Personal Development

  • Most people struggle with their phone use. The main reason for this is the habits we’ve developed over many years of using social media, messaging, and news apps on our phones. 99% of the time we reach for our phone and unlock it out of habit. To check the X, Instagram or LinkedIn feed. Not because we have chosen to do so, just because our habit leads us to do so. I truly believe this is a major reason why most of us can no longer think clearly and work deeply. The cheap dopamine is calling 24/7 and is always available within half a second via Face ID.

    The easiest way to minimize phone use is not only to delete all the distracting apps, but more importantly to disable Face ID and fingerprint unlock and replace it with a long password. That way, every time you pick up your phone, you have to enter a long password before you can use it. It could take you 20 seconds to type it. Enough time to check your intentions and realize that you don’t really want to use your phone.

    Try it and your unwanted screen time will drop significantly.

  • Often, we think about who we want to become in life. But thinking about who we wish to be, can distort us from being who we naturally were supposed to be.

    This is because we imitate other people. Every day – wittingly or unwittingly – we are influenced by people who are close to us: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and so on. Moreover, people we follow online also heavily influence who we wish to be.

    To quit this rat race, it is powerful to think about who we absolutely – under no circumstances – never want to become.

    One helpful hint is listen to your gut. Remember and note when you meet someone and immediately think: “oh god, I never want to become like this!”.

    For example, your father is a very heavy drinker. Either you are disgusted by this behavior, that you already know that you never want to become like this.

    Every so often, this is not enough, as some people unconsciously imitate their father’s behavior and become alcoholics themselves.

    Therefore, before you can ask yourself the question “Who do I – under no circumstance – never want to be?” you have to start observing and questioning the people you are surrounded by and the people you are following online.

    By actively observing people, you’ll realize how they treat other people, what and how many bad habits they have, and many other things you dislike about them. For example, you might quickly realize that:

    • you never want to become an alcoholic,
    • you never want to neglect your family for super success,
    • you never want to live an average life,
    • you never want to be dishonest,

    or whatever it might be.

    We also need to pay attention to whom we follow online and question whether we really want to be like them. Whether it is a successful entrepreneur, world-class athlete, a popular ‘creator’, or a perfect mother. Who we look up to influences who we think we want to be. Influencers aren’t called influencers for nothing!

    This is hard because social media is showing us only the bright side.

    So, ask yourself: Which sacrifices do I need to make to have a life like this? Am I willing to make these sacrifices? What aspects do I never want to incorporate into my life?

    Observing people will show us who we don’t want to become. Question people’s lives and behaviors and set clear boundaries of who you never want to become.

    If we do everything we can, to avoid becoming who we don’t want to be, we will naturally find ourselves as a person we desire to be.

  • Wishful thinking is like a drug. It is a bubble you create around yourself, in which everything is fine and everything will turn out alright.

    Wishful thinking is the easy way. It keeps you lifeless and inactive, in times when you should move and act.

    Wishful thinking is different from being an optimist. An optimist looks at the evidence and reality of the situation. Even if the situation looks bad at times, the optimist envisions a positive outcome after all. This gives him the necessary power to act, not give up, and move towards this positive outcome, even though he is well aware of the severity of the situation.

    The wishful thinker, on the other hand, cannot or does not want to see the reality of a given situation. Instead, the wishful thinker wittingly or unwittingly suppresses reality. This creates an optimism bias in which wishful thinkers expect positive outcomes despite such expectations having no basis in reality.

    The optimist faces the hardness of reality and acts. The wishful thinker downplays or ignores reality and procrastinates. If he acts, he is prone to overlook important details, which can lead to a vicious circle of unintended consequences.

    Ask yourself whether you are facing reality or fall into the fallacy of wishful thinking.

    Look beyond the information you habitually consume. Examine sources which you may find uncomfortable to read. Read at what is sold to you as fake news or conspiracies. Search for information outside your country, and your language.

    It is possible that everything you wish to be true is not.

  • Every day, you make multiple decisions. How you make those decisions will define how your life will work out. Obviously, we all want to make the “right” decision. But what exactly is the “right decision”? How does one define right?

    How you define right depends a lot on our environment. In our Western world, this usually means we make decisions towards a successful life. Society tells us, a successful life is a secure life. For example: being a manager, lawyer, or a dentist. Not because it is a job which truly and from all of our heart fulfills us, but only for the reason of having a well paying job. Congratulations, do this, and you will be regarded as a rightful member of society.

    But damn, we have been fooled! Instead of living a successful life, we are actually living a quiet life of desperation. The truth is, while we’ve optimized our entire life towards a successful life, we missed to actually live.

    A successful life, as defined by society, is a secure and easy life. By definition, a secure and easy life is void of any adventure, void of any life.

    We all have been granted a magical life here on earth. To truly utilize and appreciate this life, we truly have to live. And living, by definition, is not secure nor easy. Living is full of adventure. It is full of unknowns.

    If we try to make the right decision towards a successful and secure life – as defined by our society – we will miss to live.

    Always striving for the “right” decision necessarily narrows your decisions towards the already known, the proven, the right way of doing things. Doing so will work most of the time. Eventually, you’ll live a successful, secure life.

    But life happens in the unknown. We start to live when we choose heart over mind, adventure over security, the unknown over the known.

    When deciding, never decide for the easy option. Don’t decide for the deceptively right option which leads to a successful and secure life (as defined by your family and society). Instead, always decide for the uncomfortable option. The unknown option. Choose the option of adventure. Go for the option which gives you a strange mixed feeling of unease and excitement at the same time.

    By going for the uneasy, uncomfortable, unknown option, you will do things you’ve never done before. You will do things nobody has ever done before. You will fail. And you will succeed. Most importantly, you will feel alive.

    If – from now on – you optimize and make all your decision so that you live an exciting life full of adventure, unknowns, new and uncomfortable situations, you will truly live life.

  • Today’s morning started different from expected. As I unconsciously opened my Amazon app, I saw a notification which informed me of changes on my ‘wish list’. The MacBook Pro 16’ suddenly was €2.388. This price was too good to be true (and ignored) so I pressed “buy”.

    After this impulse buy, I somehow thought: “Marius, no matter what, this still is a lot of money. Are you sure?”.

    It’s not that I cannot afford it. I easily can. As I just thought about it, I realized it is a more overall mindset that I have.

    I like to focus on investing, earning, and saving. Spending – on the other hand – somehow invokes a negative feeling in me. I cannot really describe it. I’d have felt good investing €2.388 into Apple stock, but spending €2.388 on a laptop???

    In general, I’d describe myself as a simple and Stoic man. I don’t need any luxuries. I prefer minimalism to consumerism. I still drive a cheap used car – which totally does its job of getting me really reliably from A to B. We still live happily in a simple apartment because we see no point in upgrading to a larger and more luxurious apartment.

    For me, it’s not a question of whether I can afford something, but whether I could allocate this money in a better way.

    What could I’ve done with €2.388 instead? I could’ve hired a freelancer to program a web app for me, pay my rent for 3 months, or simply invest in Apple stock.

    Whatever. I knew that – earlier or later – I will need a new laptop. I’m still working with my 13’ MacBook Pro from 2014. It works fine – as long you restrict yourself to 2h of battery life, writing, emails, and 4 or 5 Brave Browser tabs. Everything beyond that? Not really.

    So, the purchase was totally fine.

    What I philosophize about is this “scarcity” mindset I have. Which, for quite a while after I pressed “buy” I thought “are you sure?”.

    After a while, I realized that the better way to think about (and a better mindset to have) is to say to myself: “Great purchase! Now, how can I earn €2.388 today?”.

    This reframing helped me to go from doubting my impulse buy to instantly getting back to work, be productive, and now trying to earn €2.388.

    The quintessence is the following: pay attention to your mind and reframe negative connotations to get into an abundance mindset again – as soon as possible.

  • To think about the future of a certain industry, we must start by asking questions. These questions should be honest, and they should be challenging. Right now, we can see entrepreneurs and technologists who are re-inventing entire industries. They do so by identifying a problem and then asking the RIGHT questions.

  • Every morning when you wake up, you decide yourself how you start your day. I myself developed a great habit of morning movement and gratitude in nature. It is the best way I can imagine to start a new day and besides of a little morning exercise, it also gives me a lot of clarity and gratitude on my life.

  • Often it’s a simple daily chore which reminds me of important concepts in life. Concepts which are true for small things such as cleaning the dishes as well as large and important projects in life and business.

  • Let’s talk about independence. For some, it is passive income which exceeds their monthly expenses. Others believe it is traveling the world with a backpack or living on a self-sufficient farm far from civilization.

  • It is a powerful question which will save you a lot of time, headaches, unneeded expenses, and inefficiency. Stop for a moment if you convinced yourself that you absolutely need something, need someone, or need some time.