Tag Archive | Life-Stacking

Funny Examples

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I make learning more fun?”

“What are you studying?”

“I want to get better at editing, so I’m studying punctuation. As part of my learning process, I’m writing a handbook [<link; short read] on the subject.”

“You’re giving a lot of examples to explain the rules, I imagine.”


One way you can make it more fun is by using funny examples.

Make it a habit to make all your examples funny from now on. You can thus practice humor at the same time.”


The most important aspect of note-taking

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the most important aspect of note-taking?”

Processing the information.

There are two types of note-taking:

Passive note-taking – saving information by copy/pasting it; effortless, and low value.

Active note-taking – processing information before saving it; effortful, and high value.”

“I noticed I have a tendency toward passive note-taking.”

“We all do. The path of least resistance is our default. An important aspect of the growth process is countering this tendency. The best way to counter it is by putting systems in place.

In the case of the note-taking process, you can insert an intermediary step, a mandatory processing stage.”

“So passive note-taking has two stages: A => B
Active note-taking has three stages: A => P => B”


Just like in passive note-taking, you copy/paste the information in the processing area. 
Unlike passive note-taking, the information leaves the area only after you’ve processed it.”

“What is the output of processing?”

Think of processing as an opportunity to practice multiple skills in a short time-framelife-stacking [<link; medium read] style. 

You can practice editing/proofreading. Copy the text as is, and look at it with the editing eye. Do a structural and stylistic analysis, and think of ways to improve it.

You can practice meta-thinking [<link; short read]. Do a meaning analysis, deconstruct the meaning and identify the units of meaning –  models, metaphors, mental operations, underlying assumptions.

You can practice writing. Express the information in your own words (paraphrasing) and in as few words as possible (brevity). Start developing and integrating the ideas by asking questions (questioning) and connecting them with your prior knowledge and experiences.”

The Movement Game 4

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I move more?”

Play with building little challenges into everyday activities.

Take putting on your socks for instance. The default is doing it by sitting. You can do better.

Put on your socks while standing.
Put on your socks while standing on a balancing board.

You thus turn an everyday activity into a little movement snack [<link; medium read]. 

When people think of movement, they usually think of infrequent relatively large sessions.

I’ve inverted the paradigm: frequent short sessions throughout the day.

Taken individually, they may not look like much. But over the course of a day, all these little snacks compound [<link; medium read].”

Life-Stackings 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I do a guided Wim Hoff breathing session every morning. 

What I like about it is that it visually shows you the rhythm of the breath.”

“You can increase the density [<link; medium read] of the practice by stacking multiple practices on top of it.

You can practice Peripheral Vision. Look at the screen with your peripheral vision instead of directly.

You can practice Open Focus. While focusing on a point other than the screen and on the the information on the screen, gradually expand your awareness to your entire field of vision, using all senses.

You can practice Loving Gratitude [<link; medium read]. End the session by celebrating your small win and appreciating all the Gifts related to the session (Wim Hoff for sharing his knowledge, your phone, having access to the internet, YouTube, your beautiful BodyMind, etc).”

Creative Preparation 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can you create optimal conditions for the creative process to unfold?”

“Edward de Bono makes a distinction between artistic creativity and idea creativity. I’m mainly interested in the latter, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on.

The goal of idea creativity is creating ideas through combining ideas.
The output of idea creativity is creative ideas, which are a synergistic combination of two or more ideas – a combo, in Magic the Gathering terminology.

What’s important to understand is that it’s the subconscious mind that makes the connections. The role of the conscious mind is merely to facilitate this process.

There’s several aspects to creative preparation:

Creative Library
Creative Stimulation
Creative State
Creative Limitations
Creative Oscillation

Creative Library

Ideas are the building-blocks, so a large part of creative preparation involves collecting ideas. I like to think of this process as building a ‘creative library’. An inner library of internalized ideas, and an outer library of externally stored ideas – which can be thought of as an extension of your brain.

To create ideas you need to have ideas stored in your creative library. The more you have, the wider the possibility-space.

The quality of the creative output is dependent on the quality of the stored ideas. The less noise, the more signal.

Creative Stimulation

This is essentially creative priming, bringing ideas ‘on top of your mind’, thus increasing the likelihood of generating useful creative output. 

Another aspect of it is creative provocation, which is meant to break through thought-patterns that inhibit creativity (pattern-breaking), that prevent your subconscious mind from making certain connections.

Creative State

Your creative capacity is profoundly influenced by your state of mind (state management), which is profoundly influenced by your energy level (energy management).

Brian Johnson’s fundamentals of optimal living are a beautiful guideline here:



All are important.

Tony Robbins’ Triad of Human Emotions – which we’ve talked about before [<link; medium read] – is another beautiful guideline.

Another aspect of it is what I call the creative mindset. This involves embracing your playful essence, making creativity a central value of your life, and a deep trust in your innate capacity to create.

Creative Limitations

Restrictions breed creativity. (Mark Rosewater)

On a general level, this means embracing and befriending the very notion of constraint. For me, Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way captures this idea beautifully.

On a specific level, this may mean choosing a creative focus, to serve as a starting point, and – similarly to meditation – as an anchor to return to when your mind wanders off course.

Creative Oscillation

We’ve talked a while back about the distinction between Focused and Diffuse Thinking [<link; medium read]. The creative process requires both. Both engagement and disengagement.

The focused mode is for creative stimulation. You’re sketching a map for your subconscious to explore. Then you let go.

A beautiful diffuse-mode activity is what I call the creative walk. Going for a walk, equipped with a notepad or your phone to collect the fleeting flowers of your thought. What makes the creative walk beautiful is the life-stacking [<link; medium read] aspect of it. You’re moving at the same time.”

Life-Stackings 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I don’t know what password to set.”

What if you created funny passwords?

You can use password-setting as an opportunity to practice humor and word associations.”

The Movement Game 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What’s the essence of the Movement Game?”

Integrating movement organically into your life. Constantly being on the lookout for and creating movement opportunities. It’s a creative and discovery process.

Moving as much as possible. Not being sedentary for more than 30 minutes.

Moving as varied as possible. Walking, running, jumping, climbing, balancing, swimming, dancing, etc.

Stacking movement with everyday activities.

Can you do this while moving?
Can you do this while standing?
Can you do this while squatting?
Can you do this while balancing?
Can you do this while lying down with your feet up the wall?

Can you do this in a tree?

Reclaiming Life

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“How can I increase life-density[<contextual-link; medium length]?“

“One way, as we’ve talked before, is through life-stacking[<link; medium]. 

Another way is through what I call life-reclaiming.”

“Like reclaiming verbal-empties [<link; short] and such?”

“That’s one aspect of it. Another aspect we might call reclaiming behavioral-empties.

Habits are paradoxical. 

On one hand they are essential to our growth because they automate behavior, making it effortless, which frees up mental-space, allowing the full expression of genius.

On the other hand, habitual-behavior has a tendency to vanish into mindlessness (and joylessness). Bringing mindfulness back into (most of) them is another important component of Artful Living. You might think of it as habit maintenance.” 

“Life maintenance even.”

“Another aspect we might call reclaiming transitional-empties.

Imagine you’re absorbed in an activity and suddenly feel the need to go to the toilet. You’ll likely mindlessly rush to get it over with, so that you can quickly return to what you were doing. This is an instance of what I call transitional-time.” 

“Makes me think of Robert Greene’s distinction between alive time and dead time.”

“That’s a beautiful distinction. In my view, alive time has to do with how Joyfully Present you are in what you’re doing

What I call Joyful Presence is a combination between Presence and Meaning.

You can be Present when doing an unpleasant activity, and that’s wonderful.
Being Joyfully Present means being Present and making the activity Meaningful. This is a creative process.

Transitional-time is often dead time, time perceived as keeping us away from something.

Artful Living means deeply realizing that all time is precious, and coming up with creative ways to turn dead time into alive time. 

The example with going to the toilet is also an instance of what I call transitional-space. The default is to walk from A to B.

What if you danced from A to B?

Artful Living means coming up with creative ways to make use of space and integrating movement into your life. 

Another type of transitional-empty has to do with what I call transition(al)-points.

You do activity A, feel an impulse to do activity B and immediately give in to it. The switch from A to B is a transition-point.

Any transition-point is a decision-point. Mindlessly giving in to an impulse means skipping a decision-point.

In an important sense, reclaiming life means reclaiming decision-points and artfully using them to EVOLVE.”

The Life-Stacking Game 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

How can I increase life-density [<link; medium read]?

“I’ve come to realize life-stacking [<link; medium read] is key.

Life-stacking is a mental model.”

“You’re now finding models everywhere.”

“I’ve fallen in love with them. This is a kind of priming, which acts as a perceptual filter.

I’m playing with models all day long: learning, collecting, creating, deconstructing, classifying.

As concerns life-stacking, it has two main uses: selective and creative.

Selective-stacking is a filtering process.
Creative-stacking is a creative process.”

“Can you give an example of each?”

“As concerns selective-sacking, let’s say you want to pursue an activity to amplify your growth and enrich your life. Which one might you choose?”

“There are so many to choose from.”

“Precisely. It’s important to explore, but as a general strategy, choose the one that is most meaningful. Using selective-stacking, choose the one which satisfies the most values. I call this value-stacking.

For instance, Parkour is deeply meaningful to me because it satisfies so many of my values: Playfulness, Movement, Beauty, Creativity, Discipline, Freedom, Self-expression, Community, among others.

Another use of selective-stacking is in prioritizing.

For instance, habits are the essential building blocks of your life. If you want to turn your life around, which ones might you start with? Using selective-stacking, focus on those which impact multiple systems of your life.

As concerns creative-stacking, let’s take meditation. 

You can do it at home, and it works. This is the default for most of us.

You can do it in the park. You thus get the additional benefit of a walk to the park, a movement snack – which can be a meditation in itself –, and a little nature bathing. Life-stacking.

You can do it in a tree in the park. You thus get the additional benefit of a climb, another movement snack  – which can be a meditation in itself –, and if you do it very high up in the tree, you get some fear-training as well. Creative-stacking.”

“How long are your meditation sessions?”

“The longest one is in the morning, right after I get up. Up to 20 minutes.”

“‘Up to?'”

“It varies based on the available time. 20 minutes is the ceiling. The floor is 5 minutes.

Then I do multiple 5-minute meditations throughout the day. You could call them meditation-snacks.”

Artful Productivity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you do for entertainment?”

My work is my entertainment.

This is a profound instance of life-stacking [<link; medium read], and an essential aspect of my Life-Art.”