Zsolt Babocsai

From Monkey Mind to No Mind

4686105309_a741dd756a_b

Arturo Bust: I am the universe

Mind, as a noun, is quite misleading. It sounds like a part of your body, an organ even, while it’s actually a function of the brain. It’s a process that your consciousness perceives as the inner chatter, a relentless succession of thoughts. Only by making that distinction do you have a chance to take control over the mind. Continue reading



How being an info junkie fucks up your life

Overload
Photo credit: Andres Musta

Your mind is drowning in information.

It’s screaming for help, but you can’t hear it. You get a sense that something isn’t right, but you don’t know what. So you search for what might be the problem and feed your mind even more information in the process. Continue reading



The Century of The Self – A Summary, Critique and Practical Lessons

barcode

This documentary is nothing short of astonishing. It gives you an explanation to why the world is the way it is today and how human nature shaped it in the past century. Even if you didn’t learn any new facts from it (you will), it would be worth watching just for the way it connects the dots. It’s made up of four parts. I’ll share my notes and critical thoughts of it. Continue reading



Lessons Learned #5/2016

Protect

Photo by Vin Ganapathy

Tell people what they are not ready to hear in increments they can handle or they will turn against you. One of the easiest ways of alienating people is telling them what they are not ready to hear. We all have believes that govern our lives. We have built these believes through a lifetime of learning and experience and are emotionally invested in them. When somebody openly challenges these foundations, our gut reaction is refusal and cutting contact with that person to avoid cognitive dissonance and protect our identity. If you want people to stay cooperative, tell them what they are not ready to hear in increments they can handle or packaged in a way that will allow them to adjust their believes by letting them complete the puzzle themselves. (NOTE: Some of the time “shock therapy” does work. In fact there are times when only telling the brutal facts work.) Continue reading



Lessons Learned #4/2016

jester
Photo by Will Montague

The career path of most well known gangsters follow the very same pattern. They start small time and make it to the top through a mix of ability, skill, deliberation and luck. They spend some time on the top ruling their world and acting like a god. In the end, they all come crumbling down. Some die, others go to prison for what is left of their lives. There is a moment in all of their stories, after which there is no turning back. And that’s the moment they get identified with the role they were playing. They are unable to look reality in the face and accept that they are not really all powerful. They go down rather than detach themselves from the role. There is a lesson there for all of us not aspiring for a career in crime. We start making bad decisions as soon as we fully identify with whatever role we are playing and loose the ability to get perspective. So the lesson is:

You start losing the game the moment you forget that you are playing it. So don’t.  Continue reading



Choosing What to Think: No Bullshit Meditation

landscape
Photo by Michael Theis

Do you choose the contents of your awareness? If you pay attention, you’ll quickly realize you don’t. So who or what does then? If you are not in control of what’s in your head, are you in control of anything? Continue reading



Lessons Learned #3/2016

plant
Photo by Alexandra E Rust

To gauge the likeliness of a future event, look at similar events first, and particulars second. Learn more. 

Question authority and ideas taken for granted by other people. In the end, you are always responsible for the choices you make even if someone tells you otherwise. Inspired by Stanley Milgram

Reduce or eliminate chronic inflammation (the cause of most chronic disease) by: Continue reading



I’m not like most people – Why the blind obedience to authority?

police
Photo by Eva Rinaldi

I’m not like most people. We like to think that don’t we? Especially when most people are depicted as sadistic maniacs, or at the very least, as people who will torture a human being just because someone else says so. Continue reading



Lessons Learned #2/2016

14467348308_a6acca99f6_k
Photo by Lucahennig

To live 100+ do low intensity exercise most of your waking hours. Have a purpose for existence. Switch off regularly. Drink little, eat little animal products and mostly plant foods, not too much. Have strong family ties, belong to a community and hang out with people who reinforce all your positive habits.

Continue reading



Lessons Learned #1/2016

15285208528_396f4e70a8_kPhoto by Olli Henze

I learn new stuff all the time. Some of it I figure out from my own experience, some is inspired by books, movies or personal encounters. Over time, much of this knowledge fades away and is phased out by new ideas I get busy with. I want to change that and be able to internalize the stuff I learn and to also put it into practice. Continue reading



How to form new habits: a brutally honest follow-up on what worked and what didn’t a year on

mountain biking

In the fall of 2014, after an intense period of non-stop travel through South and North America, I chose to settle. I had to build up my life systems and routines from scratch. I read a couple of  books on how habits worked and started experimenting. I’d already posted a follow-up a few weeks later, where I came to conclusions that still hold true today. However, now, a year later, I have a much more accurate overview of what worked and what didn’t. Continue reading



How to break the rules and get away with it

lampas budapest

I finished work at 10pm and felt like getting away from the solitude of my computer was becoming a matter of life and death. It was too late to bother anyone with a phone call so I headed straight to a place where I knew I’d find something happening.

The space (where you can actually see the stage) is unlikely small. The people off stage barely outnumber the musicians on it. That makes you wonder: no serious performer will waste their time playing here. And yet, this goofy place, called Lámpás, will hit you in the face almost every night with a live performance that would be hard to come by anywhere else. Continue reading



Vicky needs a coffee

bee
Photo by Andrew Smith

I walked past a middle aged man gazing into a café the other day. I was right behind his back, when he suddenly turned around, and shouted „Vicky needs a coffee” right into my left ear. He was obviously talking to his friend on my right and didn’t see me coming.  The woman he was referring to inside the café, looked exhausted after what must have been long hours of sightseeing in the heat of the Budapest summer. Continue reading



A trip to Morocco

Berber Village in Morocco

After having lived in some and visited most South American Countries, I thought seeing a bit of Africa would hold no major surprises for me. Like many times before, I was wrong. Continue reading



The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – Book Summary and Key Takeaways

Power of Habits

My fascination with habits and how they influence our daily lives started with this book. An interview with the author, Charles Duhigg to be precise. Almost two years  later, I thought it was time I actually read the book.

I had already been applying many of the principles Duhigg describes in the Power of Habit in my habit tweaking experiments and they worked wonders: I gave up smoking (2 months in yeah :) and switched to a healthier diet. But most of all, I’ve developed and awareness of my habits and consequently, a capacity to change them. To make a long story short, the stuff works, so it was time I got the full picture. Continue reading



How I Quit Smoking – Habit Tweaking Four Weeks On

Quitting smoking is hard

Wow! It’s been such an educational four weeks and I have so much to share I don’t even know where to begin…. Let’s start with the big picture and work towards the specifics. A few of the key lessons I’ve learnt to start with: Continue reading



Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal – Summary and Key Takeaways

Hooked Book by Nir Eyal

I can’t decide whether I’m more interested in designing habit forming products or in finding out how to prevent products from forming my habits. Either way, Nir Eyal’s book, Hooked, is a fascinating read. It walks you through the steps that lead to forming new habits around a product using loads of real life examples and also offering a way to approach the inevitable moral questions. What follows is a subjective summary of the book with its key takeaways and some of my own thoughts attached. (Emphasis is from me.)

Continue reading



Why New Year’s Resolutions are a Waste of Time and What You Can Do Instead

Did you set a New Year’s resolution last year? Chances are you did – every second person does, every year -, but you probably don’t even remember what it was by now. Close to 90% of New Years resolutions fail. Why not try something new this time?

Habits are things you do without choosing to them. - Zsolt Babocsai

(Apologies for being so pompous as to quote myself here, but I did search for a good quote on habits, and beside a few ones that you already know, I didn’t find any that captures what I mean, so I had to make my own.)

Continue reading



Good Carbs Vs Bad Carbs or How Not to Get Diabetes

How little I know about some basic stuff that have tremendous influence on the quality (and length) of my life sometimes amazes me. I’m due for a blood test to determine whether I have diabetes a week from now. In the meantime, I have a chance to learn more about the things that can make me diabetic and conduct some experiments on myself.

Blood glucose chart

Continue reading



How to run a survey with a 95% response rate

Do you ever see those folks standing at a busy part of town holding a questionnaire in their hands? As soon as you spot them, you’re trying to think of a polite and yet firm way to reject them. I often wonder who actually does stop to talk to them. What kind of a response rate do they get? Maybe 10%? Continue reading



Hey, like what you see?

Sign up for email updates to get my latest posts.

I write about what I learn and the wonders I come across in life.


All posts



2016
May
23From Monkey Mind to No Mind
April
26How being an info junkie fucks up your life
March
20The Century of The Self – A Summary, Critique and Practical Lessons
February
22Lessons Learned #5/2016
15Lessons Learned #4/2016
9Choosing What to Think: No Bullshit Meditation
January
25Lessons Learned #3/2016
18I’m not like most people – Why the blind obedience to authority?
10Lessons Learned #2/2016
3Lessons Learned #1/2016


2015
December
25How to form new habits: a brutally honest follow-up on what worked and what didn’t a year on
November
20How to break the rules and get away with it
June
21Vicky needs a coffee
March
5A trip to Morocco
January
21The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – Book Summary and Key Takeaways


2014
December
22How I Quit Smoking – Habit Tweaking Four Weeks On
2Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal – Summary and Key Takeaways
November
23Why New Year’s Resolutions are a Waste of Time and What You Can Do Instead
11Good Carbs Vs Bad Carbs or How Not to Get Diabetes
2How to run a survey with a 95% response rate
September
24Minimalism Redefined
1The grass is greener in Hungary
August
11How travel makes you a better decision maker
4How to stay fit and eat healthy while travelling
July
199 months, 12 countries and 50,000 km later
2Travel advice for dummies
May
27Costa Rica Beach and Chocolate Tour
22How to instantly change your mood
18What visiting Costa Rica taught me
14Just like that
5A year without Facebook
April
22Becoming an Entrepreneur by Jake Desyllas
8Eating healthy and building a healthy eating business in Colombia – Inspired by Daniel Salazar
1The fine print of Existence Inc.
March
27The cycle of wellbeing and misery – and the way out
19The price of minimalism
11The Medellin myth busted
4Want or need?
February
27My life in Quito Ecuador
14Why do we travel? – Inspired by Erzsébet Best
January
18“There are more solutions than problems” – Joos Fleskens
7“I do music because I am madly in love with it.” – Sandra Durán
3Scrap the guidebook and make people laugh
1Tales from Tena, Ecuador


2013
December
26How to find your purpose in life – Inspired by Alexis Vaughn
18How to get up after hitting rock bottom
97 things I learnt living without a cell phone
4The upside of minimalist travel
1“You do better business if you have principles” – Interview with William Encalada
November
24Climbing Pichincha Volcano
20Daniel Kao: “Inspire them to think instead of killing their dreams”
14Why run
October
27Must have
16First week in Quito, Ecuador
12Madrid overnight
5What a life
September
25I’m a caveman
9My minimalism
August
215+1 questions to ask yourself if your business is stuck
6Dan Ariely: Predictably Irrational – Summary and Key Takeaways
July
17Iron Man on Facebook
3Are you a wantrepreneur?
June
18The 10 000 hour rule myth
8Conformity and restaurants
May
26What’s wrong with dying today?
8Accomplices
April
23By the side of the road
5Listen to the child
March
28Embrace uncertainty
20Being comfortable with being uncomfortable