Kristjan Vingel

I make people's lives better by sharing invaluable insights.

Software engineer from Tallinn, Estonia

Blog

Stop apologizing for who you are

I see this tendency where people feel the need to apologize constantly. It makes me nauseous. And it's not that they apologize for something…

Best focusing app

A while ago, I wrote that the best workout app is the Centr app. I think it was about a year ago. I've been using it almost every day ever…

I'm moving to another level

I don't relate to most people around me. I feel distant from them. The way they talk, how they dress, their interests, their goals (or…

Principles

Do you know how to convert binary numbers into a decimal? How do you know that 11010 in binary is 26? 1---1---0---1---0 16--8---4---2- --…

Men who are white knights

If you pay close attention, you can recognize these types of guys easily. They're not necessarily wearing shining armor and riding a horse…

PC

Political correctness. Also known as one of the most toxic diseases of the modern world. Politically correct people are like cancer that…

Stay positive!

What are we going to talk about today? I don’t know, but let’s just run with it. It’s Saturday afternoon; the sun is shining, birds are…

One principle to follow in life

There are a thousand ways to achieve success in any area of life - whether it be material wealth, professional success, spiritual life…

The Power of No

"No" is ten times a better word than a "yes." "No" is clear and genuine, whereas a "yes" can easily be a fake one. Have you ever been the…

Always prefer form over speed

Form over speed is a principle usually (at least to my experience) repeated by physical exercise trainers. Rightfully so, as sacrificing…

Become a Pro.

What is the differentiating factor between people who have seemingly iron-strong discipline and those who don't? It's actually 2 things. One…

Goals? Overrated!

What a positive note to cast with a blog post during Christmas, right? Our society is obsessed with goals. You hear everyone's talking about…

Build your empire

I think everyone should try to build their own empire. What do I mean by that? Let me start by explaining what I don't mean by it. Well…

Slow down

Many people are constantly looking for ways to do everything faster. They are into speed-reading, they listen and watch videos on 2x speed…

I fired my manager

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” Jim Rohn If the manager of a company constantly…

An update 😉

I thought about giving you - my dear friend and reader - a small update regarding this blog. First , if you wonder about the new…

What does it really mean to be smart?

Intelligence is one fascinating concept. And there might be more variables to it than we might think. Have you noticed that the people in…

Reactiveness

Let's talk about social dynamics. In every interaction, there's the person who's setting the rhythm while the other is reacting. Usually…

Probably the best home work out app

Gyms are closed, even the outdoor ones. This pushed me to find a way to train at home harder than the regular average Joe's few pushups and…

Labeling feelings

Some books recommend labeling feelings/emotions. E.g., that it's a good idea to put a name on a negative feeling, so it'd be easier to deal…

Is nostalgia bad?

When I lived in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to stay in an apartment in one of the older parts of Taipei. Living in that apartment felt…

Obsession

If there’s one key component to becoming really good at anything, it’s - yes, you guessed it - obsession. We’re all obsessed with something…

Don’t be a dump yard

If someone would dump their garbage to your yard, would you be cool with it? Probably not. In fact, it’s hard to find a person who’d be okay…

The law of use

The law of use - which is one of the laws of the Universe - states that if knowledge has been revealed to you, you have to use it. Wisdom is…

On freedom of outcome

Spiritual teachers talk about this concept of outcome independence. It means that one shouldn’t be dependent on a certain outcome but should…

Pain = lesson

Imagine if everything we’d do would go smoothly and without any challenges. This would be a pretty boring reality. We also wouldn’t feel as…

Focusing on what you can measure

We tend to focus on what business people call the “lag measures” - the things we can’t measure immediately. E.g., focusing on a number of…

Say “no”

I’ve come to realize that people who get things done and achieve great things - successful people - say “no” all the time. They rarely agree…

Deep identity change

Now, when I say “deep identity change,” I’m not talking about a complete and total change of your self regarding absolutely everything. I…

Your reality - your rules

As human beings, we are constantly pinging off the environment. There are a couple of reasons for that. First, we can’t learn everything…

Turn off internet access at home

I’ve been recently experimenting with having no Internet at home. Before anyone labels me as “eccentric” and anti-tech because I’m against…

“Will money make you happy?”

We’ve all heard this question. Some hear it constantly by their jealous peers who try to rationalize their life and choices. Essentially…

Who are you, and where are you going?

For the past few years, I wasn’t really sure where am I going with my life. I didn’t know what do I want and what am I even doing. That…

General knowledge vs. specific knowledge

image: unsplash.com Have you ever heard the saying “knowledge is power”? Well, let me break it to you: knowledge is not power. Knowledge has…

There is no map

image: unsplash.com There’s an interesting anecdote about a zen master Bassui Tokushō (抜隊 得勝) in the book “Zen Radicals, Rebels, and…

What’s your uniqueness?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” Oscar Wilde Only you can be the best at who you are. No one can beat you at that game. On the…

How to set goals: simple, effective tips

First, as Ray Dalio wrote in his “Principles”, you can have just about anything you want, but not everything you want.” So, I recommend…

Always take responsibility

Everything that happens to you is your fault. Always! E.g., when you’re a team leader, and your team fails, because “someone messed up, then…

Don’t seek for recognition

Seeking for recognition implies that you’re not in control. You’re essentially at the mercy of the other person. If that person can validate…

No more waiting

The whole concept of “waiting” is silly. It’s an illusion, really. What is there to wait, anyway? If you have to wait for something, it…

Two sides of the same coin

We often don’t see the polarities that are practically everywhere. Some say that god exists; some say it doesn’t. Both are convinced that…

What is real confidence?

Confidence is not about knowing that you will succeed. It’s the knowing that no matter what happens, you’ll be just fine. However, in order…

Stop comparing

Most of our problems are just us comparing ourselves to others. If you would be the only one in the world, would money, status, height…

You can have it but…

Never think that a goal is unattainable. I used to think that this or that goal is not for me because I’m not x, y, or z. Now I view things…

Accountability mirror

This is an awesome tool I got from David Goggins’ book “Can’t Hurt Me.” If you haven’t read it already, I highly highly recommend doing so…

I’m different

I’m different than most people. That’s not me being cocky - that’s a fact. I know this because when I observe myself in certain situations…

Always learn something new

Here's the thing. If you're not moving up in life, you're moving down. Same thing with our brains: If you are not learning new skills to…

How to become rejection proof

The fear of rejection is one of the biggest and most common fears people face. It’s the kind of fear that stops us from doing the things we…

Produce more, consume less

Most people are only concerned with consuming without thinking about the return of value. They watch TV, consume social media, buy stuff…

Stop trying to control everything

“How’s my hair today? “, “What about this grease on my shirt?”, “What will people think if they see I have a spot on my pants?”, “What about…

Stop drifting through life and wake up!

“To progress again, man must remake himself. And he cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor…

How not to quit once it gets tough

There’s an awesome book called “The Dip” by one of my favorite authors, Seth Godin. What is” the dip”? It’s the time when things get tough…

Think “less is better”

More, more, more, and more. This is the mindset of an average consumer, as well as the mantra of almost every company. Consumers want more…

Why having more choices is bad for you

“Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee? But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.” Albert Camus, A Happy…

We're in control

We have so much more control over our lives than we think we have. Understanding this is, in essence, the difference of seeing possibilities…

Less is more in the digital age

The price of the car is not only the price you pay to acquire the car. There's also the price of the fuel of course, and the price of…

Stop clicking the like button

The infamous like button - first created in 2005 and then popularized in 2007 at FriendFeed (later acquired by Facebook) is probably one of…

Use your unconscious mind

We need more stillness in our lives. There's too much noise. Just think about how your mind is bombarded with constant stimulus every day…

Be turned on by obstacles

Stoicism is most likely the best form of philosophy out there. The reason is this: it’s practical. It doesn’t require any debates whether…

The Muse and her gifts

Apparently, Zeus had nine daughters with Mnemosyne called the Muses. They represent the source of knowledge for all things regarding…

On being unapologetic

Don’t ever apologize for who you are, what you like, what you enjoy, and what you want. Be absolutely unapologetic. Too often, people try to…

How to stop judging others

For quite some time, I've been pondering about why do we judge other people so much and how to stop doing this. We're essentially little…

The metamorphosis has to happen

There are some things in life that you not only want to have or achieve - you absolutely must achieve them. There’s just no other…

Finding your life’s task

If you’ve read Mastery by Robert Greene, then the following story is familiar; if not - here is a story of Yoky Matsuoka. As a teenager in…

Tweaking your life

What brings success? What gets you to your goals? Is it some big breakthrough? No, it’s the small things we do every day. Find out the…

The best way to give feedback

Giving feedback is a sort of a delicate thing. It’s delicate because it’s very easy for people to take offense and therefore reject the…

Seek to get triggered

What’ve I’ve noticed is that not many people have the ability to hold two or more opposing ideas in their minds at once. Let’s take politics…

Focus on the people who appreciate you

Focus on the people that appreciate you and your work. Don't focus on those who don't. They don't matter. This sounds all logical and self…

Show up

Show up no matter what. Show up every day, not because you need something from others but because you want to. Many people want others to…

Status anxiety

Instead of working on ourselves to look cool why not work on ourselves to actually be cool? Why are we constantly scanning around to see…

Why escalators are dangerous

Some people use the escalator or the elevator and then go to the gym to use the treadmill or the stepper machine. I find this behavior…

“Why is this happening to me?”

So, today morning started very interestingly: first I damaged my shoe to the sharp edge of a foot of a table. Then I spilled coffee all over…

The amygdala

Seth Godin calls it the lizard brain, Steven Pressfield calls it the resistance. However you want to call it, we all have it. We all…

On the importance of being authentic

I think that authenticity has become one of the scarcest resources. There’s so little of it out there nowadays. So many of us put up a front…

Self-teach yourself

I think it’s so cool we can nowadays learn almost anything we want to learn. All the information and theory are online. You just need to go…

Smaller is better

Almost anything is better at small than big. Small is compact, weighs less, is more portable, usually more flexible and overall more…

Escaping life vs. living life

If you do an audit on your life, how much time do you spend escaping your life and how much of it is actually living it? The way I see it…

The “green lumber fallacy”

What do we need to know to make decisions? It turns out we might often be very wrong about the data we actually need in order to have…

Maintaining your self-image

Here's something you might've not known about yourself: in your field, you're probably not as good as you think you are. And, this is…

Survive to thrive

I like to write articles. Even though I might not write good ones every day, I write every day, and I do it for a reason. There are many…

Do your work before breakfast

I’ve only recently started to realize that eating breakfast might not be better than eating breakfast right after getting up in the morning…

RAS and The Secret

Have you ever wondered how much data comes on our way every day and moment? How many pieces of information are available to you at this very…

Categorization

There's no need to categorize ourselves. We're often too worried about who we are or in which box do we fit. That's irrelevant. We should…

Why I write and why you should too

Writing makes you think. It’s impossible to write without thinking at least a little bit. Everyone can share photos or text that others have…

Having vs. doing vs. being

There are three main levels of operating in this world.  Spiritually speaking, people at the lowest paradigm mostly care about having - they…

Self-sabotaging

Here’s the thing: our unconscious mind runs the show. Whatever is down, there affects us - and if it’s not dealt with, it runs our entire…

We’re all tyrants inside

We all judge other people in some way or another. Even if we don’t say anything out loud, in our heads, we still evaluate them by the way…

Nobody will save you

Follow instructions, shut up, do as you’re told, don’t stand out too much, don’t ask too many questions, use a blue ink pen, do not color…

Should we always be positive?

I think so. Being positive is not the same as being happy or feeling great. These are emotions. Being positive or negative is more of an…

The best writing app

Typora with the Newsprint theme. ’It’s the best writing program ’I’ve ever used - and ’I’ve tried a lot of them. I write all my blog posts…

If you don’t get what you want...

Many people get really angry or frustrated when they don’t get something they think they deserve. After all, the feeling of frustration is…

How to never run out of things to say?

I used to struggle a lot with being able to hold a conversation. I often “ran out of things to say.” Or rather, I actually ran out of…

Is competition good or bad?

Here are two ideas about competition.  First, there is the idea that competition puts producers under pressure to produce better products…

What's the alternative?

Some things just need to be done. We don't want to because that particular way might be uncomfortable but we know it's the only way. We…

Strive for better problems

Everyone wants to have a better life. A life without problems where everything is easy, and there are no struggles. This is impossible…

If you're not growing, you're dying

There is no middle. It can only be one or the other. You're either moving up (upward spiral) or you're going down (downward spiral). You can…

Don't lose your momentum

Momentum is one of the best things in life. It’s valuable, and if you don’t appreciate it enough, it will go away. Just like almost…

Not everyone will like you

We all have that need to be liked. Some more than others but nevertheless we all want people to not disapprove of us. In extreme cases, this…

Top photography tips from Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry (born 1950) is known mostly for his amazing portraits - especially for the famous “Afghan Girl” photo. He’s a member of Magnum…

We’re in the future

Everyone is constantly on their phones. People don’t say “hi” to each other, let alone know their neighbors. How crazy is that you don’t…

What is depression?

We tend associate negative emotions with something "bad" and positive emotions with "good." However, a better way to look at it would be try…

The "thank you" economy

I was having a small dinner at the Kou Xuan Pin Spicy Stinky Tofu restaurant - a restaurant like every other in Taipei night market. At…

Project Luxembourg

As some of you may know, I am based in Luxembourg - officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg ( Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg ). This is not the…

Art and imaginary drawn lines

People like to put art into boxes: “this is a painting, this is sculpture, this is photography, this is music, this is not, this is this…

On dreams

Step number 1: Write down what you really want to do in life. Step number 2: Watch Into the Wild. Let it sink in that the movie is based…

Fear of photographing mannequins

By “fear,” I mean more the “what do other people think of me?” type of thought process. Lately, I’ve been photographing a lot of inanimate…

What to photograph?

Here’s a thought: it’s not about what you photograph, it’s about how you photograph. We put so much emphasis on what is “worthy” to shoot…

The worth of pictures

Everyone has heard the old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It implies the notion that in some cases you can simply show the…

Art x self-development

I hope you're all having a great day so far. Some of you may be wondering why I write about topics such as productivity or about the…

On the importance of doing deep work

I’m not going on a long rant about social media and smartphones and how these things significantly inhibit our ability to focus on our work…

The hard thing about hard things

This is the title of Ben Horowitz’s book. The guy who built a company from scratch and then sold it for $1.65 billion . Although it is…

How to know if your photo is good?

I recently received an e-mail from a follower who asked me how to know if a photo is good enough to share it with others. It’s an excellent…

I need more information

The US intelligence services were highly criticized for not detecting the 9/11 attacks even though there were massive amounts of evidence of…

You are not your stories

“I’m a professional; I don’t do this; I don’t do that; I can’t do that; this is not me” are some of the thoughts we all have had. Our…

What do you find funny?

A couple of days ago on one evening I took a piece of paper and wrote on it: “What do I find funny?” I stared this piece of paper for…

Be turned on by your own work

I regularly look at some of my own photographs and re-read my own articles. Not because to evaluate or edit them but because I think they're…

3 tips for street portraits

Intro By no means am I good at portraits. I'm just learning, but there's a couple of things that I'm starting to understand. These don't…

Don’t be a sheep

This is the tendency I have noticed (and I’ve been guilty of this of course): we read or listen to what one person says in a video, book or…

5 tips on being more productive

Tip #1. Turn pro This is the term Steven Pressfield uses. What he means by turning pro is that we should take our work (art, writing…

Find your lane

This is a follow up to my article “Focus on your strengths.” There’s a couple of things I want to say from a different angle that…

External vs. internal metrics

I think the biggest issue with social media is not even that its mostly a waste of time and its addictiveness. The huge culprit of social…

Marketing lesson #8: email newsletter

As is true for so many things, the best time to have built your network was yesterday. The second best time is right now. Ryan Holiday, The…

Marketing lesson #4: use your real name

One of the best ideas I got from Erik Kim (besides owning your platform) is to use your real name. If you're an artist, using your real name…

Marketing lesson #2: be authentic

There’s a story of Isaac Asimov having great admiration for Carl Sagan and his books. This is what Asimov had to say of Sagan: “You are my…

Why artists need to market themselves?

So that, you the artist, wouldn’t starve to death. No, but seriously. Otherwise, you risk ending up like Vincent Van Gogh who (in the words…

The willpower myth

We tend to think that some people have stronger willpower than we do. If we give in on something, we simply blame it on our weak willpower…

Create urgency

We all have that thing we want to do, but we’re not doing them. I’m not talking about some to-do list. I’m talking about the big things…

There are no wrong choices

We are sometimes too quick to judge and categorize events as good or bad. E.g., you want to get a particular job in a certain city. You send…

Street photography is a social thing

Other than paparazzo’s hunting down celebrities, street photography may be the most controversial type of photography. There’s probably not…

You’re already awesome

We have this tendency to think we have to do XYZ to become good enough. Right now I suck, but if I get fit or become rich, then I’ve made it…

Crabs in a bucket

We want to fit in and that’s what we’re being told to do. We want to be different, but not to the extent that we stand out. Standing out…

Real artists ship

Steve Jobs said that. At least, it's attributed to him. There's a story concerning the shipping of Macintosh in 1984. The deadline was…

Stop theorizing, go test it yourself!

I'm find it almost always amusing when someone comments on some video or article that this or that wouldn't work. "Try this in my home town…

Focus on your strengths

You've probably heard about the famous 10 000 rule (popularized by Malcolm Gladwell). The idea is that if you practice the thing for 10 00…

Share your work

A lot of us want to make art and share it with others, but we also feel that something holds us back. Why is that and can we do something…

Hating is a luxury

One of my articles got recently published in PetaPixel , and as I read through some of the comments, I wanted to write about the commenting…

Input = output

The idea behind the title is this: the quality of your input, determines the quality of your output. I believe most of us want to make great…

Collaborative vs. competitive frames

When we are in an environment where we don't know anyone or most of the people, we tend to be in a competitive frame. It's us vs. the others…

Busy

We live in a world of too much. There’s so much going on all the time and so much to do. I remember, when I was a little kid, I was…

If you would be a machine

How much differently would you treat yourself? If you’d look at yourself from a third person’s view, would you keep yourself on the job you…

Simple formula for success

If there’s a formula for success, it would be this: simple actions + time = success. We often think that really successful people, got it by…

Everyone's a photographer until M

I see a lot of these “Everyone’s a photographer until M” T-shirts on Instagram. For those of you who don’t know, M stands for manual mode in…

Why it's bad to be result oriented

To be “goal oriented” is something you can see a lot e.g. in job advertisements. “We're looking for a goal oriented person ....” etc. I…

Stop this bad habit

Leonardo Da Vinci started his day by writing down the things he wanted to learn that day. Most people start their day by checking their…

On congruency

What is congruency? It's when your thoughts, words and actions are aligned. It basically means being yourself. You're not pretending to be…

Embrace chaos

I posted about this on Twitter as well a while ago and thought elaborating on it a bit further. Uncertainty = death Our brains want to have…

How to be an artist?

First, we need to understand the “what.” This is my understanding of art: It’s not just painting or writing. Art can be anything. Building a…

On being indispensable

Imagine 3 waiters. Two of them are excellent at their job. They are quick, don't mix up orders, are always on time etc. The third one is…

Kristjan Vingel