Ali Abdaal on 20 lessons that improved his life


Abhinav Hansaraman

Ali Abdal posted a video about some lessons which changed his life. This is a summary of the 27 minute video.


  • The top of to-do list
    • The 5 worries that dying people should be your compass (Paul Graham)
      • Don’t ignore your dreams
      • Don’t work too much
      • Say what you think
      • Cultivate Friendships
      • Be Happy
  • Lean into the fear
    • What is the worst thing which could happen. Often, the worst thing is not that bad
  • Have to v Get to
    • I have to do this (compulsion) loses to I get to do this (excited, opportunity to do something, grateful to be able to do something)
  • You are allowed to sleep again after taking a shower
    • This will stop you from procrastinating in bed and delaying waking up.
  • Information Diet
    • Look at what information you consume, spread it across all important areas of life (health, relationships etc) and not just on money or work
  • 4 Components of Ideal Life
    • Physical Health
    • Mental Well Being
    • Relationships
    • Work/Money
    • We tend to focus on the fourth exclusively
  • The Power of Accountability
    • Accountability makes you do more things
  • Do what you are doing
    • Attention focus on what you are doing make life better, not just at what you are doing.
  • Improvisational Productivity
    • Execution triumphs ideas. Get shit done. Reduce time gap between conception/ideation and execution
  • Homework for life
    • One interesting story for the day – write it down
  • Speed Listening audiobooks
    • Listening to a book in 4 hours make its more palatable than the mental burden of having to listen for 8 hours.
  • The Odyssey Plan
    • If I continue on the current path, what will my life look like in 5 years?
    • If I took a completely different path, what would it look like in 5 years?
    • If money and societal obligations are not a factor, what will life look like in 5 years?
  • The Power of Clarity (David Allen Getting Things Done)
    • Capture
    • Clarify
      • You will never revise chemistry. However, read chapter I Module iv will get done in no time.
    • Organize
    • Reflect
    • Engage
  • Thinking of time in 15 minute chunks
    • Ill start at 11 becomes ill start at 1045
  • Goals
    • Tension between goal attainment and self contentment (or self acceptance) is okay.

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