The Dashboard of My Life – 2016

Bussiness use dashboards to make sure that their performance and profit is on track but why don’t we use one in our own life to make sure that we are reaching our goals? I decided to create my own and it was one of the most insightful things that I’ve done, helping me to sleep more, get more exercise and achieve my goals. I have been using a Fitbit and Withings bathroom scales for a number of years but in […]

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The Pyongyang Marathon, North Korea

The following is my own opinion and not that of Kyoto Tours. At the age of 5, I flew for the first time for a family ski holiday to Austria. I remember the experience vividly. My blue leather shoes, the in-flight magazine and the strange sensation in my stomach, courtesy of the turbulence. It may have been a few decades since I took that inaugural flight,  but today I was feeling that same uneasiness about flying, something that I had not […]

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Life Experiment 13: Grass Fed Butter and coconut oil in my Coffee

  I had been hearing reports of people swearing of the benefits of butter in their coffee and I was keen to test this on myself as I weaned myself back into testing what I eat and drink after the no bars hold Christmas period. Despite drinking coffee with milk and 3 sugars at the age of 5, I slowly reduced the amount of sugar I consumed and for many years have had my coffee natural. It’s amazing when I put […]

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Life Experiment 12: 2 Pints (of water) Before Breakfast

Takeaways: Drinking one litre of water every morning provided some noticeable benefits: 1. Intermittent fasting was easier as my hunger was reduced. 2. My weight went from 162.2 to 160 lbs 3. There were no noticeable effects on my energy levels. 4. The 20 minutes in the morning when I drank my water provided an effective window to plan my day and to respond to Emails that required my attention. 5. It provided a quick way to get 1/3 of […]

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Marathon 6/7: Africa, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – June 2015

As I began to prepare for my penultimate marathon, the thought of running 26.2 miles on the continent of Africa was a daunting one. Maybe it was the thought of arid deserts, shimmering in the heat, bringing back memories of my marathon in Sri Lanka, or the fact that Africa was the home to long distance running, that made the prospect even more foreboding. My choice of African marathons was a tough one. There are a variety of stella options including:  The […]

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Life Experiment 11: No Sugar

Summary + 3lbs of weight lost from 151.9lbs to 148.9lbs. + Fat mass went from 13.2% to 13.8% + It was surprisingly easy to give up sugar + I had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time + After eating sugar, my head felt cloudy and ‘hungover’ +  I experienced large spikes in weight loss/gain, especially after eating sugar. One of my neighbours suggested that I attempt eliminating sugar from my diet for my next 30-day challenge. After […]

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Life Experiment 10: The Alexander Technique

      Your posture, like breathing, is something that is always with you. In life we aren’t usually taught how to hold ourselves, we figure it out on our own, and we usually incorrectly. This can result in back and neck pains as well as inefficient movements of our body. By learning  a few key principles on how to optimize our posture,  one can gain huge benefits. Imagine if you went through life without realising that your car had a 5th […]

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Life Experiment 9: Recording what I Eat

Summary: + Weight decreased from 158lb to 150.4lb a reduction of 7.6 lbs + Fat Mass decreased from 16.3% to 13.7% + I am consistently over eating fats and sugars + The items which contributed to most of my calories were: Cheese*, Chocolate*, Avocado* (not really surprising as I have 1 a day), beer, wine and yogurt*. * fatty fatty food items + I am under eating protein + I always thought I ate too many carbs, but my intake […]

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Experiment 8: Peak Mental Performance – Optimizing When I Work

Summary: 1. This experiment taught me that the ultimate productivity hack is not a tool or app, it is optimizing the time of day that I work. 2. My visual skills seem to peak in the morning / early part of the day. 3. Otherwise, I do very well until late afternoon / early evening, peaking in executive functions. 4. Executive functions are stable throughout the day but take a sharp drop at night, with a peak in the late […]

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Experiment 7: A Dry January

Summary +Reduced weight by 6lbs + My environment had a huge impact on my desires and cravings. When I was out at a restaurant, or watching a show at the theatre or playing poker with friends, these occasions were very much harder to resist and self control was needed. + Accountability increases your odds of success. + Look for triggers, including people, meals and occasions that will affect your behavior.   As I watched the clock strike midnight on the […]

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8 Techniques, Proven by Research, to Help You Learn Most Efficiently

From a young age we learn. Rarely, if ever, are we taught how to learn. It seems like such a simple concept that was overlooked at school, a skill that if acquired, could supercharge our learning abilities. Recently I took a course on Courera.org from the University of San Diageo on ‘Learning How to Learn’. The course has been very interesting and provided a number of strategies on how best to learn effectively and more efficiently. The final assignment involves: […]

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Coming last in the Colombo Marathon – October 2012

It was 2am and unable to sleep, I tossed and turned in the heat of the Sri Lankan night. The fan whirred above my head and despite having a net to protect me from the hungry mosquitos, one had managed to find a way in and was buzzing near my ear. Maybe it was the ironic worry of not getting enough sleep that was keeping me awake or the thought of what I had possibly forgotten to prepare for the […]

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Experiment 6: 30 Minute Daily Loving/Kindness Meditation

Summary: +Less stressed +Less Annoyed +Gave more to charity than any other month. Increased feelings of: +Happiness +Understanding +Forgiveness +Love I meditate every day. It’s become a chain habit (some would say addiction!) that I will do anything not to break. Even if you can only manage to mediate for 1 minute a day, you’ll likely see huge benefits on your health and productivity. I highly recommend it. The style of meditating I usually do is a breathing meditation. I […]

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Experiment 4: Intermittent Fasting

  Summary + Gained 4.2lbs of weight + Gained  1.3 lbs of fat. + Felt healthier + Reduced snacking + Helped to control cravings for food   After watching a BBC documentary  on the benefits of fasting, I was curious to see what effects fasting could have on me and how practical it would be as part of my lifestyle. The prospect of going without food for days  was scary and seemed impractical. However, just as the thought of going vegan […]

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Marathon 4/7: Melbourne, Australia – October 2012

After my hardest and slowest marathon in Sri Lanka just 7 days earlier, I was heading to Australia to run another 26.2 miles in Melbourne. When you fall off a metaphorical horse it can be easy to give up, or let the setback affect you mentally. Fortunately I had no time to think negatively. When I arrived at Melbourne airport, I was greeted by a cousin who I had never met before. He was using an enlarged, printed photo from […]

Marathon 2/7 – Europe: Italy, Pisa – December 2011

With it’s 2000 year old buildings, the best possible food for marathon carb loading and the alluring smell of coffee shops and bakeries on every corner, can you think of a better country to run a marathon than Italy? My first marathon in New York City was a roller coaster of anticipation, excitement and energy that reached a peak as I felt the sense of accomplishment on crossing the finish line. The whole experience had a profound effect on me, […]

Experiment 3: Eating a Vegan Diet

Summary: +Reduced weight by 6.9 lbs in 30 days +Reduced body fat by 6.2 lbs in 30 days +Saved over $240 by cooking at home +Happiness and energy levels were higher +I cooked a lot more, finding new and interesting recipes +I’m in the best sharp I’ve been in for years. – Going around peoples’ houses for dinner was difficult and problematic – I wanted to eat out less, something that I normally like to do – Initial hangover after […]

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Marathon 1/7: North America, New York City, USA

The fear of the unknown if often greater than the fear of the actual event. And maybe this was true with my first marathon. I didn’t know what to expect, but despite this uncertainty I relished the prospect of running 26.2 miles and achieving something that I would, no doubt, remember forever. I have always been drawn to goals where the achievement remains with you, for the rest of your life, it’s like an accomplishment that continues to pay dividends. […]

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Marathon 5/7: South America, Rio De Janiero, Brazil – July 2014

Despite hearing numerous stories of how wonderful South America is, it has taken me 32 years to travel to any country further south than Panama (within the Americas). During my planning for my South American Marathon, it occurred to me that the 2014 World Cup was happening only a few weeks before the Rio marathon. Once I realized this opportunity, there was no question as to which marathon I should run in South America. My tentative plan was to fly […]

The Brain Chemistry of Communication

TL:DR Takeaway: Give 3 doses of positive statements for every one negative If, like myself, you enjoy the thrill of a casino, you may have noticed that when you experience a loss, it has a larger emotional response compared to a win of a similar value. In economics this is known as loss aversion and it has been calculated that a loss is three times more emotional than a gain of a similar value. You may be wondering how financial […]

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Changing Minds

Newton’s third law of physics states that for every force, there is an equal and opposite force. The same principle holds true for conflicts of opinion, the more you try and change someones mind, the more they are likely to resist. I have an interest in psychology and philosophy and so took a course from Duke University on ‘How to Reason and Argue‘.Despite being quite technical, the course was an excellent primer to the foundations of this subject. Yesterday, I […]

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Acts of Kindness Experiment

According to research from Harvard Business School , one of the most effective ways to make yourself happy is to spend money on others or to perform an act of kindness. Performing an act of kindness will release Oxycontin, the same chemical our body produces  when we hug or kiss a loved one. Not only do these acts of kindness make us feel good but they also have compounding effects, inspiring others to do good too. This happiness halo affect  is often […]

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7 of the Most Inspirational Running Videos That will Move You in More Ways Than One!

Running can be tough, especially when you first start out . I remember the effort it took when I began my goal of running my first marathon, to simply put on my running gear and get out of the door. Once I started running  half the battle was won, but there were still times during a run that I would need an extra boost of motivation. Despite not having the same motivational issues that I did when I started, I […]

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Experiement 2: Vitamins + Supplements

The most vitamins or supplements that I have ever taken was a daily multi-vitamin and cod liver oil. In recent years I’ve seen contradictory research that suggests vitamins are both worthless and beneficial, I’ve heard some people laugh at the idea and others  swear by them. After coming across a very interesting infographic which actually provides scientific evidence for which supplements work. I thought I would test it out for myself.   Image Credit    After looking at the data […]

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2014 Travel Gear

Having the right gear can have a tremendous effect on your productivity and enjoyment. I have learned a great deal from other who have shared their travel gadgets and gear, helping me to become more efficient, travelling lighter and smarter. I thought I would share my current travel gear as it might help others with their decisions:   1. Laptop:  Sony VAIO Pro 13.3-Inch Core i7 Touchscreen Ultrabook: At only 2.34 pounds this laptop has significantly reduced the weight I carry […]

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Experiment 1: 30 grams of protein, within 30 Minutes of waking up

  Despite eating in moderation over Christmas and attempting to run in the cold, harsh English winter, I still managed to put on 5/10 lbs. In an attempt to get back into shape, I thought I would attempt a health related life experiment as my first. Research Studies have shown that eating a breakfast rich in protein can help to suppress your appetite, helping you to feel fuller for longer. This is something that Tim Ferris also advocates, recommending 30 […]

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The cheapest (and best) city in the world to live

Each year, Mercer publishes a list of the most livable cities around the world and I find myself asking which cities I would rank if I had free reign over the results.   Deciding on which city to live is a personal choice, affected by a myriad of factors including family, jobs, climate, and inertia.  Personally I consider the weather, culture, and environment, as well as the cost of living , after all what’s the point in living in a […]

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