irrationally fear, or find aversive, with courage and perseverance.

2️⃣ To renounce, or abstain from, what they irrationally crave, through discretion and self-discipline.

  • Outcome independence: The goal of a Sage (the Stoics ideal) would not be to benefit others, which is beyond his control, but rather simply do his best to benefit them. Like an archer firing a arrow, his work is done when he has done his best, weather or not he hit his target.

This is a great book (even excellent if you ignore its repetitive textbook nature) that provides a great overview of Stoicism. It’s also full of exercises on how to apply the philosophy to everyday life.

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I still think Irvine’s ‘A Guide to the Good Life’ is the best starting point if you are curious about Stoicism (link in BIO). Which you should be! It’s an fascinating and very practical philosophy!

What principles have you picked up during the last couple of years that had major impact on your life?

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4/5

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Thoughts On: ‘On the Shortness of life’ by Seneca

A brief essay on the the duration of life. And about why most people think it’s too short, when it’s actually long enough to if the time is used properly.

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Seneca is a stoic philosopher (4. BC – 65 AD. I won’t go into into much detail about what a stoicism is, since there will be a lot other opportunities to dwell into that in upcoming post (judging from what I’m reading right now). With a risk of oversimplifying, I like how Nassim Taleb put it: “A stoic is a Buddhist with attitude, one that says “fuck you” to faith”

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“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficient measure to allow us to achieve the greatest things, if the whole of it is well invested…” “…we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.”

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So, how do people waste their life? By gossiping, overindulgence in food and sex, living life for others (work a job you hate), complaining, etc.

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Also worrying about the future or letting the past disturb ones tranquility. Then, when we find out that these things are unimportant, we only have a few years left to live and wonder where all the time has gone.

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“He who has grey hair has not lived for long, he has existed for long.”

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Being written 2000 years ago, it’s amazing how almost all these thoughts are applicable to contemporary society. ———————————–

My takeaway from this book is to be more protective of my time and be wise in how I spend it. A sad thing would be to spend your life doing things you dislike with a promise of leisure and freedom in the future. Wasting each day as it comes for a future that one are is certain to live to see.

5/5

Thoughts on: “Building a Story Brand” by Donald Miller

Wow, this sucks! The book is just a long commercial for the authors other services and the concepts covered could have been a 15-page pamphlet.

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Wow, this is brilliant! It’s to the point, clear and actionable.

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Both these assessment are correct, depending how you look at it. But my intention when picking up this book was to learn something practical. And I did.

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You brands message should be simple, clear and, most importantly, packaged as a story where the customer is the hero.

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Many brands and marketers get some fundamental stuff wrong and puts the brand as the hero in their marketing instead of the customer.

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📝 Story in a nutshell:

“A CHARACTER (customer) who wants something encounters a PROBLEM before the can get it. At the peak of their despair, a GUIDE (you) steps into their lives, gives the a PLAN (your product), and CALLS THEM TO ACTION. That action help them avoid FAILURE and ends in a SUCCESS.”

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📝 WRONG: An example of doing it wrong was Tidal, Jay-z music service. The marketing made whining artists the heroes of the story instead of focusing on the customers needs.

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📝 RIGHT: And example of doing it right is Apple with the Mac. The customer is the hero facing a problem; Complicated computers that stands in the way of the customers creative expression! Apple has a plan for our hero, the Macintosh computer.

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📝 Story is the greatest weapon we have to combat noise, because it organizes information in such a way that people are compelled to listen.

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When you finish this book, given you’ve done the exercises, you will have a new brand script for your services or products that capitalize on the strength of storytelling (or on human weakness to stories, hehe!😈). The book left me inspired and equipped for taking stuff to the next level!

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

Since I don’t really have a product to sell I’m going to use the story brand method to improve my website (hehe, will be quite easy judging from the state it is in). I will do this next week. Another takeaway is how uncomfortable selling things makes me feel. I have a really hard time with it.

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4/5

Review (4/5) – Get the Book!

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Thoughts on: “Improv Wisdom” by Patricia Ryan Madson

I picked up this book because it was recommended in #StevenPressfield s book Turning Pro. The idea is to use techniques from Improvisational theatre to enhance spontaneity and spiritual satisfaction in everyday life.

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I’m quite stuck in my ways of doing thing and thought it might help me loosen up a bit.

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The ideas where not mindblowingly original but still holds true:

🔸Make mistakes!

🔹Act Now!

🔸Gratitude!

🔹Enjoy the journey!

🔸Show up!

🔹Start from where you are!

🔸Be average!

🔹Pay attention!

🔸Face the facts!

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📝 “Improv is like tai chi for the soul” wrote a former student”…”it provides a workout that helps to shake loose rigid patterns of thinking and doing”.

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📝 Charles Darwin: ”In the long history of humankind (and animalkind,too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most efficiently have prevailed.”

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📝 Be Average! There is a paradox that when we are trying hard the result is often disappointing. Take the pressure off! When we try too hard our performance get jinxed.

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📝 “Make the decision to be a person who notices and remembers names, and then start learning them”.

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📝 “Beyond all other freedoms our greatest liberty is to choose our attitude”.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

There is an opportunity cost for books that only reinforce concepts that you already are familiar with (I.e you could spend that time on something more challenging). To remedy this I did something I usually not do. I did the accompanying challenges that came with the book – and that what provided me with lasting value. They where quite simple but could be quite eyeopening. I learned that it’s hard to really pay attention, I was reminded that saying “yes” usually takes you more interesting places than saying “no” and how devoting yourself to others can be quite rewarding.

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3/5

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Do you ever do the “try this”, “challenges” sections of Howto-books? 🤔

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Thoughts on: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

The story revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding ones self. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

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📝 Abraxas: A deity combining the godlike and the devilish.

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📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

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📝 “When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

About the previous quote: If that’s the case – and by observing this phenomenon for a while I believe there is some truth to it – then even when someone irritates us, we can use that as an opportunity to learn more I out ourselves. I kinda like that quote for that reason.

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📊 My Amateur Jungian Analysis: Sinclair is the “Ego”, Kromer his “Shadow” and Demian the “Self”. Lady Eve is the “Anima” (the unconscious feminine side of a man). One of Jungs anima levels is even named “Eve”. By opening up to Lady Eve, Sinclair becomes complete. He and Damien become one.

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⚖️ Verdict:

This a mysterious and short (100 pages!) coming of age story for philosophically minded reader. Pauses for contemplation are needed between each chapters. The best 3$ spent this year!

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For those who read already: What do you think Demian did to get Kromer of Sinclair’s back?

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What short book blew your mind recently?

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4/5

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Thoughts on: “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall Rosenberg

Rosenberg teaches you practical skills for getting your needs met in a peaceful way. “Nonviolent communication helps us create a more peaceful state of mind by encouraging us to focus on what we truly wanting rather than what is wrong with ourself and others.”

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Mediocre writing and terrible narration aside (for the audio version that is), this gem of a book is likely to change the way speak to yourself and others in a profound way.

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📝 “When my consciousness is forcused on another persons feelings and needs, I see the universality of our experience”.

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📝 In cultures that judge, violence is more prevalent.

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📝 It’s important that we take responsibility for our feelings, and that we in no way imply that what others say and do makes us feel the way we do.

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📝 J. Krishnamurti: “Observing without evaluating is the highest form of human intelligence”.

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📝 It might be worth trying to pull out of people what they really mean with what they are saying to find out what needs aren’t met. Your initial interpretation might be wrong! And It’s not our fault, society has not conditioned us to express ourself properly.

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📝 When you find you inner critic getting on your case about something you did, then ask yourself – What unmet need of mine is being expressed through these statements?

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

We need to be precise in our speech.

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“Non-Violent Communication” is the perfect compliment “Crucial Conversations”. Read them both and master the principles (easier said than done!) and you will have saved yourself and the people around you from a ton of unnecessary suffering.

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If you could add one more book to create the holy trinity of communication books, which one would that be? 🤔

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4/5

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Photo credit: @monica.bitar (instagram)

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Thoughts on: “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Maté

Dr. Gabors is specialized in the study and treatment of addiction. His book offers portraits of his patient lives, stories about his own addictive behaviors, it examines the causes behind addiction and it breaks down the path to recovery.

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He opposes the weight that’s been put on the genetic component of addiction and points at stresses in early childhood (even pre-natal stresses) as the main risk factor. He is a big proponent of more compassion in society’s view of addicts and explains the futility of the “war on drugs”.

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An excellent introduction to the complex problem of addiction!

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📝 “As a rule, whatever we don’t deal with in our lives we pass on to our children” -Our unfinished emotional business becomes theirs.

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📝 Addiction = Fear of emptiness.

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📝 Proximal separation: Physically there but mentally absent when parenting. Children experiencing this look to use external couping mechanisms like thumb sucking or tuning out. These kids have great chances of seeking refuge in drugs later on in life.

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📝 Gabors recommends the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and the book Rosenberg’s book “Non-violent Communication” (I just got it!)

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📝 Circumstances for brain development differs. Some have had positive experiences that others have been deprived of. Think about this before you judge.

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📝 Parents, and mothers in particular, are getting less and less of the suppport they need during their children’s early years. This is a cultural breakdown of cataclysmical scale. Therefore the raise in adhd.

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📝 “All problems are psychological, but all solutions are spiritual”

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📝 “Only healthy nurturing relationships with adults will prevent kids from getting lost in the peer world. A loss of orientation that leads rapidly to drug use.”

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: Regardless of your degree of addiction or whether your drug of choice is heroin, TV, food or shopping – reading the stories and research presented in this book will help to shine a light on your own addictive tendencies.

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My struggles have been with nicotine and refined carbohydrates. What’s your addictions? 🤔😀

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PS: The audiobook version of this book is excellent!

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5/5

Photo credit: @darcy_renea_lalimo (Instagram)

 

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