The Long Game 136: Best of 2022, Predictions for 2023
🔝 The Very Best Resources of The Year, Best Podcasts, Best Books, Best Articles, Best Videos, Best Youtubers, Best Tools, and Much More!
Hi there, it’s Mehdi Yacoubi, co-founder at Vital, and this is The Long Game Newsletter. To receive it in your inbox each week, subscribe here:
In this episode, I wanted to do something a bit different. As 2022 comes to a end, I thought it would be interesting to review and list the best content I’ve shared this year.
When it comes to health, a lot happened in 2022. Here are some of the highlights in terms of personal health this year:
Intense strength training and the best year of training in my life.
I gathered a few thoughts on the topics: 40 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Lifting & Strength Training.
I stopped drinking alcohol four months ago. Not that I was drinking much (less than 2x per week and used to only drink for six months per year), but I find that I don’t miss it at all. I don’t know yet if I’ll ever go back to it.
Letting go entirely of the “health obsession”/“optimization obsession” and focusing instead on becoming an athlete, which kind of fixed most things anyway!
I gathered some thoughts about this here: The Obsession with Optimization
Nutrition & supplementation
Increased my protein consumption to 200+g/day (2g/kg of body weight)
Currently taking Athletic Greens, Vitamin C, D3, Omega 3, Magnesium & Zinc. Whether these have double-blind placebo control studies around them is important, but my approach is to take things and see how it impacts how I feel and my blood work.
LMNT electrolytes in summer.
I stopped fasting entirely as I was bulking. I usually ate four meals per day (protein shake after training, lunch, afternoon meal, and early dinner not to impact sleep, but this is harder for me, I often eat dinner just before bedtime…!)
I gained 14kg this year, most of it muscle, and some body fat, which is unavoidable. Part of this was muscle mass I had but lost during covid.
Stronger than I have ever been.
I stopped caring about readiness scores and trained on the vast majority of days in 2022 (you can follow me on Vital, where I share everything)
I gathered some thoughts about this here: Readiness Scores
I recently improved my RHR & HRV thanks to incorporating 10min of hard GPP/HIIT warm up before lifting (motivated by this.)
Happy with my step count and average sleep per night:
Here are some of my favorite topics of 2022 in this section:
Digital Sabbath: the Partially Offline Society
I liked the idea of a Digital Sabbath in The Network State. I think this is the future.
Cars are on balance a good thing. But you can overdo them. Mid-century America did. It obscured the San Francisco waterfront with ugly elevated highways, impeding the walkability of this beautiful area. That highway was removed in the late 20th century. And the removal was an acknowledgement that sometimes we can have too much of a good thing.
24/7 internet connectivity is like that. It’s good that we’re doing things like Starlink, to bring internet access to the entire world, to provide free online education, and to get them into the global economy.
But it’s bad if you can never disconnect from the internet. That’s why apps like “Freedom” are so popular. That’s why people use commitment devices like timed cookie jars to hide their phones. That’s why apps like Twitter and Snapchat got popular on the basis of artificial constraints, like limited characters or disappearing messages, because they were optimizing for fallible humans rather than infallible machines. That’s why Tsinghua cuts off the internet at night, why Apple now provides screen time metrics, and why books like Atomic Habits and Indistractible sell so well.
What if this optimization for fallibility didn’t have to be an individual thing? What if there were a society that helped you with internet distractions and self-control, that recognized that the internet was good, but that times and places without the internet were also good — just as cars are good, but a San Francisco waterfront without cars is also good?
One way of accomplishing this would be a Digital Sabbath society where the internet is just shut off at night, from 9pm to 9am. Some buildings and rooms would furthermore be enclosed in Faraday cages, to put them offline on purpose. Areas would start to be flagged as online and offline areas, a bit like smoking and non-smoking areas on planes. All internet use would be conscious and focused, as opposed to unconscious and involuntary
The Hypocrisy of Elites (and the body positivity message)
Experienced well-being rises with income, even above $75,000 per year
I’ve had somewhat of an obsession with this topic this year. I find the changes in dating both fascinating and concerning.
🧠 Better Thinking
One of the highlights of this year was to remove all the unnecessary in my life and focus on way fewer things to do them better. I felt that the productivity discussion fell right into that. I used to focus on systems of note-taking, collecting, classifying, etc. now I try to approach this with more “flow” and less obsession with how it’s done. What matters is the result a system enables, not the system itself.
From The Long Game 98:
🛠 On Productivity Tools
If you’re on Twitter, you might have seen a productivity backlash happening:
It started with this meme:
If you’re a long-time reader of The Long Game, you know I had my “productivity phase.” I tried and used most apps at the center of the bell curve (and others), and I still use some productivity apps. I’m not relying entirely on Apple Notes (yet?). However, I totally agree with the general sentiment of this meme.
A ‘productivity porn’ era was started a few years ago by some Youtubers and people selling courses on how to create a second brain and optimize your note-taking. I think that at first, watching a few videos like this does no wrong. Still, for some mysterious reasons, many people seem to get caught up in trying to constantly have a perfectly optimized note-taking, personal knowledge management system.
Paradoxically, people who get the most things done don’t seem to think about this problem nearly as much as the growing productivity niche. Why is that?
I think it’s because, for the most part, focusing on productivity is the perfect procrastination. It feels good, it feels like progress, it feels like you’ll be able to unlock a superpower once your Roam graph is all filled with knowledge, but this just isn’t the reality. I’m not against note-taking and productivity per se. I just can’t ignore that this isn’t the key to outstanding output and insights. It’s just an irresistible trap, at least at first.
Right now, I’m way less focused on the tools I use and always ask myself, “isn’t this new tool a form of procrastination?” whenever I’m about to fall into the trap again.
In the words of Sam Altman:
Also, don’t fall into the trap of productivity porn—chasing productivity for its own sake isn’t helpful. Many people spend too much time thinking about how to perfectly optimize their system, and not nearly enough asking if they’re working on the right problems. It doesn’t matter what system you use or if you squeeze out every second if you’re working on the wrong thing.
The right goal is to allocate your year optimally, not your day.
⚡️ Startup Stuff
Here are my favorite startup resources of the year:
Amp it Up! (always)
📚 What I Read
I read fewer books this year. This was purposeful. I feel that some periods of life benefit from less input and more focus/obsession with building & creating. My favorite books of 2022:
Healing Back Pain, by John E. Sarno (to read and re-read)
I intend to focus mainly on biographies & history books from now on.
My favorite articles of 2022:
🍭 Brain Food
📡 The Next Big Thing
At the end of each year, Nikhil Basu Trivedi comes up with some significant trends for the year to come. I think that most of these are spot on, and the one I most agree with is obviously the one we’re working on : )
… new social platforms.
The next big thing in 2023 will be a new set of vertical-focused social platforms built to be "sufficiently decentralized. " Unlike the platforms before them, these businesses will guarantee that users own a direct relationship with their audience * and * that developers can always build on the network - thereby better meeting the needs of both consumers and solving the frustration of the developer community. We believe this will lead to a new generation of vertical-specific social networks - like Goodreads (for readers), Ravelry (for knitters), and Behance (for creative professionals) - ultimately resulting in a set of new businesses that can better acquire, serve, engage and retain their communities.
Pair with: 2023 Predictions from 40 Founders, Investors, and Operators
TikTok has made a new wave of consumer ideas possible by solving initial distribution. All you have to do is create a video and TikTok will show it to your first 100K-1M+ potential users. It dramatically levels the playing field for getting a new idea off the ground.
— Matt Moss, Founder, and CEO of Locket
🎙 Podcast Episodes of the Year
Here are my favorite podcast episodes of 2022:
Understanding cardiovascular disease risk, cholesterol, and apoB
🎥 What I’m Watching
I’ve listened to fewer podcasts and watched more Youtube this year. I think this trend will continue.
My favorite channels:
For this week:
💤 I Wore 22 Sleep Trackers… This Is Best!
Great video by Shervin, and cool to see him mention Vital!
❓ Why Do People Hate Elon Musk?
🔧 The Tools of the Year
There are a few tools I greatly enjoyed this year:
🪐 Quote I’m Pondering
“The secret to magic is that I am willing to spend more time on it than what you think it’s worth.”
Thanks for reading!
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Until next week,