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My 12 Favorite Problems

“You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while, there will be a hit, and people will say, ‘How did he do it? He must be a genius!”
— Richard Feynman

These are the questions that keep me up at night, inspire, and captivate me. The hard problems that I don’t yet have the answers to.

  1. What are the most effective ways to slow down aging and increase healthspan — the number of healthy and high-quality years of life? How can I create new ways to achieve that?
  2. What are the most cost-effective (monetary, energy, and time-wise) ways of starting and scaling new projects? What are the ways to automate it?
  3. How can I fully automate the decision-making process that will make the right choice, at least 80% of the time?
  4. How far into the future is it the most optimal to plan?
  5. What are the best solutions to a transportation problem within the urban areas and between the cities and countries?
  6. What are the most effective ways to harness the potential of space exploration during my lifetime?
  7. How can I increase the number of books I’m reading while maintaining the same high retention level?
  8. How can I achieve a “work-life balance” so that both work (main and side projects) and personal life (family and hobbies) can benefit from it?
  9. How to pick a life partner?
  10. How can I foster a sense of equanimity in any life situation?
  11.  How can I increase the daily deep-work hours without losing the quality of sleep?
  12. How can I help to create a culture that rewards long-term thinking and curiosity?

If any of these problems resonate with you, or you’ve been working on solving some of them, reach out to me on Twitter; maybe together, we will get closer to finding the answers.

Gallery

All photos © 2015-2021 Max Grev. Want to use them? Email me at hi [at] mgrev.com.

I’ve included most of these photos in my “55 Pieces of the World” that you can find on OpenSea.

Long-term thinking

In a long term, consistency always beats intensity.

And if you’re still not thinking long-term – you’re already loosing.

7 days without social media

I just had a week of “no social media policy.”

No Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat/Twitter/Reddit/any messenger/etc. Any related app has been deleted from my iPhone, either.

And it was probably the most productive week in the past few months!

Instead of thinking of some article I’ve just read or deciding on what picture I should post on Instagram, my mind was able to concentrate on what truly matters.

I’ve finally launched a few of those projects I’ve wanted to test for a while, read two great books, given just enough time to practice Spanish, journaled without any time constraints, the list goes on and on.

But probably the greatest part of this “don’t disturb mode” was that every time I’ve picked up my phone to check Instagram or to meaninglessly scroll Facebook feed, I’d open Anki app and practice Spanish vocabulary instead, simply because that phone checking habit was still in place, but those time consuming apps weren’t.

As a result, today, when I’m finally “allowed” to get back and post some stuff, I just don’t want to.

And it feels great.

Keep going

I always feel great right when I am starting to run.

First mile – “awesome, I did it!”. Second – “maybe it’s enough? I don’t feel very well”. Third mile past – “I’ll probably die if I’d run a 100 feet more. That’s enough!”.

Some of the times I’d stop there, feeling pretty awful, without any intention to repeat the same process the next day. But what if I keep going? Nine out of ten times, after passing a 3.5-4 miles mark, I’d open a so-called “second breath,” catch the “momentum” and finish my workout feeling even better than after the first mile, feeling accomplished and ready to run the next day.Mileage may change depending on one’s physical condition, but you get the idea.

Most of the blogs out there disappear into the silence after the first few posts.

Roughly 90% of all the podcasts on iTunes never get more than three episodes.

Your first 3-5 meditate sessions would almost always feel “meh, I don’t get it,” and most of the people would quit after that (or even after the very first one) and never try again.

What important is to keep going no matter how you feel.

Perseverance is your best friend in case if you want to achieve that “run every day” or “learn Spanish” or whatever else you have on that goal list of yours.

Catch the momentum and keep it going.
You’ll love the results.