Friday, June 12, 2015

Top 4 Tips from the Creator of Dilbert on Success and Happiness

As I shared in my earlier post, I really like the recent book that I read – How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big. It is a book by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. In the book, Scott Adams offered his views on how to achieve success and happiness. Some of his tips are really simple, but it is sound advice that I think are very useful. 

Tip 1: The most important metric to track is your personal energy

Energy is the one thing that helps you achieve all that you want from life. Given this, it is important to make choices that maximize your personal energy.

Maximizing personal energy means getting the hygiene factors right – eat right, sleep well and exercise regularly. Scott Adams also offered a few other tips to maximize personal energy. First, have something in your life that makes you excited to wake up. It could be your work, if that is what excites you. It could also be your hobbies and interesting side projects that you embark on. 

Second, match your mental state to activity. Everyone is different. If you are the type that likes to do creative work in the morning, then do that in the morning. Third, simplify your life and avoid unnecessary stress. In anything that you do, strive to do it in the simplest way.

Tip 2: Fitness is the lever that moves the world

To achieve success, you need to be fit. To stay fit, you need to do it in the right way such that it does not feel like work. One way is to make it a habit. If it is habitual, it is almost automatic, so it does not require much willpower for you to do it. In fact, you will feel like you are missing something if you do not do it.

Scott Adams also offer some interesting tips to motivate you to be active every day. First, you should do the right amount of exercise such that you will still look forward to exercising tomorrow. That means not exercising too much to the extent that your muscles get really sore. Second, reward yourself after exercise. This means you could enjoy some healthy snacks, or do some activity that you really like. In that way, you associate exercise with something enjoyable.

Tip 3: Imagine yourself into a brighter future

Scott Adams espouses that your mind isn’t magic. It is a moist computer that you can programme. One of the most important thing that you should programme yourself to do is to imagine yourself into a brighter future.

To him, daydreaming is an essential skill to acquire for happiness. Instead of repeating negative thoughts all the time in your head, imagine a future that is spectacular and breathtaking. It does not matter that your dream is out of touch with reality. In fact, suspend your judgement. Simply imagining a better future hacks your brain chemistry and provides you with the sensation of happiness today.

Tip 4: Focus on Systems not Goals

This follows from the first tip above. Scott Adams feels that the most important thing to manage is your personal energy. Goals decreases your personal energy, by making you feel that you are in a state of continuous pre-success failure. 

You can have big dreams, but instead of focusing so much on what you want to achieve, focus on how you are achieving them. This is what he term as a “system”. For example, running a marathon under four hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. A system is something that you do on a regular basis to help you achieve what you want.

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