Hello from Shanghai / Tokyo!
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Welcome to the 28th Edition of FRIDAY FAVORITES!
Check out this week's list of things I've learned, how I've implemented them, and what I'm enjoying or pondering.
If you're also on the adventurous pursuit of smart passive income it'll come in handy 😉.
All the best,
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P.P.S: Don't know who I am? Look at this.
Although I'm not much of a worrier, or at least don't worry nearly as much as the people in this book, I am interested in completely removing it from my life entirely.
I started listening to this book based on the recommendations of both Tim Ferriss and Terry Crews who describe it as one of the best self-help books for them in this epic episode.
It's been a good reminder of how much people worry about the inevitable or immutable, and taught me tons about how much worry/stress can affect your physical health is serious ways.
Also, it's pretty entertaining to hear Carnegie's fun / cute musings of prose and hilarious to compare the present values of today with those of 50s/60s society.
Overall: I recommend it, especially for people with anxiety or who worry a lot, but also interesting for relatively calm people as an added perspective and preventative tool for worries.
2. What I Am Doing: A Business trip to Shanghai, playing chess with the geezers, and disconnecting
After Hong Kong, which was again, totally awesome, we took a quick detour trip to Shanghai for some business.
The bathing was a necessary business expense and that's as much as I'll share there...🤫
We've eaten so incredibly well on this trip, and Shanghai did not disappoint either. From weird condensed milk foam over a large cup of infused tea to the variety of Szechuan cuisine, we've had our fill.
New big enjoyment of mine: parks. Despite the high-pollution reputation, it was nice out nearly every day and I brought along a chess board to play with some old gambling geezers. Really wish I had taken a photo now because some of them were a site to see with gold tipped glasses, boots, cufflinks, and caps. They'd fit somewhere between retired mafiosos and old monks.
Lastly, being behind the Great Firewall of China (no access to Google, Facebook, and many other American staple products) exposed me to how much I rely on them. If something were to happen to Google or Facebook I would lose SO much of my work. So I'm now looking into backup alternatives. It's an exercise I would highly recommend to anyone with an online business to see how much of you're own financial safety is in the hands of others.
Terry Crews is one of my new favorite people in the world.
I can't recommend this episode enough. It has definitely given me life-changing perspective and left me in a joyous daze walking through the parks and streets of Hong Kong.
4. What I Have Learned / Applied: The 6 Rules of Not Worrying
Part Three of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living In A Nutshell
How To Break The Worry Habit Before It Breaks You
RULE 1: Crowd worry out of your mind by keeping busy. Plenty of action is one of the best therapies ever devised for curing "wibber gibbers". It's impossible to feel worry and excitement at the same time. It's a lesson that reminds me of Tony Robbin's practice of gratitude because it's impossible to feel both grateful and fear or anger at the same time. Either keep yourself busy (which could work but sucks for time management) or practice gratitude by using something like the 5-minute journal. I chose the latter because:
- as Debbie Millman would say, "Busy is a choice."
- as Derek Sivers would say: “Busy” = Out of Control. Every time people contact me, they say, ‘Look, I know you must be incredibly busy . . .’ and I always think, ‘No, I’m not.’ Because I’m in control of my time. I’m on top of it. ‘Busy,’ to me, seems to imply ‘out of control.’ Like, ‘Oh my God, I’m so busy. I don’t have any time for this shit!’ To me, that sounds like a person who’s got no control over their life.”
- as Tim Ferriss would say: "Lack of time is lack of priorities. If I’m “busy,” it is because I’ve made choices that put me in that position, so I’ve forbidden myself to reply to “How are you?” with “Busy.” I have no right to complain. Instead, if I’m too busy, it’s a cue to reexamine my systems and rules."
RULE 2: Don't fuss about trifles. Don't permit little things - the mere termites of life - to ruin your happiness. This is probably the sneakiest and most dangerous form of worry for me. These are your pet-peeves, irrational annoyances, invisible scripts (negative self-feedback), and programmed triggers or emotional reactions. Stoicism and meditation help me deal with these in the moment or after the fact, but Taoism is the best approach I've found to eliminate the "worry termites" as much as possible. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff is a super fun, useful, and life-changing introduction to Taoism through the lens of one the most underrated cartoons of all time: Winnie the Pooh.
RULE 3: Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. Ask yourself: "What are the odds against this thing's happening at all?" It impressed me how many people play up completely irrational fears in their minds. Plausible fears or worries make sense to me, but the former is really indicative of a more psychologically anxious disposition. Carnegie recommends using math/logic as a way to clearly show you how unlikely it is for your worry to actually happen. He also briefly touches on taking steps you can to minimize the probability of your worries/fears happening. Now I know the other half of where Tim Ferriss's AWESOME Fear-Setting Exercise comes from. Half Stoic, half Dale Carnegie. Must watch for anyone facing a tough decision:
RULE 4: Co-operate with the inevitable. If you know a circumstance is beyond your power to change or revise, say to yourself "It is so; it cannot be otherwise." The Stoics talk about the principle of Clarity as the most important task to separate the things that are in your control from those that are not in your control. To get real clarity about what to focus on in life. As Seneca put it, “It’s not activity that disrupts people, but false conceptions of things that drive them mad.”
I've actually been re-framing situations of frustration, fear, or worry in three different ways:
- For frustration: I'll think about how huge the universe is, how short life can be, and how meaningless any kind of suffering is in the scheme of my life, and even more meaningless in the grand scheme of existence. That'll make me laugh about how quickly my face contracted in anger or how fast I was to negatively react to something so infinitesimally small, silly, or stupid.
- For fear: I'll use Stoicism to remind myself of how much others have been through and how my fears at this moment would be a comparative godsend to them in their moments of much more extreme fear or suffering. Re-framing just how small and easily vanquishable your fears are in comparison to billions and billions of others who have been through infinitely worse, puts things into perspective really quickly for me. It actually motivates me to conquer my fears as soon as possible so I get closer and closer to joining the ranks of courageous people who've been through real shit. Also:
Excitement, Romantic Love, and Anxiety are ALL exactly the same neurobiologically / physiologically. It's only our own perspective, our own experience that decides to taint it a certain way. (Google search Simon Sinek on the subject). So in order to control how we perceive that certain stimuli, (butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, elevated heart rate) we should :
- Physically. Take 3 deep breaths. That's it. Relax your shoulders because the reason you're probably feeling anxious is that your shoulders are hunched or your posture is bad, so just relax and make sure your chest is open and getting oxygen.
- Mentally: Override your preliminary anxious thought process, and instead of saying, "I'm scared, I'm anxious, about getting up on stage. I don't know exactly what I'm going to say." say, "I'm pumped, I'm excited, about getting up on stage and not knowing exactly what it is I'm going to say. Flip the switch. Turn the internal physiological self-replicating anxious response to a mental priming of becoming alert, excited, and ready.
- For worry: I'll either do fear-setting (if its a big worry/decision) or put a "stop-loss" on my worry, which brings us to...
RULE 5: Put a "stop-loss" order on your worries. Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth-and refuse to give it any more. I used to get so angry and frustrated when a "friend" would bail or flake on a plan we'd made (e.g. dinner, drinks, sports, etc.) Now, whenever someone makes a commitment or I have to rely on someone or something else, I'll set a time, ahead of time, where I'll take matters into my own hands to eliminate worry and regain control. It sounds intense, and maybe it is, but it beats being left hanging to dry like an idiot or worrying whether someone else is going to pull through or not until the last agonizing second.
For example: "Hey NAME, I've been thinking a lot about how short life can be and how precious time is, so I've decided to start using "stop-losses" on all things that [worry me] or [could waste my time].
- If you're more than X (e.g. 15 minutes late)
- to Y (e.g. sports/dinner/drinks/meeting/get a task done on time / etc.)
- Z will happen. (e.g. I'll be gone / I'll give the assignment to someone else / we're done (in extreme cases, but I don't hesitate to cut out toxicity before it spreads.)
It has been extremely effective because I find myself enjoying the time leading up to my "stop-loss" order/deadline SO much more! I know I've set a time to do my own thing so there's no longer any waiting, just doing.
The recipient is very clear on their options so, if they care, they comply. If they don't, I get to know where we stand and can act accordingly.
RULE 6: Let the past bury its dead. Don't saw sawdust. This is something I used to unconsciously comment on without knowing just how much I would ponder past decisions. I believe it's useful if you're examining the past to improve future decisions, but never more.
5. Thought(s) I Am Pondering:
Thanks for reading, have an awesome weekend! 😁
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