Do the Opposite #61

New Home, The Shiny Object Syndrome, How to Get Your Brain to Focus, The Mystery of Amazon Rainforest

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Elephant in the Room: New Home

Do the Opposite newsletter has a new home! Don’t be alarmed by the fact that you’re getting this letter in a bit of a different form now.

As you know from the past week’s letter, TinyLetter, a platform I previously used, had issues with login functionality. That forced me to release a letter on GitHub on Monday last week before I could log in and send it out properly on Tuesday. I thought it was an isolated incident, but the same issue came back and plagued me all this week.

Now to the good news! We’ve switched to an amazing platform called Substack. What started as a forced move turned out to be a great thing. I am loving the functionality of the new platform and I hope you’ll love it too.

It’s easier to format, upload images and share. I was able to import all previous Do the Opposite posts from the archive to the new platform as well. See them here.

Now we also can discuss each letter in the comments! Let’s try it out!

🌟 What would you change in the DTO newsletter? What topics would you want it to cover in greater depth? Maybe you have an idea of a format change? Share your ideas in the comments to this post:

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P.S. I am still in the process of adapting to the new platform, so you might see some things are a bit off in various places. Consider it to be “under construction”. Let me know if there are any issues in email formatting of the letter as well! This feedback helps a lot!

Personal Update

I’ve started the #100DaysWithout Coffee and #100DaysOfPushups challenges last Friday! Here’s the tweet with the announcement - I’d love it if you joined me in these or any other #100DaysOfX challenge you are interested in attempting.

I’ve also finally went out for a run yesterday, for the first time since the COVID crisis started. It definitely improved my mood and today I am in a bit of pain after the exercise :) I’m planning to go for a run tomorrow, just need to push myself a little!


“The Shiny Object Syndrome: How to Stay Focused and Stop Getting Distracted” by Celestine Chua
I don’t know about you but I definitely suffer from this syndrome, in multiple aspects of my life: books, personal projects, hobbies, learning. I often have to give myself these little talks where I talk myself out of diving into yet another exciting topic and getting back to becoming better at what I already do. Celestine shares some great tips on how to avoid this trap.

“The New Normal” by Leo Babauta
2020 is definitely not what we expected it to be. COVID-19 has dramatically altered the lives of majority of people around the globe. At first we thought it was a temporary inconvenience and things will turn around quickly. Now, a couple of months in, with no end in sight, we must agree that these changed, adjusted lifestyle is our new normal. How can we cope and, dare I say, find benefits in our situation? Read this and find out.

“If You’re Just Not a Morning Person, Science Says You May Never Be” by Brian Resnick
I’m a night owl. I’ve always been that way. I find that I am most productive from 9PM to 1:30AM or so. Despite this, I often consider switching to an early morning schedule. The idea of working on my projects in the morning before I’ve had the time to lose focus and get tired is enticing. I’ve also noticed that if I go for a run in the morning, I am full of energy all day, and if I do that after work I just get more tired and sleepy for the whole evening. Articles like this don’t help me make a decision :)

I think the best way to go about it is to do an experiment: to challenge myself to wake up early for a while and see how that feels and how it affects my life. Experimentation is the best teacher.


“How to Get Your Brain to Focus” | Chris Bailey
How can we find focus in the world of endless pings, notifications and chatter we’ve created for ourselves? I think one way is to limit our access to technology, much like Chris has done in his experiment. Another way is to ruthlessly cut down on which apps and which people can steal your attention by having direct access to you at all times.

“The Amazon is a Colossal Mystery” | Graham Hancock on JRE
This video shocked me quite a bit. I had no idea people had ever lived in the Amazon Rainforest, but there is now proof that they did. I also love the approach that the scientists are taking to explore remains of ancient structures in the forests: they are using Lidar technology to map the ground surface, which means they don’t destroy the forest itself in the process.

“My Morning Workout Routine” | Matt D’Avella
How are you adapting to staying home and not being able to train the way you usually would? Most of us only have basic equipment and limited space for working out. Matt shares his adapted morning workout routine that we can try out!

Tweet of the Week



"It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped."
― Anthony Robbins

"Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something: they're trying to find someone who's going to make them feel good. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see your relationship as a place that you go to give, and not a place that you go to take."
― Anthony Robbins

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses."
― Henry Ford

"Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice."
― Henry Ford


I am building an app called Zerno ― if you join the waitlist, you’ll get early access to the app!

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There's also a YouTube channel with weekly videos on the same themes that are covered in this newsletter. Take a look at the channel here and let the ideas influence you into an improved and happier life!

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Keep doing the opposite,
Alex Kallaway