I’ve always had the goal of being a deep, original, and free thinker.
It hasn’t always been a “conscious” goal though.
As the process of self-actualization goes, I started with a shallow and unconscious goal.
I wanted to be a deep thinker so others thought I was smart, intellectual, and deep.
I didn’t really care about being deep, I cared about being accepted by others. Being different, but in a non-mediocre way.
With time, and after burning through that karma, I realized that becoming a deep thinker is more than that.
It is a requirement for winning in the game of life and business.
It is the only way to escape replacement in an era where anyone can learn anything.
It is how you create, build, and construct a life that allows you to do whatever you want (while others object to their limiting beliefs, rather than just building a solution to them).
Before we can understand what deep thinking is, we need to understand the opposite: shallow thinking.
Shallow thinking is taking what you see as real, or never seeing beyond the surface of your perceptions.
This doesn’t make sense, because every individual is limited by their unique perceptions, which are dictated by their environment, experience, and state of consciousness. An animal that has a better sense of hearing, for example, can listen in to frequencies (that exist) that we will never directly experience or comprehend.
Like reading a post on social media about the best diet or business model, not experimenting with an open mind, and going on to yell that it is the best diet or business model for everyone without exception.
Deep thinking is:
- Becoming aware of the limits your mind creates.
- Holding everything you perceive in the realm of possibility until filtered with direct experience.
- Questioning everything, especially the thoughts, beliefs, and biases that you think are absolutely true without exception.
In short, closed-mindedness is the antagonist of deep thinking.
But what exactly is closed-mindedness?
It’s accepting the matrix as your reality.
The Matrix Is Not A Fantasy
To be conscious is a struggle between novelty and habit.
When most people talk about “the matrix” they think about the classic movie where the main character is offered the “red” pill or the “blue” pill.
I’m not talking about this matrix, but your choice to take the “red” pill to create a glitch in this matrix is more than possible.
You see, all understanding is metaphorical.
We get hints of truth from watching this movie. We can comprehend the essence behind what it’s saying, but the notion of the “matrix” is a symbol. It is a metaphor pointing at some form of truth.
Symbol (noun) – a thing that represents or stands for something else, especially a material object representing something abstract.
Since the beginning of time, before we *invented* language, we interpreted reality by recognizing patterns and relationships.
We used symbols to represent these phenomena or the experience that came from those aspects of reality.
Now, what you have to understand is that a symbol is a representation. It is not what that thing is.
With time, groups of people began to share and attach meaning to these symbols. We had a way to communicate. But, people had different perspectives of these symbols based on their environment and prior experience, meaning that they have no absolute meaning. There are minor nuances to the meaning of any one thing that differs from individual to individual.
Crucial note: these symbols are mental interpretations. They are mental constructions, a layer over reality. A limit that our minds’ imposed on the infinite.
With time, these mental constructions became more advanced. We’ve constructed language, culture, society, the school system, government, and a load of other expectations, assumptions, and predictions (called “beliefs”) for what life has been and should be.
So, think of the matrix as a web of expectations that have been conditioned into our minds, so much so that we do not question them. Every-thing in the room you are in right now has a meaning that you projected on it without any conscious effort. Even the things that aren’t in your room – your entire worldview contains the meaning of certain aspects of reality that you have or may come into contact with due to the spread of information.
Cycles, Rhythms, Patterns, & Normalization
You can live and die inside these intellectual structures if you choose to. But people of curiosity… usually find themselves unsatisfied with the conventional answers. – Terrence McKenna
Not only have we created a web of expectations, but these expectations become engrained in our psyche through repetition – like how you get better at a lift in the gym by performing repetitions. When we do this enough, we call it “conditioning.”
I could go on and on about how robotic we are as species. We have much less “self-control” than we think.
As an example, think about the cycles in your personal life.
You have a sleep cycle, an ingestion cycle (eating), a work cycle, an excretion cycle, and sex cycle (even if you don’t have a partner, you dirty dog). It’s important to note that these are only a portion of the habits we have in our personal life.
These personal cycles can vary per the individual, like how bodybuilders go through bulking and cutting “seasons.”
Even more, there are business cycles. Sometimes your content does well, sometimes it doesn’t. You’ll have high months and low months. It’s inevitable. The only thing you can do is be mindful that you are in one of those low periods (while preparing for a high).
Speaking of seasons, the world, universe, and cosmos as a whole seem to go through cycles that impact human behavior from the top down. Cosmic > worldly > cultural > societal > social > personal. All have cycles. This even reflects in politics or government.
Like how you “mirror” someone else’s body in a social situation, or celebrate Halloween as a cultural event, or get especially emotional when political elections come up.
Everything we’ve discussed in this chapter is something for you to contemplate and deconstruct.
This illusory “matrix” of expectations for what is, was, and should be are chaining you to a life of limited potential.
The Matrix is a web of thoughts, beliefs, biases, expectations, and assumptions that create your worldview. Knowing is second order, being is first order. Something has to come into being before we can add a mental layer of knowing on top of it.
The Matrix is what you think you know.
If you can’t “be” it, you can only “know” it. That is, you can only register a symbol of that being in your mind. An image, idea, or thought that we project meaning on. A representation, not what it is.
Breaking away from your robotic nature is how you escape the matrix. Because if you want to become a deep thinker, and allow that to transfer into your content, business, and life as a whole – you don’t want to think within the matrix. That would be thinking the same thoughts as everyone else.
What will you find as you explore the mental constructions that compose your sense of self?
The mystical, profound, and unknown – waiting to be explored.
This is why I urge creators to study spirituality.
Once you awaken to the fact that there is an infinite intelligence beneath our compulsive thoughts, you can consciously explore that intelligence. You can bring the essence of your findings to life in your writing, videos, and creations. This is the esoteric method of originality as a one-person business.
Exploring The Unknown (Experience Exposure)
Your edge is where you stop short, or where you compromise your fullest gift, and, instead, cater to your fears. – David Deida
The human mind creates limits on the infinite potential of itself. In relation to deep thinking, we are all stuck in a surface-level bubble of thoughts that repeat themselves according to the cycles of life and web of expectations that come with it.
In order to reverse this effect, we have to create a glitch in the matrix by pushing the boundaries of what we know.
We have to expose ourselves to deeper experiences, both tangible and intangible if we want to be deep, articulate, and clear thinkers in a world of distraction and noise.
Now, we don’t want to just hurl ourselves into the unknown.
While that is a great tactic for the seasoned explorer that leads to a season of intense progress – like moving into a place that is 2x your rent to force yourself to make more money – we want to take it slow at the start.
Our goal is to get a bit uncomfortable, puncture the known with consistent effort, and let obsession pull us deeper when we make a novel discovery. To create a glitch in the Matrix and get a peak at infinity.
Like when a passage from a book finally makes sense and opens your mind to an entirely new world (that we don’t want to get lost in).
The Known is the web of expectations that we mentally reside in. It is the comfortable home that our mind can resort to when its survival is threatened.
The Unknown is the fabric of reality, the land of infinite potential. An interconnected playground for those that are brave enough to push deeper and deeper with time, practice, and mindfulness.
If you can’t grasp this yet, that’s okay.
The “construct aware” stage of ego development isn’t available to you until you’ve gone through years of conscious practice to reprogram your mind. However, your mind can peek into this level of awareness if the words are just right, that is what I’m trying to do here.
How To Break The Chains Of The Known
To understand the progression of diving into the unknown, we must understand the theory of states and stages.
States: a temporary state of consciousness that you can break into at anytime. Like taking a psychedelic, reading a quote that eases your worries, or feeling extra creative after you write a few words.
Stages: a permanent stage of consciousness, like reaching a new level in a game where you have access to the powers you could only previously receive with a power up. Like a baseline level of happiness. This takes development over time, and does not eliminate regressing into lower states of consciousness, like being stuck in a rut.
Our goal is to reach new stages of the unknown. To expose yourself to more experience, which leads to a deeper awareness of what is possible.
If it helps, look at a “stage” as a new baseline that you reach in income, calmness, or any other area of your life that you can develop.
As an example, a year and a half ago I hit my first $50K month in business. This was a temporary state, but my baseline monthly income had increased to $20K. This year, I’ve had two states where I’ve surpassed $100K in a month. My baseline “stage” has increased to $50K or so.
If I wanted to maintain $100K per month, it wouldn’t be sustainable. I would be too far into the unknown for a prolonged period of time. I would get lossed, stressed, and overwhelmed to the point of diminishing returns.
However, there are times when intense growth makes sense. When you have absolute clarity that you can achieve a goal and need to create a stressful environment for yourself.
Like when you drop everything and move across the country. It’s scary, but you know it will lead to the most growth you’ve experienced. Your income and lifestyle will have to match the stress that you’ve created in order to normalize it.
Living at the edge of the known also applies to how you learn and execute.
In business, you wouldn’t copy a billion-dollar business’s advertising strategy if you haven’t made your first dollar.
There are levels, baselines that you need to reach for your awareness to expand to the point of understanding.
If you tried to copy their strategies, you would utterly fail because you don’t recognize that you don’t have the same brand awareness, product quality, advertising budget, or anything that would make sense for their business.
So, it only makes sense to match knowledge with execution.
You want to learn from someone a few steps ahead of you while they still understand the level you are at. Then, you want to teach someone a few steps behind you so you solidify that knowledge in your head.
This is why I encourage everyone to create an educational product ASAP. Modern Mastery has all of the products I’ve created since the start of my journey, because if I were to teach what I’m doing now, it wouldn’t help those that are just starting out.
This is how you chase “good dopamine.”
Cheap dopamine comes from receiving novelty without struggle.
Good dopamine comes from creating novelty through struggle.
Meaning, you have to set your own goals, educate yourself on how to reach them, and execute at the edge of your fear.
We could consider cheap dopamine as a cycle in itself. Another habitual cycle of checking your phone and frying the receptors in your brain, which prevents you from thinking deep about the relevance of your intrinsic desires. This leads to finding solace in the familiar mental home you’ve always resided in – and never executing on the better future that your soul yearns for.
While there are many methods to “breaking out of your comfort zone,” these are the ones that anyone can do at any time. If you want to travel the world, try psychedelics, or go homeless for a day – be my guest, get creative. But, these should become a consistent practice in your life:
When you read, don’t stop at the first hint of struggle.
If you can’t comprehend it, but want to, keep reading. Let your subconscious marinate in the ideas and let time make sense of the ideas.
I have had multiple times in my life where I didn’t understand a book, just to come back to it a year later to understand all of it. When I read it, it had an entirely new meaning for the stage of life I was in.
Now, when you catch a whiff of something exciting, a peak into the unknown, pursue it full force. Notice the excitement, write down your discovery, and start researching online to find out more.
Every writer struggles with writer’s block.
90% of them view this as a bad thing, when it is a sign that they are on the right path.
When you struggle to articulate your thoughts, your mind is primed to lock that articulation pattern in your mind – if you stick it out.
What do you do when you struggle with creative aspects of work?
Like Steve Jobs, Tarantino, or even the ancient greeks… you surrender.
You do nothing related to that aspect of your work.
Go on a walk, lay by the pool, go out with friends, go on a hike… do anything that will activate the Default Mode Network in your brain. That’s when your mind goes to work to piece together the ideas in your subconscious mind.
Like clockwork, the answer will pop into your conscious mind. Have your notes ready 😉
This is what many know as the “aha!” moment.
As a creator, this is what you are trying to create for your readers. So if you experience this moment, share it. Someone will benefit.
If you want to learn how to write (in a way that builds a business, income, and leverage for a future going digital) check out The 2 Hour Writer to prevent yourself from being automated out.
Per the Feynman Technique, teaching what you learn blows every other method of learning out of the water. It’s how you retain the information you consume.
Our goal is to become a deep, original, and free thinker so it can spill into the impact we make on the world through business.
This implies that you will have to educate your readers. You will have to become a teacher and distill your findings in a way that makes sense. You will have to become a value creator.
Here’s the Feynman Technique in a nutshell to start your teaching journey (with my little twist for a creator business):
1) Choose and study a concept.
Choose the interest that you could see yourself pursuing for the rest of your life.
2) Teach it to a child.
Many writers tell you to write at a 4th grade level… don’t do that, instead, explain it to a 4 year old with metaphors and other methods that will make sense to them, therefore make sense to more people.
3) Learn more, fill in knowledge gaps, and simplify further.
Make an effort to study all perspectives of the topic. Seek to prove yourself wrong and double down on the fundamentals. If you are a carnivore, study veganism with an open mind… or live in the matrix you’ve put yourself in and get uncontrollably angry and reactive toward them.
4) The Builder’s Mentality
Since I can remember, I’ve always had a side project to build. Whether it be my mind, body, or business.
As a teenager, I got obsessed with lifting. I set an intention to build my body and allowed my daily actions to reflect my pursuit of that goal. I broke out of my known routine, studied how to build muscle, and experimented with different diets and training styles.
- Creates novelty through exploring their interests. This demands you to be conscious of and remove distractions from your life.
- Leans into their findings by creating a goal in their mind. This almost happens naturally, but you can write it out to solidify it.
- Treats their goal as a project. Meaning it is a consistent work in progress, and will have to be maintained for life once “completed.”
- They know they will pick up excess “fat,” and will have to trim it according to life’s cycles and rhythms.
This applies to every aspect of your life. Your mind, body, business, and relationships are projects that need to be actively constructed, maintained, and rebuilt at times. That way, you don’t succumb to the structure of the existing matrix.
The key to being a deep thinker it to not let your mind-set on what it already thinks it knows.
If you want to separate yourself from the sea of the same, then you have to explore the unknown by breaking the conditioned mental patterns in your life.
All of this requires conscious practice and awareness. This isn’t an immediate hack that will change your life. This letter is written for awareness.
Now that you are aware, you have something to improve.
– Dan Koe
What Happened This Week
Last week’s video went absolutely nuts. It’s at 150K views and still climbing. This weeks video will help tie together the concepts in this article, it’s called “The Rise Of The Value Creator (A Career Path For Polymaths & Self-Improvers)”
In Modern Mastery, I posted an article on how to craft the perfect bio for your brand, especially when you have multiple interest. It’s all about perspective and positioning.