Hear that? Of course you don’t… it’s your mind looking for stimulation. Stimulation that it mistakes for happiness. Lately, I have essentially been training my mind to stop thinking about what doesn’t matter. It’s really an art because you are actively painting your own blank canvas in this life. Every moment you are making an unconscious decision what to focus on, splashing that sheet with all sorts of different colors.
As you get older you realize only a few things are important in life. All the shit that was crammed into your head by society growing up means nothing and in fact it has set you back years in being happy and successful. Shut up with your drama, petty bullshit, excuses and start actually giving a fuck about what does matter.
Do you know what is important to you? If not i recommend you write that shit down… NOW. In my case it’s very simple, three things:
Work – Hustle my ass off until there is nothing left in me. Essentially be a (productive) slave to my team and customers. Having that feeling of being completely drained at the end of the day. Work from home, work at the office, work on the plane, work where-ever. Getting Things Done. If i have a work day where i am not productive (which happens) i feel like complete shit. There is no worse feeling. Why? I hold myself responsible for giving other people the opportunity to excel in life. I hold myself responsible for giving my team and partners the opportunity to be able to give their kids / future kids and there grand kids the upbringing they deserve. That is literally the type of thing running through my head on a day to day basis.
Health– Physical and mental. Eat clean / good food, work out hard, bike, pool, hit trails, meditate, and surround my mind with good people and books. A good dose of learning and taking massive action. Existing in the present moment. Good sex, often. You know, Maslow didn’t put sex as a basic human need on his famous hierarchy of needs as a joke…
Fun – Amazing experiences with amazing people. If I had the energy / time I would go out every single night to meet new people and have a new adventure. Just being outside of the house does it for me. Traveling to different places, even on short notice.
So next time you think about your petty drama or stupid low conscious thoughts ask yourself… Does this even fucking matter in relation to what’s most important to me?
If you are reading this, you already know what you need to do and you already know exactly how to do it. You are simply here trying to be more organized, but the answer is not organization.
The real answer to overcoming information overload is to gain clarity and take small actions over time. I’ll go over this in detail below, but first…
Most people have no idea why the fuck they are doing what they are doing. Plenty of what they are doing is a form of escapism or mental masturbation. In the 21st century it is nearly impossible to sit with our own thoughts. We might have a fucking panic attack or die if we have to listen to that voice inside our very complex brain.
So what do we do? We watch YouTube videos. We are on Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest, (fill in your mental fuck-toy here). We look for someone or some company to give our hard earned money to without ever considering that they might not fucking deserve it. We are swarmed with people trying to sell us online courses that promise to get us ahead. We download that new to-do list app, this will fix all of our problems!
There is no simplicity anymore, is there? Our brains were not made for all the stimulation we have instant access to.
What is Information Overload?
Every 60 seconds 72+ Hours of YouTube video is uploaded, millions of words published and 2.4 million queries are typed into Google. This is really just the tip of the iceberg because it is not slowing down. I could make facts like this the centerpiece of this entire blog, but this would get us know where.
With all this information, how are we supposed to filter through it to find actionable takeaways and get things done?
It is easier than you think, but first you need to prepare with the following 2 actions:
Turn off your phone while you’re trying to get a specific thing done
Your phone is not a productivity tool and it is laced with endless loops of notifications that send dopamine hits to your brain. It might even make you feel like you are getting something done. After all, billions of dollars are spent making sure you are addicted to using your phone and the apps within it. There is a time for your phone but it is not when you are trying to get things done.
Eliminate All Distractions
If you are trying to eat healthier or stop drinking alcohol one of the first pieces of advice is to change your environment. They tell you to throw out all junk food and alcohol you have in your house. Some of the most distracting things are not food or gadgets, they are people.
You cannot throw away people, but you can set boundaries.
What distractions are eating at you? Here are some common ones distractions and solutions.
This includes the people closest to you. People like your wife, parents, employees, etc.
Solution: Turn off your phone and let people know you will only be able to talk at certain times and when you are done with what needs to be done. Be sure to say this in a nice way so it is not taken wrong. If you do not tell people your dilemma soon, you will eventually blow up on them and that never feels good for anyone involved.
Your Phone Notifications Going Off
There is so much shit on our smart phone. It seems we cannot escape it. Let’s see.. email, facebook, snapchat, Instagram, yelp, text messages, etc.. All these are competing for your attention and are made to be addicting (read Hooked) and you are somehow supposed to get things done. Yea, right.
Solution: I put my phone on airplane mode or turn it off when I am doing anything important, including spending time with friends and family. With some apps I am extremely annoyed by, I kill the notifications completely so I can open them at my convenience.
If you are in an office environment, you know how fucking horrible this can be. You are ZONED IN, getting stuff done and then you have to go-to a meeting. Most of the time, it’s a complete waste of time.
Solution: Tell your manager that you have some very important work to get done that will grow the company and you cannot be bothered with meeting. If you say this nicely, your boss will understand.
Social Media Websites
If you’re like most of us you constantly open a new tab with your favorite website, whether it is social or news based. Sure, it’s nice to take a break every so often but this can take you out of the zone and derail your entire day.
Solution: Focus on the task at hand by removing all tabs or programs that are not essential to what you are doing. You can also try a tool like one tab (https://www.one-tab.com) which consolidate all those distracting tabs.
You know what it is and how bad it is fucking you over. So much information is sent to us on a day to day basis, pulling us everywhere except where we need to go.
Solution: Close it. SHUT IT DOWN!!
People Walking All Over Your Time
Have you ever been completely focused on something, making massive progress and then someone just walks in and wants to “talk” or “bullshit”.
Solution: Don’t allow it. All it will take is setting a boundary one time and you will never have to worry about this again.
How to Kill Information Overload
Step #1: Gain Clarity on Your End Goal
The reason a lot of people feel trapped by the information that is all around them is because they have no clarity on what they are trying to accomplish. I know you are probably sitting there and saying, “I know what I want!!”. Do you really?
If you really know what you want than you are likely using information as a form of escapism from taking action, which we will talk about below. Before that, you should really check your goals at the door and see if they are your goals or the goals of someone else. Learn more on how to set goals here.
Step #2: Take Small Actions Over Time
Most people get stuck on the information treadmill, meaning they feel like they are making progress but they actually are not moving anywhere at all. Taking action can be hard and your brain will try to avoid it at all cost.
Why take small actions? Because overcoming information overload is all about momentum through action. Here’s an example:
Goal: Start a Personal Training Website To Promote Yourself
Small Action 1: Buy the domain name “MikesFitnessTrainingSite.com”
Small Action 2: Google search “best website building platform”
Small Action 3: Sign up for website builder
Small Action 4: Add content and ask friends for testimonials
Small Action 5: Submit your site locally to google, yelp and other small business portals
Small Action 6: Ask your same friends to review you on yelp and google.
Small Action 7: Promote, promote, promote and tell people about it.
You get the idea. START and keep going. You will hit obstacles, as with all things. You don’t need to go back to school to solve them, turn to any search engine to look for people who had this problem before you. With proper action and a clear goal, you can do anything.
I’ve experimented and had some success with many habit tracking applications. One of my favorite over the years was Coach.me (use to be called Lift). I noticed that when using habit tracking apps there was potentially a problem in the way your mind molds habits for the long term. Follow me..
Note: this post is only about habit tracking applications, not other tracking applications – running, weight-lifting, etc.
The App Becomes the Reward in the Habit Loop
In the book the Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg breaks down the 3 part habit loop. This includes the Cue, the Routine and Reward. These three parts are different for every single habit, both good and bad, that become part of your daily life. Here is are two examples:
Cue: Boredom at work
Routine: Go surf the web for random funny videos
Reward: Satisfied and covering up your lack of productivity
Cue: Tired in the morning
Routine: Go and Buy a Coffee
If you wanted to change a habit you need to keep the reward the same while changing the routine. In the second example i could replace buying a coffee with taking a cold shower. This would create some level of alertness.
Now, lets say I add “cold shower” to my habit application. My habit no longer lives in my head, it lives in an application. It will be complete when i press the check-box. The check-box becomes the reward alongside alertness. This is a problem for 2 reasons.
- The habit lives in the app, not our brains.
- There are now for sure 2 rewards (the feeling of alertness AND checking the box) and potentially 2 cues (if you set a reminder)
Let’s start with the first problem:
If the habit is not 100% part of our brain internally, it is not our habit. In other words, if we can not do the habit without the application than it is not a habit. Forget the application piece for a minute.
Imagine every day of your life that someone had to tell you to take a cold shower and then gave you a cupcake after you were done. Imagine every single day of your life this happened. Problem is, someone is telling you to do the habit and someone is rewarding you with a cupcake. What happens when the person stops telling you to do it and doesn’t reward you? I know i’m not taking my cold shower without a cupcake!!
Jokes aside: For habits to work, they have to be YOURS and live in your brain. You must FEEL the reward INTERNALLY.
The second problem is now your habit loops look like this:
Cue: Tired in the morning
Cue 2: App reminds you to take a cold shower
Routine: You take a cold shower
Reward 2: Checking off your cold shower habit in the app.
The application becomes a habit in itself. This is the goal of most websites and applications so that you become addicted to using them. The problem is you only have so much dopamine and willpower. You really need to decide how you are going to be using it!
My advice to you:
If you are going to use a habit tracking app, only use it for 30 days. Use it as a habit on-boarding process with a commitment to stop using it. If you can, do not use an app at all. Store the habits in your brain instead! Haven’t you been looking at screens long enough anyway 🙂
Every year that goes by it seems like more and more bullshit is working against our body’s natural circadian rhythm. It is not just that we are busier or have more going on, but also that we have screens in our living rooms, on our laps, in our hands and now on our fucking wrists. We can not escape an endless stream of information that are brains have been (sort of) trained to keep checking for notifications. With each new notification we get a new dopamine spike. Not long after it becomes an addiction. A year or so ago, after reading the book Hooked & the Power of Habit, i realized how bad these little addictions were affecting my sleep. I turned to Dr. Google to help me find an answer.
There is the obvious stuff: turn off the TV, keep the phone outside the bedroom , get blackout shades.
This obvious stuff won’t do anything about your brain, which is unconsciously craving another dopamine spike while you lay there and get side tracked counting sheep to think about how fucked up it is that you forgot to brush your teeth. There are two things that have helped me greatly in the sleep department.
Specifically, i use MagTech about an hour before i go to bed. MagTech accurately dubs itself as ” Premium Blend of The 3 Most Powerful Forms of Magnesium”. These forms of Magnesium include Magnesium L-threonate (Magtein), Magnesium Taurate, Magnesium Glycinate.
Simply put, the stuff is absolutely amazing. If you think you are a tough guy or gal and don’t need magnesium, just listen to Dr. Liu who helped develop MagTein (Magnesium L-threonate):
Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea
I discovered Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea through Tim Ferris. After half of a cup, you feel slap happy. The effect is somewhat funny. You begin to talk slow and then crawl to your bed. Taking this with MagTech basically guarantees me a good nights sleep. The best part? I do not feel drowsy the next morning or have any trouble whatsoever getting up.
Until next time!
I don’t want to over simplify this but honestly this is the case. In business we say that there are certain “money making activities”. Well really, in life in general there are certain “value creating activities”.
Whoever gives the most value wins.
Now this doesn’t mean you will be happy, but you will feel accomplished. This is no different than the producer vs consumer paradigm. You are always either producing or consuming something. Whether that consumption is food, tv shows, youtube videos, etc. Here’s a list of value creating activities (activities that will allow you to give more value to your tribe and the world at large) and value destroying activities. We all do the latter, so don’t freak out next time you watch a movie as there can also be positive messages in some of the consumption. this list should help you identify the difference between the two and help you be give more value.
Value Creating Activities & The Why (Healthy Producing)
- Reading or listening to books that can give you more knowledge so you can give people the correct advise when needed and help people through tough times.
- Exercise so you can be strong and protect your tribe. This will also increase your sex life and overall attractiveness to mates.
- Meditating so you can be centered and focused while everyone else is over stimulated.
- Taking action in various areas of your life so you can get first hand experience which is by far the best way to learn.
- Creating and Publishing any type of content that can help people (audio, video, text, etc). This is not only a great release but has the power to really attract the right people to you and build something powerful.
- Making new friends that are unique and can have a special place in your life. If your life were a movie it would be boring if you were the only character. Your friends should be wide ranging and not destructive to your well being. A good supportive social circle is more powerful than any pill you could take.
- Self reflection and correction to take a look at your life in a non judgmental way and change things that really aren’t working in your favor.
- Having role models to look up to so you can always know what you want is possible.
- Sex, the ultimate act of any producer. It makes a baby folks. Think this one through.
Value Destroying Activities & The Why (Unhealthy Consuming)
- Watching any movie or tv show because it is someone else’s story and not your own. A numbing a effect occurs. Does not include documentaries.
- Taking in useless information that only exist to waste your time (news, pointless youtube videos, some reddit threads, websites, most fiction books).
- Eating any kind of processed food or sugary drinks consistently destroy your body slowly which makes you less capable to do give value to the world around you.
- Smoking, as it deteriorates your body which ruins your life – literally.
- Alcohol, as it deteriorates your brain and makes it less capable, especially in the long term.
- Any non-natural drugs (prescription drugs) will destroy your life. Sometimes they are necessary but it’s best to not get addicted as they will life altering effects on your neurology.
- Using social media for the wrong reasons can cause such a distraction that it will actually ruin your relationships, not enrich them. The most important thing is the people around you in the moment right now, not on a screen. Use with caution.
- Playing any fictional game on any devise that does not add to your actual life.
- Watching porn consistently (daily) destroys your dopamine receptors and could lead to enormous problems for both sexes, but particularly males.
- Buying stuff you actually do not need as it burns a hole through your wallet which makes you less likely to buy actual stuff you may need in the future.
Is it possible to use “Value Destroying Activities” to gain a Creative Edge?
Isn’t “value destroying activities” a bit harsh? Listen, i watch some great shows on TV and have seen some great movies. I love Inception so much i watched it 3 times in theaters. What the hell is my problem?!?
Every once in a while, these activities can help you create value and help you find comfort. But if you do any of them consistently they will kill you mentally and sometimes lead to death. Some people use substances like alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, etc. to temporarily gain a creative or mental edge. This is fine unless you are over doing it. You should be able to live day to day without any of this bullshit, but it won’t kill you if you do it in moderation.
Do you watch TV every day? Shitty content on the internet daily? Yes, it does have an effect on you. However small, it is still poison if you unhealthily consume anything, be it bad food or the news.
In every moment you are either creating your own story or living in someone else’s.
Running a company can be incredibly rewarding. Let’s be honest though, it is not some fairy tale. It’s incredibly hard and requires a lot of grind as well as constant out of the box thinking. In order to be successful, you have to want to do things that other people just aren’t willing to do. You have to create simple systems for extremely hard tasks.
In the case of Elon Musk, you have to sell people on the idea of living on Mars (SpaceX) or the vision of not using gas to fuel your automobile (TESLA). For some of us the visions are a little bit easier to sell and the path seems cleaner.
But the path is never clean. The journey of starting something worthwhile isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. It isn’t something you can do in 4 hours a week. You can get results, but you should not expect to create something that will enrich peoples lives by laying on a beach not working 300+ days out of the year.
Uptime and Downtime
When you are not eating glass (starting and running a business you hope to have massive success), you should take at least some downtime. If you have made a run in your business, maybe take a few weeks off. In the summer of 2014 I went to Europe for 6 weeks. It was a rewarding in many different ways that have nothing to do with business. If you aren’t having success, you do not deserve to reward yourself. Humans respond to either pleasure or pain. If you are rewarding yourself before you are successful or have made a good run it can cause massive problems in just about every area of your life. Have you ever trained a dog? Well, we work a lot like that – don’t give yourself any rewards unless you have done the trick!
“Don’t analyze, don’t spreadsheet…”
This is going to be quick – but i just wanted to write a few notes on change.
1. It’s Inevitable – Whether you want it to happen or not your life will change. Some of the changes will be good, others will be horrible.
2. The tough changes build character – Going through the death of a loved one or losing your job will test every ounce of emotional and financial confidence you have. These changes do something to you, they force you to be strong and keep moving.
3. Ride with the good changes as long as you can – When your life changes for the better, ride that wave as long as you can. Do whatever it takes because with ups come downs.
A final note – be proactive about your life. This is the book your writing and while you are going to experience horrible things, you get to decide how it all ends.
I, like many in their early 20s, am faced with this giant problem: Mental Fatigue. It could be my own fault for focusing on a million things at once or maybe it is simply a sign of the times. Either way, I’ve been searching for solutions. I’ve been listening to people like Dave Asprey, who is a genius when it comes to health. I’ve been participating in many online forums, reading books on focus and procrastination. I own a company, you would think with all this freedom I would be the ultimate focused person.
That is, until I started taking CILTEP + Smart Caffeine a month ago. Since then my life has drastically improved in ways that I must share.
Before I get into how CILTEP helped me focus and be an overall better human being, let me tell you – this isn’t my first time trying to solve brain fog. I’ve tried Alpha Brain, Modafinil and even made my own stack of supplements (with alpha GPC, Vinpocetine, Huperzine A and Piracetam). Afterall, everyone in silicon valley is taking something to give them an edge, why not me? Obviously with each one I felt a little something and in Modafinils case it worked but gave me a massive headache.
I don’t like headaches and i’m guessing you don’t either. When I stumbled upon CILTEP, I was initially thinking that it wasn’t going to work that great. I was very wrong – It works the best out of any brain supplement I’ve tried. It’s just the right amount of kick to make me a PRODUCTIVE BEAST!
My Relationships Improved
Most of us take supplements like this just to study better or be more productive. I took it to gain an edge at work, which i’ll talk about below, but it has also had a profound effect on my relationships. Have you ever felt like when you are with someone that you are not completely present with them? Like you are listening, but your not actually listening? With CILTEP this just doesn’t happen. Whether it’s my business partner or my girlfriend, they have have my FULL attention. Not only do they have my full presence, but when it comes time for me to talk I say things that are absolutely effortless to say – there is no thinking – elegant words just roll off my tongue. It’s a pretty good feeling for someone who is usually socially awkward!
I’m WAY More Productive
I work longer hours, not because I have to, but because I like to. CILTEP has given me this feeling of being in the zone that I can only compare to complete ecstasy. At the end of the day when I am done with work, i feel so satisfied with myself because now the amount of work I get done in 8 or 9 hours, is what i would have gotten done in two weeks pre-CILTEP days! The only way to understand what I am talking about is to try actually TRY IT. You will be doing yourself a massive favor.
The last few weeks everyone in my life has heard me talk on and on about CILTEP and how amazing it is. I can not shut up about it and soon, I may even start distributing it. Everyone should feel like this! Also, The company Natural Stacks has proven to be amazing. I 100% believe that they care about quality and what they are putting out there. I also started taking the new magnesium supplement they offer with great effects.
Just got back from an amazing trip to Barcelona, Spain. Met a lot of amazing people, saw a lot of beautiful architecture and of course learned some new swear words in different languages. Before I write this i want to say that everything i wrote exactly a year ago stands true to me still. In the last year this is what I’ve taken from life:
People are Mostly Nice
Some of the most successful, well off people I’ve met in life are extremely nice and giving. It may come as a shock because i believe the most people view people that are well off as assholes. I used to think this way when i was young and immature. The truth is you just don’t understand them and what makes them tick and if you did you would uncover a diamond. Successful people provide so much value to this world – they give jobs, they take care of their tribe and they ensure that there will be more great people by reproducing. Even those not well off are true gems underneath that initial shell they have when you meet them. Take time to get to know people and be interested in their perspective, it will pay back dividends.
You Have to be Selfish with your Time and Action Taking
If you don’t value your time and the action you take during it, you will die an unfulfilled life. I’m sorry to break this to you but the only way you will get ahead in any area in life is massive action. You aren’t going to somehow get connected to the right person if you aren’t making massive moves in your own life. Set aside time away from your closest peers to grow as a person. The only way you can actually GIVE is to be selfish. Have some values to live by and know what your goals are or else someone else will set them for you. Do you REALLY want to live someone else’s life? Fuck that.
Worse Before Better
Most things in life will get worse before they get better. If not worse, you will at least hit a plateau and if you are smart realize you have to kick yourself in the ass to get to that next level. You have to go through some pain to achieve what you want but the good news is when you look back it doesn’t seem like pain at all. It was all just part of the process. Unless you had previous training than…
You will be sloppy with your money, before you start to put it to work and become financially free.
You will be fat or unhealthy before living a healthy life.
You will hang out with shitty undependable people before you meet people that are more aligned with your values.
You will have months of no profit in business before you finally push through and make a profit.
You will have a shitty emotionally manipulative relationship before you have a good one.
Each year you get older you will realize what is important in life, but almost always things will seem bad before they get good. Everyone has shitty days, months and years. Stay in the game and keep taking massive action. This is all just part of the PROCESS, don’t get discouraged.
Embrace Chaos and Change
Nothing in your life will stay as it is. Your friends will change, the economy will get bad, your business model will get old, your new car will not look as appealing and you will grow old. You have to come at one with the chaos of the world and learn to love it while at the same time adapting to it. Your only here because your ancestors were able to adapt. The only thing you have is your values. They will be tested. There will be storms beyond your wildest imagination – deaths, people screwing you over, money issues, and the list goes on. What determines that you stay on top of your game is top notch values and massive action taking towards your own personal success.
Never Act on your Emotions, Except when they are Right
In certain areas of your life you will get feelings that things should be a certain way. Remember, that anything that happens to you in life only has as much meaning as you give it. You are the decider here, no one else. You can have passion without acting on your emotions – if you know your values and what you stand for. Sometimes you will get a feeling that will be right, but often that is the result of something happening to you over and over and you not giving it the attention it deserves. You were sort of ignoring it. The only time you should act on your emotions is when you realize that you were ignoring some set of things that were happening to you over and over that don’t benefit your long term goals. It’s very, VERY easy for events to slip under the radar. Other than that – never act on your emotions especially when it comes to work because often the path to success is very clearly defined if you would just follow it. When you act on your emotions you will be all over the place, constantly looking for “the next thing” and ignoring the long term. You don’t want to wake up an old man / woman and realized you wasted your whole life, do you??
Outside of Work, Have Fun
When you are working GO HARD and BE EFFICIENT. But after a hard days work have some fun – party with your closest friends, have a lot of great sex and enjoy the time you have on this earth. Travel and meet new people. Laugh and joke around. Go on an adventure. Make a fool of yourself at your nearest karaoke bar. There is this myth that people who are successful or striving to be successful don’t have fun and are boring. I’d rather be dead.
Life is Fragile
Late last year my cousin was killed by a drunk driver and my mom told me on the phone: “Paul, you are not promised tomorrow”. I wrote that on my whiteboard so i will never forget it. Any day, any moment your life could end. Don’t go around thinking that you will be here forever – you better live every single day like it is your last. Work as hard as you possibly can, love without restraint and make sure the people that are closest to you feel your presence. Live in the now because it’s all you have.
That’s all for this year, still learning and growing 🙂
I started using Lift as soon as a buddy told me about it. I was largely turned on by the iPhone app because I already knew that our habits / rituals every single day really make us who we are. Lift allows me to put in any habit i want to do on a daily basis, lets me check in each day and also gives me a push notification to tell me how good I’ve been doing. This may sound a bit robotic, but it’s really not. This application has really changed my life. Here’s a look at what my habits are:
I could talk about a lot of things on that list but by far the one that has had the most impact is a reminder to call my Mom and Dad. For a while i was too busy to remember small, yet extremely important, things like this. Lift has made it so it’s right next to every important habit i do on a daily basis.
Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
I don’t put everything on Lift. For example, i don’t put “eat healthy” because that is a given. You are going to have to eat no matter what every day. I put things on here that I don’t have to do, but that if i keep doing them on a daily basis will have a powerful impact on my life. I don’t have to work out, work, call my mom / dad, read, or be social. But Lift has pushed my in the right direction and serves as a constant reminder that these habits are important to my end goals.
“Rituals are where the power is” – Tony Robbins