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Sep 10, 2011


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In my opinion over 90% of people who reads a lot on personal development, self-improvement, etc. don't really act on advices they acquaired. I think that ratio of 5-10% is high enough to see substanial changes in your life, so congratulations! Could you tell me what kind of advice have you applied and how it affected your life?


PS. I like your blog, keep writing! :-)

Jakub Petrykowski

Hey Al,

You asked about advice I successfully implemented in my life. I'll mention some things below (in no particular order). They were all taken at least in part from non-fiction books and similar materials on the Internet (blogs, videos etc.). This includes both popular science books like Emotional Intelligence and more "hand waving" books by motivational experts, and also "productivity gurus' " books.

The list does not include tons of advice I ignored or tried but failed to apply with success.

Also the list below is not about the last year, rather 5+ years.

So, here's some things I did through self-education:

-- project thinking, elements of Getting Things Done: ever since I read the original book by David Allen I've been thinking about lists: lists of projects, actions, waiting-for etc. This was implemented in terms of my thought process, structuring days, structuring notes, even writing my own software for this and doing my own experimentation with improvements to the method.

-- Emotional Intelligence - I've read the book by Daniel Goleman when I was in need of instruction in the world of relationships and managing my own emotions, and I'd say I implemented at least two things: awareness of certain conditions in myself, and improving self-regulation (mood control, relieving stress). But this was a big effort spanning several years, including therapy, training at work and other activities, so it's hard to draw the line anywhere.

-- diet: based on several sources I pretty much stopped drinking sugar, limited coffee (which was causing lots of issues), this year I'm slowly transitioning to a much better diet overall; again there are many sources, I must have read hundreds of articles over the years, but a book by Tim Ferriss was a motivational hit, and a friend who's very knowledgable and whom I respect was also the trigger and great source of high quality information and motivation.

-- communication & relationships: lots of it through relationships and soaking in comm patterns while working at Google, also training there, but lots through reading countless business books and Polish Blog Alexa, by far the best source in the Polish Internet on the foundations of modern independent life etc. This includes learning how to set healthy boundaries, and some elements of assertiveness (though I could still improve here I'm sure ;P)

So there are some examples.

Jakub Petrykowski

Oh, there one more brilliant example. I've read some books by Paul Ekman on emotions and the expression of emotions, and even took virtual class on recognizing microexpressions that he makes available on his site. Thanks to these sources I am now better able to recognize how people I talk to are feeling. It's not foolproof and it doesn't tell me why they feel certain way, but it makes communication much deeper and smoother. it takes some effort though, and requires focused attention on my part. If I'm distracted or tired it doesn't help.

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