4-3-2-1 Mindset Mondays

Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that forces you to make resolutions you can’t possibly meet.

Following a 4-3-2-1 approach, it contains 4 thoughts from me (that you should ignore), 3 quotes from others (that you should read), and 2 things I’ve been reading, watching or listening to this week that have helped me grow.

As always I’ve finished with 1 joke that’s so bad, it’s good.

Let’s begin!


4 x Thoughts:

1) You have to stop pouring water in your glass if you want to drink from it. 

2) Concentrate on improving your routine – the actions that you take everyday. This is far more important than achieving any goal.

3) As a rule: The more needs or wants a person has, the unhappier he or she is. 

4) A period of reflection does more for the soul than sitting down to outline goals for the year. When we take the time to reflect on our values. When we look deeply at how we have failed to live up-to them. It’s through this deeper reflection that we derive the most insight. Then it’s from those lessons that the goals we really want to chase after become clear. Those goals becoming, in turn, an expression of your true values. An expression of the things that make you feel whole. That make you feel integral.


3 x Quotes:

“Learning how to focus and prioritize your thoughts effectively based on finely honed personal values is perhaps the greatest and most important struggle in life.”

– MARK MANSON. 

“In a crisis, the inevitable suffering that life entails can rapidly make a mockery of the idea that happiness is the proper pursuit of the individual.”

– JORDAN B. PETERSON

“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” 

– SIGMUND FREUD


2 x Things:

1) This Mark Manson article: 1,273 People Share Their Best Life Lessons from 2020. Mark collated a series of the most common lessons learnt from his readers after asking them the question, “What have been your biggest lessons from 2020?” It’s about a 20 minute read but well worth your time. I’ve listed my favourite 3 lessons below:

  1. You Only Really Know Who You Are When Everything Is Taken From You
  2. A Crisis Doesn’t Change People; It Amplifies Who They Already Are
  3. Most Things Are Both Good and Bad at the Same Time

2) This blog post: “100 Tips for a Better Life” by Conor Barnes. This list is awesome! I picked out ten of my favs (which was difficult!) – listed below:

  1. Discipline is superior to motivation. The former can be trained, the latter is fleeting. You won’t be able to accomplish great things if you’re only relying on motivation. 
  2. Cultivate a reputation for being dependable. Good reputations are valuable because they’re rare (easily destroyed and hard to rebuild). You don’t have to brew the most amazing coffee if your customers know the coffee will always be hot.
  3. Selfish people should listen to advice to be more selfless, selfless people should listen to advice to be more selfish. This applies to many things. Whenever you receive advice, consider its opposite as well. You might be filtering out the advice you need most. 
  4. Defining yourself by your suffering is an effective way to keep suffering forever (ex. incels, trauma). 
  5. Keep your identity small. “I’m not the kind of person who does things like that” is not an explanation, it’s a trap. It prevents nerds from working out and men from dancing. 
  6. To start defining your problems, say (out loud) “everything in my life is completely fine.” Notice what objections arise. 
  7. Sometimes unsolvable questions like “what is my purpose?” and “why should I exist?” lose their force upon lifestyle fixes. In other words, seeing friends regularly and getting enough sleep can go a long way to solving existentialism. 
  8. Human mood and well-being are heavily influenced by simple things: Exercise, good sleep, light, being in nature. It’s cheap to experiment with these.
  9. You have vanishingly little political influence and every thought you spend on politics will probably come to nothing. Consider building things instead, or at least going for a walk. 
  10. Bad things happen dramatically (a pandemic). Good things happen gradually (malaria deaths dropping annually) and don’t feel like ‘news’. Endeavour to keep track of the good things to avoid an inaccurate and dismal view of the world. 

1 x Joke:

I’m happy to report that this year we gave 2020 the send off that it deserved! That’s right ladies and gentleman, we were in bed by 9:30.

Before that, however, we managed to have a wee party with close relatives. Of course it wasn’t a New Year’s Eve party so much as a “Truck Off 2020 party.”

Why “Truck Off” you ask?

Well, as I explained to my family, all you have to do is ask my 2 year old son to say it! Because he struggles to pronounce the “tr” sound in truck, when he says “Truck Off 2020,” he means it!


Thanks ladies and gentlemen. I’m here all week! I sincerely hope you had a wonderful New Years Celebration! As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. Please let us know below.

One bonus question to finish:

What’s the biggest lesson that you can implement from 2020?


PREVIOUS MONDAY POST:

Mindset Mondays – 21/12/20

The Only New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need

“Trying is the first step to failure.”

– HOMER SIMPSON

I don’t care much for New Year’s Resolutions. The idea of sitting down to make a list of things I must or must not do. Frankly it makes me want to jam a pen in my eye. (Which would, incidentally, be less painful than watching as I inevitably fail to stick at any of them.)

My feeling is the exercise is more about indulging false hopes than it is about setting specific, measurable goals. Where we end up writing out these fairy-tale type lists. Where we say that this year we’re finally going to become the perfect version of ourselves – the person we were always meant to be.

Instead of coming to terms with who we actually are and the hand we’ve been dealt. Instead of appreciating what we have and accepting what currently is. Instead of taking stock and reflecting on the painful lessons of the previous year.

Instead, we make the same mistake by charging head first into the new year – setting our expectations sky high and then… BAM! 

2020 smacks us in the face with a baseball bat (or a cricket bat if you’re British).

The question then becomes, what’s left?

What’s left when your identity as a super high-achieving what-the-fuck ever comes crashing down to earth? (Side note: terrible pun for a pilot.) When all your goals, aspirations and plans go out the window faster than a teenage boy climaxes? (Side note: just terrible.) When your partner leaves you? When your career is left in tatters? When close relatives or friends pass away? When your own health deteriorates and you become wholly dependant on others?

What’s left?

That’s what’s happened hasn’t it? For so many of us this year. It’s forced us to ask some very difficult questions. To come to terms with difficult life circumstances out of our control. To think deeply about our relationships and our careers. About the values that define us.

In my eyes that’s what this time of year should be about. Not about how you’re going to have a rippling 6 pack or a fat bank account. But about reflection. Looking deeply at both how you have lived up the values you say you hold dear and in what ways you have failed. And then from there, looking to course correct. Using the valuable lessons of the past year to steer your ship. 

Goals are then meant to be an expression of those values. Of who you are at your core. The version of yourself that makes you feel whole. That makes you feel integral. They should change throughout your lifetime as you evolve. They should move depending on your unique life circumstances.

Goals are, at the end of the day, simply something to shoot at. The results of which matters far less than the process – than the the actions that you take everyday. That define you as a person. That are based on an increasingly clear set of values or overarching principles that have strengthened over time. That help to keep your head above the water when all else fails. When shit hits the fan and all you’re left with is a fat waistline and zero dollars in the bank (thanks again 2020).

But here’s the trick that nobody taught you. The moment you tell yourself in absolute terms you have to do something, you’re going to resent doing it. You’re going to hate it. A bit like telling yourself you can’t have sex until you get married – you’re going to be thinking about it your whole life until you do. Not only are going to hate doing or not doing that thing, you will become tied to it. Your self worth will become entirely dependent on whether or not you stick to that resolution or achieve that goal. And if you fail, well, you’ll probably feel like jamming a pen in your eye.

The truth is you don’t have to do anything. With the exception of breathing, sleeping and eating, you don’t have to do shit (ok you have to do that as well but you get the point). Nor should you think in those terms. It’s like Troy said in his previous post, the language you use matters. You don’t have to write in a gratitude journal. You get to. You don’t have to be part of saving the planet for our children. You get to be. You don’t have to eat your vegetables or go for a run at 5am (you definitely don’t have to do that). You get to live a healthy lifestyle.

So what’s the only new year’s resolution you’ll ever need to make. Simple. Don’t have one. That way the habits you want to form might actually stick. That way they won’t matter so much if they don’t. After all tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow, thankfully, is another year.


Thanks for reading everyone! I wrote this post for Pointless Overthinking yesterday. Thought I’d share with you on here as well. As always I’m curious to get your thoughts. Resolutions – yes or no? Are specific measurable goals the way to go instead? What about being clear about our values? As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. I hope you all had a wonderful New Years Day. 

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You can see find more of AP2’s nonsensical world views and poor self-help advice here at: https://pointlessoverthinking.com