How To Clear Your Mind And Become Present

Untitled Infographic (4)


That would be the one word I’d use to define my state of mind.

Constantly thinking about how to control the future and re-adjusting my direction based on the mistakes I made in the past.

I’ve  had a difficult time lately finding a balance between pushing myself enough and  self-acceptance. Finding a sense of “inner-peace”

as lame and cliché as that sounds.

I always seem to be (neurotically) striving towards an “end-goal”.

Trying to control something I have – in essence – no direct control over.

The pressure to overachieve leads to frustration, anxiety and a great deal of unwanted stress. This accompanied by the knowledge that you could – always – be doing better leads to dissatisfaction in your life.

How do we manage?


Acceptance Vs. Growth

You see, here’s the problem;

The more self-acceptance – The less desire you have to grow. You’re contented with your current state and become (imo) way too passive. When you take a look at Eckhart Tolle who’s never hurried, talks incredibly slow and seems almost lifeless – you’ll notice this is not the answer.

On the other hand;

The more you focus on growth and try to control the outcome – The more anxious and restless you get. You feel only as worthwhile as your latest achievement and can only feel at ease when you reach your (impossibly) high performance standards.

Which is never.

Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure. – Thomas Edison

It’s like dancing on a tightrope really.

How do we find a balance between too much woo-woo spirituality and actually getting shit done?

Here’s my take;

I believe it is a great idea to learn from the past by reflecting on it regularly (in a positive manner).

Additionally, I also believe it’s a great idea to set visual goals for the future based on where you want to go.

But from that point onward?

You should simply live in the now by focusing on the process/actions that’s required to get there. Become present to the moment and quiet your thoughts so you can get into a rhythmic work-flow.

Going forwards – but at ease.

  • Don’t try to change the past/dwell on it. You can only learn from it.
  • Don’t try to obsessively control the future (guilty) – you can’t. You can only control you own actions.

Here’s a nifty illustration I made on where your thoughts should be focused; slightly inclined towards the future.

become present grounded clear your mind meditation focus calm

Always looking for the next step to take – but no further than that.

(I agree – my info-graphic skills are truly amazing).

You can compare it to a flashlight that cuts through a thick layer of mist. You can only see what’s right in front of you and no further than that.

When you become detached from your past and present, your mind isn’t constantly spouting out bullshit about what people might be thinking, what consequences your actions might have or otherwise being reactive towards your environment.

You feel completely at ease with yourself and your life – peaceful, calm, serene.

You’ve probably already experienced such a state of mind already;

You are uninhibited, free-flowing, creative, you make better decisions and all that other good stuff. I believe disconnecting your thoughts from the past and the future is the “ideal state of mind” for your everyday life. 

By “sinking into your body” instead of being locked in your head you become the observer of your own life and detached from your thoughts. I call this state; “being grounded”

It seeps into nearly everything you do; Your voice, your body language, your eye contact, your decisions and so-forth. The full spectrum of your personality can come to the surface.

To illustrate what I mean, here’s some people who talk/live from a mentally grounded place;

See what I mean?

Solid eye contact, strong voice, humor, openness and honesty without being feared of opinions. Detached from present and future – calm.

It’s  the optimal state of mind I strive for daily; carrying yourself with effortless force.


How can you get into this state of mind?

Becoming Grounded

There’s something peculiar about this state and it feels amazing to be in. It makes you feel at ease with yourself and your life, unstifled in social situation, removed from judgments. There’s just so little thought bullshit passing trough your mind.

Everything feels kinda “sorted out”.

If you’re an over-thinker like myself you’ll probably recognize the value of becoming detached from your thoughts.

Here’s some ways I’m using to get into that state on a regular basis;

Brain dumping

Write down your thoughts to clear out your mental clutter. Something I’ve turned into a daily habit by journaling and writing on this blog.

Take out the mental trash.

become present grounded clear your mind meditation brain dumping


become present grounded clear your mind meditation

When you take time to pause your thoughts in the morning you carry that effect with you throughout the day.

Meditating makes me more open, relaxed and social as opposed to rigidly structured. Basically it’s a nice way to filter out the bullshit in your life and really become “present’ instead of being sad about the past or anxious about the future.

Try to focus on your breathing; 5 counts in – 5 hold – 5 out. Drink some tea whilst you’re at it and become an observer of your life. Remove all possible distractions (cell-phone, laptop, sounds, …) whilst you’re at it.

You can choose whether to close your eyes or not. I usually just do a blank stare at my dorm-wall for about 10 minutes and (try to) think about nothing.


There’s something about physical exercise that clears out your mind like nothing else. The rhythmic contractions of your muscles, the music, the endorphins flowing trough your veins.

Nothing is comparable really.

Pick up something cyclical/repetitive like weightlifting, cycling, running, swimming, walking, boxing and so-on.

Many types of exercise fit the bill.


become present grounded clear your mind meditation flow

We all have our unique activities in which we can “lose” our-self. The point in which we are totally immersed in the task at hand and where we lose track of time. Also referred to as “the zone”

From flow-moments we derive a high sense of satisfaction and emotional well-being. Everybody should have (at least) one of these. They are jobs/tasks that we enjoy for the mere sake of doing it, feeling competent at challenging work.

Flow can be found in many of your favorite activities; gardening, music, bowling, … .

I get this mainly from writing, weightlifting and cooking sometimes. Find a task you can empty your mind into.


Being grounded feels awesome – It allows you to be in “the flow of life. ”

One the one hand; strive towards your ideal self. If you’re fat, lazy, poor, socially handicapped you should feel bad about yourself. Passivity is self-destructive.

Self-acceptance for being less than you can be is not OK.

Strive towards becoming your best self, giving 100% at all times. But also, when you’re doing that, allow yourself to feel valuable

It’s OK (even mandatory) – to take some time in the morning to prospect on where you’re going in life, what kind of person you envision to be and what priorities you should complete that day.

It’s OK – To additionally reflect on your days at the end, to get better guidance for the future.

But from that point onward?

Allow yourself to clear your head of all the bullshit you’re telling yourself; meditate, write, exercise, find flow. Become detached from excessive thoughts which otherwise fuck up your life.

This way you’ll become at ease with who you are and where you’re going.

Not frantically working towards an end that you – ultimately – have no control over.

Self defined, Self directed, Self-supported.



Thanks for reading this short article on improving your state of mind. If you know anyone who would benefit from reading this article – be sure to throw him/her a link ;) Anyway; If you’re having some thoughts/suggestions on this article, be sure to leave those in the comment section below.

Take care & stay strong

– Simon

Note: A lot of the performance standards I have now are to compensate for the person (video game nerd) I used to be. Self-acceptance comes difficult sometimes.

NoteNote: These practices might not be sufficient to completely block out the constant stream of thoughts you’re having – but they’ll at least “turn down the volume” on the bullshit you’re telling yourself.

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The Ultimate Guide For Optimal Learning And Accelerating Your Life

SMART-Learning (1)

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” – Alvin Toffler


I’ve always hated learning in school. Hated it with a passion.

Math, Chemistry, Physics, …

Oh! and ESPECIALLY literacy. 


Reading? Me?

Not in a million years would I touch a book! Let alone like it…


It’s all I do practically.

In school I never saw how the things I was studying were going to benefit me – apart from “getting a degree” – and therefore associated learning with a waste of my time. But after quitting video games and getting my life back on track I realized the value in absorbing the knowledge of others.

It allows you to simulate the future and avoid mistakes others have made before. In this way you can “stand on the shoulders of giants” by tapping into the collective knowledge of great minds.

Yet we’ve never learned how to optimally absorb information. We’ve always skipped the “why” and the “how” to cram in the “what”.

In this post I’ll go over my most effective methods for storing information that will hyper-accelerate your life.

Let’s Go.


There’s three main parts to absorbing information optimally. These are

  • Acquisition (initial learning)
  • Retention (storing of the material in your long-term memory)
  • Recalling (utilizing what’s stored when appropriate)

I’ve developed for myself a method that I’ve compiled from several different sources to find a way in which I can combine these three ingredients.

In the model I’ll be presenting, they’re efficiently integrated

There’s 5 parts to this method;

  1. State
  2. Map
  3. Acquire
  4. Repeat
  5. Teach

I could’ve used other words but this acronym “SMART” will stick better in your mind and you’ll actually be able to remember it, especially if I throw in a fancy info-graphic like so;

SMART-Learning (1)

BOOM! – will stay in your head forever.

I know you love color ♥

Let’s not waste time and dive right into it, shall we?

1) State

The first thing you’ll want to check when you’re learning something new is how you’re feeling. Assessing your state before you do constructive work is key in absorbing the information optimally.

If you don’t feel alert, focused nor motivated to study the material – don’t even start.

You’ll get distracted, disoriented and otherwise fail to really retain the information.

Learning requires a lot of brain power so get a good nights rest and fix your diet before attempting a bit more mental challenging work.



Ask yourself the following questions

Alert & Focused?

  • Am I feeling awake & clear?
    Stay awake: Put on music, do 20 push-ups and drink four glasses of cold water. Not working? Take a power-nap & try again
  • Am I multitasking? -> Stop.
  • Are all controllable distractions removed?

Now that we’ve established some nice clean focus and have quit multitasking we’re able to start investing in the task at hand. Ask yourself the following;


  • How will I use this information to improve my life quality/move me closer to my goals?
  • What questions will this material answer?

You should have a reason for studying set material. Your brain won’t engage out of itself. We’re lazy, remember? This is exactly why you’ll need some solid reasons to justify this energy investment,

If you don’t, you shouldn’t engage in the activity.

Any activity that doesn’t enhance your life quality isn’t worth your time. – My Opinion


Clean focus? Check!
Distractions? Gone!
Motivation? Yup!

Last thing we need will be to set a;

Time limit & Reward?

  • How much time will I spend on this?
    Avoid expanding the work according to the time allotted (Parkinson’s Law) Focus on a time limit instead of a page count to avoid prioritizing speed over comprehension
  • Tie a tangible incentive to the activity(ies).
    Self-regulation is one of the best ways to sustain positive behavior. (I use south park episodes, warm bath, buying stuff, … . I’m sure you can figure something out.)

2) Map

Alright, part two!

Here you’ll “map out” where this piece of information will fit into your
“bigger picture”. Often we just dive right into the material without really knowing what we’re learning about. This makes us lose our overview of the material fairly quickly.

You can compare it to completing a puzzle. You’re working on the individual parts but don’t really have any idea of where to place them nor have any idea of what you’re working towards.

Don’t be clueless – you fool.


Skimming & Skipping

Start a book by reading the cover, back, contents, introduction chapter and the conclusion at the back. This way you’ll get a much better idea of what the book is about. Then proceed to mark the chapter(s) you estimate will answer the questions you’re having (see part 1)

Read these first – Skip the rest.

Who says you have to read a whole book?

We mostly think that by skipping we’re losing valuable information but much of it is just filler. Regular non-fiction books contain about 3-4 “gold nuggets”, but who would buy a 10-page book for only that right?

Some say to “speedread” books but I’ve found this to be largely ineffective. I’d use speedreading for skimming only.

It requires you to stop sub-vocalizing, stop regressing, don’t take notes and read as fast as possible. When you do these things comprehension simply goes to shit and you’ll rarely remember details that are applicable in your life nor will you be able to use the information in your daily life.

“I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia” – Woody Allen

Forming neural pathways (memorizing stuff) takes time to build. Synapses grow stronger by frequent usage and spreading in time. (Same reasons why “cramming” before tests is pointless in the long-run)

Alright, now we have our “big picture” time to see where this can be placed by


When you have the outline of the material you’ll have to categorize the information to improve recall.

You can compare it to an archive. All the information in your head normally stored by throwing it all on a pile together. Your finances are on top of your information on health, your skills are flowing into your knowledge on social life.

It’s a mess really.

Coding & Categorizing (1)

Categorizing means you’re not throwing them on a pile but stacking them neatly in categorized boxes so you’ll know where to look.

I personally use the “7 Areas Of Life” to create 7 different categories and matching sub-categories in Onenote. It’s a nifty piece of software that allows you to store images, text, drawings, excel sheets, audio, links, unicorns and whatnot.

It’s like a color coded infinite binder of epic proportions far outshining Evernote

Onenote epic

In this archive I try to find an “expert approach” (the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance) to my health, my relationships, my wealth, my legacy, my energy, my mindset and my learning to optimize my life quality.

I try to create a “blueprint” that’ll get me the life I want.

I highly recommend everyone to create their own archive. By organizing your information you’ll train your brain to map itself in different categories. This way it’s easily accessible, scalable and you can quickly retrieve information when you’re struggling with a problem.

It’s one of the best tools for learning I’ve found to date. (Thanks Ludvig)

Find what categories you can use to make your learning easier. You should know your categories thorough so you’ll never have to look long to find something you want to recall.

Mine currently looks like this;

I use it to;

  • Store my code of conduct (who I want to become)
  • Keep of list of habits I want to implement
  • Skills I want to learn
  • My workouts and diet plan
  • People I want to meet/stay in touch with and their emails
  • Reviews of books & books I want to read
  • List of new words
  • Subjects I’m studying
  • Scientific studies I can refer to during arguments (I call this category; “Proving people wrong”) ;)
  • Morning & evening ritual/weekly reflections
  • Dealing with emotions/recurring problems
  • Reminders
  • How to networks online and offline
  • Email templates
  • Bucket list and relaxing activities
  • New blogpost ideas2626.onenote_iphone_main

If you have a smart-phone you can even access your OneNote Archive on the go and review it during commuting, toilet breaks, waiting lines, sex, …


3) Acquire

Alright, now we’ve gotten everything in place.

It’s go-time.

Now is the time to focus down on the pre-selected chapters and read for comprehension whilst taking notes.

To improve recall even further we’re going to apply;


Code the things you learn by storing it in your memory in different forms, this will make it increasingly more memorable.



These are abbreviations formed from the initial components into a phrase or word.

For Example;

  • SWOT-Analysis, FBI, NATO, …
  • Remembering Notesbasslines


Most of us are visual learners yet rarely get the chances to use these capabilities in school yet our capacity for visual learning is near limitless. Be sure to include drawings and images that will help you memorize the material better. Create info-graphics, drawings, paint, whatever to illustrate your ideas. 

I”m really into Piktochart lately.

Memory Palace

Method of Loci or “Memory Palace” is a cool visual technique which uses familiar locations to anchor key material into your mind. In this video Jim Kwik will guide you trough the process of remembering the 10 most important factors for boosting brain power using this method (Starts at 12:30)


Use different colored markers whilst reading to code the things you’re learning. Make up your own code. When reading books I like to use yellow for key ideas, orange for new words, pink for quotes.

When taking notes I use pink for big headlines, green for sub-headlines, yellow for key ideas again and orange for new words.


These are used to associate information with concepts that are already known to you. I used the analogy of a color coded infinite binder a few paragraphs back to explain what OneNote can do for you.

It’s a figure of speech that directly equates two things (thanks Wikipedia)

For example;

  • “To grasp a concept” 
    You can’t physically touch a concept yet understanding something is hereby equated to “grasping it”


A great way to combine ALL these elements is by making Mindmaps by hand. Mindmapping is a visual diagram used to present information. You’ve probably seen/made some before.

Here’s a Mindmap about..  eh.. making Mindmaps;

There are also some software programs that can be used to create Mindmaps. The ones I’d recommend are;

It supposedly saves time compared to linear notes and is better at storing information since it mimics the natural association-like cobweb-patterns of our brain.

Honestly? I don’t use it often. But when in doubt; Do both. Just for repetitions sake.

Which brings me into the next part;

4) Repeat

Alright, what’s next?

Now you have this huge archive it’s time to distill the most practical advice in an organized, coded fashion in OneNote so all you need to do it to rehearse it regularly to keep it fresh in your mind.

Synapses grow stronger by frequent usage & spreading in time, remember?

Repetition is KEY!
Repetition is KEY!
Repetition is KEY!

I personally use a different section in my OneNote archive I call “Essence” in which I store all this practical information. I’m working on making it a habit to review this part weekly.

Use recall (simply look away and see what you remember) to test the practical information you’ve stored.


5) Teach

They say the best way to learn something is by teaching it to others. (Like I’m doing with this method)

I’ve found this to be more than true. Teaching forces you to truly understand and simplify what you’ve learned to pass on the knowledge.


Find out what your best learning style is and figure out how you can convey your message in an understandable way for the persons you’re teaching. Maybe even use a medium to share this on the internet?

I learn best individually by reading and taking notes and therefore I’ve picked up blogging.

  • You too? Start A Blog
  • Favor speaking? Go for YouTube
  • Better In Group? Join A Class

Just find a way to easily teach the things you’ve acquired to others and it’ll be stored permanently in your mind.

That’s it! That’s “all” you need to do.



Kudos for sticking in there! – quite a meaty article. But I’m sure it’ll benefit you a lot in the long-term.


What should you take away from this post?

  1. Define Your State
    • Are You Alert & Focused?
    • What’s Your Why? (Questions & Motivation)
    • Set A Time Limit & Incentive/Reward
  2. Map Your “Big Picture”
    • Skim & Skip (Speedreading)
    • Read Front, Back, Contents, Intro & Conclusion
    • Categorize In OneNote
  3. Acquire The Information
    • Prioritize Chapters
    • Code
    • Take Notes (Linear & MindMaps)
  4. Repeat The Essentials
    • Condense most practical
    • Review regularly
  5. Teach It To Others
    • Learning style


Let’s face it; school is pretty much done.

It’s dated, it’s ineffective and down-right useless besides some arbitrary skills. The methods used are far from optimal let alone specialized enough.

  • Information retention from schooling is negligible
  • Motivation to learning stops after graduation
  • Creative thought is discouraged, only regurgitation of impractical fluff

We haven’t become skilled, autonomous people but mindless fools.

Don’t be a mindless fool.

Self-education is the real trick to get your act together. It beats schooling in all areas: expertise, cost, speed, practicality, simplicity, …

We live in an information age where your brainpower is everything.

The way you manage your thoughts and the speed at which you learn will define the quality of your life. Discard the useless, acquire what’s practical and repeat until mastery.

If you’re not using your learning capabilities to your utmost capacity you’ll be left behind considerably, especially at the rate we’re advancing currently.

This method will help combat that and keep you at the top of your game

At. All. Times.

Stay strong & Take care,

– Simon



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