The seeds of doubt were planted at a young age. I can’t tell you exactly when, but I know it started in childhood. I was lead to believe I wasn’t capable, that I would struggle in this life. In particular, concerns surrounded my abilities in English. At first, my parents worried that I had a … Read more Why I Write
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman (Source: The Living Wisdom of Howard Thurman: A Visionary for Our Time) I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘what do you mean the ONLY … Read more The Only Thing The World Needs From You
The other night, while I was trying to sleep, I started thinking about the post I wrote last week where I stated that hatred is driven – at its core – by a fear of death. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was missing something fundamental. Naturally this started to make me feel a little anxious. … Read more Why Everything Scares You To Death
That’s the most liberating, wonderful thing in the world, when you openly admit you’re an ass. It’s wonderful. When people tell me, “You’re wrong.” I say, “What can you expect of an ass?” S.J. Anthony de mello – SOURCE: AWARENESS “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent … Read more The Secret Ingredient Missing From Every Conversation
“The principle of freedom must be our first commitment, for without this no one is immune against the virus of aggrandizement – the impulse to grab power, wealth, position, or reputation at the expense of others.” – Herbert Douglass – SourCE:The Cost Of Freedom True freedom is a commitment to experiencing the very real limitations … Read more Why Freedom Demands Responsibility
Hello lovely readers and welcome back to my high-flying newsletter! The only newsletter that believes our need for meaning prevents us from finding it.
Following a 3-2-1 approach, it contains 3 thoughts from me (that you should ignore), 2 quotes from others (that you should read), and 1 joke that’s so bad, it’s good!
1) “The most meaningful moments in life have no words. When we attempt to attach meaning to those moments we lose it. Like prescribing some profundity to a spectacular sunset. When there are no words it’s best to keep it that way.” – click to tweet
2) “Productivity gets a bad rep nowadays. I believe the word is misunderstood. Increased productivity means an increased output for a given input. It doesn’t mean more work. It doesn’t mean you have to work harder. It means you get more bang for your buck. This is what you want to do to find that all elusive life balance: Have a system in place that allows you to maximise your most productive hours. Also set hard limits and have the discipline – yes discipline – to stop working outside of them.” – click to tweet
3) “There’s a lesson most pilot’s learn the hard way in training. The tendency to over control their aircraft, especially during severe turbulence. The desire to fight the turbulence – to counteract every single bump – makes the ride worse. Do that and you’re more likely, not less, to deviate from your desired track and level. The trick to flying is to let go. You must allow the aircraft to ride out the bumps and then gently bring the bird back to your desired track, level and speed. The same lesson applies to our mental state. The more you fight the turbulence the worse it gets.” – click to tweet
“Because children grow up, we think a child’s purpose is to grow up. But a child’s purpose is to be a child. Nature doesn’t disdain what lives only for a day. It pours the whole of itself into the each moment. We don’t value the lily less for not being made of flint and built to last. Life’s bounty is in its flow, later is too late. Where is the song when it’s been sung? The dance when it’s been danced? It’s only we humans who want to own the future, too. We persuade ourselves that the universe is modestly employed in unfolding our destination. We note the haphazard chaos of history by the day, by the hour, but there is something wrong with the picture. Where is the unity, the meaning, of nature’s highest creation? Surely those millions of little streams of accident and wilfulness have their correction in the vast underground river which, without a doubt, is carrying us to the place where we’re expected! But there is no such place, that’s why it’s called utopia. The death of a child has no more meaning than the death of armies, of nations. Was the child happy while he lived? That is a proper question, the only question. If we can’t arrange our own happiness, it’s a conceit beyond vulgarity to arrange the happiness of those who come after us.”
Do you know that feeling, after you’ve written out your to-do list, despite how it’s suppose to make you feel, when all you want to-do is crawl under a rock and die?
You know, when a slow and painful death seems preferable to confronting the mountain of tedious work you feel you have to-do?
And so you slowly put down your to-do list, walk over to the couch, gently sit down, carefully pick up the remote control and turn on NETFLIX. Which you then proceed to binge watch for several hours…
A bit like a psychopath who completely disconnects from all his or her responsibilities and emotions?
I’m sure you do.
Anyway this got me thinking.
Why exactly does writing out our responsibilities on paper cause some us to run away from them faster than a teenage boy climaxes?
After all we know this kind of behaviour doesn’t help us, yet we can’t help ourselves. Sometimes all we want is to tell life to go fuck itself and so we do, even if that means fucking ourselves in the process.
The real question, of course, is how can we stop our to-do lists from making us feel like shit and help us get shit done instead?
Well fear not my fine readers for I’ve complied 5 simple tricks – as partially backed by science – to help you not only write a to-do list that doesn’t make you want to tell life to go fuck itself, but carry it out as well!
You’re very welcome!
1 – Do the thing that scares you the most first.
“The task you’re avoiding isn’t always the one you hate. Sometimes it’s the one you fear. The one that’s most worth pursuing.”
The science shows that making a plan to complete a task provides the same mental relief as completing the task itself.
Which is exactly the point. Writing a to-do list is suppose to make you feel better so you can actually get started with something.
It’s suppose to get you in the mood… (Yeah baby!)
The problem for me, and I suspect countless others, was never a matter of productivity, but what it was I actually chose to accomplish during the day. I now realise I used my to-do list as a way to constantly defer the shit I was most afraid of.
I’m not talking about homework assignments here of course. I mean things like confronting my depression by asking for professional help or having certain difficult conversations with certain family members about shit I really don’t want to talk about…
Yeah, you know, the shit you really need to be doing first!
It was pointed out to me, in Adam Grant‘s excellent worklife podcast episode – ‘the real reason you procrastinate,’ that it wasn’t the tasks I was avoiding but the emotions I’d attached to said tasks.
The problem with ignoring these tasks is you inadvertently give those emotions (the thing that you’re actually afraid of confronting) greater hold over you. Thus the longer you leave said tasks undone the harder they become to-do.
Unfortunately there’s only one solution.
However scary they are, the tasks that you fear the most are exactly the ones you should be pursuing first. Not tidy the apartment!
Well it’s a classic Catch 22. By doing the very tasks you’re afraid of, you’re helping to confront and resolve those emotions that caused you to avoid those tasks in the first place.
If you don’t want to live with those emotions any longer, then you have to stop avoiding them. You have to rip the bandaid off. If you don’t it’s only gonna hurt more later on. Believe me!
Of course I realise this might not be what you want to hear so I thought I’d offer a few more tips that can help you do what’s necessary by putting things into perspective.
2 – Ask yourself, “What would I do if today were my last on earth?“
It’s important to be very clear about what your most important tasks are on any given day. Often we’re not. A great way to do this – something I do every morning as part of my journalling routine – is to ask yourself the following question:“What would I do if this were my last day on earth?”
I’m guessing your to-do list would look markedly different.
Things like telling your family how much you love them. Apologising for any major wrong doings or forgiving those that wronged you would also probably appear. Remaining as present as you possibly can be. Paying attention to every waking moment for the truly precious moment that it is! Sitting with and observing any difficult emotions. Allowing those emotions to come out (instead of watching NETFLIX). Taking a walk outside to feel the elements – wind, rain, hail or shine! Simply being…
You get the point.
Of course you shouldn’t take this question too seriously otherwise you’ll probably bin your to-do list altogether and tell your boss to-go fuck himself. Perhaps not in the best interest of your future self…
Still, this is a great question because it helps align your to-do list with the values you hold closest. It helps to prioritise the things that you really should.It also puts thing into perspective.
The truth is you don’t have to-do anything. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment and self-loathing by thinking so. You don’t have to-do anything if you don’t want to.
You get to do those things.
Which brings me to my next trick for reframing your to-do list. That is…
3 – Write a GET to-do list instead
Put that at the top in big bold capital letters: GET to-do.
Not only does this set yourself up to be more grateful for what you feel you might have to-do, it also helps to take the pressure off.
You get to do it, you don’t have to do it.
Keep reminding yourself of this important fact.
I’d add another small tip.
Write out 3 things you’re grateful for today before you write out your get to-do list. I could show you some science that shows just how beneficial having a gratitude practise is, but I don’t want to bore you.
You know all this.
The point to label is YOU GET TO-DO THESE THIHGS. One day you’ll be dead and you won’t get to.
It helps to keep that in mind.
4 – Keep it modest and specific.
How much do you really need to-do today?
So many of us put everything down we’d like to complete and then burn out after realising we’ll never be able to achieve all those things.
You’ve got make it manageable.
Don’t say I’ll write one blog post or go for a 10km run or finish reading that book. Say I’ll write one paragraph, jog for five minutes and read one chapter.
Simply taking a step in the right direction is enough.
So what if you didn’t quite get everything you wanted to-do done?
The most important thing is that you enjoyed it. You’re never going to enjoy it if you’re always racing towards the finish line.
And if you really don’t manage to complete much, if anything, of what you intended, then please refer to point number 5.
5 – Show yourself show compassion.
‘You can change some of those emotions by showing yourself compassion.We procrastinate less when we remind ourselves that it’s part of the human condition. We’re not the only one suffering from it.’
A tough one to finish I know. The truth is I’m awful at being kind to myself.
This is why, every morning as part of my meditation routine before I do anything else, I practise a loving kindness meditation for everybody including myself.
After all it can’t be called universal compassion if it doesn’t include yourself.
It’s important to remember we’re all fallible humans at the end of the day. Things like confronting our demons aren’t easy. It takes time to find the courage.
Go easy on yourself if you don’t do that scary task.
Who honestly get’s everything they mean to-do in a day? Really? I certainly don’t.
That said, I tell my wife I love her every night before bed without fail. I make sure I spend a couple of quality hours with my boys – laughing and playing with them every afternoon before dinner. I meditate every single morning and take every opportunity to practise mindfulness whenever I can. I always go for a walk outside as a way to remind myself that I’m alive and how fucking amazing that is!
Quite frankly the rest can fucked. Occasionally it does!
The older I get the more willing I am to say, so the fuck what? Tomorrow’s another day right? If you fall off the horse today, simply get back on it tomorrow. Falling down is inevitable. Getting back up is what matters.
Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that inspires you to care less…
Following a 3-2-1 approach, it contains 3 thoughts from me (that you should ignore), 2 quotes from others (that you should read), and 1 thing I’ve been reading, watching or listening to this week that has helped me grow.
As a bonus I’ve finished with 1 joke that’s so bad, it’s good.
3 x Thoughts:
1) Giving a shit about everything makes you incapable of solving anything. That’s not to say your shouldn’t give a fuck, but to make sure your fucks are targeted. Then ruthlessly not give a fuck about anything else. The world will be far better off if you do this.
2)The creative process is about expressing your individuality. In order to express the truest version of yourself, you have to stop giving a fuck what anyone else thinks. The best creativity comes about spontaneously – from a place of playful freedom. That means allowing your subconscious mind to express itself through you. That’s how you unlock your creative genius.
3) While we’re on the subject of not giving a fuck, here’s why you shouldn’t give fuck about swearing, or most anything offensive that someone says: Because being offended is a choice. By being offended you give away your power. It lets your enemies know they don’t need sticks and stones to break your bones, because names will do just nicely.
2 x Quotes:
“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.”
“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you, real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self-acceptance opened.”
This Mark Manson article: How To Be More Productive By Working Less.This article explains why more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to work – and how working too much can actually produce diminishing/negative returns. If you’ve ever found yourself writing in circles to the point that you end up creating more work for yourself – this article is worth your time. Quote from the article below:
“Solving problems is to your mind as food is to your stomach. It needs a variety of stimulation and too much of one kind will cause it to get sick and tired. But what’s amazing is that leisure time—this ability to distract one’s brain away from problem-solving and work—actually makes your brain far more effective upon returning to work.”
Hello lovely readers and welcome back to Mindset Mondays! The only weekly post that prefers totalitarianism to freedom…
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.
(As a way to give credit and to say thank you, I’ve linked back to any posts that have inspired my thoughts. I’ve linked back to any quotes I’ve found as well.)
4 x Thoughts:
1) Moving an inch forward will prevent you from falling a mile backward.
1) This Intelligence square podcast: The Art Of Rest with Claudia Hammond and Helen Czerski. – “In this podcast Claudia Hammond explains that rest is not just a matter of doing nothing – it is a vital part of self-care. Her book, The Art of Rest, draws on ground-breaking research she uncovered through ‘The Rest Test’, the largest global survey into rest ever undertaken, which was completed by 18,000 people across 135 different countries. Much has been written on the value of sleep in recent years, but rest is different; it is how we unwind, calm our minds and recharge our bodies. And, as the survey revealed, how much rest you get is directly linked to your sense of well-being.”
2) This BBC article:The four keys that could unlock procrastination by David Robson. This article explores the reasons behind why we procrastinate using something called Temporal Motivation Theory. It goes onto outline four simple “reflection points” that we can use. To quote, “Ask yourself these questions on a regular basis, and you’ll find it far easier to resist tempting distractions, allowing you to focus on the things that really matter in your life.” For anyone who struggles with procrastination this article is worth your time. I’ve noted the four questions below:
How would someone successful complete the goal?
How would you feel if you don’t do the required task?
What is the next immediate step you need to do?
If you could do one thing to achieve the goal on time, what would it be?
1 x Joke:
So I officially became a father of two this week! (Thank you all very much.)
The question our family asked repeatedly was whether or not we were planning to have a third?
“A turd?” I replied.
“But we’ve already done a number 2!”
Thanks ladies and gentlemen. I’m here all week! I sincerely hope all of you have felt as much love this week as I have! As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions on this blog. Please let us know below.
Understand that while you might love the smell of your own shit, it’s exactly that – shit! The same applies to your thoughts. This is why you must analyse, challenge and deconstruct your beliefs continuously. Just how what you feed yourself determines how much your shit stinks, what you feed your brain determines how good your thinking is. Trust me, your shit can always smell nicer. (How’s that for an inspirational quote?!!)
There is such a thing as post traumatic growth. Many who have gone through some kind of trauma don’t regret it happened because they believe it has made them stronger. That’s certainly my experience. However this isn’t true in all cases. Often it’s a choice. You can either make up your mind to take responsibility for something that’s not your fault or not. If you play the victim you become the victim. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger if that’s your attitude, otherwise it will make you weaker.
“Vision is the bottleneck of talent. Most talent is wasted because people do not clearly know what they want. It’s not a lack of effort, but a lack of direction. There are many capable people in the world, but relatively few that focus on what matters.” – James Clear
Religion isn’t about what is true. It’s about something else.
Nocebo effect. Doctor start talking about possible negative side effects and then you feel them.
What we assume of others people – what we believe of them – is what we get out of them.
If you assume most people are selfish. You will end up with a society that brings out the worst. In its systems and institutions. Racism works this way. I believe we can turn it around. By believing in the best of human nature we can reflect that in our society and politics as well. I want to create a placebo effect for our society not a nocebo effect.
Homo puppy – Humans have evolved to be friendly. New fascinating study to come out of biology. Self domestication. We did it to ourselves. What happened? Survival of the friendliest. Turns out the friendliest of us did the best. Had the most kids etc. Had an interesting effect on our biology. We have became more puppy like in appearance. Hence I came up with the term, Homo puppy.
Social psychology- many studies are now being debunked. Idea that normal kind humans put into evil situations will very quickly become savages. Turns out experiments were set up to prove the theory. 50 years later we are learning many of these famous studies simply aren’t accurate.
Interesting how no one asks about a theory for human kindness? People are more interested in explaining the holocaust. People always want a simple explanation. There isn’t one. It was part of a long historical evolution that convinced millions that what they were doing was good.
People were basically brainwashed. That was what was believed. Most people do not do horrible things because they enjoy it. They actually have to overcome strong instincts that go the other way. They simply believe they are right.They are the hero’s in their own stories. It’s very rare that bad guys actually think they are bad. The point is that ideologies take over. Becomes a twisted divine mission.
Often friendliness gets in the way of progress. We don’t stand up to racists and bullies etc when we should.
Strange paradoxical situation where left wing parties aren’t having a good time at the moment but left wing radical ideas are. Why? Theory. When you have a radical idea, to move it into mainstream political action eventually you have to compromise. Often on the left you have something called the “narcissism of little details.” The problem with the left is its unwillingness to compromise. It’s not useful if you want to build a broader movement for more people to get behind.
On the left it feels likes a competition – who is the most pure – the most correct. Whereas on the right its simply I’d like to be in charge please.
What I hope to come out of this crisis is the question – do I want to live somewhere like Germany or NZ or somewhere with a very aggressive capitalist system like America with patchy welfare? It’s hard to look around at the moment and not see what good governance does for you.
The answer to cynicism is realism.
If you write about the story but don’t include the metta analysis then I think you have failed as a writer.
Summary of my book is most people are nice but power corrupts. A lot of powerful psychology backing up this claim – research by Dr. Dacher Keltner who wrote the power paradox shows that people prefer to have nice leaders – but often these nice people become corrupted by power. Powerful people become disconnected. The parts of the brain responsible for empathy stops lighting up.
How is it possible we have this survival of the shameless situation? Where people who definitely wouldn’t have survived during the age of hunter gathers can become our leaders. What has gone wrong with our modern political systems? The super viruses of a shame culture. Where being shamed is so prevalent it becomes a super power to be completely shameless.
We’re the only animals in the world to blush – to involuntarily give away our feelings. Why? Probably a mechanism designed to establish trust. Maybe political reporters should ask our leaders the question – when was the last time you blushed?
Pessimism or optimism? I don’t like either of them – I believe they are both forms of laziness. Biggest danger with optimism is complacency. ‘It will be ok so I don’t need to worry about changing anything myself.’ Biggest danger with pessimism is apathy. ‘The world is doomed so it doesn’t matter either way. Might as well drive my SUV etc.’ Realism is to say we can save the planet but it’s going to mean making radical changes from all of us.