How annoying has that advice gotten?
Want to start writing? Just be yourself!
Want to start a personal brand? Be yourself!
Want to land a hot date? Be yourself!
It’s good advice, but not to the masses. They don’t understand what it really means to “be themselves.” Why?
Because they are somebody else, and they are viewing the world through that lens, not the one they created.
They went to school and unconsciously adopted personality traits, bad habits, and a notion of what’s possible in this life.
They went to college with a fresh start, but went through another round of conditioning, layering over their being once more.
They got a job and accepted the company’s goals as their own. The unconscious misalignment leads to dread, despair, and the death of a soul that leaves a robotic, animalistic corpse of a human being that lives in a perpetual state of survival. A slave to the external world.
When the external aligns with the internal, that is, when the goals you create align with who you really are, the unconscious sends resources to your conscious mind to execute on those goals faster.
The unconscious mind can manage 11 million bits of information per second while the conscious mind only 40-50 bits of information. Imagine how much untapped power you are sitting on. All you need to do is tap into it.
In previous letters, we’ve discussed how manual labor, specialization, and earning with your time is not sustainable.
Robots that perform specific tasks are just that, robots. They are being automated out left and right.
The future belongs to those that can leverage their creative power. The power of their mind.
But, if you try to leverage a mind that was created by the external world, you will simply be joining a different kind of rat race.
We want originality, personality, and wisdom.
We want to have visionary ideas that change people’s lives for the better.
That’s what we are talking about today. Let’s dive in.
Existence Is Relationship
In a world where there are no eyes, the sun would not be light. And in a world where there were no soft skins, rocks would not be hard, nor in a world where there were no muscles would they be heavy. Existence is relationship, and you are smack in the middle of it. – Alan Watts
In a world where there are no others, the self would not exist.
Your identity – or “the self” – can only exist when you make a distinction between you and everything around you.
This is what spirituality, non-duality, and Buddhism are pointing toward. Their aim is to make you realize that the self is not separate from the universe, it is the universe.
The goal of those teachings, and enlightenment as a whole, is the end of suffering.
Suffering happens when you fail to recognize the infinite intelligence (interconnectedness) that life is. Suffering happens when you fail to zoom out and see the big picture.
Suffering happens when you see the world from the lens of comparison. You zoom in on the difference between self and other.
Enjoyment happens when you see the world from the lens of connection. You zoom out and create a holistic perspective. You highlight the similarities, why those matter, and appreciate the intelligence that connects everything the untrained eye would see as separate.
This is “love” by many spiritual teachings, even though I feel that term confuses the modern world, which is why I use the words “enjoyment” and “appreciation.”
When you are zoomed in on things that don’t matter, your mind is zoomed in, meaning it is closed-minded. You prevent your mind from seeing any further than what fills the content of your consciousness.
Narrow focus is great for things like productivity and purpose, when you are actively pursuing a meaningful goal, but this is not the case for most people.
Most people are in a perpetual state of stress-induced narrow (contracted) focus. A negative thought pops into their head and that immerses all of their attention. They can’t see beyond the thought itself. The thought becomes their world, and the importance of the world ceases to exist.
What does this have to do with “being yourself?”
Here’s a tweet I wrote the other day:
You see, since the day you popped into this world, your conscious mind has been interpreting the sensory information it receives and storing it in memory.
This is necessary to be able to operate in the external world, but isn’t it crazy how this works? How do we share the same language? How do we have a specific amount of career paths to pursue? I have many questions. We could live in an entirely different reality, and I would argue people on polar ends of the Earth do, we just don’t understand their perspective.
The point is, by the time you are 18, “yourself” is created by your environment. Humans are creatures of habit, your mind forms grooves with time, like the Grand Canyon with water, called neural networks.
Through societal, cultural, and social conditioning, and if left unconscious, you have zero control over “being yourself.”
You are quite literally a product of the external world.
Social media has created the problem of over-socialization, and quite frankly, socialization makes you stupid. When an unconfident mind is exposed to hundreds of thousands of confident thoughts, advice, and opinions, your mind tries to latch on to those.
Soon enough, you’ll find yourself speaking like the echo chamber you surround yourself in. You’ll be thinking the thoughts of others, not your own thoughts.
I find it funny that many people would cringe at the thought of being with their friends for an extended period of time, but will log on to social media (1000s of friends telling you what to do) and act like it isn’t different, or worse.
I’m not saying any of this is bad, and there is no immediate solution. I’m saying this to spread awareness, as that is the first step to improvement. You cannot improve what you are not aware of. You cannot remove what you are not aware of.
Don’t just blindly trust what I’m saying here.
As you are going about this week, try to catch yourself being someone else.
Notice the words you pick up, and if you want to be using those words.
Notice what decisions you make, and if those decisions are influenced by someone else (online or offline).
And if they are influenced by others, are those decisions beneficial to your goals, or theirs? Where is the “money” flowing?
“Who wrote the software in your head, and are you sure you want it running there?” – Master Of Twitter (and attention) Elon Musk
The Power Of Being Alone (How To Be Yourself)
You can’t be yourself if you’re never alone with yourself.
As with everything, this requires balance. Balance does not mean split down the middle. Balance means a conscious effort to prevent either extreme from taking over.
If your goal is to make a dent on this world, you will have to expose yourself to other people. You will have to provide the most value to other people.
The problem with over-socialization: your thoughts, writing, and work are not unique, original, or novel. Meaning, you will get the same results as everyone else.
This is especially important for knowledge workers, value creators, and really anyone that doesn’t want to trade money for time. Time and manual labor is a dead end (that doesn’t mean it isn’t a viable option for beginners). You have to earn an income with creative ideas, solutions, and content.
How are you going to do that when you are putting out the same information as everyone in your niche?
If you want to reverse the effects of being on social media, keeping up with the trendiest joke for your friend group, or meeting new people that you think are better than you (so you adopt aspects of their personality) – you have to make time for being alone.
What’s the first step to “being yourself?”
I realize that I left an important point out of that list: self-experimentation.
Take it on yourself to “figure it out.”
Don’t outsource your health to convenience.
Don’t outsource your thinking to social media.
Don’t outsource your career to the school system.
Treat your life as a science project. The essence of science is trial and error. Try everything and eliminate what doesn’t work. Be your own personal trainer. Be your own business mentor. Be your own therapist.
What do you do during your alone time?
Here are a few of my favorite methods for thinking clear, critical, and deep:
1) Go On A Contemplative Walk
If you aren’t going on at least one daily walk, do you even follow me? What are you doing brother / sister? This isn’t only about “getting your steps in.” This is about:
- Living longer
- Having creative ideas
- Stress regulation (to prevent unconscious narrow focus)
- Getting away from your screen
- A distractionless timeblock for listening to that book you’ve been putting off
- Writing content (ideas just flow better when you’re walking)
Do you want me to go on? I could list off 10 more reasons.
GO. ON. A. WALK.
But, when you do, contemplate.
Hold one idea in your head and let your mind dance with it. Let thoughts trigger thoughts. Sit back and observe. Open your focus so wide that everything in your sensory field is held lightly in your conscious awareness. Lean in to all 5 senses and let your subconscious take over.
- Contemplate your vision.
- Contemplate who you want to become.
- Contemplate why you aren’t who you want to become.
- Contemplate who you are and if you created that identity (and if not, who did?)
- Contemplate the idea that stuck out to you in something you read.
- Contemplate why you hold specific beliefs and if those are closing your mind off to futher discovery.
Dig deep. Don’t let the ego trap you in a cycle of compulsive negative thinking. Question.
When your mind is stuck, move.
2) Weekly Self-Reflection
Nobody knows exactly what they want in the future. It’s literally impossible. There are infinite possibilities of what could happen in the next second.
We can “guess” with a mission, vision, and goals to follow — if we create them, rather than being assigned them — and those are helpful for guiding us in a positive direction.
But, you only know what will happen when it happens, and once it happens, we tend to forget about it and repeat mistakes left unconscious.
Self-reflection allows you to know with absolute certainty whether your actions were conducive or detrimental to your future.
I like to think of this as the “art of doing whatever you want.”
You have to do what you want, even if it’s for shallow reasons, and self-reflect to become conscious of the detriments of your actions.
You will never make the perfect decision. You just get better at making imperfect decisions.
3) Write To Clarify Your Thoughts
Few ideas can be held at the “top of mind.”
Your conscious brain can only process a certain amount of information. It can only hold a specific amount of content in its conscious awareness.
Meaning, most of the things you think, read, and want to remember can’t be given much attention. You have to note them down and clarify the thoughts in your head with the written word.
Now, I’m a fan of efficiency.
So if you plan to build a one-person business, the way you will attract customers is through writing.
Every single person you look up to or buy from is a writer, whether they like to think of themselves as that or not.
Writing is how you build leverage for a future going digital.
Doesn’t it make sense to pair writing for clarity and writing for an income?
If you’re looking to learn how, check out The 2 Hour Writer.
4) Question The Story Your Ego Fabricates
None of this is easy. It’s extremely difficult.
It doesn’t help that it all sounds so mystical either. This isn’t a “step-by-step system to make a million dollars in 30 days.”
That’s an external game. It was constructed by man and the schematics are readily available.
This is an internal game. You will have to dance, fight, and battle with the ego over years and years. I’m 10+ years in this game and it never ends (but it does get easier). It is infinite unless you opt out of external games to become a monk. Not many feel the pull to do that, and I don’t believe it to be necessary, as the battle is what makes the story interesting.
Watch where your mind goes as you are going about your life.
This practice is easiest on social media.
As you are scrolling on Twitter, notice how your mind will start a conversation with the post you read. What story is it creating out of nowhere? Why is it making you angry or happy? What aspects of that fabricated story do you agree or disagree with those points?
Extract the essence of the post you read (or anything you see in life) as it is.
And stay aware of how your mind will fill in the blanks to create its own picture.
When you become aware, zoom out as far as you can. Gain meta-perspective and appreciate the situation for what it is.
– Dan Koe
What Happened This Week
The latest YouTube video, The One Person Business Model (How To Productize Yourself, went absolutely bonkers. It beat all of my prior videos analytics by 10X. I think we are finally hitting the “nothing happens, then everything happens” point in this journey.
In Modern Mastery, we had a workshop on making your ideas stick in the head of your readers with Max Bernstein. I will personally be incorporating the writing tips into my process.
Digital Economics is off to a great start with 130+ students in this cohort. I’m stoked to see what results we can get for everyone building leverage on the internet with their interests and personality.