Most people who read this will be of an ambitious nature. You will have an aspect in your life where you want to get better and win the contest against your direct or indirect competitors. Whether being a professional who wants to reach a high standing in their job or an athlete who wants to compete with the best in their sport, the same concept applies to you if you continuously get better: You compete in an increasingly larger circle of increasingly competent people from the day you are taking the first step in your field of choice.

Competing in increasingly larger circles

When you…

The world stands still, everything is slowing down. You might have the chance to breathe. You might be thrown into chaos. Covid-19 is changing the world as we know it, at least for the next couple of months. Many people are negatively impacted by it, others are helping out which is something I admire deeply. However, if you can count yourself among those feeling ‘bored’ right now, I have a great suggestion for you. Use the time. Use it to your advantage and invest in the aspects of yourself that you wanted to put resources into for so long. There…

“The best part of beauty is that which no picture can express.” — Francis Bacon

Beauty has lots of different forms. The beauty that I want to talk about today is the pure appreciation of a subject or activity. It is the feeling of awe you feel when you experience something new, either by seeing, hearing or simply reflecting. I argue that beauty has multiple layers and that increasing your familiarity with a subject will move you through the layers towards a different understanding of beauty.

First of all, the kind of beauty I am talking about is very specific…

Your brain is by definition limited in computing power. Therefore, outsourcing brain capacity is one of the best productivity tools there is. While it is possible to improve cognitive skills to a certain degree, there are often situations in which recitations are less efficient than relying on external cues to fulfill your task. Memory, being imperfect as it is, often disappoints you in crucial times and accessing the right information at the right time requires intense cognitive effort. Thus, storing relevant information in advance makes much sense. An excellent example of doing that is writing and using lists. Another good…

Life is short. Therefore, I tend to think about the effectiveness of my skills and the efficiency of my time a lot, which often leads me to the topic of finding leverage. Two of the most important levers I use are structured planning and improving my meta-skills.

There are many things in life where these two levers can significantly improve the outcome if you focus on them before starting with the actual task.

Meta Skills are skills that are widely applicable and help you to carry out a multitude of different (relevant) activities. The ability to read is one of…

Hans Vivek — Unsplash

Creativity is the nourishment of innovation. It is the source of human creation and brought us both beautiful pieces of art and new technological devices. In the following article, I will share my thoughts on how to be creative and how anyone can build their own creative muscles.

Being creative is difficult. However, the reason for it being difficult is not related to the common adage that creativity is an innate talent that cannot be improved. Creativity is also not a magic formula for creating something entirely new.

Innovation never appears out of a vacuum; Innovation is always based on…

Photo by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

This article is part of my ongoing series “Building a framework for my life”. You can read the intro and the essay about my first principle here and the essay about the second one here. I explain the intention behind it at the bottom of this article.

The third principle I want to use to live a healthier and more prosperous life is the following:

Inversion — Reverse your thinking and avoid detrimental activities

Some of you may be familiar with the mathematical concept of Inversion. While it is indeed helpful and closely related to what I am talking about…

This is the second part of my new series “Building a framework for my life” In case you want to catch up on the first one, you can do so here:

To keep it short, I drafted a set of currently 27 values/principles I want to use as guiding principles for my life. Each week I try to incorporate one of those into my routine so that I slowly but consistently integrate all of them in my behavioral pattern. I want them to be both, second nature and an active point of reflection for more important decisions. …

A new ambitious project — Framing the future of my life

After several turbulent months with many ups and downs, new people and learning opportunities as well as real progress on my personal character development journey, I decided to continue writing on Medium. I did write stuff during the past months, but it was all fiction and not meant for publishing.

If you want more background on why I started writing on Medium or want to get to know me better, you can start by reading this or follow me on Twitter. If you read this for my content suggestions, feel free to skip to the end of the article.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Why lying to yourself is one of the worst things you can do

We lie to ourselves every single day. We rationalize bad decisions, fall for cognitive biases we know of and let us be persuaded into doing things which are harmful to us. While the gravity of the decisions is different the tone is usually the same. Mostly you tell yourself one of those things:

‘It is not that bad if I do it once’
‘Just one more time, then I will stop doing it’,
‘I deserve to do that right now, I will not feel bad about it tomorrow’

Usually this is bullshit and deep down you know it. There are…

Mike Mahlkow

On the search for proven ways to happiness, productivity and fun | Founder at Blair (YC S19); Learned at Stripe, Uber, Sococo

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