Focus On Learning and Creating Rather Than Entertainment and Distraction

An extraction from my reading experience, which converted me a writer. I cannot spend a single day without writing, even though I had to get up in the midnight to do it. Though,  there is not much progress in my professional  career now, but I feel writing converted me to an absolutely different personality.

Most people are distracted right now.

They’re distracted while they’re at work. They’re distracted when they’re with family and friends.

They’re distracted at the gym, on their commute, and even in the shower.

The mediocre majority will continue going through life this way, never experiencing the fullness of a life filled with deep focus and purpose.

Most people don’t prioritize learning and creating. They don’t care enough about any efforts to invest in their personal development and growth.

Entertainment is more important. Most people have replaced achieving their life dreams and goals with TV, partying, and social media.

Their life is characterized by entertainment and distraction, not learning and creating.

As a result, they don’t have close relationships. They’re stuck in jobs they hate. Their life is on the fast-track to disappointment, and they don’t know what to do.

Benjamin Hardy once said, “Entertainment and distraction is the enemy of creation and learning. They will keep you in mediocrity.”

If you don’t want to end up living a life of mediocrity, focus on learning and education. It’s the fastest way to become extraordinary, wealthy, and successful.

The Quality of Your Learning Determines the Quality of Your Success

“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” -Hal Elrod

Your income, relationships, and success are determined by your learning.

Most people spend more money on entertainment and gadgets than self-education. This is why they remain poor and broke with superficial relationships.

The quality of your learning and how much you invest in yourself directly determines the extent of your growth.

In the words of Ryan Holiday:

“The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth.”

You are defined by what you’re willing to struggle for. Most people aren’t willing to really struggle for anything. They blindly accept what they’re given, and spend their free time disengaging from reality.

Renowned motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said the most successful people in the world are always lifelong learners. They fully understand that their level of education directly determines their quality of life.

Formal education makes a living, but self-education makes a fortune,” Rohn explained.

It’s not just about a college degree. Most of what you learn in college isn’t applicable to real-world success. It’s your self-education, the kind of learning that helps you develop into the next evolution of yourself.

Most people will continue to go through life “in quiet desperation, with their songs left unsung.” Others dictate their income, their happiness, and their fulfillment.

If you don’t want to end up with regret on your death-bed, choose self-education over entertainment.

“You’ve got to wake up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” George Larimer

We Attract the Things That Reflect Who We Are

Darren Hardy, author of The Compound Effect, once told a story about how he ended up with his wife.

When he was in his 20’s, he began compiling an enormous list of every attribute he wanted his future wife to have. He eventually filled 40 pages detailing the most exquisite and perfect match he could think of.

At the end of his writing, he realized something very important:

Any woman like that wouldn’t want to have anything to do with someone like him!

Hardy realized he needed to become a far better version of himself to attract a woman like that.

You must become a far better version of yourself to achieve the enormous success you want.

Benjamin Hardy put it this way: “We attract into our lives what we are.” Ask yourself — if you want a million dollars, do you have the mindset of a millionaire? Do you have the financial knowledge and self-discipline to own that kind of money?

Most people don’t, yet they continue complaining about being poor. You’ll never become a millionaire if you don’t become someone who could be a millionaire!

Every day, millions of people attract mediocre opportunities into their lives — jobs, time investments, dating partners, etc. — not realizing they are attracting exactly who they are!

Extremely successful people are magnets of extraordinary opportunities. They are individuals who gravitate towards success, because they are successful themselves.

If you constantly engage in mediocre, subpar activities with toxic individuals, you’ll only receive similar opportunities. You’ll never experience the type of success of the world’s most extraordinary people, because success is something you attract by the person you become.

“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” -Leonardo DiCaprio

Step Forward Into Growth or Backwards Into Security

“It’s absurd that we would prioritize the hottest new device, the cool car, or trendy toy over owning that which makes us feel the most engaged and most alive.” -Neil Patel

C.S. Lewis once described humans this way: “We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

You do not have the luxury to “wait” to improve. Like an egg, you’ll either progress into a new version of yourself, or go rotten. There is no other way.

Most people continue choosing security and safety over the choice to become the fullest version of themselves.

Said Louis Sachar:

“So, what’s it going to be — safety, or freedom? You can’t have both.”

Right now, you have the choice — step forward into growth and development, or step backwards into safety and security.

Most people step backward, slowly killing their chances to become extraordinary.

Seth Godin once said, “The problem is that our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.

The sad truth is: there’s no such thing as security. Money can be taken away (how many times have you heard of a multi-millionaire going bankrupt?). Our health could fail at any time. Millions of people are abruptly fired or laid off every year.

Security isn’t real.

We must choose to design our own life, and let go of our addiction to “apparent stability.” If you’ve traded your genius and creativity for “stability,” it’s time to get those back.

“The goal of life is not to relax on the beach, sipping mojitos all day. The purpose is to find something you love that adds value to the world.” -Ben Foley

Most People Won’t Ever Experience True Success

“The mediocre have a very narrow perception of reality, and in turn, their lives. They see things as they are, not how they can be.” -Ryan Holiday

Learning and self-education aren’t popular. Most people don’t read books, attend seminars, or take even the most basic steps for self-improvement. They would rather choose distraction and entertainment.

Most people will never be successful because they will spend their life this way.

With just a few small changes to your life, you could enter into the top 5% — 10% of your field. The competition is extremely low! Amazing, extraordinary opportunities are abundant, because so few people ever take the steps to discover them.

You can become one of the few truly successful people in the world by taking your self-education and learning seriously. In a world of mediocrity, you can become extraordinary with only a few simple tweaks.

So how do you start?

The more you keep evolving in better versions of yourself, the more you’ll need to be focused on the things that are most important.

Your days must be characterized by high-quality activities and behaviors.

Benjamin Hardy put it this way: “Success is continuously improving who you are, how you live, how you serve, and how you relate.”

James Altucher once said, “Every day, check these 4 boxes: Have I improved 1% on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health?

You can start small. Even the smallest improvement is more than most people will ever see. While most people change slowly and unconsciously over time, you can begin taking control of your success by choosing to make a few small improvements.

That’s all it takes.

If You Want to Live an Extraordinary Life, You Need to Give Up a Normal One

“If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that are part of a normal one.” -Srinivas Rao

Extraordinary people are very uncommon. Their lifestyle of learning and self-education aren’t popular, either. Odds are, once you begin investing in yourself, you’ll find it’s a lonely road.

Todd Henry wisely said, “The more bold you are, the more rejection you’ll experience.” The mob of the majority doesn’t like deserters.

If you want an extraordinary life, you’ll need to give up many parts of the “normal” life. That might mean giving up common toxic behaviors or hanging out with toxic people. If “everyone does it,” you’d do well to give it a long, hard look.

Most people will never achieve an extraordinary life. That’s OK. The extraordinary life isn’t for everyone. Learning and self-education take time, energy, and focus that most people would rather spend on entertainment and distraction — “ordinary” things.

“Great” opportunities cost “good” ones; you can’t have both.

Said Benjamin Hardy:

Before you evolve, you can reasonably spend time with just about anyone.

You can reasonably eat anything placed in front of you.

You can reasonably justify activities and behaviors that are, frankly, mediocre.

But as your vision expands, you realize you need to make adjustments. You can’t spend your money on junk anymore. You need to manage your time much more diligently. You need to invest in yourself and your future.

To avoid mediocrity, you can’t continue being with negative people.

You can’t keep eating crappy foods that slow you down.

You can’t do many of the things you used to do.

This is what extraordinary requires. Most people see the price and simply say “no thanks.”

But you can do anything if you pay the price.

“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” -Scott Adams

In Conclusion

“Who you are is a result of who you were, but where you end up depends entirely on who you choose to be from this moment forward.” -Hal Elrod

There are probably dozens of things you do on a daily basis that aren’t helping you improve.

Most people live their lives on other people’s terms. Their days are spent working on other people’s goals and following the rules of someone else.

Entertainment and distraction rule society. There will never be a shortage of TV shows, Buzzfeed articles, or Bad Lip Reading videos to take up your time.

If you want to avoid mediocrity and achieve enormous success, you must cut out distractions and prioritize learning instead.

Most people will go their whole lives as a slave to entertainment. They prioritize entertainment over improving their life, their family’s well-being, and their hopes and dreams.

This is how people can stay at jobs they hate for years. It’s how people stay in toxic relationships and remain perpetually broke. They don’t bother learning how to succeed.

If your lifestyle does not add to your growth and improvement, it will bring you down.

Prioritize learning. Invest in self-education.

Choose success over mediocrity.

Apple and Amazon’s moves in health signal a coming transformation


The world’s biggest tech firms see an opportunity in health care, which could mean empowered patients, better diagnosis of disease and lower costs

The past decade has seen the smartphone become a portal for managing daily life. Consumers use their pocket computers to bank, buy and befriend. Now this array of activities is expanding into an even more vital sphere. Apple has spent three years preparing its devices and software to process medical data, offering products to researchers and clinical-care teams. On January 24th it announced the result. The next big software update for its iPhone will include a feature, Health Records, to allow users to view, manage and share their medical records. Embedded in Apple’s Health app, the new feature will bring together medical data from participating hospitals and clinics, as well as from the iPhone itself, giving millions of Americans direct digital control of their own health information for the first time.

Alphabet Inc ( created through a corporate restructuring of Google on October 2, 2015 and became the parent), Google’s parent, has just launched a third health-care firm, Cityblock Health, to operate alongside Verily, a subsidiary based in San Francisco, and DeepMind Health, an arm of its London-based artificial-intelligence (AI) firm (a fourth company, Calico, is working to extend human lifespans, but does not provide health-care services). Alphabet already claims to be able to use AI to predict possible deaths of hospitalised patients two days earlier than current methods, for instance, allowing more time for doctors to intervene. Facebook and Microsoft are preparing to add health care to their core businesses of social networking and software.

Until now the tech giants’ foray into health care has not gone much beyond wearable devices to track fitness or the provision of cloud-computing services to incumbent providers. In future they aim to deliver real medical services that directly affect individual patients. All five firms have secretive health-care skunk works, are hiring medical talent and are buying or backing external health-care startups. Undeterred by recent claims that their own products may be harmful to mental health, they want not only to be indispensable in customers’ lives but to prolong them, too.

The revenues of the industries they could disrupt are enormous. Health-care costs make up about a tenth of any country’s GDP on average, worth in total $7trn in 2015, according to Deloitte, a consultancy. Two insurers, UnitedHealth Group and CVS Health, are among America’s largest firms by revenue, bringing in $185bn and $178bn respectively in 2016. That is more than any tech firm except Apple. Shares in the two insurers fell by 4% on the news of the new Amazon-led health venture.

Apple and Alphabet, however, are likely to have the biggest impact in the near term. Amazon’s three-headed health-care venture will cover roughly 1m employees in the first instance, whereas Apple and Alphabet have the potential to generate or enable valuable health insights for hundreds of millions of users, collecting a small slice of that value in return.

There are two broad routes into health care. The first is doing business with hospitals and health-care companies in the existing system. Alphabet provides software services to hospitals, for example; Apple sells smartphones, tablet computers and wearables to medical professionals and hospitals. A second route is for tech firms to use their various platforms to create entirely new channels through which medical care can be delivered to patients. Such channels include watches that use machine-learning algorithms to monitor the wearer’s health, phones through which clinical trials can be run and apps that provide medical-grade care to people managing chronic conditions such as diabetes.

Deploying bedside manner

Start with the existing system. Alphabet’s business here comes through Verily and DeepMind, and has focused on Britain’s National Health Service, which offers a single, standardised market. DeepMind has partnerships with four large hospital groups, to which it provides an app called Streams. This uses the hospitals’ data to generate alerts that draw doctors’ attention to the potential deterioration of patients. In May, meanwhile, Verily switched on data processing for a hospital — the NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group, near Manchester. It crunches through the hospital’s pseudonymised patient records, looking for patterns that suggest the emergence of long-term diseases like diabetes and alerting doctors if they are found. (In September Microsoft started a health-care division in Cambridge, which will devise medical algorithms of its own.)

None of this is straightforward. Health records generated in conventional clinical settings are immensely valuable — no amount of smartwatch accelerometer data is going to take the place of an MRI or an X-ray. Such records are increasingly available in digital form (see chart) but they are often messy and hard to process. DeepMind has had to spend months cleaning up data flows from a British hospital, the Royal Free, for instance, and has not yet delivered any AI-driven insights.

Apple’s approach is more focused on hardware. It is working to make its devices into trusted, secure channels through which medical data can flow. Third parties, rather than Apple itself, then build useful health services on top. Putting patients’ health records on iPhones will make these far more effective.

Millions of people around the world have already joined medical studies using this infrastructure, participating through iPhones. Hints are emerging of the power of the approach. An app called mPower, built by Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit research organisation, studies Parkinson’s disease by getting iPhone users to perform tasks and measuring the tremor in their hands using the phone’s internal accelerometer. The data so far suggest that Apple’s platform may soon enable medics to spot Parkinson’s digitally, over the internet, before it is symptomatic in a patient.

All this makes money for Apple by increasing the perceived value of its devices, says Anurag Gupta, a health-care analyst at Gartner, an IT research firm. The firm also hopes that clinicians and insurers will buy and use Apple devices in their work.

Algorithms v arrhythmia

Delivering medical services through brand-new channels — the second route into the industry — holds equal promise. The new non-profit venture from Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase fits into this category. Details are scarce, but the three firms might, for instance, use Amazon’s data-processing skills to build tools to monitor and care for patients outside hospitals and surgeries. Some speculate that the firms might build an app that makes booking a doctor’s appointment as easy as reserving a table at a restaurant. Whatever is built for their own employees, it seems likely that the services will end up being made available to the public, too.

Another recent innovation is Alphabet’s Cityblock Health. Its mission to care for low-income city-dwellers in their own homes does not rely on existing health infrastructure at all. It plans to send its own health-care professionals to the homes of people needing care, with the visits paid for by insurance, often Medicaid, the social-insurance system that covers America’s poorest. Cityblock Health will trawl data to spot where care is needed. It plans to hire some 55 people over the next six months, including data scientists, software engineers and a lead physician, as well as a team to interact directly with patients.

Smartphones and watches are channels for new services in their own right. In this realm, Apple would become a direct provider of actual care to patients. It holds patents to turn its phones into full medical devices, using a bundle of sensors around the camera to let users measure their blood pressure, body fat and heart function by pressing a finger to the screen, for instance. Other patent filings envisage putting sensors into both phones and smartwatches to collect electrocardiograms to monitor heart health more precisely, and even doing biometric monitoring through AirPods, the firm’s wireless headphones.

Apple has also tinkered with sensors which gauge stress or measure blood oxygenation, and is reportedly working on ways to measure blood glucose through its watch, helping it get a handle on diabetes. Late last year it said it would join up with Stanford University to develop algorithms to spot irregular patterns in heartbeat data gathered by its watch. This research could produce what is known as a “digital therapeutic”, which goes through a full regulatory approval process.

Verily’s eclectic range of ventures includes building new kinds of surgical robots in a joint venture with Johnson & Johnson, a drug firm. It is also working on cutlery containing self-stabilisation technology, to help those with tremors to eat. The firm has two joint ventures to try to tackle diabetes, one with Dexcom, a medical-device-maker, and another with Sanofi, a drugs company. Verily also seeks to organise health information so that it can be queried for useful insights. Project Baseline, a research study, will gather data from 10,000 people over four years to do this.

Facebook’s work in the field has been discreet and focused on two areas — mental health and clinical trials. In November the firm said it had started to use AI to monitor its users’ online behaviour for patterns which indicate depression, and to reach out in an effort to prevent suicide. The photos a user posts on Instagram may signal depression, for example, depending on the colours they contain, the times at which they are posted and whether they show faces. Google is trying something similar.

Facebook is also hoping to formalise and monetise an activity which is already common on its platform — namely, groups of patients discussing their symptoms. One plan is to help drug companies recruit people from these online gatherings for clinical trials, and to manage groups of patients who sign up, presumably in return for payment from the drug firms.

This time may be different

It is worth remembering that the prospect of technology firms transforming health care has been heralded in the past, only to disappoint. Google started a health-records initiative in 2008, but shut it down by 2011, citing poor adoption. Microsoft made similar efforts with similarly low take-up. Yet ten years on, the centrality of the smartphone, with its potential to give patients access to their data whenever they want and wherever they are, changes the game.

So too does the inexorable logic of the data economy. Data sets that contain information about human health are hugely valuable. At a time when health-care budgets around the world are stretched, payers are desperate for insights that might enable them to cut costs while maintaining quality. The more data the tech firms can handle, the more they will learn about human health, and the better the services they can offer will become.

That raises some familiar concerns. Privacy is an obvious one: the tech world’s mindset of “move fast and break things” works less well when it comes to health data. And the same competition issues that dog Google’s search business and Facebook’s social-networking service would arise in health care, too, if a particular AI diagnosis platform, say, were to became dominant. DeepMind’s work in Britain is already on the radar of the EU’s competition watchdogs. Meanwhile, Amazon’s partnership with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase will lure in huge quantities of patients’ data, leading to continual improvement of its services and, potentially, fears about dominance.

Apple’s entry into the field offers some answers to these worries. Its efforts in health so far have been cautious. The only patient data it processes now come from its partnership with Stanford University, and in future the firm is likely only to analyse medical information from those patients whose trust it has fully secured. Its services will be opt-in; patients who find themselves in hospitals working with Alphabet’s DeepMind, by contrast, are offered opt-out consent mechanisms.

Earlier attempts by Google and Microsoft to offer patients a home for their digital records obliged people to consider whether they trusted the two companies enough; many decided the answer was no. If they only have to decide whether their own iPhone is sufficiently secure, many will believe that it is. Apple has so far lagged behind other technology giants in earning revenues from the booming market for data. It may yet strike gold in the most sensitive personal-data category of all.

Reference: The Economist