How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

Scott Adams’ book about how to win at life is pretty hilarious. Maybe it is because he is the creator of Dilbert and have mastered sarcasm. It was a page-turner. He had a lot of lessons learned through his life and career. 

Three things that really stuck out for me:

1. Goals vs. Systems

He explained that one should not just have goals, but we should have systems to repeatedly able to do something. It almost seems like he’s saying having a goal makes a glass ceiling for you, that you will stop once this “goal” was achieved. Instead, we should have a system where we are working towards this goal, and stick to this “system” which will be foolproof. This made me think about my friend Daniel’s Youtube Channel “goal.” His goal was to be able to document interesting people’s lives around him. He should also have a “system” which prevents him from procrastinating and sending the video out immediately after he shoots it.

2. Deciding vs. Wanting

If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it. Deciding to succeed is so much different than just “wanting” to succeed. This makes me think of all the bad times and bad moods I have. Deciding to be happy is different than “wanting” to be happy.

3. Pick a delusion that works 

“My main point about perception is that you shouldn’t hesitate to modify your perceptions to whatever makes you happy, because you are probably wrong about the underlying nature of reality anyway.”

“Free yourself from the shackles of an oppressive reality. What’s real to you is what you imagine and what you feel. If you manage your illusions wisely, you might get what you want, but you won’t necessarily understand why it worked.”

Some book notes:

  • Good + Good > excellent : you are better off being good at two complementary skills than being excellent at one.
  • Wow, that was brave. Dale Carnegie class
  • Psychological and cognitive biases
  • Cut out unnecessary words for business writing
  • Rule of three for designing
  • The point of a conversation is to make the other person feel good
  • Imagine a specific confident person you know, and do bad impression of him/her to overcome shyness
  • Research shows that people will automatically label you a friend if you share a secret
  • Use affirmation
  • Experts are 50% right on anything that is unusually complicated, mysterious, or even new
  • Association programming – simply find the people who most represent what you would like to become and spend as much time with them as you can without trespassing, kidnapping, or stalking.
  • Happiness formula: eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, imagine an incredible future, work towards flexible schedule, do things you can steadily improve at, help others, reduce daily decisions to routine.
  • Pay attention to your energy level after eating certain foods; find your pattern

Deep Work by Cal Newport

  • How much I’d recommend: 7/10
  • Date finished 8/25/19
  • Deep Work, recommend borrowing from library instead of purchasing

​One of the highly recommended business books to me through friends.

1. Quit social media. 

I have done this experimentally from time to time. Instagram and Pinterest are my biggest draw and biggest time sink. I only download them for the time I really wanted to use, and delete right away. I find this an easier middle ground than no social media at all. This also makes me realize that if I had gone completely without social media, I’d probably do ok. 

2. Organize your email time.

​Have a time set aside to review emails but otherwise turn off email notification. This is very helpful for me because sometimes these email notifications are totally “Corporate click-bait” such as “CEO announcement” or “RE: Feedback on your workpaper.” Because nobody is going to contact me via email if they are trying to get a hold of me. If you really need me right away, you know you can reach me by text or call my phone. I have set up the understanding with my boss that if he needs me to respond right away, then he needs to call / text me. Otherwise, I will only review emails when it is in my allotted times (twice a day).

3. Finish your work by 5:30

I have adopted this motto fully, whether I am productive at work or not. But I do feel guilty when I am not productive and have been distracted at work all day. So the new goal is to implement some of the strategies to not keep being interrupted and be more productive at work in order to go home feeling satisfied and making tomorrow an easier day.

4. Having process-centric response to an email

Instead of having a one/two liner email that requires lots of thoughts, we should spend the time and better serve the recipient of the email to take action on it.

What is the project represented by this message, and what is the most efficient (in terms of messages generated) process for bringing this project to a successful conclusion?

5. Schedule every minute of your day

I find it very helpful if I start my day with a to-do list prioritized properly. The book suggest having scheduled every minute of your day also makes you respect your time more. However, to most of us who over-estimates how much we can accomplish in the short-term timeframe, it is important to emphasize the importance of scheduling downtime if you are going to schedule EVERYTHING.  I think I shall give it a shot this week to have everything scheduled and bulleted out and see how closely I can get budgeting my time.