{"feed":"Life-Optimizer","feedTitle":"Life Optimizer","feedLink":"/feed/Life-Optimizer","catTitle":"Lifestyle","catLink":"/cat/lifestyle"}

I recently read the book summary of Life 3.0. It describes a future, called Life 3.0, where artificial intelligence (AI) becomes a dominant force in the world. At that time, there is a possibility that AI would rule the world because it has superintelligence that far surpasses human intelligence.

It’s still a distant future, but recent advancements have made it closer and closer. Through a field known as machine learning, for instance, computers can now learn to perform a task without being taught before. They can learn from experience and get better by themselves. Currently, this only applies to specific fields (e.g. playing chess or translation), but over time it could be applied to multiple fields at once.

What about the near future?

In the near future, the threat of AI is how it endangers jobs through automation. More and more jobs can be replaced by machines as they become more intelligent. The Economist recently published a special report about it.

You might think that your field is safe, but it’s better to prepare yourself before it’s too late. You should make yourself future-proof.

How can you do that?

I believe that the key is being a versatilist: someone who can be a specialist in a particular discipline, while at the same time be able to change to another role with the same ease. Versatilists have the ability and flexibility to transform themselves if necessary. When Thomas Friedman used the term in his book, it was applied mainly to the danger...

Reaching your full potential requires you to have the right role models. Without them, it will be difficult for you to become all that you can be. But with the right role models, you will be on your way to reaching your full potential.

I’m lucky because I have had good role models for years. Having them has pushed me to make the most of my life.

Why You Should Have Role Models

Here are some reasons why you should have role models.

1. They can inspire you about what is possible.

This is perhaps the most important reason for having role models. Our expectations are often too low, especially if we base them on what we see around us. But having role models can help you overcome those limitations.

Instead of limiting yourself with what you see around you, now you know what is actually possible. Your expectations will become much higher and that’s how you can reach your full potential.

2. They can motivate you to overcome challenges.

There are always challenges along the way that could discourage you. But having role models will motivate you to overcome them. Why? Because they have proved that it can be done! They have gone through them themselves. It’s now your chance to follow in their footsteps.

3. They can guide you in making decisions.

Having role models allows you to learn their mental models, the way they make decisions. After all, your life is the outcome of your decisions. By learning their mental models, you will...

In the world we live in now, new technologies come out constantly. These technologies help people become more efficient. But in the midst of these, there is a growing epidemic of loneliness. It’s a sad contrast: many people become more efficient on the outside but emptier on the inside.

There is an essential component that is missing here and that is community. We all need to have a community.

By community, I mean a group of people who care about you and want to support you. On the other hand, you also care about them and want to support them. A community is a group of people who care about each other. A group of people who only think about themselves is not a community.

Here are four reasons why having a community is essential.

1. It’s a basic human need.

I just read the book summary of The Power of Meaning. It says that one pillar of a meaningful life is a sense of belonging. In fact, it’s a basic human need. Without a sense of belonging, your life would lose its meaning.

2. You need support in hard times.

Like it or not, there are hard times in life. It will be very difficult to go through them alone. Having a community, on the other hand, will make it much easier for you. Why? Because now you go through them together with other people.

3. It makes you healthy.

Studies show that having an emotional support can boost your immune system. You...

In reaching your full potential, your decision-making ability plays an important role. After all, your life is just the outcome of your decisions. So the better you are at making decisions, the better your life will be.

Good decision-making has two characteristics:

  • Effective: you make the right decision for your situation. You choose the right action to do.
  • Efficient: you make the decision fast. It doesn’t take you too much time to make the decision.

If you can make the right decisions, and make them fast, then you have a good decision-making ability.

But how can we achieve that? How can we be effective and efficient in decision-making?

The key, I believe, is having good mental models. A mental model is a framework about how something in the world works. When you have a mental model about learning, for instance, you have a framework about how learning works. You have an idea about what the components are and how they interact with each other.

Having good mental models allows you to make the right decisions fast.

Why is that the case? Here are two reasons:

  1. You can predict what would happen, so you know what right action to take is.
  2. You already have a framework, so you just need to give some input to get the output. Everything in between has been figured out. It’s fast.

Having good mental models, as you can see, is powerful. That’s why you need to make building them a priority.

Here are some tips on building good mental models.

1. Read the stories of great...

If you want to get the most out of life, you need to become productive. Productive people can get more valuable things done in less time.

Note that I said valuable. Productivity is not about getting anything done; it’s about getting the right things done. If you can get more of the right things done, then you are productive. If you get a lot of things done, but they are not the right things, then you are not productive. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean being productive.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that can help you become productive. These could be apps on your smartphone, or even just pen and paper.

I’d like to know how you are being productive, so here is my question to you:

What are your favorite productivity tools and why?
(If it’s an app, please mention the name of the app)

Please leave your answer in the comments so that everyone can read it. Thanks!

To reach your full potential, it’s important that you improve different aspects of your life. But that, unfortunately, is easier said than done. You might say that you want to improve something. But actually improving it is a different story.

So how can we solve this problem?

I have found a principle that can be useful here. It came from Peter Drucker and was originally intended to improve business performance. But I have found that it’s also useful for personal effectiveness. The principle is this:

What gets measured, gets managed.

In my opinion, this principle is simple but powerful. Do you want to improve something? Then start measuring it.

Why It Works

Here are four reasons why this principle works.

1. It reminds you of what’s important. Whenever you see the number of what you are measuring, you will be reminded that it’s important. You might be busy with other things, but seeing the number will remind you that this deserves your attention.

2. It helps you see your position. Because it’s measured, you will know exactly where you are. You can’t have the illusion that you are doing well when you are not. The numbers will tell you the truth.

3. It helps you see your progress. When you start working to improve your life, the numbers will help you see your progress. You can see how far you have gone. This will help you stay motivated.

4. It helps you set goals. Because it’s measured, you can set specific goals. You know what you are...

There are big differences between winners and losers. Among them, one of the biggest ones is their attitude towards what they have or don’t have. The difference is this:

Losers complain about what they don’t have while winners make the most of what they have.

It might seem simple, but this difference plays a big role in making someone a winner or a loser.

You see, you can’t expect your situation to be ideal before you can achieve something. There will always be something that you lack. If you wait until everything becomes ideal, you might never do what you need to do. So you should just make the most of what you have.

This reminds me of the story of Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He once had a thriving restaurant. But then it went bankrupt and he didn’t have much left. Worse, he was already 66 years old at that time. He had many reasons to complain about what he didn’t have. Fortunately, he didn’t do that. Instead, he made the most of what he had: a fried chicken recipe.

It’s not much, isn’t it? Just a recipe. But he made the most of it. He went from restaurant to restaurant to offer to cook fried chicken based on his recipe. If they liked it, he would then sell fried chicken to them.

He faced many rejections. He often had to sleep in his car. But he made the most of what he had and that made all the...

It’s a funny title, isn’t it? How to make your priority a priority. Unfortunately, many times our priority isn’t really a priority. You might say that something is your priority but don’t actually treat it that way. That’s why we need to learn to make our priority a priority.

To be honest, I still get distracted here and there myself. But I have learned some things along the way, and I’d like to share the lessons with you today.

Without further ado, here are five tips on making your priority a priority.

1. Decide what your priority is.

Before anything else, you must decide what your priority is. Notice that I said priority, not priorities. Priority is singular, not plural.

It means that you need to decide what the most important thing is for you. When it comes to spending your time, ask yourself this question:

What is the one activity that would make the most difference in my life?

Think about it for a moment and answer the question. That is your priority.

2. Make enough time for it.

Now that you have decided what your priority is, make time for it. Don’t just treat it as something secondary. Instead, build your life around it.

Not only should you make time for it, but also you should make enough time for it. It’s your most important activity, after all, so it deserves a big portion of your time.

This is easier said than done, but the tips below will help you do it.

3. Do it early.

The word priority...

My mission at Life Optimizer is helping you reach your full potential. To be able to do that, I need to know your needs. That’s why I have created this short survey.

If you could take just a few minutes to fill it out, I’d really appreciate it. It will help me meet your needs.

Click here to take the survey

I’m looking forward to reading your response. Thanks in advance and have a great day!

Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.
~ George Bernard Shaw

Do you want to take your life to the next level? If you do, then one of the most important things you can do is building the thinking habit.

Why is it important?

Because the habit helps you live intentionally. Instead of just making default decisions, you will make thoughtful decisions. Instead of living on autopilot, you will live by design.

How can we build the thinking habit? Here are some tips.

1. Be Curious

Curiosity is powerful. It makes you eager to find new ideas. It also helps you recognize the ideas when they come. Curiosity is a foundational attitude to have in building the thinking habit.

2. Read Diversely

The quality of your output depends on the quality of your input. So, if you want to come up with good ideas, you need to feed your mind with good ideas.

One way to do that is to read diversely. Why? Because it allows you to cross-pollinate the ideas in your mind. This will give you fresh, new ideas.

Don’t just read from the fields you are familiar with; read from other fields as well.

3. Read Actively

Not only should you read diversely, but also you should read actively. Find relevant ideas and think about how you can apply them.

My favorite way to do this is by highlighting the book I read and reviewing them...

In my post about habit building, I wrote that you have to be intentional in building your habits. You can’t just leave your habits to chance. Why? Because our natural tendency is to choose the easy way.

Now I’d like to take a closer look at the importance of being intentional, not only in habit building, but in every area of our lives.

The fact is, there are two ways to live your life: you can live either by default or by design. Living by default means just following the crowd; it means just following the path of least resistance. Living by design, on the other hand, means being proactive in how you live your life.

Living by default is the recipe for mediocrity while living by design is the recipe for greatness.

How can we live by design?

Living by design requires you to be intentional about your life. It requires you to look at the different aspects of your life and take deliberate actions to improve them. It requires you to take control of your life instead of just living on autopilot.

The more I look at my own life, the more I see the importance of being intentional. If you want to reach your full potential, you must think about and take deliberate actions. Don’t just follow the “normal” way of life because that—by definition—is the way to mediocrity.

If you visit Life Optimizer’s website and look at the logo, you will see something different: the tagline has been changed.

Previously, it was “Maximizing Personal Effectiveness”. But now it becomes “Reach Your Full Potential”. Besides the logo, I have also updated the About page and social media profiles.

Why did I make the change?

Well, the reason is that I want to make the tagline better aligned with my mission. My mission is “helping people reach their full potential”. With this change, Life Optimizer becomes a direct expression of this mission.

Life Optimizer has actually been on this mission since it began in 2006. It has helped people reach their full potential through its hundreds of articles. But it takes some iterations for the tagline to reach its current form. With this new tagline, Life Optimizer will have a better clarity and sharper focus on its mission.

So here we are. If you want to reach your full potential, you have come to the right place :)

There is a sad development in many parts of the world today. It’s the loneliness epidemic. Though it’s relatively invisible, more and more people are affected by it.

In Britain, for instance, more than nine million people often or always feel lonely. Since Britain has a population of 65 million, it means that about 13% of the population feel lonely. The problem is so serious that the government recently appointed a minister for loneliness.

In Japan, there is a phenomenon called hikikomori. Many people shut themselves in their rooms and refuse to go out for months or even years. The phenomenon affects an estimated 700,000 people out of Japan’s 126 million population. There is a book on the phenomenon (I haven’t read it, though).

This issue really bothers me, so I’d like to know your thoughts about it. Here are my questions to you:

Why does it happen?

What is the best way to overcome it?

Feel free to answer one of the questions or both. Please leave your answer in the comments so that everyone can read it. Thanks!

There is no doubt that Jeff Bezos is a great example of business success. At the time of writing, he is the richest person in the world. While success in business doesn’t necessarily mean true success, I believe we can learn valuable lessons from him.

I have been following him for some time, and I have found that his achievements mainly come from the principles he lives by. These are the principles that guide his actions and help him grow Amazon to become the giant it is today.

You might not plan to build your own business, but these are still great principles to follow. Here are six success principles from Jeff Bezos.

1. Minimize Regret

This is the principle that started it all. Back in 1994, Bezos already had a comfortable job at a hedge fund. But the Internet was going mainstream and he saw a huge opportunity there.

So what should he do? Should he leave his comfortable job and take the risk?

To help him make the difficult decision, he used the regret minimization framework.

The idea is that you should take the action that will minimize your future regrets. Many people have lifetime regrets and this framework aims to avoid those.

Using this framework, it’s clear to him that he should leave his job and take the risk. If he didn’t, he would regret it years later (“Why didn’t I give it a shot?”). But by doing it, he wouldn’t have any regret (“At least I have done my best”).


I recently read Your Money or Your Life, an insightful book about personal finance. I have read the book about a decade ago, but a decade is a long time so I decided to read it again to refresh my memory.

There is a concept that is emphasized again and again in the book. That concept is frugality. The book says that frugality is the key to living a fulfilled life financially and I agree with it.

What does it mean to be frugal?

Here is the definition given by the book: being frugal means having a high joy-to-stuff ratio. Being frugal is not about having a few possessions. It’s not about finding the cheapest stuff out there to buy. Instead, it’s about getting as much value as possible from your possessions. If you get a lot of enjoyment from something you own, you are being frugal. But if you barely use it, you are not being frugal.

This definition sticks with me because it makes me realize that I’m not frugal in some cases.

The most obvious example in my case is with books. I love to read, and because of that, I buy a lot of books (mainly e-books these days). There are many of them that I haven’t read, though. According to the definition above, I’m not frugal. I have a low joy-to-stuff ratio when it comes to books.

Fortunately, there are some other areas where I do better than that. With clothing, for instance, I rarely buy new ones....

Here we are in 2018. Being in the beginning of a new year, it’s a good time to start maximizing our personal growth this year.

How can we do that? How can we maximize our personal growth?

There is a key principle you need to follow for that. The principle is this:

Move out of your comfort zone

Yes, move out of your comfort zone. Why? Because you can’t grow if you just stay in your comfort zone.

The situation is similar to building muscles. If you only lift weights that you are already comfortable with, you won’t build your muscles. You need to lift weights that make you uncomfortable. In the case of personal growth, you need to do things that are beyond your comfort zone, things that still scare you to some extent.

There are many ways to do that, but here are eight ideas to help you get started.

1. Start a Blog

Starting a blog requires you to learn a bunch of new things. Among others, you will learn about writing, content publishing, and time management.

I have been blogging for more than ten years now and I can attest to its benefits for my personal growth.

2. Learn Public Speaking

If the thought of public speaking makes you feel miserable, it might be a good idea to learn it this year. A good way to do that is to join Toastmasters. I did it, and it helped me improve.

3. Learn to Code

This is not for everybody, but if you want to know how...

We are nearing the end of the year now. In just a little time, we will enter 2018.

The end of the year is a good time to reflect on our lives. It’s a good time to reflect on the lessons we have learned this year so that we can improve our lives next year.

So here is my question to you:

What life lessons have you learned in 2017?

Please leave your answer in the comments so that everyone can read it. Thanks and Happy New Year!

How are you doing? I hope your holiday season has been great! In my case, I just stay in town this time. But the atmosphere here feels different. It’s rainy and cooler than usual, and the town is less crowded. I enjoy it :)

Now that we are in the Christmas season, I’d like to invite you to join my newsletter on spirituality.

As you might know, there are five aspects of life: work, health, learning, social, and spiritual. But I only write about the first four aspects here. People have different beliefs about spirituality and therefore I choose not to write about it at Life Optimizer.

To make the five aspects complete, I decided to create a separate newsletter on spirituality. I’m a Christian so it’s based on Christian values. Along with the writings on this website, the newsletter will make your personal growth complete because all five aspects are covered.

You can join the newsletter here. I believe this Christmas season is an especially good time for that.

Happy holidays!

For years, I didn’t have the habit of working out. Then one day I decided to start building the habit and now I’m glad to say that I work out almost every day.

So how can we get motivated to work out?

The starting point, I believe, is internalizing the benefits. The more you internalize the benefits, the more motivated you will be.

Here are the benefits you will get from working out:

  • Energy
    Personally, this is the benefit that I like the most. Since I spent years not exercising, I can attest to the difference it makes. Exercise gives me more energy throughout the day. It results in more enthusiasm and better focus.
    For this to happen, I suggest you exercise in the morning. That way you will get the energy you need for the rest of the day.
  • Improved Self-Control
    Studies show that exercise can help you build self-control. In The Power of Habit, it’s mentioned that exercise is a keystone habit, which means that building this habit can help you build other good habits.
  • Happiness
    When you have more enthusiasm and self-control, you will increase your happiness. I can say from experience that working out is a good way to lift your mood.
  • Long-Term Health
    Working out is essential for maintaining good health. There are so many health risks that can be reduced if you make working out a habit.

In addition to the benefits above, you can use your exercise time for learning. Bill Gates, for instance, uses his exercise sessions...

I like to learn from top performers. I like to observe how they achieve their level of performance.

From my observation, there is one characteristic that I notice again and again. It seems to be a common thread among them. It seems to be something that they all have.

That characteristic is immersion. Top performers are immersed in their fields. They live and breathe what they do.

I realized this when I observed world chess champion Magnus Carlsen. Once, in an interview, he was quizzed about chess positions from games decades ago. The interviewer asked him to identify the games where the positions come from: who the players were and when the games were played. And guess what? He could identify each one of them!

How is that possible? How could he do such a thing?

The short answer is that he thought about chess all the time. He was immersed in it. He even said that during the interview, as he was speaking, he had chess positions flashing through his minds. Wow!

I see this characteristic again and again in top performers. Jiro Ono, for instance, was so immersed in the art of sushi making that he dreamt about new kinds of sushi at night. That’s how he got many of his ideas. And that’s why the title of his documentary (a very good documentary, by the way) is Jiro Dreams of Sushi.

Another example is Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. In his biography, he said that wherever he...