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2018.11.16 – The Nuclear Option

It’s the only way to have a great life.

You vision every day, you set goalposts every day, you go after them every day.

It’s what I was going for yesterday when I hit a little “snag”.

I went to post something on

But no, nixon, nothing.

No site.

Within the hour, the mystery had been solved. The entire website, with all the viral posts and nearly 200 subscribers had been deleted by the provider.

A slight case of hosting-itis.

When I found out the diagnosis, almost that very second, I decided on a complete reboot, starting from zero again, a slate wiped clean.

Not to save time or save energy. I could have had the site restored within a day, if not just a few hours, by having the data scraped together from the backup servers.

I decided on the nuclear option because it was the right decision, as it had been many times before.

Because I instantly recognized the unintended deletion as a blessing.

Nuclear winter has a purifying effect.

When you push the launch button, there’s no past to dwell on – if you’ve trained yourself not to wallow about the “good old days” or sink in regret about this mistake or that.

I had been working on leveling up my online strategy, and the new beginning for the site came in like kerosene into a jet engine.

Instant clarity.

Immediate letting go of past successes and ways of doing things.

A whole bunch of things I no longer needed to think about.

Sometimes your experience and your life’s investments have overstayed their welcome. They are no longer a source of wisdom and abundance. They only muddle the picture, the future you’re working to manifest struggles to break through.

If you can’t let go of the past – good and bad alike – you can’t grow. You dwell.

You dwell on who you are and who you used to be. You get stuck. You get fat, literally and figuratively.

It’s one reason the special snowflake mindset is fundamentally regressive and reactionary.

Worse than being reactive to circumstances, you get reactive to yourself, you get looped into your own head.

You’re either as good as you’ll ever be, “perfect” as you are, or you’re rushing forward to become more of what you can be, hungry to grow.

It’s an either-or binary choice if there ever is one.

Snowflakes don’t grow much. They melt and disappear without a trace in the mass of sludge on the filthy sidewalk.

There are many ways of letting go that can take life to another level, but for me letting go of the past has been one of the most difficult to learn.

Difficulter than letting go of pride, opinion or the snowflake mindset.

I took the nuclear option with my career, and more than once.

Well after taking my comprehensive exams as a PhD student, I decided to do a 180-degree turn and never work in academia.

Taking the comps is the most stressful, grueling and difficult part of doing a doctorate, not the dissertation itself.

Deciding to start over after you’ve been through the academic gates of hell may seem inconceivable to most, especially those who’ve actually done a PhD.

But to me it was liberating. I had decided not to bury the rest of my life into being successful at something that would only have made me miserable.

I had to take the medicine and be honest with myself that I needed to change direction.

I got moving, and I got a great gig – totally out of the blue – long before graduating.

I took the nuclear option with my dissertation, too.

By the time I got to writing it seriously, I had been consumed with a job I enjoyed thoroughly. Putting in long hours away from my work to write the dissertation felt like torture, but I had to do it for my forward strategy.

When I had to call it, I was some 50 pages in, about 30,000 words, some two months of almost incessant writing and digging through articles and sources.

I closed the file and started over.

From scratch.


One minute I was at 30,000 and well on my way – but the wrong way. Next moment I was back at zero.

Not because my advisor had said anything about what I had written.

It was entirely my decision, and the right decision.

The new take was still torture, but this time I had clarity from the first few pages. (I ended up writing almost 300 and the defense went smoothly, it was even fun for everyone involved.)

Several times in my life, I chose to move to a new city thousands of leagues away, always deciding and executing in the matter of weeks.

I just did it again recently, and my productivity has been off the charts since.

Things don’t feel easier than before because, when you have a vision, you always push yourself to the limit. But actions and results are bigger and better.

Moving somewhere new – even a place you’ve visited before – is the ultimate movement that feeds the mind, a breath of fresh air that can last you months and years.

None of this is easy.

It’s never easy to let go of things you’ve worked years to bring into Being.

And the next time I go nuclear it won’t be easy either.

But the decision will.

Because it’s always been the right one.

Like all the great things of life, change is an acquired taste, something you learn.

So when you feel stuck in life or misdirected, remember this.

You always have the nuclear option.

Opt to reinvent yourself every day, opt to nuke the past when it’s weighing down your future.

It’s the only way to have a great life.


Your Daemon


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