Rediscovering the Balance


I’ve felt a bit mentally off balance this week, which I guess is because of stretching more in social life than usually. This morning I began to ponder that another thing has been that I haven’t had as much mindful time as I would prefer to. Therefore I decided to dedicate some time in the morning for meditation.

My key realization is that although physical exercise is important and is often times prioritized, how many of us prioritize mental training? Both are equally important, and at best they are the same.

Personally I had forgotten this lesson and happily spent twenty minutes of my precious morning time to meditate and it was worth every second and more.

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” -Zen proverb

This Zen Proverb is so true! Often when we are the most hurried we forget the most important thing.

In life there is no excess: there is no hurry, or too much or too little. Our perception is merely off and that’s why we should find the inner balance again through sitting still with our minds and letting go of the thoughts.

Do Not Forget Yourself


In the world, the selfish will survive the short term. In the long term, there are always people who want to do good for the greater good of the mankind, for others.

Other centered people have discovered, what scientist are also beginning to discover that the most long lasting joy is the joy of giving.

Personally I’ve discovered, as I lose myself in my service profession I forget myself. Days go by and weeks go by.

Yet no matter how pleasant or good it is, too much other centeredness is not a desirable thing either. Although it’s true that we get what we need through others, we already have everything we need right now. It’s the present moment and it’s ourselves.

Do not forget yourself. Remember that you have everything you need to be happy, right now! This is my reminder for the weekend, have a nice Friday evening!

Freedom From and Responsibility To


With increased power, comes increased responsibility. The moment we forget this, our good deeds start to decay and growth halts.

Victor Frankl said it well that freedom and responsibility go hand in hand. Responsibility is a topic that is too little talked and pondered about.

Once we understand our responsibility and are willing to exert ourselves for it, we gain actual freedom. Freedom to organize the necessary resources to attain a particular goal in life.

There is no freedom, when there is no responsibility.

Leader is willing to accept responsibility of things that they are not directly responsible.

We are all leaders. If we want to be great leaders we need to strive for more responsibilities. Then at times, when everything is alright going as it should we may enjoy our freedom. Usually this does not last very long thought or if it does, then you’ve masterfully trained more leaders.

Reading more or more often?


There is tremendous value of repeat reading the things you’ve read past year or even few months.

Having read three to four books a month, I’ve started to put increasing amount of value of returning to the same book. On my kindle, I get the highlight notes, which is about 10% of the total book. Those I revisit rather frequently which is awesome and they serve as incredibly assistance in my writing as well.

While highlights are great, they are still only part of the book. We forget most of it like the forgetting curve shows.

When it comes to great books, they should be read more often (especially nonfiction).

As example, I read Road Less Travelled about a year ago. I thought it was a great book. Now that I read it for the second time, I noticed how little I had understood of it. Certainly I had taken key points from there and even applied much of the lessons there, but the second time only deepened my understanding, gave me totally new perspective and again several points to work on.

I feel like this is a book worth of studying several times, if not for a lifetime.

When it comes to books like this, it’s not the quantity of how many we’ve read, but how well we’ve internalized the message and the lessons there.

Remember Your Strengths


Having some time for myself on this fine Saturday has reminded me of the joy of thinking and reading. And through these actions I’ve also remembered the joy of writing as well.

Through this reading – thinking – writing process, I began to ponder upon my strengths once again. I couldn’t really recall or clarify them at once. Then I remembered the Clifton Strengthfinder test that I did I guess two years ago?

Upon diving in to the Strengthfinder material again, I review my top seven strengths. Although the actual five are considered signature strengths, I’ve noticed that my top five come only from two categories: relationship building and strategic thinking.

If I would consider leadership, then these would be clearly lower priorities than for example execution and influence.

So therefore I’ve wanted to find strengths that are also from these categories. And voilà as my seventh strength I find self-assurance, and when I read the description of this strength as lesser talent something hits the spot: “Reaffirm your strengths. Your Signature Themes (top five) are your power. Claim them. Post your Signature Themes in a place where you will look every day. This will not only serve as a reminder of your talents, but it will also generate discussion that will reinforce your talents.”

In order not to forget, I shall post these here:

1    Connectedness

2    Intellection

3    Strategic

4    Learner

5    Relator

6    Arranger

7    Self-Assurance

I can warmly recommend the Clifton Strengthfinder 2.0 to recognize your strengths. Gallup and Tom Rath have done such wonderful job writing the book Strengthfinder 2.0.

Idea and framework behind the Strengthfinder comes from positive psychology. Tom Rath’s other books Are You Fully Charged and How Full is Your Bucket? Among others compliment this thinking very well. Tom’s books are among my favorites in building more energized, more meaningful lives.

Another, more accessible way to strengths would be then your own introspection or if recalling the feedback of others.

Important thing is however, to remember your strengths and live the life from your strengths.

Learning with Purpose


I am obsessed with learning and thus I’ve been trying to optimize my life in the way that allows me to learn quickly. Learning satisfies my curiosity and gives me sense of fulfillment. Learning in itself is rewarding and when it is aligned with the purpose, it does feel like I am closer to something.

Last week I recognized that even with all our understanding, with all the amazing things we have done as humanity… All we’ve learned is not that much. It is quite outstanding, that we’ve been to the moon six times and around the moon once. Yet, I’ve a feeling that we would be capable of much more.

What prevents us from co-operating and achieving these awesome things? It’s our short memory: we forget that we all are related if we look further enough.

Yesterday as I was chatting with my colleague this is what I realized: we are often reminded who we are closed to through our names. The way other people around us remind us, who we are close to let’s us remember the people who matter most. And the rest of course we remember.

Can you name all of your great grandparents? Unless you’ve been doing family research recently, it is very unlikely that you can name more than perhaps one great grandparent. This presents the problem that we have: we’ve forgotten the shared lineage. And we will keep forgetting it.

By default setting human mind tends to like the familiar, and dislike the unfamiliar. Conscious overrides do exist, or even the habits to override this can be practiced. Yet this the familiar is comfortable and unfamiliar is not, because it requires mental effort and using the brain to do that takes a lot of energy.

So we forget what we share. Because we forget what we share, we forget that we all have something in common. And because we forget that, we forget also that we can co-operate together. We can travel together.  We can laugh together. We can learn together and from each other.

Whatever we want to do in life, is not heavenly bestowed to us. It’s not like we already have some kind of knack how to do things naturally the way that brings the right results. Instead we need to learn.

Learning is ongoing process.

Often when we grow up, we do it naturally. When we grow up we may have fantasies that after school, or after university degree, or after work we don’t have to learn. While that might be possible for some, I doubt life would be much fun if it is so.

The question is what to learn next? What do you want to do next?

Dealing with Excuses


Having started to adjust to the local time and climate after the flight here in Ho Chi Minh. Somewhat jet-lagged in midst of another culture, I take this as a wonderful chance to make the room for many new experiences and activities while keep just those most critical ones to me: i.e. writing & reading.

In theory it is very easy to do this just by forgetting everything that I cannot control, and focusing the present moment and then making time or do the writing and reading.

So far so good, excuses didn’t hold me in the bed after napping for the afternoon and I got down to writing.

I’ve recently become acutely aware, that most of the action is prevented because of my internal dialogue, stores and excuses. To counter this, thankfully there are some living examples that the excuses hold us back, such as Wung Deshun who exemplifies the ikigai, living purposefully spirit very well.

“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.” ― Jordan Belfort

By living courageously and consciously we can grow each day, each moment and thus develop ourselves towards the excellence of being that we still have possibility to become.

We’ll never reach perfection, so excellence will have to suffice.

Excellence is about doing your best, with what you have. It’s internal standard, internal sense of control about things. It’s about doing your best with things you can control and not worrying about things which are not in your control.

Stephen Covey, who introduced us to the circle of influence and circle of control in his book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People are useful tools here.

What things you can decide about? What are fully in your own control?

It’s all about focusing to that which you can do, which is in your control and the decision to do it. Build yourself identity of delivering to your decisions.

You can proactively help yourself to stick with your decisions by choosing the environment to support yourself as much as possible. Take cover of the basic necessities well ahead of time. Build strong social network and financial buffer to be able to sleep your nights well, knowing that you will be alright no matter what happens.

And/or alternatively just learn to live with so less that you are certain that no matter what happens you will be alright.

Excuses are at their weakest when they are just born in the form of story to your mind, be mindful about this and kindly remind yourself of the crawl towards your goals: even a little bit adds up to something. Zeroes do not add up to anything, work to get any results for today and then rest.

How to remember more after reading?



For an untrained mind, the gains after reading vanish quite quickly. Hermann Ebbinghaus figured this out in the form of Forgetting Curve.

We forget most of the stuff, our brains need to squeeze incredible amounts of data in simpler forms to be able to accommodate everything so we have all kinds of remembering mechanisms. So for example: we remember the familiar, that we are often exposed to. Unfamiliar we totally reject.


When it comes to reading, unless we review there is not much use.

So to get more out of the reading we should take, notes and writes summaries of the main points. Heck, even summarizing the whole book into a one point is better than not doing it at all. At least you can throw in that point, when someone asks you about the book, better than nothing!

I try to find few, usually around 1 to 3 applicable lessons from the book that I plan to implement to my life.

Recently I learned from Neil Parhischa’s Happiness Equation that “being yourself removes regrets from life.”

From Cashflow Quadrant I learned to listen my internal dialogue and discover the barriers that prevent me from moving to the direction I want.

From Brian Tracy’s Pyschology of Selling I picked up many valuable lessons for sales. Two of my favorite lessons are: 1) Salespeople are teachers 2) we guide the conversations with questions.

From Mark Manson’s book, I cannot remember, but something it had to do with priorities and suffering.

Remembering. Forgetting is part of remembering, because our brains are counting on the repetition to pop up the important things if they are truly important. If we do not repeat the important things, they are not important to our brains and therefore forgotten.

To get more out of learning we need:

  • Repetition
  • Revision
  • Discussion
  • Synthesis
  • Action points
  • Notes
    • Even better: pictures
  • Re-writing
  • Re-reading
  • Reflection

If it’s a physical book, our minds tend to remember easier the physical places where the information was storage. If it’s a digital, then we might remember it more linear way, it came after or before something. With physical objects we have more dimensions.

In the end to remember better about one thing, we need to create very strong memory out of that one: our conclusion or summary of the book, how was it in one sentence?

Path further from here would vastly benefit from mnemonic practices to elaborate.

Eat the ideas


To grow, we need to learn and forget and learn again. How does even a new idea find fertile ground in the mind? We need to consciously create space for it.

It’s not enough for a thought to be read, heard or even taught.

It must become our life. We must think about, talk about it, forget about it and then apply. We must keep doing that over and over again, until at some point we start to identify with the new way of action.

Only when an idea or thought becomes action it has taken a root in our minds.

One example of such idea, was about how to conduct the normal desktop job, while sitting. Of course for a long time I and other people waited for the electric motor tables in order to do work efficiently… That’s until I read “Eat, Move, Sleep” by Tom Rath. That book was the tipping point and it put what I knew to the action, instead of just waiting for something to happen. Ever since I read that book, I try to stand up and do as much work standing up as possible.

To get the ideas into action:

Read the ideas,

Eat the ideas,

Breathe the ideas.

Our minds are constantly trying to compress more important thoughts into less space. Therefore it’s important to make sure you are well immersed in the new ideas you want to internalize.



Most of us acknowledge the importance of learning, that’s why we have the great educational institutions, even in professional life we keep learning vast amounts to keep up with the rate of change.

Do you recognize the importance of unlearning? What was the last thing you unlearned?

Let me answer this first; honestly I don’t think about it consciously that much. In my professional spoken language there are there are manners that I am consciously trying to unlearn, but otherwise there is not much conscious unlearning plan in my life.

This is because most of us are gifted!

You see, human memory is quite unreliable, no matter what we consciously think of our ability! Let’s just explore the basic memory retention for starters, see image 1 below which is the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve.

forgetting curve

(Image 1. Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve)

Without any recall after initial memory experience, we forget most of what we’ve learned. Steepness of the curve has been topic of some discussion. At a glance in Google image search, it seems like the images with about 21% retention after 31 days or one month is at the moment most popular one [1][2][3]. That’s quite little, one fifth of what we originally learned.

Tuomas Loukola has defined the learning process in the following way “learning is forgetting and remembering.” [4]

When we forget, we do not remember. We cannot say we learned, so did we unlearn? I think so. We are brilliant learners, because even though we forget something and cannot consciously recall it right away, we may recall it later either randomly or by conscious effort.

In the blog [4] Tuomas Loukola lists three reasons why remembering is important (I think these three steps are originally from the book Carey B. 2014 How we Learn, however I haven’t that book yet checked it so bear with me):

  • Incubation, a subconscious process that requires forgetting
  • Filtering the information, only relevant remains
  • Forgetting strengthens learning through super compensation

From conscious growth perspective, we would need to recall things that will benefit us, we would need to recall some of the stuff we have read recently and to do that, it’s not so good to hang around in circles, which does not allow us to do that: reinforce the positive memories we want to reinforce.

Just as forgetting is necessary for learning, unlearning is necessary for growth. It’s the necessary creative destruction for growth.

“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before.” — Henry David Thoreau



[1] Ebbinghaus curve of forgetting, google image search:….0…1ac.1.64.img..2.13.942…0.RRngqKz9oC0



[4] Tuomas Loukola blog: