The Top of my To-Do List

The Top of my To-Do List
By Ali Abdaal • Issue #117 • View online
Hey friends,
This week I stumbled across a fantastic, very short blog post from Paul Graham called The Top of My Todo List.
It references the famous book The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying. In no particular order, they’re:
  1. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
  2. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  3. I wish I had let myself be happier.
  4. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  5. I wish I’d kept in touch with my friends.
Here’s what our friend Paul has to say about these:
I would like to avoid making these mistakes. But how do you avoid mistakes you make by default? Ideally you transform your life so it has other defaults. But it may not be possible to do that completely. As long as these mistakes happen by default, you probably have to be reminded not to make them. So I inverted the 5 regrets, yielding a list of 5 commands which I then put at the top of the file I use as a todo list.
Don’t ignore your dreams; don’t work too much; say what you think; cultivate friendships; be happy.
As soon as I read this, I knew I had to follow suit. So I modified my Roam Research daily notes template (using Alfred). Here’s what today’s looked like.

My Roam Research daily notes template
My Roam Research daily notes template
Have a great week!
This Week On Not Overthinking
Not Overthinking is the weekly podcast hosted by me and my brother. If you enjoy these emails, you’ll hopefully like that too. You can listen on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherCastro (my favourite podcast app) or any other podcast app - just search for ‘Not Overthinking’. 
My Favourite Things This Week
Article - Although it was written in 2016, The Court of Values and the Bureau of Boringness is equally apt in 2020 and could easily have been written this year. It’s a long but thought provoking and entertaining piece that I recommend reading all the way through.
Podcast - Rolf Potts’ discussion about the importance of Mentors with Alex Banyan and Cal Fussman is a great conversation. But I’d recommend that you read The Third Door first, and then listen to Rolf’s episode with Alex (Episode 87) and then you’ll be able to appreciate the value in the original discussion.
Quote of the Week
Waiting to be happy limits our brain’s potential for success, whereas cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative, and productive, which drives performance upward.
From The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Resurfaced using Readwise.
Tweet of the Week
Ali Abdaal
If you struggle with reading, then just read whatever you like. Read whatever interests you. I started by reading Harry Potter repeatedly.
This Week's Videos
I'm Moving to America 🇺🇸 - Life Update
I'm Moving to America 🇺🇸 - Life Update
Why Motivation is a Myth
Why Motivation is a Myth
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Ali Abdaal
By Ali Abdaal

I’m Ali, a junior doctor, YouTuber and podcaster from Cambridge, UK. Every Sunday I write an email newsletter with some thoughts, life lessons and interesting articles I discovered on the internet that week.

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Ali Abdaal, Cambridge, UK.