Paul Graham on thinking for yourself, debunking productivity myths, and some of Tim Ferriss’s favorite questions

Building Blocks: Actionable insights to build an Intentional Life

Hey everybody,

Here’s another batch of actionable insights to start your week off right, so you can be more intentional with how you live, work, and create.

Let’s get started.

Insight 1: Think for yourself

“…It’s not enough just to be correct. Your ideas have to be both correct and novel.”

— Paul Graham

Paul Graham is a thought leader in the business world. Part of being a thought leader is learning to think for yourself.

So how do you do that?

In this article, Graham discusses why learning to think for yourself is critical to non-linear success, and offers three strategies to help you think more independently instead of blindly following convention.

Insight 2: Beware of productivity myths

Nick Wignall is a fellow psychologist and entrepreneur who puts out kickass content around emotional intelligence, productivity, and other psychology topics.

In this article, he debunks three common productivity myths:

  • “I’m a high-achiever so being stressed out is inevitable.”
  • “Being hard on myself keeps me motivated.”
  • “I need to control my feelings in order to get things done.”

So if you want to learn:

  • How to create boundaries so you can experience stress without getting stressed out.
  • How to be disciplined without being hard on yourself.
  • How to stop trying to avoid your emotions and start building a different relationship with them.

Check it out.

Insight 3: Focus on asking the right questions

In this interview, Tom Bilyeu talks with Tim Ferriss about some of the key lessons he learned while writing Tools of Titans.

They talk about the importance of learning to “suffer well,” how they’ve both applied this concept to outwork and outlast their competition, and how to “Red Team/Blue Team” ideas.

But the most interesting takeaways from the interview aren’t the answers Ferriss shares, but the questions, which include:

  • “What if I did the opposite for 48 hours?”
  • “If I could only work for 2 hours a week, what would I do?”
  • “What can I learn from the people I hate the most?”
  • “Am I like a lion hunting antelope or field mice?”

It’s worth a watch if you’re looking for insightful questions to add to your journaling habit.

Question for the Week

What questions are you avoiding asking yourself, and what do you stand to gain by facing them?

Share Your Insights

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My goal is to help entrepreneurs be more intentional with how they live, work, and create.

So if you enjoy Building Blocks, I’ll be forever grateful if you help me spread these insights by sharing this issue with other entrepreneurs.

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Let me know what you think and what you’d like to see in future issues. I’m always working to making Building Blocks more valuable for you.

Until next time—memento mori,

Corey Wilks, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Executive Coach


Course: Intentional Life Design