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.

Top of 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.”

The Beautiful Practice 5

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

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“You know how during physical training you start with a warm-up and end with a warm-down. You can metaphorically apply this model to any aspect of the Beautiful Practice.”

“What do you mean?”

“You can start any activity with a pre-activity ritual (warm-up), and end it with a post-activity ritual (warm-down).”

“Can you give an example?”

“It might be something like this:

Pre-activity Ritual

Connecting with yourself (Conscious Breathing, Centering)

– Intention-Setting (Clear Goals)
Why-Priming [
<link; short read] (Memento, Remembering your Why)

Post-activity Ritual

Connecting with yourself

Reflection (Feedback, Optimization)

“Would you do this for even for mundane activities, like washing the dishes?”

The small things are the big things.

Anything you do is an opportunity for Practice. The rituals ensure that you make the most of it.”

The Essence of Meditation 2

Concentration is at the crux of all human success and endeavor. If you can’t concentrate, you can’t manifest.

Concentration is the ability to keep your awareness on one thing for an extended period of time.


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the essence of meditation?”

“I thought we were done last time [<link; medium read].”

“To practice something efficiently you need to know exactly what you’re practicing.

What is the structure of the practice?
What is the scope of the practice?

Last time we focused on the structure. The scope however – the why – is equally important. The more specific and inspiring, the better.


I’m meditating because it’s good for me.

That’s terribly vague, and really uninspiring.

I’m meditating because it’s essential training for performing at my best.

I’m meditating because it’s the gateway into Flow, the peak performance state, the optimal state of being.

In meditating, I’m training Concentration and Relaxation, and I’m preparing for Flow.

I call this why-priming [<link; medium read]. You can do it right before meditating, as a form of intention-setting.”


“I like what you did there.”