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Ciao! Welcome to this week's digest. This is a very special 'Self-Reflection' edition, where we deep dive into examining and improving our lives (I swear this was a serendipitous coincidence :D). This week's topics include championship performance, personal feedback & reflection, embracing laziness, breaking our chains, and the importance of shame & vulnerability. Enjoy!

 
If you like this digest, please consider sharing with friends, smelling a flower, and / or dyeing your hair. xoxoxo <3
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TDD TL;DR
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
 
"...the ideas people choose to have about themselves largely determine the quality of the lives they lead. We can choose to believe in ourselves, and thus to strive, to risk, to persevere, and to achieve. Or we can choose to cling to security and mediocrity. We can choose to set no limits on ourselves, to set high goals and dream big dreams." ~Dr. Bob Rotella
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (AKA I have a lot to learn from you)

Patrick, replying to E-mail Experiments
: It’s so funny that you had an essay on email inboxes this week because I actually spent a couple of hours this week trying to tackle my inbox nightmare. My problem is my work inbox. I wake up to 80-100 new emails a morning which I usually dread going through. They’re almost all specifically messaged to me from companies or marketers wanting their product to get coverage. But the emails are almost all useless wastes of time for me. What I did seems to be working for me. I broke down the top 5 or so most common type of problematic (mostly time wasting) emails that I get, I figured out how I can identify them via Gmail filters and then I slapped them with labels and automatically marked them as read. Marking them as read was meant to make it so I rarely had to spend time on or read these emails. That filled me with similar anxiety to the kind you experienced — what if I missed some information? Turns out it doesn’t matter, the time and peace of mind gained is worth any minor trade off. So far it’s working great. I get far fewer alerts for email, the alerts I do get have higher value and I’m genuinely less distracted. It’s not a silver bullet, there are other distractions and time wasters. I could probably still improve my system. But I’m very happy with this as a start.

Patrick, thank you for sharing your experiment, outcomes, and learnings. I love your thoughtfulness to prioritize and systematize your inbox, and generally let go of the FOMO. I also admire your ability to hold the process loosely and be willing to figure out what works for you over time. Bravo, brother!!
BLATANT FRIEND-PROMOTION -  EX-CONSULTANTS AGENCY

As some of you may know, I've been doing freelance consulting since December, building a practice with health & wellness companies (shocker! ;D). My friend Chris Schipper recently joined a talent search firm, Ex-Consultants Agency, that helps fill both permanent and freelance roles (similar to Catalant, SpareHire, BTG, etc., but with longer term mindset and more personal touch). If you are thinking about your own next steps, or are looking at building your team, or just want to talk about Dungeons & Dragons, Chris is more than happy to chat! You can reach him directly at cschipper@exconsultants.com.
TOPIC OF INTEREST - REVIEWING RITUALS FROM Q1



TL;DR: I track the habits (rituals) that are important to living my fulfilling life. Looking back on Q1, I am really proud of improvement in certain areas (consistent meditation! steam room after workouts! power naps! consistent focused reading!), and identified my major opportunities headed into Q2 (less frequent marijuana! evening wind-down routine!).

I have a tendency to be 'meticulous' (others mispronounce it 'ridiculous' :D) about tracking important aspects of my life. For those of you who are familiar with my Sensible Living mindset, there are pillars of fulfillment in my life that I seek to realize via specific habits (I call them rituals). For example, relationships are important to me, so I want to have in-person connection at least 5x per week. These pillars and rituals are important to me, and because I am a huge believer in focusing on process (as compared to outcomes), I track my process daily to see any issues as they come up, so I can course correct quickly.

My big wins in Q1 were installing two new rituals - 1) power naps, and 2) steam room after workouts - and rehabilitating two older rituals - 1) daily meditation, and 2) focused reading. I am happy that my life now includes more rest, quiet time, reading, and heaaaaaat.

My major opportunities in Q1 were strongly interrelated. I was using marijuana as a coping mechanism for pain in my life (my preference over alcohol or other vices), and was noticing consumption of ~4-5x per week, more than my desired 2x per week. This led to two downstream issues - 1) eating more junk food (duh!), and 2) missing my evening routine (i.e., massage, journaling, and meditation before bed). I want to be more thoughtful about my marijuana consumption, so I have been using the month of April to be fully sober (no marijuana, alcohol, or junk food), to more honestly reflect on whether I want to use these coping mechanisms. So far so awesome!

If this methodology is at all intriguing to you, or you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out. I am here for you.

Note: Major dips are due to vacations, though that is not an excuse for non-work dips.
BEST OF WHAT I CONSUMED THIS WEEK

BOOK - How Champions Think by Dr. Bob Rotella (My full Kindle notes) - Dr. Bob's treatise on championship performance (with a focus on athletics / golf) was a wonderful revelation for me. The book is jam-packed with actionable advice for *any* field, along with (too) many anecdotes on how to apply his principles. The one idea that gave me pause is his preference for self-delusion as an enabler for confidence, e.g., forgetting all the three foot putts we miss. I will defer to his expertise in terms of positive impact on outcomes, I am just not yet comfortable with consciously letting self-delusion into my life.

My highlights:
  • ...the ideas people choose to have about themselves largely determine the quality of the lives they lead. We can choose to believe in ourselves, and thus to strive, to risk, to persevere, and to achieve. Or we can choose to cling to security and mediocrity. We can choose to set no limits on ourselves, to set high goals and dream big dreams.
  • Great performers share a way of thinking, a set of attitudes and attributes like optimism, confidence, persistence, and strong will. They all want to push themselves to see how great they can become. These attributes and attitudes cause champions to work harder and smarter than other people.
  • What’s important is not avoiding adversity, but how an individual responds to it. You have to develop a mental hardiness that responds to setbacks with energy and confidence.
  • Whether you’re trying to run a successful business or lower your golf score, the method is the same. Devise an improvement plan and commit yourself to it. Persevere... Perseverance doesn’t mean perfection. It’s not often constant, unwavering adherence to a commitment. Instead, it is usually a series of quick course corrections when you get off track... It means that you never give up. You never give in to doubt, fear, or fatigue. Giving up is the only true loss.
  • And in my view, if by “having it all” you mean having an exceptional career and simultaneously spending one day a week as a volunteer parent in your child’s classroom, and being an amateur triathlete, you can’t have it all. There aren’t enough hours in the day or week. You have to figure out a way to make the time you spend with your family and the time you spend at work both extremely efficient and effective. You have to accept that you’ll give less than your best effort to some nonessentials. It’s not easy.
  • Nerves are in fact a sign that an individual is about to do something he cares deeply about... The performer needs to learn to see nerves as a friend that will help him perform at a high level. Great performers train themselves to have quieter minds as their bodies get excited because they in fact do see nerves as a friend.
  • The worst thing an athlete can do after a loss is brood about it. I’m not saying that an individual shouldn’t spend any time reflecting on failure. It’s obviously important to learn from mistakes. But there’s a difference between learning from failure and wallowing in it.
  • To be successful, a golfer has to be able to surround himself with the right people, people who will support and encourage him and give him a kick in the pants when he needs it, people who will tell him the things he needs to hear, even when those things aren’t always the things he wants to hear. And he has to tune out other people.
  • ...as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, nothing great has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm. Somewhere and somehow, exceptional people find a way to bring that enthusiasm to what they do, and they find it every day.
  • Once an individual has a philosophy, he should be ready to answer the question “What if I fail?” He should understand that over the span of a lifetime, the only lasting failure is the failure to try. He appreciates the opportunity to find out what he can do with his life and career.

BLOG POST - Farnam Street: Break the Chain, Stop Being a Slave by Shane Parrish - Shane's short, vivid, and compelling piece reminded me of a quote from Naval Ravikant on an old episode of Shane's podcast - "Happiness is the state when nothing is missing." Reduce your liabilities to increase your freedom.

My highlights:
  • We need to make our own way, and there is a slippery slope between accepting the generosity of people who help you along and getting dependent on them. The entitlement born from expecting others to help you is a recipe for misery. So is excessive dependence on others.
  • If you have a mortgage, you don’t own your house; the bank does.
  • Once we’re bought, it’s hard to get out. While we all start out wanting more independence, we increasingly live lifestyles that make us dependent.
  • A lot of them spent more than they made no matter how many promotions they received. Appetites for desires are rarely quenched... They saw other people with things they wanted. Things they felt like they deserved. Their relationships suffered. They became miserable. They hated their jobs but they were stuck. The bank owned them. Work owned them. And they realized it too late.
  • “Self-sufficiency,” wrote Epicurus, “is the greatest of all wealth.” Epictetus added that “wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”

BLOG POST - Ribbon Farm: Deep Laziness by Sarah Perry - Sarah is WAY too smart for me, but I love how she applied her concepts thoughtfully to focused behavior change in our lives. In particular, as she says, I would bet that we all know the ~3-5 behaviors / rituals / activities that drive significant meaning and fulfillment in our lives. And yet, how much time do we devote to figuring out where these will fit in our "busy" lives?

My highlights:
  • ...people seem to be surprisingly bad at using their freedom to feel good, and especially at using it to feel deeply good... Perhaps it is not that we’re too stupid to please ourselves, but rather that we are effectively forbidden from doing so by the demands placed on us.
  • As complex as life seems, a typical human’s behavioral repertoire is made up of a small number of behaviors. These few behaviors make up life; they determine feeling and meaning, moment to moment, day to day. While these few behaviors are intricately connected with each other, resisting legible top-down plans, the system is small enough that it’s tractable.
  • In the context of behaviors, “centers” might be activities, virtues, places, people, ambiances, longings, imaginings, memories, times of day, flavors. A well-developed center will be easy to see; it will produce positive emotion, a feeling of quiet ease, of non-separateness from the world.
  • Behavioral “centers” are the things that feel most like reflections of your own self, that seem to connect effortlessly to the underlying wholeness in your life.

COMPANY - Alacrity (Beta) - I love the concept of figuring out how our performance, productivity, and energy levels fluctuate throughout the day, but the cost of checking in with my phone every hour feels too high. Maybe that's not too much for you! Check it out.
MOST FAVORITE FROM THE PAST

VIDEO
- TED: Listening to Shame by Brene Brown (Thank you Jamaur for sharing and re-kindling!) - A vivid reminder of the disconnect between our internal monologues about vulnerability and shame (scary! painful!) vs. the external reality (admired! builds trust and connection!).

My highlights:
  • Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.
  • Shame drives two big tapes. "Never good enough", and if you can talk it out of that one, "Who do you think you are?"
  • When we reach out and be vulnerable, we get the shit beat out of us.
  • If we are going to find our way back to each other, vulnerability is going to be that path.
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