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Public Commitment 2024

Theme: Lucidity

“Life is a game and you are the player. As you master the game, so you also create it.” – Jay Woodman

There is no ultimate truth, no one thing we can say with 100% certainty. One way to interpret this is to be nihilistic and announce defeat, to live a life full of vice and regret. I choose to accept the challenge and try to get as close as possible to living a lucid life as possible.

This doesn’t mean I will become a full-time meditator or that I will rescind my worldly belongings. No, it signifies a focus on getting to the bottom of things, not taking lazy explanations for an answer, and challenging assumptions.

In a way, it’s also challenging my status quo of getting outside the current habits and replacing them with even more helpful ones (or conversely stopping some habits). Like last year’s theme, ‘expansion’, becoming more lucid also means pruning what doesn’t serve me.

Throughout the different life areas, I aim to reflect the theme in its various aspects (heck, this framework is a thing that provides me with clarity every month/quarter/year). The objective is the overarching direction for the life area. The key results are the concrete outcomes I hope to achieve in the next quarter (unless otherwise indicated).

House

Objective (O): Make the garden unambiguously green and lively

Key Result (KR1): Rework section between house and cabin

KR2: Build a compost heap

KR3: Add more hens

The house is pretty much finished. On the inside, I’ve built most of the things I want to build, and further improvements will likely not come in 2024. On the outside, some painting needs to be done, which might be in Q1 or, more likely, in Q2, which leaves our attention on the garden.

Here, we want to transform the already green garden to be even more lively (a bit wild) and with a lot of space for gardening (in the greenhouse and vegetable garden boxes). We will start with the area between the house and the cabin and work from there. This includes removing more tiles, probably adding garden boxes, etc.

For a few months, we have had chickens; alas, there are only three and two of them are roosters. So we will have to do some reorganising and finding more hens.

Finances

O: Earn twice as much as I’m spending

KR1: Keep track of finances every week

KR2: Earn as much from Blossom as from Queal

KR3: Lotte earns as much from FLO as from her regular job

During the last few months, I’ve been very diligent in tracking my expenses and have had the good fortune of being able to work more on consulting projects for Blossom that have brought in additional income.

I expect the work and income to expand in the coming months, and I aim to earn twice as much as I’m spending on regular expenses (e.g. this doesn’t include costs for the wedding). One underlying (but not Q1) goal is to pay 10% of the mortgage yearly.

I’ve also put Lotte here, as I want to help her achieve freedom from her day job and will devote a part of my time towards the promotion of FLO coaching (to get clients for her).

Flotte

O: Continue unblurring who the other person is

KR1: Have one day in the week for each other

KR2: Become business partners

KR3: Prep all big things for the wedding

We were away for full weekends when we first moved into the new house. We have toned this back to one day in the weekend, so we have time to continue building our relationship (and work in the garden).

Another part of the relationship, which is relatively underdeveloped, is our working together as business partners. Although I like to believe that I’m lucid in my communications, I also know that I can be terse and push for my way (or the highway). Lotte is a great therapist (and coach) but lacks the nearly decade of business experience I have. So, it will also be a good challenge to work – and learn – together as business partners.

Relationships

O: Maintain quality relationships

KR1: See friends at least every two weeks

KR2: Message with friends during morning cardio

Unlike last year, I feel less need to meet new people in my areas of interest (although I continue to do this via work). I’m also very happy with our neighbours in Anna Paulowna (AP) and see this as a great addition to my social life (as you also hang out more with people older/younger than your normal bubble).

I made a goal of calling friends when walking Max but living in AP there is just too much wind to do this reasonably. So, my experiment for Q1 is to message a few friends each time I’m doing (morning) cardio.

FW.com / Brand

O: Build a personal brand

KR1: Publish a piece of content for every day (average)

KR2: Publish one piece of significant original work each week (>1000 words or equivalent)

KR3: Publish a transformative piece of work every quarter (e.g. interactive site or course)

A recurring theme on a business podcast I listen to is the power of brand. It’s the difference between why someone would pay $5 or $500 for a t-shirt. In a world of commodification, brand is the thing that enables the gap between costs and price.

At the start of last year, I revamped this site and laid the groundwork for building my brand. But this site (which will see more activity than before) is not the only thing that defines my brand. My brand is me showing up to work, delivering results, spreading information, etc. It’s the culmination of all that I do, and it’s something I can share in a more thoughtful (you might even say, ‘lucid’) way.

The different key results here reflect my ambition to communicate with some volume (every day, something on average) and also to build towards more substantive pieces of content that I can uniquely make. About every quarter, I hope to bring everything together into something more significant (e.g. a map of where psychedelic research occurs).

Blossom

O: Provide clarity for all stakeholders in the ‘psychedelics as medicines’ field

KR1: Launch a course for novel psychonauts (for real this time)

KR2: Publish one piece of original content for members only (to increase Blossom’s revenue)

KR3: Share one content piece each workday

KR4: Have 5k subscribers to The Bloom (now at 2.7k)

Starting with the third, I want to share something from Blossom daily, but this could also be older, relevant content. I’ve been slacking somewhat in spreading the word (by being busy updating the database, for instance), but I can’t influence the field without readership.

The course technically is a separate site, but it will closely track the information I’ve gathered for Blossom over the last few years. It will be a big project (also considering the various other things going on, but the ‘knowledge’ is here; it’s now my task to communicate that clearly).

Queal

O: Continue providing sound nutrition

KR1: Launch QQ offer each quarter

As last year, I keep enjoying our products, and as a company, we see people returning over a long time horizon. We don’t expect to make drastic changes, but we might consider infrastructure upgrades to take place later in the year.

FLO Coaching

O: Build a meaningful practice with weekly facilitated sessions

KR1: Experiment with the four different promotional methods (1-1/1-many x (un)known)

KR2: Get Lotte one client each week

It’s interesting to see the goal for last year being a hesitant yes to continuing with FLO. This year, it’s a total yes and a big focus for Lotte, too. How we will get the clients to come is a challenge that I’m ready to take on.

Sports

O: Improve on my fitness level of 2023

KR1: Do sports 6 out of 7 days

KR2: Incorporate stretching routine at the end of workouts

After the kidney operation, getting back into a good rhythm with sports took quite a while. When I returned to regularly going to the gym, I packed up my things to move to AP. Now that I’ve been here for over half a year, the rhythm is back, and the sports cabin has the tools to get going. So, I see myself doing more sports than in 2023 without the excuses from last year.

Health

O: Improve health through metrics

KR1: Measure 3+ health metrics

KR2: Build a place to store the (health) metrics

KR3: Improve VO2 Max

A place to start with health is the book Outlive by Peter Attia. It’s a longevity-focused book grounded in today’s science (not mice experiments). I plan to implement some of the lessons from the book, and I see quite a bit of overlap between the health and sports areas (who knows, they will someday merge).

Mindfulness

O: Brighten my cone of consciousness

KR1: Take psychedelics every month

KR2: Write a substantive post on the Jhanas

The goal of the post above is not to write something but to use this as a forcing function for myself to gain clarity on the Jhanas and the path towards experiencing them.

I’ve also written down to take psychedelics as a specific goal so as not to forget to experience them and not only write about their effects as a detached observer.

The Perfect Day

7 wake up

8-12 deep work

12-14 sport

14-18 communicate/work

18-22 relax/write/work/game

Notes

One discrepancy between what is presented here and how I partly judge myself is that there is still much ‘f*cking around’ happening in my day-to-day life. I read Twitter in bed, watch a lot of ‘edutainment’ on YouTube, and sometimes take days to check off a relatively simple task on my to-do list.

As the different goals become more lucid, I also hope to see a positive trend towards (even) more engagement with the activities that I’m undertaking. Every day, there is a time that I’m fully engaged with what I’m doing (e.g. making a presentation, leg pressing more than my body weight, enjoying the sunset whilst walking the dogs), and having more of those moments is an implicit goal underlying the various life areas presented here.

If we know each other and you’ve come so far, please send your feedback (or even your goals/plans).

Public Commitment 2023 – Recap

Theme: Expansion

This year I’m focusing on expanding myself and my impact on the world in various domains. It follows from a year where a lot of groundwork was done (e.g. finishing v1 of Blossom’s database). In 2023, it’s time to build on that and expand outward.

The expansion can take many forms, from moving to a bigger house, to offering more things with Blossom. It also means improving what I’ve done in terms of fitness and ‘recovering’ from the kidney donation (by ‘expanding’ to higher numbers on the big lifts).

Another way of putting the theme, with a slightly different meaning, is ‘Big or Bust’. It’s a bit more aggressive but also captures the pruning side of the equation. Expanding means building on what is working, but it could also mean letting go of non-productive parts to make the expansion possible.

This is the fourth (big/quarterly) update and general reacp to the goals of 2023.

House

Objective (O): Live in the dream house

V: Continue with upgrading house & garden (e.g. sports cabin, chicken coop, house rooms)

V: Get financial information from the accountant by <5 Feb

V: Get ‘inkomensverklaring’ info and/or check for financing from ABN AMRO

V: After the above, look seriously on Funda and refine the criteria once more

V: Visit houses & make offer (pending mortgage, bought a house)

V: Move (in June)

V: Sell old house (everything is lined up for sale in two weeks)

V: Buy a car

V: Continue with upgrading garden (e.g. sports cabin & chickens)

Whilst Lotte was away in India, I busied myself with upgrading or entrance, building a new storage closet (inbuilt) and when she was back also finished the chicken coop door. Next to the big projects, we worked on a lot of small things, from insulating the doors to making the outhouse (sitting area and sports area) look nice.

For the coming year, we will shift our attention to the garden and spend time remodelling most of it. Of course, we will use the greenhouse again, and plan to add many more vegetables etc to the mix. The chickens will get a few more friends. But more on the future in the 2024 goals.

Finances

O: Make 10k p/m (had one or two 10k months, still quite variable)

V: Keep track of finances p/w (ongoing, fully updated and back on track)

V: Spend <50% of income on normal living expenses (this is true in some months, but a good reminder to add this as a variable to the tracker)

V: Track and start improving the income of Blossom (started tracking & more promotion membership, also did a lot of consulting work.)

The last few months were quite a busy period, and I mean that in a good way. I finished out the year with the first paying clients for FLO coaching, and did a lot of consulting work for Delphi (from Blossom) working on psychedelics as medicines.

The new tracking excel (message me if you want a copy) is also live and everything is working great. The barrier to tracking is low and it’s ok if I miss a week and then cover two weeks the next time.

In 2024, I plan to continue with similar goals.

Flotte

O: Strengthen the relationship

V: Have 1+ deep conversation per week that doesn’t side-step challenging parts (all good, not tracked precisely)

V: Follow our habits such as Tuesday date night, meditate evenings (3+ p/w), check-in monthly (check-in could have been done more)

No big updates here. We did follow up on only going away one day of the weekend and that will continue into 2024 (which then also creates time to work in the garden). Btw, I didn’t mention it here yet, but we will get married in June 2024, so more on the topic soon.

Relationships

O: Maintain a diverse set of relationships, and meet (expand) new friends in my interest areas

X: Call friends when walking Max 3+ p/w (going, 2/10; needs to improve)

V: Meet 2+ new people in Q1 outside work (>100min)

V: Meet 2+ new people in Q2 outside work (>100min)

Seeing friends has been great, but I’ve slacked on calling friends or messaging to check in. Definitely something to do more of in 2024 and I have an initial plan to do this more regularly.

FW.com

O: Have a lively (>1 post p/m) personal website

X: Post updates on what I’ve written on social media

X: Write one large (>1000w) post p/m (paused for now)

X: Write about fitness & diet in Mar (to be done later)

X: Post major updates (~1 p/m) in personal newsletter

V: Write a post about kidney donation in Jan

V: Finish update of design site & personal brand

The blogs on this site are currently still on pause (but this might change, as this section will likely change to ‘Branding’).

Blossom

O: Expand the impact of psychedelics as medicine

V: Have ~2 calls with new people p/w (ongoing, 10/10)

X: Launch own (60-75min) course in Q1 (failed to make time for this, framework is there, and also have bought recording equipment, but no recordings or launch yet)

X: Reach >$1000 p/m income from non-consultancy work (still need to expand promo and membership benefits)

X: Reach >$3000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

V: Work through an online course (e.g. customer interviews; did one on course design/launch/validation)

V/X: Relaunch the reports as membership perks (planned/working on this; is half there, but there could be way more benefits for members)

V: Add all past summaries for members (not all are up to my standard, but they are there, and a VA was a great help with this)

X: Provide a who-is-who directory (still have the ambition, but shelved for now)

V: (re)Launch PsychedelicsCourses <15 Jan

A lot has happened behind the scenes, with a focus on working for clients on consulting projects. One included an update to a very well made report on psychedelic science, other projects range from for-profits to governmental organisations. The work has been gratifying, and I’m working with a great team. This work will continue into the following year.

The database for Blossom has been continually expanded with new resources, and I will continue working on this in the next year.

Queal

O: Maingain with a focus on customer satisfaction

V: Launch QQ offering each quarter (4x done)

X: Refocus on customer acquisition & retention (new project in Q3)

V: Relaunch go bars (<30 Apr, delayed)

X: Post blogs 3x p/w

We have offered the QQ deal every quarter and overall have maintained what is there with Queal. I personally still enjoy the meals and foresee us running Queal for years to come.

Flo Coaching

O: Help 20+ people experience psychedelics to expand their minds (12 done)

V/X: Get 8 paying clients for FLO Coaching (Floris) and 4 for Lotte (2 and 3, with the rest test/launch customers)

V: Relaunch Flo Coaching in Q3, (V: but after relaunching PC)

V: Remake customer flow, including coaching talks

V: Make a how-to guidebook for potential clients (lead magnet)

X: Retest workflow with 2+ acquaintances in Q2 (but done in Q3)

The focus on FLO coaching was the right level if I incorporate all other aspects of the work that I’ve been doing. For 2024, it will become a greater focus, especially with Lotte wanting to transition away from her other work.

It was great being able to streamline the processes and be able to already help the first few people here. In 2024, we will greatly expand on the work here.

Sports

O: Expand my all-round fitness to exceed that of 2022

V: Do sports 6x p/w (3x cardio & 3x gym), after kidney recovery (still 4-5x but happy with how it’s going)

X/V: Lift more than 440kg on big 3 (squat, bench, deadlift) (got 120, 95, 170 without much specific training = 385kg and with moving house etc, still happy with the outcome)

X: Incorporate stretching goals later in the year (did purchase stretching app)

At the gym, I’ve mostly been doing weights on machines and this has been a great way to go consistently and build strength up again after the operation and then moving. My scores on the big 3 are about 15% lower than last year, which isn’t that bad.

I have been slacking in the cardio department and will pick this up more in the coming year. One goal will be to have my fitbod by the end of February, to make my suit for the wedding and then maintain this until the wedding itself of course (and beyond).

Health

O: Be in the best shape ever

X: Do 3 experiments (1x in Q2) with standard meals (2 meals x 5-7 days) (still want to track this more)

X/V: Track 3+ health metrics (e.g. free test) (did testosterone test; normal range; no other tests done)

V/X: Walk >10k steps p/d (not specifically always, but lots of walking in Anna Paulowna)

Did the first health testing with testosterone (besides what I get from my smartwatch already), plan to dive deeper into this in 2024 and build in some more feedback loops with regards to things like VO2 max.

Mindfulness

O: Improve the state of my mind, and expand it

X: Meditate >3650 minutes (60 hours; tried new meditation app but stopped in December)

X: Investigate & find 1+ meditative path to explore (started with app, but it in itself isn’t finished)

X: Take psychedelics for exploration 4+ times (2/4), including 1 (0/1) new compound (I work in the field, but have been slacking in participating)

If I would estimate my happiness and fulfilment versus random other people in The Netherlands, I would put myself in the top 10%. Yet, I know that there is a lot of territory beyond that. Put differently, there are a lot of orthogonal benefits in areas where I’m not fluent yet. Will be something that comes back.

Notes

That is a wrap for 2023, a year in which the theme expansion has surely been fulfilled. A new house, a mega garden, an engagement, a new dog (Saar), and lots of fun and new work.

Let’s see what 2024 has in store for me.

Public Commitment 2023 – Update 3

Theme: Expansion

This year I’m focusing on expanding myself and my impact on the world in various domains. It follows from a year where a lot of groundwork was done (e.g. finishing v1 of Blossom’s database). In 2023, it’s time to build on that and expand outward.

The expansion can take many forms, from moving to a bigger house, to offering more things with Blossom. It also means improving what I’ve done in terms of fitness and ‘recovering’ from the kidney donation (by ‘expanding’ to higher numbers on the big lifts).

Another way of putting the theme, with a slightly different meaning, is ‘Big or Bust’. It’s a bit more aggressive but also captures the pruning side of the equation. Expanding means building on what is working, but it could also mean letting go of non-productive parts to make the expansion possible.

This is the third (big/quarterly) update to the goals of 2023.

House

Objective (O): Live in the dream house

KR9: Continue with upgrading house & garden (e.g. sports cabin, chicken coop, house rooms)

V: Get financial information from the accountant by <5 Feb

V: Get ‘inkomensverklaring’ info and/or check for financing from ABN AMRO

V: After the above, look seriously on Funda and refine the criteria once more

V: Visit houses & make offer (pending mortgage, bought a house)

V: Move (in June)

V: Sell old house (everything is lined up for sale in two weeks)

V: Buy a car

V: Continue with upgrading garden (e.g. sports cabin & chickens)

The car is here, a family car (Ford Focus). The thing that remains to be done is more upgrades to the house. For this, I’m still working on a smaller coup for the chickens (that will come in a few weeks) but the large coup and house are done.

For the house, there are a few projects that will each take half a day, such as improving the cabins where we keep food, the entrance at the front door, etc. Bigger projects here include the redesign of parts of the garden so that it looks better. For the cabin, I will also have to do the painting of the walls and install the fitness gear.

Finances

O: Make 10k p/m (currently between 3-6k p/m)

KR1: Keep track of finances p/w (ongoing, need to get back on track)

KR2: Spend <50% of income on normal living expenses (not tracked that precisely yet)

KR3: Track and start improving the income of Blossom (started tracking & more promotion membership)

Here no good updates yet. I have started a new Google Sheet to better track the input and output of the time I’m spending (and the financial outcome of this). I can do much better here, and tracking is the first step.

I have been doing some consultancy work that pays well, but also understand that I can do better in building up the long-term future of Blossom and FLO coaching. Although on the last, we have started coaching actively again and will start charging people after the clients I’m now guiding.

Flotte

O: Strengthen the relationship

KR1: Have 1+ deep conversation per week that doesn’t side-step challenging parts

KR2: Follow our habits such as Tuesday date night, meditate evenings (3+ p/w), check-in monthly

No big updates. We have decided that we can use Wednesday during lunch to have a dedicated moment to discuss our goals and how we work together. We also found out that we’re spending too much time in the weekend doing things (e.g. visiting friends) which leaves not enough time for each other. So we’re cutting back on that a bit so we have enough time together.

Relationships

O: Maintain a diverse set of relationships, and meet (expand) new friends in my interest areas

KR1: Call friends when walking Max 3+ p/w (going, 6/10)

V: Meet 2+ new people in Q1 outside work (>100min)

V: Meet 2+ new people in Q2 outside work (>100min)

Still going well. Can improve on the time I’m spending calling friends.

FW.com

O: Have a lively (>1 post p/m) personal website

KR2: Post updates on what I’ve written on social media

KR3: Write one large (>1000w) post p/m (paused for now)

KR4: Write about fitness & diet in Mar (to be done later)

KR5: Post major updates (~1 p/m) in personal newsletter

V: Write a post about kidney donation in Jan

V: Finish update of design site & personal brand

As mentioned before, the blogs on this site are currently on pause.

Blossom

O: Expand the impact of psychedelics as medicine

KR2: Have ~2 calls with new people p/w (ongoing, 10/10)

KR3: Launch own (60-75min) course in Q1 (will be Q4 now)

KR4: Reach >$1000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

KR5: Reach >$3000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

KR6: Work through an online course (e.g. customer interviews)

KR7: Relaunch the reports as membership perks (planned/working on this)

KR8: Add all past summaries for members

KR9: Provide who-is-who directory

V: (re)Launch PsychedelicsCourses <15 Jan

No big updates here. I have added much more to PsychedelicsCourses so that is good, but I’m not getting to $1k per month with the site yet and I plan to spend more time on promotion this quarter so that people know about the site and can hopefully support it.

Queal

O: Maingain with a focus on customer satisfaction

KR1: Launch QQ offering each quarter (3x done)

KR4: Refocus on customer acquisition & retention (new project in Q3)

V: Relaunch go bars (<30 Apr, delayed)

X: Post blogs 3x p/w

No big updates here. Also no big plans yet besides keeping the QQ offering running successfully.

Flo Coaching

O: Help 20+ people experience psychedelics to expand their minds (4 planned)

KR3: Get 8 paying clients for FLO Coaching (Floris) and 4 for Lotte

V: Relaunch Flo Coaching in Q3, (V: but after relaunching PC)

V: Remake customer flow, including coaching talks

V: Make how-to guidebook for potential clients (lead magnet)

X: Retest workflow with 2+ acquaintances in Q2

We have the perfect space at home to do psychedelic-assisted coaching and we’ve started doing this again. It’s been a good launch, with me having 6 people that are following some form of coaching (2 only prep/integration).

Now it’s time to focus on getting paying clients through different avenues. I plan to do this by doing 1-on-1 outreach, social media posts, and (over time) building out the blogs/resources on the site to attract customers.

It’s still early days, but the coaching so far is going well and I’m looking forward to expanding this section of my work.

Sports

O: Expand my all-round fitness to exceed that of 2022

KR1: Do sports 6x p/w (3x cardio & 3x gym), after kidney recovery (now at 4-5)

KR2: Lift more than 440kg on big 3 (squat, bench, deadlift)

KR3 (uncertain): Incorporate stretching goals later in the year

Also no big updates here, besides saying that I’m not that intense in doing sports. I have started tracking protein intake (and total calories intake), so I know with more certainty that I’m getting enough. With the sports cabin almost finished, I think it will be easier to get in a quick sports session.

Then in November/December I plan to start lifting heavy again and to get higher totals than I probably am getting right now. I might not get beyond my scores from last year in December, but plan to continue that season into January.

Health

O: Be in the best shape ever

KR1: Do 3 experiments (1x in Q2) with standard meals (2 meals x 5-7 days)

KR2: Track 3+ health metrics (e.g. free test)

KR3: Walk >10k steps p/d

Going well overall, but still no big changes to report.

Mindfulness

O: Improve the state of my mind, and expand it

KR1: Meditate >3650 minutes (60 hours; now a bit lower in Q2)

KR2: Investigate & find 1+ meditative path to explore

KR3: Take psychedelics for exploration 4+ times (2/4), including 1 (0/1) new compound

No updates here, and something I can definitely improve on.

Notes

A lot of moving parts and uncertainty on the outcomes of what will work career-wise. I am having fun doing everything so that is good. But it also means less time for sports and relaxing (as I’m working relatively much). And that is ok. This is a seasons, and there will be other seasons where I’m going less hard with work.

I do foresee that health, sports, mindfulness will get more attention in the coming months than I’ve given it previously. But know that it’s not the nr 1 priority.

I have written a longer reflection to myself earlier, so I’m going to keep this blog as is and get to work.

Public Commitment 2023 – Update 2

Theme: Expansion

This year I’m focusing on expanding myself and my impact on the world in various domains. It follows from a year where a lot of groundwork was done (e.g. finishing v1 of Blossom’s database). In 2023, it’s time to build on that and expand outward.

The expansion can take many forms, from moving to a bigger house, to offering more things with Blossom. It also means improving what I’ve done in terms of fitness and ‘recovering’ from the kidney donation (by ‘expanding’ to higher numbers on the big lifts).

Another way of putting the theme, with a slightly different meaning, is ‘Big or Bust’. It’s a bit more aggressive, but also captures the pruning side of the equation. Expanding means building on what is working, but it could also mean letting go of non-productive parts to make the expansion possible.

This is the second (big/quarterly) update to the goals of 2023.

House

Objective (O): Live in the dream house

KR7: Continue with upgrading garden (e.g. sports cabin & chickens)

KR8: Buy a car

V: Get financial information from the accountant by <5 Feb

V: Get ‘inkomensverklaring’ info and/or check for financing from ABN AMRO

V: After the above, look seriously on Funda and refine the criteria once more

V: Visit houses & make offer (pending mortgage, bought a house)

V: Move (in June)

V: Sell old house (everything is lined up for sale in two weeks)

The whole of May and the beginning of June was dedicated to moving house and all the logistics. Everything went smoothly, and I’m thrilled to be living there.

Two things still need to happen: buying a car (somewhere in the next few weeks) and a few big upgrades (and tens of small tasks) to the garden. The first of these two is making a chicken coop. The second is transforming the latter part of the garden shed into a fitness space.

Both are on track to be completed in the coming quarter, setting us up for a calm Q4 where we get the chance to test out the two (!) fireplaces.

Finances

O: Make 10k p/m (currently between 3-6k p/m)

KR1: Keep track of finances p/w (ongoing, good)

KR2: Spend <50% of income on normal living expenses (not tracked that precisely yet)

KR3: Track and start improving the income of Blossom (started tracking & more promotion membership)

Again no significant updates. I have started thinking more about moving my energy towards the promotion of my projects (see below) which should hopefully help with the improvement in incoming cashflow.

Because of moving the finances don’t currently reflect ‘normal’ spending. So from July onward I will track those again and aim to spend less than 50% on living expenses.

Flotte

O: Strengthen the relationship

KR1: Have 1+ deep conversation per week that doesn’t side-step challenging parts

KR2: Follow our habits such as Tuesday date night, meditate evenings (3+ p/w), check-in monthly

Again, no big updates here as expected.

Relationships

O: Maintain a diverse set of relationships, and meet (expand) new friends in my interest areas

KR1: Call friends when walking Max 3+ p/w (going, 6/10)

V: Meet 2+ new people in Q1 outside work (>100min)

V: Meet 2+ new people in Q2 outside work (>100min)

I could improve this (after the chaos of moving several times travelling). We’re also making friends with the neighbours here, with one of the kids being a big fan of Max.

FW.com

O: Have a lively (>1 post p/m) personal website

KR2: Post updates on what I’ve written on social media

KR3: Write one large (>1000w) post p/m (paused for now)

KR4: Write about fitness & diet in Mar (to be done later)

KR5: Post major updates (~1 p/m) in personal newsletter

V: Write a post about kidney donation in Jan

V: Finish update of design site & personal brand

As mentioned before, the blogs on this site are currently on pause.

Blossom

O: Expand the impact of psychedelics as medicine

KR2: Have ~2 calls with new people p/w (ongoing, 10/10)

KR3: Launch own (60-75min) course in Q1 (will be Q3 now)

KR4: Reach >$1000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

KR5: Reach >$3000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

KR6: Work through an online course (e.g. customer interviews)

KR7: Relaunch the reports as membership perks (planned/working on this)

KR8: Add all past summaries for members

KR9: Provide who-is-who directory

V: (re)Launch PsychedelicsCourses <15 Jan

I’ve been working diligently on improving the resources on Blossom. What I haven’t done much is do outreach to get more (paid) readership. So that is something I will do more of this quarter. This also includes adding some introductory courses I’m cooking up on PsychedelicsCourses.com. Stay tuned for more.

Queal

O: Maingain with a focus on customer satisfaction

KR1: Launch QQ offering each quarter (3x done)

KR4: Refocus on customer acquisition & retention (new project in Q3)

V: Relaunch go bars (<30 Apr, delayed)

X: Post blogs 3x p/w

With Queal we’re going to invest more in the acquisition of new customers in Q3. I won’t bore you with the details (as mostly I don’t know them yet). But I will report back how it went at the end of the quarter and possibly share lessons on my Twitter.

Flo Coaching

O: Help 20+ people experience psychedelics to expand their minds

KR1: Relaunch Flo Coaching in Q3, (V: but after relaunching PC)

KR2: Remake customer flow, including coaching talks

X: Retest workflow with 2+ acquaintances in Q2

With moving, this got pushed back further. But it also means that we now have the perfect space for doing psychedelic-assisted coaching. The current plan is to help promote Flo Coaching with Lotte doing most of the actual coaching. Expect a lot of updates here in the coming weeks.

Sports

O: Expand my all-round fitness to exceed that of 2022

KR1: Do sports 6x p/w (3x cardio & 3x gym), after kidney recovery (now at 4-5)

KR2: Lift more than 440kg on big 3 (squat, bench, deadlift)

KR3 (uncertain): Incorporate stretching goals later in the year

No big update here. Didn’t do too much during moving and whilst in America, but did do sports almost every day during the vacation before this. I just went and visited the gym that is a few minutes away from us and will likely go there 3-4x per week (pending the building of my own gym).

Health

O: Be in the best shape ever

KR1: Do 3 experiments (1x in Q2) with standard meals (2 meals x 5-7 days)

KR2: Track 3+ health metrics (e.g. free test)

KR3: Walk >10k steps p/d

In the evenings, I want to spend more time researching what is best to do in terms of food (and sports). Walking has become considerably easier (less biking, larger garden) but I will have to start ramping up the amount of sports sessions I do to get back in the best shape ever.

Mindfulness

O: Improve the state of my mind, and expand it

KR1: Meditate >3650 minutes (60 hours; now a bit lower in Q2)

KR2: Investigate & find 1+ meditative path to explore

KR3: Take psychedelics for exploration 4+ times (2/4), including 1 (0/1) new compound

Now that I’m back from travelling, I’ve picked meditation back up. I also have several meditations lined up that I want to explore. One is around jhanas, the other is from QRI exploring meditation from about the same perspective as I’m coming.

Notes

Moving house has taken up a lot of bandwidth and has overall been a pleasant experience. Now that I’m completely settled and have caught up with most of the work that I was behind on, I feel energised to go and get things done.

In the coming days, I will continue working out the details for the work and life plans and keep improving, or ‘expanding’ as I like to say this year.

Public Commitment 2023 – Update 1

Theme: Expansion

This year I’m focusing on expanding myself and my impact on the world in various domains. It follows from a year where a lot of groundwork was done (e.g. finishing v1 of Blossom’s database). In 2023, it’s time to build on that and expand outward.

The expansion can take many forms, from moving to a bigger house, to offering more things with Blossom. It also means improving what I’ve done in terms of fitness and ‘recovering’ from the kidney donation (by ‘expanding’ to higher numbers on the big lifts).

Another way of putting the theme, with a slightly different meaning, is ‘Big or Bust’. It’s a bit more aggressive, but also captures the pruning side of the equation. Expanding means building on what is working, but could also mean letting go of non-productive parts to make the expansion possible.

This is the first (big/quarterly) update to the goals of 2023.

House

Objective (O): Live in the dream house

KR5: Move (in June)

KR6: Sell old house (will be on market mid April)

KR7: Make plan for house/garden upgrades (e.g. sports cabin)

KR8: Buy a car

V: Get financial information from the accountant by <5 Feb

V: Get ‘inkomensverklaring’ info and/or check for financing from ABN AMRO

V: After the above, look seriously on Funda and refine the criteria once more

V: Visit houses & make offer (pending mortgage, bought a house)

Well, that went a lot quicker than I thought it would. The very first house we visited was one that we loved and which was well within our budget. We will move into the house in the first half of June, and my apartment will be for sale soon.

Two fun projects will follow after moving in. First, making plans and starting the execution of them concerning the house and garden (e.g. sports cabin). Second, buying a car gives us more mobility (though a train station is a 5min bike away).

Finances

O: Make 10k p/m (currently between 3-6k p/m)

KR1: Keep track of finances p/w (ongoing, good)

KR2: Spend <50% of income on normal living expenses (not tracked that precisely yet)

KR3: Track and start improving the income of Blossom (started tracking & more promotion membership)

No significant updates here. I am following a course on how to set up sales, do customer interviews, etc., for building out the membership (or a future course) for Blossom. I’m working through the steps and have started promoting the membership more. The biggest challenge is discovering what people find helpful.

Flotte

O: Strengthen the relationship

KR1: Have 1+ deep conversation per week that doesn’t side-step challenging parts

KR2: Follow our habits such as Tuesday date night, meditate evenings (3+ p/w), check-in monthly

No updates here; still going well, and working on the house etc., is a good project together. We haven’t started working together more (for Flo Coaching), but I’ve helped Lotte with some things.

Relationships

O: Maintain a diverse set of relationships, and meet (expand) new friends in my interest areas

KR1: Call friends when walking Max 3+ p/w (going, 6/10)

KR3: Meet 2+ new people in Q2 outside work (>100min)

V: Meet 2+ new people in Q1 outside work (>100min)

This has been going relatively well. I can call more people when walking Max, and this will probably become more prominent when I’m not living in Rotterdam anymore.

FW.com

O: Have a lively (>1 post p/m) personal website

KR2: Post updates on what I’ve written on social media

KR3: Write one large (>1000w) post p/m (paused for now)

KR4: Write about fitness & diet in Mar (to be done later)

KR5: Post major updates (~1 p/m) in personal newsletter

V: Write a post about kidney donation in Jan

V: Finish update of design site & personal brand

This is the place where I’ve done the fewest things. The redesign went well, and I’m happy with the site’s appearance. But I haven’t made time to write again. I’m writing a lot for Blossom and notice I also don’t have the bandwidth to write for here. So, for now, I’m pausing this and will pick it up when I have more space.

Blossom

O: Expand the impact of psychedelics as medicine

KR2: Have ~2 calls with new people p/w (ongoing, 10/10)

KR3: Launch own (60-75min) course in Q1 (probably late Q2)

KR4: Reach >$1000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

KR5: Reach >$3000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

KR6: Work through an online course (e.g. customer interviews)

KR7: Relaunch the reports as membership perks (planned/working on this)

KR8: Add all past summaries for members

KR9: Provide who-is-who directory

V: (re)Launch PsychedelicsCourses <15 Jan

Most of my working hours are dedicated to building out Blossom. Since starting the course (KR6), I’m considering expanding my offering and doing customer interviews for that purpose. I don’t know where I will end up exactly, and who knows, the goals will change over the coming quarter, but this is the direction I’m currently heading in.

Alternative directions could include focussing more time on Flo Coaching, providing more resources for a general audience (versus focusing on the research), or a wholly new direction.

Queal

O: Maingain with a focus on customer satisfaction

KR1: Launch QQ offering each quarter (1x done)

KR2: Relaunch go bars (<30 Apr, delayed)

KR4: Refocus on customer acquisition & retention

X: Post blogs 3x p/w

I’ve dropped the goal of posting blogs 3x per week. Although they were about topics I found interesting, the match with Queal and with our audience wasn’t what it could be. We might reconsider this in some time, but for now, we’re getting the bars out as soon as possible (packaging is currently being made).

Flo Coaching

O: Help 20+ people experience psychedelics to expand their minds

KR1: Relaunch Flo Coaching in Q2, but after relaunching PC (started)

KR2: Remake customer flow, including coaching talks

KR3: Retest workflow with 2+ acquaintances in Q2

This has been pushed back slightly. On the one hand, there are still quite a few courses with missing information. On the other hand, we’re moving house and might not want to set up too much in Rotterdam. But, I have started promoting Lotte as a coach/guide, and if everything works out, we should be able to host people in Q3.

Sports

O: Expand my all-round fitness to exceed that of 2022

KR1: Do sports 6x p/w (3x cardio & 3x gym), after kidney recovery (now at 4-5)

KR2: Lift more than 440kg on big 3 (squat, bench, deadlift)

KR3 (uncertain): Incorporate stretching goals later in the year

No big update here. The recovery has gone well, and I’m feeling totally normal again. Times are a bit hectic, so I haven’t started a new sports plan. I plan to keep on doing what I’m doing and possibly update slightly before moving to the new house.

Health

O: Be in the best shape ever

KR1: Do 3 experiments (1x in Q2) with standard meals (2 meals x 5-7 days)

KR2: Track 3+ health metrics (e.g. free test)

KR3: Walk >10k steps p/d

I’m in good shape, but far from the best I’ve been. The goal is to ramp up the effort in the latter half of this year. For now, the goal of 10k steps is something I can take more seriously and will hopefully also be easier in the new place (especially because I probably will bike significantly less with Max, so will walk more with him).

I did do an experiment with a green smoothie and this was not too bad. It’s not something that would immediately go into my routine, so will experiment again in a bit.

Mindfulness

O: Improve the state of my mind, and expand it

KR1: Meditate >3650 minutes (60 hours; now a bit lower in Q1)

KR2: Investigate & find 1+ meditative path to explore

KR3: Take psychedelics for exploration 4+ times (1/4), including 1 (0/1) new compound

No big updates here, besides doing less meditation than I was planning to do. I might pick this back up soon, but also feel content at the moment with less regular meditation practice.

Notes

Building on the ‘release’ notes, I have picked up coaching with the course (a coach is available over email). I haven’t written more about hobbies, but have been playing video games for 2-4 hours per week, which is very relaxing.

Redoing the sports plan – Part 1: Metrics

This post series is based on the podcast series by Andrew Huberman and Andy Galpin (see podcast notes). Here I map out the nine different types of exercise adaptations that can be used to transform the functional capacities and aesthetics of our body, and the benefits each adaptation has for our health.

This post lays the groundwork for forthcoming entries in which I will delve into particular fitness programs to commence improving these adaptations.

The Nine Adaptations

The different adaptations work together to form a complete picture. Someone who’s only doing endurance will be able to run a marathon but will keep losing strength as they age. Someone who can squat a lot will nevertheless lose heart function as they age. Endurance and strength, thus, need to be combined.

Do the standard measures for each category at least once a year, do them more often if you’re weak in that area or improving it actively.

Skill/technique

  • Learning to move more efficiently
  • For instance, swimming more effectively, swinging a golf club
  • Test: do a push/pull for upper/lower body (four exercises), 3-10 reps (front and side view)
    • Watch for symmetry & stability

Speed

  • Moving at a higher velocity or with a better rate of acceleration
  • Test: broad jump, from start of toes (standing still) to back of landing (back heel)
    • Standard: body height
    • Info: can swing arms etc, women standard is slightly below body height
    • Alternative: vertical jump (see how high you can jump), 61 centimeters is the goal (females -15%)
  • Results
    • 220 cm broad jump | April 2023

Power

  • Speed multiplied by the force
  • Not measured directly (without tools), part of the above and below

Force/Strength

  • The maximum thing you can move (once!)
  • Test: dynamometer (min 40kg, preferably 60kg)
    • The goal is to have no more than 10% variation between hands
    • Alternative: dead-hang, at least 30 seconds, 60 seconds better
      • Current: 48 seconds
  • Test: Leg extension one rep max, at least bodyweight
    • Alternative: squat one rep max (but more technical)
  • Results
    • Leg extension 110kg (max) x5 | April 2023
  • Test: front squat or goblet squat hold, hold weight in front of your chest
    • Hold half your body weight, sit for 45 seconds

Muscle hypertrophy

  • How big is your muscle
  • Test: body compositions scale (DEXA is gold standard)
  • Results
    • 21 (March 2023)
  • Test: other body measures from scale
    • weight, bmi, body fat, muscle mass, muscle quality, bmr, metabolic age, body water

Muscular endurance

  • How many repetitions you can do (usually local to muscle group)
  • Test: pushups, ten minimum, 25 standard (problems under 5)
  • Results
    • xx pushups | May 2023

Anaerobic capacity

  • Maximum heart rate, the total physiological limitation
  • If your VO2 max is below 18 ml p/kg p/m your fitness is so low as to need assistance living
  • Preferably tested in the lab, but free alternatives
  • Test: go to (near) maximum heart rate, then see how much it has recovered in one minute, the goal is 30 beats (lower one minute later)
  • Results
    • 48 VO2 Max (watch) | April 2023

Maximal aerobic capacity

  • The maximum that your body can do with breathing (oxygen)
  • Test: 12-minute run the maximum distance (then get VO2 max – minimum of 35 ml p/kg p/m – from online calculator)
  • Alternative: VO2 monitor on watch
    • Good = 49-56, Superior is 56+
  • Results
    • 48 VO2 Max (watch) | April 2023

Long-duration training

  • Your ability to sustain submaximal work for a long time with no breaks or reduction (cardio)
  • Test: ability to do work for 20 minutes without breaks, intervals, or downtime

This is Going to Hurt

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay is a comedic, tragic, and insightful view into the life of a (junior) doctor. The book is written as a series of diary entries that Adam has kept over the six years he worked in the NHS (UK healthcare system). Since then, he’s become a writer for TV and film. He brings those skills to this book.

Read: 1x | First: January 2023


The book does a great job of describing how gruelling the hours are, the lack of compassion (and sometimes great shows of it), and the difficulties of life-threatening situations that Adam encounters. But through it all, there is a high level of comedy he inserts into the diary entries.

As there isn’t too much of an overarching point (at least not made implicitly), I’ll leave this review with one of the diary entries that showcases just how funny it can be:

Monday, 12 February 2007: Prescribing a morning-after pill in A&E. The patient says, ‘I slept with three guys last night. Will one pill be enough?’

Waarom een nier doneren een goed idee is

See the English version of this article with sources and footnotes

Het is zeven dagen geleden dat ik mijn nier heb gedoneerd, en ik voel me weer de oude. Ik heb een litteken van ongeveer 10 cm rond de broekrand. Ik loop nog geen marathon. Verder voel ik me volkomen normaal.

Ik doneerde mijn nier anoniem om iemand een tweede kans op leven gegeven. Zijn nieren lieten het afweten, dus zijn leven werd vroegtijdig afgebroken. Hoewel dialyse de functie van een nier gedeeltelijk kan vervangen, vermindert het proces van elke twee dagen aan het dialyseapparaat de kwaliteit van leven van iemand aanzienlijk.

Een nieuwe nier, van een levende donor, gaat gemiddeld 22 jaar mee. Niertransplantaties worden regelmatig gedaan en 98% van hen is succesvol. Kortom, door een nier te doneren krijgt iemand een tweede leven.

Op dit moment wachten in Nederland ruim 800 mensen op een nier gemiddeld twee jaar voordat er een beschikbaar komt. Als ze geen nier krijgen is dialyse de enige optie. Van degenen die wachten sterft 8% en 14% ziet hun toestand verslechteren tot een toestand waarin een transplantatie geen zin meer heeft.

Het doneren van een nier had ook een positieve invloed op mij. Ik voel vreugde en dankbaarheid dat ik iemand anders kan helpen, ook al ontmoet ik de ontvanger nooit.

De donatie, hoe gemakkelijk ik het ook ervoer, komt niet geheel zonder risicos. Toen ik het nieuws voor het eerst deelde met mijn moeder, was haar reactie niet precies wat ik had verwacht. In plaats van dolblij en dankbaar te zijn, was ze verrast en uitte ze haar ongemak over mijn beslissing om een nier te doneren.

“Heb je de nier zelf niet nodig?” en “Wat als iemand in je omgeving een nier nodig heeft?” waren twee typische reacties die ik kreeg toen ik anderen vertelde over mijn plan om te doneren.

Het antwoord op de eerste vraag is een volmondig nee. Nierdonoren leven gemiddeld even lang als andere mensen. Er is een verhoogd risico op terminale nierziekte, maar de kans, gemeten over 15 jaar na donatie, is lager dan 0,5%. Als het misgaat, krijg ik automatisch voorrang op de wachtlijst.

Wanneer iemand in mijn omgeving een nier nodig heeft, krijgen ze mijn resterende nier niet. Maar de kans dat een bekende van mij een niertransplantatie krijgt is 1 op 18000. Met andere woorden, er is een kleine kans dat iemand die ik persoonlijk ken een nier nodig heeft. Zelfs als ze dat deden, is de kans groot dat ik niet compatibel met ze zou zijn.

Een derde risicofactor is een kans om te overlijden tijdens de operatie zelf. De kans om te sterven op de operatietafel, is lager dan 1 op 3000. Ik zeg lager dan dit getal omdat de meest robuste data komt van meer dan 10 jaar geleden en ik mijzelf ook gezonder, of in ieder geval jonger, inschat dan de gemiddelde donateur.

Het ziekenhuis snijdt je nier niet weg zonder met zekerheid te weten dat je gezond genoeg bent om te doneren. Ik bezoek het ziekenhuis zes keer voor de operatie, twee bezoeken die meerdere uren duurden, de andere waren snel in en uit voor een bloedtest of scan. Aangezien ik in dezelfde stad woon als het ziekenhuis, is de totale duur van de bezoeken minder dan twee volle werkdagen.

De dag voor de operatie krijg ik mijn eigen privékamer met uitzicht. Er is wat nervositeit, maar voor de workaholics kan ik zeggen dat ik die middag op de laptop door kan werken. De enige onderbreking is het nemen van bloedmonsters en het inbrengen van een katheter om vloeistoffen in de bloedsomloop te pompen om de nieren gehydrateerd en actief te krijgen.

Tijdens de operatie zelf ben ik onder algehele narcose dus daar kan ik niet veel over melden. Een paar uur later, wanneer ik wakker word krijg ik een raketje en na een half uur bijkomen rijden de zusters mij weer naar mijn kamer.

Wat me het meest verbaast, is de helderheid die ik voel na de operatie. Ik krijg de eerste twee dagen morphine en mijn vriendin zegt dat ik een beetje high klink. Maar ik kan vrienden een bericht sturen dat het goed met me gaat. Na bezoek kan ik de rest van de dag Netflix kijken en naar een audioboek luisteren.

Vier keer per dag komt er een verpleegster langs om mijn vitale functies op te nemen en te vragen naar mijn pijnniveau. De eerste twee dagen bereikt het pijnniveau een acht, beide keren ‘s avonds als ik probeerde in slaap te komen. Maar dit is allemaal beheersbaar met enkele oxycodon pillen en ik slaap relatief goed. Tegen de middag van de derde dag heb ik de laatste aspirines ingenomen en had sindsdien geen pijnstillers meer nodig. Tegen de ochtend van de vierde dag zit ik in een taxi naar huis.

De ervaring van anderen kan verschillen. Ik verkeer in een uitzonderlijk goede gezondheid, sport zes dagen in de week en heb afgelopen zomer een marathon gerend. Dit is slechts mijn ervaring, die mij positief heeft verrast.

Een week na het doneren voel ik het littekenweefsel rond de taille, vooral na het lopen van langere afstanden. Ik moet voorzichtig zijn als ik mijn buikspieren belast, bijvoorbeeld bij rechtop gaan ziten, maar daar is het ook mee gezegd. Ik laat de hond alweer uit, zie veel vrienden en kan in principe weer terug naar kantoor.

Voor ik het vergeet, de intraveneuze katheter is niet de enige die gezet wordt. Je krijgt er ook een die door je geslachtsdelen gaat en die de volgende ochtend wordt verwijderd. En ja, dit doet een paar seconden intens pijn, maar minder dan een trap in je ballen krijgen.

Ik ben blij dat ik een nier heb gedoneerd, zoals de meeste donoren. Ik zal een normaal leven leiden zonder beperkingen. Ik krijg zelfs een jaarlijkse gezondheidscheck ervoor. Iemand anders krijgt twee decennia leven erbij. De kosten waren het waard, voor mij.

Ik kan niet door inschatten of het voor anderen ook een logische keuze is. Er zijn niet veel mensen die dezelfde berekening hebben gemaakt als ik. Jaarlijks zijn er in Nederland 500 donaties van levende donoren, 30 daarvan altruïstisch. Maar als je erover nadenkt om te doneren, aan een bekende of anoniem, dan hoop ik dat mijn verhaal je geholpen heeft om die keuze makkelijker te maken.

Voor meer informatie over het doneren van een nier, zie de informatie op de website van de Nederlandse Transplantatie Stichting.


Ingestuurde versie met minder verhaal, meer overtuiging:

Waarom een nier doneren een goed idee is.

Er staan meer mensen dan ooit op de wachtlijst voor een nierdonatie. Als gezond persoon kan je leven met één nier, dus heb ik mijn andere gedoneerd.

Ik doneerde mijn nier anoniem om iemand een tweede kans op leven gegeven. Zijn nieren lieten het afweten, dus zijn leven werd vroegtijdig afgebroken. Hoewel dialyse de functie van een nier gedeeltelijk kan vervangen, vermindert het proces van elke twee dagen aan het dialyseapparaat de kwaliteit van leven van iemand aanzienlijk.

Een nieuwe nier, van een levende donor, gaat gemiddeld 22 jaar mee. Niertransplantaties worden regelmatig gedaan en 98% van hen is succesvol. De kans op slagen is groot, maar het aanbod laat het afweten.

Op dit moment wachten in Nederland ruim 900 mensen op een nier gemiddeld twee jaar voordat er een beschikbaar komt. Als ze geen nier krijgen is dialyse de enige optie. Van degenen die wachten sterft 8% en 14% ziet hun toestand verslechteren tot een toestand waarin een transplantatie geen zin meer heeft.

Mijn operatie verloopt zonder complicaties en ik kom bij met een waterijsje. De middag, een operatie duurt vaak niet meer dan drie uur, en avond zie ik bezoek en kijk ik Netflix. Geen drie dagen later brengt een taxi mij naar huis nog voordat mijn vriendin het ontbijt heeft gemaakt.

Op dag vijf loop ik alweer het gebruikelijke rondje met de hond, hoewel iets langzamer dan voorheen. De zuster belt en deelt mee dat de nier succesvol getransplanteert is en na enkele dagen opstarten “uitmuntend” aan het werk is.

De donatie, hoe gemakkelijk ik het ook ervoer, komt niet geheel zonder risicos. Toch, op de lange termijn leven nierdonoren leven even lang als anderen. Er is een verhoogd risico op terminale nierziekte, maar de kans, gemeten over 15 jaar na donatie, is lager dan 0,5%. Als het misgaat, krijg ik automatisch voorrang op de wachtlijst.

Tenzij je iemand kent die een nier nodig gaat hebben, is de kans klein dat je die voor een kennis hoeft te bewaren. De kans hierop is vergelijkbaar met een van drie personen uit een vol voetbalstadion kiezen. Ookal wil je doneren voor een bekende, er is een grote kans dat je niet matcht met hen.

Er is een kans op overlijden tijdens de operatie zelf. Dit risico is lager dan 0,03%, aldus data uit Amerika van meer dan tien jaar geleden. Met andere woorden, als gezonde donor in een Nederlands ziekenhuis is deze kans te verwaarlozen.

Het kost wat tijd, enkele bezoeken aan het ziekenhuis en een drietal dagen na de operatie bijkomen. Daarna zit je thuis met een verplichte, geheel vergoede, vakantie van drie weken. Je doet een nierdonatie niet voor de vergoeding, maar door goede regelingen kan het ook geen excuses zijn om het niet te doen.

Doneren van een nier heeft ook een positieve invloed op de meeste donoren. Ik voel vreugde en dankbaarheid dat ik iemand anders kan helpen, ook al ontmoet ik de ontvanger nooit.

Een maand na het doneren ga ik weer rustig naar de sportschool, ben ik aan het werk. Alles is terug naar normaal. Ik voel nog de hardheid van het littekenweefsel rond de taille. Ik zal voorlopig geen marathon rennen, maar daar is het ook mee gezegd.

Ik ben blij dat ik een nier heb gedoneerd, zoals de meeste donoren. Ik zal een normaal leven leiden zonder beperkingen. Ik krijg zelfs een jaarlijkse gezondheidscheck ervoor terug. Iemand anders krijgt twee decennia leven erbij. Voor mij waren de kosten waren het waard.

Voor meer informatie over het doneren van een nier bezoek de site van de transplantatie stichting: https://www.transplantatiestichting.nl/orgaan-en-weefseldonatie/nierdonatie-bij-leven

Why Donating a Kidney is a Good Idea

See the Dutch column version of this article

It’s been seven days* since I donated my kidney, and I feel like my old self again. Sure, I have a scar of about 10cm around the waist. I’m not running a marathon yet, but I feel entirely normal besides that.

If you’re not afraid to suffer a little uncomfortableness, I’m here to convince you that donating a kidney is not a big deal – and a massive deal for someone else at the same time.

Why donate anyway?

By donating my kidney, I’ve given someone a second chance at life. His** kidneys were failing, so his life was cut short. Though dialysis can partially replace the function of a kidney, the process of being hooked to the dialysis machine every second day significantly reduces someone’s quality of life.

A new kidney, from a living donor, will last for an average of 22 years. Kidney transplants are regularly done, and 98% of them are successful.

In short, donating a kidney gives someone another lease on life.

There are currently over 800 people waiting for a kidney in the Netherlands, waiting an average of two years for one to become available. If they don’t receive a kidney, dialysis is the only option. Of those waiting, 8% die and 14% see their condition worsen to a state where a transplant doesn’t make sense anymore.

Donating a kidney also positively impacted me. I feel joy at being able to help someone else. I feel grateful for being able to help another person, even though I never get to meet the recipient.

The potential risks of donating a kidney

When I initially shared the news with my mother, who is retired and had been looking forward to becoming a grandmother, her reaction wasn’t exactly what I had expected. Instead of being overjoyed and grateful, she was taken aback and expressed discomfort with my decision to donate a kidney.

“Don’t you need the kidney yourself? What if someone close needs a kidney?” were two typical reactions I got when telling others about my plan to donate.

The answer to the first question is a resounding no. Kidney donors, on average, live the same length as other people. There is an increased risk of end-stage renal disease, but the chance, measured over 15 years after donating, is lower than 0.5%. And if things go wrong, I’m automatically prioritized on the waiting list.

If someone close to me needs a kidney, they are not getting my other one. But the chance of them getting a kidney transplant is 1 in 18000. In other words, there is a tiny chance that someone I know personally will need a kidney. Even if they did, there is a big chance that I wouldn’t be compatible with them.

A third cost is a chance of dying during the operation itself. The chance of dying on the operating table, from data between 1994 and 2009 is 1 in 3000 (I’m mentioning the dates as it’s probably overestimating the risk). This is roughly the same cumulative risk you would incur by riding a motorcycle for 3000 km.

The actual costs of donating a kidney

The hospital doesn’t cut out your kidney without knowing with certainty that you’re healthy enough to donate.

I visited the hospital six times before the operation, two visits which lasted multiple hours, the others being a quick in and out for a blood test or scan. As I live in the same city as the hospital, the total duration of the visits was less than two full working days.

The day before the operation, I got my own private room with a view. There was some nervousness, but for the productivity obsessed, I was able to work through the afternoon which was only interrupted by taking some blood samples and inserting an intravenous catheter (for pumping fluids into the blood circulation to get the kidneys hydrated and active).

During the operation itself, I was under general anaesthesia so I can’t report much there. When I woke up a few hours later, I got an ice cream (‘raketje’) and after half an hour of coming to, was wheeled back to my room.

What surprised me most was the lucidity I felt after the operation. I was on pain medication, and my girlfriend said I did sound a bit high. But I could voice message friends that I was doing well, and after visitations spent the rest of the day watching Netflix and listening to an audiobook.

Around four times a day, a nurse would come by and take my vitals and ask about my pain level. I received two slow-release morphine tablets (the first two days), four oxycodone tablets (lasting about six hours), and two aspirins three times a day for the first three days.

The first two days the pain level reached an eight, both times in the evening when I was trying to get to sleep. But this was all manageable with the oxycodone, and I slept relatively well. By the afternoon of the third day, I’d taken the last of the aspirins and hadn’t needed more painkillers since.

By the morning of the fourth day, I was in a taxi driving home.

The experience of others may vary. I’m in exceptionally good health, do sports most days, and deadlifted 200kg the week before the operation. This is just my experience, which was less burdensome than expected.

A week after donating, I feel the scar tissue around the waist, mainly after walking longer distances. I have to be careful when straining my core (e.g. getting out of bed), but that is about it. I’m not allowed to lift heavy weights for the first six weeks. I’m walking the dog, hanging out with friends, and back in the office again.

Before I forget, the intravenous catheter isn’t the only one set. You also get one that goes through your private parts which is removed the following morning. And yes, this hurts intensely for a few seconds, but less so than getting kicked in the balls.

Donate a kidney if you can

I’m happy that I’ve donated a kidney, as are most donors. I will live a normal life without limitations. I even get a yearly health check for free. Someone else will get two decades of life back***.

The costs were worth it, for me.

I can’t reach through the screen and tell you that the calculation makes sense to you. There aren’t many people who made the same calculation as I did. There are about 500 living donations in The Netherlands per year. But if you’re thinking about donating, to a person you know or altruistically, I hope my story has helped make that choice easier for you.

To get more information about donating a kidney, see the information on the Dutch Transplantation website.

*The first draft of this article was written seven days after the operation. Now – a few weeks later – I can report the situation is still good. I’ve caught the flu and did take a week to shake that (vs. normally never getting the flu, but no fever, only coughing). Another person I’ve spoken to had a longer recovery time (constipation for a week, feeling tired quickly for two/three weeks, but lower pain levels)

**My kidney donation was anonymous, meaning I didn’t get to meet the person who received my kidney. I do know that it’s a man who had multiple people ready to donate but who didn’t match his blood or tissue type. I didn’t match his blood type but it was a perfect match on the tissue values. Donating through the blood type means that more antibiotics must be given. On average, the success rate is the same.

***In some cases, you might be able to start a chain of donations. Meaning that you donate to someone who has a non-compatible friend/family member who will then donate to someone else who’s on the waiting list (some donation chains can be up to six people).

Sources

98% of kidney recipients are still alive after one year in the US – Temple Health

99% of kidney recipients are alive after one year in the UK. The average function of a living kidney is 20-25 years, but up to 60 years of success have been reported – NHS

Life expectancy is the same – The Lancet – Life expectancy is lower by 0.5-1 year – BMJ Open

The chance of dying on the operating table of 1 in 3000 from data of 80k donors – JAMA

The risk of dying from different activities as expressed in ‘micromorts’ – Wikipedia

About 800 people are waiting for a kidney in The Netherlands (they wait an average of 2 years for one to become available) – Nierstichting

The are about 1000 kidney transplants in The Netherlands (population 18 million) per year – Erasmus MC

Public Commitment 2023

Theme: Expansion

This year I’m focusing on expanding myself and my impact on the world in various domains. It follows from a year where a lot of groundwork was done (e.g. finishing v1 of Blossom’s database). In 2023, it’s time to build on that and expand outward.

The expansion can take many forms, from moving to a bigger house, to offering more things with Blossom. It also means improving what I’ve done in terms of fitness and ‘recovering’ from the kidney donation (by ‘expanding’ to higher numbers on the big lifts).

Another way of putting the theme, with a slightly different meaning, is ‘Big or Bust’. It’s a bit more aggressive, but also captures the pruning side of the equation. Expanding means building on what is working, but could also mean letting go of non-productive parts to make the expansion possible.

House

Objective (O): Live in the dream house

Key Result (KR1): Get financial information from the accountant by <5 Feb

KR2: Get ‘inkomensverklaring’ info and/or check for financing from ABN AMRO

KR3: After the above, look seriously on Funda and refine the criteria once more

I want to live in my dream house* when possible. It looks like it should be financially possible to buy the dream house, so why wait? I’ve listed the first steps to making it happen here. This area would best be captured by the ‘big or bust’ framing. I don’t want to settle for an ‘ok’ house.

*Dream house: 500m2 ground, 150m2 house, no neighbours, space for sports outside, space for the vegetable garden outside, preferably near woods, can be old (do lots of work self) or new, preferably place where you can throw a party and not think about the neighbours.

Finances

O: Make 10k p/m

KR1: Keep track of finances p/w

KR2: Spend <50% of income on normal living expenses

I’ve built a good foundation with Queal, and now the first signs of income are starting for Blossom too. Over the last year, I’ve been bad at keeping track of my expenses, though it takes one hour per month. Therefore I’m changing it to once a week (<30min) to be more on top (shorter feedback loop).

I should be around spending <50% of my income on living expenses, and as my income (could) increase, I might raise this number further. The living expenses include things like groceries and mortgage payments, the latter of which could rise substantially if the dream house is acquired.

Flotte

O: Strengthen the relationship

KR1: Have 1+ deep conversation per week that doesn’t side-step challenging parts

KR2: Follow our habits such as Tuesday date night, meditate evenings (3+ p/w), check-in monthly

It’s always, for me, difficult to fit a relationship with the OKR framework, though the goals here should reflect the ‘new’ things relatively well. The most challenging part, again for me, is to stay with discomfort and seek out deepening conversations that aren’t always fun.

Relationships

O: Maintain a diverse set of relationships, and meet (expand) new friends in my interest areas

KR1: Call friends when walking Max 3+ p/w

KR2: Meet 2+ new people in Q1 outside work (>100min)

I have amazing friends and have (a) diverse friend group(s). One thing I can do more, which unfortunately others also don’t do, is to call friends more. I walk with Max every day and instead of listening to podcasts can call friends.

Outside the current groups, there is still room to meet others who share my interests, from EA to mindfulness. Possibly through Twitter, or via friends I already have, I would want to meet others who I can share interesting ideas with.

FW.com

O: Have a lively (>1 post p/m) personal website

KR1: Finish update of design site & personal brand

KR2: Post updates on what I’ve written on social media

KR3: Write one large (>1000w) post p/m

KR4: Write a post about kidney donation in Jan

KR5: Post major updates (~1 p/m) in personal newsletter

I’ve found new inspiration to start writing again on my personal website. This time, I want to focus on making a few excellent posts (no more than 1 p/m) that showcase things I’m thinking about. This can be related to these areas, a large review of an impactful book, or even some fiction I’ve written (e.g. update to Spero).

Part of why I write is to strengthen my thinking (making it clearer by writing it out), partly to remember things better, and partly to promote the ideas (and myself) I consider helpful.

Blossom

O: Expand the impact of psychedelics as medicine

KR1: (re)Launch PsychedelicsCourses <15 Jan

KR2: Have ~2 calls with new people p/w

KR3: Launch own (60-75min) course in Q1

KR4: Reach >$1000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

KR5: Reach >$3000 p/m income from non-consultancy work

This year, I want to expand the reach of Blossom and the income I can generate from that. Part of this plan is the overhaul of the courses website. Another part is getting more money from memberships, for instance, corporate memberships to Blossom, or more personal memberships.

I also want to expand the luck ‘surface area’ by connecting with more people. For that cause, I will start reaching out again for calls (I have some incoming, but would also do well by doing more outreach myself).

Queal

O: Maingain with a focus on customer satisfaction

KR1: Launch QQ offering each quarter

KR2: Relaunch go bars (<15 Feb)

KR3: Post blogs 3x p/w

Queal is still going strong, and I eat one to two meals per day myself (Cool Chocolate Athletic and Ready Berry Good most days). We’ve remade the big (40 meals) offering and will focus on providing more value to our customers.

The adjunct products are being revamped, with the bars taking much longer than expected, but a relaunch is getting closer.

Flo Coaching

O: Help 20+ people experience psychedelics to expand their minds

KR1: Relaunch Flo Coaching in Q1 but after relaunching PC

KR2: Remake customer flow including coaching talks

KR3: Retest workflow with 2+ acquaintances in Q1/2

I’ll be doing Flo Coaching together with Lotte. It’s something that will take away time from the other goals, so I have to be conscious of that. But if possible, I want to relaunch it and coach people one-on-one. My focus would be on self-development and professional creativity (e.g. helping an entrepreneur find new inspiration). Lotte would focus on self-development and women.

Sports

O: Expand my all-round fitness to exceed that of 2022

KR1: Do sports 6x p/w (3x cardio & 3x gym), after kidney recovery

KR2: Lift more than 440kg on big 3 (squat, bench, deadlift)

KR3 (uncertain): Incorporate stretching goals later in the year

This year, I will expand my all-around fitness without doing any specific races (I must prepare for, anti-goal). Last year, I did 440kg so it will be a good challenge to go bigger than that. I will also have to build back my cardio, which I will do with three cardio sessions per week of different sports (swimming, running, biking, etc.).

Health

O: Be in the best shape ever

KR1: Do 3 experiments (1x in Q1) with standard meals (2 meals x 5-7 days)

KR2: Track 3+ health metrics (e.g. free test)

KR3: Walk >15k steps p/d

Health-wise things are going great. I did donate my kidney (still have the other one), so will have to recover from this. I intend to track some health metrics, but haven’t done much and might want to talk to others to know what is smart to track. One person who invested a lot of money into improving his health found out that walking was great for him, and I plan to walk more than I’m currently doing.

Mindfulness

O: Improve the state of my mind, and expand it

KR1: Meditate >3650 minutes (60 hours)

KR2: Investigate & find 1+ meditative path to explore

KR3: Take psychedelics for exploration 4+ times, including 1 new compound

I’ve been blessed with an exceptionally calm (and rational) mind. Overall, I’m super content with how things are going, and my stress levels are miniature. I’ve read about others who’ve explored meditation more (e.g. jhanas) and would be very interested in following a meditative path beyond what I’m currently doing (10min meditation daily).

The Perfect Day

6 – wake up

7-12 – deep work

12-14 sport

14-17 communicate/various work

17-21 relax/write more/game

Habits of Note

The goals above include some new habits that I’m forming or strengthening. Other notable habits that I have include:

  • Daily flashcard training (Thought Saver)
  • Reading (no specific goal anymore, but average about a book per 2 weeks at the moment)

Notes

Two things came up that I haven’t incorporated yet into the goals. The first is that I would want to seek out coaching again. I did so last year and found it helpful. This was in regard to life/work but also have had positive experiences with coaching for sports. I want to do more research (talk to multiple coaches) beforehand this time around. The second is that I probably want to define my hobbies better. There is already a lot here, but I might benefit from a passive/relaxed hobby like watching movies with intent. In other words, have something high-quality to do when relaxing.