“Talk Does Not Cook Rice” Chinese proverb

Have you ever tried to make someone do something and get nothing? Have you ever presented yourself saying things you think are impressive and people were indifferent? At this day and age, people are bombarded with a huge amount of information. The power of word (alone) is useless now, unless you are the owner of a large TV channel. What’s left? The power of facts. People can’t avoid, discuss or reject facts, not for a long time.

Why should you stop talking?

I’m sure you know a lot of people who almost only talk about: what they can do, what they did, what they will do, what they have, why they are right… I could continue because, as you can see, the list includes a large variety of topics, but I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. Do you really think all these people actually do big things with their life? Do you think they are living their dreams? Obviously not. However, they get a lot of social validation from playing the victim role, they are lifelong experts on manipulation. BTW, I don’t have anything against these people, they are just living a reality that is dictated but everyone but themselves. It’s OK, most people don’t have the conscience, the leverage and the courage that takes to walk the self-actualisation path. Don’t blame them, just don’t fall in the same trap.

When you live life like that, you are trapped in a loop. A loop, in behavioural terms, is a series of habits that we end up doing unconsciously, very often in the same order, because you are  getting something out of it. It could be validation, pleasure, ego inflation… anything. It’s a script, a viral program you run unconsciously. If you get lost in the talking loop, you won’t start doing anything except there is some external force that leads you. You never dictate your reality.

There’s only one thing in the world that results more annoying to me than a person without opinion, and that is somebody who always has to express his/her point of view about everything. One of the reasons because I think is annoying is that I myself tend to do that. You probably know a lot of stuff, you have lived a lot of things. Yes, it can be true. Even so, you don’t need to be telling it every damn time. We live in information age, Google exists. If they really want to know what you have to say they will ask. Or is it that you want to get validation from it? Help someone only if you feel like doing it.

When did humanity lost the good habit of talking for the sake of talking? People should stop talking life so seriously and do only what is necessary. The rest should be just for fun. My mate Matt (I know, it seems like a tongue twister) has nailed it with this article.

When there is a important group decision to make, it’s not about not talking, but about talking less. In those serious time, it’s when you should talk serious. Everyone will talk a lot, hold yourself back and think of something that would be useful and will result. Make sure when you talk serious is quality. That’s something I’ve had applied to quite a few important things that need to get done by a work group.

Why should you lead by example?

While most people will be talking about why they aren’t at the level they should be you will be moving forward and taking action. You will be getting things done and forging the legend. Guess who has way bigger success?

Those that surround you will rely on you on tough times. Trust me on this one, when you stop talking and focus on doing things you will get this reputation of the guy who achieves things, even if you don’t talk about it. Well, better said: because you don’t talk about it. When it’s needed others will give you the leadership position. I’ve seen this happen over and over on myself and others. Again, people will sometimes trust words, but will always finally trust facts.

Most people don’t have courage to do things, they need someone who walks the path first. They are used to live life on autopilot. Even when they are asked about random questions, if they can, they’ll wait as spectators until someone takes a decision. Those who take that decision are conditioning themselves to be one of the influences in the world. They will inspire people with their acts, they’ll be the example to follow.

How to stop talking and lead by exampl

I have to say it won’t be an instant change. But hopefully, with my advice you can speed up the process.

  1. Have goals.
  2. Talk less about yourself.
  3. Focus only on the quality of your work.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others.
  5. Let go.
  6. Remember that this is the first day of a life worth living.
  7. Recognize (don’t judge) the talking loops in yourself and others.
  8. Stop taking life and yourself so seriously.
  9. Enjoy life.
  10. If you want to talk seriously, talk seriously, but say only what is important.

Finally, let people discover what you do. Let them be interested in you, don’t spoil the mystery. From now on, stop talking and lead by example.


Everyday Happiness and Fulfillment.

If you have ever tried to change your life drastically and couldn’t, don’t worry. You are not alone. Maybe you wanted to lose weight, become more social or make more money doing something you like. At first you were excited, you felt on top of the world, then you felt like you couldn’t stick to your plan and you reminded yourself how much you suck.  It’s a pattern a lot of people get into, they have the leverage to make a decision but don’t know how to plan things and they fail. Consider this my ultimate guide for drastic changes in life.

Why most people fail to change their lifes?

It’s not bad motivation, it’s bad planning.

  • They stop dreaming.
  • Short-term thinking.
  • Relying on willpower.
  • Bad planning.
  • Not knowing what they are capable of.

Inicial excitement

If you keep that initial excitement you will achieve success and hapiness, no doubt. If you trust it at the beginning you will crash at the beginning.

This is what I talked about in a past article (https://ivanperezs.wordpress.com/the-passion-of-life/). I’m sure you have experienced the loop I talked about at the beggining of this post a few times. At first that feeling is independent, they get excited because of the end goal. Then, they start to say to themselves ‘you can only feel like this is you do this huge amount of work’, they get trapped in the results game.

The initial excitement is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can’t get your dreams if you don’t find your passions. Success doesn’t bring happiness, happiness doesn’t bring success. However, if you combine wisely both action and passion you will have success in the long run and happiness right now. On the other hand, it will confuse you and make you think you can do everything. You will set big short-term goals. Maybe you can accomplish them two or three days, but then you can’t.

The initial excitement made you feel on top of the world, the fall was painful. Why is this? Pain and pleasure, the twins you must control if you want to make a change.

Passion is the same as loads of pleasure, that’s why you have to keep the initial excitement. How?

Make sure your goal is your dream. It has to excite you just by thinking of it.

Think of that dream most of the time. It should be the first thing and the last thing you think about in the day. You should be actually dreaming about it during the night.

As you are taking action, remember your dream.  Get excited.

Reward yourself. Every action you take, no matter how small it is, should be celebrated.

Remind yourself how much you rock for taking action.

Forget about results at first.

Don’t link pain to your goals or to talking action. If you feel like a goal is something arduous, difficult, that you can’t do, you are linking bad feelings to doing it. You are sabotaging yourself.

Pressure or willpower only link more bad feelings. Even if you achieve your short-term goal, if you keep relying on them to get things done you will quit within days.

How to plan your change?

  1. Start small. Your first goals should be something you think it’s too easy.
  2. Do less, do better. Limit the number of things you do for your goal each day. Zen To Done (http://zenhabits.net) is a system that works well for me and a lot of people.
  3. Focus. Focus is a powerful tool. You shouldn’t be focusing on results, on what action you don’t take, on what you don’t have… but you should be really on what you do towards your goals.
  4. Think long-term. Set and plan at least one year goals.
  5. Include in your planning time so you can link good feelings to action and your dream.
  6. Have time for yourself. Take it easy, reward yourself with fun.
  7. Form successful habits.

Punishing yourself, setting way too big goals, wanting to do too much, losing the motivation because it wasn’t your dream, just going through the motions… there’s a long list of things like that you will find in your journey. It takes responsibility and work to come again to the right path. Now, tell me, what is your dream?

Or how to understand what the teacher says without going mad trying

“The ten thousand questions are one question. If you cut through the one question, then the ten thousand questions disappear.” Zen proverb

If you are a student or you simply are planning to learn something and you don’t want to spent countless hours trying to memorize things, this article is definitive for you. I call this series of posts Minimalistic Fast Learning for two reasons. First off, the Minimalistic points that this model for learning forgets about useless stuff and gets to the core of the information; secondly, is Fast because you only focus on the important things, because just enough is JUST ENOUGH. And yes, it gets incredible results. Paradoxically, you get way better results with less effort.

Why I call this chapter ‘Uncluttering Information’

There is a phenomenon about home organization going around. I am myself an amateur unclutterer. If you didn’t know about uncluttering, start by reading this. As you could see, basically, uncluttering is about getting rid of the clutter, not only in your house, but also in every area of your life.

What has Unclutering Information got to do with learning fast? Everything. Although there are are really good teachers that will hammer into your mind the principles and actually teach you the righ way, the sad truth is there are not a lot of this teachers. Most teachers will spent classes spreading disorganized and totally out of context information.

The Golden Rule

If this series of articles could be summarized in just one sentence, that would be focus on understanding, not remembering.

In fact, all I’m telling here apart from that is just how I deal with the topic, but if you understand that rule you could come up with your own personal system. Do you want to know how I approach Minimalistic Fast Learning? Awesome, keep reading then.

Life, and exams won’t be an exception, are dynamic. You don’t know what situations you are going to be asked, or what you will need to remember. So don’t remember anything, at least not on purpose. A basic trigonometry example:

You could memorize this:

0 = 0° π/6 = 30° π/4 = 45° π/3 = 60° π/2 = 90°
sin θ 0 1/2 √2 / 2 √3 / 2 1
cos θ 1 √3 / 2 √2 / 2 1/2 0
tan θ 0 √3 / 3 1 √3 undef.


OR you could squeeze your mind a little and put your grey matter on work. The steps would be:

1. What does this all mean?

You first need to have a notion of everything. You ask yourself what is that table about, and you discover it is about common acute angles ratios. Then you need to know what is a sine, a cosine and a tangent.

2. What are the connections?

Sine, cosine and tangent are related. And each trig ratio means something.

3. Is there anything I already know that I can relate to these?

So, thinking and thinking you end up relating this to real triangles. And instead of learning the ratios, you understand how to find each by knowing what means. A rectangular triangle which minor article is 30º, a equilateral triangle and a rectangular triangle. But this is not maths class and I’m getting off the topic. You get the picture.

Processing Information

Another skill you need to unclutter information is to actually unclutter information ;]. You need to discriminate between useful and not useful information. For example, in that sentence you could only read the underlined words and still get the information.

You need to discriminate between useful and not useful information.

We’ve uncluttered the sentence in a 70% percent without losing important information. Imagine all the things you need to ‘study’ reduced to its 30%. I will write another article on underlining, but this serves as an introduction.

Cool things that will help you:

  • Doing mental summaries, and extracting just the core idea instantly.
  • Knowing what’s useful and what not fast.
  • Working with models.
  • Reading ‘Learn more, Study less’
  • Analyzing and structuring ideas.
  • Thinking in lists and diagrams.

Do you want more?

Don’t worry, in the next months I’m going to write 3 or 4 posts about my personal approach to learning, because it’s giving me amazing results with almost no time. I’m not sure how I’m going to organize the next posts of this series, so if you have particular interest in one topic, or you have some doubts you want me to cover on the next post make sure to comment. If you don’t mind the order, make sure to check the blog often or simply suscribe if you find it more convenient ;].

Update: Check out Matt’s article about Speed Learning on Life of Matt

How to have a role model and actually learn something from it.

Have you ever admired somebody? I bet that at anything you tried to learn and master you watched carefully at those who did it way better than you. Everybody admires someone, everybody has a few role models. This is because of the human natural tendency to improve and feel fulfilled.

But having role models is not enough, you should actually ‘use them’ (I know how silly that sounds) and get something good from it. Focusing on people that are more advanced than you – your role models – will be intuitive after reading this. Let me help you.

Credit Oberazzi.

I’ll give you a few tips on ‘how to use’ a role model so you learn faster:

  1. Watch. This is probably the easiest, yet the most important one, thing you can do to learn from your role model. Watch so you know what they’re capable of do and you can have a direction to go. Set goals based on what you watch.
  2. Compare. Mastery is about little, subtle things. Don’t look for the tricks. Instead, watch your role model execute the basics and compare it to how you do it. Anyone can do a trick, but mastery is about the basics.
  3. Ask. If you are too good to ask for help and advice, forget learning. Do you have a problem? Don’t beat your head against the wall. There’s a lot of people in this world who have walked the path before you, and had a similar problem – if not the same. The clever thing to do is to ask, to make yourself a fool and admit that you can’t do it right now. Ask them for help, they will give you advice that will save you a lot of time.
  4. Tell. Instead of asking, you can also talk with them about the subject you both are passionate about. Thus, you will have a new friend who you will enjoy talking to. As you are talking you will inevitably say how you do something. Don’t be afraid, if you give an ‘I want to learn’ vibe he or she will notice it and the role model will rock your world with tons of things you can improve. A master sees in a second thousands of things that a newbie can improve.
  5. Show. Say to your role model that you want to show him or her what you can do and that you want some advice. Execute the thing. It’s similar – but better – to the tip above.
  6. Give. If you ‘are friends’ with your role model because you see him/her as a means to you learning you won’t get anything in the long-term. Don’t think about how can them help you. Help them, in a real authentic way, they will return because, you know what?, most people are really nice and kind ;].
  7. Understand. With all the advice, with everything you see, try to form strong principles. Try to understand what is more important and what works in each situation. This you will create a value system, that is like a personal role model.
  8. Imitate. Repeat exactly what they until you do something very similar. If you doubt, continue to repeat.

Those are the principles I apply to my learning and to teach. If you want more information on the topic start by reading my mate’s post The Law of Average Joes and then get the book Mastery, by George Leonard. Next time you admire someone apply these principles and you will get so good, if not more, than that person. And remember that, as my sifu says: ‘You can learn from everybody. I learn even from a white belt.’

Do you have any other ideas about the proper use of a role model? Write them in the comments section!