2016 R&R: Reflection and Retribution

Alternate title:
My winner effect is taking on epic proportions.

“You’re as cold as ice, willing to sacrifice.”


[Friday, 9:58 PM]

Inspired by Mikael Syding’s cold resistance, I went out running the other day in shorts and T-shirt, even though it was semi-snowy and minus degrees.

First I was running through some industrial areas,  like Rocky.

Then I ran past a couple of huge concrete towers, thinking: “Someone actually made these.” That means I can also make them, and probably make them better.

When I looked UP at the towers, I got uncomfortable (I’m slightly afraid of heights). Therefore I forced myself to do it 3 more times.

I nearly tripped because of this. How embarassing.

About halfway into the run, I started bleeding profusely from one of my nostrils. How annoying.

At first, I wanted to turn back home, but since I’ve not failed a running session in over two years, I refused to sabotage my winning streak!

So I kept running.

After about 20 minutes, my nose stopped bleeding. But until then I had to swallow the blood or spit it out. Probably looked disgusting. Parents taking their children for a walk looked at me with scorn in their eye. I exposed their children to blood (for the first time ever, in their shielded upbringings).


Then I did some muscle-ups in an outdoor gym. Mentally, I was feeling good, but physically, I guess my body was too cold–because I was unable to do my third set properly. That annoyed me again.

During my run I did not see a single person my age.

They are probably down-town, drink-in-hand, sitting in their favorite booths like the cast from How I Met Your Mother.”

Good for them.

What a waste of human life.

My priorities are different.

I don’t have the time to work out as much as I used to. So I have to grab the occasional weird time to do it. Like now.

To be honest, it sucks. Because I’m used to savoring my workouts. They’ve been the highlight of my days for years. But no more. Now that is relegated to my morning readings, when I converse with the greats of history.

Oh well. Another day another dollar.

Good thing I can just “maintain” my body and still be in good shape.

A photo posted by LudvigSGM (@ludvigsunstrom) on

I knew this was going to happen, so I prepared for it. I live in the future.

Do one thing at a time–and do it seriously. Gain sufficient momentum to just “maintain”, then move on to the next thing. Repeat.

The time to do it is when you’re young.

Without sacrifices, you get nowhere.

But this is nothing.

When Charles Munger was 31 years old, his oldest son died in the hospital. Then his wife divorced him. A few years later a doctor screwed up a cataract operation, leaving him permanently blinded in one eye.

–But he didn’t let any of that stop him from building his business empire, and becoming one of the smartest people in the world.

Munger focused on the work at hand and kept the grand strategy in the back of his head, without feeling sorry for himself in any way.

. . . While raising 8 children.

What sacrifices have you made?

Malcolm X stayed away from women for 12 long years. He had total and utter commitment to his cause. That’s why I know his name.

Pay the price.

Yes, it takes a while to make something out of yourself. Push through it.

Gain psychological investment.

You have to buy into the vision. If you can’t do that you will never succeed.

The first person you must sell is always–surprise, surprise–yourself. To contend with the greatest men in history, you must first be convinced that you belong in their league.

“But ________!”

But what?

What else are you going to do?

Watch TV?


strategic objective 2016. 2png[Pictured: Ivar Kreuger’s Match Stick Palace, the courtyard]

Strategic Objective 2016

I recently wrote out my strategic objective for this year.

2015 didn’t go quite as I had planned–it went better.

2016 will be a good year for me. Probably the best so far in my life.

Not necessarily because I’m going to be 10x better all of a sudden, but rather thanks to investments and sacrifices I’ve already made, some of which will now bear fruit. Call it retribution.

You either make up your mind or you lose your mind.

You must regularly do things like meditation, reflection, visualization, goal-setting, and planning. Or you will lose at life.

If you can’t do this, start practicing.

Because, otherwise, you’ll spend a hell of a lot of time and energy on things that don’t get you where you want to go. There’s a big difference between being efficient and being effective.

The reason I am where I am today is because I’m more effective and long-term oriented than most people. I realize those are some of my strengths (as I see others spinning their wheels in quick sand).

3 Lessons Learned (or re-learned) in 2015:

1) I must think ahead and prepare, hedge for accidents and prevent dangerous mistakes.

For example:

  • Avoiding overstimulation. 1
  • Avoiding habituation (more on this soon).
  • Avoiding bad health and injuries (possibly from future training).

Basically, minimize risk for all bad things which can be anticipated.

2) I shall not work on things unless they will help me gain (or solidify) sustainable competitive advantages.

A.K.A, focusing as much time as possible on long-term investment of my time, as opposed to doing things that only generate temporary, short-term effects. This includes the making of money.

2 b) I must build systems and other things which last, like Andrew Carnegie: Take everything away from me and I’ll be back in no time.

My phone was stolen recently. I did not get upset. I lost only monetary value. The opportunity cost was larger. My commonplace is intact.

I won’t have my life’s work taken from me.

strategic objective 2016

3 I shall focus on the fundamental 80/20-activities more, and not do things which aren’t yielding high return on investment.

(Investment = time, money and emotional commitment.)

For example, the reason I can put so little effort into fitness & health but still be in great shape is because I’ve completely 80/20-ed that area. Same goes for learning things and memorizing Justin Timberlake trivia.

3 b) To think more about alternative cost–and pondering cumulative return of time in future scenarios–rather than about being frugal with money.

I no longer cut back on food, and I’m going to stop cooking my own food soon (unless it’s the only way I can get a healthy meal).

When my phone was stolen I bought a new one fast. I didn’t try to find the best deal or do hours of reading up on comparisons between different phones. I just bought a similar one as last time, with insurance this time.

This does not come to me naturally, because I’ve always been extremely frugal, and it has helped me a lot earlier in life. But this sort of thinking no longer benefits me, so, like a snake shedding its skin, I’m getting rid of it.

8 Recent, Random Observations

1) In life, like investing, people want the quick [stock] tips; they do not want to do their own thinking.

I read an old book called Makings of a Stock Broker not long ago. Here’s an excerpt from that book which piqued my interest:

I had two classes of customers–the wise and the dumb fucks; and the latter didn’t want any statistics or facts. They want an excuse for what they do in the stock market. They number around 95% of the total.

This is funny because it’s true–and not just in finance. Everwhere. If you’re looking for an excuse, you will find it. Confirmation bias rules supreme.

2) Don’t waste time.

You could sit for an entire day and read “idiot compassion” articles (as Kyle said) or you could spend that day working on your business.

3) Do not be a spectator.

Stop watching others succeed–do it yourself instead.

. . . Then they can watch you. It feels good.

Do it while you are still in your prime, that’s the best time.

The clock is ticking.

4) It pays to be contrarian.

It pays to break the rules and/or differentiate yourself when everyone else is doing the same thing. Which is usually whatever requires the least amount of effort or thinking. (More examples of this in the next article.)

5) Envy is local.

People get caught up in petty B.S 2 (like male vs female wages), instead of trying to increase their value and leverage to the point where such a discussion is totally irrelevant. Instead of bickering over crumbs spilled off of someone else’s table, they could get to work & bake their own cake!

I am envious of LKY, Flagler, and Munger.

6) When you are working hard, it is important that you:

  1. Practice mindfulness, meditation & gratitude.
  2. Deliberately induce variation and novelty into your tasks.
  3. Look upon everything as practice (for when you’re on top).

This helps to keep habituation and boredom away.

And, over the long term, it is one of the key things that distinguishes the best from those who are merely “good” 3.

This is often the difference between the “coulda’-woulda’-shoulda’ people” versus the select few who will go down in history as exemplars.

7) To be a master, fall in love with the process.

Nuff’ said.

The best way to do that is to. . .

8) Do stuff you like with people you like and respect.

Like Buffett and Munger did. 

They did “lifestyle design” 50+ years before the term was invented. And they didn’t use it as an excuse for noble indulgement. They improved things.

A photo posted by LudvigSGM (@ludvigsunstrom) on


9 Recommendations:

  1. Book: The biographical book Buffett (as seen above) is not only an entertaining read, but it will also teach you most of the fundamentals of value investing.
  2. Movie: Whiplash. What it takes to be the best and why most people don’t have what it takes.
  3. Resource: Buy yourself a laptop cooler if you use a laptop. It’ll help you work from anywhere.
  4. Resource: The add-on Lazarus is great for filling out forms or recovering lost information.
  5. Tip: Do mobility stretches a few times per week.  I am nearly as good as the video.
  6. Tip: Start recording daily lessons each day. This is great for quarterly or yearly reflections. I have it set up automated for my commonplace.
  7. Tip: Do one important thing per day. Something that gets you closer to your long-term goals.
  8. Tip: If something takes less than 5 minutes to do, and it needs to be done, do it immediately.
  9. Tip: Buy an empty book and start filling it with book summaries.

[Fast-forward 2 years and you’re a winner. One of the best in your age cohort.]

I have 2 questions for you:

  1. How was 2015 and what things will you focus on in 2016?
  2. What would you like me to write about?

Alrighty then. That’s it for now.

I have lots of content, but limited time to post it.

However, one article I will write is about my experience with candida and how I overcame it.

People have been asking me to cover that for over a year now.


One of the things I’ve done to 80/20 my life recently is to purge my email list for SGM of 80 % of its readers (those with lowest open and click rates).

So, I may therefore have removed your subscription. If you want to get back on my newsletter, you can do that here:

Subscribe form

(If you did not receive an email with a link to this article, you were removed.)


I’m going to write a series of emails for subscribers, where I go into my top tips for success and self-development. If you’re a long-time reader, you may be familiar with much of the advice. If not, you will find it beneficial.

Since people have asked, I’ll also include some personal details. I’m not super comfortable talking about myself, but I’ll do so a bit more in the future.

I will write and send these emails over the next 2 weeks. Stay tuned.

Final word

Many have asked regarding the release of Breaking out of Homeostasis (BOOH). Unfortunately, it has been delayed due to other obligations (like business and my podcast with Mikael Syding. Both are going well).

The book will probably be out sometime in the first half of 2016. Most of the content is done, it just needs proper editing. Then there’s the marketing aspect–which takes the most time. 4

I will not put out the book until I feel content with it.

Legacy > $.

If you’re not already on the book waiting list for it, you can just sign up here:

BOOH Waiting List


  1. It’s more important to avoid raising your stimulatory threshold, than it is to get into an optimal state. 

  2. 90% of the problems most people bother with would go away if they just stopped shifting the blame, stepped up their thinking, attitude, and work ethic.

  3. (The “good” fall into homeostatic autopilot and get stuck in habituation sooner rather than later.  They stop reinventing themselves and begin to “go through the motions”. Then they stop growing. Often permanently.)

  4. It’s easy to write a book, but it’s hard and time-consuming to write a book that can stand the test of time.


  1. Hey Ludvig do you have those emails about self developement? I would really want to check those out if anyone have them

  2. Mindset, perception, action.

    Great breakdown of this topic.

  3. I think I understand why you cut those subscribers, to use the commitment effect of psychology to show your brain how SERIOUS you are in focusing on this mindset of 80/20 & forcing yourself to be “effective” instead of “efficient”.

  4. I have been waiting for 2015 summary on SGM :) Thank you Ludvig for the insights.

    Year 2015 was not as good as I planned. My self-management was rather poor regarding my standards. My effort was rather low and results were corresponding. I wasted lot of time on trivial projects.

    I have to say that thanks to SGM I have been commonplacing for about 1.3 year now. So even though 2015 was year of mistakes, I gained a lot of knowledge (priceless this journaling). About my performence, strengths, behavior, habbits…

    So my whole Strategic Objective of 2016 is based on creating systems and habbits which will support my strengths and eliminate the trivial and undproductive BS. Hustle it is.

    Personally I would like to read about:
    1) Ludvig´s experience from business and networking ( e.g. 15 Lessons from Mikael Syding).
    2) Day in life of Ludvig.

    • Same here, I am also focusing on hustling this year, mainly to better my work ethic and save up money.

      And I second both of the article suggestions!!

  5. Nicklas Kingo says:

    Good shit mate! Looking forward to hearing about you and Oskar’s adventures.

    All the best,


  6. This article blew up before I managed to begin writing this reply, wow.

    On 80/20
    A bunch of baloney if taken literally(like the Bible! Haha…ha) As someone else mentioned it’s about ‘doing what is important.’ Your mental health is important! When I began reading your blog I went crazy and began feeling like shit. Then I began slimming everything down into what works in my specific environment and circumstances.

    Recently I stopped running my personal blog from my own domain. Why? It felt like too much work when raising my children. I’ve switched over to using medium and focusing more on sharing my experiences and viewpoints. Why not leverage Medium’s established network while lessening cognitive load, right?

    The most prolific aspect I’ve taken from following you is watching my progress steadily increase as you have grown. I’ve recently read John Greene’s book, “Mastery,” and the stage I’ve entered is diversion(not what he calls it, anyway…), where I follow your advice, progress while applying it into my own circumstance and making it work for me. This is important.

    How has my 2015 gone?

    Better than 2014, 2013 and allll those years before. Of this I am sure. Though progress has been much slower for me. We’re not the same nor ever will be(thank goodnesss. That would be booooorrrriiiinnngg.)

    I have numerous plans for 2016. Journalling has been on my mind lately, because once my youngest was born priority shifted. Journalling provided me massive introspection and mental health benefits. I’ve written out my objectives for 2016 in Evenote. Still not sure if I’ll maintain Evernote or switch back to Onenote(still waiting on your article about it. Take your time!)

    I plan to steadily improve personally along with my family. Teaching everything I’ve learned since following you to my children is of great importance to me. I fucked up my youth(teens, early adulthood) and I refuse to become a parent who lets my children follow in those pathetic footsteps – fuck no.

    Ludvig, thank you for everything you’ve done with this blog. Changing lives is something many *say* is meaningful for them but they don’t take the *action* required(homoeostasis and lazy ass shit.) I know you’ll achieve more than you could believe possible in 2016, as will I.

    Oh and thanks for indirectly introducing Mikael. He’s been a major inspiration and game-changer for my mental health. Richard too, of course.

    This may have gotten a bit long sooo…

    I would love to hear more from you about many things, so keep doing what you’re doing, sharing experiences and progressing. Too hard to think right now on specifics but it’s been a wonderful experience learning from you.

    Peace. Happy new year.

    Ps: Good on you for not releasing the revised version of BooH before it’s “ready”. Legacy over money. Always.

  7. I’m sure you can always find something useful to write about. The key words being “useful” and “write”. Video is a medium for entertainment, not information. Inspirational material may be useful to some people, but insight is what I value.

    A few arbitrary topic suggestions that you probably don’t need:

    Posture, its physical and psychological importance and how to improve it.

    How cultural variations in behavior, like American arrogance or Russian cynicism, influence us.

    Other specific cultural prejudices, likewise.

    How to write effective short essays. I know you have this one down.

    Effective methods of learning.

    Cognitive biases and how to overcome them.

    Formal education – how, and whether, to pursue it.

    The virtue of self-reliance.

    Lessons we can learn from Hitler. Or Napoleon, or Bismarck, etc. etc.

    …and dozens of other things. I know there are inevitably already sites somewhere with information on all of these things – there is probably a website somewhere describing how Hitler’s education affected his posture – but I for one would rather read your take on it than Google the winds.

  8. I have a very repetitive job but I Make good money from it. My goal is to just force myself to work it for 2 more years, maximum, and then I’ll have the money to do something that I find both fulfilling and profitable. But I cannot afford that luxury quite yet.

    Therefore I would be very interested to know more about how you “fight” against habituation. Will this also be in your book? Thanks.

    For your content for 2016 here are 3 suggestions:
    * Habituation
    * Your learning strategy (ies)
    * Whatever you are focused on at this moment

  9. And I’d also love to read a translated script of your podcast. I’m sure your deca-millionaire friend can afford to pay someone to do it for us poor non-swedish speaking folk

  10. Question:
    What kind of legacy are you looking to create? Do you wish to be an activist like Malcolm X, an investor like Munger, statesman like Napoleon? Sure, they give great life advice as “comprehensivists”, but they first created a name for themselves elsewhere. Right? I’m sure you have thought about this already.
    I’m guessing Marketing.

    What I achieved in 2015 (thanks to you):
    1. Amazing discipline: wake up at 6, able to work for up to 9 hours daily taking only a few ten minute breaks
    2. Read 60 of the best books. 40 or so recommended by you.
    3. Eat right everyday. No sugar. Perfect diet every single day.
    4. cold showers
    5. Became quite knowledgeable at psychology. Used it very successfully at interviews to land great job offers.
    6. Manage to complete my PhD. Finished my thesis in under 2 months thanks to discipline I learnt from you.
    7. Realized the PhD and Job were both a waste of my time! Decided to quit, just considering when to.
    8. Became largely an independent thinker.
    9. Became very skilled at meditating and meta-cognition.
    10. Commonplacing successfully.

    Thank you.

    What I’d like to read about on your blog:
    1. Articles like your LKY one where you distill the best wisdom of a person or from a book.
    2. Evernote
    3. More insight into your journey. What exactly is your plan? How are you going about achieving it? I know you’re quite private about specific details, but it would be wonderful to read about.

  11. Your posts are great, Ludvig!

    How long does writing one post take you?

    My 2015 was mixed. I reconnected to old friends form school and published a paper, but then also gained body fat and dropped the ball a bit on my webpage. Lately I have been getting back rolling on my block and – well, I am doing a 90-Day “no snacks” fast which will help me become a bit more disciplined about my health.

    (b) I’d appreciate if you had some more posts about historic personality and what we can learn from them – and what you learnt from them too. Similar to the LKW article. I quite enjoyed that.

    All the best for a successful 2016!


  12. This post is a perfect example of why this one of 5 or 6 blogs that I actually read anymore.

    So much quality. You’re the man.

  13. The spectator thing bugs me. Guys scream “we won” when their favorite team wins, while all they did was drink beer and smoke. All I can do is shake my head at that.

    Instead of watching TV, they should hit the gym.

  14. You make a great point about think ahead and trying to prevent problems. When it comes to exercise, how do you do this? And is it because you have got hurt already? Or have you been working out in a dangerous way?

  15. Ah, thanks – for some reason I thought you used Onenote, as I do… I see there are a lot of recipes for Onenote, but would you mind clarifying what the recipe did e.g. did it email you a form you completed and submitted, or…? Thanks!

  16. I hate you lol. If I had something like that I would never throw it away! But I didnt build the site, or any site for that matter so I guess it is a moot point. But still.

    For 2016 my goal is to get out of my callcenter job and go back to school and read 30 biographies. I feel like that is feasible about at the stretch point so to speak.

  17. How do you automate the daily learning log in your commonplace, Ludvig?
    Great post, thanks.

  18. Seems like a bad jogging session. I’ve had those myself and I gotta agree it’s hard but you just gotta keep the winning streak. I guess it takes some character.

    My 2016 is also gonna be great. I intend to either have quit my job by 2017 or be promoted into a new role where I can do more fun things (I am the smartest guy in my department and if my boss can’t see it after I lay down the gauntlet then I will leave for a better job).

    My 2 best books I have read lately have been Elon Musk’s bio and a book about programming, I forget the name.

    To be perfectly honest, Elon’s book wasn’t so well written, it’s just that he’s built such a strong brand and it is easy to identify with it. I understand this by I still am affected by it. Pretty intriguing, I bet you know some psychological effect for this — heh!

  19. I notice you only use “strong” images like horses.

    • This made me laugh.

    • “Then I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven emails, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, ‘Come.’ I looked, and behold, a white Segway, and he who stood on it had a laser pointer; and an M.B.A. was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.”

      Nah, gotta be horses.

  20. I got here right after my book reading. This is a nice way to end my day.

    I can really relate to this article, especially at this point in my life right now. My 2015 has really been the year of MOMENTUM. And your energy as seen from your writing is kinda infectious btw. I just want to soak it all in right now. :D

    “Gain sufficient momentum to just “maintain”, then move on to the next thing. Repeat.”
    >> After making consistent YouTube videos for 21 months, I’m building something new in 2016. I will now be writing articles at my newly launched website as well! Increased workload seems scary. But I’m going to do it anyway. It feels so damn good to be able to consistently produce work that has meaning for me and to keep outdoing myself. It really does. And it’s really paying off.

    Question: I just have a rough idea, but may I ask why you decided to filter out your email list? I wonder if I got kicked, I came here from the WordPress email. Anyway. You are one gangster man… Haha. Truly a contrarian.

    Congrats again for making it to the Top 100 Personal Development Blogs list btw. And also for the success of your new Podcast (I think this is a bigger deal right?). I still remember your first comment on my old blog in late 2013, your blog was just about half a year old then I think. You must have come a long way man! Make 2016 yet another amazing year (I know you will)! I really love how you place major emphasis on building a worthy legacy and prioritising it over $$. I respect that attitude a lot! It’s one of my values too.

    Cheers and HAPPY NEW YEAR. :)

    • Your great at playing piano man. I have played for almost 1 year and I can’t play any of the songs you do, only beginner level I learn from Google like the classic ones. I guess everything is a learning curve.

      • Thanks man! I’m writing educational articles about piano/music at my new website. You might want to check it out. Link is all over my YouTube. :)

    • That’s awesome, Jeremy!

      What will your new site be about?

      Re email list:
      You were not kicked off (just searched).

      ” I still remember your first comment on my old blog in late 2013, your blog was just about half a year old then I think. ”

      –Time goes by fast!

      Talk to you soon, in Singapore. And I’m really glad things are going well for you.

      Yes, the podcast is a bigger deal than ranking on the top 100 self-development blogs.

      • My site will be about piano/music of course! Complements my YouTube. ;) I intend to mash it up with personal development stuff as well though. 2 of my passions.

        Btw. If you are coming in Feb and had planned and told me about this earlier, I might just have been able to get you a ticket to watch a Final Fantasy piano concert (with Uematsu in attendance). Haha. If that’s still your thing of course.

    • @Jeremy, the other post wouldn’t let me reply (RE email list etc). Love your channel man, congratulations on getting the ball rolling :)

      You’ll do well to watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu5_dNTud0c – you want fans not customers. Fans *want* to give you money.

      Customers want cheap/fast. For Ludvig, a customer is someone stuck in his McDonald’s job with no passions or self esteem; he swallows everything Ludvig writes because he just wants to get moving forward. He probably reads lots of lowball “self development” sites and plays the lottery.

      For Ludvig, a fan is someone who’s already seeing results and is working hard to get to the next level, using Ludvig’s stuff as well as sharing their own ideas with Ludvig (win/win). Think about which is going to pay dividends for the young Vig in ~ 5 years? The chump who manages to finally get laid with the village slut, or a band of brothers who’ll help each other reach heights they never ever could have as lone wolves?

      Ultimately, it comes down to “love”. The *real* reason you do something is what people are ultimately attracted to. Example being Ludvig’s site – to me – is about evoking the Homeric heroism we’ve lost in our bubble-wrap society. The secrets behind Caesar, Alexander, Hannibal, Hitler, Bonaparte — there’s a shared strand of the infinite in all of those characters, which I feel this site is about capturing. That’s why I’ve stuck around.

      In your case, they’ll love you even more if you put on performances at concert halls, with pretty young women to sing for you :)

      Whilst having fans / customers is not such a big deal with an email list, the important thing is where your focus goes.

      Why should you spend time focusing on losers when you have more important things to do? ALWAYS remember — what you put in comes out — if you trick yourself into thinking 10,000 people actually like you (when you know it’s false), you’ll end up going round in circles “because it’s working”.

      Breaking out of Homeostasis starts with shedding the old. Most people will never change, so why keep playing to them? Let someone else do it; you have bigger fish to fry. Once you understand & assimilate this idea, you’re 50% of the way to the mindset of a Caesar or Napoleon.

      • Thanks for sharing the video, I’ve just watched it. I agree 100% with focusing on your fans/tribe.

        “Why should you spend time focusing on losers when you have more important things to do?”
        >> But I still fail to see how extra time/effort is spent on the losers simply by keeping them on the email list. Whether or not they are there, the email is still sent all the same.

        The only drawback that I’m seeing now is perhaps the point Kyle has brought up – that you could be penalized in some way if you have poor open/click rates. It does makes sense to kick some losers if this is so, in order to better serve your best followers. But if this is not the case, I’d just let them tag along, lol. Why not?

      • This is very well said, Richard, about the difference between customers and fans. And about daring to basically say “fuck it” and focus on the winners of life.

  21. You cut the majority of your email list. Does that mean you foolishly(?) cut out most of your traffic?

    If I understand right then the only way I can see it is that you choose to focus only on the 20% which is most responsive. But I warn you that you may have made the wrong decision and what if that turns out to be a mistake in your future? How can you know? Is this a foolish leap of faith? Maybe your head is getting to you because of your winner effect? Please be honest because I want to learn from your mistakes in blogging.

    I have a site now and I have about 100 visitors per day and I treasure them and it was hard to get and TO EARN I meant. So I can identify on a strong level.

    • Yeah, I also think it was foolish.
      80/20 is not a law and is not accurate in many cases in the first place…

      • Yeah no offense whatsoever but it doesn’t make sense.

        “80/20 is not a law and is not accurate in many cases in the first place…”

        Yes like

        I read an article on lifehack that debunked it. Here’s my biggest learning experience that I copied: “The 80/20 rule argues that 20% of the input creates 80% of the output. Inputs and outputs aren’t the same thing, and therefore can’t be made into the same pie chart. The 80/20 Rule could just as easily been called The 55/3 Rule, if 55% of the results were created by 3% of the inputs.”

      • Oops I wrote too fast.

        Here’s what I meant to write.

        YES LIKE this:
        ” Answering e-mails, making phone calls or having meetings may appear wasteful, but they still need to get finished, right?

        “This argument has an element of truth, but it conceals a bigger lie. The truth is that, yes, there are things that need to get done even though they aren’t wildly important. If I stopped answering e-mails I might miss opportunities, have my network degrade or lose important messages.”

      • The fuck it was foolish. Best move ever – cut out the wankers who won’t do anything. Email lists should represent relationships; you can’t please everyone so get rid of the riff-raff. If you had experience with email marketing, you’d know it’s FAR more valuable (in the long term) to have 100 highly receptive people than 10,000 guys with dick in hand. The other important factor is “who they know”. Real networking is about bringing people together, not selling to people you’ve just met. Thus if you have 100 people you actually help VS 10,000 who want to learn “how to make money” tricks, you’ll be able to actually bring those 100 people others who’ll help them.

      • @Jake:
        “Inputs and outputs aren’t the same thing, and therefore can’t be made into the same pie chart.”
        >> Hmm… Nobody said they were. 80% of the output pie chart is a result of 20% of the input pie chart.

        Personally, I don’t really care about the knitty gritty of 80/20. To me, it just means do the most important task at hand right now. The one that yields the most results.

    • Just wanted to chip in.

      I was collecting emails 3 months before launching my website. Whenever someone asked me for the sheet music (I make piano videos on YouTube), I would send it to their email for free, but I would also use that opportunity to ask if they would be interested in getting on my email list for the upcoming website. When I finally launched it, I sent out an email asking those who expressed interest to subscribe again officially at the website. It has been 2 weeks since, and only about 40% did.

      I did this ‘purging’ because I only wanted people who were genuinely interested in my site/updates. I figured that some of them might have simply felt indebted at that point in time due to receiving something free from me. This would be a nice opportunity for them to ignore my email. Good.

      As with many things in my life, I love counting numbers. Number of videos, number of articles, workout sessions, books read, and more. It’s very motivating seeing that number increase, just like in video games. But before I count anything, that count has to be a quality count before it makes me feel good. It’s meaningless otherwise.

      I’d rather have those people who aren’t genuinely interested in my email list out now, than realise several months later that my ‘quality count’ is actually lower than I had thought. And be disappointed.

      Likewise, if I were you and if I found out my 100 traffic are people say browsing my handsome selfie pics and never coming back again, then that number is meaningless to me.

      I still wonder why Ludvig did what he did though. I personally wouldn’t have done that because if someone subscribes, I would assume that he actually wants to be there, even if it means opening 1 email per year. Plus, you can unsubscribe any time. I might change the way I think about this after hearing out Ludvig’s explanation though.

      • Jeremy you don’t seem to know your statistics perfectly correct. 40% is VERY good for all emails lists from what I read, unless you are Bill Gates.

        “This would be a nice opportunity for them to ignore my email. Good. ”

        I guess this is what people mean when they talk about “abundance mindset” but I don’t understand it fully. It just seems like woo-woo to me?

        “It’s very motivating seeing that number increase, just like in video games.”

        Yes I agree.

        “that count has to be a quality count before it makes me feel good”

        What is your way of thinking to decide this?

        “browsing my handsome selfie pics and never coming back again”

        I have never put out any selfie pictures. But I see what you mean.

        I am very interested in personal improvement but my site is on another topic which is why I don’t use my Gravatar for it to be secret.

      • @Jake you’d be surprised at Bill Gates’ (Microsoft) market value. Most software people dislike M$oft; they were very good at capitalizing on a need, getting into bed with the right people and killing competition (monopoly). Look up regarding IBM/CPM/Gary Kildall http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/stories/2004-10-24/the-man-who-could-have-been-bill-gates .M$ also worked directly with OEM’s to build Windows distribution; cutting out rivals like Linux & OS2 (wayyyy back). Charging hardware manufactures PER CHIP (not hardware) sold tied them to M$. This lead to their Antitrust suit in 2001. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Steve Ballmer ate the hearts of his sacrificial victims to strike the deals he did. Dude was off the wall, way more than Gates.

      • I did not know this about Bill Gates or MicroSoft. I just said it as a sort of way to signify a rich and successful person. But I understand how you mean.

        It is a funny headline that article has. I don’t know if I would be pleased or irritated if I was in Mr Kildall’s position.

      • Jake, I didn’t say 40% is bad. I’m just saying that if there’s an opportunity for me to wipe out those who are not actually genuinely interested to be on my list, I will do it. I don’t care what the % is. Besides, I DOUBT I will have a 40% open rate in my future emails if I didn’t do what I did anyway. But that’s besides the point.

        The Abundance Mindset is not woo-woo at all. Though I’m not quite sure how this is related now. The way I understand it is that people with that mindset tend to focus on opportunity, while those with the Scarcity Mindset tend to focus on problems.

        Quoting you in another of your comment:
        “If I stopped answering e-mails I might miss opportunities, have my network degrade or lose important messages”
        >> This is a great example of someone with the scarcity mindset. Always afraid of losing, never excited about actually winning.

        I always relate the two mindsets to this:
        On looking to dine at an expensive restaurant, I could say,
        1. I can’t afford that, better spend within my means. OR
        2. Shit, I’m gonna work my ass off while I’m young and be really rich so I can dine wherever the heck I want in 10 years’ time.

        Regarding the counting thing, what do you mean?

        “I am very interested in personal improvement but my site is on another topic which is why I don’t use my Gravatar for it to be secret.”
        >> My link doesn’t go to a personal development site either. :D

    • Jake,

      No, I don’t think it cuts out most of my traffic. But perhaps a significant portion of it.

      The reason I did it is because, as Richard implies, more does not necessarily mean better.

      Most importantly, I did it for myself. As Feynman said, “the easiest person to fool is yourself.” And you’re fooling yourself if you equate size with quality. Many people do this all their lives, and it becomes a severe cognitive handicap that can (and probably will) become very expensive.

      If you are interested in this sort of thing, it’s called the availability-misweight bias or the availability heuristic.

      • Thanks for replying me.

        You know a lot. I didn’t know this. But it’s probably not worth it for me to worry about that sort of thing with my site is it?

        From what I read you may have made a bad thing but we shall see in the future. You have more knowledge than me with websites so we’ll wait and see then.

      • Jake you really ought to stop reading LifeHack articles if you want to save your soul. That site is just clickbait.

      • I do not disagree at all with what you and Richard are saying. But I still wonder.

        Quoting by Richard:
        “it’s FAR more valuable (in the long term) to have 100 highly receptive people than 10,000 guys with dick in hand.”
        >> Definitely true. But. Which is more valuable: 100 highly receptive people, or 100 of the same people PLUS 5000 guys with ‘dick in hand’?

        Even if those 5000 people chose to stay on the list just to read a single email a year, it’s still adding value, no? I’m unable to understand the gain for booting them (or loss for keeping them).

        Personally, I’d keep anyone on my email list, as long as they have expressed a clear interest to be in it.

        Would it not be better to send out an email asking the list to subscribe to a brand new list, saying that you are about to delete the current one? That way you would ensure everyone who’s on the list actually wants to be there (even if they intend to open very few emails). But this does sound a little troublesome I guess.

        Curious about your thoughts (Richard too) anyway.

      • There’s actually a lot of people doing this recently. Email co’s are weighting engagement much more. Unless you have quality open/read rates you’re going to start getting punished anyway.

        So beyond your good/virtuous reasons… it’s practical too :)

      • @ Kyle: I didn’t know about that. Definitely makes a lot more sense to me now.

        I was just at your site about 2 hours ago reading an article about Amazon ranking factors btw. Good stuff.

  22. Justing Timberlake. WTF?

    When you first started out, what were some of your biggest focuses to become more success and get on with your life from “being average”? How did you break out of that big trough?

  23. Betrand the Chavalier says:

    How do you view blogging now? I ask because I figure I may try my hand at it.

    What is the progression curve like? It seems to me you are improving still, even when spending less time on it. Is this 80/20 thinking too, or is it just my imagination?

  24. Serge the Shrewd says:

    I enjoy reading your articles

    Your new site is clearly of another style but I appreciate that too. It is cool that you take time to help those less fortune or maybe going through what you went through, even though, as you indicate, you have many other obligations. So thanks for that. You have really changed my life for the better in the last 2 years, mainly by, well i can’t really put it in words, but through osmosis I guess.

    I actually rewrote this like 4 times because it is the first time I comment on your site, and I feel I am obligated and owe you something. But yeah, *osmosis* is really the right word now that I think about it. When I read your essays it always elevates my thinking to a higher level in some way. It’s difficult to put into words.

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