Tag Archive | Priming

Life Design Document

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

What do you start your day with?

By reading my Life Design Document (in Google Keep). It’s a deeply meaningful document with a specific structure:

General Life Purpose
Who do you want to be?
How can you use your Gifts in greatest service to the world?

Specific Life Purpose
What are you pursuing over the next few years?

What are you mastering over the next 10 years?

How would you express the essence of who you are?

What are your top strengths?

Zone of Genius
What is it that you and only you can do? (Onlyness)
What feels like play to you but work to others?

What are your core values?

How do you want to feel consistently?

Goals for the Year
What is the most important goal for the year?
What are the most important secondary goals for the year?

Why is it important?

Reading it activates me for the day – it has a powerful energizing effect.

Every section is a prompt. I start every day by reflecting on what’s essential, to gain more and more clarity on it.

So there’s value in both reading the answers and in asking the questions anew every day.


Every day I also seek to optimize the document itself. It’s been through quite a few iterations. The document is modular: I can add or remove sections, I can change the order of the sections to maximize the impact while reading (Sequencing), I can add, remove, or modify questions.

Why-Priming 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

Why do we so often fail to live up to our ideals?

One reason is that we forget.

At a certain moment in time, you choose to do something because you know Why you’re doing it, it feels important, you’re connected with the Meaning of it.

At a different moment in time, when confronted with the same choice, you choose differently. At that moment, it doesn’t feel important, the Why is absent from your mind.

This is an access problem.

You have the knowledge, but the knowledge is not available when you need it. I call the process of making knowledge available when you need it, operationalizing knowledge.

How can I operationalize knowledge?

Make it a habit to ask yourself often about the things you’re considering doing:

Why is it important?

I call this practice, why-priming. You can think of it as a themed micro-meditation – a meditation that helps you reconnect with Meaning.

Quotes-as-Resource Experiment

I collect quotes. (My quotes collection is approaching 7,000 quotes.) I’ve been experimenting with ways of using quotes as a resource.

One way I do it is by creating lists of powerful inspirational quotes that I randomize and read from. I’ve found that reading multiple of them one after another amplifies their effect – I call this effect emotional flooding. For me, it works beautifully. Now I’d like to expand the experiment to others.

Here’s what you can help me with:

Read some quotes one after another from my shared quotes list [<link], maybe for a minute or so. (Every time you access the link, the quotes are displayed in random order.) I’m interested in how the experience makes you feel.

I’m interested in validating the emotional flooding effect. I realize the quotes may not be as powerful as they are for me – they are my quotes selection, based on my own model of reality. But I’m hoping it will have some effect, enough to validate the usefulness of the tool.

You can help me even more by reading from them when you’re feeling low. I’m interested in the extent to which it helps you recover balance.

P.S. If it works for you too, you can access the link any time you want. My public quotes are always available.

Top of Your Mind as Resource

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you mean by ‘top of mind’?”

“As you know, certain things you see or hear linger in the background of your mind, sometimes long after the initial event. We can metaphorically think of the mental space that contains all these items, top of your mind.

All recurring thoughts are on top of your mind.”

“Is this a priming effect?”

“It is.

The top of your mind can be used as a creative resource. It’s a design space [<link; very short read]. We might think of it as strategic priming.

Ask yourself often:

What are the most powerful resources I can have on top of my mind?

Think mental tools.” 

“Like questions and (mental) models [<link; medium read]?”


Quotes as Resource 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How do you use quotes as a resource?”

“As you know, I collect quotes [<link; short read] in my CommonBook [<link]. 

Some of the most important quotes are quotes that inspire me. I call them inspirational quotes. I tag them with ‘inspirational’.

Among those, some really inspire me. I tag those with ’20’.”

“The 20 from the Pareto Principle (80/20)?”


When I’m feeling low, or when I want a motivation boost, I select the tag ‘inspirational’ to filter them, shuffle them (display them in random order), and read from them for 5 minutes. This has a powerful emotional flooding [<link; short read] effect.”

“Why don’t you read only from the 20%?”

“Unlike regular quotes, my 20-quotes have bolded passages in them – this is by design, to make them stand out. Discovering the 20 among the 80 feels like a surprise, which amplifies their effect.”

P.S. You can try it out for yourself here [<link].

Identity Priming

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is identity priming?”

“Activating one or more relevant identity-blocks when engaging in a practice.

For instance, before you initiate the Movement practice, you could say to yourself:

I am a Mover.
I am an Athlete.
I am a Traceur.

“An identity mantra?”

“You could say that.”

Values Thinking

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is Values Thinking?”

“Knowing what your values are is not enough.

Every value is a practice

Let’s say in a certain situation you can practice a specific value. I call this an OTPOpportunity to Practice

An important part of the practice is noticing the opportunity.

To notice the opportunity, the value must be active in your mind.”

“How do you make it active?”

“By thinking about it. This is an instance of priming.

To notice the opportunity to practice any value, your values as a system must be active in your mind.

Think in values. Actively evaluate everything in terms of your values.

Think of your values often.

Constantly ask yourself:

What values can I practice in this context?
What values can I practice now?

What values could I have practiced?

I call all these practices combined, Values Thinking.”

Pre-Learning Priming

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What if I read something inspiring related to learning before every learning session, to get into the optimal state?”

“Watch out not to waste too much time with it.

A little bit is impactful.
Past a certain point, you get diminishing returns.

It’s one of those things where you’re better off doing a little bit often rather than a lot infrequently. Think micro-moments of positivity [<link; short read].

Set the intention for how long you’re doing it right before.”

Beautiful Models: Amplification

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Know your why.”

“That is indeed necessary but not sufficient.

How compelling is your why?

How powerful is it?
How does it make you feel?

If it does not make you BURN, there’s room for optimization.

I call this type of optimization, amplification.”

Inspirational Materials as Resource

Every day you have to feed your mind. (Tony Robbins)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I take Tony’s quote to mean two things.

Learn every single day.

Go to bed every night a little wiser than when you got up. (Charlie Munger)

Get inspired every single day.

You know how powerful words can be, how they can kindle the fire of motivation within you.”

“I also know that it doesn’t last.”

“Yes, the effect is temporary. That’s precisely why you need to do it more often.

Think of everything that inspires you as a micro-moment of positivity [<link; medium read]. All these micro-moments compound. The goal is to increase the density [<link; short read] of these micro-moments over the course of a day.”


“This takes some optimization design.

Think of inspirational materials as a resource. Don’t go looking for them every time. That is time wasted. Prepare them ahead of time.

Become a collector of inspirational resources. Over time, create your own powerful selection.” 

Be selective. Focus only on the 20% (Pareto Principle).”

“What is your way of doing it?”

“Whenever I encounter a powerful quote, I save it in my CommonBook [<link]. 

From time to time throughout the day, I extract two at random. This accomplishes two things:

I trigger a micro-moment of positivity.
I practice creativity by forcing myself to make connections between them.”