Why We Need an Extension of Our Mind | Happiness as a Skill

Hi :) How are you doing today?

It’s September already! Autumn is actually my favourite season after Spring because leaves turn red and yellow, and it’s so beautiful.

If you’re thinking of visiting Japan, Spring or Autumn are the best seasons :)

Autumn in Japan

Autumn in Japan

💫 New Video + Notes

1) New video “How Your Friends Shape Your Future” is now up!

2) Added more reading notes to my mind garden!

Here are the best articles, books, podcasts, tweets I found this week in Mind | Money | Relationships | Health.

It’s a long list, so I’d recommend using a read-later service like Pocket Instapaper or mymind.

Save them 👉 Read them later 👉 Take notes 👉 Create your own content!


1. How can we build an extension of your mind?

I loved this short essay on why we need an extension of our mind/second brain.

Tobias talks about how our memories work and why we find it hard to remember what we see on collective databases like Google and Wikipedia.

Memories tend to be formed more strongly if they’re related to a strong emotional experience, and if the experience involves a combination of your senses.

We have Google and Wikipedia, both great collective databases with a vast universe of information and knowledge. But these collective databases are full of things that aren’t connected to our own memories, which makes it harder to find that one thing we care about.

This is why we need an extension for our OWN mind, instead of collective databases.

An extension of your mind should work the exact same way as your mind already works, but better. Think of it like your own little knowledge base, but without the effort of categorizing everything.

This really is a description of my favourite app “mymind”. It is as messy as your actual mind, but it magically sorts the info you saved so you can retrieve it easily when you need it.

2. How to be happy (without getting lucky)

This thread by Daniel Vassallo has a bunch of lessons he learned about happiness. There are some good pieces of advice in it like this one:

Daniel Vassallo


Treat your life as an adventure, not a competition. A good life is a story you're proud of. There's no score.

2:37 PM - 31 Aug 2020

3. Happiness is a skill

Another take on happiness by Tinkered Thinking.

In this thread, he/she argues that most unhappiness stems from a compulsive focus on the past and the future (i.e. regretting the past and dreading the future).

And you create happiness by removing the compulsive focus on things that are outside of your control, which he/she argues is a skill you can develop through mindfulness and/or Stoicism.

I agree with this 100%. Although, this is easier said than done. As Tinkered Thinking admits, this takes lots of time and effort. But it’s an investment worth so much in the long-term!

Tinkered Thinking


The skill of happiness and a sense of well-being does not have a definitive path, but some combination of mindfulness meditation, exercise, nutrition, and an interest in stoicism is generally going to help a person wander in the right direction.

2:10 AM - 31 Aug 2020


1. Avoid the bad to protect the good

I loved this tweet by James Clear. Most good things come from avoiding the bad things.

Last week, I was tempted to get the Apple Watch, but this tweet made me rethink.

Wealth is the purchases you don’t make. Or as Morgan Housel says, wealth is what you don’t spend”.

James Clear


Success is largely the failures you avoid.

Health is the injuries you don't sustain.

Wealth is the purchases you don't make.

Happiness is the objects you don't desire.

Peace of mind is the arguments you don't engage.

Avoid the bad to protect the good.

12:32 AM - 29 Aug 2020

2. Trying to use your phone less? Get a smartwatch

But let me tell you why I was tempted to get Apple Watch.

I’ve been checking my phone every 10 minutes lately to see Twitter or Youtube. I eventually said enough is enough and started to look for solutions.

Then I found this article about how getting a smartwatch helped the author reduce his screen time!

It sounds reasonable and might work. I’m still tempted to be honest.


1. A neuroscientist who studies decision-making reveals the most important choice you can make

While doing research for my new video, I stumbled upon this article. It says;

“When two people are in each other’s company, their brain waves will begin to look nearly identical.”

“This means the people you hang out with actually have an impact on your engagement with reality beyond what you can explain. And one of the effects is you become alike.”

So, just by being next to someone, they’re influencing your habits, behaviour and mindset.

This phenomena might work against you if you surround yourself with people with low standards. But you can also take advantage of it:

If people want to maximize happiness and minimize stress, they should build a life that requires fewer decisions by surrounding themselves with people who embody the traits they prefer.

Over time, they’ll naturally pick up those desirable attitudes and behaviors.

More about this in my new video :)

2. The Michelangelo Effect

Another article I came across while researching.

Your partner has arguably the strongest influence on who you become.

The Michelangelo Effect refers to a phenomena where you will be “sculpted” into your self-conceived ideal form by your partner.

For example, imagine a husband who thinks his wife is hilarious. He laughs at her jokes and encourages her to tell them to her friends too. And over time, she might objectively become a funnier person because her husband gives her confidence in her humour.

“Just as Michelangelo saw his process of sculpting as releasing the ideal forms hidden in the marble,” says Ben-Ze'ev, “close partners sculpt one another to bring each individual nearer to the ideal self, thus bringing out the best in each other.

In such relationships, we see personal growth and flourishing reflected in statements like: ‘I’m a better person when I’m with her.’


1. Benefits of Cold Showers

I introduced the Wim Hof Breathing Method in the last newsletter. But another important aspect of this method is the exposure to cold.

I knew some people like Tim Ferriss incorporate cold showers and ice baths into their daily routines, but I never knew the benefits of it.

Apparently, there is body of evidence confirming cold showers do have physical and mental benefits such as more robust immune system and less stress.

So, I’ve been taking cold showers every day lately, and it surprisingly feels nice! You should give it a try if you’re interested.

2. Guided Breathing and Going Beyond Flow State

I listened to a few episodes of Bulletproof radio this week. One of them is this one about breathing.

I loved the part where they talked about how free stuff like breathing exercises, taking a walk, taking cold showers, meditating and reading fictions are ones of the best resting techniques.

This is so true. I’ve decided to take more time for these things every day.

3. Think You Know Good Fats from Bad? 8 Oils to Avoid

Another episode of Bulletproof radio I liked is this one about vegetable oils.

They discuss how people started to believe vegetable oils are healthy when, in fact, they are harmful for your body.

Another thing they talked about is how people fail at Keto diet because they think all fats are the same.

If you’re doing Keto diet like me, you might like this episode.

This Week's Video

How Your Friends Shape Your Future

Connect with me

If you want to say hi, feel free to send me a DM on Twitter.

I’m more likely to reply there!


Have a great week :)