All your decisions have a cost

You make dozens of decisions every hour, hundreds every day. Each of those decisions uses up a little bit of energy in the brain. Even apparently trivial decisions use up energy: latte or cappuccino? small, medium or large? drink in or take out? The more decisions you make in a given time frame, the more your decision-making energy is depleted. You are more likely to decide on the default choice, the easier choice, the habitual choice. It takes less effort to choose it, and to follow it up. This has two important implications for anyone who aims to have at least a little control in how they live their life. Firstly, invest some effort in cultivating good habits, whatever good habits means for you: flossing your teeth before bed, smiling at people, writing thank-you notes, remembering jokes, whatever. The more embedded the habit, the more automatic it is and the less energy you will use up deciding choose it and do it every time. Secondly, make your important decisions when you’re feeling fresh. For most people it’s not the evening, after a day of work. Evening is the time when people find it hardest to decide against “just another” helping of food, glass of drink, or hour of...

Not Ten, not Seven, just One

There are numbered lists everywhere - X ways to get fitter, Y habits of top professionals, Z tricks to improve your SEO, yada yada yada. People like numbered lists, apparently - something about the way our brains work. Moses nailed that one a long time ago when he come down the mountain with Ten Commandments We also like sugar, salt and fat, for reasons in our evolutionary past. Trouble is, food manufacturers have grasped this essential fact and play it like crazy. We are surrounded by packaged foods with turbocharged permutations of added sugar, salt and fat. Numbered lists can be useful, but how many can you take on board and remember, let alone implement? I like to keep things simple enough to be memorable, motivating and actionable, even when - especially when - things get hectic and there’s no time to remember more than two or three things. And...

Forget me

Personal coaching is just a conversation, right? Actually it’s not “just” a conversation. It’s a conversation in which the coach keeps his/her ego quietly in the background. “Sssshhh, ego. This conversation isn’t about you, it’s about the client’s work and life. So observe carefully, pay attention to the client and let them BE without chipping in. In the fullness of time people will appreciate you for your unusual ability to observe carefully and pay attention and let them be.” You could regard it as deferred ego gratification. But that’s another...

You don’t know till you do

In our hyperconnected world we can know about pretty much anything. It’s all just a click away. Now we probably know more than anyone ever before. Hang on. Not so fast. There’s knowing about and there’s knowing how and there’s just plain knowing,which is a lot deeper than it sounds. It’s about the knowing that comes from personal experience. It’s evoked by these lines in the Joni Mitchell song Amelia: People will tell you where they’ve gone They’ll tell you where to go But till you get there yourself you’ll never really know In other words, you can get pointers from other people but you have to go through the experience yourself to really know. “Knowledge is only rumour until it is in the muscle”. Or to put it another way, you learn more from an hour of cooking than from a day of watching cooking...