Published in: 2020
On average a life consists of of 30,295 days, most of them weekdays. To dislike the weekdays is to dislike more than 70% of life. In this book, Petter Stordalen, with inspiration from current research, shares his best tips for succeeding during, and enjoying, all days of life.
DARE TO GO AGAINST THE FLOW. For hundreds of thousands of years, we humans have lived in groups. Going on about life on your own has been virtually impossible, and the protection of the group has been crucial for survival. The fear of differing from the crowd is therefore almost to be seen as a survival instinct. That fear is what makes us do what is expected of us, instead of what is best for us. But in today’s society, it is not dangerous to go your own way – just uncomfortable. To achieve our goals, we must dare to go against the flow and not be affected by how others see us.
80% IS ENOUGH. Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. Implementation ability is about being able to say that something is enough. During his lifetime, Picasso produced about 50,000 works of art. This corresponds to two works of art a day, every day, for 70 years. His path to perfection went through volume. Similar work patterns were shown by van Gogh, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Therefore, focus on reaching 80% of your goals, and with that follows productivity, volume and progress.
” I have not failed 10,000 times. I have managed to find 10,000 ways that do not work” – T. Edison
NORDIC TRUST IS AN EDGE. The Scandinavian countries are at the top of the world on the trust scale. Scandinavians not only trust people in general but also have great faith in their institutions. The countries where people have the least trust in others are usually countries that suffer from corruption and bureaucracy. When people doesn’t trust each other cooperation is slow. And since they constantly have to be on the lookout for scams, every little thing needs to be checked. Economists estimate that GDP would increase by 69% in Russia, 17% in Italy, 6% in the United Kingdom and over 500% (!) On the African continent, if these economies had had the same degree of trust as Sweden.
DON’T FOLLOW THE NEWS. Studies suggest that people who are overexposed to negative news develop a sense of powerlessness – a form of learned pessimism. If you base your worldview on the news, you can easily believe that the world is being taken over by dictators, that the economy is collapsing, and that poverty, war and terrorism are growing problems. But it’s not. 30 years ago there were 23 wars in the world against 11 in 2019. 30 years ago there were 85 dictatorships, in 2019 there were 60. In 1880 94% of the world population lived in extreme poverty, 30 years ago 37% and in 2019 below 10%.
SURROUND YOURSELF BY THE RIGHT PEOPLE. Studies comparing children and parents with varying degrees of kinship found that genes played a significant role in the development of personality and intelligence. Something that surprised the researchers was that upbringing did not seem to matter. Studies of adopted children showed that they took after their biological parents, but no similarities were found with the adoptive parents. Studies with identical twins later gave the idea that what was decisive in addition to genes was the social circle. Genes we can´t do anything about, but we can make sure we surround ourselves with the right people.
DIVERSITY IS GOOD. For 15 years, researchers at the University of Washington had unsuccessfully tried to understand the protein structure of the HIV virus. The researchers who tried to solve the riddle all had basically the same education, and thus also the same type of knowledge and ways of approaching the problem. They came up with the idea of letting people who had no prior knowledge of either biochemistry or HIV try. They created an online game for ordinary people, where the goal was to arrive at the structure of the protein. The game was available for three weeks but the players solved it in ten days.
PLANNING & WILLPOWER. It does not matter if you have the best idea in the world or belong to the smartest percentile of the population if you are not productive. If you want to succeed in your career, there is nothing that beats planning and it is something you can learn with the help of habits. To create good habits, one often has to get rid of bad habits, which requires willpower. The path to becoming a more planned person is the same as the path to developing willpower. The solution in both cases is habits.
” Being a writer is 10% about talent and 90% about staying away from Facebook” – A. Ravatn
DO NOT BlAME SCANDIAVIA’S HIGH TAXES. If we disregard tax havens, there is no country in the world that has more rich (defined as those who have a net worth of $30m+) per capita than Norway. And in second and fifth place we find Sweden and Denmark respectively. The United States is down on 16th place. Even when it comes to “super rich” (with a net worth of at least a billion dollars), Norway is at the top. Iceland is in first place, Sweden in second, and Norway in third, ahead of the USA in fourth.