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Diary

Who You Don’t Want to Become

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.

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Diary

Wishful Thinking

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.

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Decide to Live

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.

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The Mindset of Spending, Earning, Saving

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.

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Asking the RIGHT Questions

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.

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Morning Movement & Gratitude

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.

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The Magic of Doing it Right Away

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.

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Independence Money

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.

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Do You Really Need It?

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.

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Work and Work-Out in the Early Morning

There are three options on the table for every person who wakes up and wants to enjoy a healthy and productive day. An important decision you should make is when and how you work out.

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Traveling: Despite or Because of Instagram?

The perfect sunrise in a dreamlike national park. No people around and complete silence, despite the sounds of the river and wild animals. At least, this is what you might anticipate when looking at one of many photos like this on Instagram.

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My Affirmations Saved me from Taking a Job I Never Wanted To Do

Today, I experienced for the first time in my life how my goals act like magnets. How and why?

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Apply These Two Rules Into Your Life to Stay Positive

3-2-1 and the 5-Minute Rule

A few days ago I listened to a talk of Hal Elrod. He talked about a concept he called the 5-minute rule. I found that the 5-minute rule is a perfect supplement to my own 3-2-1 rule. Both are straightforward but still very powerful rules you can quickly implement into your life, so I decided to share them with you here.

The 5-Minute Rule

In one of his talks, Hal Elrod introduced the five-minute rule. Hal was involved in a severe car accident where he died for a few minutes. When he found himself in intensive care with the worst possible injuries, he remembered the five-minute rule which he learned during his sales career.

Here is what the 5-minute rule says:

It is okay to be upset, angry, sad, or whatever negative emotion you are feeling. But it is only allowed to feel that way for maximum five minutes. So feel free to scream aloud but make sure to stop after 300 seconds.
After five minutes, you accept the reality as it is. You start giving all you can to improve the current situation. Hal had severe injuries. Instead of whining how bad his situation is, he decided to be the happiest guy in the hospital as he wasn’t going to change the current situation anyway.

The same can be applied to your life. If you feel stuck in a lousy situation, feel free to let out your negative emotions for five minutes. After five minutes are over, accept the situation and give all you can to reduce the harm of the circumstances.

3-2-1 Rule

I found that the 5-minute rule blends perfectly with my 3-2-1 rule. I started using the 3-2-1 rule after I read a similar concept in a book some years ago. If there is anything that upsets you, don’t immediately get angry. Instead, start counting down from 3 to 0. Loud or in your head: three, two, one, zero. While you are counting back, ask yourself if it is worth to feel upset, angry, mean or whatever you are about to feel. Usually, the answer is no, and you can resolve the situation calmly.

Here is a simple example; you are on the road, and another driver is challenging you into a race on the road. Instead of giving in, count from 3-0 and ask yourself if it is worth it. While you are counting – three, two, one, zero – ask yourself:

  • Is it worth to accept this race even though I could die?
  • Is it worth to accept this race even though the police may fine us?
  • Is it worth to accept this race even though I may kill somebody?

You will quickly realize that it is not worth racing with a random guy on the street. Simply smile and keep the speed limit.

Implementing the 3-2-1 rule already avoided me a lot of headaches and countless arguments. Just ask yourself: Is it worth it?

Even though these are only two tiny exercises, I think if you implement them into your daily life, they can have a tremendous positive impact on you. Don’t let negativity win! Always think positive and remember that negativity is not worth it.

Photo by Luca Iaconelli on Unsplash

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How to Get Rid of Your Time Consuming News Feed

If you are a Facebook user, it is very likely that you spent the majority of the time you have wasted on the Facebook news feed. The news feeds of every social media platform is designed as an endless collection of news, links, photos, and videos.

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I Permanently Deleted My Instagram Account

If you would have asked me four or five years ago whether I like Instagram my answer would have been: “I love it!”. However, ask me today the same question, and my answer is quite more complicated.

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Team Work and Self-Awareness

During the last months, I joined a group of four other passionate fellows to compete in an Accenture case competition. Our goal was not to compete but to win.

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Reserve some Time for Yourself

I felt overwhelmed during the last weeks. I was running a business, writing three exams, participating in a case competition, and preparing a few presentations. Last Friday I felt totally exhausted and I didn’t know what to work on or what to focus on. One thing was clear: I must have some time for myself in nature.

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You think Once won’t hurt? Sorry but you are Completely Wrong!

In Germany, there is a very good saying which says: Einmal ist keinmal. It is translated into English with once won’t hurt. But in my opinion, the German saying is expressing the same thing differently. A literal translation would be: Once is not once – but well, it sounds pretty strange in English and in the end the idea is the same.

However, I found out that this saying is completely wrong. Whether you say einmal ist keinmal or once won’t hurt. It’s wrong. I learned that it is a very harmful excuse for people to skip a good habit for a day.

Once Won’t Hurt is an Excuse for Losers

So when do you actually use the saying once won’t hurt? I realized that we use this saying to get our own permission to do something stupid. In other words: by acting according to this saying we are looking for an excuse to break a bad habit or to do something we know is wrong or even harmful.

In the last weeks, I acted like a loser. Now ask yourself why I acted like a loser. The answer is because I acted according to this harmful saying of once won’t hurt or einmal ist keinmal. Not once but even multiple times.

There was a day where I absolutely didn’t feel like writing nor blogging. I said to myself: “Marius, einmal ist keinmal. Before you write a shitty story today wait until tomorrow and you’ll write something more qualitative”.
Guess what I did the next day. Did I write a more qualitative blog post? No! I did not write a blog post at all! This small decision destroyed my habit of daily blogging (until today of course).

Then I had the plan to wake up earlier to find some time for my morning routine. It worked out great until recently. There was one evening where I realized that to continue my morning routine I would not get my desired 7-8 hours of sleep but rather 5 hours. I said to myself: “Marius, once won’t hurt”. WRONG! Skipping my habit once DID HURT the development of my habit. This small saying which told me that once won’t hurt literally hurt me developing a habit of waking up early.

In fact, I see many people which are acting according to this saying.
– I am on a diet. Well, it’s one cheeseburger. Once won’t hurt. WRONG
– I quit smoking but well, one cigarette. Once won’t hurt. WRONG
– I want to learn for my university course every day. Except for today, once won’t hurt. WRONG

In every scenario acting according to this saying hurts. The saying once won’t hurt is absolutely wrong – not because one cheeseburger or one cigarette is especially harmful – but because this attitude destroys your habit. I experienced it myself. If you skip it once, it is very likely that you will skip it another time and another time.

Once will hurt. Don’t skip your habit. Stay with it.

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How to Quit Being Shy in front of an Audience

Presenting, public speaking, participating in discussions, and stating one’s own opinion is harder for some people than for others. I never had a problem to present my ideas in front of an audience. Public speaking has never been a problem for me. Many other people are desperately afraid to do all these things. While they might have a strong opinion about something they are not able to express it. They are tremendously intelligent but they cannot present their amazing ideas to team members, work associates, their boss or professor.

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Time-Related Stress: It is Simply not Worth It

What is the time? Yesterday I read an article by a time scientist. Until yesterday I did not even know that you can become a time, scientists. Well, the real reason why I read the article is that the headline said: “Being on time is completely unnecessary”. Am I looking for excuses for being late? No, I simply like the approach of questioning our current concept of time, clocks, minutes, and seconds.

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If you are Dissatisfied Try a Different Path and Retrieve your Happiness

Just a few weeks ago I decided to make a Monday morning run my new routine. Every Monday I will wake up, get into my running clothes, drink one liter of water and a small oat-drink and start running.

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Change your Attitude and Manage your Time

A few weeks ago I accepted a side job to finance my monthly expenses and to finance my business. The good thing about this side job is that I only have to work 18 hours a week. To put it differently: I work around 6 hours for 3 days a week.

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Home office? Tidy up and dress properly

Right now I am running a company out of my bedroom. Working from home makes it very difficult to stay focused because you always have the possibility to have a snack, prepare a coffee, disrupt your workflow with some homework. In the recent weeks, I sometimes struggled to concentrate and focus on a task and I found a ridiculous reason for that.

Previously I worked at my desk in my sweatpants and a large t-shirt. My room is usually pretty dirty and slightly messy. One day I decided to tidy up the entire room and dress properly before I started working. I dressed as if I would leave for a real office and I cleaned my room like a maid would’ve cleaned an office.

The result was that I worked for focussed, I concentrated on the tasks, and I was able to get more stuff done.

If you are working out of your home as well I suggest you throw your sweatpants away and clean your room before you start working. It worked for me and it might work for you.

It seems as if Karl Lagerfeld was right when he said: “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”

Tell me your results when you have tried and implemented it as a habit!

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Break your Morning Routine = Break your whole Day

Woke Up Late – A Mistake?

Today I woke up late. With late I mean 8.30AM. My morning was totally unproductive, my noon as well. Right now I am sitting at my desk and I try to reflect what might have been the problem. One thing I just realized is that I woke up pretty late today. Might this be the reason for an unproductive morning? Maybe.

In general, I have very good experiences with the habit of waking up early. I think that my days are more productive the earlier I get up and the more sports I do.

Today I woke up late and I postponed my gym training until late in the evening. By breaking your morning routine your break your day.

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Why you should try to have one day off

Today is a regular Sunday but I did something unusual for me: I took a day off. Usually, I spend 7 days a week on stuff including at least half of a Sunday. Today I didn’t. I rejected to set an alarm clock for less than 8 hours of sleep. So I woke up at 8:30 AM. It feels amazing to have 8 hours of sleep! Then I enjoyed a great breakfast, a good coffee, and some chit-chat with my girl. Right after lunch, I headed to the gym while video calling a friend who is currently in Australia. After a great gym session, I enjoyed a great walk outside while the sun was shining.

In short: I didn’t sit down at the desk before 7 PM.

Right now I feel great. I feel refreshed and I am ready for the upcoming week. This Sunday off feels like a very healthy choice for my body and I think it is a great thing some hustlers should try themselves as well. Quit your daily routine on a Sunday (or whichever day you want) and simply do everything differently. Calm down, go to the gym, read some books but don’t sit at your desk the whole day.

The strange thing: I don’t even feel bad about achieving “nothing” but my body feels refreshed.

Enough for today, have a great start into the next week!