Problems are not personal.
Problems are systemic.
Everyone has the same problems, and they will continue having the same problems.
You will never escape them.
You can only get better at how you perceive them, which leads to better decision-making (without being impacted by emotion).
In this letter, I want to bring a new perspective to problems in a way that helps you think, do, and be better.
Anxiety, overwhelm, and stress are the result of psychic entropy.
What is psychic entropy?
Psychic = of the mind.
Entropy = systems tending toward disorder.
Systems need consistent energy to thrive.
If your mind is a room, and you don’t put energy toward cleaning that room (maintaining order), then the room will get dirty.
One day without cleaning won’t be bad. But after a week? A month? A year? That, my friends, is what we call a pig sty.
It’s no wonder that anxiety is rampant in our society. Nobody has cleaned their room for a year, and who wants to put in that much more energy? It’s much easier to clean your room after a day than it is after a year. The anxiety cycle continues because we know we need to clean our room, but we don’t. There is a gap between thought and action.
That is exactly where problems occur.
When there is a blockage of energy in the system that is our mind.
Mental health is about making sense, understanding, and clarity.
If you let a compulsive and negative thought hijack a situation, you can’t see that situation for what it is.
You get stuck in your head, thinking about the bad things that could happen. You pull that negative experience into the now and it influences your thoughts and actions.
Attention breathes life into everything it touches.
When you give your attention to a false reality that your mind creates, you act in a way that makes it real.
Do you think this will lead to beneficial outcomes in any situation?
Will it help your social, financial, or personal goals? Or will it distort them in a way that makes you retreat into comfort?
Understand that your problems are normal.
They are fabrications of the mind that are made real through attention.
Problems aren’t special, and when put into perspective, they become stupid.
Why are you worried about your social media post getting zero engagement when a child in a 3rd world country has come to accept that he may not have water tomorrow? How is that child in a better mental space than you?
By gaining perspective, you create the space to zoom out from the problem that has engulfed your attention. The problem shrinks from the size of the world to the size of a bread crumb.
You can see the problem for what it is, and through awareness, start correcting how you expend energy in your life to maintain mental order.
Operate Within Your Own Reality
How do you maintain order in your mind to avoid the dreaded anxiety, overwhelm, and stress?
By creating your own reality.
What the f*ck does that even mean, Dan?
Systems need energy.
Your mind is a system.
Mental energy is transferred through attention.
“Where attention goes, energy flows.”
When you pay attention to the positive, life is positive.
When you pay attention to the negative, life is negative.
While this can be changed in an instant, you have to understand that you are a product of your past.
Your mind started as a near blank slate. Over time, it was conditioned to operate in a way that is conducive to the progress of society and culture. There isn’t a way around this. It is how you learn.
We adopt the beliefs of our parents, the mannerisms of our friends, and the problems of our culture as if they are our own.
Again, this isn’t “bad” per se. But if you want more out of life (why else are you reading this newsletter?) then I can see you shaking your head left and right.
It’s a common saying that “your thoughts create your reality,” and they do, but what makes your thoughts (your reality) good or bad?
If our beliefs are programmed into our mind, and our beliefs tend to automate our thoughts, what do we do then? Do we just accept what we have been taught and the emotional baggage that comes along with that?
Living in a reality that you were conditioned into is like being a puppet. An NPC. An emotional light switch at the control of anyone except for yourself.
To reverse this effect, we must take control of the faculties we have full control over:
- Your perspective — the angle or position you are observing a situation.
- Your perception — how you interpret the situation. Is it problematic or beneficial?
Combined, perspective + perception = focus.
Focus = conscious attention.
Focus can be controlled. Zoomed in, zoomed out, narrow, wide, open, closed.
Focus is how you interact, interpret, and determine where you are going to place your precious energy.
Focus is how you (and your mind) interacts with whatever external environment you are in.
I am not talking about focus in the sense of deep work.
I am talking about focus as the thing you are doing right now, for the entirety of your past, and the entirety of your future.
Do not take this lightly.
Attention is the only thing you can consciously control.
An uncontrollable thought pops into your head and you have 2 options:
1) Let your attention be automatic and unconscious — which almost guarantees a negative interpretation of the thought, idea, or information that you are interpreting.
2) Observe your attention, how you react, and course correct by interpreting the situation that is conducive to your goals, which we will discuss below.
When we make this process conscious, focus, throughout our lifetime, our quality of life skyrockets. Why? Because we slowly begin to realize that everything we could ever want is achieved by how we invest the currency of focus. Investments compound.
The Cure To Anxiety: Always Act With Intention
Your reality is a frame.
Perspective is the camera, perception is the lens.
When your attention is fully focused IN your reality, all of your worries dissipate.
We will discuss creating better relationships in another letter, but to keep it short: you create better relationships by finding a common perspective to share — a common reality where you can both give the most energy and solve problems that arise.
Think about it, does a bodybuilder care if he brings chicken and rice to a family dinner? Yes, but only if he projects outside of his reality. That is, only if he loses control of his attention.
If he remembers what is important to him, his goals, and perceives the situation correctly to avoid short term pleasure, then he won’t care. That is, he is focused.
Does anything else actually matter?
Yes, but only if you give it attention. It will literally only exist — be held in your conscious awareness — if you give it attention.
If you were unable to give it your attention, would it exist? Of course not, at least not to you.
Bring your attention back to your reality if a rogue thought, opinion, or belief pops into your field of awareness (which is determined by the wideness of your focus).
In short, to rid yourself of anxiety, caring what others think, and psychic entropy — you must master your focus.
You have to exchange robotic living for intentional living.
From Latin intentio:
What are you stretching towards?
Can you tell me? Are you doing it on a daily basis, or only when you “feel” like it?
If you aren’t pursuing a life of purpose — stretching toward something bigger than yourself — then you are surviving. An unconscious, mechanical, and automatic state of meaninglessness. A cog in the societal machine.
Finally, how do we get out of this perpetual state of feeling lost, anxious, and having no sense of control over our lives?
By building, constructing, and actively creating the future that you want.
Please understand that these words are intentional.
You do not “build” a house in a day.
You do not “contruct” a life without the resources to do so.
You may not even see the building emerge before the foundation has been laid. But once the skeleton of the house reveals itself, that is when motivation becomes automatic.
Here’s what you need to do:
1) Set A Meaningful Goal
This is what trips most people up.
A system needs an outcome.
You need to have something to put energy towards.
If you aren’t making progress in any domain of your life (yes, even the spiritual domain by ‘doing nothing’ or taking some rest) then energy isn’t flowing properly.
Motivation comes from movement.
Poorly contructed houses are destroyed, then rebuilt.
“But Dan, how do I create a meaningful goal?”
First, don’t hold false expectations about it being easy, immediate, or effortless.
If you don’t know what to do, then the literal only option is to try new things. Nobody can tell you what is meaningful for you.
Try that business model.
Learn about that weird interest of yours.
Take someones advice (that you respect) and experiment with it.
Do ANYTHING that isn’t scrolling on your phone and complaining about your situation in life.
Given time, you will find something that you want to go “all in” on.
How do you know when it’s time to go all in?
You won’t be able to help yourself.
If you aren’t living in a perpetual state of distraction, the excitement of that goal will propel you into action.
2) Create A System
If you don’t have a plan, don’t expect results that aren’t driven by luck.
The highest-paid individuals are the innovators, strategists, and visionaries of the world. Not the manual labor workers.
Become a strategist.
Sit down for 30 minutes tonight with a journal.
DRAW out your future. Write exactly what you are going to do to get there.
Now, understand that most goals are achieved with a system.
A process is repetitive, based on the fundamentals, and improved with experience.
What levers are you going to move on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?
Write it down.
Because then, and only then, can you work to improve that process.
You can’t improve something that doesn’t exist.
So create something that you can improve.
3) Channel All Of Your Energy Toward That Goal
Energy comes in two forms, extrinsic and intrinsic.
By working toward a goal that excites you, you will be fueled by good dopamine, as dopamine comes from the desire to actualize your vision.
This is intrinsic energy. If you lose the initial excitement for your goal, you may need to remind yourself why you started in the first place.
The next form of energy, extrinsic, comes from channeling all of your thoughts, emotions, and actions toward that goal.
Reframe everything you encounter to be seen from the perspective of your goal.
Reframing = transmutation.
There are always 2 sides to the same coin. Positive and negative.
Most people conveniently leave out the positive so they have an excuse to stop pursuing the goal.
You have to take control of your attention.
The best way to do this is by asking “why” in the context of intention.
Why are you eating that bland yet energizing food? To achieve your physique goals.
Why are you writing posts that will get zero traction at the start? To achieve your financial freedom goals.
Why are you talking to a new person even if you look “out of place” in public? To achieve your social goals.
If you don’t have an answer to “why” you are doing what you are doing, then why are you doing it?
It doesn’t make sense. Mental health is about making sense.
I ask again:
What are you stretching towards?
This alone will bring the clarity necessary to avoid the downward spiral that comes from giving negative aspects of your life too much attention.
What Happened This Week
Digital Economics will be open for enrollment next week. If you are interested in mastering the 4 pillars of a one person business (brand, content, marketing, and product), then check it out below.
A YouTube video just went live titled “If You Are High Value, Start A One Person Business”
In Modern Mastery, Joey posted an article on how to create and promote a lead magnet, which is crucial for anyone trying to build a one person business.
A podcast went live on Monday titled “98% of people get anxiety for this little known reason.” Think of it as an expansion to this newsletter.