When a continuous high-pitched noise entered my head and set up camp there, I felt terrified. The way I heard the world changed.
Silent moments in a park were punctuated with a high-pitched noise you’d hear in a horror movie with a serial killer such as Ted Bundy.
I got the best medical help I could find. It cost me 1000s of dollars. Every hearing doctor I saw told me the same answer: “The tinnitus hearing condition is incurable and there’s nothing you can do.”
I didn’t like the answer and refused to accept it cause I’m a stubborn old bastard.
Eventually I stumbled across an audio specialist. She had a different energy. She told me that my brain generated the high-pitched noise inside my head.
“If the brain can switch it on, it can switch it off.”
She began to talk about neuroplasticity, the idea the brain can change and rewire itself with new inputs. It was music to my ears.
I got given a new treatment that has drastically improved my hearing problem and bought back some joy. If I hadn’t refused the common narrative, I’d still be stuck living my Ted Bundy high-pitched nightmare.
The first hard truth: never accept common knowledge as gospel.
Here are a few more truths for those cruising through life on auto-pilot, hoping for a wingman to save them.
Chuck a fork in the road or one will appear
Cruise mode in life gets activated when you don’t seek out change.
It happens when no risks are taken. If you know exactly where you’re going to be in a year that thought should scare the hell out of you.
Heading in the same direction for the rest of your life becomes boring. Humans need equal amounts of certainty and uncertainty. There’s no point waiting for your life to become a car crash.
Proactively create forks in the road. Take chances. Follow your imagination. Do things because you’ve never done them before.
People are very aware of the power of *one wrong decision* to influence your life… the wrong spouse, decision to drive drunk, or even the wrong choice of career…but remember:
*One Right Decision,* can change the course of your life too — Dr Julie Gurner
Seek out positions full of imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome ruins careers.
As soon as many people feel it they run in the other direction. “What if they find out I’m a fraud?” We’re all born frauds.
We become masters of our craft through experience and iteration. The first people leader job I got at work scared me. I didn’t know how to lead people. “Will they even listen to me?” I thought.
But I faked it.
I pretended to know. And I read books after hours to learn. Within 6 months I went from a solo employee to a team leader of 16 people.
Imposter syndrome equals eventual growth. Lean into it.
Knowing you are born to do more and not acting on that feeling is inexcusable
Many of us live below our potential.
I did too until 18 months ago. I worked a boring job and hated it. I knew I should quit and be a full-time writer, but I was scared (I’m still terrified).
Although I knew I was born to write so I threw the excuses in the bin & gave it a go. Because 99% of decisions can be reversed, so what are you so afraid of?
What’s unkind to yourself is not acting on that feeling and then experiencing the pain of regret.
Each of us has our “born to do” moment. It’d be awesome if you backed yourself and did it for as long as possible.
If you lack mental liquidity, a life of mediocrity is guaranteed
This is a new term to memorize: mental liquidity.
It’s the ability to quickly pivot your thinking when presented with new information that challenges your current beliefs.
Many people protect their beliefs as if they’re worth billions of dollars.
By doing so, they close their mind. And closed minds eventually stop getting fed. A classic example I experience is when a reader says “you said X 5 years ago. Now you say Y.”
That’s right dear reader. My thinking is evolving so fast now (especially with ChatGPT) that my beliefs have to change. One moment I hate religion, the next moment I see many hobbies in life as religions and embrace it.
Change your mind fast or die young.
Get real with your decision-making framework amigo
When we overthink, we make no decisions.
When we under-think, we make bad decisions.
Most of us live in one of these two decision-making extremes. The goldilocks decision-making framework is somewhere in the middle.
Think just enough so you don’t make a dumbass decision. But don’t overthink so much that a $99 course carries the same weight as the decision to buy a $500k house.
Decisions create book chapters in your life.
Not making a decision is making a decision. And making a decision too slow or too fast is just as bad as drowning in indecision.
The fastest way to get better at decisions is to steal or create your own framework. When an important decision arrives, apply your framework.
Know that every cell in your body eavesdrops on your thoughts
This is the best analogy I’ve found in the last 5 years:
I don’t think people take the space inside their heads seriously enough.
The mind is a very sacred place, it’s where beliefs grow. And beliefs are powerful. Every cell in your body eavesdrops on your thoughts, your beliefs are the starting point of what you do and who you become — @SchrodingrsBrat
Think of your mind like a garden. You don’t want to plant weeds and poison the fertile soil. No. You want to plant healthy seeds called thoughts and let them grow over time.
These thoughts turn into beliefs. Beliefs become part of your identity. Your identity forms the story you tell yourself.
That story drives the narrative of your entire life.
Change the thoughts that change the beliefs that change the stories to transform your life. In other words, become intentional with every little thing you plant in your mind.
Get radically self-aware without all the hoo-ha
People lie to themselves every day.
(More often than they’d like to think.)
The antidote is to practice self-awareness. Write down your thoughts. If you write online, like I do, then you practice this habit automatically. It’s not always easy though.
The biggest obstacle to increasing your self-awareness is the tendency to avoid the discomfort that comes from seeing yourself as you really are.
That’s right, your true self is not always an instagram model in a size 6 mini dress with diamond-studded high heels on. Sometimes the inner self can look more like a witch with a family of moles on her nose.
Lean into the discomfort.
There are parts of yourself you will dislike. Those are the parts to get friendly with and learn more about.
One “thing” is more powerful than twenty “things”
One of the most viral things I ever wrote was called “The Power Of Only Doing One Thing.” Years after its publication I now know what I was trying to say.
Splitting your personal energy reduces its power.
Splitting your focus reduces the quality of the output.
That’s why one big goal is more powerful than a to-do list of nice-to-haves or other people’s obligations. Big goals are obsessions. They don’t need reminders because they occupy space in your brain rent-free.
You can’t not think about them.
Everyone needs an obsession they can get lost in. It’s how you go from cruise mode to beast mode. It’s what makes you disappear for 6 months and live in monk mode. Find your obsession.
See the best in people or live like zombies are chasing you
Let’s finish with this final hard truth.
It’s easy to unconsciously train yourself to see the worst in people. Like you hear of a new way to make money and instantly go “They’re a scammer.”
Or you sit in your lounge chair eating popcorn and judging a man like Elon Musk who you don’t even know. You assume his billions make him evil or everyone is in it for themselves and seeks power.
This is a horrible way to live.
If you can’t trust someone then what you’re really saying is you don’t trust yourself to be a good judge of character.
That’s the real tragedy. 98% of people won’t harm you. The 2% who will can teach you powerful lessons no 6-figure college MBA will ever give you.
So it’s win-win.
The something more you’ve been looking for will come from strangers you haven’t yet met. Trust more people and delete the ones who show early signs of misusing that trust.
Then you’ll become an opportunity magnet.