Clothes: Your Most Powerful Long Range Social Weapon

Picture a world where all the boys and girls are impeccably well dressed – Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother).

I used to be fashion-blind. I used to dress in jeans and a T-shirt. I didn’t know what a powerful tool clothes were.

We have many weapons we use to “win” people over: a good handshake, manners, a charming accent and so on.

But these are all short-distance “weapons”. You can’t shoot a handshake across the room. But you can transmit something of who you are over the air: your looks.

While some parts of your look, such as your face or height, do not speak of your personality because you are not able to control them (your expression does, however), the way you dress speaks volumes about you.

We are told not to judge a book by it’s cover, but covers contain some valuable information. When a book cover features a flying saucer on it, you assume it’s science-fiction, and when a woman is wearing a skirt that barely covers her bottom, you assume she’s a slut.

You can actually transmit any attribute of your personality through your clothes. Clothes can be just as “conservative”, “funny”, “different”, “innovative”, “sexy” and “outgoing” as you.

We don’t get to know most people we meet very well, so the first impression is extremely important. Clothes can do a lot in your favour before you ever open your mouth.

Personally, I don’t like clothes that are trendy (same way I usually don’t root for most trends of any kind). I prefer wearing classic items in solid colours with only one item -many times an accessory- that has a pattern. The classic clothes represent that I’m not a regular teenager -and more- and the patterned item that I’m even weirder: not a regular person in general.

But that’s only my general style. Each individual item has it’s own attributes and they combine together to send a message. If you don’t consciously form it, you may be sending the wrong message.

Steve Pavlina covers this extensively here and here.

Also, clothes can make you look great

One rule of thumb I use when buying clothes is that “if I look better naked, then I don’t take it”.

There are thousands of shirts, pants, skirts, ties, heels and jeans in the world. Why should you ever waste your time and money in something that doesn’t look absolutely stunning on you?

Also, you must wear clothes that fit. A girl tries on a shirt and her love handles are showing off awfully. Her friend points it out: “But I’m a size 4! The shirt I was wearing today was a 4!”. You may be one size for one designer and two sizes bigger for another. Or you may need to lose weight. Get over it. Buy what looks good on you, not what you think should look good.

Plus, wearing a suit makes any guy automatically twice as hot. Thousands of girls agree with me.

A suit brings instant memories of James Bond to a woman's head.

Also known as "The Bond Effect".

Not to mention, knowing you look great in your clean and nicely ironed clothes and that some of the best features or your personality are being shown is an absolute confidence boost. You feel ready to succeed.

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5 Reasons Why Procrastination Done Right is Good For You

What is procrastination done right? Procrastination done wrong is when you spend the time you should have spent working on that report feeling guilty for not working on that report. Procrastination done right is when you spend the time you should have spent working on that report relaxing and playing piano.  In other words, when you’ve got yourself some quality time.

1. It forces you to be creative

You’ve pushed the time you were going to start designing that brochure to the last possible minute. Now what? Now you’ve got to use all of your resources and even invent new ones out of the blue, pushing the borders of your creativity to new territory. You’ve got to really give your best, or you’re fucked.

Waiting until the last night to study for tests for all my high school years has forced me to come up with a whole new set of memory, reading and comprehension skills I could have never dreamt of. Some of them include the “10 minute intensive background research to get interested in the topic and learn the stuff fast” or the “30 second mind map in every class before the test hour”. I never go below a B and I remember what I learn for years (one thing that can’t be said of most students who memorize 2 hours a day), because the only way to learn something fast is to understand it.

Procrastination usually provides high-quality results.

2. It helps you build self-confidence

Do you know how good I feel when I get an A on a test? I feel like I’m the king of the world. All these people who obtained the same grade I did spent a lot time studying -probably just memorizing- and only improved in the five better-known study methods, which have little use outside school. Me? I’ve learnt to learn a little faster than yesterday. I feel great. I feel like I can do anything. When you do a month’s project in two hours and the result is brilliant, you feel like you’ve achieved the impossible.

3. It makes you happy and relaxed (95% of the time)

Imagine you have 5 hours to do a task. But you don’t feel like doing it. If you got to it and tried to finish it really fast, you couldn’t, because your only motivation to do so is that you are bored with it. You’ll probably spend 4-5 hours doing the task, with many, many ultra-short breaks to check your email, wash your hands for the 5th time and so on (in other words, procrastination done wrong).

Those four of five hours wouldn’t be much enjoyed. You probably would start stressing because you don’t feel like you’re advancing with the task.

But if you instead took four of those five hours and used them to do something you really want to do, such as playing your favourite musical instrument or reading a book, you would have got yourself some quality time to enjoy life and improve your skills. Now, back to the task. A 5 hour job in under 1? Now it’s a challenge! You’ll probably be stressed while you do it, but I think it’s worth to trade 5 hours of boredom for 1 hour of stress.

4. It teaches you to remain calmed and avoid stress

Many times, procrastinators stress about the tasks they have to do in such a short time, but realizing that they can accomplish things in a shorter time than others and do it well helps them remain calmed in most of other situations where people who don’t believe in the power of procrastination would break down screaming “two days! he wants us to do that in two days!”.

Also, there comes a moment in the life of every serial procrastinator when they realize that not stressing enough lead them to that situation, and stressing too much would only make them lose even more time, so they achieve the perfect stress balance: the state in which you get things done.

5. It saves you time

Indeed, the methods and techniques to finish stuff fast you learn while you procrastinate provide highly useful later in other tasks. For example, when I study something I’m interested about I am a much faster learner than I would be if I had not developed all those fast-learning tips and tricks.

Procrastination teaches you how to get things done fast, and well.

But remember! All these things only work if you are committed to deliver a high-quality product: if you don’t accept anything less than your best.

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My 2 Role Models

Felicia Day (Actress)


This gorgeous girl is not only a brilliant scriptwriter and a great actress but also a total maths nerd and video game geek. She holds two university degrees: mathematics and music performance.

Similarly to what I said about Captain Kirk from Star Trek, she proves that you can be smart, beautiful and creative at the same time. But she also is a girl, so she inspires me even more.

What I like about her is that she is an actress who starts projects of her own. She inspired me to write a play, and guess what? We represented it this year in my school. And that was the day I discovered I loved to be on stage.

She proves to be a great singer in Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which I highly recommend you watch. She is also the writer and main actress of the web series The Guild, which is about a group of MMO (Massive multiplayer online role-playing games) players.

I highly enjoy all of her performances and I want to grow up to be more like her.

Bertrand Piccard (Psychiatrist and Balloonist)


Piccard was, along with Brian Jones, the first to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the world. This amazed me because what people do mostly is to beat previous records. Few people are “firsts” these days, specially in something as old as ballooning!

He wants to repeat the adventure, but this time on solar-powered plane designed and constructed by his team. He says that this is to prove that we can rely on solar power for everything. That if we can fly one man around the world today, it’s just a matter of time to fly two hundred. And no one could ever say again that it is impossible to get rid of our dependency on fossil fuels.

The project is called Solar Impulse and dubbed “a great human adventure”. On the Solar Impulse website, you can read a fantastic Jules Verne quote: “All that is impossible remains to be achieved”.

It deeply inspires me that there are people like Bertrand Piccard in the world, innovating and pushing the human race forward. I sincerely hope he and his team succeed and prove their plane can work day and night on solar power.

Honouring the name of this blog, I’ve purchased their set of badges, or the “adventurer” package on their website (you can also personalize a solar cell or write your name on the plane). They’re awesome!

Check out his incredible talk on TED.

I want to be like him when I grow up. Actually, I’m getting a small craft pilot licence as soon as I’m old enough to do so.

But what’s the lesson you can learn from both? They do what they love. Unless you do what you love, you have zero chances of success. At least, of this kind of success: the kind that leaves a mark and inspires others to do the same.

If you are a parent, I encourage you to present this kind of people to your children as role models instead of what they usually get from TV: Hanna Montana, Lady Gaga, etc. It really makes a difference.

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Best Things I’ve Done: Learning A New Language.

Update! For an in-depth guide on getting started with languages, check out How To Become A Polyglot.

I first started learning English in school at the age of 6 and French at the age of 12, but I never became fluent in any of those languages until I finally understood the real benefits of speaking those languages.

The moment I realised I really wanted to become fluent in English was when I was watching Blade Runner in said language with Spanish subtitles and I understood one line they said, then read the subtitle line and said “but it’s not the same thing he said!”. In that moment I noticed that there are certain thoughts and messages that can only be expressed in one language. Every time I watch now a film in English with subtitles (when I watch it with someone else) I can see the subs say the same thing the characters say, but it’s not quite the same thing. Many deep levels of film lines are lost in translation.

But then it hit me even harder: “Wait. What about books? All my favourite books are in English!”. Now I really, really had to learn English.

The same thing happened to me with French. I wanted to read Jules Verne and many other writers as they originally intended their thoughts and words. I don’t want to risk missing anything. I don’t believe in translations any more. Lately, I’ve been thinking how great it would be to read Solaris in Polish. It’s one of my favourite novels so it might be worth it.

But there’s one more wonderful thing about foreign languages. It’s the moment you realize you can actually think in a different language. You have to experience that (it sounds like Also Sprach Zarathustra and it feels like awesome). no more translating word-by-word in your head before speaking. Now you are expressing yourself with a whole new set of words and even different rules. Along the lines of the previous idea, you are thinking differently. Such a great brain exercise, isn’t it? You may even be able to express ideas you couldn’t express before. The more languages you speak, the better you understand yourself. It’s like learning new vocabulary, but in a whole new level: learning new syntaxes.

Also, you feel like you understand something you previously didn’t. When you translate in a language word-by-word, you don’t quite think of it as anything more than a different set of words, but when you use it in your head, to think, it’s an eureka moment. That set of strange words and rules finally make sense.

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My Essential iPhone Apps

DoIt (Tomorrow) Free

I just love how simple and well-designed this app is. I’ve tried 2Do and Awesome Note and they were great, but I ended up not using them because of their complexity: it took me to long to do anything.

Here there’s no calendar, only today and tomorrow. As I write my appointments on the iPhone calendar anyway, that’s all I need. You can write your tasks for today and your tasks for tomorrow, and if you don’t want to do something today, you can easily procrastinate it by tapping the cute arrow on it’s right.

iBooks Free

I’m in love with the design of this app. Since I got iBooks I have read a book a week and haven’t paid a cent for it. There are thousands of free classics in there. Some of the books I’ve read are Great Expectations, Vanity Fair, The Mysterious Affair at Styles and Siddhartha.

It has an extensive dictionary so you can look up any word just by tapping it twice, and you can easily highlight and annotate passages in several colours (the highlighted sentence in the image is there to illustrate the point. Note that I do not consider the clerk opening the door of deep philosophical meaning or anything ;)).

GoalBook $1.99

Another app I love because of it’s simplicity. You write the goal, you cross it off when you achieve it. Allows you to set your motto at the app home screen. Mine is a Jules Verne quote: “All that is impossible remains to be achieved”.

It has many other functions like geo-tagging your goals, sharing them or adding pictures, but I don’t use any of them. I just add and delete when finished.

These are my goals: Two 30-day challenges, one long-term goal and the short-term future for my blog (about that one, a subscription would be much appreciated ;))

Amazon UK Free

It is from Amazon that all my films and film memorabilia come, so it’s great to have a quick access for when I want something.

I love it very much the way Amazon tells you to buy their stuff. A message can be seen when the shopping basket is empty that reads: “Your shopping basket lives to serve. Give it a purpose by filling it with books, DVDs, electronics and more”.

By the way, Amazon always nails it with the recommendations. Oh, Amazon, you are my favourite mega-store. I feel almost guilty for buying my eBooks from Apple.

There is a USA version too.

Advanced English Dictionary Free

Dictionary + thesaurus. Handy for non-native speakers like me. I like to discover new words and synonyms when I’m on the bus, train or waiting in a line.

It gives a definition, uses of the word in a sentence, antonyms, synonyms and related words. Tons of each.

I’ve found it better than many of it’s paid (and all it’s free) counterparts.

🙂

🙂

🙂

🙂 (don’t forget to be happy and smile!)

European Union Factbook Free

I’m an European Union lover and as with English, I use this app when I’m waiting in a line and such to discover new facts and figures about the EU countries.

It tells you about everything there is to know about a country: history, flag, borders, capitals, landmarks, climate, coastline, renewable water resources, natural hazards, population, birth rate, life expectancy, and hundreds of other things.

It also has a quiz.

You may say I’m weird but I like learning random obscure country trivia in my spare time 🙂

MyNetDiary Free

This app is amazing! It has every food on it’s database, even obscure Spanish food I thought nobody outside my city would know about! With MyNetDiary I’ve discovered that I used to eat way more than I should, and now I’m eating less and healthier. I’ve already lost 0.3 kilos in three days.

This app has many many functions (and many many more in the Pro version) but I only use it to input my weight, meals and exercise time. It tells me how much I should be eating and it reviews my daily intake of sodium, calcium and that stuff so I don’t overdo my diet and risk my health.

Tetris $2.99

This is my favourite iPhone game. The only downside is that it takes you through way too many menus before getting to play, but it takes less than 10 seconds anyway (I’m just a bit too impatient).

You can play the classical way or with variations, such as the one shown in the image, where you can collect and use several bonuses. You can start the game at any level, too.

Controlling the pieces is very easy, just move them around with your finger and tap to rotate them. The graphics are sleek and colourful.

IMDB Free

I’m a film geek and this app is my best companion. Helps me calm my mind when I can’t remember if Martin Landau was or wasn’t in that film.

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Skip the Unimportant

Yesterday it was almost four in the morning and I was arguing with my brain. I had experienced a lack of ideas in the last couple weeks but at that time my brain seemed to be on fire. I had gone to bed at twelve o’clock and since then thousands of ideas would had crossed my mind: blog posts, future planning, problem solutions, stories… all sorts of stuff.

But I wanted to sleep so badly I was yelling “shut up!” at my brain. It doesn’t usually obey me, and it didn’t that time either, so the only thing I could do was to pick up my iPhone and write everything down. I skipped summer English school today, but I think it was worth it. I learnt more English by reading Great Expectations this morning anyway.

I forgive myself at trying to shut up my brain in such an occasion because I was really sleepy. But we try to shut up our brains many times a day for the sake of routine. For example, some of my friends have high school as their top priority and will do every assignment, every day, without rationally thinking if said assignment will help them learn anything or if it’s the best way to use their time. It is a common belief that as school -or work- is important, everything related to school is important.

Sometimes there are things that are just not worth our time. In my case, the greatest example of this is English homework. The level of my high school English class is so below mine that I will not waste a single second of my life doing any homework unless it’s something where I can be creative and actually want to do for fun. And I will gladly accept a 9 over 10 in that class (although most teachers overlook the fact that I do not do homework and give me a 10 anyway) because I know my time was better spent painting or playing basket or whatever.

When I want to do something, like painting, when I should do something else, like homework, I ask myself how each activity will affect my future. I believe that painting when I’m inspired to paint will affect me much better than doing homework when I feel I should be painting. In other words, I procrastinate or skip “important” tasks altogether, and I do it without the slightest regret.

I even skip school sometimes, when I am deep involved in a project, such as building a robot or programming a game. I want all my time for that, and I know it’s worth it. I can always catch up on school later. Some people frighten when they do something like this, thinking they won’t be able to catch up, but I don’t. I know it will all be OK because I can handle it.

Sounds great, uh? To do what you want to do all the time, without causing any damage to your life. Here’s how you can do it too:

Detecting the Unimportant

Many TV shows have what we call “filler episodes”. They don’t advance the plot, they don’t develop the characters and they are boring to watch.

The “filler time” in your life is that you spend doing things that don’t give you any valuable skill, don’t help you grow and you don’t enjoy.

Analyse a typical day of yours (if you don’t have such a thing as a typical day, congratulations: you’re awesome) and try to find that filler time. In a typical school day of mine, a filler hour is English class because I don’t learn anything, I don’t grow and I don’t have fun there.

Then, do the same every night with the day that just finished and be aware of activities you repeat that have zero value to the “plot”.

Also, when you are about to do any activity longer than 15 minutes, allow a few seconds to decide if it’s filler time.

Deleting the Unimportant

Once you have identified your first filler, try to create some way you can transform this filler time into something more useful. If you are not obliged to do that, I suggest you drop that activity (or lack of activity) altogether. If you can’t do that, try to find a way to make it profitable and enjoyable. If you could delete even half an hour of filler time from your routine, that’s a major improvement. Common activities that can easily become filler time if you’re not careful are browsing the internet and watching TV.

Avoiding the Unimportant

Planning your day in advance is a great way to avoid this. Of course, you can do things that are not in the plan (having a day fully planned is the dullest of things, but having a plan ensures that when you don’t know what you do, your time won’t go to waste).

Another “trick” is to have a wide repertoire of activities you can get on fast. For example, I’ve trained myself to identify filler time very fast so I can stop myself from wasting my time mindlessly reading jokes on the internet that I will probably not remember the next day, but then I need to do something instead. My repertoire includes reading a book, writing a blog post, writing a speech on a random topic and so on.

Dealing With the Consequences

This is what seems to be the hardest part, but it really isn’t. While detecting the unimportant, you probably were smart enough not to classify things such as “buying food” and “going to the only meeting I have with my boss this year” as unimportant, so you can’t really get into much trouble. Each situation is different so it’s up to you how you handle it, but most of them can be solved by forgetting about them. After all, they’re not that important 😉

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5 Lessons From 5 Great Film Characters

Cosmo Brown (Singin’ in the Rain)

Now you could study Shakespeare and be quite an elite, and you could charm the critics and have nothing to eat, just slip on a banana peel the world’s at your feet! Make ’em laugh, make ’em laugh, make ’em laugh!

“Make ’em laugh” is effectively what I learnt from this character. I’ve discovered that a witty line can make a point, and a funny story can win an audience.

Maria (The Sound of Music)

Now children, Do Re Mi Fa So and so on are only the tools you use to build a song. Once you have these notes in your heads you can sing a million different tunes by mixing them up.

From Maria I learnt that there was much more to music that I previously thought. After watching this film, I listen to music in a completely different way. I appreciate music much more now, to the point of taking singing and piano lessons.

Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)

“Okay, pep talk! You can do this, but to be more accurate, you probably can’t. You’re way out of practice and she’s way too hot for you. So, remember, it’s not about scoring. It’s about believing you can do it, even though you probably can’t. Go get ’em, tiger!”

I love this quote because it reflects exactly how hard it is to explain to someone the power of confidence and positive thinking. It sounds like you are deluding yourself with a confidence overload, and in fact you are, but that’s the only way to unleash the power. If I had to pick only one thing to be successful, it’s this one. Believe in yourself.

Trip Tucker (Star Trek: Enterprise)

[about flying an alien vessel] How difficult can it be? Up, down, forward, reverse. I’ll figure it out.


Nothing is that complicated. This character made me change the way I look at things. You don’t have to focus on the problem and try to eliminate it, you have to focus on the purpose and find a way there. This may not look like it, but it was a major shift in my thinking triggered by an Enterprise episode when I was twelve.

Captain Kirk (Star Trek)

The prejudices people feel about each other disappear when they get to know each other.

The quote above has nothing to do with the lesson, but I like it. What I learnt from Captain Kirk (although it’s displayed by almost every character in the Star Trek franchise) is that you can be smart, athletic and many other things at the same time and it’s not only OK but preferred. I consider myself lucky to have learnt the importance of being well-rounded at an early age (I watched Star Trek for the first time when I was about eight) because I was able to break free from my maths nerd stereotype an enrich my life enormously.

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