Mental illness makes you hyper-aware of how the brain deceives you.
I should know, it f*cked with me for most of my life. Not anymore. A mental error is a common way of thinking that secretly sabotages your life. We often do it without realizing it. Everyone else is doing it so we do too.
Avoid these like the plague.
Writing comments on social media to look smart
I’ve never met a New York Times best-selling commenter.
Have you? You don’t become a well-known thinker or change the world by commenting on social media posts. The comments section is the weeds. You’ll rarely find anything good there.
It’s where you post lazy, unfiltered thoughts. It’s a few sentences you’ll never remember in a month, and neither will anyone who read them.
Yet smart ass comment warriors waste their entire lives saying “fact check” or “prove it” or “you’re wrong.”
The best way to comment on a piece of content is to create your own article, podcast, or video in response. That takes courage.
Few commentators have the guts.
Thinking politics is the center of the universe
No election moves the needle much. A bunch of promises. Plenty of false hope. “We will change.” “We’ll be better next time, we promise.”
In Australia we’re heading into election season. I went to fill up my piece of crap Honda Civic yesterday and noticed the price was 25 cents cheaper.
My wife said “yeah, they removed the gas tax.”
“Yay!” I thought.
“No, they only abolished it for roughly three months.”
“What, why?” I asked.
“To give people a break. Oh, and to make them look good before the election.”
Spending your time worrying about the mediocre matters of politicians is a distraction.
You’re better off spending your time, attention, and focus on more important issues that make a difference for your family — like building leverage or finding work you enjoy that doesn’t ram you into the ground.
Talking more than you listen
When you talk too much you don’t learn a lot.
I should know. I spent many years talking over the top of boomers in business to stroke my ego. Got me nowhere.
Listening teleports you out of your own head. It’s a strange experience — almost a form of meditation in itself.
The answers to the biggest questions don’t come from our brain. They come from the brains of others. All you have to do is listen to get them.
Yet few do.
They talk a lot. They hold their beliefs so strong they can’t imagine another set of beliefs exists. In the quietness of your own voice is the magic of another’s.
Have a conversation with a friend and let them do all the talking. Talk only when there’s a short question to ask that gets them to talk more.
Comparing your results to others
Writers do this all the time.
They compare stats and earnings in group chats. Nobody learns much. There are a lot of fortune-teller techniques at play.
Then they sit down to create and find themselves saying, “why isn’t my work as popular as theirs?” This question sabotages their creativity.
The mind wants to compare because the delusion is there’s a shortcut. The self-talk is maybe if I look at what others are doing I’ll find out what I’m doing wrong.” All comparison does is slow you down.
You become the person you’re comparing yourself to when you do the work. The rest is mental masturbation. Quiet the comparison part of the brain.
The results will come when they’re earned.
Not seeing hidden agendas
Elon Musk bought himself a big chunk of Twitter.
Most people missed it. All he’s trying to do is control the platform because he has a huge audience on there. It’s not all bad. He may actually help to fix the censorship problem. But things could get bad too.
Hidden agendas are everywhere. Our brain covers them up because we want to give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s our nature.
But not seeing conflicts of interest makes you a pawn in someone else’s game. It’s better to assume there’s a conflict of interest and be proven wrong, than never see one at all and be negatively affected by it.
Letting overnight success fool you
In the age of social media we love to flaunt our wins.
Innocent people get lost in endless podcast success stories that hide most of the real story.
So it makes us believe we can achieve a goal in an unsustainable way. When the results are harder to obtain we subconsciously give up because our brains tell us we should “have it by now.”
One of the few people I’ve ever come across who bucks this trend is James Altucher. He goes out of his way to share the real story.
There are so many lows it’s easy to lose count. But when you go through his backstory it’s obvious why he’s so successful all these years later.
The key is he did a lot of experiments, he wasn’t afraid to look bad, and he took risks. More than 90% of what he did blew up in his face.
The 10% that worked is why you know his name.
Follow vulnerable people like James who share the whole story. Their journey and success are much easier to replicate when you do.
Hiding who you are to keep non-existent critics happy
Many of my former corporate colleagues live miserable lives.
On the outside they seem fine. On the inside they’re broken. They hide who they are out of fear their boss, clients, or colleagues will take away their food and shelter if they reveal themselves.
A side hustle deludes them into believing their employer will fire them if they find out. Content creation is too scary because they’re petrified of cancel culture. They fit in so they can continue to get their salary. In doing so, they kill the creative spark inside of them that’s dying to break free.
Too many people live this way. It’s totally avoidable.
Take off the mask. Step into the light.
Revealing the real you isn’t going to end your income at all. It’s going to increase exponentially because you’ll become uncommon. And uncommon people take home all the rewards.
The mind wants to protect your food and shelter. The enemies of both are pretend. Being yourself is a magnet. It’ll open up a world of possibilities.