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Stay agile, learn fast, and evolve.

The next stock market crash is always around the corner. The climate is in a downward spiral with no stopping in sight. Social inequality is only getting worse. If it’s not another pandemic, then probably an extraterrestrial event, like solar flares or a meteorite, will screw up our hopes and dreams. So what to do about it?

I try my level best to be critical about all the doom and gloom and be realistic by hedging my bets. If change is the only constant and the meaning of anything in life can change quickly, I can only bet on myself.

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Cut through the noise of self-improvement by developing habits that matter.

We all struggle with the Big Themes. Not sex, drugs, and cocoa puffs. I mean the questions everyone asks in the quiet moments of the modern rat race. What is the meaning of life? How can I be happy and prosperous?

Like you, I also try to find answers by reading many self-help books, Medium articles, and watching YouTube clips. The millennial way!

To answer these age-old questions, you must have some strategy. Don’t just hope that you will stumble upon answers eventually.

Consider the many aspects of life: love, family, happiness, success, security, helping others, etc. The list is…

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A case in favor of positive thinking to complement your meditation habit.

Imagine you could have a psychological evaluation on the go to confirm your mental health and to also strengthen your mind.

Maybe it’s the COVID19 lockdown talking, but I would use it.

The concept was central in the movie Ad Astra. The story is about a son driven to search for his missing father and his quest. But the story started with a psych eval, had multiple during the story and ended with one. A story arc illustrated by the changes in his mental state.

The closest to such a self-test would be keeping a journal. Many productivity gurus rave…

Ignore self-help books, find a friend that’s better than you!

How authentic mentors accelerated my personal development exponentially. How you can do the same.

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At every stage of my life, so far, I had a more talented friend or an experienced mentor that showed me how to be better at what I was doing. Someone that could show me how the next level looks like. Without any of them, I would have been lesser for it. So how do you find exceptional mentors over and over again?

Lots of advice is available online on how to avoid the struggle of finding a mentor. The worst, I think, is to look at it unemotionally, i.e. identify key business skills and send email requests to experts…

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Slow down! Trusting less won’t hurt you.

How to recognize liars and scammers faster and more often.

After loosing $70K to a scam broker, I realized that I needed a framework or mental model to recognize scammers and liars. Trusting others is important in life. However, asking why is critical. If not, you will be a victim more often than a winner.

The framework, that I think works really well, consists of three simple questions. These allow you to understand why someone can be trusted.

Go beyond the typical superficial characteristics of body language like eye movement, hand gestures and vocal indicators. If someone crushes his fists, doesn’t look you in the eyes, sweats, leans away, speaks…

My martial arts bookshelf

How to have effortless interactions by first observing and listening

A very effective strategy for self-improvement and spiritual development is to apply concepts and philosophies of martial arts in your daily life.

I learned this from Joseph Cardillo’s book “Be Like Water”. This great little book explains how to use martial arts principles not just on the mats, but more importantly off the mats.

I serendipitously found this book over 12 years ago when I started my PhD in bioengineering and it was also the spark of my journey into Tai Chi Chuan.

“When the student is ready, the book will appear”.

Thought experiment

Imagine you have a candle with a long…

Ignoring so many red flags taught me a lot about myself.

I was on an international assignment in China for several years earning much more than I could spend. Everybody keeps telling me that you need to make your money work for you because the value decreases over time if it just sits in the bank.

If only I had a good opportunity to follow up on.

Red flag 1: Cold call

If some unknown broker calls you up and speaks very quickly about an amazing trade opportunity, hang up. Of course! And I did that about two times. The…

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There are no secrets, except maybe a few

I’ve been training Tai Chi Chuan for over 12 years now. I’ve also practiced Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Judo and Aikido for several years. Like every martial art student, I want to become a Master. But how does one achieve mastery level? How does one become great at their art?

People start a martial art for all sorts of reasons. But why have so few the discipline to train for over a decade and make this part of their life? …

Maarten Vercruysse

Aspiring polymath: Bioengineer, PhD, Martial artist, Writer, and Stoic. — Aim to apply mental models and first principles to everyday life.

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