52 ideas to make you Smarter, Healthier, Wealthier & Happier

The key insight from each of the first 52 issues of Intentional Wisdom

🎉 Hello to the 468 Intentional Wisdom’ers receiving today’s newsletter! Today’s issue is a special one. It officially marks one year—or 52 weeks—of writing Intentional Wisdom. I thought I’d celebrate by taking the week off… well, not exactly. Instead, I’ve compiled the key insight from each of the publication’s first 52 issues into one ‘mega list’ below. For my early readers, this should be a trip down memory lane. For more recent subscribers, I hope you’ll find one or two that pique your interest. If you want to read the full article, just click the 🔗 next to each one. Enjoy and please share with anyone who might benefit. Thanks so much for your continued support. — Greg 🎉

The big idea

1. Contrary to popular belief, coming up with great ideas is not about magic or luck. 🔗

We can actively cultivate the conditions for creativity by:

- Getting inspired (see #12 on content diets)
- Getting physically active (walk, run, whatever, just sweat)
- Letting our minds wander

2. The best way to make progress toward any goal is by actually doing the thing. Getting the reps. 🔗

We tend to get in our own way, convincing ourselves that motion is the same as action.

It is not.

3. What silver linings do you want to take with you from the COVID period?🔗

•A greater focus on family & friends?
•A new appreciation for periods of deep concentration?
•Better fitness & eating habits?

Document them now. If not, you'll return to normal - good & bad.

4. Actions control our thoughts. Not the other way around. 🔗

5. Clutter = Stress. 🔗

Clear it out. In your closet. In your work life. In your social life.

Happiness is a ruthless focus on quality over quantity.

6. To adapt and survive, even against all odds, is to be human. 🔗

We are way, way more resilient than we give ourselves credit for.

Never, never, never quit.

7. Meditate, even if it's only to grasp the concept that you are not your thoughts. 🔗

8. We see ourselves as performers of many roles (a writer, a dad, a runner), but the only identity that is verifiably true is the one we prove each day through our habits. 🔗

(h/t @jamesclear)

9. Life is a cakewalk for no one. Dark periods are natural, but there are proven strategies to help. 🔗

•Moving your body
•Eating well
•Helping others
•Asking for help

10. Don't raise the roof, raise the floor. 🔗

When lofty goals don't work, figure out what is minimally acceptable to you, and focus there.

11. Life can and will change in an instant. If it's all over tomorrow, are you satisfied with what you've done? 🔗

If not, the time for action is now.

12. You are what you consume. What you read, watch and listen to controls your mood, thoughts, and emotions. 🔗

Control your #contentdiet.

13. How you spend your time is who you become. Protect your calendar ruthlessly.🔗

14. We only really control one thing in this world. And that is how we choose to react in the face of inevitable adversity.

15. When it comes to financial markets, everyone is guessing. 🔗

Keep it simple.

Focus on the long term, diversify, and don't day-trade.

16. In 100 years, you'll be dead and so will everyone you know. 🔗

The bad news? No one will remember you.

The good news? No one will remember you.

Who cares what they think today? Do what you're afraid to do.

17. Sometimes it's hard to see the progress we're making. 🔗

It's slow, slow, and then sudden.

In our careers. In our fitness. In our parenting and relationships.

Remember, most progress is made when no one is looking.

Keep going.

18. The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states that the universe will always trend toward disorder. 🔗

Our instinct as humans is to create order.

Ultimately, the universe will triumph.

But that's not the point. The glory is in the struggle.

19. It's possible that some of our most deeply held beliefs are wrong. 🔗

It follows that hating on the basis of ideology makes no sense.

20. Retirement is a flawed (and surprisingly recent) concept. 🔗

It's time to reframe it.

21. Ironically, some of the most terrifying events faced by humanity (wars, pandemics, etc.) are often 'missed' by those who were on the frontlines. 🔗

Why? They fulfill an instinctual desire for community and a shared purpose.

Human connection should not be underestimated.

22. Absolute, unrelenting, dogged persistence wins in the end. 🔗

23. Success is unlikely without a plan. It's (almost) inevitable with a great one. (+ a whole lot of #22)🔗

24. Sometimes the wrong economic decision is the right life decision. 🔗

25. We are entering the era of "show me, don't tell me." 🔗
Credentials and degrees matter less. Proof of work and thought matter more. Stay curious. Be nice. And build in public.

26. Habits are tactical. Identity is strategic. 🔗

First, figure out WHO you want to be.

Then, figure out HOW to get there.

27. It's not selfish to focus on yourself first. 🔗

It's necessary.

28. Our highest-quality, most-rewarding work is done in periods of deep, uninterrupted concentration, also known as #flowstates.🔗

They can be found at the intersection of focus, challenge, and passion, and we should go out of our way to summon them.

29. Tackling big, ambitious, and seemingly impossible "moonshot" goals may actually be safer and better for your psychological health than trying to hold on to the status quo. 🔗

30. We don't "find" our passion. We manufacture it. 🔗

Through these 4 steps:

•Being curious

31. Constraints do not limit us, but rather, they set us free. 🔗

It is by operating within the boundaries that the greatest of all time from sports, to business, to the arts, have truly shined.

32. Impress yourself. Forget about the outcome. Or what they say. Put in an effort that you are truly proud of. 🔗

33. How to create time: Say 'no' way more than you think you should. 🔗

Only say 'yes' when:

•You are truly "all in"
•You have no other choice
•It gets you closer to a goal
•It's personally rewarding

34. Authenticity is the key to success. 🔗
Be yourself. Speak (and write) like a human. Share. Be vulnerable.

What you put out into the universe will come back to you ten-fold.

35. Optimism ultimately wins (and it's more fun).🔗

36. Our past does not define our future. 🔗
An infinite number of future paths are open to us today. The question is whether we are brave enough to take that one that scares us most.

37. "This might not work" is a great life philosophy.🔗

38. To get habits to stick, make them fun. 🔗

To make them fun, try "gamifying" them through streaks.

From physical fitness to nutrition to meditation, a focus on "keeping the streak" can be the difference between success and failure.

39. Follow your curiosity. 🔗
Dive deep down rabbit holes. Read the books. Watch the videos. Listen to the podcasts. And you'll be amazed at how quickly you can achieve "top 1%" knowledge in just about any subject.

40. In golf (and in life), something will always go wrong. 🔗
The trick is learning how to adapt on the fly. The ability to understand what change is necessary, and then to actually make it, comes from one thing: Getting the reps.

41. When technology accelerates exponentially, as it appears to be doing now, there are truly no experts. 🔗
This is both terrifying and exhilarating in terms of the threats and opportunities it presents.

42. The growth happens in the downtime. Don't forget to take a break. 🔗

Sprint. Rest. Repeat.

43. Life is suffering. And suffering is what makes us stronger and wiser. It forms our very identities.🔗

The path is through, not around.

44. Intuition and logic are equally important forces. 🔗

The best decisions we make draw on both.

45. Sometimes the best way to pull off other-worldly achievements is to be "not of this world." 🔗
Many of the highest performers in history, from MLK to Bo Jackson, learned how to summon their alter egos to become real-life superheroes.

46. Late bloomers are under-rated. 🔗

47. Happiness is being on the right path and making progress. 🔗

Step by hard-fought step.

48. To progress toward any goal: 🔗

•Know & believe your WHY
•Internalize your commitment
•Quantify your target
•Publicize your intention
•Plan your approach

49. The difference between success and failure is not how impressive you are on your best days. 🔗

It's how effective you are on your worst ones. No zero days.

50. Just deliver value to others. Everything else works out. 🔗

51. Our environments - physical, virtual, social - control us more than we think. 🔗

Optimize and control your surroundings before they (inevitably) control you.

52. Perhaps the best habit to develop for your physical and mental health is gratitude. 🔗
Its powers are magical, but it must be truly felt to be effective.

That's what I've learned from writing 52 issues of Intentional Wisdom!!

If anything here has resonated with you, I hope you'll pass it along to someone who can benefit.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this. See you next Thursday. — Greg


Image credit: Dil @ Unsplash.com

Extra credit: None this week!

Thanks again for reading. — Greg