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Out for blood

Last updated on 2023.06.05

The purpose of this missive is to put you in charge of your attitude and emotions in a very specific way.

It’s a discipline of mind that will serve you for a lifetime.

Some of this may seem obvious and make perfect sense to you, but some of it might surprise you and you may resist it. All you have to do is apply it a few times and get a taste of its power.

That other, less obvious bit comes from a mistake that I have made countless times with massive consequences for my career, physical performance, learning, relationships, everything.

People – smart people, diligent people, successful people – make that same mistake all the time. It comes up DAILY in my own work, both privately and with clients.

I have had to learn the hard way, but you don’t have to.

Discipline is the ability to do things when we don’t feel like it. If you need to “feel like” completing a task in order to complete a task, your discipline is lacking. It’s as simple as that.

If you lack discipline, you’re shooting yourself in the foot – and in the face. No matter how BIG your Vision and mission are, you condemn yourself to mediocrity. Simple, again.

We learn discipline by practicing discipline. We learn to do things when we don’t feel like it by doing things when we don’t feel like it – over and over.

Obviously, that’s difficult. You will fail many times in the practice of discipline. Even with the commitment of a line worker at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory.

That’s the obvious part. Now, for the funny business.

People motivated by laziness try to work their way around such minor inconveniences by coming up with “hacks” and “strategies” to avoid discipline.

We are often told to pursue our passion, do what we love, engage with what energizes us. We may not realize it, but we typically equate those things with the way we feel about our work.

The theory is that if you love what you do, you will feel a lot less resistance about doing it. You will be “naturally” motivated. You will be less likely to skimp on work. You will need less discipline because you already feel like doing the thing. After all, it makes you feel good.

That may be true. It’s also a massive trap and handicap.

The trap is as obvious as the wolf pit is obvious to the wolf who jumps in anyway because of the tasty treats at the bottom.

The “hack” doesn’t really solve for anything. It leaves action dependent on how you feel. It merely rationalizes and even glorifies that dependency.

Even the most persistent feelings are not constant. Emotions fluctuate all the time no matter how often we experience them. Sometimes you will feel passionate about your “passion”, but sometimes you won’t. What do you do then? You end up stuck on the same pole of procrastination and laziness.

Passion and emotion are poor motivators. Never do things because you feel a certain way. Your feelings will change. Do things because you must do them – because you have an authentic why.

Hidden within that advice is something much greater, a key to the Sublime that we overlook for the obvious. Glossing over that hidden key leads to the pernicious mistake and handicap that I’ve been grinding on about.

Our basic notion of discipline has a simple objective – to set us up to take Right Action as frequently as possible. But it doesn’t tell us much about the quality of our action, it tells us precious little about the specific result. The assumption is that if you practice something often enough, you will get good and get better results.

Over time. On average.

Here’s some news for you, pumken.

We don’t do average around here. We do vicious.

The effect of emotional nonattachment doesn’t extend just to our motivation to take action. It also works in the moment of action. It drives quality of action as well.

Nonattachment in the moment of action is a powerful way to supercharge actual effectiveness.

I will give you two everyday examples from my work to illustrate this point.

When I prepare for a client call, I don’t just read up on background and notes from earlier conversations. I take a minute right before the call to set my attitude and disposition in a very specific way. I seek to sustain that vicious attitude from start to finish.

I detach myself completely from any emotion or expectation about the interaction and the person I will be speaking with. The one and ONLY disposition I want is to be at my absolute best as a coach and a counsellor.

That disposition and attitude is very specific and I know exactly what it is from experience. I’m confident that you can quickly find for yourself that mental “sweet spot”, which is not sweet at all, in any practice and discipline.

Am I looking forward to the call?

I may feel like it. I may not feel like it. I nuke the feeling either way.

In a way, during the call itself I am also actively denying myself any enjoyment of it.

I’m not here to feel good. I’m not here to feel bad. I’m here to be the person who does the job at the absolute best.

OUT FOR BLOOD.

I feel most effective as a mentor when I enforce this attitude on myself viciously. Likewise, my clients seem most satisfied and empowered by what they’re getting.

When I’m writing a missive, I seek to do something similar and more.

Writing doesn’t come easy, good writing even less so. When I love what I’m writing, there is an even greater temptation to enjoy the emotional payoff. To ride the wave of “passion”.

It’s a mistake. The same mistake that I have made so many times in my life with so many things.

It’s a handicap. It’s a distraction. It’s an energy sink. It dilutes quality and power.

It denies that special quality of “walking through a wall” – a sense of being able to punch through a lead-lined nuclear bunker effortlessly. Even if I get that sense right now, I’m not allowing myself to enjoy it on an emotional level. It’s a weapon. My job is to use it, and not as a dealdo.

If I indulge in the positive emotion, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I won’t be able to write or write well. But it usually does mean that I won’t write at my absolute best.

If I want top performance, I have to deny myself the momentary satisfaction of engaging with my good feeling, and there’s more.

I also want to infuse the missive with that same viciousness.

I want you to feel it as you read it.

OUT FOR BLOOD.

How do we communicate and generalize this attitude?

I’m not doing X because it makes me feel good. It might or it might not. That’s irrelevant.

I’m not doing X because Y will make me feel good. It might or it might not, but that’s irrelevant in the moment of action.

I’m not even doing X because it will get me to Y and Y is my why. I don’t even remember Y. I’m here to do X. That’s who I am in this moment.

In the moment, the action stands for itself and I am fully committed to it. I embody the action fully. My entire being is focused and mobilized onto the action and its “quality”. In the moment, it is an end in itself, without any payoff. Not even the action itself is a payoff. I am the person doing the action and that’s everything I am. This is my only reason to Be. Any emotions happening right now are a distraction at best. They may or may not be happening. They may be good, bad or both. I DON’T CARE.

This is Right Effort.

Here is the “magic” bit.

If you make Right Effort while taking Right Action, the probability that you will get Right Result explodes like a supernova.

“Are you insane, Daemon? Didn’t you just tell me not to care about any result?”

Exactly.

Become a supporter on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/startupdaemon or Subscribestar: https://www.subscribestar.com/startupdaemon.

Master your attitude,

 

Your Daemon

 

 

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