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The Top of my To-Do List

Ali Abdaal
Ali Abdaal

Hey friends,

This week I stumbled across a fantastic, very short blog post from Paul Graham called The Top of My Todo List.

It references the famous book The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. In no particular order, they're:

  1. I wish I hadn't worked so hard
  2. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  3. I wish I had let myself be happier.
  4. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
  5. I wish I'd kept in touch with my friends.

Here's what our friend Paul has to say about these:

I would like to avoid making these mistakes. But how do you avoid mistakes you make by default? Ideally you transform your life so it has other defaults. But it may not be possible to do that completely. As long as these mistakes happen by default, you probably have to be reminded not to make them. So I inverted the 5 regrets, yielding a list of 5 commands which I then put at the top of the file I use as a todo list.
Don't ignore your dreams; don't work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy.

As soon as I read this, I knew I had to follow suit. So I modified my Roam Research daily notes template (using Alfred). Here's what today's looked like.


[caption align="alignnone" width="980"]

My Roam Research daily notes template[/caption]

Have a great week!

Ali

This Week On Not Overthinking

Not Overthinking is the

weekly podcast

hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Castro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’.

Envy and The Elephant in the Brain | Not Overthinking

This episode is mostly a discussion of Robin Hanson's "The Elephant in the Brain", a book about the 'hidden motives in everyday lives'. We also go on a long tangent about envy, and our personal experience of it over the years.

My Favourite Things This Week

Article - Although it was written in 2016, The Court of Values and the Bureau of Boringness is equally apt in 2020 and could easily have been written this year. It's a long but thought provoking and entertaining piece that I recommend reading all the way through.

Podcast - Rolf Potts' discussion about the importance of Mentors with Alex Banyan and Cal Fussman is a great conversation. But I'd recommend that you read The Third Door first, and then listen to Rolf's episode with Alex (Episode 87) and then you'll be able to appreciate the value in the original discussion.

Quote of the Week

Waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential for success, whereas cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative, and productive, which drives performance upward.

From The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Resurfaced using Readwise.

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Ali Abdaal

Junior doctor, YouTuber, web designer, aspiring musician. Trying out this blogging thing.