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@aliabdaal Ali Abdaal

👨🏼‍⚕️FY2 junior doctor, @cambridgeuniversity grad. In my spare time, I make YouTube videos about medicine, tech, productivity and study tips. 😀

@aliabdaal photos and videos

3 hours ago

I started the YouTube thing in the summer of my fifth year. At that point, I decided I was going to take it seriously, and, religiously, every week, it was one or two videos. I think I've actually kept that up for the last three years... except maybe in the Christmas holidays when I went to Pakistan for a week. I can't remember a week, other than that, where I haven't uploaded a video. It was one of those things where I knew early on that, if I'm going to do this, I want to do this properly. I did a cost-benefit analysis of: "Okay, do I want to study really hard for my exams and try and push for a slightly higher percentage mark, or do I want to spend a lot of that time editing videos instead?" I reasoned at the time that the expected value of churning out videos would, overall, be higher than the expected value of getting an extra 5% on an exam that no one would care about. With a lot of these things, there is that case of being consistent and putting in the work. It feels like success is almost guaranteed, provided you just put in the work, but it's just that no one is consistent for three years, it's just so, so vanishingly rare. The people who ARE consistent for three years end up just doing well, and, with a platform like YouTube, where the algorithm is designed to surface the right content for the right person at the right time, the more valuable content you churn out, the more the flywheel starts to turn. In a way, you get this thing of, okay, I've made a valuable video, some people are watching it; therefore, the algorithm recommends it to some people, therefore, more people are watching it; therefore, that incentivizes me to make more videos... and it just keeps on churning. Provided you can just do it consistently, I don't see any reason why a lot more people can't be successful in that, but I suspect the lack of consistency is a big part of it.

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Yesterday

Unemployment day 3. Send help

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2 days ago

Like any other nerd, back in the day, I was super into computers and stuff when I was in school. When I was like 11, 12 years old in ICT lessons, I used to do the Right-Click, View Source on the Google homepage, and copy and paste it into a Notepad file, and then go on cooltext.com and create a flaming logo of Google and then replace the image tag with that. Then people would be like, "Oh my god, how did you do that?! That's magic!" That was my first introduction to coding. And then, while I was in secondary school, I decided I wanted to do that thing of making money online. Initially I started off as, like, a freelancer on some of these freelance websites, trying to undercut all of the Indians and Pakistanis from the subcontinent, who were offering the same service for a fraction of the price. And then, that developed into this thing of, every year, me and my friends at school, we would try and start some kind of internet business. I think we tried five or six of those, all of which failed miserably. But then, when I got to university, that was when the first business actually started to succeed. That led to a few other different businesses that developed from that, and, ultimately, that led to the YouTube channel, which is now what I am, I suppose, best known for. That was, sort of, the journey: starting off trying to make money online, trying to make a quick buck, and deciding, you know what, I want to be a YouTuber!

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2 days ago

Leaving Medicine - just released a video where I explain why, address some of your questions and talk about the future. Check out my channel to watch.

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3 days ago

We might imagine that a simple thumbs up emoji is a fairly neutral expression of approval. But @refrigerated recalls how even this can be interpreted in various different ways... This clip has been taken from Episode 67 of Not Overthinking - the weekly podcast I do with my brother @refrigerated . Find us on all the usual podcast providers or visit the website www.notoverthinking.com. New episode released every Sunday.

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3 days ago

My theory is that nothing is fun as a full-time job, because the thing can be fun, but as soon as it becomes a full-time job, you have all the baggage associated with the fact that it's a full-time job. • You have to go into work every day, even if you don't feel like it. • You have to negotiate leave with your rotor coordinator. • You can't have time off when you want it. I guess that's a part of growing up and being an adult, but I strongly reject the notion that it's how life has to be. That's why I'm so keen on—for myself and also for others—building up multiple streams of income. I don't want to ever be reliant on my full-time job to sustain my lifestyle, because, at that point, even if you love the job, you get trapped in the fact that it's a job and you need it to earn money, which you need to live. If you can break that cycle by having businesses on the side, or having a YouTube channel, or having a podcast that's monetized, or whatever, that leads to a more-free life, where you can do the job because you enjoy it, rather than because you have to do it.

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4 days ago

We're grateful for all the feedback we receive...even snappy reviews like this. Please do leave us a rating wherever you get your podcasts from - it will help others discover the podcast and we would very much appreciate it. This clip has been taken from Episode 67 of Not Overthinking - the weekly podcast I do with my brother @refrigerated . Find us on all the usual podcast providers or visit the website www.notoverthinking.com. New episode released every Sunday.

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4 days ago

You have so much free time as a secondary school student and as a university student, especially in the holidays. It's loads of time. You can do whatever you want with that time. At university I learned piano and guitar and tried to improve my singing. I'd been always dabbling with singing when I was younger, but I joined an a cappella group, taught myself chords for the piano and guitar, and started singing at events and things. I also was quite into close-up magic in the early days, and so I'd perform at the May Balls and do walk-around and close-up magic, card tricks and things like that... just to add further to the "nerd" reputation. There's more than enough time for stuff. However, having said that, I didn't really do anything at a very high level. I think if I was like, Blues rugby team or something, that would have severely limited my actual free time to do other things. But, if you want to do a lot of things at a fairly mediocre level, which is what I was doing, then it's very, very doable. Or, if you want to do a handful—one or two things at a very high level, that's also very doable.

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4 days ago

Saying goodbye to the wonderful hospital and colleagues who’ve been my home away from home for the past 12 months. And this poor soul who unintentionally photo bombed sorry m8

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4 days ago

Latest video featuring some great insights from @saradietschy just released. Check it out, link in bio!

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5 days ago

We often think that time spent driving is a pure cost. But it doesn't have to be, it can actually be a gain. We can use this time to listen to podcasts and audiobooks or just as a time for reflection. This clip has been taken from Episode 67 of Not Overthinking - the weekly podcast I do with my brother @refrigerated . Find us on all the usual podcast providers or visit the website www.notoverthinking.com. New episode released every Sunday.

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6 days ago

The productivity-related content industry reinforces the ‘I’m not ok, you’re ok’ instincts that form an underlying part of our character and motives. Taimur argues that instead of just taking away the productivity related tips, viewers get a kick from seeing someone so far ahead of them in this particular sphere and this serves as one of the reasons people repeatedly return to watch this content. This clip has been taken from Episode 67 of Not Overthinking - the weekly podcast I do with my brother @refrigerated . Find us on all the usual podcast providers or visit the website www.notoverthinking.com. New episode released every Sunday.

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6 days ago

Like every other medical student before me with an entrepreneurial spirit, I thought, "Great! I'll run courses for these entrance exams and interviews that people have to get through to get into med school!" The thing that separated me from the other people that have tried to do it was I knew how to code, and I'd been designing websites since the age of 12. At first I thought I'd run a course at my local school for about 20 kids. But, wait a minute: why don't I just make a website and market it around the UK and see what happens? I made a website, I made it look pretty... and being able to make something look pretty is a superpower that has served me in all other aspects of my life. If you want to learn something, learn a bit of graphic design; learn how to make something look pretty. It's going to set you apart from everyone else who's using a default Microsoft Word template, because no one else knows this stuff. To grow the website, I used content marketing: I would post really helpful stuff on The Student Room—a student's forum in the UK—and people would see what I was posting, look at my profile and realize, "Oh, this guy runs a course." That was how this thing started, and then every year it got bigger and bigger. That was my first successful business. I tried six or seven things before that and all of them failed! But when you get the right idea and combine it with knowing how to code and how to design, you can give it legs and make it run.

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1 weeks ago

In a recent podcast episode, Eric Weinstein described the emergence of ‘abusive relationships’ between admired figures and their respective audiences with a combination of positive and negative aspects of the relationship keeping us stuck in the loop and returning to consume more. Eric draws upon the analogy of popular physicists but Taimur notes that this same dynamic can be observed in the productivity-related content industry too... This clip has been taken from Episode 67 of Not Overthinking - the weekly podcast I do with my brother @refrigerated . Find us on all the usual podcast providers or visit the website www.notoverthinking.com. New episode released every Sunday.

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1 weeks ago

The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, which I'm sure everyone listening to this would have read—I'd seen this book recommended for a while, but it just seemed like a bit of a scammy title, so I never bothered reading it. And then I read it and it completely changed my life. I was like, "Oh my god, this is the sort of lifestyle that's possible!" It made me realize that I just, sort of implicitly, had been living the "deferred-life plan"—is what he calls it—which is where you get this job, and then you work hard, and then you make money, and then you get a house, and you get a mortgage, and kids, and then you retire at some point. I had in my mind it would be cool to make money off the internet, but in my head this idea of being rich, I guess I didn't really think about it. I thought it was, oh, you need to have a few million in the bank and then you can retire on a beach in Thailand, or something. The way that he presents it in the book is, well, actually what's the sort of lifestyle that you want? You realize that actually you don't need that much money to live that sort of lifestyle. Tim Ferriss's lifestyle for those years was traveling around the world, living on beaches, doing his stuff from his computer. He just needed, like, $30,000, $40,000 a year to do that. That is a doable amount of money, especially for someone who's reasonably well-educated, going into medicine. It's not an amount of money that's impossible to make. That was step one in the I Need to Make This "Passive Income" thing. Step number two was, as soon as I got into med school, anytime I'd speak to doctors, I would ask them, "If you won the lottery, would you still continue doing medicine?" About half of them said they would leave completely, that they would leave immediately, and the other half said they would continue, but they would want to work part-time.

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1 weeks ago

Parasocial relationships are one-sided relationships where one person extends emotional energy, interest and time even though the other person, usually a famous personality, is completely unaware of this. Parasocial cliques used to form around celebrities but it’s now gone mainstream. Some people argue that this produces an unhealthy dynamic within society as these one-sided relationships produce a certain level of false kinship. This clip has been taken from Episode 67 of Not Overthinking - the weekly podcast I do with my brother @refrigerated . Find us on all the usual podcast providers or visit the website www.notoverthinking.com. New episode released every Sunday.

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2 weeks ago

Eid Mubarak fam

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2 weeks ago

At the start, it definitely does take a level of discipline. It takes a level of thinking, "Right, no one is watching my videos, but I know I have to do this." There was a story I came across early on, from a channel called Simon Clark, who was this other university YouTuber, and he was talking about how he recognized that his first 50 videos were going to be absolutely terrible. What he wanted to do was to try and get over those 50 videos as soon as possible. I thought, okay, I'm not a very talented sort of guy. Maybe my first 100 videos are going to be absolutely terrible. Just having that in my mind meant that as soon as I started YouTube, I was like, "Okay, well, I've got to get those reps in!" I need to get to a hundred videos, and then I can start worrying about the quality, then I can start maybe being good one day. Another part of it is definitely just the fun factor. It's just really fun! Everyone who's tried making YouTube videos and enjoys it says that it's fun. Whatever creative thing you're pursuing, as long as you're enjoying it—often, we don't really need motivation for the things we enjoy doing, because it's just fun to do. Those are the two things; a third one is that the problem with all these sorts of creative fields—for example, making a podcast or making a YouTube channel—is that the return on investment is not very clear. The game we all play when we're in school is, I'll get good grades, therefore I'll get to a good university, therefore I'll get a good job, therefore I'll get a company car and health insurance, therefore I will retire at 65. It's a very linear, logical progression of things. But, on the internet, it doesn't work like that at all. It's about shooting loads of shots, and maybe one of them is going to land, and maybe you might get that one viral video, which will help things take off. I suspect that's one of the things that holds people back because you can release a hundred videos and have basically no subscribers, and then maybe your hundred-and-first video suddenly takes off, and you just can't predict it.

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2 weeks ago

If you're starting anything, start off really, really, really small. When I started YouTube, I made videos for people applying to medical school in Cambridge. I expanded out a little bit with videos about life as a medical student in Cambridge, and then expanded that a little bit to people applying to medical school in general, with interview tips. It was only after I made about 50 of those videos that I started to branch out to more general stuff. I made a video about my desk setup, and then a video about how to study for exams. Those slowly expanded the audience over time. Only then did I make a video about my iPad, and start branching out into tech stuff. You have to serve your small audience well, and then, over time, you can expand. One of the mistakes people make when they start off with YouTube is they go too broad. If you're starting a YouTube channel for the first time and your very first video is 10 Productivity Tips, that's way too broad. There's no targeting to that audience! Instead, if your very first video is How I Use Roam Research to Keep Track of My Notes And Take Notes At The Same Time... that's somewhat specific! You might be able to get people into your channel through that very specific topic. That was my journey: starting off small and then broadening out over time.

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2 weeks ago

We often underestimate the value of friends and under appreciate the mutual benefits to be made from pooling resources with them. It allows you to collectively do things that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do on your own. As Kevin Kelly explains "Friends are better than money. Almost anything money can do, friends can do better". This clip has been taken from Episode 66 of Not Overthinking - the weekly podcast I do with my brother @refrigerated . In this episode, we are talking through Kevin Kelly's 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice which can be found here - https://kk.org/thetechnium/68-bits-of-unsolicited-advice/ Find us on all the usual podcast providers or visit the website www.notoverthinking.com. New episode released every Sunday.

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2 weeks ago

My biggest regret in life is not taking more notes, when I was younger, from the books that I'd read. Because I used to read so much, and I still do, and now I take notes on the books that I read, and export my highlights, and write a little bit about what I've learned from this book. I think if I'd been doing this since the age of 12, that would just have been so good. I'd be sitting on this treasure trove of content that I could just shove onto my website. I wish I'd started a website earlier, as well. I think this is something every single person in the world should do. Everyone should have a personal website with their name on it, and then, just use that as a bit of a blog, just to write stuff. It's not gonna benefit you now, but in 10 years' time, you'll look back on it and think, "Oh, damn! I'm really glad I've been maintaining this thing for the last 10 years." That is my one regret in life: that I didn't start doing this stuff sooner. That's the advice that I would give to everyone, whatever age they're at: start a personal blog. It's got the potential to change your life.

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2 weeks ago

Owning up to mistakes is not only valuable in elevating a person in the eyes of others but mistakes are always easier to resolve and move past if we own up to them quickly and look to solve the problem efficiently. The longer we take to own up to our mistakes, the greater the consequences are more likely to be. This clip has been taken from Episode 66 of Not Overthinking - the weekly podcast I do with my brother @refrigerated . In this episode, we are talking through Kevin Kelly's 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice which can be found here - https://kk.org/thetechnium/68-bits-of-unsolicited-advice/ Find us on all the usual podcast providers or visit the website www.notoverthinking.com. New episode released every Sunday.

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2 weeks ago

Probably showing a bit too much skin in this latest thumbnail - check out my latest video about how to beat procrastination woooo xx

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2 weeks ago

One of the big worries people often have when they're starting a YouTube or blog or podcast or anything is, "Oh, but what about the haters?" There seems to be this myth going around that the internet is full of trolls and haters, when they make up such a tiny, tiny, tiny proportion of people online. Peaceful protesters make up the majority of protesters, but occasionally you have someone who loots a shop. But the whole media narrative is that all of these protesters are looters; everyone ends up thinking the numbers are disproportionately in favor of the looters. It's the same on the internet. 99.999% of the comments that I get are super nice and friendly and supportive. Occasionally I'll get ONE hate comment, which is just funny to screenshot and post on my Instagram story. People often use, "Oh, but I'm worried what people will say in the comments!" as a reason to not put themselves out on the internet. But as long as you're not doing anything particularly inflammatory—like talking about Windows versus Mac—then you're going to be fine.

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