50 videos. 152+ links. 156+ takeaways from this 11 hr training lesson:
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Below are 11 hours of high-quality, curated content gleaned from Nathaniel Drew’s Youtube channel and Patreon blended with my personal experience as a talent development specialist training over 15,000 professionals and university students, neatly bundled up and in one place.]
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Learning how to learn
- How to design a lifestyle you’re proud of
- Set detailed goals, anticipate failure and document it all
- Be honest, online and offline
- Optimize your habits & behavior; cut out the non-essential
- Absorb everything
- Identify and learn from the best
- Don’t just consume; take clear, organized notes
- Trust the creative process
- Apply what you learn, updating your CV along the way
- Copy but don’t compare your ‘success’ to others
- Dealing with depression, negative cycles, and when to ‘reset’
- How to learn languages
- Special offers by Nathaniel’s sponsors
- Nathaniel’s recommended books
- Nathaniel’s gear
learn to learn
LEARNING HOW TO LEARN
Modern times is the greatest time to be alive because humanity has never had such untethered access to free (or affordable), high-quality information. Anything you could possibly want to learn is available online, and thus it is now possible to acquire hard and soft skills without amassing crippling debt to attend university. You just have to know where to look, and how to learn.
On the other hand, the problem becomes distinguishing quality information and wisdom from worthless, wrong, biased or fake information.
“The single greatest investment you can make in life is in yourself, and the most useful skill you can acquire is ‘learning how to learn.'”
But an even greater challenge is moving from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence as quickly as you can.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: In his Netflix documentary I Am Not Your Guru, Tony Robbins challenges you to “Every day work harder on yourself than anything else. Because if you become more intelligent, more valuable, and more skilled you can add more value to other people.”]
There is learning what you need to know to ‘do the job’ or ‘pass the class.’ But what got you to where you are today will not be what gets you to where you want to go. You need to go beyond simply learning ‘just enough’ to get the job done.
When learning online, you run into two main problems:
- There is a lot of junk online, making it hard to identify quality. As Nathaniel Drew advises, check out the video Why BAD Photographers THINK They’re Good by Jamie Windsor.
- It’s tempting to become lazy and look for shortcuts to success. Thus it’s easy to be lured into “Secrets to success,” or the “top 10 things you MUST know to succeed…” get-rich-quick schemes.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Recall in Lesson 233. How to study smarter not harder that ‘must-have, high-potential, high-performing professionals have developed their ability to concentrate productively for as long as 4-5 hours at at time. Unfortunately, the average professional can only concentrate productively for around 25 minutes at a time before losing focus. This applies to university lectures and employee meetings as well as note reading and revision.
So the average human productive attention span is 25 minutes, and most learning takes place within that time frame. Yet the average university lecture lasts 50-90 minutes, and business meetings last hours on end.
Understanding and accepting this limitation in human concentration, setting a goal to ‘study for 6-hours every night’ is neither an effective nor realistic goal because trying to ‘study’ when your brain can no longer concentrate is not actually studying; it’s counter-productive.
“Things that are reinforced, we tend to do more of. Things that are punished or ignored, we tend to do less of.”
The moment you start getting distracted and losing focus is your brain telling you you need to take a minimum 5 minute “fun” break to reward yourself for efficient study and to reset your mind and to return to efficient study mode. This rule applies at university as well as at work.
Always reward yourself after successfully completing a series of successful efficient study rounds: a cold pint of beer, a long bath, 30 minutes of online gaming, a 10 kilometer bike ride…
As a result, you’ll discover that your 30 minute concentration limitations will turn into hour-long and eventually longer sessions of uninterrupted, efficient learning.
Your goal is to increase your ability to concentrate for longer durations of time.]
HOW TO DESIGN A LIFESTYLE YOU’RE PROUD OF
1. Set detailed goals, anticipate failure and document it all.
Change is inevitable, humans are creative creatures that need to grow, and it’s impossible to stay the same.
–Cecilia, Nathaniel Drew’s mom
When it comes to branding yourself as a specialist and accomplishing your long-term goals, you need a deliberate and singular force of will; the ability to identify the core competences needed to reach your goal(s), and then a learning model which enables you to master those core competencies as quickly as possible.
You also need to choose your words wisely and strategically. People and projects are not ‘difficult,’ they are ‘challenging.’ Difficult is negative, challenging is a gift; an opportunity to learn, improve, and grow.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: For another discrete example of how an unwise word can ru(i)n your life, according to Raj Persaud “The one decision that’s going to determine your future mental health, happiness and well-being is who you choose to marry.”
In his book 27 Power of Persuasion, Chris St. Hilaire gives a powerful example of how poor communication unnecessarily leads divorce. The simple nagging phrase “Why don’t we do fun things together more often?”, even well meaning, creates an environment of negativity. Rather, communicating your desire in a more positive way: “I had such a great time with you today that we’re going to start doing fun things together more often; and starting next weekend!”]
When setting your goals and outlining the daily routine you’ll need to reach your goals, consider implementing Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine by focusing your day around two questions:
- (Beginning of your day) “What good do I want to do today?”
- (End of your day) “What good have I done today?”
Do your goals involve travel? Which type of travel? There are different ways of travelling, all of which require some sacrifice and investment before packing your bags and buying your plane ticket(s):
- Backpacking involves saving up a large sum of money and then travelling on a budget until you run out of money and must return home. A revenue stream is likely not guaranteed upon return, so you’ll constantly have the stress that:
- Every euro you spend on travelling is slowly draining your bank account, and
- “What will I do when I have to go back to ‘reality'” can dampen your travel experience.
- Worse, upon returning home, the violent contrast between travelling and living on mom’s couch can be depressing.
- Studying abroad involves learning at a university. Provided the university is accredited and authorized, you may qualify for a part-time work permit during your studies.
- Tourism/Vacationing is the traditional taking time off from work. A revenue stream is guaranteed upon return, along with a ton of work emails you haven’t looked at.
- Expatriation involves finding work in a different country, either
- Self-initiated – finding work on your own, or moving and then trying to find a job and regularize your status afterwards
- Corporate-transfer – having an employer willing to fund your visa and move you abroad
- Slow traveling (Nathaniel’s preferred lifestyle as of 4 January 2020) involves procuring a consistent stream of income, through online business, a Patreon page, as a remote worker or a digital nomad with a client base, etc. and settling in for weeks to months at a time; long enough to truly experience the culture, way of life, and familiarize yourself with the language, but not so long that you’re obliged to apply for a visa or pay taxes. While fun, it can be a lonely lifestyle, and done for too long, you risk becoming incapable of incorporating back into the 9-5 rat race.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: The documentary Digital Nomads follows two slow travellers as they explain the ins and outs of being a digital nomad (at least pre-coronavirus), notably:
- Take advantage of Bitcoin and crypto-currency, which currently is untaxed by governments.
- Don’t stay in one location so long that you have to declare your residence and pay taxes on revenue.]
With goal planning inevitably comes failure, or contingency planning. What are you going to do if life doesn’t work out as planned? In addition to your ideal plan A, you’ll need a:
- Plan B: What are your secondary alternatives of near equal value you can fall back on should your primary alternatives fail? For example having a backup client willing to pay you the same monthly retainer fee.
- Plan C: What are your additional alternatives of perhaps less value, however still allow you to reach your goals? For example be willing to babysit or teach on the side.
- Plan Z: What are you going to do if you experience utter failure at everything! For example, make sure your mom keeps her couch.
If you’re going to take a road trip, you have to make provisions for health & car insurance, a spare tire, a road map, spending money, hotel reservations and a sleeping bag just in case… This is called prudence.
With goal setting and failure planning, you need to prepare yourself mentally for the difficult struggle of reaching your goals, but you also need to prepare yourself for when you do actually reach success. For many people, fear of success is a serious problem that can lead to self-sabotage. This is discussed in more detail below.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: For more on prudence and the ‘optimal personality profile,’ refer to Lesson 237. 20 hours with Tai Lopez.
As an ambitious, high-performing, high-potential professional it is imperative to be curious and to learn constantly. As Blair Enns challenged you in Lesson 116. 10 proclamations to win clients without pitching, aim to be twice as smart today as you were a year ago, regardless of how long you’ve been alive. If you’re not, you risk becoming obsolete.
Likewise, as Alex Schultz explains in his Stanford University meets Y-Combinator lecture Optimizing for growing your business, you need a north star – that one single metric that aligns with your goals and values that you can focus on for the next few years and guide your decisions.]
2. Be honest; online and offline
Most people’s lives online don’t exactly correspond with their lives offline. On the internet, you can create your whole world. You can be who you want to be. You decide what the final version of who you are online is, and when anyone says the contrary, you can pay to have criticism online removed.
(For more, skip to step 6. Follow the creative process)
Being honest with yourself also means understanding yourself. In today’s world everything you do online is being tracked and counted and categorized, and what you see in the form of content and advertising is the result of your past behavior. By not knowing who you are and how your emotions affect your behavior, you leave yourself vulnerable to manipulation by others.
Since we’re being honest…
You watch and ‘thumbs up-ed’ an 8 minute video. That video took 3-4 days of planning, filming and editing.
That video (and accompanying thumbnail) was designed to stand out from competitors, exploit robot algorithms and fit within an overall branding strategy.
You watched 8 minutes of strategically enhanced reality; not reality.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Four relevant takeaways from Lesson 235. Social media and its consequence on human psychology explores why people tend to less honest online. Notably:
- Social media was originally designed for a highly-precise psychological introverted, geeky profile, yet it is being used, abused, and misused by other psychological profiles.
- Your ‘followers’ have only a limited number of screen time and in most cases can only view one website page at a time, so you’re not only in constant competition against yourself – getting more likes and followers with every new post; you’re in constant competition with the millions of other options available to your followers; online and off.
- As your follower growth, engagement and revenue increases, you have a serious conversation with the still small voice in the back of your mind: “I’m starting to become successful and people are actually asking me for more of it, and I’m starting to make some money from it… so I should keep giving the public what it wants… right?”
- “Signaling increases performance anxiety.” Once you’ve branded yourself as ‘rich,’ or ‘successful,’ or ‘sexy,’ or with whatever story you want to tell everyone, (and once your followers begin liking and supporting your content, you must now maintain all appearances and congruence of your reputation; not only in the future, but you must also reinterpret your past.]
habits and behavior
3. Optimize your habits & behavior; cut out the non-essential.
To reach your goals, there are no shortcuts in life. Nothing replaces patience and consistency.
Building from your mindset up:
- Design means “doing or planning something with a specific purpose or intention in mind.”
- Optimize means “making the best or most efficient use of a situation or resource.”
- Modus-operandi (M.O.) is “a particular way or method of doing something. Someone’s habits of working, particularly in the context of business or criminal investigations, but also in life in general.”
Designing and optimizing your habits and behavior first implies understanding who you are, how you operate, and how you best use your own brand and your relationships with others; commonly referred to as emotional intelligence.
“What appears to be random behavior is actually the result of differences in the way people prefer to use their mental capacities.
Each person seems to be energized more by either the external world or the internal world.”
– Carl Jung
- Are you introverted? Extroverted?
- Are you more comfortable with deep relationships or superficial friendships?
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: There are thousands of psychological models, theoreies, books, and tests to help understand who you are. Four resources I frequently come across include (click the link and take the test free):
- HEXACO Personality Inventory – Revised
- Dark Triad Personality Test
- Negotiation, Leadership & Soft Skills Assessment (NLSS)
- Meyers-Briggs 16 Personality Test (MBTI)]
The foundation of learning involves taking on the habits and behavior necessary to reach your goals.
The best way to improve yourself and build new habits is to have just enough challenge to scare and provoke you, but not so much it paralyzes you.
Be realistically consistent with yourself, at least at the beginning. If you want to wake up at 5:00AM to get more work done, but it goes against your natural clock, set your goal for waking up at 7:00AM and then gradually work towards making 5:00AM your new standard. OR, challenge yourself, why do I need to wake up at 5:00AM to get more work done? What if I figured out how to better manage my time and productivity during my normal waking hours?
|I want to||I need to||I’ll do this by|
|Run a semi-marathon||Change my eating and exercise habits||Joining a running club|
|Start a business||Change the way I spend my time and money|
Change my mentality from employee to owner/investor
|Finding 5 mentors to learn from and hold me accountable|
|Live in Paris, France||Qualify for a visa||Identify all visa requirements and then meet them|
You break cycles by changing your environment.
Sometimes, loneliness is the price you pay when changing your environment.
It’s a difficult decision to make, however there will come times when you must remove from your environment people who drain your energy or don’t inspire you to be your best; they cause you stress or make you feel defensive.
To that, you must ask yourself “Why do I let this person have this effect on me?” The answer may be coming from you, and highlighting one of your weaknesses and insecurities you need to work on. The answer may be coming from them; they are insecure and are projecting things onto you.
Another critical skill you must master is consumption management. Do you really need everything you carry around with you everyday? How about what’s in your closet and kitchen drawers.
Lifestyle creep is “a personal finance phenomenon of gradually increasing spending on one’s standard of living in proportion to, or in excess of, an increase in income.”
Improve your eating habits (invest in quality of food over quantity) and remove things that drain your energy, postprandial somnolence, or food coma, is “a state of sleep or extreme lethargy induced by the consumption of unnecessary amounts of food”, or a poor quality of food.
Sabotaging your productive hours by over-eating and then napping will not help you meet your goals.
And online, how do you address the uncomfortable relationship between free software and paid advertising? Many of the things you use for free are there thanks to advertising: Facebook, Gmail, Tinder, Youtube, WordPress, Deezer… all offer free versions in exchange for the right to advertise and sell your data they collect about you.
Another critical skill you must master is time management:
- At minimum you should monitor your most important ‘to-do’ list of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks using bullet-points. Too many ‘to-do’s’ can lead to choice paralysis – not knowing where to begin, or becoming overwhelmed with everything you have to accomplish.
- Daily, track where you spend your time so that you can optimize your energy and focus. If you must spend 1 hours per day in public transport commuting to work, use that time to learn a language or prepare for your next performance evaluation at work.
- Include a ‘Why am I doing this’ next to each ‘to-do’ to prioritize tasks and remind yourself of your goals.
- At the end of each week or month, recap what you did and didn’t accomplish. Seeing what you accomplished encourages you to keep going.
Implied in optimizing your habits and behavior is trying out other people’s behaviors and routines to find the ones that work best for you. To discover other’s routines refer to step 3. Absorb and step 5. Take detailed notes of your process and systems you’ve tried so you can see your improvement.
Balance learning & experimenting. Read about techniques to help you improve, but then actually test them and see what happens.
Additional time management techniques I use and encourage my clients use include:
The Eisenhower matrix forces you to put all of life’s responsibilities into 4 boxes, which you can then begin tackling according to urgency and importance. This technique could easily save you 30 minutes or more each day.
For more complex projects, the scrum task board shows you where you are in any given project, as well as ‘problems’ preventing you from completing your goals. This technique could easily save you over an hour each day.
Batching & Chunking your day by activity enables you to ensure you’re being fully productive. Casey Neistat explains this in greater detail.
These time management techniques are also a powerful negotiation tool when dealing with superiors, clients, your girlfriend… Assuming you’ve already optimized your time, you’re now in the powerful position of pulling out your planning and negotiating (from worst response to best):
- “Look at my schedule! How am I possibly supposed to meet all my deadlines and take on your additional project?!”
- “If I take on your additional project, two of my other projects will be late. Which projects can safely miss deadline?”
- “I can meet all my deadlines and take on your additional project if you give me two people to manage.”
- “As you can see by my planning, I’m 25% more productive than my colleagues. With that in mind I’d like to discuss giving me a team to manage and increasing my compensation to a level that more accurately reflects the value I bring to our company.”
For more on negotiation strategy, check out:
- Lesson 228. Anatomy of a top candidate salary negotiation
- Lesson 155. Negotiation mistakes & underhanded techniques
- Lesson 169. How to negotiate your compensation package
- Lesson 189. Negotiating when you have to have the deal]
When faced with a cluttered workspace, you’ve three options:
- Keep your workspace clean. You likely have USB keys and hard drives you don’t want to throw away because they contain tons of files you don’t want to lose, but you know you’re never going to take the time to sort through the files and organize them.
- Clean it up so you can work.
- Abandon your workspace for another workspace.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Recall in Lesson 233. How to study smarter, not harder that The University of Hawaii asked students “What is the biggest problem you face when trying to study?” Student responses amounted to “We can’t get into studying.” At the time of the study they housed students in dorm-room style housings, which is a small, single-room chambre de bonne with a bunk-bed, kitchen, window, small closet and study desk all within very close proximity to one another. Further, these dorms are typically shared with at least 1 other student, and the entire floor may have 20+ dorms. Essentially, these student’s brains had learned to socialize, sleep, have sex and study in a ridiculously small space.
Result of this study: by taking control of their environment, facing their study desks towards a blank wall and away from their bed and relaxation-inducing objects (bed, bar…) and dedicating a “study lamp” on the desk in the student’s dorm room with explicit rules to only study when the study lamp was on, and to turn the lamp off and leave the study area each time the student’s attention waned, their grades increased by one grade point within 3 months.]
Technology was designed to make humans better, however along the way it became a lucrative way of making money by controlling human thought and shaping human behavior. Today, in order to limit technology’s influence over you as a distraction, you must stay on top of every new software update. Here are a few simple tricks:
- Design your home page/dashboard. The first things you see when you login need to be prompts for what needs to be accomplished, not opportunities for distraction. Peter Drucker is incorrectly attributed with the quote “What gets measured gets managed.” Even were it so, V.F. Ridgeway disagrees, arguing that “not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that we can measure matters.”
- Disable push notifications; enable ‘do not disturb.’ You don’t need to be alerted EVERY time a person updates their Facebook status, likes your Instagram photo, or sends you an email.
- Change your phone’s color to gray scale. Apps design their logos and UX/UI to be psychologically invasive and distracting with bright flashing colors that draw your eyes in. Take away the app’s visual influence by taking away its color.
- Track your phone usage. How many times do you unlock your phone during the day? How many minutes do you spend on Instagram? Facebook? Etc. The answer may surprise you.
How often have you gone to bed early because you were ‘exhausted,’ but then spent 3 hours watching a Netflix series on your phone?
BEWARE not to become so addicted to being productive that you forget to relax and have fun. Time management should reduce stress, not increase it.
3. Absorb everything.
When learning a new skill, start with a large general search on your target skill to absorb the current trends and thought leaders. The more diverse the better:
- Which websites appear on the first 2-3 pages of Google?
- Which books does Amazon recommend you reading?
- Which videos does YouTube show you?
- What about articles and podcasts?
Be particularly wary of relying on news channels to absorb and stay informed. News channels operate around the sensationalized, fast-paced, easily digestible, dumbed-down news cycle: very short blocks of time where the media company strategically chooses and reports on 4-5 major events (typically the stories the general public want to hear or what their advertisers want them to), followed by interviews, conversations, and reactions from the general public and people with varying degrees of competence. Because the news media exist in such a highly-competitive environment, and their principle revenue stream is paid advertising, and because their audience is the general, uninformed public, news content is particularly vulnerable to bias and political agenda.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: My personal learning style is to read a reputable book on my target skill, write down every name and theory discussed, and then go through the book’s bibliography. Using this strategy and Boolean search operators, one quality book will uncover thousands of books, videos, and white papers.
This is based on the networking principle that high-quality, reputable professionals associate with other high-quality, reputable professionals.]
4. Identify & learn from the best.
Don’t waste any more time and money than necessary absorbing the useless, low quality, advertising-riddled content. And don’t mistake quality for quantity. Find the thought leaders and experts to be your mentor and read their books and learn as much as you can from them. Go straight to the top.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: From an economic standpoint, recall in my interview with Joshua Waldman that fame doesn’t equal money. A lot of times you have to choose between one or the other. Many well-known bloggers aren’t the wealthiest people, whereas many lesser-known, marginal internet marketers whom nobody knows are loaded with cash.
- Identify the skill you want to master
- Find someone extremely skilled in your target skill
- Put your ego aside; flatter that person and offer to do anything and everything for them that they need
- Spend as much time as you possibly can around them – watching and observing. Learn as much as you can from that person, no matter how menial the task
- Become a clean slate, judge nothing negatively, and just absorb everything they say and do
- Assume s/he has a logical, strategic reason for doing or saying it
- Find out the strategies and reasons behind why they are doing it, and then
- Mimic them
Lastly, to help you in your search for the best mentors and teachers, here is a list of online training platforms you can use to master nearly any skill:*
*As of this lesson, I have no affiliate links nor financial incentive in this list. The above list is based on recommendations from my professional network as well as advertising I’ve see online.]
5. Don’t just consume; take clear, organized notes. Your brain forgets 90% of what was said in a meeting within 30 seconds. By using a concise, high-quality, note-taking system along side your information consumption, and by consistently reviewing the notes you’re taking, what you’ve learned moves from the short-term memory part of your brain into the deeper, longer-term part of your brain.
If you don’t use it and review it, you lose it.
trust the process
Over time, you’ll notice that your ability to learn, and your ability to distinguish high-quality experts and content from low-quality becomes more honed and intuitive, thus saving you even more time and reducing the learning curve.
6. Trust the creative process.
When note-taking and ideastorming:
- Don’t edit your thoughts and ideas at first. Allow your brain to freely wander and document as much of it as possible. This process may even uncover knowledge and skills gaps you need to work on, thus requiring you to return to step 1. (Re)define your goals or step 3. Absorb
- Discuss your ideas with others and collect their ideas. This is not just to test your ideas, it is also to gather more ideas.
- The editing and refining process comes later, once you’re sure you’ve noted nearly all angles of your ideas.
- Ready or not, proudly present your final version to the world.
Once you present your final draft to the world, you’re able to inspire others, and your also opening yourself up to be criticized.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: This very learning platform, How to Shape Human Behavior is my note-taking system. It is where I keep the majority of my final draft notes. Other note-taking systems include Google Drive, Evernote…
|“Nothing will come of that”||“Let’s just wait and see what happens”||“That doesn’t work!”|
|“We do things differently here!”||“This idea doesn’t work.”||“That’s ridiculous.”|
|“We’ll come back to that later.”||“The client will never accept that.”||“What’s so original about that?”|
|“Anyone could come up with that.”|
Don’t let others limit your creativity.
Lastly, you cannot always be happy with who you are and what you’re doing. Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn said “If you’re not a little embarrassed with your first product, you waited too long to launch the business.”]
Control your own narrative. When you react poorly to failure, criticism… you’re directly contributing to the bad story you don’t want to be associated with.
When you can’t think clearly, you can’t tell the stories you want to tell.
7. Apply what you learn, updating your CV along the way.
Experience truly is the only way to get from where you are to where you want to be. And as your experience grows, others want to hear and learn from your experience; but they prefer short, entertaining, bite-sized narratives; or stories.
Storytelling is how you project your value and experience to the world. People love hearing stories, but they also like figuring out your story on their own. So when telling your story, give enough detail to keep it interesting (the clues), but not so much detail that you bore your listener, or worse insult their intelligence.
When you’re competing in a highly-saturated market, having a more expensive camera won’t be the thing that differentiates you;
it will be the story you tell.
Referring back to your detailed goals you’ve written down and created a step-by-step process to reach each goal, build in small wins to not only motivate you, but which can also be put on your CV (resume) as proof to future employers, clients or collaborators of your proven ability to use your acquired skill sets.
Everything you choose to do and say should come from a place of empowerment, not of weakness and defensiveness.
–Cecilia, Nathaniel Drew’s mom
Of utmost importance for any professional seeking to build financial stability is to have multiple streams of income. The internet offers many opportunities to monetize your skill sets and create robotic income. That said, you must be realistic about what the internet offers: online businesses are not get rich quick. Like everything, it requires time, patience, consistency and luck.
Be so good that people cannot ignore you; they will eventually come.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Recall in:
- Blair Enns‘ talk how to win without pitching that you should avoid the temptation of ‘the big reveal.’ For example:
- Don’t wait until you’ve reached full-professional proficiency in a language to put it on your CV/Résume. Instead, aim to reach conversational proficiency as quickly as possible, and then put it on your CV.
- Don’t wait until you’ve graduated from university to put your diploma on your CV. Instead, put on your CV that you’re studying at X university with a graduation date set in the future.
- Oussama Amar‘s talk managing your private and professional life that many entrepreneurs who live the entrepreneur lifestyle to the max, and they almost always follow the same line: they are motivated and rigorous for the first three months, and then they crash and burn. Instead, set yourself up so that even if worst case scenario (plan Z mentioned above) you fail or must change course, you have something you can put on your CV that you’re proud of, rather than having to explain why there is 2 year gap in your professional career.
- Lesson 141: Why you should be suspicious of the stories you hear that stories act as an information filter allowing the storyteller to pack a lot of information and social power into a brief narrative by ignoring certain bits of information while highlighting others.
A lot of people have a financial incentive to promote the best version of their own story, and so humans live surrounded by seductive stories.
- Lastly, with regard to creating robotic income, check out Lesson 237. 20 hours with Tai Lopez to learn his 13 steps to building a ‘turnkey’ online business.]
The pinnacle of internet success is ‘going viral.’ With ‘going viral’ comes the fear that:
- You’ll now be exposed as a fraud
- Your success will be short lived and you’ll fall back into obscurity
- Your website or channel will be taken down or stolen from you
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: to be ‘wrecked for success’ is a concept of a person who is so familiar and comfortable with the idea of fighting for survival that as they start to finally reach success and move out of survival mode, their fear of the unknown causes them to sabotage their success (consciously or unconsciously). Examples of this would be a person who has spent months looking for work, and the night before an important job interview they drink heavily and oversleep. Or a person who is lonely and looking for a serious relationship, however acts immaturely and stubbornly once their romantic interest starts becoming serious.
In his book Down And Out in Paris and London, George Orwell describes the personality trait of a debrouillard: “the seemingly limitless resourcefulness of dishwashers and other low-level restaurant workers toiling away in the “smart” hotels and restaurants of Paris. Since their pay is low, their hours long, and their job largely thankless, such workers take pride in their ability to complete a wide range of menial tasks with great efficiency. It is their consolation for a drab existence.” (Source: Litcharts.com)
The French have developed the term System D: “a manner of responding to challenges that requires one to have the ability to think quickly, to adapt, and to improvise when getting a job done.”]
do not compare
8. Copy but don’t compare your ‘success’ to others.
Learning is a constant process of confronting and overcoming your fears, weaknesses and limitations. As you surround yourself with and learn from people who are more successful than you, it’s tempting to become discouraged and fearful that you’re not improving as fast as you believe you should.
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
Comparison is tricky because it is relative:
- You don’t want to compare your weaknesses with others’ strengths and allow that comparison to make you feel unhappy or inadequate.
- On the other hand, your culture, religion, parents, family, teachers, authority figures and peers instill certain values, mores and expectations into you at an early age when you don’t fully comprehend neither their importance nor how they will help/hinder your decisions in your future.
- On the other hand, it is contrast that makes you happy: the contrast between knowing who you were and what you hated about yourself, yet being able to compare that with who you have become. You’ll have a sense of accomplishment upon completion.
- On the other hand, because you don’t want to sabotage and screw your projects and goals up, you may want to close doors to your past, or ‘not be like your mother.’ That comparison of where you came from versus where you want yourself to be requires hard work.
To that, Nathaniel Drew suggests revisiting your definition of success:
Success is the feeling that you are progressing towards your goals.
Recall in step 6. Follow the creative process that you want to ‘proudly present your final version to the world.’ But you mustn’t forget that the final uploaded version doesn’t tell the full story: It’s missing the entire editing process that led up to the final version you’re watching and comparing yourself to.
What’s important isn’t the amount of money you’re making, it’s the trajectory you’re on.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: Ryan Holiday suggests using the plus, minus, equal system: “To improve your skill sets, train with someone who is better than you, someone who is equal to you, and someone who is not as good as you who you teach. This makes you better and keeps your ego in check.”
Dissecting the case of Jussie Smollet, the narrator explains that “Upward social comparison occurs when an individual compares themselves with those they believe to be superior – personally and/or professionally – and is often linked with lower self-regard and depression. Lack of social upward comparison gives an individual the ability to have tunnel vision focus on their own journey, enabling them to count their blessings, focus on their strengths and be okay with imperfections.”
Sir John Hegarty advises you to “Respect don’t revere. Putting anyone on a pedestal is dangerous. It implies they’re better than everyone else; but they’re not. We’re all stepping stones for the next generation.”
In Lesson 237. 20 hours with Tai Lopez there is an entire section about psychological and personality defaults that sabotage success.
Finally, Jon Acuff encourages you to “Don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle.”]
9. Dealing with depression, break negative cycles, and when to ‘reset’
The world isn’t ending, but the speed at which certain things can end has never been more visible.
In life, especially at an early age when you’ve boundless ambition and hope and willpower to prove yourself and build – especially if you’re an artistic or entrepreneurial type; you’re sprinting and focused on figuring out who you are and what you want, who you want to be, and who you want to surround yourself with.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: According to the philosophy of Charles Bukowski, you should go all the way:
“Starving creates time. Work an 8-hour/day job you get $0.55/hour. If you stay home you’re not going to get any money buy you’ll have time to write things down on paper.
I did starve for my art to have a 24 hr day unintruded upon by other people. I gave up food & everything. But dedication without talent is useless. A dedication nut without talent starves and dies in the gutter; thinking they had talent.
Everyone believes they have talent; that they are ‘the one’. How do you know that you’re the one (who has talent)? You don’t know; it’s a shot in the dark. You take it or you become a normal, civilized person from 8 to 5.
If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs, and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean derision, mockery, isolation.
Isolation is the gift. All the others is a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it.”
Likewise, in lesson 122. Managing your professional & private life, Oussama Ammar explains that many entrepreneurs who live the ‘superman’ lifestyle from 5:00AM-midnight to the max, and they almost always follow the same line: they are motivated and rigorous for the first three months, and then they crash and burn.
He continues, the journey of reaching your success is filled with highs and lows, and if you don’t have a clear subjective definition of the success you’re looking for, your journey to ‘success’ will be filled with more lows than highs – which will even further demotivate you and you’ll burn out.
To avoid burnout is to understand that life consists of five fundamental elements:
- Everything else
Now choose only two. If you’re launching a startup, then you must choose only one more and forget the rest. You’re launching a startup and you have a family (wife and kids)? Then forget your friends, hobbies and everything else. Once your startup gets moving on its own, then you can replace ‘work’ with another fundamental element, such friends or hobbies.]
Therefore, you need time for growing and expanding; making war in business, and you need time for growing and expanding; taking time to re-energize self.
Modern society is designed to keep you unfocused and easily distracted. Over time this leads to lack of productivity which can degrade your quality of life.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: In his book What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard, the late Mark McCormack explains that “It’s imperative to your career to spend time abroad and have at least a working professional fluency in several key languages… The more diverse your experience and language base, the more diverse your skillset and problem-solving tools.”
However, common problems expatriates (for example) face include:
- ‘running away from problems at home’
- cultural differences
- learning the language
- relationship problems…
“People don’t intentionally fail, become identified as a loser, or sabotage their career and chances for success,” Mark McCormack continues, “but that is unfortunately where many people’s careers end up. Sadly, sometimes success comes down to luck.”]
This is why you must imperatively take the time necessary to unplug and reset, you need to ‘give yourself the best odds of having a good experience.’
- Uninstall/disable all phone apps and technological opportunities to distract you. Only use them during designed times.
- Ensure you’ve everything you need to do the job right on hand. don’t waste time with a cluttered desk and constantly having to stop to search for documents and necessities.
Learning new skills is a good way to keep you out of dark places.
2. HOW TO LEARN LANGUAGES
The way languages are taught in a formal educational setting is an inefficient joke. Language learning should be opening your mind up to a new way of life, a new way of seeing things and a new way of thinking. This process should be fun; not a long, boring, and tedious experience.
If all I want is knowledge, I can get that from my computer in the safety of my home.
Travel has nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with understanding yourself and others.
STEP 1: THE TOP 1,000 MOST USED WORDS
Pareto’s 80/20 rule reveals that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work.
So while Duolingo and similar language learning apps are useful for digging deeply into a language, you want to start with a system that gets you familiar with basic words and simple grammar structures for everyday conversations. Memorizing kitchen vocabulary words should come later in the learning process.
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: I recommend software such as Pimsleur and Assimil because they focus on short and easy lessons based on relevant, everyday common sentences that incorporate the most commonly used words into grammatically correct sentences, and are spoken by native speakers for you to imitate. Using Pimsleur, for example, at a pace of 3 lessons (90 minutes) per day, you can expect to be conversationally fluent within a few months.]
STEP 2. GLUE IT ALL TOGETHER
Knowing the most commonly used words helps in learning the language, but now you need to conjugate the verbs and connect your nouns, verbs, adjectives and propositions.
STEP 3. CREATE A CONNECTION (INTRINSIC MOTIVATION)
There is a difference between doing something because you ‘have to’ versus because you ‘want to.’ Mainly, in language learning you eventually ‘hit a wall’ and don’t feel like you’re not making any progress and are faced with a strong desire to quit. Wanting to keep learning because your friends or partner encourages you keeps you going when people who ‘have to’ speak the language would be more likely to quit or slow down, perhaps abandoning goals and losing promotions at work.
Fortunately, technology offers incredibly seductive exposure to other languages:
- Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime you can watch your favorite movies and series in your target language.
- Youtube gives you unlimited access to the top singers in your target language.
- Tunein and Radiooooo are free radio app that lets you listen to radio stations and podcasts from all over the world.
- Meetup, italki and other sites can introduce you to people who share your hobbies and desire to learn the language, as well as native language speakers who live near you.
- A romantic partner definitely provides motivation to learn the language.
Culture is reflected in its language; something Google translate cannot (yet) capture.
STEP 4. MAKE (AND LEARN FROM) MISTAKES
Surrounding yourself with native speakers allows you to further hone your language, learn new ways of expressing yourself, and become familiar with the diverse accents. You cannot study your way to full professional proficiency. And even if you could, what is the point of learning a new way of communicating if you’re never going to use it to communicate?
[JOSHUA’S NOTE: As a talent development specialist, a further distinction must be made between being able to speak a language, and being able to persuade in that language. It is one thing to be able to write a CV (Resumé), and quite another thing to sell yourself in a job interview. It’s one thing to be able to read your working contract, and quite another thing to be able to notice the legal implications of a strategic vocabulary word used in your contract, and then negotiate your compensation package.
Therefore with steps 3 and 4 in language learning you should surround yourself with successful, competent professionals as you absorb how they communicate:
- Lawyers are strong at arguing and persuasion.
- Sales people are strong at telling stories and persuasion.
- Comedians are strong at telling stories and provoking emotion.
- Police officers are strong at giving orders and ‘keeping the peace.’
- Psychologists are good at asking powerful questions.
- Bartenders and coiffures are good at holding basic conversations.
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BOOKS/VIDEOS NATHANIEL HAS RECOMMENDED:
- The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal, Ph.D.
- When by Daniel H. Pink
- Waking up by Sam Harris
- Inside the Now by Thich Nhat Hanh
- The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday
- Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
- Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Essentialism by Greg Mckeown
- Inside Bill’s Brain on Netflix
- The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
- This is Marketing by Seth Godin
- Why We Sleep by Mathew Walker