How To Say Goodnight: 11 Ways To Improve Your Sleep

Sleep is undoubtedly important for your well-being, yet we don’t always sleep well, sometimes due to physiological problems, often though resulting from the sheer level of distraction that we are exposed to every day.

Yet when we improve our sleep, we will be much more energetic – as mentioned in this article.

Some conventional advice to get better sleep is:
1. Keep the room in complete darkness.
2. Reduce blue light from your computer before you sleep (inhibits melatonin production in our brain after dark).
3. Use apps to improve your sleep experience. For example, f.lux turns the computer screen orange after sunset.

When I thought about the ways that help me get better sleep, I realized there are three different categories of advice.

A. Install good habits and routines.

Fall asleep the same time every day, sleep the same amount of hours and wake up at the same time.

Suggestions in this category aim to get your body and mind into a habit of sleeping. Habits assert themselves in a strong way – as everyone who wants to lose vices is all too painfully aware of. Once installed, habits turn into automatically executed patterns, so the key to good sleep could be getting the body and mind used to a constant sleep-wake cycle.

B. Drugs and medication.

Clearly, sleep has a physiological component. That is what you help along with drugs.

C. Tiring yourself out over the day.

Focussing on your work, sports and physical activity before sleep, sex… when you are really tired, you can sleep like a baby.

Here are my 11 methods for improving your sleep quality.

Improve Your Sleep Sunrise
Sunrise on the beach

#1 – Figure out how long you sleep without an alarm clock.

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How To Debate A Topic: 10 Arguments Pro And Contra Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy! Whoa, isn’t that some pseudoscience? Or not? What is it really about?

Aromatherapy is the vaporization of essential, plant-based oils that are supposed to cure ailments – either through aroma dispensers (see picture below) or applied topically as massage oils. 

I am not an expert on this topic at all, but I will find 10 arguments why aromatherapy is real and 10 reasons why it is a scam. That way, we will be able to come to a much more informed decision whether this is worth looking further into or most likely pseudoscientific fraud.

We will also see how to find two sides to every argument. Discussing aromatherapy this way and finding for/against arguments will open my mind to stances that are different from my own.

I am actually a little familiar myself with aromatherapy. Back in my hippie days in high school (I guess I am still hippie if you look at my hair ;-), I had an aroma lamp at home for some time. I thought it could impress girls, but… nah. Did not do the trick.

Moreover, some ointments – for example, “Wick MediNait” are actually helpful: the aroma that emanates over night when you apply it to your chest can actually free your nose when you have a cold.

So 10 arguments for (a) or against (b) aromatherapy – let’s see what they are!

Aromatherapy Lamp
One example to apply aromatherapy

#1 (a) – It is non-invasive and “mild”.

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The Spirit Of A Movie: 10 Ideas For Independent Films

The way to come up with an idea for a movie is to take elements you already know and then add a second element. Or different style.

Take an idea that’s already out there – can be another movie, an article you read or a story you heard about… maybe even an event you were part of – and add something new.

Don’t try to force that new part. Often, our brains only need a primer, they can then bridge gaps fairly easily.

This exercise seemed tough for 5 minutes – and once I had picked my initial ideas, the rest came relatively quickly. From there on, it was easy.

One idea begot the next one. Until I hit some snags up the road. But eventually, I got it done.

By the way, creativity moves in interesting ways. I wrote down the ideas below two days ago, and now that I read them again, I start blinking my eyes in disbelief.

This is what I came up with? One more argument for writing ideas down at the time you get them. Good that I did.

So here are my ideas.

Independent Films Pixar Lamp
The Pixar Lamp, one of the first 3D rendered animated objects

#1 – Finding the light.

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Thirst For Knowledge: 10 Interesting Questions On Quora

So today’s task was: browse the questions on Quora, list the top 10 that you feel compelled to answer and state why.

If you want to figure out what people’s “pain points” and desires are, you can:
(a) search for “I hate” , “I wish”, “If only” etc. on Twitter;
(b) study the posts people leave on Reddit;
(c) check the questions people have on Quora.

Quora gives you actually more than that. If you are interested in starting a business or chosing the right profession, you can use Quora to:
(1.) Check out what people are interested in, as mentioned above;
(2.) Learn which questions you are actually good in answering;
(3.) Realize which questions you love to answer.

No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” – Joe Di Lillo

That being said – let’s move on to the questions!

Interesting Questions Quora
Quora has millions of questions and answers

#1 – What are some good mini-habits to practise each day?

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Idea Sex: Join Your Favorite Books And Quotes, Wisdom Ensues

Idea Sex! Let’s take the books that can make a difference in our lives and then match them with the quotes that carry the most meaning for us.

I am using the blog posts about my 16 great books and 10 lines that make you wonder – and why – as examples.

What new books could I write when I combine ideas from these two topics? I could change it a bit.

For example, if the line is “This IS the next move” and the book is “The Power of Now”, that can morph into

This IS Your Life. – Because It Is Happening Now.

These are the 10 lines that make you wonder.

  1. If an opportunity is too hard, that IS the opportunity.
  2. Just don’t fuck up.
  3. If you have to think about it, you can’t afford it.
  4. People think the glass is half-empty, when in reality, it’s 70% full.
  5. Be like water.
  6. A system can never be more than the sum of its parts and interactions.
  7. It’s easier to fix a boat than it is to calm the ocean.
  8. The past is an illusion, your future is real.
  9. And your gravity fails, and negativity don’t pull you through.
  10. The United States are a story.

And these are the 16 great books.

  1. The Slight Edge
  2. Atlas Shrugged
  3. Gorilla Mindset
  4. Choose Yourself
  5. The Millionaire Fastlane
  6. Momo
  7. The Neverending Story
  8. Bachelor Pad Economics
  9. Buddenbrooks.
  10. Doctor Faustus.
  11. Don Carlo.
  12. Goedel, Escher, Bach.
  13. The Dark Tower Series.
  14. How to Argue and Win Every Time.
  15. Look Who’s Back.
  16. Man of Straw.

Here is how I did it.

I first determined what might go together, like a puzzle.

You can pair two titles that may not look like they have much in common – for example, real-life advice (“just don’t fuck up”) with pure fiction (The Neverending Story). Or combinations that are very close to each other – see “If you have to think about it, you can’t afford it” with “Bachelor Pad Economics”. You either tease out a common denominator, or both titles are so different that they inspire each other in unexpected ways.

So without further ado, here is the list.

Idea Sex Leap Of Faith
Leap of Faith. Don’t hit your head!

#1 – Tough chances and leaps of faith – Play the game and win!

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Permission denied: 10 Items I forsake myself… and 2 I never avoid

What are the items I am not allowing myself to buy?

This is a question that’s difficult to answer for me, because… well, because I am not buying myself much to begin with.

There used to be a time though when I would. I bought stuff because I thought acquiring something would solve a problem that I had. Or make me more creative.

But it’s not true. If we shift our focus away from acquiring items to fill some emptiness – towards solving the problem that created the emptiness in the first place – we can become happy, because we solve our problems for good.

Permission Denied iPhone

No new iPhones for me…

#1 – The newest iPhone with contract.

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How To Cook Creatively: 10 Ideas For New Receipes

This reminds me back of high-school. I attended cooking classes. Which basically meant to get together one afternoon to listen to a talk about minerals. vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, fats etc., then try out some new recipes and then eat afterwards. Yes. We learnt that in Germany.

And by the way, I also learnt to knit and crochet. I was better in it than in school sports. Embarrassing? Only if you assume you cannot use a knitting needle to fight… but I digest.

Which brings us to today’s topic. New ideas for recipes. They can’t be something I have done before. They must have at least some new creation.

As such, I have never tried the recipes out that I am telling you about. I imagine though that they must taste delicious, and in most cases they build on existing, proven recipes.

So have fun becoming inspired and maybe trying them out for yourself! I heard the mulled wine is really good.

Cook Creatively Potatoe Fritter
Just imagine a tomato sauce with it.

#1 – Potato Fritters with Tomato and Mozzarella

Continue reading “How To Cook Creatively: 10 Ideas For New Receipes”

Remarkable Quotes: 10 Lines That Make You Wonder, And Why

This was an interesting question. Is there any line you heard recently that left you in awe?

Normally, I don’t remember any outstanding phrases. I take what I hear, read or see and try to make sense of it altogether. While I am drawing my own conclusions, I may miss statements that carry their own significance.

Maybe some of you are opposite and remember key phrases first? Everyone learns and perceives information in different ways.

Nonetheless, here are 10 lines that I do remember.

#1 – If an opportunity is ‘too hard’, then that IS the opportunity! – MJ DeMarco

This is an answer to all those who say they can’t get started on their dream because – while an opportunity is right in front of them – the execution is too difficult.

Actually, it is simple to move forward. You don’t need an endless supply of talent to build your own business or make your dream come true.

All it takes is hard work. And that’s the hard part.

Yet hard work is something every one of us can do – that’s the beauty of it.

Check this video (from 0:55 onwards).

#2 – Just don’t fuck up. – Aaron Clarey.

While you are working hard on realizing big goals (see #1 above), you can already enjoy life if you think about what is really important to you and avoid spending money on items you don’t need or decisions you can’t afford:

  • an expensive car when a smaller car would transport you just as well;
  • a big house that requires you to keep your high-profile job to finance it;
  • having children without a stable financial base;
  • a liberal arts education that makes you Starbuck’s wittiest coffee brewer;

Often, people don’t have the means to afford these items and thus take up loans that will then literally enslave them for decades of their life.

The monthly leasing rate of $400 for a nice BMW may not look like such a steal anymore when you could have spent the money for a nice weekend trip instead.

If you are ok with living in the countryside and taking trips with your friends, appreciating the simpler things in life, you can live very well on $30,000/year.

As long as you don’t “fuck up”.

When I look back 35 years, as a 5 – 6 year old kid, I was happy with seeing my friends, reading when it was raining, having food on the table and a roof over my head. Nothing fancy!

Of course, as an adult, I enjoy different activities than when I was a kid – but how much different is my lifestyle really? Not that much.

Just Don’t Fuck Up and you can enjoy a life in happiness.

#3 – If you have to think about it, you can’t afford it. – MJ DeMarco

Another quote from MJ DeMarco, this time from “Millionaire Fastlane”.

It’s a brilliantly simple rule of thumb to determine what you can afford – and how much you would have to earn to be able to buy something without a headache.

If you decide to buy a coffee, you simply do it. There is no thought on how that could fit into your budget.

Buying that electronic gadget? Or shelling out the loan for that fancy car? Hmmm… maybe if I switch off the air conditioning a little earlier? Or skip eating out for lunch?

If you have to search for ways to fit a payment into your budget, you can’t afford it.

I think there are more items that we can not really afford yet think we do, thanks to the credit card industry. To afford a $50,000 car without worries, a yearly income of $200,000 may not even be enough. But you will probably not lose much sleep about paying up to $5,000 for a used car when you make $50,000 per year.

#4 – People think the glass is half-empty, while in reality, it’s 70% full. – Gary Vaynerchuk.

Brilliant, brilliant line. Because we live in such great times that we can do anything we want.

Yeah, sitting back and waiting for something to happen will not do the trick either.

However, nowadays – with blogging, YouTube, social media connecting us and our work to billions of other people world-wide, we don’t need to ask anyone for permission and can completely do whatever we want.

I also like that line because there are often so many unseen forces underneath our fabric of reality… but why should we assume they are negative?

There is this notion to work against all odds and “beat the system”, so that we automatically assume the system is bad. Why?

The system gives us amazing opportunities. Every environment we work in has useful as well as non-conducive parts.

We have to figure out how we can leverage our strengths best in the current environment we are in.

For example. If you have learnt to work in an academic field like life sciences where job positions are not easy to come by, you could use social media and eMail to collect a weekly newsletter about advances in cancer treatments, as suggested in James Altucher’s Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth.

That brings us directly to the next part:

#5 – Be like water. – Bruce Lee

Instead of pushing through the wall to get to your goal, you can just flow around it.

Find a way to align yourself with the possibilities in your environment.

Accept reality and find a way to make it work for you.

#6 – A system can never be more than the sum of its parts and their interactions. – Sydney Brenner

Can we ever understand the reality we are in, or is there an element of mystery that is beyond our reach?

When I grew up in the 80ies and 90ies, there was one statement en vogue: that something is “more than the sum of its parts”. That statement always seemed like a silent resignation. It says that we will never be able to fully understand a system, because even if we add all the parts together, there is something lacking.

Then, I heard Brenner’s lecture, and I had hope again. If it is just a matter of finding the parts and learning how they function together, then we can understand any complex in life. Thus, do we eventually remove any ‘mystery’, metaphysics or notion of ‘God’ from the equation? It all depends whether we can ever realize how the parts interact with each other. This may or may not be the case.

But Brenner’s statement basically says that we can still use a reductionist view to understand scientific phenomena.

#7 – It’s easier to fix a boat than to calm the ocean. – Justin Garcia, “Master Chim

This sentence illustrates that the best solution to a problem is often the one that involves changing our own behavior rather than trying to fix the whole environment we are in.

I find this a relief. We are only responsible for that what we can directly change. The impossibility of changing the environment also means that we can’t expect anyone else to behave in a certain way.

The universe does not owe us anything, but if we get our stuff together, it will allow us safe passage.

#8 – The past is an illusion, your future is real. – Mike Cernovich

This has helped me in many instances to reframe my problems and see them in a different light.

What we remember is very subjective. Depending on our emotional state relative to the situation we are in, we regard the past as helping us or standing in our way. We made it “against all odds” or we did not make it because the odds were against us.

And if we are not careful, we let the odds define us. We often “wish we could go back in time”, but without a time machine, that’s not easy to do.

Can’t we go forward instead? and imagine how our own excitement and optimism will shape all the things to come? Time moves forward, and we are just along for the ride, with all the power we need to make what we want happen.

#9 – And your gravity fails, and negativity don’t pull you through… – Bob Dylan

First of all, this line is from one of my favorite Dylan songs – “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”.

Like so many of Dylan’s songs, the meaning of the lyrics is a bit cloudy. Maybe intentionally so.

What it means to me personally is that sometimes you can not rely on anything – not even negativity. How freeing!

It would be depressing indeed if negativity was that what ultimately anchors our fantasy in reality.

Instead, Dylan basically says that if you have a negative mindset, you won’t be any more solid in life than with a positive one.

So I might as well see things in a good perspective!

It also means when something unexpected happens, the default state is not “Downfall”.

#10 – The United States are a story. – James Altucher

Maybe the greatest story ever told.

This sentence has impressed me, because it shows you – very similar to Mike’s sentence in point #8 above – that nothing in our past has happened under guarantee. History is always written by the victor.

It also shows you the power of good storytelling. It can create nations and keep them alive. Does that mean that those whose story is not strong enough will be outlived by history? Or will the best story always come to those who stay around?



If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.

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What were some memorable lines that you heard recently?

Do you have some all-time favorites?

Thanks for reading and let us know in the comments below!