Tag Archive | Implementation

Measuring Implementation

Wisdom is all about application. (Darius Foroux)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I maximize learning efficiency?”

“Maximize implementation efficiency.”

“How can I maximize implementation efficiency?”

Measure it.

I’m thinking of two variables in particular: implementation rate and implementation lag.

Implementation Rate

Of the actionable ideas you took notes on, how many did you implement?

implementation rate = implemented ideas/total ideas

The maximum rate is 1.
The closer you are to 1, the better.

To maximize implementation efficiency, maximize the implementation rate.

Implementation Lag

The time between when you read an idea and its implementation.

The minimum lag is 0 – Immediate Implementation.

To maximize implementation efficiency, minimize the implementation lag.”


Two types of knowledge

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I recently read about the scientific distinction between two types of knowledge: declarative knowledge and procedural knowledge.”

“What is the difference between them?”

“We might think of 
declarative knowledge as knowledge of, and of 
procedural knowledge as knowledge how.

They correspond to what I’ve identified as two important aspects of the learning process: Understanding and Implementation.

The efficient output of declarative knowledge is the formation (and refinement) of mental models (model-making). You’re forming a schematic mental map of what you’re learning by connecting it with other information nodes [network model].

The efficient output of procedural knowledge is the formation of habits and skills. You’re forming optimal neural patterns through strategic mindful repetition (deliberate practice).

Visually, it looks something like this:

“So this is an example of declarative knowledge.”


Efficient learning requires striking a balance between these two types of knowledge. I call it the declarative/procedural ratio.”

The Essence of Implementation 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the essence of implementation?”

In essence, to implement means to take action on.

We might say everything you absorb and experience has a learning potential. Implementation is taking steps towards the actualization of that potential.

Let’s take reading a non-fiction book as an example.

As you read, the main goal is to identify the information that has value. This requires what Edward de Bono calls ‘value sensitivity‘. The information might have value in that it helps you understand something, or in that it has what I call an ‘actionable kernel‘ – a potential to improve your life in some way if put to use.

Let’s say you discover an idea that has an actionable kernel. This is a decision-point. You may choose to do something with that information, or not. 

If you don’t, nothing happens – and, by doing this consistently, nothing will ever happen.

If you do, you initiate the implementation process. The process has three stages:

Stage 0: Idea Capture
Stage 1: Transformation
Stage 2: Design

Stage 0 is note-taking. You highlight the idea and/or save it somewhere – ideally in a commonplace book. You’ve taken an important first step. However, unless you progress to the next stages, it has close to zero value.”

“I was stuck at this stage for a long time.”

“The advantage is that, once you transcend this stage, all that information is available to you.

Stage 1 is transformation. You take the idea, reflect on it and deconstruct it, extract the actionable kernel, and give it actionable form. This means paraphrasing the initial idea, transforming it into one or more directives that tell you exactly what you need to do. (Specificity)

Stage 2 is where the magic happens. This is a beautiful creative iterative process. 

At a micro level, depending on the nature of the idea, it may involve creating habits (Behavior Design), creating drill-games (for practicing specific skills), or creating experiments.

At a macro level, it means discovering how it connects with everything else (Thematic Interconnectedness), discovering synergies with other practices, and beautifully integrating it into your life.

It also means continually optimizing the implementation process itself, to increase implementation-density and implementation-efficiency.”

On Implementation 3

Whenever you start a practice, always spend a moment connecting with yourself. (Aadil Palkhivala)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I make this actionable?”

“Start with understanding. 

Clarify and simplify. 
Disambiguate – Identify and resolve ambiguities.
Paraphrase – Express with your own words.

The quote is a life-algorithm [<link; medium length] of the form:

When x, do y.

When you start a practice session, Connect with yourself.

Or, using a different metaphoric-model:

When you start a practice session, Center yourself.

The next step is asking yourself:

What is the practice?
What are the components of the practice?
What specifically will you do?

The practice might look like this:

Connect with your beautiful BodyMind with every Breath. We might call this Embodied-Breathing.

When you start a practice session, Pause, Breathe and think x.

x might be a word expressing your Center, however you conceive of it:

When you start a practice session, Pause, Breathe and think Love.

Pausing, Embodied-Breathing, and evoking your Center are the specific components of the practice.”

On Learning and Implementation

Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. Get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed. (Abraham Joshua Heschel)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“There’s a quote I love by Eben Pagan:

Learning is behavior change.

I take this to be a fundamental principle of Learning.”

“What does this mean in practical terms?”

“Let’s take Abraham Heschel’s beautiful quote as an example.

You may read it, feel greatly inspired by it in the moment, and then totally forget about it. This is the fate of most quotes we read.

To learn it is to be transformed by it.

For that to happen, it takes active engagement. This means stripping it to its essence by extracting the principle(s), and formulating a plan of action by asking yourself:

How can I implement this?
How can I make this actionable?
How will this change my behavior?

“How would you implement this?”

“The principle here is that of radical-amazement, looking at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted.

As a guideline, we might express it as:

Take NOTHING for granted.

To move towards implementation, we need to make it actionable and specific.

One way to make it actionable is by turning it into a question:

What am I taking for granted?

Unlike the guideline, which is passive, the question primes your mind to actively scan the environment around you.

To make it more specific, you might connect it with a specific activity:

Whenever I Center myself, I will ask myself ‘What am I taking for granted?’

“That looks like an algorithm [<link; medium length].”

“It is. An algorithm of the form:

– WHENEVER x, ask question q

Once an algorithm is formulated, the next step is turning it into a habit.

One thing to note here is that the practice is more nuanced. It’s not just noticing what you’re taking for granted, but also how. Slowing down to soak in how amazing everything is by engaging your Curiosity and connecting with the Child Within.”


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I implement x?”

Before you start looking for answers, get clear on what the question means, and optimize it.

What does it mean to implement something?”

“To turn it into a habit.”

“Then the question becomes:

How can I turn this into a habit?

This already suggests a course of action.

The principle here is specificity.

Get clear on what you’re trying to accomplish, and how.

What does the habit look like? When do you want to engage in it, how often, for how long?

Then follow up with:

How can I make it actionable? What specific action-steps can I take to get started?”

The Essence of Implementation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the essence of Implementation?”

“I like to express it as two directives:

Think something different.
Do something different.

“What does it mean?”

“The first directive expresses two ideas (so far):

Thought is the blueprint for action.

It all starts in the mind. First as an idea-seed, which grows into a plan, which blossoms into action.

Thought is the fundamental means by which we access our resources. It’s a tool-making tool – a meta-tool.

Implementation is a creative process.

You can get inspired by the ideas of others, but you must adapt them to your own circumstances. It’s a beautiful opportunity to express yourself creatively and innovate.

The second directive expresses three ideas (so far):

Implementation means changing your behavior.

If you do what you’ve always done you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. (Tony Robbins)

To change something about your life, you must change your behavior.

Eben Pagan took it one step further:

Learning is behavior change.

Implementation is a design process.

This is an extension of the point about implementation being a creative process. What this one emphasizes is that implementation is essentially problem-solving, hence focused on the practical.

Design is a structured creative process. It’s a beautiful opportunity to embrace your Designer identity.

Implementation is experimentation.

Implementation is an iterative process. You generate ideas, you evaluate and narrow them down, you test them, get feedback, then repeat the process, optimizing with each iteration.”

On Beauty and Implementation

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“One of the many facets of my Life-Art [<link; medium read] is trying to put an aesthetic touch on everything I do.”

“Does it serve a practical purpose?”

Every instance of Beauty can serve a practical purpose if you’re receptive to it.

But what I had in mind is something more particular.

Remember James Clear’s second rule of habit creation?”

“Make it attractive.”

“That one. The important question is,

How can you make it attractive?

One way is through the power of Beauty.

Make it beautiful.

Making something beautiful makes you more likely to engage in it.”

“Can you give an example?”

“Let’s take Deep Work, since we’ve talked about recently [<link; medium read].

In the context of Deep Work, my objective is
productivity maximization, and
perfect energy conservation.
To achieve this, how you optimize the work/rest oscillation is key.

We’ve talked before [<link; medium read] about the micro-oscillation and the macro-oscillation.

Micro-Oscillation unit: pomodoro – 25 minutes of deep-focus, 5-minute break
Macro-Oscillation unit: deep-work-block – 3 pomodoros, longer break

It looks great on paper, but I’d been struggling for a while with implementation.”

“What was the failure-point?

“The Macro-Oscillation.

Micro-Oscillation: I strictly respected the pomodoro. 
Macro-Oscillation: I often yielded to the temptation to do too many pomodoros in a row, which sapped my energy, which triggered a downward spiral of inefficiency and poor decision-making.”

“How did you solve this problem?”

When you struggle, it’s time to evolve a system.

I asked myself a macro-question:

What do you want the structure of your work-day to look like?

Then I sat down to answer it, in writing, with Simplicity and Beauty as guides.

The outcome is a pattern that looks like this:

30 30 30 15
30 30 30 30

“What am I looking at?”

“The bolded numbers represent pomodoros.
The un-bolded numbers represent breaks.

I do a deep-work-block, and take a 15 minute break.”

“Why 15 and not, say, 10?”

“It’s a littler aesthetic touch. 15 is 5 multiplied by 3.

Then I do another deep-work-block, and take a 30 minute break.

These form a cycle.

So if I were to extend it in time, it would look like this:

30 30 30 15
30 30 30 30
30 30 30 15
30 30 30 30

Or, more exactly, like this:

(25 + 5) (25 + 5) (25 + 5) 15
(25 + 5) (25 + 5) (25 + 5) 30
(25 + 5) (25 + 5) (25 + 5) 15
(25 + 5) (25 + 5) (25 + 5) 30

Four deep-work-blocks is 5 hours of deep-focused work, and 2.30 hours of rest in a beautifully balanced distribution.

Having this detailed aesthetic view has made implementing it a joy.”

Beautiful Systems: Implementation 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“We’ve talked before [<link; medium read] about Habits being one essential component of the Implementation system. What other components does the system have?”

“It’s a work in progress. Here’s a general overview of what it looks like at this stage. I like to think of it as the design-blueprint.

Key related system: Presence

Key value: Simplicity

I have these written at the top of the document, as two very important reference points. Working on Implementation goes hand in hand with working on Presence, and Simplicity is an essential guideline for my design philosophy.

As a practical approach, I’m using the Design/Development model.”

“What is that?”

“It means that, together, Design and Development form an iterative cycle.”

“So like implementation cycles?”

“Yes. I start with design, then follow it with development. I identify failure-points, and based on this feedback, I start a new cycle.

Design and Development form the two areas of the document.



These are my macro-tools of trade. 



(Implementation Intentions, Contextual Priming, Deliberate Practice)

(Feedback Loop, Problem/Diagnosis/Design, Tracking)


These are the bread and butter of Implementation, which we’ll be talking about in the future.

I conceptualize all components of the system as models.”

“A models-deck [<link; medium read]?”

“Yes. I’m reading it before every implementation session to selectively activate key resources. This is what I mean by contextual-priming.”

Turning obstacles upside down

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I woke up in an unresourceful state which messed up my entire morning ritual.”

“What do you think triggered it?”

“I think it was a combination of factors. I didn’t sleep very well, woke up with an intense lower-back pain, and felt cold. Normally I’m resistant to cold, so when I am feeling cold, it’s a sign that something is wrong.

It made me realize that changing state is the most important thing, because only in the resourceful / beautiful state you are able to effectively / efficiently access your resources and find solutions.”

“But didn’t you already know that?”

“I did, but this time it was different. It made me really engage with the questions:

How can I access the beautiful state under any conditions?
How can I make the beautiful state my center, my baseline?

Changing state became my implementation focus, my ONE Thing for this month, and I mobilized all my resources towards solving this puzzle.”

“Would you have mobilized your resources in this direction had you not encountered this obstacle?”

“No, I wouldn’t have.

I guess I’d started taking the beautiful state for granted. Every morning I’d do my activation ritual, charge up, and get down to work.

Only when my state impaired my capacity to get my soul work done – combined with an implementation mindset – that it finally became my work.”