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Daily Blog Drawings Habits Hacks Living Well Multiplers

On focus and keeping the main thing the main thing

Working as hard as you can is good, but not as important as one might think. It’s the quality of decisions, the thing we work on, that matters the most. Workin on a thing consistently, yet slowly, is worth 1000x working fast and hard on multiple things. It took me a long time to realize this, and I hope you learn it faster.

The point: Laser-like focus sets apart the average and the extraordinary. The seemingly average (you and me) can take small steps (with focus) in the same direction every day. Keep the main thing the main thing to make something extraordinary.

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Daily Blog

On synthesis of knowledge into wisdom

We all love mental models, but the real magic comes from synthesis.

I train people on powerlifting: squat, bench press, and deadlift with a barbell. It’s usually very heavy weight, and it makes people uncomfortable in the beginning. There’s many queues: Squeeze lats, destroy earth, push the button … They are reminders for the lifter to focus on key leverage points. It’s hard to do for the lifter, especially under increasingly heavier weight week after week.

Each lifter has multiple lightbulb moments after the queues start to melt together. The coach can fix form with one queue after building a relationship with the lifter. Sounds cool, huh? That’s synthesis of knowledge into wisdom. The lifter can now coach anyone else on how to lift.

It takes lots of effort to get here

More importantly:

Knowledge becomes wisdom through experience and synthesis. Consistent effort speeds up the process. Whoever gets the reps in most consistently goes the farthest.

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Daily Blog

On ‘type 2’ fun

Sometimes it’s hard to keep everything in check in our minds. We try to be a certain way: strong, attentive, smart. And we try to convey those things to the world, when in fact we are trying to convey it to ourselves.

The truth is, we don’t have to do that. We don’t have to do anything, really. The universe does not care if you climb the corporate ladder or choose to be a stay-at-home welfare sloth. Everything is the way it should be. There’s a quietness in this, and there’s a strength in this.

Once we realize that we are no longer obligated to live a certain way, we can choose any direction we want at any time, free of expectation. An argument against: “Well what about ambition?” Ambition is overrated. The reason to do anything is in the thing itself. I do not train my body to get big muscles, I train my body because to not train my body is misery. Lifting the barbell, in the moment, is not as fun as video games, but it’s fun as in depositing money into an investment that you know is going to help later. It feels good.

I call this type 2 fun.

The more we can genuinely enjoy type 2 fun, the better off we’ll be.

You and I have a code written within that naturally leads us in certain direction. The trick is to listen to that signal, and to tune out the noise of society. This signal naturally leads us to type 2 fun.

  • Follow your curiosity, because you’re not a cat.
  • Look for the type 2 fun activities. (They’re usually free or low cost and benefit you with compound interest.)
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Daily Blog Multiplers

Multipliers: Reading and Writing

We hear it often. Making reading a habit has second order effects that propel us forward. That’s the thing though: second order effects. We quickly forget them due to their submersed nature.

Most multipliers are like that. Quiet, unseen, un-loved by most.

Communication is a multiplier (or steroid) that all need in order to make a ruckus. Why? Because reading and writing help the mind stay clear. “Clear writing is clear thinking” and vice versa.

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Daily Blog

Know your ‘why’ in order to create maximal momentum towards your goals.

Momentum is a funny thing.  Either you have it or you don’t.  For me, it comes down to counting any little thing as progress and building on that.  The problem is, most of us think that it takes BIG action to create momentum.

That’s not the case.

If your goal is to start working out, then all it takes to START is doing ONE situp (or pushup, or step, etc).  We think we have to work out for one hour, or worse yet, go jogging for one hour.

Jogging is nuts.  It’s hard on the body, beats you up, and I guarantee the next day you won’t be able to walk, especially if you’re just starting out.  So there’s already a few things wrong:

  • We started too hard.  Doing too much.  
  • We expected too much.
  • Our bodies (or minds) can’t handle it.  
  • We want results NOW.

That last one is the kicker: “now”.  That’s a bastard little word that is responsible for most of the problems of mankind.  We think about the immediate, not the later.  

To create momentum it takes a change of paradigm to that of thinking about later, the future.  Not thinking about the now, like a child.

Momentum is a chess players game when everyone else is playing checkers.  Checkers is fun, at the moment.  Chess is lots of little investments and sacrifices for a big payoff later.  Starting to sink in?  

Here’s how we condition ourselves to botch our momentum: SOCIAL MEDIA.  It’s designed with engineers and psychologists to be as addicting as possible, to please our immediate response and to hook us almost as bad as any drug.  (think I”m joking?  Google how much has been invested in social media to keep our attention)

With little habits, such as a diminished reliance on social media, we can cut away enough space to make some real momentum.  We all hear “Oh I don’t have time to start my training program.  I can’t drive to the gym, work out for an hour, drive home.”  That’s a bullshit story that we’ve all heard.  Here’s why:

We always get what we really want.

Humans are illogical.  Don’t have the money?  No problem.  Take out a fucking loan and pay extra for something that you don’t even need.

Want to live longer?  Can’t.  Takes too much to go for a 20 minute walk every day during break. (You’re kidding me)

The grand majority of us are creatures of immediate pleasures that have never grown up past the age of 5.  We are fat whiny toddlers in adult clothing screaming “I want it NOW!”  

If we actually wanted to be wealthy, to have six pack abs, we would make it happen.  We would take out a loan for a home gym, or save 50 dollars per month instead of eating out a 9th time in one month, etc.  Humans are smart when we have an obstacle.  We are also really good at convincing ourselves that some things are the way they are and we can’t change them.  We are good at lying to ourselves and excellent at believing our own bullshit.  

Where does that leave us?

Anyone can create momentum for a moment then lose it. 

Winners know what they want, staple it to their forehead, and then put their head down and work.  It’s about the want.  That sweet little motivator that nobody can take away but you.  

Champions want intensely.  They want to win so bad they can taste it.  They can smell it.  

Successful entrepreneurs want to make something work so bad that they work 13 hour days for 2 years just to launch something.  They believe.  They want. 

You get the idea.  Sometimes we think we want something only to discover that no, we don’t.  I see this all the time in personal training.  With over a decade of experience, I see people come in and work 50 percent for a month then realize that it’s going to take a life change to see the results that they want.  It’s going to take more than they realize, so they quit.  (Must not have wanted it that much)

To create momentum and keep it, you have to want.  Nobody can want for you.  YOU have to do it.  A good way to do this is to ask yourself the ‘why’.  “Why do I want this?”  It’ll take some digging, but don’t shy away from it.  Most people want to look good because they don’t love themselves, they think they don’t measure up to some arbitrary scale.  The truth is, there is no scale.  No hook.  When we ask ourselves the hard questions, we start to see that most of the things we want are just fog.  Or better yet, most of the things we want are a representation of a better self.  

Things are not the answer.

Duh.  But some of us still act like this is a novelty idea.  We chase toys, spend money we don’t’ have, get bored with things we bought and still owe money on, and then move on to the next thing to entertain us.

Ideas are the same way.  

The idea of you with a six-pack is cool, but you’ll still have the same problems, the same insecurities.  I guarantee it.  

The idea of you with a million dollars will have compounded problems.  Think about that.  It won’t make you more confident, happier, or fix your marriage.  So stop acting like ideas of a ‘better’ version of yourself is going to fix things.  it won’t.

Let’s recap:

  • To get momentum, you have to know why.
  • To know your why, you have to wrestle with your own mind.
  • Things don’t make you happy, and neither do outside circumstances.
  • There’s no measure.  You’re already perfect.  
  • The only metrics that matter are internal.  So, are you happy?