People think they aren’t supposed to feel overwhelmed.
- You feel slight discomfort
- Your mind hates it
- You haven’t trained your awareness
- You snap back to comfort and pleasure in an instant
- You close yourself off to expansion, growth, and understanding
When I attempt to learn something new, none of it makes sense.
I feel overwhelmed and like I’m regressing instead of progressing.
In reality, I’m priming my mind for pattern recognition. My subconscious mind is soaking up information like a sponge as I expose myself to the new material.
Slowly, then all at once, it makes sense.
The “aha! moment.”
The avalanche called insight crashes into your psyche.
But only if you stay with the discomfort, feel into it, and allow your supercomputer of a mind to piece everything together.
Nothing happens, then everything happens.
If you want the full philosophy and steps to turning what you learn into a meaningful career, grab The Art of Focus on Amazon.
Reality Metabolism – The Cause Of Mental Obesity
You feel overwhelmed because you can’t digest reality fast enough.
You can’t deal with the overwhelm because it consumes your attention.
All you can focus on are the negative thoughts flooding your mind about how it won’t work, how you will fail, and how you could be doing something better with your time.
In bodybuilding, you build muscle by increasing your food intake, stressing your body with resistance training, and getting ample rest for recovery.
You will gain a bit of fat along the way, but this is inevitable if you want to see noticeable results.
In mindbuilding, you build knowledge by increasing your information intake, stressing your mind with challenging concepts, and taking breaks so your subconscious can munch on complex problems.
When you learn something new, it’s new.
Your mind hasn’t developed the systems that make it seamless.
You didn’t always know how to walk, talk, eat, drive, text, make your bed, throw a football, and whatever else you do for work, rest, and play.
You trained your mental metabolism to digest that aspect of reality with ease. You’ve built the mental muscle to lift the emotional labor that comes with doing those things.
The difference between then and now is the limits you’ve adopted as a part of your identity.
Your aged mind, when not kept in check with mindfulness, will cower at the first hint of discomfort.
And when you listen and obey the mind that doesn’t want what’s best for you, that becomes your default state. You become a robot self-programmed to avoid any pain, even when that pain is what brings meaning, fulfillment, and purpose to your life.
Live At The Edge Of Your Abilities
If you consume too much and create too little, your mind gets fat.
If you create too much and consume too little, your mind gets skinny.
We want neither.
When the flow of information is maximized in your life through the balance of consumption and creation, you will encounter meaningful events.
You will feel a deep sense of excitement for the future, fulfillment in the present, and gratitude for the past.
These feelings should be seen as an opportunity to document the important parts of your life that you can share with others.
When you read a good book and stumble across a lesson that sparks excitement, write it down.
When you feel fulfilled in the present because of the progress you are making, write it down.
When you feel grateful that your past has led you to this moment, despite your mistakes, write it down (in something like Kortex).
As your notes of signal grow, you have data from which you can replicate those experiences.
You can condition your mind to occupy these states of consciousness as a baseline.
Your quality of life increases to a point of high stability.
Universal Thinking – The Solution To Most Of Your Problems
You feel bad because your future self is watching your every move, and they don’t like what they see.
The solution to most of your problems:
Zoom out. Adopt the perspective of your ideal self. Break out of the narrow focus that traps you in a chaotic loop of negative thoughts.
Understand where you are, choose where you want to be, and bridge the gap with education & execution.
Most people live in a state of closed-mindedness.
They fall victim to the anxiety, overwhelm, and stress that prevents them from seeing beyond their problems (so they can solve them).
People focus on the bad lyric instead of the good song.
People focus on the ugly pixel instead of the beautiful image.
You are missing the context of the situation and misinterpreting it, so you remain stuck and unable to learn.
You must train your ability to zoom out, adopt a higher perspective, and perceive situations as advantageous toward your end goal.
Form this habit:
When you sense overwhelm, pause and break the reaction cycle.
Move up the perspective ladder by opening your mind:
1) Your current perspective – take inventory of your current situation.
2) The perspective of your ideal self – what would the highest version of yourself do?
3) The perspective of the Universe – beyond all limits, most of our worries are irrational and meaningless from the highest perspective.
These 3 stages are represented by the FOCI symbol on my book, The Art of Focus.
When you zoom out far enough, only then can you discover potentials, connections, directions, and creative ideas that allow you to learn more than what you know.
Universal Thinking is the state of mind from which you can note patterns and understand topics from the big picture.
One can note the vast similarities between bodybuilding, mindbuilding, and businessbuilding – like progressive overload, time under tension, and proper nutrition – enhancing the results from each.
On a Universal level, you can note the birth and death of muscle, ideas, and products – helping you live at peace with the flow of your body, mind, and business – or make a decision that leads to exponential growth.
How To Learn 10x Faster
When you learn how to learn, you can achieve 5 years of results in 6 months.
Let’s take everything we’ve learned above and ground it with practical steps.
1) Create A Clarity Catalyst
There were a few moments in my life when I made giant leaps in learning, understanding, and progress:
- Writing my book
- Building my products
- Writing these newsletters
What do they all have in common?
I treat them as a project.
A project has:
- An outline so you can note ideas to fill in that outline from everyday life.
- Milestones so you have direction and clarity on your next steps.
- A real-world deadline that forces you to act, or else your survival takes a hit.
- Experimentation, trial, and error so you can turn failures into lessons.
This presents a perfect environment for the flow state.
There is pattern recognition for novelty and dopamine, clarity from milestones, challenge from deadlines, and feedback from reality.
Determine what you want to learn.
Create a real-world project that you will publish for others to see.
If you don’t know what project to create, see what others have done.
If you want to learn Photoshop, your project will be anything from a graphic to a digital art scene.
If you want to learn how to bodybuild, your project is your body, nutrition regimen, and training program.
Your project outline doesn’t have to be perfect. It can start as a jumbled list of ideas on what you think you have to do and learn.
A project is an experience anchor.
You now have somewhere to write ideas, knowledge, and techniques down to try.
When I wrote my book, my book outline made life meaningful. Almost every idea I came across could be added to the outline.
I felt like a child again. I became obsessed.
Everything was seen from a new lens. The lens of my project.
2) Learn As You Build
If you aren’t building, you aren’t learning.
If you aren’t actively applying what you learn to a problem sitting in your mind, you are simply stacking useless knowledge as soon-to-be-forgotten brain fog.
When you start building something, there are only a few things you need to know: the fundamentals.
You have no business researching advanced tactics yet.
The fundamentals will take you 80% of the way there (and for most people, that’s millions of dollars, a jacked physique, or a stress-free life).
New tactics will take you the next 20% of the way, but this mental bandwidth should be reserved for obsession, mastery, and your life’s work of a few specific skills and interests.
When you have a project to build, do one or both of the following:
- Purchase a beginner-level course on the topic
- Watch overview videos on YouTube that teach the fundamentals
Study them until you have clarity on what to do next. Then, do it, and when you encounter a problem:
- Refer back to sections of the course or video
- Research how to solve that problem directly
- Watch tutorials where people build projects similar to yours and see how they overcome those problems
Learning is problem-solving, not hoarding as much knowledge as you can.
3) Teach What You Learn
I, of course, recommend teaching in public by writing as a personal brand (or your public resume) so you can also attract high-paying opportunities as you learn. (This is what I teach in 2 Hour Writer).
- Write in public and let people criticize you.
- Teach your friends to make for interesting conversations.
- Take notes on the subject but write them as if you were teaching yourself.
Teaching almost forces you to make sense of the information.
You have to structure it, explain it, and ensure that you aren’t giving false knowledge.
When I write these newsletters, I don’t know everything. But I can guarantee that writing for 4 years has accelerated my learning in the topics I love well beyond what I would’ve learned trapped in tutorial hell.
When you build a brand (not in the business sense, in the sense of your external display to the world), building and teaching collapse into your work.
Your life becomes a meaningful series of solving problems, learning how to solve them, teaching others, and making an income doing so. I believe this is what evolution has allowed: people doing what they love without barriers thanks to the internet.
On imposter syndrome:
Simple – be honest.
Don’t fabricate your experience. Don’t lie about what you know. Teach from the lens you learned it.
Something as simple and attention-grabbing as, “I read The Art of Focus in 23 hours, here are the life-changing lessons I learned on joining the new rich,” is honest to where you are in your learning journey.
Similar to marketing a product, simply don’t promise results you don’t have.
4) Expand Into A New Level Of Mind
By this point, you may still feel overwhelmed or like you aren’t learning much.
This is a good thing.
Your mind is primed for pattern recognition.
- Launch yourself into the unknown – immerse yourself in the culture, environment, and information related to what you are trying to learn.
- Condition your mind through repetition and exposure – slowly understand the lingo, vocabulary, and skill set of those who have seen success in that topic.
- Let your mind expand through the discomfort – the worst thing you can do is quit when you are feeling growing pains.
You aren’t seeing results because you aren’t the person who would see results.
This process allows you to become a new person by letting your old version die.
Like when you are adopting new habits, you have to get out of the old environment that fueled your bad habits.
To make this more practical:
- Read books – books give you 10 years of effort from 6 hours of reading.
- Consume lectures – long articles and videos give you 3 days of effort in 20 minutes.
- Follow new people – this is less about consuming short-form content and more about training your mind to be in that tribe of people.
Buy 3 books.
One best-seller, one technical, and one historical.
Burn through them and don’t let your obsession die.
This may seem like a long process, but we aren’t trying to learn something on a surface level, we are trying to become masters as fast as possible.
5) Make Connections To Solidify Understanding
When you master one thing, it becomes easier to master others.
Principles are Universal. They overlap.
When you master fitness, you can master business in half the time, and then relationships in another half.
Most people never master one domain of their lives, so they never experience exponential personal growth.
When you feel like you have a solid understanding of the topic you are trying to learn:
- Zoom out one layer – move from “Photoshop” to “graphic design” to “creative work.”
- Take note of signal – when your mind signals important information, write it down.
- Build better projects – from a new level of mind, build a new project that will take you to the success you want to see.
In my own experience, my knowledge compounded when I peeled back a layer from web design to marketing to content creation to metaphysics.
This is also a great way to start your one-person business.
Start by learning, teaching, and building in one domain then branch out as your audience expands.
We help you do this and start your digital career in 90 days inside Kortex University.
Now, go learn, build, and enjoy your weekend.