So, I changed my name. It’s Paul Merisalu. And really, did you think I’m already 30? I’m almost hurt. It’s my late grandfather’s name. I wish I would have been able to hang out with him more – he was such an awesome guy. So yeah, I’m sentimental. But also, now other people than Finns […]

December 2nd, 2014

I’ve stared into the darkness for what seems to be like forever. And no, I’m not in a dark room or a jail cell. I’m just way up in the Northern hemisphere. I’m in Finland. Seasonal affective disorder, or simply winter depression, is a real thing that I’m acutely affected by. The past weeks have […]

November 16th, 2014

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Sometimes the only reasonable thing to do is to let go. But that’s not what I want to do. I want to hold on as hard and as long as I can. I’m holding on to the fact that my grandfather died just about when I was really getting to know to him.

September 22nd, 2014

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A month ago, I spent seven hours in cold seawater faceplanting every minute or so. It’s called kitesurfing. Well, more like flying a kite while swallowing half a gallon of seawater every two minutes. The next day I went in for some more. Eventually I got the hang of it. Now, I surf. And it […]

July 24th, 2014

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I’ve searched for happiness all my life. Even as a small kid I would try and alternate my state of mind by meditating or practicing witchcraft. I was a weird kid. I wasn’t an unhappy kid or anything, I just wanted more. I would get really happy at times and go really low at others. […]

May 4th, 2014

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Have you read the articles about 14 habits of highly productive people? Or 8 things überproductive people do before breakfast? Or the 7 best productivity plugins for Chrome? All the tips, tricks, plugins, apps and widgets are useless unless you know what you're doing. More precicely they're useless if you don't know what you need […]

February 17th, 2014

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Ok, so you’re productive and you get your stuff done. But Dave in creative department is busting your balls because he doesn’t deliver on time. What can you do? You’re in a bit of a bind. And in the end you’re probably the one getting the sticky end of the stick. In other words, you […]

February 5th, 2014

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After moving to the States I met a photographer in Kennedy Center through whom I got myself the first local clients for my web site business. While being in a completely random party I met an artist who has influenced and helped me write better poetry and get more into arts. By going to dinner […]

October 4th, 2013

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Sometimes I feel like I just can’t do it anymore. All the tasks seem tedious to the point that I just don’t care. They accumulate and suddenly I’ve got a whole day’s worth of boring stuff to do: shop for groceries, mail a package at the post office, get up to speed with my accounting, […]

August 6th, 2013

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It’s the last day of the year and my book on productivity hasn’t been written yet. I have about 50% written. (http://raunomerisalu.com/productivity-book/) The more I write the more I find that I need to write. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But as much as I am disappointed that the raw material isn’t ready I’m […]

December 31st, 2012

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Stressed about shopping Christmas gifts again? Don’t know what to get to all of those people? This is how I do my gift shopping to ensure the best gifts and maximum productivity. I write down all the people that have been nice to me this year and deserve a gift. Then I scratch everyone to […]

December 20th, 2012

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What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning? I get my morning fix of caffeine. But after that? Check email? Socialize with coworkers? Review your to do list for the day? I always start with a task that I decided upon the day before. This is the sort […]

December 10th, 2012

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Sometimes I just do whatever it takes to avoid writing. Or whatever it is that I should do. Sometimes I clean. And at that point cleaning feels so good that it makes me sick. Sometimes I reorganize furniture and sometimes I redo my website’s theme from scratch. And it depends on the time off that […]

November 19th, 2012

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There was a time when all the management books told to set deadlines for everything. I’ve also been under this kind of boss so I know how to set them. It works in some environments if you’re accountable to someone else than yourself. But more and more people are accountable only to themselves. When you […]

November 16th, 2012

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You cannot manage time. Unless you’re Stephen Hawking of course. But the odds are you’re not. What you can do is plan the way you use the time available to you. Way too many people, including me, fill their calendars with meetings all the way up. When this happens there is not enough time to […]

November 14th, 2012

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I love it when someone talks out loud and gives away great ideas. I like to do that also. It’s great how basically anyone outside your head can see things more clearly than you can. And most of the times that’s the push you need to understand what you need to do next. But there’s […]

November 13th, 2012

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The world revolves around what and how. Companies revolve around what they do. The first thing you ask an acquaintance is what do you do for a living. You ask a big shot marketer like Seth Godin how do you do it. This blog revolves around it as well – what to do when you […]

October 25th, 2012

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Sometimes I go to a party or watch a late night movie during the week. I can boost up the next day with caffeine with no problems. Of course, after the lunch break things slow down a little bit. I might get spaced out and find it hard to focus. I might start doing a […]

October 18th, 2012

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Productivity is ultimately a mindset. You can accomplish a lot by learning various tricks and methods but never really get there. And mind you, there is no shortcut to a mindset. You have to take the time off to really assess what you are doing and why. After you know why you need to do […]

October 12th, 2012

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The meeting has been scheduled for half an hour. It’s a regular meeting, you have the subject but not really much else. A lot of people from different departments are in discussing the issues. The meeting goes on and you finally stand up and leave as you needed to finish another assignment 30 minutes ago. […]

October 8th, 2012

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My calendar is a sacred area. No one except me is allowed to touch it. Even if it was a policy in the company I worked for recently I still didn’t have my calendar shared. They only saw if I was available or not. That was Outlook back then as that’s what they usually have […]

October 3rd, 2012

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Starting anything that is longer than one minute is immensely difficult. I want to procrastinate those tasks as far away as possible. I’ll come up with variety of different things that are more urgent or that give me the “motivation” to do it. It never works. There are many aspects to making starting easier but […]

October 2nd, 2012

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As an entrepreneur I need to choose the tasks I do because there are only so many hours in a day. I need to carefully select the items that are good for the business and execute them. As an addition to that, I have a lot of projects that I also want to pursue. But […]

October 1st, 2012

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I’ve slipped a little secret out there in a previous post. I’m gonna slip a bit more, it’s going to be a handbook like how to ebook. A section for all the key areas that you can use separately or together with other areas. I’m very exited as I’m writing it and I’m sure it’s […]

September 29th, 2012

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I simply cannot stress enough the importance of long term dreams and goals. Especially if you’re running a busy life and have lots of items in your todo list. The reason for this is simple. As you have a lot of tasks to do, you feel like you accomplish a lot when you cross them […]

September 29th, 2012

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The customer is telling you the cookies you sold him were crap. You’re sure they were good but he is furious. Are you going to give him free cookies because the last ones sucked? Are you going to give him a gift card for a free massage? That depends on the customer of course. You […]

September 28th, 2012

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Do you have a great product but it doesn’t sell? Is your customer service superb but you still get no volume? Take a good look at your clientele. Most likely you have gotten them all wrong. Engage with your customers to learn. Listen to the right forums. And when you know who they are the […]

September 27th, 2012

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Most corporate sales environments stress the sale and profit. Make the sale no matter what. They usually award you of making a sale not considering the circumstances. As an entrepreneur you have to think differently. It’s not about one sale. It’s not even about the sale that will bring in one more purchase in the […]

September 27th, 2012

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Do you know who your customers are? If you don’t you will slide tons of valuable marketing dollars down the drain. You can push on exhibits, TV, radio, Facebook, Google, Twitter and yet only a fraction of the people you reach will buy or even be interested. If you do know you can pull. And […]

September 26th, 2012

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McCarthy’s four Ps have always been and will always be the key ingredients in marketing. But the way they are used has changed immensely. First the model changed to Cs and then some more letters were added. More recently we have gotten the Godin’s purple cow. The world changes all the time and we have […]

September 24th, 2012

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My brother helped sell my car back in Estonia just a while ago. I sold, gave away or threw away the rest of my stuff when I moved to DC. Currently, this is pretty much everything I own: Laptop & phone A couple of external hard drives Dock for tunes Some clothes A couple of […]

September 23rd, 2012

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I care about my customer. If they purchase from me, I thank them. If they give me feedback, good or bad, I thank them. If they engage, I thank them. This is not because I want to be super nice. If someone will put forward an effort to give me and my company feedback I […]

September 19th, 2012

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Since we were introduced to the Facebook like button we have gone berserk. You need to like everything, all the time and anywhere. But it wasn’t like that all the time. I didn’t used to give my likes to any random competition where I could win some crappy hair dryer or even an iPhone. I […]

September 16th, 2012

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There are a lot of different items on your to do list and by the end of the day you should have it empty. You might have procrastinated some of the tasks but still the list of today should be empty in the evening. Sometimes though, there just isn’t the same satisfaction in completing the […]

September 11th, 2012

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The beginning Years ago I worked in logistics as an IT manager. As it was an SMB I also handled the development, help desk and various other issues that weren’t IT but were somehow IT related. This means I had a lot of different tasks to do that other people’s work depended on. I ran […]

September 7th, 2012

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Just for the importance of it, I’ll go back to basics with productivity and GTD. First we define. Productivity consists of two things: effectivity and efficiency. Both are important but effectivity being the one we should all go for. Efficiency is doing something in the most optimal way. Doing it fast is the key. Effectivity […]

September 6th, 2012

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There are tons of tasks to be completed every day. Regardless whether you use a productivity system or not. Most of the time when you can tick off a number of items, especially the important ones, you will feel very happy. Like you’ve accomplished something today. But there are times in life when inbox zero and […]

August 22nd, 2012

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You have written down all your brain farts and to dos. Now it’s the time to process them and you have no idea what they mean to you. Sounds familiar? For sure. I find myself in that position still even after several years of hard core personal productivity training. The other day I just come […]

August 9th, 2012

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GTD 5/5 – Productivity System How To: Reviewing your lists This is a video (5/5) of my productivity system based on David Allen’s GTD. In this video I’ll go through reviewing your lists using a tool called Things. You can also use apps such as: Free apps: Asana, Evernote, Wunderlist, Apple Reminders, Apple Notes Paid […]

July 29th, 2012

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GTD 4/5 – Productivity System How To: Organizing tasks This is a video (4/5) of my productivity system based on David Allen’s GTD. In this video I’ll go through organizing your data using a tool called Things. See the series as they come up at http://raunomerisalu.com/productivity-system-gtd/

July 28th, 2012

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GTD 3/5 – Productivity System How To: Processing tasks This is a video (3/5) of my productivity system based on David Allen’s GTD. In this video I’ll go through processing data. Great tool for archiving data, PDFs, text, photos and whatnot is Evernote. See the series as they come up at http://raunomerisalu.com/productivity-system-gtd/

July 27th, 2012

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My GTD tryout setup for Apple Reminders

July 26th, 2012

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This is a video (2/5) of my productivity system based on David Allen’s GTD.  In this video I’ll go through collecting data. Here is a list of tools you can use as your inbox for collecting tasks and other data: Notebooks Emailing yourself PostIt notes Index cards Receipts Text files Applications (free) such as: Asana, […]

July 26th, 2012

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GTD 1/5 – Productivity System How To Introduction This is a introductory video (1/5) of my productivity system based on David Allen’s GTD. This is only an intro for the upcoming videos that will go through the productivity system processes. See the series as they come up at http://raunomerisalu.com/productivity-system-gtd/

July 25th, 2012

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I’ve just finished a five video productivity system series based on GTD. I’ll be releasing them one by one at 8pm (EDT) each day starting today. All will be available here: http://raunomerisalu.com/productivity-system-gtd/. It’s a simple series and will go through the process of writing down tasks in your inboxes and goes until the review. I […]

July 24th, 2012

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Some of the links to previous posts may not work. All the posts are still there. Just check the Archives and browse or search from there. This is due to moving my blogging platform away from wordpress. Thanks and let me know how you feel.

July 19th, 2012

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It’s so easy to read a list. It’s easy to memorize. It categorizes well in your brain. Lists make sense. All in all, they are great.  Think all the classic lists: the 10 commandments, the 12 steps of AA, the planets or 100 ways to use a strip of bacon. Just about anything I do […]

July 17th, 2012

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It’s now exactly a week from arriving to D.C. On arrival we rented an Outback and headed to Lanham for a pet friendly motel. A day from that the storms began and our inn lost electricity. Way to start our journey in the States. But put everything on the table and finding an apartment was […]

July 6th, 2012

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I’ve now been unemployed for a good two weeks. The background is that I wasn’t happy there and started looking for alternatives. I also founded a company with some friends in between. But it’s not something I can live off of. It turned out I got the great opportunity to go and move to D.C. […]

July 5th, 2012

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Right. So now we’ve moved to D.C. from Finland. Trust me, it wasn’t easy and it still isn’t through. I’ll start with the basics.  We still haven’t gotten a real apartment, 3 nights in an inn and now we got 7 days in a sublet. But apartment hunting is going well still. Most of the stuff […]

July 2nd, 2012

This is correct. I just got married and now we’re moving to Washington DC from Finland with my beautiful wife. Expect more to come soon as all of this time it’s been heavy action of closing things at work (that I quit), marketing the new startup and trying to get rid of all the stuff.  […]

June 15th, 2012

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I’ve been writing about life in entrepreneurial spirit for a while. The sole purpose of this post is to share my feelings and practicalities towards it.  a) Starting a business for the first time is harder than anything else you have ever done before. You have to make decisions like put your trust in your […]

May 22nd, 2012

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What do you want to be when you grow up? What’s the career for you? A career is something that is often thought to be for life. Looking at the world around us, however, I can determine that career change isn’t that difficult anymore. There is so much information available and if you’re a quick […]

April 30th, 2012

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Lately I’ve been struggling with work life and personal life balance. I have had the problem before but that easy to solve – just make clear boundaries. This time it’s a bit of a different problem.  The trouble comes when you don’t enjoy your work. At that time you have to balance the work/personal life […]

April 29th, 2012

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I recently read an article about dying people and their last regrets (original article). The top five was horrible. I know I’d have at least four of them. I already do.

April 26th, 2012

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Still on holiday. Check for new posts next week. Meanwhile see my Twitter feed.

April 18th, 2012

*Bling*, email, need to check. I will quit everything I’m doing right now to see what that email is all about. I have to do it now, RIGHT NOW, IT MIGHT BE VERY IMPORTANT! We’ve all been there. It is the biggest time waster of all time in a working environment. Just by getting interrupted […]

April 4th, 2012

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I write a lot about motivation but here’s a few words on what motivates me. And a question that you should be asking yourself every day. Link to video.

March 25th, 2012

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Productivity is a system. Productivity requires discipline. But productivity by itself is nothing. But when applied on various tasks the meaning becomes clear. Apply productivity to your daily tasks and you get them done. But when you have lots and lots of tasks you will eventually lose track of them. I will provide you with […]

March 24th, 2012

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Personal gain is the basis of life. You don’t have to be a genius to figure this out. Just go out and talk to people. The free market is based on personal gain. By failing more you will gain more. And by taking responsibility you will gain even more.

March 23rd, 2012

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Do you feel that you don’t have enough time to get through your tasks in a day? Do you need to manage your time better? You have to forget all about it. It’s not how you manage time but how you prioritize. Task and time management is trivial.

March 17th, 2012

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Poker is an evil game. You try to rip all your friends off and lie to them. And then you’re done. In a lot of ways life is just like it.

March 5th, 2012

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You’re stuck. There’s nothing you can do. You simply wake up every morning looking at yourself in the mirror. And you realize you are stuck. If you didn’t need to, would you go to work in the morning? People wait for the weekend so badly because a) they can do what they really want for […]

March 1st, 2012

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Ever been in a situation where you’re required to present something ad-hoc? At work, at the university or a party? For most of us it’s not as easy as for some. The heart starts pumping and you really don’t know what to do. You haven’t prepared! How can you present anything, you don’t even know […]

February 22nd, 2012

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Insight and creation go together hand in hand. Just as discipline and creativity go hand in hand. It requires a lot of work to keep creating. All of us have a little bit of a creator inside. And sometimes we need to squeeze that out.

February 19th, 2012

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Every time I do something new my life changes. Even if it’s so minor as playing a new game, meeting a new person, reading an inspiring novel or learning a new recipe. (1) The perspective gets broader. It’s like an optical zoom that goes down to fisheye. A new perspective for everything you do.

February 11th, 2012

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It’s your fault I wasn’t chosen in the job I applied for. You told me to put that assistant job in my resume and they didn’t like it. It’s your fault I didn’t get to art school. You didn’t teach me to paint when I hinted that it would be nice some day.

February 7th, 2012

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I have a hard time saying no to people. Even if I’m broke and I’m out buying potatoes. I get a kilo and the clerk goes: “want some milk, rosemary and basil to go with that” and I say yeah sure. It’s extremely difficult to say no. Let alone saying no to your friends who […]

February 6th, 2012

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I got huge kicks from swimming a couple of days ago. Walking out in -22 degree weather with only trunks on. Then dip into the water. The air doesn’t feel that cold afterwards. But all of the hair will literally freeze. When you do that a couple of times the feeling is magnificent. There’s some […]

February 5th, 2012

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Got a project so huge you simply can’t grasp it? Or do you just have a job that fills your head with things you have to remember to do and they all mix up into an undoable big blob? The frustration comes when too many things happen at the same time. You have no way […]

February 4th, 2012

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In a lot of projects that I’ve participated in I’ve worked with a lot of no-good-assholes. They think they’re big shots and know everything but when it’s time to really do something they just get out of the way. Not in a good way. A lot of times I like people to stay out of […]

January 24th, 2012

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I’m scared shitless that people would gang up on me and kick and punch me senseless. They’d kick so hard my liver would rip in half, my hip would break in three and I’d swallow most of my teeth. I’m also afraid of needles. Especially if they’re close to my eyes. No one comes near […]

January 22nd, 2012

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Many times you’ll get advice from people on a number of topics. How to diet to burn fat or how to invest in real estate or stocks. Most of the time they’re wrong because they haven’t done it themselves. They’ve just heard it from somewhere and are paraphrasing. They mean well but eventually just want […]

January 18th, 2012

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Walking down the street I look at a guy and immediately judge him as an asshole. Or an interesting dude. What a black and white world I live in. And I tell you, it’s easy. The moment I add some grayish hues I’m screwed. In math it’s easy, 1=1 and that’s that. Nothing more to […]

January 7th, 2012

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There’s only one way to it really. Start writing. Look around your room, pick a topic and go. At some point when you’re writing you’ll get to a point when you really understand what you want to write about. I want to get inspired by something. Usually it’s something that I’ve read somewhere else, seen […]

January 4th, 2012

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Don’t tell me what a man says, don’t tell me what a man knows, tell me where he’s traveled. Or… Why do you need to book your tickets now? 1) You need to go travel right now because you aren’t getting any younger. A lot of old people travel for a fact but most of […]

December 31st, 2011

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The 6 day journey to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro (5985 m or 19340 ft) made me renew my thinking on physical exercise. I’ve walked the ragged levadas for a day and a night in one go on Madeira with my beautiful girlfriend (as I did up the slopes of Kilimanjaro). There’re a lot of ups […]

December 26th, 2011

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To get things straight from the beginning… I like it when people tell me I’m good at something or when I get gifts. I generally like all of the getting unless it’s getting beaten up. A lot of times, though, giving is more profitable. Give and you shall receive is no joke. Jesus, Buddha and […]

December 23rd, 2011

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I’m cleaning the cat’s litter box trying to hold my breath because the air is so thick you can carve it with a knife. At that moment I was thinking what is this little hairball good for? She eats, takes a shit, sleeps and plays a little bit of hockey with toy mice. And the […]

December 20th, 2011

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I was chasing a breaker-and-enterer out of my hostel room a few years back. He was running like a mother fucker and my bare toes got stuck to my fisherman pants and I fell. As I rolled over my shoulder I continued to chase him but he had just ran through the gate and to […]

December 18th, 2011

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Just after one of those times I was broke, out of work and otherwise miserable I somehow managed to get a job in a factory that specialized in making roller cages. Because it was out of my usual habitat and I would have spent all the wages on commuting, I had to stay in a […]

December 17th, 2011

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I have more than on one occasion woken up literally in the middle of the street. I open my eyes and I see dead people. Walking with their eyes glassy staring at the pavement. Then I truly feel alive. Usually at that time I do something big. I might change jobs, take up a new […]

December 13th, 2011

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I was a pathetic little guy at age of singe digits. I almost drowned in a wash-basin when I was two. But the thing is, I saved myself. I’ve been told that people were running to get me but it was too late. I got up and survived. So this is my first point, never […]

December 12th, 2011

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A) I only want to do things that I enjoy. If someone wants me to do something I don’t like I just won’t do it. It’s not like he can force me to do it. I don’t want to hang out with stupid or arrogant people. I don’t want to suck up to anyone. That’s […]

December 11th, 2011

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For inspiration for an alternative lifestyle take a look at Altucher’s blog. For me, as I’ve always been quite lucky when speaking of jobs and work, finding a job has never been too difficult. I’ve had my problems but in the end it’s always worked out. Now this is something that makes me insecure. It […]

December 4th, 2011

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