How to think using mind maps

When I graduated college, I did what everyone else did.

Get a job, go to work daily, come home, eat, rinse, and repeat.

However, after I was laid off for the second time, I realized I needed to change.

So I quit my job, turned down offers including Amazon, and went backpacking.

It was during this period of my life I learned about mind maps.

TLDR: Mind maps are life-changing. They will force you to think deep.

What I learned from mind maps wasn’t about pretty visuals or a wall of text.


It was about how to think.

Sounds silly, right?

And you’re probably thinking to yourself now, “But I already know how to think.”

I thought so too.

That all changed when I discovered that real thinking manifests when we sit down and think.

Truly think about the thing we’re doing.

Let’s use an example:

What do I do with my life?

Reasonable question.

Let me ask, how did you answer it?

Did you have an answer?

If yes, great!

If no, no worries. (This question is HARD for anyone.)

Now let’s try answering using the mind map framework.

Okay, we got some clarity now.

We’ve broken it down into short-term (less than 1 year) and long-term (more than 1 year) timelines.

Let’s go deeper.

Awesome! Now we’ve isolated our thinking to “Goals” and by category (Personal vs. Professional).

Let’s go one level deeper.

Now that’s specific. 👊

By doing this exercise, you’re clearly articulating what you want, when you want it, with whom you want to do it, etc.

Your thinking has gone 3 levels deep vs. the 1 level we had initially.

How’s that for deep thinking?

Let’s try one more exercise that I love doing and do every week.

A mind map for our life as a whole.

Doing this mind map exercise will unveil so much about yourself.

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Passions
  • Interests
  • Goals
  • Ambitions

The list goes on.

A mind map is ultimately a way of thinking.

A way of being able to consolidate your brain in one place to make sense of this crazy thing called life.

Now go give it a try.

Map out your life, goals, ambitions, and so on.

And when you’re done, let me know how it went!

Would love to hear about it.

Chat soon! 👊

The passion for learning

I’ve always been a curious person growing up.

When I was little, I would stare up at the stars and wonder what those things were.

“How do I get there? Can I touch it? How far away are those stars?”

My mind was filled with imagination.

I wanted to learn how this life worked.

Going through high school and college

In my high school days, I was learning but honestly, it was mostly memorization.

I was struggling with home life, so I barely had time to think about school.

I did enough to study, get decent grades, and apply to college.

However, the real learning began in college.

In fact, I had no choice.

It was do or die for me at that period in time.

I had just lost my father, and I had no other family.

In my mind, I HAD to get a job. I HAD to make money.

I HAD to survive at all costs.

And the only way I could achieve that was by studying.

More importantly, learning everything.

So for the next 4 years, I studied feverishly. All day, every day, while at work, eating dinner, hanging with friends.

In my mind, I had ZERO doubt that was what I NEEDED to do.

I worked multiple jobs, studied all day, dreamed about how I would be successful.

I thought about how things would get easier.

I visualized it every day.

How I developed a passion for learning

Learning is a process.

Learning is a habit.

Learning is dedication.

Learning is a way of thinking.

I understood immediately that the only way I was going to survive was to level up.

I NEEDED to be smarter. I NEEDED more knowledge. I NEEDED to understand what was happening.

This, in turn, changed everything.

I started loving studying because I was learning how things worked.

From science to finance to greek mythology, I enjoyed it. Some classes less so of course 😅

But overall, I learned to enjoy the process.

I was able to make SENSE of what I was learning.

I also found that I LOVED helping and teaching others, which I still do to this day.

When you find a way to be curious and wonder how things became the way they are, that’s where true learning emerges.

You begin to enjoy the fine details.

Steve Jobs was like this.

Questions to think about to build your learning passion

The truth is we all live busy lives, so taking the time to learn can be challenging. However, it can achieved.

Start with one fundamental question, “Do I want to learn?”

We can’t begin to learn anything if we don’t have the desire to.

So ask these questions and see how you feel:

  • Do I want to learn that new skill?
  • Do I want to learn about that new job?
  • Do I want to try out that new sport?
  • Do I want to be better?

Having a desire is the first step towards the path of learning.

Enjoy the journey and process

Like everything in life, learning is a process. It’s a journey.

Learn to love it.

Learn to love every minute of it.

Things take time.

But when you do achieve something new as a result of spending time to learn, you feel amazing.

To this day, I learn everything.

I keep an open-mind to all perspectives.

I love hearing what people have to say, whether I agree or not.

So there you have it.

Keep learning, keep growing, and most importantly, have fun.

Life’s short, kick ass, and spend it with people you love.


Curiosity is an unfair advantage.

Curiosity is an unfair advantage.

Curiosity will encourage you to take bold actions, start new projects, and force you out of your comfort zone.

Go back to the last time you truly asked questions about life, your career, your relationships, etc.

At some point, we lost our curiosity of the world.

Be bold, be fearless, embrace life.

Be curious.

Be daring and live the life you want and desire.

No one – and I mean no one – can say otherwise.

Be curious, stay curious.

Be 100% authentic with your true self

The only way to live a full, true, happy life is to be 100%, fully authentic to your true self.

What does that mean?

It means being yourself even when no one is around to watch you.

Life is short.

Time is valuable.

Spend it graciously and abundantly with people you care about.

Protect your time.

Be authentic.

Be yourself.

How to create your 2022 goals

2022 is here.

365 days have passed.

It’s time to set some goals.

Instead of New Year Resolutions, focus on themes.

These themes should be so powerful that you innately tackle your goals every day without having to think.

You may be thinking, “What does that even mean AND how do I create my goals as you mentioned?”

Let’s jump right in.

Create Goals tied to Themes

Every new year, we create resolutions.

Some include losing weight, sleeping earlier, lifting more, etc.

The issue with this is there are no powerful motivators for us to start.

What do I mean?

Let’s start with losing weight.

  • How much weight do you want to lose?
  • How will will you lose the weight?
  • How often will you do the thing to lose weight?
  • WHY do you want to lose weight?
  • Is the reason powerful and strong enough that you do the thing every day/week to lose weight?

These questions are important.

Ultimately, you need themes.

Themes are things that characterize and personify who you are.

Repeat – who YOU are.

Not what anyone else thinks.

Some examples include:

  • Lose weight live a healthier lifestyle and be there for my kids
  • Lose weight to improve overall health and reduce trips to the doctor’s office
  • Lose weight to be more active and have a sharper mind

So instead of creating goals that are vague and bland, focus on themes.

How to create theme-based goals

First, to achieve any goal you have to have a system and process in place.

For example, I use Notion to create my goals.

Then I create a Clickup weekly recurring task to review and analyze my goals.

I do this every week, no questions asked.

Here is my current 2022 goals:

My 2022 goals in Notion

On top are my themes; below are my goals.

When creating your themes, think about what’s most important to you.

What truly matters to you.

For me, being healthy and passing down my heritage to my family is important.

Once you’ve created your goals, review and assess.

Review your goals

This is straightforward.

Review your goals frequently.

Set up a recurring task to review your goals.

I like to deep dive every month for an hour.

I also track my time using Toggl, which provides me with monthly reports to see if I’m doing the things that get me closer to my goals.

It’s important to complete this step; otherwise, December rolls around and another year of not achieving your goals.

None of us want that.

So review frequently, ask the hard questions, and embrace the wins.

Parting Thoughts

Create goals tied to themes.

Make these themes powerful and specific to you.

In some sense, these goals should make you angry.


Because you’ll be more likely to tackle them.

For me, being healthy is incredibly important because I want to be able to play with my family.

If I don’t take care of my body, I can’t do this.

And it makes me angry.

So I hope this helped you.

Let me know your thoughts and what your 2022 goals are.


How I Push Myself To Do Uncomfortable Things

Uncertainty is inevitable.

Fear is inevitable.

We all experience it.

But how we deal with it is a different story.

After trying and experimenting many different things over my 3 decades here on Earth, here’s what I have learned.

Are you proud of what you’ve done?

Is this who I am? Someone who doesn’t take action?

Those two phrases power me every day.

Whenever I face a difficult challenge, I ask those things.

Cold email, networking, jumping on a call, podcast, etc.

They all scared me.

BJJ, MMA, boxing, wrestling.

I’ve done these for over 20 years.

I’m still scared.

But the trick is, I ask those two questions mentioned above to get me fired up.

Is this just me?

The thing is this.

We all CAN change.

It comes down to a choice.

What choice will you make?

Remember this: whatever’s happened in the past is the past.

You CAN change.

Take action.

Be fearless.

Live without regrets.

Don’t be that person

“You’re never going to change.”

“That isn’t you.”

“We’ve been together 20 years. Don’t bother.”

“You say you want to do. But you won’t.”

“You don’t have confidence.”

Please don’t do this.

  • Don’t discourage people.
  • Don’t kill someone’s dreams.
  • Don’t put people down.
  • Don’t place insecurity onto others.

Instead, do this.

  • Be encouraging
  • Be loving
  • Be supportive
  • Be open-minded
  • Be creative
  • Be a partner
  • Be loyal
  • Be a fighter
  • Be hopeful

Be positive vs. negative.

Be supportive vs. unsupportive.

Be hopeful vs. pessimistic.

Be loving vs. uncaring.

Be open-minded vs. close-minded.

Here’s the thing.

The world is your oyster.

You never know what can happen.

So why not choose the path to happiness and exploration.

That’s how to live.

An ounce of happiness

Everything means nothing when all is gone.

You won’t take your cars, your houses, your money to your grave.

Your status games, your desire to show off, your need to please.

None of it matters.

So focus on what makes you happy.

Maybe it’s taking a walk outside at night.

Maybe it’s tinkering with toys.

Maybe it’s a hot meal out near the beach.

Whatever it is, do that.

Be happy.

In a world where social media reigns supreme and everyone is trying to go viral, stick to what makes you happy.

Sanity is nice.

Forget your pride

Yes. You heard that right.

Forget your pride.

Forget trying to be right.

Forget trying to always be number 1.

Forget trying to stomp all over everyone.

Forget trying to prove everything to everyone.

Forget being miserable.

Forget being prideful.

When all’s said and done, and the ashes have cleared, only the people who truly matter will remain.

When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Forget your pride.

Let them know how much you love them.

Don’t wait.

Don’t let your pride sink in.

Just let the words out.

Be grateful.

Time is limited.

Time is precious.

This is our one life.

Our one and only life.

The Grind.

*Originally posted back in May 7, 2017 after leaving my corporate job

What is the “grind”?

My definition of the “grind” is the ability, determination, and willingness to push through an obstacle, despite the unnerving challenges ahead.

This can be working hard at your job to finish a project deadline, working through the Nth hour on your small business, or even anxiously pummeling your way to complete your last set of push-ups.

As a wrestler and lifelong martial artist, I’ve sustained numerous injuries, puked my share of times after practice, and generally felt like giving up.

But I would always recall the “grind”.

How could I look at myself and just quit?

How could I allow myself to just stop when the going got tough?

I can’t.

To grind through tough circumstances is what develops character, strength, heart, and dedication.

It can be hard though.

Fear, rejection, and anxiety. We all face it.

But what’s important is to remember we will endure it.

We will get past it.

You can grind through the pain.

And remember, when you do, cherish every moment.

Soak it all in.

You earned it.

Because when you take a step back, you tell yourself, “I did this. On my own”.

Grind through the circumstances.

Grind through the challenges and obstacles that lie up ahead.

You’ll be proud of yourself for having done so.

Your Belief In You

*This was originally posted on May 13, 2017

By Les Brown

“I can’t do this.”

“I’ve never done this before.”

“Why does it matter. I’ll fail anyways.”

How many times have you or someone else you know said this?

I know I have.

I’ve passed up on many opportunities due to the lack of self-belief.

But why do we think this way?

Growing up, I’ve had to be my own champion.

I had to pump myself up before big events, whether it was interviewing for a new job or competing in a grappling tournament. Rarely did I have someone nearby to say, “You can do this. Believe in yourself.”

Rather, the opposite and would go something to the effect of, “You could get hurt! Why bother? It’s a waste of time!”

I remember those moments. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get those words out of my head.

Now older, I believe more than ever we need to be our own champions.

We need to tell ourselves that it’s possible, that we have the ability to mold our circumstances, that we have to be intrinsically motivated.

We need to fight for what we want in this life.

I remember the first time I stepped into the cage for my MMA debut.

It was easily the most nerving moment of my life. I mean, I was about to step into a cage, in front of hundreds of strangers, with another man who wanted to hurt me.

I was ready to face the very real possibility that I could have my arm snapped off or be knocked unconscious. Publicly, no less.

But I also believed in myself I was ready. Why?

I had completed an eight-week training camp, sparring week in and week out with the best training partners and having the best coaches around.

I knew I prepared the best I could. I was training twice a day, 6 days a week for my fight.

I knew in my heart that regardless of the outcome, I put in the hard work and dedication. I believed in myself.

Thankfully, the result was positive. I won.

With all that said, believe in yourself.

Believe in yourself when no one else will.

We’re our own worst enemies, and more importantly, our own strongest advocates.

It’s amazing what humans can achieve when we believe in ourselves.

Remember, time flies and days become months, months become years.

Whatever is on our minds that we want to achieve, take the first step. Just take an action.

You won’t regret it.

How The Anchor Effect Can Lift You Through Tough Times

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

Many times in our lives we’ll face extremely difficult, almost impossible challenges.

Oftentimes, they happen randomly and unexpectedly.

You’re not prepared for them.

However, time and time again we’re able to face these challenges head-on.

Successfully or not, we get through them.

Let me share with you what I term the “Anchor Effect” and how it has helped me time and time again throughout my life.

What is the Anchor Effect?

Let’s start with how Wikipedia defines it.

“The anchoring effect is a cognitive bias whereby an individual’s decisions are influenced by a particular reference point or ‘anchor’. Once the value of the anchor is set, subsequent arguments, estimates, etc. made by an individual may change from what they would have otherwise been without the anchor.”


In simple terms, our decisions are based on some previous experience we’ve had.

This is where my definition of the “Anchor Effect” comes into play for maximum, positive impacts.

I define it as “the ability to overcome inhumane, giant obstacles or challenges by leveraging past difficult experiences”.

Said another way, when you face a hard problem or challenging task anchor it on a previous hard experience.

How You Can Use The Anchor Effect To Lift You

Take a step back.

Breathe in.

Recollect all your challenging moments in life.

Remember what you felt in those moments: despair, disappointed, anxious, fearful.

Recall how, despite those emotions, you managed through.

Now let those moments be your guiding light for any difficult choices, decisions, or challenges up ahead.

Doing hard things becomes easier.

Because you’re allowing yourself to embrace fear, to embrace the difficult that lies ahead.

It’s only through these moments we truly find ourselves and what we’re capable of.

When you’re faced with these moments, write them down.

For example:

  • Create simple google spreadsheet
  • Write list of challenging experiences
  • Date each experience to reflect on
  • List how you managed through them and the impacts they had on you
  • Review periodically

This will be your “bible” when you face difficult challenges.

Your fears, your doubts, they won’t seem so big because you’ll be able to anchor them on your previous experiences.

My Personal Story

The “Anchor Effect” has been a big part of my life.

15 years ago, I was left homeless, penniless, and without family.

To be honest, I still don’t know how I managed to get through those times.

But deep down, I knew I would not quit.

Deep down, I knew I was a fighter. I was meant to fight through this.

Fast forward, being able to recall those tough experiences ultimately toughened me.

I learned to embrace fear head-on, to tackle the impossible, and to try new things.

The Anchor Effect is powerful.

It will make you do things you never thought imaginable.


So when you face life’s toughest moments (which will be many), refer back to the “Anchor Effect”.

Let it be your compass.

Know that you will get through these challenging moments.

That you will become stronger and more powerful from it.

Let those moments define you vs. breaking you.

Become a better version of yourself for it.

To my friends I’ve met throughout the US and the world, you inspire me.

It’s because of you I wrote this. I’m grateful we’ve had the chance to connect.

I’m reminded we’re not alone.

Stay strong.

Embrace the grind.

Regain your childlike wonder

“You have to say, ‘Wait a second. Why are we doing it this way? Could it be better? Could it be different?’ That kind of curiosity, that explorer’s mind, that childlike wonder – that’s what makes an inventor.”

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon

We all were excited at one point in our lives.

Foods, bugs, stars, movie stars, teachers, athletes.

But as time went on, we lose a piece of ourselves.

Things we used to love no longer seem as enjoyable.

Days, when we were giddy to get outside, are now filled with the desire to sleep in all day.

It all happens gradually. You don’t even notice it.

What happened?

We lost our childlike wonder.

It wasn’t one specific event.

It was more than likely an accumulation of events: work, family, responsibilities, failures, and disasters that pushed our excitement to the side.


How I lost my curiosity and wonderment

This isn’t a how-to guide nor the best way or method.

No. Rather, this is how it’s worked for me.

I hope it may bring inspiration to you.

10 years ago, I was lost.

I worked 10-12 hour days, grinding out financial reports and stressed out of my mind.

I told myself, “Okay, one day I’ll get to that (thing/movie/activity).”

One day became two, two became weeks, then turned months into years.

I stopped caring.

I wasn’t curious anymore.

I couldn’t see beyond what was in front of me: work.

Then, in 2012 I had this moment.

I wanted more. I wanted more from life.

That night would forever change my mindset. It would bring me back to my college days.

The days when I was hungry to learn, excited to try new things and get out of my comfort zone.

Here’s how I regained my childlike wonder

See this kid above here? He’s curious. He’s wondering, “What is this?”

I realized in 2012 I wasn’t curious anymore.

It would eventually be the spark I needed to live my life. To fully own up to it.

I would go on to learn MMA, tackle new projects at work, get married, and travel.

Then, in 2017 I quit my job and turned down an offer from Amazon.

My childlike wonder had me asking, “What do I want to do with my life that I’ve been afraid of?”

In 2018 after returning from a life-changing backpacking experience, I decided I would venture into the world of entrepreneurship.

Little did I know this would be what I was searching for in my professional life.

Admittedly, in my jobs, I would constantly end up doing side projects not related to my job at hand. Hey, I was bored. I wanted more, and I didn’t feel compelled I needed permission.

(P.s. I highly recommend this. You’ll learn a ton. And you’ll learn to be self-sufficient and to think for yourself.)

In the past 3 years since turning down that Amazon offer, my curiosity and childlike wonder has skyrocketed.

I question everything. I find excitement in almost everything. And even when I don’t, I ask so I can learn more.

The best part? I’m not alone.

I found communities that feel the same exact way.

  • What’s no code?
  • What’s marketing? Growth hacking?
  • What is lead generation?
  • What’s a newsletter?
  • What’s a podcast? Which ones are best?
  • How do you buy a company? Wait, you can make money doing what?

So many questions!

But I love it. Absolutely love it.

Parting Thoughts

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I get that sense of childlike wonder?”

It’s quite easy.

Be curious. Have a desire to learn. Ask questions. Be “in the moment”.

Tell yourself, “I want to learn. I want more in this life.”

I’ll never forget Jeff Bezos regret minimization quote:

I knew that when I was 80 I was not going to regret having tried this. I was not going to regret trying to participate in this thing called the Internet that I thought was going to be a really big deal. I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not ever having tried.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder

His quote always stood out to me above the rest.

I could be 80, on my deathbed, telling myself, “Why didn’t I go for it….”

When you start looking at it that way, chasing your dreams becomes less scary.

So I’ll end with this.

Be excited, Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Be grateful.

Have a sense of childlike wonder.

Tonight, stare up at the stars.

And ask yourself, “What will I regret?”

Focus on what matters to you

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”

Focus on what you can control.

Focus on what you can take action on.

Focus on the people that you care about.

Focus on what matters to you.

Focus on your priorities.

Focus on what makes you happy.

Whatever your focus is, embrace it and go for it.

There’s 24 hours a day, and every second is ticking away.

Try not to allow negative people sway you from your dreams.

Be positive, be around positive people, and be around supportive people.

Whatever it is you do, be proud and go for it.

Focus on a direction, make a choice, and push forward.

Kick Ass Letters is live!

Kick Ass Letters

Finally, I’ve officially launched Kick Ass Letters, a crowdsourced weekly email challenge series to help people take action towards self-growth and personal development.

I decided to create this project for many reasons, but the main one was to ultimately help people who may be struggling to find motivation and purpose in life.


Because this was me.

It wasn’t until I made a choice back in 2017 to quit my job and backpack Southeast Asia that I felt alive again. I felt like I could do something that was beyond being a corporate drone.

I also decided to create this project because I understand what it’s like to be depressed and sad feeling unfulfilled.

I lived many, many years in depression and sadness after the loss of both parents and a younger sister. I never opened up about this to friends because I always felt like a burden.

That’s another reason I created this project.


I wanted to create something special for others to learn, grow and perhaps even make friends.

Life’s just too fucking short to live in anger, sadness and political bullshit.

So my hope and goal with Kick Ass Letters is to make people feel alive again and live with a sense of purpose.

But I’m also aware many won’t understand or come along with this journey.

And that’s okay.

I hope in time more and more people will join this movement.

The world has seen enough suffering, and I hope we can all fight together and embrace each other.

Yes, I’m an optimist.

In fact, I consider myself an optimistic nihilist. ?

If life doesn’t matter and no one cares, then why not do what we want to do without hurting others.

That’s my approach at least.

Anyways, I hope you will join me with Kick Ass Letters.

I hope you will be part of this movement.

I hope we can do this together.

Most importantly, I hope we can live our best lives, be happy and show our love to the people who matter most to us.

Till next time ?