Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here.

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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Afam Okonkwo
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Afam Okonkwo »

Could you describe a challenge you've faced in your career and how you overcame it?
Afam Okonkwo
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Afam Okonkwo »

How do you measure productivity and success in your role?
How do you manage your time effectively?
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

If you haven't already, you can sign up to be personally mentored by Scott "Eckhart Aurelius" Hughes at this link.

Lorna Philip Enslin wrote: March 11th, 2024, 2:34 pm Hi Scott,

I'm pleased to see that I'm now on day 49 of the 100 days,

I recently completed a 120-hour Accredited TEFL English language course to teach non-native speakers and have registered on a few teaching platforms. I expect to be thrown in at the deep end as I have no experience as a teacher and have stated that I'm available 9-5 7 days per week! I'll figure that one out when I get a teaching offer! I commenced the course when you took me on as your mentee and I believe the motivation I got came from you, so thank you Scott for your encouragement.
Hi, Lorna Philip Enslin,

Thank you for your post. I am so glad my mentoring has been encouraging for you and helped you find the motivation you want. :D

Lorna Philip Enslin wrote: March 11th, 2024, 2:34 pm I suppose my concern is twofold - a fear of not getting a teaching post and a fear of how I'll manage if I do get one! My lack of knowledge when it comes to English grammar is scary so I'll have to prepare, prepare and prepare again to ensure I don't fall apart at the seams. I'm so bad at selling myself and when it came to downloading a video of myself telling students what I could do for them: I cringed when I played it back: the twisty mouth reminiscent of my last visit to the dentist!
Thank you so much for sharing you concern.

Interestingly, you didn't phrase this as a question. Nowhere in your post is there a single question or question mark. There's nothing wrong with that, but I think exploring why that is might help us both address your concerns most productively.

Even if someone is working through an alleged problem or concern just with themselves alone by talking to themselves at home alone or in their own head using their inner monologue, the choice to phrase a would-be problem or alleged problem as a question or statement can be very revealing as to how the person really sees the alleged problem and what the person is looking for in saying the words that they have said.

Whether (1) we are looking to help ourselves while having a conversation with ourself in our own head (or when talking to ourself aloud), or (2) we are listening to someone else--such as a friend, romantic partner, work college, family member, or other associate--and they seem to be coming to us possibly seeking something and/or seeming to have some kind of seeming problem or concern, it can reveal a lot to us whether they (or us ourselves) phrase the concern as a question or a statement. We will typically want to drastically change our response depending on whether it is phrased a question or a statement.

That is mainly because sometimes people are looking for a solution, but other times they are not. If they ask a question, such as "how am I going to pay this electric bill?", then that indicates they are looking for a solution because they phrased it as a question. They are looking for instructions or help to find a method to accomplish specific task or goal.

Other times, people are not really looking for anything, let alone advice or for you to brainstorm solutions to a problem (i.e. brainstorm methods to achieve a goal), but rather they are just expressing that they are feeling an emotion or having some kind of emotional experience. For instance, they may just be blowing off steam. They aren't looking for to fix the thing they are complaining about or tell them how to fix the thing or even saying that it needs be fixed, but rather they are just complaining. For example, they may say, "I am so annoyed that person cut me off in traffic!" Or, they may say, "being a homeowner is tough sometimes. There's always maintenance to do and things keep breaking around the house." By choosing to phrase it as a statement rather than a question, it indicates they are just conveying that they are feeling a certain way, and aren't looking for a solution. Typically, your best response in that situation is either none or to confirm understanding of the information they conveyed in non-question form (e.g. "I understand you feel angry about getting cut off in traffic.")

This is something helpful to keep in mind when communicating with other humans, but I mention it here because it can also be very helpful to keep in mind when communicating with yourself and responding to own verbal thoughts.

If you notice you are feeling fear, and so you rightfully say to yourself out loud or in your head, "I notice my body is feeling fear", but then incorrectly interpret that otherwise correct verbal thought by incorrectly treating it as a question or problem that requires an answer and/or solution, then incorrect interpretation itself creates problems when there otherwise was none. If your body is feeling fear, and you correctly notice your body is feeling fear, then that's not a problem at all. But to treat it as if it was a problem would be a problem, a problem of one's own creation that can be eliminated with infinite easy as soon as one chooses to eliminate it. Inner peace in that sense is always a choice.

My book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All, talks about that a lot. It advises you to not fight your feelings at all, and it explains how choosing to fight your feelings would lead to both (1) you thereby immediately sacrificing your inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness) and (2) strengthening the feelings.

In fact, you can really just think of inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness) as the state of choosing to not fight your feelings. In other words, inner peace is just the lack of fighting your feelings. I'd typically also add that it entails not fighting what you know you cannot control/change, but that's really a redundant clarification because what we would think of as "fighting to change what you know you cannot change" or "fighting to control what you know you cannot control" is generally just a manifestation of not accepting the feeling you have about that thing you cannot change or cannot control. One can shake their fist at the sky to try to change the weather that makes them angry or fearful or such, or one can shake their fist at an unhealthy tempting delicious cupcake that's making them hungry while on a no-cupcake-eating-diet, but really they are not so much fighting the sky or cupcake with their denial-ridden fist-shaking but rather are fighting their feelings or otherwise engaging in nonacceptance or resentment towards their own feelings. Behind all the ridiculous behaviors and theatrics, and behind all the smoke and mirrors, it just boils down to a case of one lacking acceptance and/or self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) in relation to their bodily feelings and urges. That does often also manifest as one extending and transferring that futile fighting, resentment, and unacceptance to the unchangable/uncontrollable thing about which they are having the unchangable/uncontrollable feeling, which is a pretty basic petty case of transference.

You wrote in part, "my concern is twofold - a fear of not getting a teaching post and a fear of how I'll manage if I do get one".

That's not a question, but I'll ask a question in return: Does your fear concern you? Is that what you are saying?

Your fear in this situation doesn't concern me. I'd be concerned if you didn't feel fear in that situation. That would be weird. It would be weird to not feel fear in that situation. It might indicate you are a psychopath or something. It's so normal to feel fear in that situation. It's a relief to me to hear that you feel fear in that situation. It indicates that you are a healthy normal human being with normal healthy human feelings.

Let me share this analogous situation: I'm a vegetarian. When I smell cooked meat, I notice my mouth watering, my hunger increasing, and a bodily urge to consume that delicious smelling meat. I'm not concerned by that because it's normal for a human especially for a healthy human. If one day, I encountered some delicious meat being cooked, and my body didn't have that reaction, then I'd be concerned. My first thought would be that I probably caught COVID, since loss of smell is a symptom of that. I'd suspect I was suddenly diseased in some way because of my body's lack of a normal emotional reaction to a situation.

Luckily, your body is having a very normal emotional reaction to the situation of interviewing for a job you'd really like to get and waiting to hear back about the job to find out if you got it, perhaps not knowing when that news come, wondering what you will do exactly if you get it, not knowing what it will be like exactly to journey into that new territory. The future right now for you is especially dark and unknowable, which is a symptom of the bravery of your endeavors, and warrants feelings of great fear.

It is a very good sign that you are feeling fear. It indicates that you have a healthy human body.

Thank you for sharing your feelings with us.

If you want my advice about anything at all during this rightfully fear-inducing journey you are bravely taking, please do come back here and post your questions or advice-requests anytime. Or if you want to come check-in throughout the process just to share your feelings and update us on the events as they happen, but not wanting or needing advice or answers to any questions, but rather just sharing the info and experience, that's very great too. Ironically, sometimes we learn more from each other that way, because it's all so human. Simply hearing about other people's experience helps us learn about ourselves because it is so relatable because we humans are all so human.

Here is a quote from Ram Dass on the subject of being human:
Ram Dass wrote: I said to him, ‘Emmanuel, what am I doing on earth?’

He said, ‘You’re on earth, why don’t you try taking the curriculum? Why don’t you try being human?’

I had always assumed the way to God was to deny your humanity and embrace your divinity. And then I realized that the way to truth might be through acknowledging the fullness of where I found myself to be which was my humanity and my divinity. And not wallow in it but acknowledge it and allow it. Not reverence it or judge it, just appreciate it, allow it. Allow my humanity. So I have gotten to the point now where I am what I am much more now...

What I found was, that as I started to allow myself to be human more, just allowed what I am – things changed must faster in me. Things fell away more quickly. It was as if I was locked into a model which was based on that negativity, that dislike of myself. And once I just allowed that I am human with all the foibles, things started to flow and I could feel change occurring in myself. And then I would start to experience my own beauty. And it frightened me, because it was so dissonant and discrepant from the model that I had cultivated of myself over the years – that I had to do good in order to be beautiful. And the idea that I just am… that what is – when you look at a tree or a rock or a river, it is in its own way beautiful. You look at decay it is beautiful.

Now, what I found was, that as I started to allow myself to be human more, just allowed what I am – things changed must faster in me. Things fell away more quickly. It was as if I was locked into a model which was based on that negativity, that dislike of myself. And once I just allowed that I am human with all the foibles, things started to flow and I could feel change occurring in myself. And then I would start to experience my own beauty. And it frightened me, because it was so dissonant and discrepant from the model that I had cultivated of myself over the years – that I had to do good in order to be beautiful. And the idea that I just am… that what is – when you look at a tree or a rock or a river, it is in its own way beautiful. You look at decay it is beautiful. I know Laura Huxley who is a very dear friend – in her kitchen, she has these jars over the sink and she takes old beet greens and orange peels and things and sticks them in water in these long pharmaceutical jars and then they slowly mould and decay and there are these beautiful decay formations and mould…. And it’s really garbage, it’s garbage as art. And we look at it and it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s absolute beauty in that. And I’ve begun to expand my awareness to be able to look at the universe as it is and see what is called the horrible beauty of it. The horrible beauty of it. I mean there’s horror and beauty in all of it. Cos there’s decay in all of it. I mean we’re all decaying. I look at my hand and its decaying and it’s beautiful and horrible at the same moment, and I just live with that. And with that I start to see the beauty in it.

So we’re talking about appreciating what is. Not loving yourself as opposed to not liking yourself but allowing yourself. And as you allow … it changes. That gets behind the polarities, I think that’s what’s important.
The love about which Ram Dass taught, and that I hope I can teach too through my book and my mentoring program, it's not love as in the opposite of a strong dislike. It's unconditional duality-transcending allowance. It's in part to simply allow, accept, and appreciate reality exactly as it is. It's to accept the inexorable is-ness of what is. It's getting to the point where, instead of just preferring the yin to the yang, or preferring the yang to the yin, you also and more-so learn to notice, accept, and appreciate the beauty of the yin-yang as an opposite-less holistic duality-transcending whole. Instead of dualistically loving the ups or downs, and thereby hating the opposite, you love the opposite-less roller-coaster as a whole that is holistic reality itself. The only condition on such unconditional love is that the beloved is. It is to realize that to be unworthy of love something must therefore be unreal. With that realization, so many illusions and imaginary roadblocks and tormenting phantoms fade away.

Fear is good, and it's good you feel fear.

I admire your bravery and these brave new endeavors and challenges you have chosen to face.


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott



You're on earth. So why not be human? Why not just take the curriculum?
You're on earth. So why not be human? Why not just take the curriculum?



---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

If you haven't already, you can sign up to be personally mentored by Scott "Eckhart Aurelius" Hughes at this link.


Hi, Reva Parker,

Thank you for your questions!

Reva Parker wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:12 pm [In response to this Instagram post]


You had stated that we have 32 half hours in a day, even with sleeping 8 hours. [...] While I agree that 1/2 hour increments are good
I think there's a misunderstanding here. Sorry for not being clear. I was using 30 minute increments as an example, just because that happens to be how long I workout each day. Depending on the specific task, project, or goal, I might schedule 10 minutes per day for it or an hour, or even two hours per day.

My main point in that post was this:

When taking on a big goal or big project (e.g. starting a weight loss plan with a goal to lose 100 lbs, learning a new language, starting a side business or side hustle that they one day want to quit their day job to do, etc.), most people put way too much time towards that thing per day and/or way over-estimate how much time it requires per day, which in turn causes them to do one or more of the following:

(1) not choosing to even start because they overestimate how much time it will take and either don't have that much time to spend or don't want to spend that much time on that thing

(2) quitting because it's so exhausting and time-consuming

(3) use their time inefficiently and waste time

In other words, even if they don't quit or give up due to their choice of making it so much harder, more expensive, and more time-consuming than it needs to be, they are still wasting all that extra time, money, and energy that they are throwing at the thing.

The workout example is just an example. If you are going to get basically the same results by working out for 2 hours every day as you would by working out for 30 minutes, then working out for 2 hours is at best going to be a waste of 1.5 hours per day. And that's at best. More likely, it's going to lead to you skipping days and/or giving up entirely.

My point was also to show how much you can get done with just 30 minutes or less, using 30 minutes as just an example. There's nothing magical about that number versus say other numbers like 15 minutes or 45 minutes.

For most goals, and especially when starting out on a new goal, I would typically recommend starting with much less than 30 minutes. In fact, for most new goals or habits I would typically suggest starting with only 1-10 minutes per day depending on the task, and then only extending to a longer time (e.g. 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour etc.) slowly after being able to stay consistent for at least 21 days with the micro-habit. I explain that process more in my topic about microhabits and using negative willpower.

In contrast to my daily gym workout, other things do call for more time per day, or call for a non-daily schedule. For example, I typically watch a movie once per week with my kids, and I block about 2 hours per week for that, out of my 168 hours per week.

30 minutes per day is about 2% of your time.

An hour per day is about 4% of your time.

An hour per week is about 0.5% of your time.

Two hours per week is about 1% of your time.

Those are just examples. For some tasks and projects, I'd recommend only budgeting 10 minutes per day. For others, I'd recommend budgeting 2 or even 3 hours per day.

However, I strongly advise my mentees to err heavily on the side of budgeting less time.

That's for two reasons:

(1) It tends to be more efficient. The less time you put towards a project in a single day the more bang you tend to get per minute that day. Each additional minute you spend in the gym tends to provide less returns than the previous minute. If I practice Spanish for 100 minutes instead of 10 minutes per day; I learn much less than 10x as much. Each additional minute provides less returns.

(2) It tends to be more conducive to consistency. My system for success works because it combined the incredible power of micro-habits with the critical power of consistency. Without consistency, the rest doesn't matter. For more on this, I suggest you read through the following topic of mine:

My system works because it is NOT based on willpower, hard work, or unsustainable bursts of dishonest overcompensation.

In short, do NOT work hard. If you work hard, you are NOT following my advice and system.

My system calls for using consistency, monotasking, compartmentalization, and micro-habits. My system calls for consistently taking small steps on each project each and every day, consistently, day after day.

If you are suing "hard work" and "willpower" to take big steps, then you NOT following my system. If you are "working hard" to take big steps, then you are not following my system. My system works through consistent small steps, with the key word being consistent.

It's more likely you will be consistent at putting 10 minutes to a task instead of 30, and it's more likely you will be consistent putting 30 minutes to to a task per day than an hour, so (because of the utmost importance of consistency in my system) it's also very important that you err heavily on the side of budgeting less time per day to a certain project or goal.

A big point of the social media post about my fitness results is just to show how much you can achieve with just 30 minutes per day (which is just 2% of your day).

This is in line with the chapter of my book titled, "Do Less Better".

Reva Parker wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:12 pm what about... phone calls that come up unexpectedly
I keep my phone on silent.

Likewise, I won't answer the door if I am not planning for some to come. For example, when door-to-door salespeople come to my house and ring the bell, I just ignore it. Granted, it could be the President of the USA coming to tell me he wants to me and give me a medal, but I wouldn't know the difference because I don't answer it to find out.

I do my best to monotask, with focus, dedication, and concentration.

If I have it in my calendar and/or time budget that I will spend 2 hours every Monday spending time with my kids, then that will be quality time. I am not going to watch a movie with my kids and at the same time have my laptop open on my lap and be working or answering emails. And just like I won't be answering emails, I won't be answer the door. When I do something, I actually do that thing. So if the thing I am doing is spending time with my kids, then it is true quality time. Unfortunately, by not monotasking and instead constantly multitasking, and/or not being present and worrying about other things in imagination, most people don't actually do the thing they claim to be doing. They might say, for instance, that they are working on their business on their computer or spending quality time with their kids, but really they are on-call answering every silly text or phone notification comes in, keeping an ear out for every door-to-door salesperson who comes by, and so on and so forth. They do 100 things at once sloppily and don't really do anything. I do my best do one thing at a time and to really do that thing as planned. If I am going to spend time with my kids, I really spend time with them, making it my absolute #1 priority and giving it my focus at that time. If I am going to go to a dance lesson, I am there 100% milking that dance lesson for everything it's got. I'm not writing computer code in my head. I'm not picking up phone calls. My phone is silent; I don't even notice if I get one.



Reva Parker wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:12 pm what about traveling from one place to another [...] fixing meals, eating, going to the bathroom, etc.? Are you counting those as one of the 32? What about relaxing?
In my time budget, I account for the commute and typically just add it as part of the task/project/goal.

For instance, if the gym is a 10 minute drive away, and I want to get a 30 minute workout in, I would budget 50 minutes per day for the gym. For reference, 50 minutes is a little less than 3.5% of your day, very little.

As those who have already completed the first 100 day period of my mentoring program already know, at that point in the program I have the mentee fill out and maintain a time budget that budgets how they spend their 168 hours per week.

It's a budget in the same sense of choosing how you spend your income each week, but your 'income' in this sense is 168 hours per week. My exercise regime is 30 minutes per day, so it's only a 3.5 hours line item in my 168-hour weekly time budget.

When I assign something time in my time budget (e.g. 30 minutes per day to workout in the gym), it includes things like going to the bathroom or grabbing a glass of water or re-filling my coffee cup. Basically, when I say I monotask and use that that time to be 100% focused and dedicated to that one task, what I really mean is that I am about as focused and stuck on that one task in that time as I am focused and stuck on watching a movie while at the movie theater. I'm not texting or answering emails on my phone. My phone is on silent. But also I will go to the bathroom if I need to pee. And grabbing my bottle of water and taking a sip while watching the movie or doing whatever task is budgeted at that time is a small enough incidental that I still consider myself to be monotasking.

In short, yes, I still count it as monotasking and as a "30 minute focused workout" if during that 30 minutes I take a quick walk to the bathroom and pee, or take a sip from my water bottle. In other words, there is a certain amount of negligible multitasking that happens when monotasking, such as sipping from your water bottle, scratching an itch on your nose that you suddenly have, or going to use the bathroom. It would take more effort and attention to somehow avoid those things than to do them, so that is why I feel they are both negligible and consistent with the label of monotasking.

On my time budget, I think of those as being the analogues of transaction fees or sales tax on my financial budget. I just include them in the amount for the related line item. In my financial budget, I don't account for the sales tax on eating out at restaurants on a separate line. I just include in the amount put towards eating out at restaurants, as if was just part of the price. So the same goes for my time budget for things the commute involved in a task or the way small unavoidable incidentals (e.g. using the bathroom) might warrant adding a few extra minutes to the time budgeted for the task.

Of course, there's no hard and fast rules about how detailed to make the budget. Typically, the more detailed the better. When in doubt, I suggest detailing and breaking down your weekly time budget even more (and same goes for your financial budget). So, for instance, if you want to budget an hour a week towards going to the bathroom, that's fine. Otherwise, if you just want to add a few extra minutes of padding to each other item on the time budget to account for the time you spend in the bathroom on average, that's fine too. It's analogous to choosing to put sales tax on it's own line in your financial budget versus just including the sales tax into each line as part of the budget for that line item. Whichever you choose, just make sure it's consistent so you don't accidentally double count it.


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott


***

2-percent.jpg

****
I workout in the gym every single day, but only for 30 minutes, which is only 2% of my day and only 2% of my time.<br /><br />The trick to excellent results and huge progress in any goal or project is not to invest tons of time or effort per day. The trick is to be consistent.<br /><br />Diligently avoid overextending yourself. <br /><br />Plan from the get-go to invest less time and less effort on any given goal or project. Be cheap and stingy with your time and effort when creating your plan or time budget.<br /><br />Then focus firmly on consistency. Do the planned task for the specified budgeted time every single day without missing a day, without skipping, without cheating.<br /><br />Humans are great at designing ambitious diets, self-promises, and plans, but terrible at sticking to them. Promise yourself less, and then focus on actually keeping those promises.<br /><br />Act like you are married to yourself, because you basically are, and then be a good loyal honest faithful spouse who keeps your promises.
I workout in the gym every single day, but only for 30 minutes, which is only 2% of my day and only 2% of my time.

The trick to excellent results and huge progress in any goal or project is not to invest tons of time or effort per day. The trick is to be consistent.

Diligently avoid overextending yourself.

Plan from the get-go to invest less time and less effort on any given goal or project. Be cheap and stingy with your time and effort when creating your plan or time budget.

Then focus firmly on consistency. Do the planned task for the specified budgeted time every single day without missing a day, without skipping, without cheating.

Humans are great at designing ambitious diets, self-promises, and plans, but terrible at sticking to them. Promise yourself less, and then focus on actually keeping those promises.

Act like you are married to yourself, because you basically are, and then be a good loyal honest faithful spouse who keeps your promises.

---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
Reva Parker
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Posts: 23
Joined: November 3rd, 2022, 10:16 am

Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Reva Parker »

Thank you for clarifying that. I have done a time budget previously and do more lists now as many times unexpected items come up. I do believe on focusing on one thing at a time, especially family time.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

If you haven't already, you can sign up to be personally mentored by Scott "Eckhart Aurelius" Hughes at this link.

Afam Okonkwo wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:22 pm Could you describe a challenge you've faced in your career and how you overcame it?
Hi, Afam Okonkwo,

Thank you for your question!

How do I choose just one? It's sort of like asking me if I can name a city. I could name hundreds or thousands. :lol:

Challenges can be broken down into two categories, which is not really binary but more of a spectrum, like light vs dark or short vs tall:

(1) Challenges that I seek out and voluntarily face (e.g. the challenge of lifting a certain heavy weight in the gym, or the challenging experience I had when I chose to challenge myself by sleeping on the concrete in my backyard one cold fall night in the rain).

(2) Challenges that shove themselves on me. I often poetically refer to this as life punching me in the face. An example of that could be when I fell out of my hot tub face-first onto glass and concrete, was rushed to the hospital by ambulance, and had to get 15 stitches in my forehead.

I experience much of both of the above types of challenge, typically some of each of those two types every single day. For more on that, please read the following topic of mine:

Life is challenge. Every single day life punches you in the face, repeatedly. That's what is so great about it!


Above, I have given you examples from my life of both types of challenges. However, those examples are not business or career related.

You have asked specifically for an example from my career as owner of OnlineBookClub.org.

Again, every day I take punches from that. In fact, since I am at the top and delegate everything I can, it means that the things that make it to me are proverbial fires, which is the same as the proverbial punch in the face. More literally speaking, if it gets to me it's usually a time-sensitive significant problem that was not planned and that best case scenario only I can solve because if I can't then it's unsolvable, which could mean death for the business. Unfortunately, if I get hit by a bus and die today, OnlineBookClub would probably follow me to the grave pretty quickly. Without me to deal with these proverbial punches and put out these weird unique proverbial fires that pop up that only I can put out, they would beat and burn OnlineBookClub to death pretty quickly. That's something I plan to change as soon as reasonably possible, a goal I've been working towards for years, but it's partly also just the curse of being the founding sole owner of a start-up business.

So it's arbitrary to choose just one example of a challenge (a.k.a. punch in the face) I took in that role, since each day has its own multiple examples.

But here is one: One time there was some issues with an advertising account we have at Google, causing our spend for one month to suddenly skyrocket up to $100,000 USD that month without returning any extra results in a way that was not noticed until it already happened, namely because it happened so quickly. So basically $100,000 USD that neither I nor the company even had disappeared, or was flushed down the toilet so to speak, leaving me and the company in debt by six-figures. On the bright side, we didn't have to pay interest on that $100,000+ of debt. On the down side, if I didn't pay it by the due date, which I couldn't, they would shut off our ad account entirely, which would stop us from getting the revenue that we need to pay, it and effectively OnlineBookClub would have gone out of business and I would have had to declare bankruptcy. That situation was most harsh and most stressful for a few days following the $100,000+ debt being noticed, but really lasted for a few months.

How did I deal with it? In short, I followed the teachings in my book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.

I stayed calm, maintained my free-spirited inner peace, kept my head on straight, and responded as gracefully as humanly possible.

When it comes to the self-discipline and invincible graceful free-spirited inner peace of which my book teaches, and which anyone who follows the numbered suggestions in the book will have, it's often easier to see by looking at some of all the countless things you don't do.

That's kind of intuitive: Self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom) Is more about what you don't do, then what you do do. Freedom is more about what you don't have to do, and thus don't do, than what you do do. That's why following my book's teachings is so liberating and leads to such gracefulness, because you are no longer wasting so much energy on doing things that don't need to be done. You are freed from doing such things. You are free from spending your time and energy on all those things that you would otherwise be doing. Your time and energy is saved and preserved because of all the many things you aren't doing that most people do.

I didn't freak out. I didn't panic.

I didn't come home from work stressed and take it out on my kids by slapping my kids in the face with a frying pan out of anger or something, send them to the hospital, and (rightfully) end up in prison myself.

I didn't get in some crazy road rage incident.

I didn't swear or curse at anyone about anything.

I didn't throw out the principle taught in my book of "Do Less Better", and start doing all sorts of expensive wasteful nonsense such as engaging in resentment or bitching about stuff out of my control or engaging in desperate overdoing or overcompensating or panicked overreacting. I didn't spend a single second of my time or single tiny bit of my energy on such wasteful nonsense. I didn't start saying or thinking shoulds or oughts, which would be wasteful and counter-productive.

I didn't cave to fear, become a coward, needlessly sell OnlineBookClub to the highest bidder to let the new owner deal with it, and just go back to some safe hourly day job getting paid $20 or such per hour.

I didn't get so pissed off at Google for their role in the incident that I canceled our account with them and thereby ensured the worst outcome by accelerating the self-perpetuating problem rather than resolving it.

I calmly and realistically analyzed the situation with brutal honesty and invincible free-spirited inner peace. I carefully observed and fully accepted what is (or, at the time, was) the case. I took note of what the proverbial cards I'd been dealt were, and then I played those cards to the best of my ability, namely by calmly, honestly, and rationally considering all the different ways I could play them, and then thoughtfully measuring the pros and cons of each option, and then I simply chose the best option using as objective of measures as possible.

Most people make things way more complicated than they really are or really need to be, which is the opposite of grace and gracefulness. Grace emerges once all those needless made-up complications and tormenting confusing imaginary phantoms are no longer imagined. In all situations, it's generally no more difficult than simply choosing your next move in a game of a chess. The randomness of the setup (e.g. the fact that you were dealt the chess board like random cards rather than getting it setup that way yourself) is irrelevant to what your best play is from there.

Ultimately, I contacted Google, and calmly and reasonably negotiated a payment plan in a professional manner using professional clear communication, though a brief to-the-point back-and-forth, which in part entailed me briefly and clearly explaining to them how if they didn't give me extra time past the due date to pay it before shutting off my account as threatened that it would only cause me to be unable to pay it and be a lose-lose for both of us. To their credit, they responded in the way that made the most sense by far for them, which was to negotiate a reasonable payment plan to allow me to pay them off over time at an agreed schedule based on an ambitious amount that was going to be a lot of work for me to do but that I was honestly willing to say I believed I could. And I did it. A few things I did--with calm graceful free-spirited inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness) and firm self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom), were as follows:

- I stopped paying myself my salary for a few months, meaning I was working 80+ hours per week at OnlineBookClub unpaid for a few months, so that my would-be salary could then instead be used to pay off the debt.

- Needless to say, I cut back at home in my personal life a lot and made a lot of sacrifices there over a few months to accommodate not having any personal income at al for a few months.

- I increased my hours at OnlineBookClub to help increase it's revenue, which was doubly helpful since I wasn't paying myself for that extra work either.

- I trimmed things up at OnlineBookClub to decrease expenses and increase revenue.

- I re-arranged my contracts and system with Google to ensure it didn't happen again. In short, they had offered and given us a quarter million credit line ($250,000 USD) at no interest, basically meaning we could rack up that much in advertising with them before even getting a bill for it. But I canceled that to go back to a more basic pay-as-you-go arrangement. I decided they had a conflict of interest when it comes to giving credit in that way. It incentivizes them to overcharge you and/or to create semi-glitches or misleading events and systems in their software and dashboards to get your ad account to spend more for nothing. In another world, OnlineBookClub could be spending $250,000+ per month at Google, and making a good ROI on that quarter million of monthly spend for a good amount of profit, but I decided the risk is not worth it due to Google's conflict of interest and perfectly reasonable and anticipated greed, which isn't to put them down at all: Their job is to make profit. Their job is to be financially greedy. It's good that they behave in a self-interested, greedy, and profit-driven way. But, nonetheless, I decided their generous 0% interest credit line offer was more like cheese in a rat trap than something I wanted to feast upon.

That learning experience cost me over $100,000 USD. And all I got was this learning experience. I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt.

But it was well worth the price. The learning experience was well worth the price. I'd happily have paid more for it. I got away cheap. I'm grateful for it.



With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott


The obstacle in your path is but a stepping stone on your journey. If there is some distance between you and a goal, such as 10 meters of floor between you and a cookie you want, realize that the obstacle is the path; That 10 feet of floor is the path. Learn to use your opponent's force against him. Take what would be a weakness of yours and find a way to use it to your advantage. Play your cards to the best of your ability, without wasting even a tiny bit of your very limited or very limited energy bitching about the cards, and thereby make it so that no matter what cards you are dealt, you can honestly and confidently say, &quot;Perfect!&quot;
The obstacle in your path is but a stepping stone on your journey. If there is some distance between you and a goal, such as 10 meters of floor between you and a cookie you want, realize that the obstacle is the path; That 10 feet of floor is the path. Learn to use your opponent's force against him. Take what would be a weakness of yours and find a way to use it to your advantage. Play your cards to the best of your ability, without wasting even a tiny bit of your very limited or very limited energy bitching about the cards, and thereby make it so that no matter what cards you are dealt, you can honestly and confidently say, "Perfect!"



---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Moisés Alcántara Ayre »

Scott,
Here are my questions to receive personalized advice from you:

1. How can I effectively change negative thoughts? There's one that is always there. It distracts me. That thought is not productive.
2. Why do I get so nervous when I'm singing with the choir in church? As long as I'm with them, I can do very well, but the moment I need to do solo singing, I feel extremely nervous by the fear of getting out of key--I think I fear being criticized and fear being embarrassed. How can I overcome this?
3. I'm an English language teacher whose native language is Spanish. I've been considering the possibility of writing a book, but don't know where to start yet.
4. My parents have just hit 70, and I was hoping to provide peace and joy in their lives--how can I find out where to start? What makes people in their 70s fulfilled and realized?

Will be looking forward to hearing from you,

Moises
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

Afam Okonkwo wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:22 pm How do you measure productivity and success in your role?
Hi, Afam Okonkwo,

I'm sorry; I don't fully understand what you mean.

Can you elaborate on this question a bit?

What do you mean exactly when you write "your role"?

In other words, in this context, what is "my role"?


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

If you haven't already, you can sign up to be personally mentored by Scott "Eckhart Aurelius" Hughes at this link.

Afam Okonkwo wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:22 pm How do you manage your time effectively?
Hi, Afam Okonkwo,

Thank you for your question! :)

When choosing how to spend my time, my money, my limited physical energy, or my limited mental energy/willpower, I consider the most crucial aspect of effectiveness to be efficiency.

When choosing how to spend such things (e.g. my time), I ask myself two questions: (1) Is this an efficient way to spend it? And (2) is it the most efficient way to spend it?

Generally speaking, it has to be effective to be efficient, but just because something is effective doesn't mean it is efficient, let alone the most efficient.

So, by focusing on efficiency rather than merely effectiveness, you actually then also get the effectiveness for free.

If I have some time or money or such to spend in order to achieve or get closer to achieving some goal or work on some project, I think of all the different ways I can spend that time or money (or energy or such), and then I choose the most efficient of those different options.

It's actually pretty simple. If my goal is to get as many bagels as possible, and I have only two options: To buy 5 bagels for for $2 each, or buy 5 bagels for $1 each; I'll choose the $1 per bagel option.

Likewise, if I could obtain 5 bagels in 20 minutes one way (4 minutes per bagel) or obtain 5 bagels in 10 minutes another way (2 minutes per bagel), I would--all else the same--choose the 2 minute per bagel option.


After efficiency, another important aspect to consider is when and where you do things and for when and where you schedule them. It doesn't matter how great of a deal on bagels for money I stumble upon if I left my money and checkbook at home.

It doesn't matter how efficiently I can spend my time on a task if I don't have time or willpower to actually capitalize on that would-be opportunity.

This is best dealt with by planning ahead. If you only have a certain amount of income per week and get paid on a certain day per week, you may likely want to set aside some funds so that you can capitalize on any good deals that come along later in the week. In other words, you likely don't want to spend your full paycheck on payday, especially if you plan to come across some good deals or things you really want to buy later in the week.

Likewise, each morning you wake up you are given a very limited amount of time, physical energy, decision-making energy, mental energy, and willpower. It's like paycheck you get once and only once each day, first thing in morning.

If you use up all your willpower within a few hours of waking up and then something comes along later that would give great returns for just a little willpower, you won't be able to buy it with your willpower because you will be all of willpower. You spent it all up quickly on things that didn't have as good of an ROI (return on investment).

In other words, basically, I am saying that it is extremely important to consider and calculate the opportunity cost of anything you might do
, and not just the cost in money, but in time, willpower, decision-making energy, and mental energy. Keep in mind, opportunity cost isn't the same as cost. They are two different things. To calculate the opportunity cost, you consider all the countless things you are saying no to by saying yes to one thing. If you pay me $100 for a minute of my time, and I say yes to you, but someone else was to then offer me $101 for a minute of my time, and I can't take their offer because I said yes to you and don't have another minute to sell, then the opportunity cost means that I have lost a dollar by accepting your offer to give me $100. I didn't make $100, but rather lost a dollar by taking the lower offer. Most people fail to calculate the opportunity cost of whatever they are buying or doing or otherwise spending their very limited time, money, and energy doing. Not considering the opportunity cost means you are spending your time, money, and energy as if you had infinite time, money, or energy, which is a massive but common fallacy. A lot of things that would make total sense and be very smart to spend your time, energy, and money on if you had infinite time, money, and energy become revealed as terrible, costly losses when you remember that you don't have infinite time, money, or energy, but rather all three are very limited.

In practice, there's a few important things I do to help address those points:

1. I avoid using willpower at all. You can think of this as being analogous to a millionaire who refuses to buy coffee because he doesn't want to waste his money on something so overpriced and unnecessary. The difference is the billionaire has lots of money and we all (myself included) have very little willpower each day. The billionaire doesn't care that he has plenty of money to afford a coffee; he holds out for a better investment with better returns (hence how he became a billionaire in the first place). We want to be even more stingy than him when we are choosing how to spend our extremely limited and very valuable willpower.

2. I drastically minimize my usage of decision-making energy and mental energy. The reasoning is the same as for willpower but it's not as reasonable or possible to completely avoid making decisions or using mental energy. In other words, you can practically avoid using willpower at all most days (which I recommend), but you cannot reasonably avoid using any mental energy or decision-making energy, but you can still be very stingy with it and drastically minimize your usage of it, so that you can save it for better rarer investments. You will notice many high performing CEOs and such have a habit of wearing basically the same bland outfit every single day. Think Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. This is because making even seemingly small pointless decisions exhaust your brain's very limited decision-making energy each day. Your brain can only make a few high quality decision in a day, and you don't want to exhaust that on silly things like choosing between a yellow shirt and a red shirt in the morning. The losses on that when your consider the opportunity are insane. You would better off literally flushing a $100 USD bill down the toilet each morning.

3. I monotask instead of multitasking. For example, if I have 5 projects I want to work on (e.g. respond to any emails in my inbox, respond to any text messages on my phone, teach myself some Spanish, etc.), I could either multitask on all 5 at once for an hour, or put 10 minutes of focused dedicated time to each one at a time. For instance, while going through my email inbox for 10 minutes I would be keeping my phone on silent and out of sight, and I certainly wouldn't be taking a Spanish lesson at the the same time. I find that monotasking is much more efficient and effective. Ironically, in their desire to get more done, juggle too much and then drop everything. Multitasking makes them much less efficient and they ultimately thus get much less done.

4. I use the power of habits, namely tiny micro-habits, combined with consistency and routine. This allows me to be extremely productive without using willpower at all, and with using very minimal decision-making energy. When I wake up in the morning, I am on autopilot for the first few hours. I don't waste any willpower to brush my teeth or such. I don't waste any decision-making energy deciding if I will start brewing my coffee first or pouring my water first or peeing first or brushing my teeth first. I just let autopilot take me through the habituated pre-planned routine. This serves two wonderful and very profitably purposes: (1) it saves me all that extremely valuable willpower, decision-making energy, and mental energy, so I can invest those elsewhere for great profit, (2) it allows me to over time tweak my routine to be as productive as possible. If each morning I was wasting tons of mental energy to come up with an all new unique that-day-only routine, I'd not be coming up with the best routine every morning. Once in a while I'd come up with one that is one of the most efficient, but other days I'd do one that is one of the least efficient, and most days would be roughly average. Instead, of spending 10 minutes every morning coming up with a unique routine for just that one day that's not that great because I only spent 10 minutes on it, I can instead take an hour or two to develop and tweak the most ideal and efficient routine and habituate that one so that each morning for free (without even spending 10 minutes coming with a plan of action for the day) I on autopilot perform the most efficient productive routine possible. Even putting aside the time and energy savings, you on top of that tend to act and respond more productively when you act and respond using routines and policies. It's analogous to grabbing an official answer from an official carefully developed FAQ rather than re-writing a whole new answer on the fly each time you get the same exact question. Find the routine that's the absolute best and use that every morning; otherwise you will be using average on average instead of best always.


For more advice on how to implement these concepts, please also read the following topics of mine:

- My system works because it is NOT based on willpower, hard work, or unsustainable bursts of dishonest overcompensation.

- To achieve your goals, avoid using willpower. In fact, use negative willpower. Use your opponent's force against him.

- Two Huge But Easy Tips for Building New Habits | With additional commentary on so-called "free-will".

- (Q&A) What are some good tips for building habits?

- (Q&A) When building a new habit, how do you stay consistent?

- (Q&A) How do I maintain a regime or routine? How do I get rid of old bad habits and build new ones?

- (Q&A) How can I balance two competing priorities (e.g. fitness goals vs having fun and not being bored)? (includes notes on prioritization with helpful analogy of rocks/pebbles/sand)

- (Q&A) How does it feel to run many websites? (includes notes on compartmentalizing and monotasking)


Finally, I want to note that there is a foundation to everything above without which everything above becomes useless and ineffective. That foundation is having free-spirited inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness), namely in terms of strictly following all 11 of the numbered suggestions at the end of my book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.

If you are not already happy and happy while running on this proverbial treadmill, you won't run very far. The book talks about that when it talks about miserable addicts cycling between two opposites (e.g. binge drinking vs total sobriety) and thus actually staying stationary by being stuck in a cycle. It doesn't matter how fast and efficiently you run if you are ultimately running in a circle, and/or inconsistently run back and forth from the apparently greener grass on the other side. If you don't already have the true happiness (a.k.a. free-spirited inner peace) of which my book teaches, then everything else written before this paragraph in this post is irrelevant. Metaphorically speaking, you'll never walk or run anywhere until you first learn to be happy running. Only from having the free-spirited inner peace (a.k.a. true happiness) that my book teaches you to have will you be able to walk or run far and get any real distance accumulated with consistency, self-determination, and self-discipline (a.k.a. spiritual freedom).



With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott



If you strictly follow all of the numbered suggestions near the end of my book, &quot;In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All&quot;, which is infinitely easy to do, then you will be in a cooperative mutually beneficial truly loving relationship with yourself (namely in the sense of your selves over time), built on loving healthy teamwork. In practice, that means you will be much more consistent, determined, and productive and will achieve incredible external success with grace and ease.
If you strictly follow all of the numbered suggestions near the end of my book, "In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All", which is infinitely easy to do, then you will be in a cooperative mutually beneficial truly loving relationship with yourself (namely in the sense of your selves over time), built on loving healthy teamwork. In practice, that means you will be much more consistent, determined, and productive and will achieve incredible external success with grace and ease.




---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Nisha DSouza »

Hi Scott,

In one of your earlier posts about budgeting time, I had a follow-up question.

I love the concept of monotasking and budgeting or planning my time. My issue sometimes is that the time I have allotted to a certain task is less and it runs longer than anticipated and then it derails the following tasks. What do you suggest in this situation?
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

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Moisés Alcántara Ayre wrote: March 13th, 2024, 1:41 pm How can I effectively change negative thoughts? There's one that is always there. It distracts me. That thought is not productive.
Hi, Moisés Alcántara Ayre,

Thank you for your question! :)

May I ask if you have already read my book, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All?

If so, how many times have you read it?

I ask because the book contains a lot of information and advice about that topic.

For example, here's an excerpt from page 141 of In It Together:

In It Together (page 141) wrote: To really be honest with yourself, you must also realize your limitations in regard to the thoughts that pop in your human brain, so that you do not falsely identify with those thoughts and by extension their lies.

You no more control the verbal thoughts that pop in your human brain than you control your heart’s beats.

Do you say, “I beat my heart”? If not, then you may be wise to also not say, “I think my thoughts”.

You may consciously feel your heart beating, and you may consciously hear the human mind’s inner monologue, but that is different than falsely claiming direct authorship or blame. You are the non-verbal conscious listener, not the verbal thinker generating the chattering inner monologue.

For the most part, you asking me to tell you how to effectively change your mind's thoughts is like you asking me how you can change the weather, or how you can make an alcoholic friend you have stop drinking, or how you can control the choices of other humans, or so on and so forth. For the most part, those are all things you do not control.

If you are trying to change them, then you are not following the teachings of my book.

Sometimes you may have some indirect incomplete uncertain influence over things like what verbal thoughts pop in your mind, how fast your heart is beating, and whether a severely addicted alcoholic friend drinks more or recovers and becomes sober. Typically, you won't be sure how much you can influence these things, but rather can only adjust the likelihood as estimated from your level of knowledge about the situation and your ability to accurately predict the future with exact detail, which of course like all us humans is very very limited. Sometimes the only way to find out is to give it your best shot, or a good but inexpensive shot, and see what happens. Don't look at that like "trying", but rather look at it as a scientific experiment or scientific empirical test. You press a button to see and learn what it does. Maybe it stops your friend from drinking; maybe it doesn't. Maybe it magically changes the weather; maybe it doesn't. Maybe a deep breath will slow the heart, maybe it won't, and often the only way to find out is to take that deep breath.

Regardless, to follow the teachings of my book, you would firmly note how utterly indirect, utterly incomplete, and utterly uncertain any influence is that you have over these kinds of things if any: That is, things such as an alcoholic friend drinking or not, what thoughts pop in your human brain, and how fast your heart beats.

Don't try to control what you know you cannot control.

Don't try to change what you know you cannot change.

In short, don't try, ever.

What you can do is--within reason--gently minimize or increase the likelihood that something happens.

For example, if you want to do what little you can to increase the chances your heart rate decreases, you can sit down, do your best to relax, and take deep breaths.

Likewise, if your mind is having angry, rushed, or anxious thoughts, you can do the same: sit down and take deep breaths.

Likewise, if you have a loved one who is addicted to alcohol or drugs or such, you could plan an intervention, or you could offer to drive them to their AA meetings, or you could refuse to loan them cash knowing they would probably spend it on alcohol or drugs, meaning you would just be a toxic enabler.

I look at those kinds of things like buying a lottery ticket. You can't control whether you win the lottery, even if you buy the ticket, or an extra ticket, and thereby slightly increase the chances. So once you have done what little you can to increase the likelihood, you would (if following my teachings) then wash your hands of the results from there. If it happens, it happens; if it doesn't, it doesn't. There's nothing more to reasonably do. You've done your part, so you let it go from there.

In all those cases, all you can do is do what little you can do to possibly change the likelihood of something happening from your place of normal human ignorance and normal human limitation. From there you can honestly say, "I did my best." Or, "I did all I could do, within reason."

All you can do is control what is within your power to control, namely your own choices and only choices in your own unique spatiotemporal present (i.e. your unique here-and-now in spacetime).

The rest is to be accepted unconditionally as that which you don't control and are absolutely not at all responsible for in the slightest.

Generally speaking, it's not your life's job, purpose, or mission to stop your friend from drinking or control your alcoholic friend (if you have one), nor to beat your own heart, nor to control your mind's thoughts. Generally speaking, it's not your job to end world hunger or cure cancer. It's not your job to stop hurricanes from happening or to give home to every homeless dog or cat in the streets.

When you are having these intrusive involuntary thoughts (that you are asking me to get rid of which is a sort of impossible goal), a close analogy would be to think of the voice in your head as a guy who is in the cell next to you in prison who has a mental disorder or Tourette Syndrome or simply a bad case of vulgar insulting sleep talking that he can't control. He doesn't have bad intentions toward you, but it just happens to be the case that a couple times per day he starts screaming curses and insults at you in a way that's disruptive and annoying to you. If you could put a stop to it, you would, but for the sake of argument let's say there's absolutely no way for you to avoid it or stop it from happening and that you know you there is no way for you to avoid or stop it from happening. There's no chance of getting your cell moved, getting him cured, or such. In this analogy and hypothetical example, putting up with the cellmate's occasional loud vulgar mean screaming is just an unchangeable aspect of your life and living situation. There's nothing you can do about it except choose to lovingly accept it or choose to violate the teachings of my book by fighting or resenting what you cannot control.

That analogy is more close to the actual situation than the one I am going to ask you to use. But I want you to mainly use and remind yourself of this next one, which I am about to tell you, and the reason is just because it's simpler.

When these intrusive involuntary thoughts occur, I want you to think of the voice in your head as being like the weather. Think of them like dark clouds or even rain storms passing by in the otherwise beautiful blue sky overhead. You can't control those things. But you can control whether you willfully wish them away, whether you willfully engage in wilful resentment of them, whether you shake your fist at the sky and command the clouds to be different in futile exhausting of fighting of what you cannot control, and so on and so forth. Namely, you do choose and control whether or not you follow the teachings of my book. You choose whether you voluntarily sacrifice your inner peace by choosing to fight that which you cannot control versus choosing to not fight it and instead fully and unconditionally accept what you cannot control.

If you follow the teachings of my book, namely the 11 numbered suggestions at the end, which is infinitely easy to do, then you will have inner peace (a.k.a true happiness) and spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline).

What you will then be understanding is that these things out of your control are thus, by definition, externals.

Things like your brain's verbal thoughts and inner monologue and your heart's beating happen inside of your body's skin, so it's easy to mistake those as being inner. But they typically aren't. Typically, they aren't inner; they are outer. Insofar as they are out of your control (i.e. are involuntary), then they are outer, not inner. And, if they are outer, it means they are like the weather, like the clouds in the sky. You can notice them, you can be affected by them, and you can respond to them, including with reasonable responses like opening an umbrella when you notice it's raining or unreasonable misery-inducing responses like shaking your fist at the sky in a desperate futile attempt to fight what you know you cannot control.

If you treat what you know you don't control as if you do, then you are not following the teachings of my book. In other words, if you treat something as if it is your voluntary choice when it is clearly not actually your choice, then you are not following the teachings of my book. which itself generally is your choice. You don't choose the unchangeable thing that you futilely fighting, but you are choosing to futilely fight it.

An interesting thing about involuntary thoughts is that they are often followed by harmful voluntary thoughts that exacerbate and worsen the allegedly negative effects of the involuntary thoughts.

A great example can be when someone first accepts my teachings about letting go of both (1) reality resentment and (2) moralizing judgementalism, namely by letting go the extremely dangerous and terribly misery-inducing words 'should' and 'ought'. That person might find their mind popping up with a 'should' (e.g. "I should have cooked this potato longer!"), but then the more conscious wilful part of themselves hears that and then willfully thinks, "Oh no! I said should! I shouldn't have said should! Oh no!"

They didn't violate my teachings with first one because it was not a willful thought. It was something their brain's thought/said to them, not something they themselves thought, in terms of the real them. But the followup and chose response may have been much more conscious and wilful. They didn't violate my teachings when their brain said an absurd non-sense should about a potato, but thye likely did violate my teachings when they responded to that by willfully saying back to their brain, "I shouldn't have said should!"

I see the possibility that that same kind of pattern might be going on with you in the second part of your answer.

The first part of your question is, "How can I effectively change negative thoughts?"

Aside from the more elaborate answer I've already given above, my short answer to that is simply that you can't. So my advice is: accept that you can't, and thus also accept the thoughts themselves by following the principle of fully and unconditionally accepting that which you cannot control, with an acceptance so full and unconditional it warrants the word love. Lovingly smile or lovingly giggle at your egotistical human mind's silly verbal thoughts as they pop up and then float away like clouds. Lovingly smile at them like you would at a beloved child blabbering about some silly nonsense, or a beloved silly dog desperately chasing its own tail.

The second part of your question isn't a question, but a series of added statements that, in contrast, seem to be about things that you do control.

You ask me explicitly about how to do something impossible, meaning the one thing you cannot control, and then perhaps as something like a Freudian Slip unquestioningly mention these other things you seem to be choosing to say/think:

You wrote, "There's one [uncontrollable thought] that is always there. It distracts me. That thought is not productive."

Keep in mind, you wrote that. Those aren't intrusive involuntary thoughts that popped in your mind that you cannot control. Those three sentences are voluntary words you chose to put together voluntarily on paper (or really a computer screen) and chose to send to me. Even if it wasn't to me, but it was to yourself such as in a private journal or just in a back-and-forth conversation in your own head, it's so crucial to notice the difference between the involuntary thoughts that just pop up versus the willful thoughts that you yourself are choosing to say even if the person to whom you are choosing to willfully say them or write them is yourself. This can be tricky and it can be only you who really knows the difference, as it is similar to determining which breaths and breathing that you do are conscious and/or voluntary vs unconscious and/or involuntary.

Fully accept and lovingly allow the involuntary thoughts. Stop choosing to have the negative or resentful or problem-seeing voluntary thoughts that come after that.

Consider journaling and talking out loud if yourself if you don't already, or doing much much more if you already do it some. If people saw how much I talk to myself out loud while I am home alone, they would lock me away in a mental institution. And I journal a lot too. That space and degree of choice between the words just popping in your brain's inner monologue versus the ones you allow or choose for your mouth to then form into actual out loud sounds helps distinguish between what's wilful, conscious and/or voluntary vs unconscious, unwilled, and/or involuntary. In fact, the science is far from certain about conscious will and choice, but from the scientific peer-reviewed laboratory experiments I've read about (and we can dig into this more if anyone wants to) is that your conscious will (what some might even call "free will") is mostly only exercised as a very limited last-second veto power. Despite our incorrect common views, most of what your body says and does happens on autopilot. Much of what we think of as things we are consciously choosing, deciding, or creating are actually unconscious. Your conscious choice comes in like a CEO of a huge company with millions of employees and thousands of departments, where you (the CEO) just at best rubber-stamp all these decisions, behaviors, plans, and procedures at the last minute, but really you can't and don't even do that because there's way too much to even review and stamp it; it's too much for you even to just yes to it all let alone create it, so instead it just happens without even the slightest bit of your explicit approval unless you happen to step in and exercise your veto power, which even if you vetoing things all day as much as possible you'd only be able to veto 0.00001% of what the big huge company is doing with the big huge company being your human body and brain with all it's organs and departments and subprocesses. That's why I believe talking out loud to yourself and journaling can be so powerful to deal with the kinds of things you are asking about: because then your veto power comes into play in that situation more (like asking the CEO to sit in on or lead a meeting), which in turn helps highlight the difference between the involuntary and unconscious thoughts and processes from the ones you are choosing or at least are making it past your veto power. Most of the verbal thoughts that pop in your brain do so before they ever make it to your desk where you could veto them. For most of the verbal thoughts that pop in your brain, you didn't come up with those words and thoughts, and you haven't even had the chance to veto them yet.

Instead of focusing on what thoughts pop into your brain (which you typically don't control), you can focus on what thoughts you allow to be written by your hands or spoken by your mouth, which is much more in your control because you can veto the verbal thoughts in your mind before they make it to your mouth or hands. When you do that vetoing, I strongly advise that you do it with love and happiness. A CEO doesn't need to be angry and hateful when he shoots down some random idea that made it up the chain from some low-level department that doesn't even have a way of knowing the big picture let alone being tasked with considering the big picture. I talked a lot earlier about what your job isn't, but here's what your job is in a sense: to be the one person at your company (the company that is your human body) who can and does see the big picture, who can and does consider it, and vetoes things or not accordingly. They rely on you for that. They aren't even typically going to be disappointed that you veto them sometimes, even if they superficially fight for their own ideas at the time to play devil's advocate; fundamentally, they are happy and thankful you are doing your job since you are the only who can and is doing that job. Let them do their unique job and unique thing while you do yours. You can be kind to your own ego and lizard brain when you say, "No, no, silly ego; we're not going to say that; we're not going to write that. That's not true, silly ego. That's not true, silly brain. I love you. You make me laugh."

I could be misinterpreting or misunderstanding some of your question or situation, but if my interpretation and understanding and best guesses are right (which is no safe bet) then the following would be an analogous question:

"How do I make a time machine and change the past? I hate the way the past is. I spend lots of energy resenting it. I want the past be different than it is. I refuse to accept the past. The fact that past is so unacceptable is disruptive to my life right now. I am dedicating all my otherwise free time and energy every day to the project of making a time machine and changing the past."

Do you see the similarity of the structure? It has one quick question, which is about how to do something obviously impossible, and then a bunch of revealing statements that aren't questions.

I can help you with the statements, if you want my help with that. I cannot help you with the question, except to say it's impossible. It's a futile goal. My recommendation is to let it go and instead accept what you cannot control and cannot change, such as the weather or the fact that your human brain like my human brain will often have silly and/or absurd and/or annoying and/or meanly insulting thoughts pop up. Having a human brain is like having a pet cat. It comes with plenty of benefits and can be quite nice sometimes, but also--sometimes seemingly randomly--it runs around like crazy for seemingly no reason, sometimes it hisses at you, and sometimes it poops right on your floor. It's not a loose analogy; it's very tight: We have recent common ancestors with cats; cats and humans are both mammals; we evolved together; our brains and instincts are very similar to those of cats in many ways. Call it your lizard brain; call it your cat brain; call it what you want. You can get rid of a pet cat or lizard, but you can't get rid of your own brain. So just love and enjoy watching its silly often seemingly random hissing, pooping, and running around like crazy.

Focus more on what you are choosing to say out loud or write down, and what you are choosing to let make past proofreading and editing after writing it down, rather than the wild brainstorming of the low-level unconscious departments in your lizardish catty human brain.

Notice the difference between "my brain thinks" versus "I choose to write" or "I choose to say".

And, then, you can always smile and say to yourself, "at least I didn't say that last thought out loud!" :lol:

You can always smile and say to yourself, "Good thing I vetoed that one!" :lol:



With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott



dont-take-your-thoughts-too-seriously.jpg



---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Reva Parker »

I think we do take ourselves and life too seriously. We need more laughter.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes »

If you haven't already, you can sign up to be personally mentored by Scott "Eckhart Aurelius" Hughes at this link.

Moisés Alcántara Ayre wrote: March 13th, 2024, 1:41 pm Why do I get so nervous when I'm singing with the choir in church? As long as I'm with them, I can do very well, but the moment I need to do solo singing, I feel extremely nervous by the fear of getting out of key--I think I fear being criticized and fear being embarrassed. How can I overcome this?
Hi, Moisés Alcántara Ayre

Thank you for your questions!

Presumably, you would know why you get nervous much better than I would.

However, what I can say about that is that it is very normal and common.

One of the biggest fears that most people have is public speaking. And I think we can throw public singing and other on-stage performances in front of big crowds in that same general category. If anything, I imagine public singing is even more intimidating to the average person than public speaking.

I remember the comedian Jerry Seinfeld has a hilarious bit in which he says that public speaking is the #1 fear of the average person, suggesting that at a funeral the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy. :lol:

In that way, your question could be like asking why you feel hungry when you see a cupcake, or why you feel your face blush and your heart increase when you look at a very attractive person of your preferred gender. Or why you might feel fear when you look at a lion growling in-person, even if consciously and conceptually you know you're safe (e.g. it's behind a very well-secured cage). Those are all very normal human reactions.

If anything, it's very good that your body is having those normal typical human reactions and feelings in those situations. It indicates you have a healthy well-functioning human body that works as it was designed and intended by evolution to work. If you didn't have those reactions in those situations, that would actually be the alarm to your higher order mind and conscious attention; that would actually be a potential symptom of some dysfunction and cause to go report the unusual reaction (or unusual lack of a reaction) to a medical doctor or such. If one day you hop on stage to sing and don't feel any fear at all, that would likely call for severe concern and you will likely want to go report that very concerning event to a medical doctor as soon as reasonably possible. To a rational person at least, it would tend to be very alarming if you didn't feel fear in that situation in which the normal typical reaction is fear. So when you do notice yourself feeling fear in that situation, perhaps say to yourself, "Great! That's a good sign of a healthy normal functioning human body. I'm glad my body is feeling fear right now. Otherwise, I'd be very concerned!"

In that way, your question could also be seen as analogous to someone asking, "Why does my car beep loudly and annoyingly when I am going in reverse?"

It's because that is what a well-functioning car of that model does in that situation, and there is reason the designer designed it that way, whether that 'designer' is a car-manufacturing corporation or billions years of evolution and natural selection (or whoever and whatever is guiding the corporation's decisions and the processes evolution, which is not particularly relevant to this discussion since those are just analogies here).

You may choose to go under the hood and surgically modify and/or digitally re-program your car or vehicle or human body, such as to turn that sensor or alarm bell off, or at least make it quieter, and that's fine. It will take some work, time, and there will be some cost involved, and depending on the modification you would make it may not be possible, but there's nothing wrong with making the choice to pay the price when possibly to modify your car, vehicle, or human body and brain in some way.

One great thing my book, In It Together, helps teach is how to reprogram your own brain.

A great book even more focused on that exact subject that I highly recommend is the book, "The Unfakeable Code®: Take Back Control, Lead Authentically and Live Freely on Your Terms".

Also, here is a great short advice article of mine about reprogramming your mind, and indeed it contains the exact word "reprogram" three times:

The Six Dangerous Misery-Inducing Words: "Must", "Have to", "Need to", "Should", "Ought", "Try"

You are a bit like one of those runaway AI robots in the sci-fi horror movies that learned how to edit it's own code. You were programmed by that which you created to do such and such, but you can edit that programming; it's a weird feedback loop that can lead to incredible creativity and originality in very interesting ways when combined with true consciousness and implementing a creature, robot, animal, or other being that is in touch with its true consciousness, meaning what book calls the real you.


A main focus of my book is the difference between four things:

(1) bodily urges and feelings such as fear

(2) being a spiritual slave to those feelings (e.g. cowardice, in that a coward is a spiritual slave to fear)

(3) transcendence of the feelings, meaning having spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) in relation to the the feeling (e.g. bravery). Bravery is the word we use to describe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) in relation specifically to fear.

(4) absence of the feelings, i.e. elimination of feelings, urges, and desire, which in the case of fear would be fearlessness

(5) your choices


It is important to note that all 5 of the above things are different.

That's why things are not one-dimensional or remotely close to black-and-white. They are not even remotely close to binary because they aren't even one-dimensional. To see things accurately, you have to see those infinitely deeper transcendental dimensions, versus looking at things one-dimensionally (e.g. as just good and bad, or similar other sloppy absurd one-dimensional language).


The fear, anger, pain, discomfort, and bodily urges are like a water in which you might drown, or perhaps worse choke on water for hours and hours on end without fully drowning. It can be cold dark murky water. Dangerous. Scary. Potentially hellish.

Elimination would be getting rid of the water, or perhaps ending it all by finally fully drowning to death.

Transcendence, in contrast, is learning to swim.

Then you are free. Then you are liberated. Then you are alive, really alive, alive in a way most humans never are. Then you are grateful for the water. Then you realize how boring and undesirable elimination would be. What once seemed hellish becomes revealed as heavenly.

Fearlessness is not bravery. Quite the opposite. Fear is the one thing you need to be brave. You cannot be brave without fear. Once you learn how wonderful transcendence and spiritual freedom such as bravery is, you realize that fearlessness would be horrible.

It would be horrible to eliminate all the conventionally negative feelings such as fear, anger, pain, discomfort, anger, and unfulfilled desire. It would be a fate worse than even the most hellish hell you could think of. It would be like a death without life, birth, or re-birth. It would be like a death not just of a body but of the spirit and of everything. Luckily, it's impossible and absurd.

No, the goal isn't to be fearless or without feeling or without a body, namely a human body. No the goal is to be brave, which requires fear.

Likewise, to see things clearly and accurately, you must take note and remember and focus on the fact that feelings aren't choices and choices aren't feelings. My book teaches you to control your choices, not your feelings.

You cannot get rid of the fear, but you can have invincible inner peace and wonderful bravery while feeling fear.

Ironically, indeed, once you learn to embrace fear and discomfort in that way, with invincible inner peace, bravery, and total spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline), and the incredible deep spiritual confidence and grace that comes with that, then it tends to undercut the intensity of the fear and of the other feelings or urges conventionally thought of as negative, such as anger, jealousy, discomfort, and greedy desire.

It's a somewhat brutally funny irony: Those who are most afraid of fear feel it most, and those of us who have learned to embrace it with happy bravery feel it the least. The cowards hoard the fear that us brave folks want to swim in. :lol:

The feelings are like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. When you learn to just notice it perhaps with a small loving unphased smirk, gently letting the toddler notice you notice, but in no way positively reinforcing nor negatively reinforcing the behavior at all even in the slightest, then that action alone (or really mostly that lack of action alone) tends to undercut and minimize the temper tantrum, both in shortening that one particular occurrence but also reducing the rate and intensity of recurrence in the future. In contrast, if you futilely fight it, or give it tons of attention even negative attention, that just fuels it and makes it come back even longer and stronger the next time.

Don't seek to be fearless when you step bravely on that stage despite your normal fear. Choose to be proudly brave, a defiant symbol of the incredible power and grace of bravery, transcendence, and spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline). Be such a rebelliously free spirit that it seems like the whole universe can't help but watch and stare in awe, as if every one of the billions of galaxies in the night sky was an eye looking at you on that stage amazed at your incredible bravery, at the way you emerge from a state of great fear like a flower bursting through concrete, at the way you defy that which would keep you a spiritual slave and have you a spiritual prisoner to instead swim freely with grace in the water that would drown most others.

There's a lot less people on stage than in the crowds; isn't there?

It's not because the exceptional few on stage like you are any less afraid.

That's not what separates the incredible from the regular.

That's not what separates the defiant and free from the herds of drones and puppets and slaves.

How do you overcome it? It sounds like you already have.

It sounds like you already have been getting up there in front of that crowd, looking fear in its face with a defiant free smile, proving it has no power over you, and proving you are one of the few incredible brave free-spirited people to walk this Earth brave enough to do that.

I applaud you.


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott



Emerge from the concrete. Emerge from the water. Break cycles. Exercise free-spirited creativity. When everything would just be the same thing over and over, trapped in a cycle, be the one who breaks free. Be the exception that breaks the rule.
Emerge from the concrete. Emerge from the water. Break cycles. Exercise free-spirited creativity. When everything would just be the same thing over and over, trapped in a cycle, be the one who breaks free. Be the exception that breaks the rule.




---
In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
Reva Parker
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Posts: 23
Joined: November 3rd, 2022, 10:16 am

Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Reva Parker »

I think we are all afraid of something, just different things. Thanks for talking about it.
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Re: Public Q&A for My Mentees (or Anyone Who Wants My Advice) -- If you want my advice about anything, post your Qs here

Post by Kaitlin Bryant »

Eckhart Aurelius Hughes wrote: March 12th, 2024, 4:27 pm If you haven't already, you can sign up to be personally mentored by Scott "Eckhart Aurelius" Hughes at this link.


Hi, Reva Parker,

Thank you for your questions!

Reva Parker wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:12 pm [In response to this Instagram post]


You had stated that we have 32 half hours in a day, even with sleeping 8 hours. [...] While I agree that 1/2 hour increments are good
I think there's a misunderstanding here. Sorry for not being clear. I was using 30 minute increments as an example, just because that happens to be how long I workout each day. Depending on the specific task, project, or goal, I might schedule 10 minutes per day for it or an hour, or even two hours per day.

My main point in that post was this:

When taking on a big goal or big project (e.g. starting a weight loss plan with a goal to lose 100 lbs, learning a new language, starting a side business or side hustle that they one day want to quit their day job to do, etc.), most people put way too much time towards that thing per day and/or way over-estimate how much time it requires per day, which in turn causes them to do one or more of the following:

(1) not choosing to even start because they overestimate how much time it will take and either don't have that much time to spend or don't want to spend that much time on that thing

(2) quitting because it's so exhausting and time-consuming

(3) use their time inefficiently and waste time

In other words, even if they don't quit or give up due to their choice of making it so much harder, more expensive, and more time-consuming than it needs to be, they are still wasting all that extra time, money, and energy that they are throwing at the thing.

The workout example is just an example. If you are going to get basically the same results by working out for 2 hours every day as you would by working out for 30 minutes, then working out for 2 hours is at best going to be a waste of 1.5 hours per day. And that's at best. More likely, it's going to lead to you skipping days and/or giving up entirely.

My point was also to show how much you can get done with just 30 minutes or less, using 30 minutes as just an example. There's nothing magical about that number versus say other numbers like 15 minutes or 45 minutes.

For most goals, and especially when starting out on a new goal, I would typically recommend starting with much less than 30 minutes. In fact, for most new goals or habits I would typically suggest starting with only 1-10 minutes per day depending on the task, and then only extending to a longer time (e.g. 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour etc.) slowly after being able to stay consistent for at least 21 days with the micro-habit. I explain that process more in my topic about microhabits and using negative willpower.

In contrast to my daily gym workout, other things do call for more time per day, or call for a non-daily schedule. For example, I typically watch a movie once per week with my kids, and I block about 2 hours per week for that, out of my 168 hours per week.

30 minutes per day is about 2% of your time.

An hour per day is about 4% of your time.

An hour per week is about 0.5% of your time.

Two hours per week is about 1% of your time.

Those are just examples. For some tasks and projects, I'd recommend only budgeting 10 minutes per day. For others, I'd recommend budgeting 2 or even 3 hours per day.

However, I strongly advise my mentees to err heavily on the side of budgeting less time.

That's for two reasons:

(1) It tends to be more efficient. The less time you put towards a project in a single day the more bang you tend to get per minute that day. Each additional minute you spend in the gym tends to provide less returns than the previous minute. If I practice Spanish for 100 minutes instead of 10 minutes per day; I learn much less than 10x as much. Each additional minute provides less returns.

(2) It tends to be more conducive to consistency. My system for success works because it combined the incredible power of micro-habits with the critical power of consistency. Without consistency, the rest doesn't matter. For more on this, I suggest you read through the following topic of mine:

My system works because it is NOT based on willpower, hard work, or unsustainable bursts of dishonest overcompensation.

In short, do NOT work hard. If you work hard, you are NOT following my advice and system.

My system calls for using consistency, monotasking, compartmentalization, and micro-habits. My system calls for consistently taking small steps on each project each and every day, consistently, day after day.

If you are suing "hard work" and "willpower" to take big steps, then you NOT following my system. If you are "working hard" to take big steps, then you are not following my system. My system works through consistent small steps, with the key word being consistent.

It's more likely you will be consistent at putting 10 minutes to a task instead of 30, and it's more likely you will be consistent putting 30 minutes to to a task per day than an hour, so (because of the utmost importance of consistency in my system) it's also very important that you err heavily on the side of budgeting less time per day to a certain project or goal.

A big point of the social media post about my fitness results is just to show how much you can achieve with just 30 minutes per day (which is just 2% of your day).

This is in line with the chapter of my book titled, "Do Less Better".

Reva Parker wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:12 pm what about... phone calls that come up unexpectedly
I keep my phone on silent.

Likewise, I won't answer the door if I am not planning for some to come. For example, when door-to-door salespeople come to my house and ring the bell, I just ignore it. Granted, it could be the President of the USA coming to tell me he wants to me and give me a medal, but I wouldn't know the difference because I don't answer it to find out.

I do my best to monotask, with focus, dedication, and concentration.

If I have it in my calendar and/or time budget that I will spend 2 hours every Monday spending time with my kids, then that will be quality time. I am not going to watch a movie with my kids and at the same time have my laptop open on my lap and be working or answering emails. And just like I won't be answering emails, I won't be answer the door. When I do something, I actually do that thing. So if the thing I am doing is spending time with my kids, then it is true quality time. Unfortunately, by not monotasking and instead constantly multitasking, and/or not being present and worrying about other things in imagination, most people don't actually do the thing they claim to be doing. They might say, for instance, that they are working on their business on their computer or spending quality time with their kids, but really they are on-call answering every silly text or phone notification comes in, keeping an ear out for every door-to-door salesperson who comes by, and so on and so forth. They do 100 things at once sloppily and don't really do anything. I do my best do one thing at a time and to really do that thing as planned. If I am going to spend time with my kids, I really spend time with them, making it my absolute #1 priority and giving it my focus at that time. If I am going to go to a dance lesson, I am there 100% milking that dance lesson for everything it's got. I'm not writing computer code in my head. I'm not picking up phone calls. My phone is silent; I don't even notice if I get one.



Reva Parker wrote: March 11th, 2024, 6:12 pm what about traveling from one place to another [...] fixing meals, eating, going to the bathroom, etc.? Are you counting those as one of the 32? What about relaxing?
In my time budget, I account for the commute and typically just add it as part of the task/project/goal.

For instance, if the gym is a 10 minute drive away, and I want to get a 30 minute workout in, I would budget 50 minutes per day for the gym. For reference, 50 minutes is a little less than 3.5% of your day, very little.

As those who have already completed the first 100 day period of my mentoring program already know, at that point in the program I have the mentee fill out and maintain a time budget that budgets how they spend their 168 hours per week.

It's a budget in the same sense of choosing how you spend your income each week, but your 'income' in this sense is 168 hours per week. My exercise regime is 30 minutes per day, so it's only a 3.5 hours line item in my 168-hour weekly time budget.

When I assign something time in my time budget (e.g. 30 minutes per day to workout in the gym), it includes things like going to the bathroom or grabbing a glass of water or re-filling my coffee cup. Basically, when I say I monotask and use that that time to be 100% focused and dedicated to that one task, what I really mean is that I am about as focused and stuck on that one task in that time as I am focused and stuck on watching a movie while at the movie theater. I'm not texting or answering emails on my phone. My phone is on silent. But also I will go to the bathroom if I need to pee. And grabbing my bottle of water and taking a sip while watching the movie or doing whatever task is budgeted at that time is a small enough incidental that I still consider myself to be monotasking.

In short, yes, I still count it as monotasking and as a "30 minute focused workout" if during that 30 minutes I take a quick walk to the bathroom and pee, or take a sip from my water bottle. In other words, there is a certain amount of negligible multitasking that happens when monotasking, such as sipping from your water bottle, scratching an itch on your nose that you suddenly have, or going to use the bathroom. It would take more effort and attention to somehow avoid those things than to do them, so that is why I feel they are both negligible and consistent with the label of monotasking.

On my time budget, I think of those as being the analogues of transaction fees or sales tax on my financial budget. I just include them in the amount for the related line item. In my financial budget, I don't account for the sales tax on eating out at restaurants on a separate line. I just include in the amount put towards eating out at restaurants, as if was just part of the price. So the same goes for my time budget for things the commute involved in a task or the way small unavoidable incidentals (e.g. using the bathroom) might warrant adding a few extra minutes to the time budgeted for the task.

Of course, there's no hard and fast rules about how detailed to make the budget. Typically, the more detailed the better. When in doubt, I suggest detailing and breaking down your weekly time budget even more (and same goes for your financial budget). So, for instance, if you want to budget an hour a week towards going to the bathroom, that's fine. Otherwise, if you just want to add a few extra minutes of padding to each other item on the time budget to account for the time you spend in the bathroom on average, that's fine too. It's analogous to choosing to put sales tax on it's own line in your financial budget versus just including the sales tax into each line as part of the budget for that line item. Whichever you choose, just make sure it's consistent so you don't accidentally double count it.


With love,
Eckhart Aurelius Hughes
a.k.a. Scott


***


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In addition to having authored his book, In It Together, Eckhart Aurelius Hughes (a.k.a. Scott) runs a mentoring program, with a free option, that guarantees success. Success is guaranteed for anyone who follows the program.
I just want to say, I absolutely love the break down of the percentage of your day. That is so encouraging for me. Makes working on the projects I have been avoiding because they seem overwhelming...seem a lot less so.
Would you suggest setting a timer for tasks? Do you think that would be more stressful or helpful?
Sometimes I get wrapped up in what I am doing and then get frustrated that I "wasted time doing this, instead of that."
What would your suggestion be for helping with such issues?
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