Harvard positive psychology class

Positive psychology course at Harvard by professor Tal Ben-Shahar is freely available on YouTube. Highly recommended!

It covers all the well-being related topics: health, happiness, longevity, optimism, change, success, self-development, emotions, goals and many others. It’s all spiced with a reasonable amount of scientific scepticism that popular self-help books usually lack.

However, to my taste Tal speaks too slowly and the whole thing takes too much time. That’s why I would recommend actually downloading all episodes using one of the Youtube downloading services, such as Offliberty. And then listen to it using VLC or other player that allows you to increase playback speed 2x.

Here are the videos. It gets especially videos at 3-4th video.

If any of them don’t work, try one of these lists: Positive psychology playlist, links in the description for the first lecture.

1.

 

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Wisdom in few words: best motivational quotes

Throughout last couple of years I’ve been collecting my personal favorite quotations from various inspirational people in my Evernote. As a result I got quite a long list of sayings which I personally consider to be one of the smartest, wittiest, daring and positive at the same time.

Best smart, motivational, inspirational witty quotes/quotationsMoscow, 2008.

So, I thought why not to share them with you? Assuming I have a lot in common with my readers, you might enjoy them too. If you don’t then you might just skip the post and excuse me for wasting your time. Otherwise, here is the collection:

  • “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
  • “There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.” ~ Mark Twain
  • “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” ~ Michelangelo Buonarroti
  • “Money is like gasoline during a road trip. You don’t want to run out of gas on your trip, but you’re not doing a tour of gas stations. You have to pay attention to money, but it shouldn’t be about the money.” ~ Tim O’Reilly
  • “Doing what you like is freedom. Liking what you do is happiness.” ~ Frank Tyger

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Heart-to-heart talk: how to be happy – scientific and religious point of view

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to always tell the difference”
Reinhold Niebuhr, Kurt Vonnegut

Cyprus, 2008.

I’ve been thinking about covering this topic in my blog for a long time and eventually decided to do it. Firstly to structure it all for myself and secondly to share some thoughts and interesting articles & videos which I collected for last couple of years. As a result, this post is quite long and wordy, so don’t open up the full article if you’re not really interested in such kind of philosophical issues and get bored easily by them. In this case you might think that this is just an unpractical gobbledegook.

I actually find the combination of how important and how ambiguous this issue is quite puzzling. Very high percentage of people respond to the question about meaning of their lives with “to be happy” answer. And very few of them actually have any particular idea what this happiness is, how to achieve & feel it. Even in their individual case, not universally.

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Save time by approaching your RSS subscriptions in a completely new way: 8 principles for effective reading of blogs

RSS feeds is an awesome tool to save lots of time. You can get them all in the same place and not visit every single web-site to check if there are some updates. But often it becomes quite the opposite.

I personally have 573 subscriptions. That’s a lot. You risk looking at your favorite RSS feeds aggregator (like, Google Reader for example), seeing 1000+ unread items there and then spending half a day passively browsing through them. Instead of pursing your purpose and doing something that will bring you closer to your goals.

So, what are the lifehacks to minimize the time and maximize the value of reading blogs or other RSS feeds?

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How I saved hours and hours of time, reduced disturbances and stress level with a simple Gmail lifehack

“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”

I’ve been re-reading Getting Things Done by David Allen recently and thinking about other ways to get closer to the “Mind Like Water” state and suddenly I’ve come up with a very simple, but useful lifehack for GMail. It aligns very well with all the recent trends in productivity, time management and lifestyle design set by Tim Ferriss in his Four Hour Workweek and assumes you should minimize all the unnecessary disturbances and batch your typical actions in order to save time.

So, what I did is very simple yet really helpful and I highly recommend you to try the same approach.

1. Create 2 labels in your GMail.

First one is “! once a wk” and another one “! once a mnth”.
The idea is to group all the not so important mail and not to get interrupted every two minutes. It doesn’t necessarily need to be once a month or once a week. Probably once a day and once a week will work better for you. Anyway, you got the basic principle.

2. Create filters for these labels.

For example:

Matches: subject:(“Facebook” OR “Linkedin”)
Do this: Skip Inbox, Apply label “! once a wk

and

Matches: subject:(“Twitter” OR “Microsoft newsletter”)
Do this: Skip Inbox, Apply label “! once a wk

Obviously, “Facebook”, “Linkedin”, “Twitter” and “Microsoft newsletter” are just examples. The point here is to put subjects or email addresses of those letters that you receive from time to time, but don’t need to read/process/reply the same second it’s received. It’s up to you to decide what these letters are, but I’m convinced that absolute majority of the letters fall into this category.

Then, you should tell your Gmail to apply the appropriate label for those letters and skip the inbox.

3. Schedule checks

Put view “once a week mail event and view once a month mail on your Google Calendar (or whatever calendar you’re using), make this event repeat every week/month correspondingly and create an email reminder.

3. Now, the most difficult step to actually practice: do not (do not!) check these two labels any other time than your scheduled time. I know these two labels look so yummy-yummy attractive when the number is more than zero, like in this screenshot (which is BTW the final result), but believe this is the habit worth developing.
gmail-gtd

Putting it all together.

So, if everything is done properly, you will have all the important mail (which is usually 1-10%) in your inbox right away and all the time consuming stuff (social networks, subscriptions, newsletters, etc) that prevents you from doing really important and inspirational things with your life will be held under two labels which are always available. Usually it takes very little time to process it all at once instead of doing it every single time when letter is delivered.

This is pretty much it. Good luck with implementing and improving! Hope, you won’t be spending the time saved in Twitter, but do something that you always wanted to start doing, but didn’t have enough time. And of course, I’m looking forward for your feedback!

What are the best places to live and travel to: rational side of the issue

 

 

“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

 

~ Aldous Huxley, English writer

 

Choosing a place to live as a part of lifestyle design

In the era of globalization more and more people realize that they aren’t bounded by the city or even the country they were born in. On average we travel more, tarlk and meet people from other parts of the world more and get to know other cultures more. Technology, Internet, blogging, global careers or location independent entrepreneurship – all of these are factors contribute to it. But once we’ve realized that in the long-term we are pretty much free to decide where to live we face another challenge. And this is how we can possibly make a choice like this?

I, personally, think that a place that can be called “the best for everyone” simply doesn’t exist. Besides, probably there is no one single place which is “best for you”. But certainly there are places which you would or will enjoy more and less, there are places where you’ll have more opportunities for self-realization and those where list of opportunities is shorter. So, what can help one to make the decision?

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Designers travelling the world: idea nomads onizou

Last Friday we’ve been to the amazing presentation give by two designers traveling the world that call themselves Idea Nomads in Moscow. Oni and Zou (these are their aliases) have a goal to travel the world without taking flights.

ideanomadsonizou

So far, they visited China, Hong Kong, Tibet, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan giving various creative/design presentations and arranging the workshops and of course doing some self-PR. They don’t seem to be willing to stop so far, the route they had drawn on the world map is far from being complete.

I don’t know about you, but it’s another source of inspiration for me:
http://www.ideanomads.com
http://twitter.com/onizou