My yearly challenges

Since 2008 I’ve taken on a new challenge every year. I do them for three reasons: learn something new, meet new people, and get outside my comfort zone. My challenges range from intense physical experiments to year-long endeavors aiming to create a habit. Here’s a list of everything I’ve tried over the years:

2024: I've been a big fan of psychedelics for over a decade, and I'm a proponent of their use, under medical guidance, for therapeutic purposes. This year I plan to run a number n-of-1 experiments on myself with a few types of psychedelics substances I haven't tried before. I might blog about it.

2023: Last year I spent an average of 11 hours / day in front of a screen. This year I'm going off the grid, with no access to technology, for 40 days (10 days / quarter). Will be camping in a number of national parks in the US Q1 - Q3, and Nepal in Q4.

2022. I’m quitting alcohol for a year. Here’s why.

2021: I haven’t written code in a few years. This year I decided to try something new, so I’m learning Clojure, a fun and very well designed LISP dialect.

2020: Inspired by Nassim Taleb’s Antifragile, I’m working on creating more antifragility in my life. To identify areas of fragility, I’m spending 2020 documenting all the major mistakes I’ve made. My hypothesis is that I will find patterns emerging, and those patterns will shine a light on fragile areas I can improve.

2019: Meditate for 30 minutes every day, all year round. I’m also studying Charlie Munger’s mental models, with the goal of getting better at making decisions.

2018: Trained for a year to become an amateur boxer. It took me a while to get good at it, so I’m continuing in 2019.

2017: Set out to do 150 hours of meditation and 150 hours of yoga over the course of the year.

2016: Volunteered for a day / week with cancer-related charities and hospitals in Bucharest and London.

2015: Interviewed elderly people and asked them a set of ten questions about life. I posted some of the interviews on this blog.

2014: Trained my memory with a world memory champion for a year, in order to be able to remember anything. That was awesome.

2013: Tried to learn Mandarin. Failed miserably.

2012: Went to the gym every day for a year. This has become a habit and I now work out five days per week.

2011: I read a book per week for a year. That was awesome, and I’ve tried maintaining the same pace over the years.

2010: Lived in London for £300 / month for three months, rent included (didn’t pay rent, actually, I crashed on friends’ couches).

2009: My challenge for the year was to win Seedcamp with Brainient and move to London. I managed to do both.

2008: Slept for 2.5 hours / day for two months during a polyphasic sleeping experiment. That was hard.