How To Craft Your Identity

Last time, I talked about the importance of identity and self-image when creating new habits. Asking the big question "Who do I want to become?" is fundamental. How we see ourselves in the future will make it easy in the present to work on those new habits. But just thinking about it is not enough. Crafting an identity takes work. Many times we don't know where to start. So here are a few exercises that have helped me....

Change is the only constant

In a recent newsletter, Vicky Boykis compares the path to become a Grandmaster in Chess to career paths in the tech world. She writes: "Even though there is one way to get to Grandmaster, there is no one single way to interview and become a senior developer or data scientist. The difference with the tech world is that there is not one single set of rules like there is in a chess game: everyone is playing on a different board, with an ever-growing number of pieces....

The Hard Things

Not long ago I read somewhere online the phrase "Do the hard things early in life". On the surface, the phrase is simple enough. It makes sense to do the hard things early in life because one has more energy and fewer responsibilities. But it is also a call to action. We don't know how much life we have left. It's OK to plan for the future, but as Marcus Aurelius said, we could leave life right now....

Antifragility and Skin in the game: Timeless lessons from Nassim Taleb

There is no author whose ideas have influenced me more than Nassim Taleb’s—an options trader turned writer and philosopher—Taleb is the ultimate example of a wise man. He has spent his life learning first hand about risk-taking—on the Wall Street trading floor. Through his studies in linguistics, mathematics, history, and philosophy, he has created a coherent set of rules and mental models that we should all learn and implement in our lives if we want to live better and understand the world....

Laws of Software in Action

During my short career as a software engineer, I’m often surprised that many people in the industry are unaware of rules of thumb—heuristics— managers and programmers have discovered to better navigate almost any situation. There’s always that new story about a team that was very cooperative but broke down and became hellish once it grew too much. Or your friend telling you a story of a surprising bug that took hours to solve and it turned out the solution has just a couple of lines away from where the code was edited last....

What Would Bezos Do?

You’ve probably heard people say “No regrets!” when their decision didn’t turn out the way they wanted. This is complete BS. Of course, there were regrets. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be thinking about them. What people need is a systematic way to minimize regrets. We tend to optimize for our present selves. But it’s our future selves who will deal with the consequences—and regrets—of our current decisions. In the present, there’s always FOMO—the fear of missing out....