Discover more from The Long Game by Mehdi Yacoubi
The Long Game 1: Wearing a CGM as a Non-Diabetic, High-Performance Lifestyle, Backcasting, Life Planning, the Science of Happiness
⚖️ Meta Rationality, What to Work On, Research Ideas, and Much More!
Hey there 👋🏼, and welcome to the first edition of The Long Game — my take on health, wellness, and better living.
Cool, but who are you?
I'm an entrepreneur from Paris, and I'm currently working on a project for metabolic health optimization (more about this soon!).
Why create a newsletter?
I see writing and sharing things as the best way to think. Every week, I consume a lot of great content, and this newsletter represents my effort to find a better equilibrium between input and output!
Every week I will share my findings, my thoughts, and links I find interesting. I will curate everything I see during the week to make the best resurface.
What motivates my work and actions in life is the quest for better living. From health stuff, wellness articles, mental models books, psychology podcast episodes, I'm interested in many different things. The common theme, however, is how we can develop and foster a long & meaningful life!
If you're enjoying the newsletter, share it with a friend. If this was forwarded to you, check out some previous issues and subscribe for future updates!
I’m spending the quarantine in Vienna, here’s a great park nearby where I live!
From fasting to cold showers, I tried many different practices to promote health and longevity. Recently, I started exploring the prospect of wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) as a non-diabetic. After doing my research and understanding how powerful having such a device could be, I got my first CGM a few weeks ago, and I've been wearing it since then.
I must admit that I'm blown away by what I see. Because I'm discovering so much, I'm writing a piece to document my learnings after wearing a CGM for 30 days. In short, I found that nutrition advice makes little to no sense when they aren't personalized. For example, oatmeal is terrible for me (even if considered "healthy" by nutrition standards").
Here's a graph from the paper Personalized Nutrition by Prediction of Glycemic Responses that sums up what happens:
As you can see, the inter-person variability to the same food is substantial. It shows how important the field of personalized health optimization will become once we have the tools to gather data and the Softwares to make sense of that data!
A little example of my experiment, here’s the response to a small pastry (ideally, you should limit the spikes above 140 mg/dL)! The potential of CGMs for healthy users is mindblowing, and it’s the future of health optimization & the preventative approach to health.
A masculine counterpart to the feminine notion of self-care, the HPL is geared toward self-mastery.
Rooted in the quantified-self and biohacking, the High-Performance Lifestyle is growing. Without having a name for this, I completely recognize myself in this quest. Among the founding fathers, we find Tim Ferris, Joe Rogan, Peter Attia, Rhonda Patrick, and many others!
I find this thread a great complement to this concept:
At first, when the quarantine started, I was worried about seeing the gym closed. Now I find that the creativity and the workout ideas shared during this quarantine are inspiring. I loved changing my exercise routine, trying new stuff, and getting out of my comfort zone!
My primary sources of inspiration regarding fitness are:
If you're left with little to no equipment during these times, here are a few workouts that will do the job:
30 down air squats
These will leave your muscles sore for a week!
A great tool I got is the Gymnastic Rings. Very versatile, it will get your back fired up, and help you grow those lats!
I also enjoy doing some jumping rope, and I find there's something meditative in it when done with the right music!
⚡️ Startup Stuff
When it comes to the future, you can use either forecast it or build it. This piece is about the concept of backcasting:
The entrepreneur's job is to come from the future to the present and to pull people in a structured way to the future: you go to the future and work backward to the present.
The entrepreneur has to convince people to go on a journey with him. He has to be practical because people don't like to change even if they have pain.
You have to think your insight is inevitable.
As a founder, the most important is to prioritize: get an A+ at a small number of things.
More on this topic on The Pomp Podcast episode with Mike Maples, Jr.
🧠 Better Thinking
Recently I got obsessed with thinking biases. Farnam Street is a great resource to learn about them. It's tough to overcome thinking biases, but I believe in spaced repetition. Andrew Wilkinson explained he listens to Charlie Munger's Psychology of Misjudgment almost every day.
If I want to make better decisions, I have to be aware of my thinking biases and be reminded of them very often, so when I have to make a decision, these mental models will be fresh in my mind.
📚What I Read
Life planning has always been an essential subject for me. I think very few people put the time in asking themselves what they really want to do with their lives. Without these crucial questions and some time reflecting on them, chances are we're going to end up in a different place than where we would like to be.
I re-read this article this week, as the current context bares the question of the future of education. I find a lot of what this article covers to be accurate, and I think the Coronavirus crisis will reshape the world of education significantly (among many others!). To read more on this topic, David Perell wrote an excellent piece on why students shouldn't go to college this fall.
I was introduced to meta-rationality by Tyler Cohen in his appearance on the Tim Ferriss show. To take his words, "a meta-rational person is more likely to admit they don't know something and defer to the views of experts." People typically don't defer to the views of experts when they ought to. '"Sometimes, the expert might be wrong, but if you're playing the odds, the expert is probably right. People are far too confident about too many things they shouldn't be confident about." We can only have a deep understanding of a few things, that's why the ability to know who to trust for other topics is so important.
🍭 Brain Food
I've been following Alex's work since I discovered his review of Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. These research ideas are fascinating, and the concept of independent research is entirely underrated. One silver lining of this crisis could be a more decentralized approach to knowledge and research, outside of the gated world of academia (more about this topic on the excellent podcast The Portal, by Eric Weinstein).
I love this channel. Kurzgesagt team is on another level of scientific vulgarization. This video is about ATP and is well worth a watch! Be careful you could end up spending the entire day binge-watching the whole channel!
🎙 Podcast Episodes of the Week
A great conversation on:
The one skill that determines how far you'll get in life, no matter how talented you are in anything else.
Robert's research method and how he finds such unique and interesting examples.
What Robert looks for when he reads, and what qualities separate good books from excellent books.
The Science of Happiness, Laurie Santos on Waking Up with Sam Harris
One of my favorite episode of 2020 so far:
Our relationship with smartphones: as opposed to Facebook, real life doesn't have a team of neuroscientists to grab our attention: that's the problem.
Importance of social connections.
Focus on the other to help yourself.
Research shows: spending money on ourselves makes us less happy than spending it on other people.
There is a disconnect between the circuit of wanting something and the one of liking it.
Work on the hedonic adaptation: bring the attention back to what's essential by being more grateful.
Stoic negative visualization: start every morning by imagining everything could go wrong, then stop, and appreciate things much more in life.
2018 National college health survey: over 40% say they feel too depressed to function most days, over 50% feel hopeless most of the time, over 2/3 high anxiety, over 10% taught about suicide.
You can't become happy; you can only be happy.
🪐 Quote I'm Reflecting on
Be water, my friend:
Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. Bruce Lee
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Have a great day,
I’m very curious and I love meeting new people. Feel free to connect with me on: