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Goal setting is hard. It requires self-awareness, deep reflection, and a belief in yourself that you will succeed in the future. Many people have interests, desires and dreams, but find these hard to link together into actionable goals. I certainly find this hard. I have several projects that I want to work on, which compete for my time, motivation and effort. Recently I wrote about Paul Graham’s model of determination, and how this applies to su [...]

I recently read a post on Paul Graham’s blog which dissects the concepts of success and determination. He puts forward a very simple yet powerful model for what he considers the most important contributor to success: determination. The engineer within me loves to use models and analogies to explain difficult concepts and apply them to the real world. But a couple of things always need to be kept in mind with models: Models can be simplified to a [...]

The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing is a book I often recommend to people who are starting out with investing. This book is a useful starting point for people who are interested in getting the most out of their investments or retirement savings. The book is ideal for beginners in that it assumes no prior financial knowledge, but would still be useful for more intermediate investors. Are you a US citizen with a 401k? Or a UK citizen with a pension [...]

It’s about time for me to give an update on my plan to acquire basic Greek in 16 weeks. I’m currently in Week 10 and have six weeks to go before I leave on my trip. I set myself a pretty ambitious schedule, but I think this was the right move.I’veprobably made a lot more progress than if I had more relaxed goals. ** In my last post I set out several stages, and I should currently be in Stage Four. Based on the tasks in my plan, I’m about at th [...]

Pomodoro on Have you ever awokendetermined to achieve a lot in a day, only to find that despite working solidlyyou’venot really made any progress? Have the small amounts of slippage – facebook here, long tea break there – added up to reduce your efficiency? How can you be more efficient and achieve more? The answer is Pomodoro. What is Pomodoro? Developed by Francesco Cirillio, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management system b [...]

What was my greatest achievement in the first year of my Engineering degree? Was it…the time when I was doomed to fail Mathematical Modelling 2, but crammed so hard in the last 48 hours before the exam that I not only scraped through, but scored a Distinction at 81%? No. Was it… getting five distinctions out of eight subjects, landing me on the Deans List for academic achievement? No. Was it…skipping almost every lecture of Mathematical Modelling [...]

A couple of weeks ago, I booked flights to Greece for early July. I’m flying into Athens where I hope to feast my eyes on Μπριζολάκια (thank you Culinary Backstreets!). I fly out of Crete where I plan to bathe in olive oil and eat Μπουγάτσα (thank you Mr Bourdain!). Tim FerrissandBenny Lewishave been inspiring me lately. I recently reviewed my success in German and failure in French. Can I learn Greek over the next 16 weeks fast enough to spea [...]

I want to share a free, extremely fun and very easy way to build your knowledge online: Memrise. This is a ‘Spaced Repetition System’ – presenting flashcards at intervals designed to help you absorb material efficiently. The beauty of the website is the community element to learning. Anyone can build and share a course across the Memrise network. What can you learn? I first heard about this website through Benny Lewis’s Fluent in 3 Months. I’ve s [...]

Seems like a strange thing to post about! But if you read my experience of becoming fluent in German last week, this’ll provide a good contrast. Two years ago a close contact helped me land a three month gardening contract on a French estate. The contract was arranged three months in advance, enough time to learn some language. I naively believed that since I’d already acquired German, I should be able to acquire French too, only much more quickl [...]

How does a return of 7% every year sound, regardless of the performance of the economy? Compared to my shoddy 2% ISA interest, that sounds pretty good! In this current climate of low interest rates, many people are turning to alternative investments such as peer-to-peer lending and community energy. I’m invested in Hepburn Wind in Australia, and another member of LLB is invested in Westmill Solar in the UK. Why did we decide to invest in these co [...]