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2021 Yearly Review: Joining the Human Race

“Is it not possible (even though it may not always deliver us from the terrible situation that we find ourselves in) that we would all be more able to deal with uncertainty, the horrors of nature, the tyranny of culture, and the malevolence of ourselves and others if we were better and more courageous people?” […]

First Principles Thinking

“I think it’s important to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. The normal way we conduct our lives is we reason by analogy. [With analogy] we are doing this because it’s like something else that was done, or it is like what other people are doing. [With first principles] you boil things down […]

Origins and Influences of Western Education

“The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” Aristotle (Greek Philosopher) People who want to do well in school usually feel that way because they’ve been told that it’s the primary route to doing well in life. Performance in school is usually measured by grades and those who get A’s are considered […]

From Build Once, Sell Twice

Build or be billed. Jack Butcher (Founder of Visualize Value) I recently returned to Twitter (follow me @sippinonchris). I spent some time recalibrating my feed. I unfollowed the trash and followed accounts that I thought were worth my time. I stumbled upon one of the greatest gifts the internet has ever given me: high-quality Twitter […]

The Ocho System

“That which is not good for the swarm, neither is it good for the bee.” Marcus Aurelius (Meditations) I got this wonderful idea from American athlete and writer, Joe Holder. The Ocho System is a powerful framework based on the principle: One helps others. Others help one. Improving one area will prove all of the […]

Living Amongst Racists

“Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.” Maya Angelou (American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist) Is this racist or my imagination? Usually, I don’t write on topics like this, but in light of the recent events and my absolute exhaustion from keeping my mouth shut, […]

On Trials and Stumbles in Creative Pursuits

“Frightened by the loss of our familiar mooring places, shall we become paralyzed and cover our inaction with apathy?” Rollo May (The Courage to Create) This is the first blog post that I’ve posted since mid-February, which means I haven’t published something in well over a month. This on its own isn’t a very big […]

Our Reward Value System

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910) My recent days of research and reading have led me to unpack the unexpectedly dense world of rewards and reward systems. I’ve been trying to understand how our brains decide what’s rewarding and what isn’t. This has […]

Consummatory Behavior and Rewards

“The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.” John Ruskin (1819 – 1900) Our brain has entire systems dedicated to reward and motivation. If we can understand how it works, then we can “hack” our brains to actually like doing challenging things. Understanding […]

Opponent Processing

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Friedrich Nietzsche (German Philosopher) This is an idea I’ve had a hard time researching. Despite my best efforts, I can’t find any “official” research on this phenomenon, but I find it to be worth sharing. After all, just because something hasn’t been peer-reviewed and studied by […]

How to Manage Debt The Year Before Buying a Home

The whole value of the dime is knowing what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) The most frequently asked questions I get from my students (especially the boys) are related to personal finance or financial literacy. As someone who’s pretty passionate about finances, I figured it would be fun if I started to […]

Optimizing Environments for Studying and Other Things

“There are nearly endless opportunities to improve each day and finding them largely boils down to being curious. People who are better, in the end, are usually curious in the beginning.”  James Clear (Author of Atomic Habits) “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and […]

The Role of a Tutor

“Children are educated by what the grownup is and not by what he says.” Carl Jung (Archetypes of the Collective Unconcious) I’ve been a private tutor for the better part of 7 years now and I have to say that it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It’s also the thing […]

2020 Yearly Review: Time in Abundance

“Live as if you are living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now.” Viktor Frankl (Man’s Search for Meaning) “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Fred Rogers (Creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) […]

How to Be a Renaissance Man

“Learning never exhausts the mind.” Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) I’m not writing this post as an attempt to share my knowledge on how to be a renaissance man, this is coming from my fascination with people who manage to master multiple crafts. By no means am I a renaissance man, but I do […]

A Few Networking Techniques

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work. Marinate on that for a minute.” Robert Kiyosaki (Author) Part of great networking is getting people to like us. We determine who we like based on how we feel about them. How we feel about people is determined by […]

The Fundamentals of Networking

“If there is any one secret to success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford (1863-1947) Before I get into this, I just want to mention that there’s so much information on networking out […]

A Year(ish) of Writing

“It is we ourselves who must answer the questions that life asks of us, and to these questions, we can respond only by being responsible for our existence.” Viktor Frankl on the Meaning of Life Early July last year I decided to commit to publishing a blog post every Tuesday. Back then I would have […]

Algorithms for Every Class (Part 2)

“Learning is not the accumulation of scraps of knowledge. It is a growth, where every act of knowledge develops the learner, thus making him capable of constituting ever more and more complex objectivities—and the object growth in complexity parallels the subjective growth in capacity.” Husserl (as interpreted by Quentin Lauer) Last week, I posted Algorithms […]

Algorithms for Every Class (Part 1)

“If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission properly.” Colonel David Hackworth (Former United States Army Colonel & Military Journalist) Most of the educational content on my blog is pretty specific and I wanted to try something a little different. This post is going to be a bunch of seemingly […]

Creating Systems

“Systematize everything, and find peace” Brandon Turner (The Book on Rental Property Investing) Why create systems? Having goals is a fantastic way to be productive and build a life by design, but the most productive results come from having systems. When we have a goal, there are a series of choices we have to make. […]

What I Learned the Hard Way

“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”  Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) Writing about this idea was taken from Cheryl Strayed’s List of Writing Prompts. The original prompt was to write about a time when I learned the hard way, but I changed it to what I […]

Analyzing & Improving Systems

“If you are unhappy, your system is broken.” Brandon Turner (The Book on Rental Property Investing) In my last post, I talked about Gall’s Law and the different components of systems. In this post, I’m going to discuss ideas surrounding analyzing and improving systems. There are going to be some terms I reference from my […]

Gall’s Law & System Components

“One essential characteristic of modern life is that we all depend on systems—on assemblages of people or technologies or both—and among our most profound difficulties is making them work.” Atul Gawande (The Checklist Manifesto) Systems are everything. Our body is a system of organs, chemical reactions, and energy. There are a bunch of little integrated […]

Solo Studying vs. Group Studying

“Surround yourself with good people that compliment the areas where you are weak” Jacko Willink (1971 – ) The professor just announced the exam is coming up. We’re a little stressed, but not too stressed. Luckily, we’ve read Chris’ blog posts and understand the fundamental principles of studying Active Recall and Spaced Repetition. We also […]

The Art of Practice

“Everything in life worth achieving requires practice. In fact, life itself is nothing more than one long practice session, an endless effort of refining our motions. When the proper mechanics of practice are understood, the task of learning something new becomes a stress-free experience of joy and calmness, a process which settles all areas in […]


“Excellence is the next five minutes, improvement is the next five minutes, happiness is the next five minutes.” Tim Ferriss (1977 – ) In light of the new semester, I want to go over a method that can help in the majority of classes. I consider this to be a more advanced technique and if […]

The Hero of Heroes: Marduk vs. Tiamat & The Significance of Speech

“A problem well put is half-solved.” John Dewey (1859 – 1952) An Invisible World In my last post, I bring up the idea of analyzing hero myths for commonalities in order to find traits that would bring us success in any pursuit we choose. What a mouthful. I specifically brought up The Osiris Myth and […]

The Hero of Heroes: The Osiris Myth & Attention

“Where you spend your attention is where you spend your life.” James Clear The Hero of Heroes Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been obsessed with discovering what makes people win. I used to think what made someone good at one thing was different than what made them good at another, and while there […]

How to Conquer Test and Performance Anxiety

“I’m just not a good test taker.” Liars (all around the world) Why Anxiety? Test and performance anxiety can be completely debilitating. Anxiety in general can destroy the best of us, but it can be overcome. First, we have to understand why we get anxiety in the first place. Our brains have a threat detection […]

What I Learned from Starting a YouTube Channel

“If you want to look good in front of thousands, you have to outwork thousands in front of nobody.” Damian Lillard (1990 – ) In October 2019, I decided to start a YouTube Channel about music production. At first, it was just a place for me to upload my beats so I could showcase my […]

The Importance of Questions + My Question List

“What you seek is seeking you.” Rumi (1207 – 1273) Sometime after college, I was exposed to the idea that… Questions are extremely powerful. In his book, Tribe of Mentors, Tim Ferriss says that the answers to anything and everything that we want is in other people’s heads and questions are our pickaxes. He attributes […]

A Meditation on Death

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.Remembering that you are going to die […]

Personality and Trajectory (Part 2)

“No matter who you are, The Man does occasionally bend his ear to you even if his eyes are looking elsewhere, he does now and then condescend to listen to your demands and let you appear at his side. But you never think to listen to yourself, to bend your own ear to what you […]

A Letter to 35-Year-Old Me (2020)

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” Bill Gates (1955 – ) Dear 2030 Chris, This is 2020 Chris and right now I’m 25 years old going on 26. I’m writing this letter for a few different reasons. 1) I’m writing a blog post every week and the […]

Personality and Trajectory (Part 1)

“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) Personality has always been an interesting subject for me. I’ve always been interested in what makes people tick and what separates an individual from the rest of the crowd. Personality is one of the many factors which determine […]

How I Found My Way Back

“But a man soon discovers that everything depends upon his being useful, not in his own opinion, but in the opinion of others; and so he tries his best to make that favorable impression upon the world, to which he attaches such a high value.” Arthur Schopenhauer (The Wisdom of Life) Writing about this idea […]

The Myth of Motivation

“We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end of them.” Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD) Missing Pieces Motivational books, speakers, quotes, videos, blog posts, you name it, are fantastic for getting us pumped up enough to dominate any obstacle in our way. When we’re […]

How to Actually Read Textbooks Effectively

“To be better equipped for the tests that the year will bring — read a textbook. To prepare for the tests that life will bring — read a book.” Mokokoma Mokhonoana Textbooks are not the same as the every day books that people read. The Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering was a very different read than […]

The Jungian Shadow & Integration

“The sad truth is that man’s real life consists of a complex of inexorable opposites – day and night, birth and death, happiness and misery, good and evil. We are not even sure that one will prevail over the other, that good will overcome evil, or joy defeat pain. Life is a battleground. It always […]

The Relationship with Ourselves (Part 2)

“Life is to man, in other words, to will, what chemical re-agents are to the body: it is only by life that a man reveals what he is, and it is only in so far as he reveals himself that he exists at all. Life is the manifestation of character, of the something that we […]

Something I Lost That I’ll Never Get Back

“My mind still clung to the image of my wife. A thought crossed my mind: I didn’t even know if she were still alive. I knew only one thing—which I have learned well by now: Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, […]

The Relationship with Ourselves

“How can a man come to know himself? Never by thinking, but by doing. Try to do your duty and you will know at once what you are worth.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims on Life and Character) I have spent many weeks putting off writing about this topic simply because it is so big […]

Recall the Kindness of Strangers

“Let yourself be open and life will be easier. A spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. A spoon of salt in a lake is almost unnoticed.” ― Buddha Siddhartha Gautama Shakyamuni This idea was taken from Cheryl Strayed’s List of Writing Prompts. I found her list way before I started […]

20 Things We Need to Know About Sleep

“The best bridge between despair and hope is a good night’s sleep.” Matthew Walker (1973- ) Dr. Matthew Walker is a British Scientist and the world’s renown sleep expert. He has a fantastic book out called “Why We Sleep” and a wealth of knowledge all over the internet from Talks at Google to The Joe […]

Utilizing Our Identities

“Few are born bold. Even Napoleon had to cultivate the habit on the battlefield, where he knew it was a matter of life and death. In social settings he was awkward and timid, but he overcame this and practice boldness in every part of his life because he saw its tremendous power, how it could […]

Types of Habits and Designing Our Lives

“Most habits take on one of four common forms: things you want to start doing, things you want to stop doing, things you want to do more, and things you want to do less.” Josh Kaufman (The Personal MBA) Before I dive into this post, I have to make a few honorable necessary mentions. Most […]

Lessons from an Application + Tips from Winston Churchill

“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” Arthur Schopenhauer (Parerga and Paralipomena) My girlfriend recently emailed me a potential dream job that she thought I was the perfect fit for. I was elated to discover that renown author and habit-guru, James Clear, is hiring a podcast writer/researcher and producer. Given […]

Hypnotic Rhythm and Human Drives

“Any thought or physical movement which is repeated over and over through the principle of habit finally reaches the proportion of rhythm. Then the habit cannot be broken because nature takes it over and makes it permanent. It is something like a whirlpool in water…Then it is carried round and round but it cannot escape…Habit […]

Understanding Habits and The 1% Rule

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) The other day I was thinking about how my life, and everyone else’s, is the accumulation of all the little moments of our lives. A lot of people I’ve talked to, including myself, are […]

Strategies for Better Studying (Part 4)

“Hard work is not always something you can see. It is not always physical effort. In fact, the most powerful form of hard work is thinking clearly. Designing a winning strategy may not look very active, but make no mistake: it is very hard work. Strategy often beats sweat.” James Clear This is the final […]

Strategies for Better Studying (Part 2)

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” Harrington Emerson (1854 – 1931) Part 1 can be found here. This month I’m building an archive […]

Strategies for Better Studying (Part 1)

“All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we much think them over again honestly, until they take root in our personal experience.” Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (1749 – 1832) In light of my last post, Active Recall and Spaced Repetition, I want to go over […]

Active Recall and Spaced Repetition

“The act of retrieving learning from memory has two profound benefits. One, it tells you what you know and don’t know, and therefore where to focus further study to improve the areas where you’re weak. Two, recalling what you have learned causes your brain to reconsolidate the memory, which strengthens its connections to what you […]


“He listens well who takes notes.” Dante Alighieri (1265 – 1321) Methods I like to keep in mind that no one way of taking notes is the best way overall. Notes are best used for recording information and some of these methods can double as fantastic study tools, but I don’t recommend making notes as […]

Our Unconscious Filters

“If you judge a man, do you judge him when he is wrapped in a disguise?” Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD) The mind has a few habits that we should pay attention to when we are trying to maximize our learning. Everyone is susceptible to these thought patterns and it would be advantageous to […]

Cognitive Load

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Mark Twain (1835 – 1910) Commonly thought of as the effort required for our brains to do a specific task. Cognitive Load is a fun concept to use as we navigate the best ways […]

2019 Yearly Review: Birth of Tradition

“Time is the friend of the person who trains his mind to follow positive thought-habits and the enemy of the person who drifts into negative thought-habits.” Napoleon Hill (Outwitting the Devil) When last year was coming to a close, I had a terrible realization that I couldn’t remember anything that happened that year and I […]

Tracking and Loss Aversion

“What gets measured gets managed.” Peter Drucker (1909 – 2005) This quote is probably one of the most life changing ideas I’ve come across this year. I like to add “…and what gets managed gets improved, as long as you’re aiming up” to the end of it to give it that extra punch. The idea […]

Our Proclivity for Comfort

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” C.S. Lewis (1889 – 1963) We love to look for comfort, but seeking out comfort can lead to taking shortcuts and avoiding challenges. The comfortable path enables us to practice habits which […]

The Brain vs. The Mind (Part 2)

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” John Milton (1608 – 1674) The Mind The mind what makes us feel alive and aware. It gives us the faculty of consciousness and the ability to think. The mind provides us with judgement, perception, language […]

The Brain vs. The Mind (Part 1)

“Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind.” Jeffrey Eugenides (1960 – ) We use both the brain and the mind to perceive the world around us and decide the best course of action. The brain is an organ and, in some respects, isn’t just in our heads. It’s spread throughout our […]

The Valley of Disappointment

“We often expect progress to be linear. At the very least, we hope it will come quickly. In reality, the results of our efforts are often delayed. It is not until months or years later that we realize the true value of the previous work we have done. This can result in a “valley of […]

Understanding Development and Mentors

“The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered.” Jean Piaget (1896 -1980 […]

The Power of Failure

“There are two kinds of failure. The first comes from never trying out your ideas because you are afraid, or because you are waiting for the perfect time. This kind of failure you can never learn from, and such timidity will destroy you. The second kind comes from a bold and venturesome spirit. If you […]

The 20 Hour Rule and Metaskills

“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.”  Robert Greene (1959 – ) A lot of people I talk to are familiar with the 10,000 hour rule – it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated and deliberate practice to obtain mastery of a given skill, but not as many […]

The Mamba Mentality

“To sum up what Mamba Mentality is, it means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself. That is what the Mentality is -it’s a constant quest to try to better today than you were yesterday.” Kobe Bryant (1978 – 2020) The Mamba Mentality is a highly effective way of developing […]

Lessons From Working in Healthcare

For a long time, I had a dream to work in the healthcare industry and shortly after graduating college I was able to do just that. I mean, I wasn’t saving lives or anything too crazy, but I did learn a lot about the realities of working in the healthcare industry. When I was a […]

Maintaining Purpose

“Nothing is more creative… nor destructive… than a brilliant mind with a purpose.”  Dan Brown (1964 – ) It’s easy to lose sight of your purpose once you get down in the trenches and start grinding. Here are nine ways to keep focused: Exhibit Independent Thought This was key to finding my own true purpose […]

How to Find Purpose

“The whole law of human existence consists in nothing other than a man’s always being able to bow before the immeasurably great. If people are deprived of the immeasurably great, they will not live and will die in despair. The immeasurable and infinite are as necessary for man as the small planet he inhabits.” Fyodor […]

The Most Dangerous Habit That Everyone Has

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900) In the book, Outwitting the Devil, Napoleon Hill describes a prevalent habit among all people which brings about suffering and destruction. This habit is known as drifting. When someone drifts, the devil, so to speak, takes hold of their life and […]

My Must Read Book List

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” George R.R. Martin (1948 – ) Here’s a list of all the books that had a massive impact on my life and would bring tremendous value to everyone else too – in no particular order: […]

Another 5 More Tips for Better Scheduling

“‘Why are you idle? If you don’t seize the day, it escapes.’ Even though you seize it, it still will flee. Seneca (4 BC – 65 AD) Scheduling is so important. If we can control our time, then we can control our lives since time is what makes up life. I have two other posts […]

5 More Tips for Better Scheduling

“There are two types of time: alive time and dead time. One is when you sit around, when you wait until things happen to you. The other is when you are in control, when you make every second count, when you are learning and improving and growing.” Robert Greene (1959 – ) If you haven’t […]

5 Tips for Better Scheduling

“These things, they take time.” Gabe Newell (1962 – ) It took me about 3 years before my scheduling skills were good enough to actually rely on my calendar. Today, scheduling is an integral part of my daily life and it’s a skill I’m happy I decided to take some time to develop. With better […]

The Parable of the Slovenian Farmer

“You can be good today, but instead you choose tomorrow.” Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180) Once there was a Slovenian farmer who worked on his farm. One day, a god-like figure approached the farmer and offered him a deal. The god-like figure says “I will do whatever you request to you, but whatever I do […]

The Transition Curve

“You realize that you will never be the best-looking person in the room. You’ll never be the smartest person in the room. You’ll never be the most educated, the most well-versed. You can never compete on those levels. But what you can always compete on, the true egalitarian aspect to success, is hard work. You […]

A Letter to High School Me

“The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.” Neil Gaiman (1960 – ) Dear ’09 Chris, It’s 2019 […]

Locus of Control and Power

“You can’t blame your boss for not giving you the support you need. Plenty of people will say, ‘It’s my boss’s fault.’ No, it’s actually your fault because you haven’t educated him, you haven’t influenced him, you haven’t explained to him in a manner he understands why you need this support that you need. That’s […]

Why Education Matters

“A single day among the learned lasts longer than the longest life of the ignorant.” Posidonius (135 BC – 51 BC) When I was a little boy my parents taught me to highly value education because it can yield power, money, and a “good” life. But most importantly, value education because no one can take […]

Neural Pruning vs. Long-Term Potentiation

“The only use of knowledge of the past is to equip us for the present.” Alfred North Whitehead (1861 – 1947) Our brains are probably the most complicated part of our bodies. It literally runs everything from all our voluntary function to most of our involuntary function. Isn’t it crazy how the brain named itself? […]

Reality-Possibility Exchange

“You can be anything you want, just not everything you want.” David Allen (1945 – ) When we are young, a great part of our excitement comes from the idea that we can be anything we want. Our lives are huge amounts of potential just waiting to manifest into something real. Children get a rush […]

Understanding Change

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Lao Tzu (601 BC – 531 BC) I totally get that it’s possible to write multiple books and courses on how to initiate and facilitate change, but this post is an approach meant to explore our understanding of how our minds […]

Welcome to My Blog

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing.” — Benjamin Franklin (1705 – 1790) I’m using this website as a place for me to put all of my creative work. In time, I’m planning on having this place be […]