Category Archives: Success Mindsets

What is Reality? Embrace it.

Earlier this year I watched an epic video by Ray Dalio, and it made me write something down that has been quite impactful since:

“What is Reality? Embrace it.”

In the morning & night I recite 3 things I feel grateful for, but then also read this.

Reality is yin & yang, truth is there’s a lot more you could be grateful for, and by reciting some gratitude stuff and affirmations you’d be a lot happier.

At the same time, reality faces us with some difficult situations sometimes.

A cause of a lot of your suffering is just from resisting the situation, instead of embracing it fully.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting recently, and MOST problems that I’ve had were never too complicated when I thought about it… And same for my problems moving forward.

The problem was that I was stuck in my head of how things “should be,” or I just didn’t accept the situation fully.

When you stop telling stories about everything that is happening in your life, you can actually find a solution rather easily.

Earlier this year, I was telling a victim story about how my travels went out of control, my visa for Bulgaria fucked up, and I broke up with my ex.

The thing was that to move forward I had to stop telling a story. I had to take off the victim hat, analyze the situation, and then start moving forward.

Eventually I embraced reality, woke up, and realized that I had wasted a couple months just being sad, and not really doing anything meaningful.

Note: alternatively we could say that those months of sadness were necessary to get over the heart-break, who knows.

Still, had I boiled things down into the simplest explanation, then I would’ve been able to take care of myself much better. Without embracing reality, you have no clarity, and with no clarity comes no good decision.

Some things that help you become clear are meditation, quitting social media, quitting video games, walking in nature, talking or writing about your problem, and exercise.

Now that I’ve started doing this, I’ve been writing a lot less on here because a lot more has been happening in my own life.

My next business steps are obvious, same for personal life, and even for travel or where to live.

Just try to boil everything down to a simple sentence, as hard as it may be. Then it becomes easier to ask others for advice, and you don’t get a huge variance in responses.

Back when I told stories, people would understand different parts of the story, and then give different parts of advice. It was highly varied and thus not actionable.

Now when I explain a simple sentence with a, “my current situation is this, but I would like this desired situation,” the answer(s) become rather obvious for others to provide me, or me to provide myself.

You can do this yourself as well. When you’ve got a problem, just start writing in your journal or reflecting until you can boil this down into a simple sentence.

Anyways, that’s all for now. Have a great day!

-Michael

Fresh Winds Among Chaos: Upgrading for 2020

Do you want to make 2020 the best year ever? It starts now, by preparing before we all get wasted for New Year’s and spend the first week of 2020 in a hungover daze.

A Fresh Wind Among Chaos

Yesterday I did something out of the ordinary and really incredible:

With my phone off, I went to a low-key cafe, drank coffee, and just sat there. It was quiet. It was boring. I felt restless.

I had my journal in front of me.

Suddenly, I started writing. A lot.

I went from “a bit confused about life” to “extremely clear on what exactly needs to be done, how I feel about things, and where I’m headed.”

It was awesome. You should try it.

I came to quite a few realizations…

But First… A Story

I’m beginning to feel more and more a distaste to our modern technologies.

Today I went on a date with a beautiful girl. She couldn’t keep off her phone for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Minus ten points!

Ugh, it’s really starting to become a problem. And when my hot date hops on her phone, it tempts me to do the same also.

Also, I don’t think I’m boring. I could be wrong. Not all people are meant to mix.

It just seems that you have to dance like a wild monkey more and more to keep people’s attention these days.

I’ll be the first to admit I have a phone problem, but at least I can refrain from whipping out my phone when the conversation hits a 1.7618 second silence!

Dating aside, phones specifically are starting to becoming an annoyance for me.

Turn off notifications, and opening apps becomes addictive because you never know if you’ll have a message or not.

Turn on notifications, and you will get distracted every time you get a new buzz.

There’s no winning this fucking game.

I don’t know about you, but my phone and technology in general has become a problem in my life.

Both in how it’s affected others, but also, how it has affected me…

Embracing the Eye of the Storm

Back to my realizations from earlier. I was in a cafe, phone off, just me, a quiet vibe, and a pen n’ paper.

Just an hour before my moment of clarity, I felt tired, sluggish, confused, anxious, and generally out of it.

I had multiple things I “needed to do,” but for weeks they just couldn’t seem to get done… Which is ridiculous, because even the most time-consuming (extending my visa) would take just 1-2 hours on a bad day (this is Thailand, the most efficient visa extension in the world).

Maybe it was partly due to the coffee… But I can attest now as I write at 23:24 / 11:24 PM having gone over 9 hours without coffee, it’s the non-phone thing.

You see, in that cafe free of my phone, my brain did something a bit strange.

The Self-Solving Puzzle

Hours before that moment in the cafe, I had multiple situations that needed solving.

For example one of the many puzzles I had to solve was whether I should travel to the islands down South, extend my stay in Chiang Mai, visit Bangkok again, or have a really awesome Bangkok girl come up to visit me.

Clouded by endless notifications, YouTube videos, and IG bullshit, my mind couldn’t think.

When I cut off the madness, powered myself with coffee, and just sat there, SOMETHING solved everything for me.

My unconscious brain (or something) beautifully solved every problem without a single conscious thought from me!

I still marvel at that moment- I just fucking SAT THERE with a PEN AND PAPER, primed my unconscious mind with “I need this solved,” and then magically the ideal solution came to mind!

With the solution clear, my next steps became obvious. I created a simple action plan for the rest of 2020 as to my travel situation.

I also became clear as to my emotions regarding Bulgaria, Thailand, USA, where to live, all that good stuff (more on that later, plus more goodies for you).

Peace as the Default?

I’ll list some of the other realizations I had in a moment. Something else magical happened.

This newfound clarity brought with it a sense of wonder & joy. Then looking at the cafe, I noticed the paintings, subtle design elements, and other nuances that went unnoticed due to the phone capturing my attention!

In Thailand there is a BTS station called “ASOK,” which translates to “without sadness,” roughly speaking.

By just sitting there, I felt “without sadness.” I wasn’t particularly happy, but at peace, I was.

Why do I so desperately feel the need to be entertained by YouTube?

For the first 5 minutes it is more painful to just sit there, but the next hour is filled with wonderful peace, a sense of wonder, and extreme mental clarity!

Removing the Gas Pedal

I am reminded of a lesson I learned on a spiritual blog I used to read when I was 14 or 15 or 16 or something.

The author at www.calmdownmind.com wrote on one article something along the lines of:

“The mind is like a moving car, and when you meditate, you are taking your foot off the gas pedal. The car does not instantly stop moving, for it has inertia. With time, this car will begin to slow, and then stop. You will have the inner peace you’ve always had.”

This really is what I can see happening within myself!

Sometimes I feel compelled to watch YouTube because the content is truly fascinating. For example, I LOVE “Ownage Pranks.” Every week he releases a hilarious new video!

But other times I watch out of boredom, or a craving, or I even start from a good place but then find my way down the rabbit hole. You know, when you start at 9PM, and next thing you know it’s 2AM.

I’m finding more and more that for my own mental health it is often better just to sit and do nothing.

At first I may have some uncomfortable/derpy thoughts that I don’t like being with.

More often I may have some uncomfortable emotions. For example, I may have just been around someone I do not like.

What I’ve learned is when you just sit there in awareness, and feel, let go, relax, you often end up letting go of whatever it is that bothers you.

The first few minutes (or dozen minutes) suck… Don’t get me wrong. It feels much better short-term to pop over to YouTube.

Long term? Sitting there, literally doing nothing feels so much better!

The Solutions Come From Within

It seems that most of the answers I need come from within. There is no research that needs to be done, second opinions required, or data needed.

I just need to reflect- and perhaps so do you- and let the unconscious mind sort itself out.

This spiritual talk is rather practical. It’s simple: when you stop feeding your brain with new bullshit, it can sort out everything it has already taken in!

Some Of My Realizations

As promised, I’d like to share a few of the realizations that I had, as an example of what’s possible.

First, I figured out what my travel plans should be for the rest of 2020. I will remain in Chiang Mai until Dec 15, spend a couple days in Bangkok, then return to Phoenix.

In Phoenix I will decide what to do next, after first spending a little time with family + friends.

Currently it looks like I will either acquire a visa for Bulgaria, or live half my time in Thailand and half my time in Bulgaria for 2020.

Second, I realized how I truly feel about various things/places/etc.

For Bulgaria, I love the city of Sofia and how it’s laid out. I hate the customer service and general selection of products (not so good for business, shopping, cafes, etc.).

But what’s best about Bulgaria are my friends there. It’s easy to stay connected with them also because of the way Sofia is designed. The parks are incredible too.

Third, I’ve become a lot more aware of my financial situation and just how far behind I would’ve liked to be by now.

There were other, secret realizations. The most important thing you should take-away is that the experience made me feel CLEAR!

MANY answers came to me! I did not need to search online for the answers, ask friends or random people, or DO anything but SIT in a QUIET PLACE with NO DISTRACTIONS.

By feeling more clear now on what I want, I feel that I need to better optimize my time. I want to make sure I live every minute authentically chasing my goals or living fully, not derping around on YouTube…

And the Biggest… My Addiction: YouTube

The biggest realization is that I have a severe functional addiction: the phone/technology/YouTube.

I listed a few different things because it has shape-shifted over the years.

Sometimes I was indulging in video games. For example, in mid-2018 I once played Fortnite for like… 12 hours straight. Ugh, imagine if I had WORKED 12 hours straight- that’d probably be one new client!

Other times it was Reddit. Reddit is particularly toxic, with a high potential for drama. There are a few golden nuggets, but you need thick skin… And it’s a rabbit hole even if you never post.

Sometimes it’s even just going down an internet rabbit hole. 5 hours went by, I’ve researched a lot, but I have nothing to show for it…

MOST of the time, it was YouTube. It’s always been YouTube to an extent.

For nearly a decade since YouTube’s birth I can recite my fascination and enjoyment of YouTube.

When I was in Middle School (age 11-14), I recall watching YouTube on my iPod 4 (remember that?).

I distinctly remember my first favorite YouTube channel “MinnesotaBurns.” He would play Call of Duty and “troll” people. It inspired me to do the same, and cause a lot of havoc on Xbox + PC games.

Over the years I watched all types of content: informational, pranks, funny, sad, motivating, SO many different things.

At certain periods of my life, it was net-positive. In fact, I believe that of all the social media networks, YouTube has HIGH potential for positivity due to its educational + uplifting nature.

At age 14 I became inspired to become more socially confident + get girls, setting me on a path that would inevitably lead me towards self-development, and then business, creating my current “digital nomad” life!

Sometimes I watched YouTube to cope, like when I was sad, needed a friend, or even just needed some inspiration.

Anyways, let’s cut the story. You probably have a similar one.

Somehow over the years I began to watch more and more, sometimes addictively, sometimes not so additively.

It wasn’t a problem when I was 16 to indulge until midnight in hilarious videos. Or to watch YouTube while eating a meal.

Now, it is. Something has changed either in the platform, or how I use the platform.

The Dangers of the Internet (Particularly YouTube)

Please note that I’m not personally attacking YouTube. I love it. It’s still incredibly useful!

What I’m writing applies to the internet in general- Twitter, IG, Facebook, Blogs (like mine, too), YouTube, etc.!

Somehow over the years it became harmful. I watched a little too much. I began to crave it, like an addict.

And I have time. We all have time. So I gave in. I still worked, achieved my goals, whatever.

But instead of watching it because it was truly the best thing to do at the time, I began to watch it to “pass the time” out of boredom. I wanted to “get to the future.” Or the pull was just too intense!

Now it’s not all bad. For example, it sure is nice when waiting in airport queues to watch a nice, funny video to lighten things up.

However it’s also just as easy to open up YouTube when you’re eating a nice, delicious meal.

Just last week I was eating some incredible Italian food (the diversity here in Thailand is amazing!) yet I felt myself compelled to watch YouTube while eating.

I believe that is a key marker of an addict… Right?

At the very least, WHY?!? The flavors of the meal were wonderful!

Why did I need to also watch a YouTube video? You can only focus on one thing, the video or the food. So as I watched another video, my meal disappeared and all that remained was the good after-taste of it all.

In watching YouTube during my meal, I robbed myself of the great experience of enjoying that meal!

And fucking everyone is doing this now! For you it’s Facebook, for her it’s Instagram, for him it’s Twitter- but it’s fucking SOMETHING.

Walk into a restaurant and tell me what you see these days. It’s awful. It’s becoming a massive problem. We’re forgetting how to… Human.

Date Resistance

And I can see in myself too these negative effects spreading EVERYWHERE.

I am dating a great girl here in Chiang Mai. But when I first met her, I prematurely judged her.

The first 30 minutes of our first date were not particularly exciting. Like all first dates, it was slightly awkward, we struggled to find a good conversation topic + flow, etc.

A part of me was thinking “maybe I should just leave after drinking my coffee.”

Thank goodness I didn’t! After an hour we found our connection, went to the waterfall, ate delicious Thai food, and then enjoyed some exciting times together.

This is a dangerous time, instant gratification from YouTube for me and perhaps something else for you makes it tempting to “dip out” of awkward encounters with new people because it’s more pleasing short-term to derp-out to that little screen of yours!

The girl I went on a date with today lost a bit of my respect with her obsessive phone usage.

Emotional Turmoil

One time I went to eat at a restaurant- a delicious fruit bowl. I felt so compelled to whip out my phone while waiting for my meal, but I decided against it.

I realized I felt emotionally bad. Why?

I was previously hanging out with someone I did not like! It was draining.

So I sat there with my feelings, and soon they dissolved. Then I felt better, and could eat my fruit bowl with full attention.

My mind now is so tempted to whip out YouTube every time I feel bad, or am bored, or whatever… But this just builds up the pain as it never gets processed.

An Unclear Mind + The Last Unknown

And as I have written so much about already, my mind doesn’t feel clear.

That simple exercise of just fucking SITTING and DOING NOTHING allowed my uncoscious mind to lay out a VERY clear path up to 2020, as well as an “if-then” system for deciding my 2020 plans!

There is one last unknown- what I’d like to do for my work. Should I keep doing what I’m doing, develop an online course, switch niches, etc.?

I don’t know yet. But I know how to find the answer now.

The Ticking Clock

Worst of all, the clock is ticking. Tick tock, the clock.

How much time have I wasted in 2019 alone to bullshit internet stuff? Is it really okay to indulge “even just a little?”

Sure, maybe a little is okay. I dated this girl earlier this year and we played Minecraft together one time for a while.

That was a ton of fun. It was an exciting experience to combine a pretty girl with one of my favorite childhood games.

I guess what’s most important is defining what kind of life I really want to have- and I ask you too, what kind of life do you want to live?

I do concede that playing video games with some real life friends (ie. laptop meeting at a friend’s place) can be a lot of fun. It’s a shared experience with friends.

But doing it alone? Not fun. It’s just a distraction from doing the necessary yet hard or boring tasks needed to live a great life.

Meeting new friends is awkward and annoying. It’s a lot easier to whip out that phone or play that online game short-term.

But the growing pains of such a task is necessary, otherwise you will be faced with greater long-term pain.

Ultimately what scares me is just how much time, and thus progress, I have lost in 2019 already.

Already the idea of quitting YouTube even for a month (and limiting other network usage) is terrifying. That feeling is the end of the delusion of it not being that much of a problem.

The fact is I have NOT made the business progress I intended to make earlier this year.

The biggest business thing I learned this year was that, as quoted by Sam Ovens:

“People don’t have business problems. People have personal problems that show up in their business.”

I’m filling my mind with derpy YouTube bullshit. Even the self-help stuff I listen to nowadays is highly unnecessary! I don’t need anymore “information.” I need to chill and take some proper action.

As above, so below. With a derpy mind comes derpy work. It needs to end.

Even if this is not true, the fact is that dedicating 50% of my YouTube/video game time this year alone would drastically change my business & financial life.

The clock is ticking. I do not want to live my life on YouTube, and the negative effects are extending farther out than just the time I waste on YouTube.

A New Path Forward

The phone has got to go. Yet I can’t. It’s too valuable to throw away, it’s necessary in our modern times.

The mind needs to be upgraded. I need to upgrade for 2020, as I would encourage you to do as well.

I could write for so much more about the dangers of the internet, distraction-addiction, YouTube, video games, whatever.

At this point, the message should be more than clear: it’s a huge waste of time, and boredom has its merits.

I want 2020 to be the best year ever, and I know that starts with taking back control over my mind.

As demonstrated to me in my no-phone chilling at a cafe with a pen n’ paper, a whole lot is possible of the mind I never knew to be possible.

The conscious ego need not do anything. Just relax, chill out, and wait for the solutions to be solved from your unconscious mind. Then act.

I am resolving now to vastly reduce my internet derp time, and instead replace it with productive action, meditation, or just chilling out.

Many of my goals are not where they need to be, and I can see now it’s not that I didn’t work hard enough- it’s that my energy, time, and attention were being crippled by the wrong things.

“Sam Ovens” also has another amazing business quote:

“It’s not about playing to your strengths, but about fixing your weaknesses.”

I can clearly see this to be true. My great mind (as is yours) is useless if polluted by internet nonsense.

Most of all, your time here is limited. Even as I secretly hope for “Immortality” I know that it is unlikely, and thus every moment must be optimized for success or fulfillment.

This means actively making new friends, nurturing current friends, meeting dating partners or actively dating, working out, eating right, working on the business / income, OR if not moving towards a goal, actively enjoying life by exploring, hanging out, napping, ANYTHING that is TRULY fulfilling.

This is the beginning of my new path: a life free of the hooks of the internet.

I’d like to free up my time from the internet (excluding work-stuff or legitimate research), and live REAL LIFE!

No more derping for endless hours on YouTube, mindlessly scrolling on IG, or ending up on some silly internet rabbit hole.

Time is too precious to waste. There’s a whole lot to create.

What do you think about all this?

Let me know. (:

Thanks,

-Michael Keller

Embracing Freedom as a Lifestyle

Recently, I believe that one of the most dangerous words in the English language is “should.”

In many ways it is egoic, guilt-filled, and you “shouldn’t” force yourself into undesired action with the word “should.” Yet this is how we are trained as kids.

This past year has been filled with epiphany and personal growth, and one recent lesson I’m about to share with you is embracing freedom as a lifestyle- and removing “should” from my vocabulary, except when absolutely necessary.

For example, in my recent dilemma of whether I should go to Thailand then USA or straight to the USA I had in my mind that I “should” go to USA because “that was the plan” and “I am American and thus should try out living there.”

Note that I “must” (should) leave Bulgaria because of my visa expiring- that is a practical, truthful use of the word “should.”

But the second use- that I “should go” to America- was not fair to myself and let to an egoic split within my mind that made it harder to follow what my heart really wanted to go, which was to go to Thailand.

Eventually I came to the conclusion (thanks to the support of some friends) that it would be wiser to go to Thailand, and save my “mind energy” for dealing with the logistical issues of Thailand such as the difference in time zone, instead of living somewhere I don’t truly want to live!

Another example of this (and even better) is last night I was at a party. I wasn’t sure if I should go or not as I was feeling tired and a bit sad to be leaving Bulgaria.

I ended up going, and was having a blast. I then decided to leave, when some friends came together and one suggested we go to a club playing some great electronic music.

My mind said “I should go home and get some rest.” So when we left, I promptly excused myself and started walking home.

During my walk home I began to feel this sense of nagging… My heart was saying “no, let’s go to the club and party all night.”

Keep in mind North American readers, this was at 2 or 3 AM, and clubs in Bulgaria go until the sun rises! When I say “party all night” I mean literally party until 5 or 6 in the morning.

During my walk I reflected on this feeling- I asked myself, “Why should I go home?” No answer came up.

I was saying that I “should” go home because it’s “healthier,” but I also had nothing to do all day Saturday! If I stayed out, I could sleep in as late as I want, and allow myself to recover.

Furthermore I loved the party, the group of friends, and my days in Bulgaria are numbered. Why not enjoy some time at an awesome Bulgarian club?

I turned around and went back to the club, and partied past 5 AM. It was a ton of fun. The music was great, the dancing awesome, the club filled with great vibes and attractive women.

Today (the next evening) I slept in late, ate some food, drank coffee, and I feel good.

Deep down I know that had I eaten a sandwich then went home at 3AM, I would’ve been more tired than staying up until past 5 AM partying with no food. I could feel it in my heart.

When you follow your heart, you are gifted with more energy than is required to do what you want to do.

I feel incredible today- why? I should, by all standards, be more fucked up… But I’m not. I lived authentically. I’m not hungover, despite being hardly able to walk straight earlier today at 5AM.

Today I was talking with an awesome friend I made via a mutual friend about life stuff- travel, where to live, adventure, our jobs, dating, all that stuff.

She was very authentic and down to Earth, and in being in that energy field it made me reflect on my own lessons that I’ve been learning and applying in life.

For example, she had a very specific type of guy that she liked- and she was totally okay with that.

Deep down I know that I’ve felt more attracted to Asian girls and Bulgarian-looking girls, but I never admitted it publicly. I always felt some discomfort in admitting it.

But part of embracing freedom as a lifestyle is in being okay with the way you are. You have to know who you are, and what you want, and when you know that, you should just go for it.

Don’t over-complicate things with the whole “should.”

I had a friend suggested I live in Las Vegas to “learn how to pick up girls,” but what’s the point in going all the way there? It’s just a useless “should.” I know that what I like is in Eastern Europe + Asia, why “should” I follow a path to there?

In reflection, it is actually strange to not have a type, in the dating example. Most everyone I’ve met has common denominators in all of their past partners.

Yet due to society we feel scared to admit it. We don’t want to admit what we like or want, and thus we never chase our true dreams and goals. We get stuck in the loop of “should” rather than truly living our authentic lives!

When I write, I am thinking of the YouTuber Nomad Capitalist who says something along the lines of:

“Go where you’re treated best.”

He was saying this in reference to other countries in which you can enjoy a better cost of living, but also where you might actually be treated better in certain regards.

When examined though, and in a deeper video upon his life quote, it is revealed that the meaning of this is to be completely free. Just follow your dreams, your heart, whatever you want to do.

Stop worrying about other people, or getting stuck in the egoic notion of “should.”

It should be said also that this also means being careful about creating unnecessary life steps for success in your life.

The biggest example of this I can give is that sometimes people recommended that I go to a certain city for a certain thing, but the two things are vaguely related.

Example: “you should go to XYZ City because it’s great for business… Or because you can network, etc.”

People have suggested to me to move to a certain city or check it out just because the city has made a loose association with business or the type of work that I do.

This is a huge way I see people fucking themselves up- when I’ve observed friends doing these things, they usually shoot themselves in the foot.

Now, I’m not saying that moving to a new city doesn’t carry certain benefits. Obviously if Asian girls is your thing Asia is better than Eastern Europe, so on and so forth everywhere.

What I am saying is when there’s not a clear-cut statistical relationship between two data points and you make a decision on that, that’s basically just you creating extra steps in your life for no reason.

Some people say that Sofia, Bulgaria is not that good for business. Often times I am believing this as well- I would likely not have clients here as they can’t afford my rates, and when it comes to the EU you minus well sell to countries like Germany, Sweden, or Finland that are much more abundant.

However in reflection we can see that my work is online, and thus I can work from anywhere. I could have German clients but live in Bulgaria, or American clients and live in Thailand.

The biggest problem with this is that I am in a different time zone, and also unable to meet people in person. These are the two biggest disadvantages to such a thing, which are real, measurable disadvantages.

Does that mean I should move to another city? I don’t know, but I don’t think so.

There are ways to overcome this problem that allow me to maintain my life of freedom and adventure. There are still clients that I can close, and remote work is starting to become the norm slowly but surely.

In short, what I’m trying to describe here is that a loose association between two cities (ie. New York and business) is often made in people’s minds, and then people make decisions based on that when in reality they might be able to succeed in business (or whatever) right where they are.

This is the hardest “should” to overcome because as I mentioned earlier there are several cases in which moving to a new city will have tangible benefits.

Again Asia has Asian girls, if you’re into that. Moving out of the Middle East provides you with a safer political environment, as another example. These are tangible benefits associated with moving.

But many people confuse tangible benefits with general associations that are drawn up, so people say they “should” go here or there or do this or that when in fact they have not personally measured whether this particular action will tangibly help them!

Just Be Free

It sounds almost ridiculous to write those 3 words as you’ve seen similar stuff everywhere, but when actively applied it is completely true- and I understand it can be harder to apply at some times over others.

There are societal pressures, your own ego, friend pressures, family pressures, etc. but ultimately you have to follow your own path in life.

This is the big mindset shift that I’ve been making in 2019, and it’s been reconnecting me with the original dreamer I had inside me in 2017. In 2018 I took a slightly different path that was necessary for my growth, but now I’m finally coming full circle, integrating both sides of the coin.

If my heart decides that I should live in Thailand and not in the USA, then I should just follow that- I can always check out USA later! Same is true for Bulgaria.

No need to overthink it or burden myself with “shoulds.” You should (pun intended) save the shoulds for when they’re genuinely necessary, ie. I must leave Bulgaria because my visa is expiring and if I don’t leave there will be trouble.

If you want to work a certain job, just do it. If you want to go somewhere, go there. If you want to date a certain type, then just date that type and stop holding yourself back from what you truly want deep down!

Last night I really wanted to party- I wanted to party like that for a long time, but every time the opportunity came up I passed it up with a “I should rest” or some other bullshit. But no, I wanted to party. So I did it. And now I feel better, I feel more energized than had I gone home at 2 or 3AM like all the other nights!

To live this life of freedom, you have to know who you are and what you want. Then you need to just take steps for getting what you want.

I know that my heart enjoys living in Bulgaria & Thailand, so I’ll just live there. If my heart decides to live in the USA, I’ll do that- but for a large part of the past year it’s been a “mind thing” to want to go back there- it’s been something in my mind, not my true, authentic & free self!

There are still places I want to travel and adventure, and living in Thailand and/or Bulgaria make it easier to do so. It’s cheaper, why spend more and have to work harder when my heart wants to live out here anyways?

Like I said I might later this year be “all in” for the USA- or I might not. But I’m writing this now both to you and to me, just to follow your damn fucking heart.

Live a life of freedom! Go for what you want! It’s okay to have a dating type, or want to go somewhere, or create a business or whatever.

Stop bogging yourself down with “should this should that,” when really you SHOULD just follow your heart and make it into a reality.

As sad as I am to leave Bulgaria, I feel excited to head back to wild Bangkok and beautiful Chaing Mai. I’m highly considering- especially if I get a girlfriend- to skip attempting to live in America, and instead just fly back for the holidays then back to Thailand… Or even just stay there during?

There are other things I’ve considered doing out of the norm recently, such as playing video games or going skydiving. Instead of rationalizing these things away, I’m now embracing the freedom lifestyle, and saying “why not?”

“Why not?” is such a powerful thing to ask because it reveals just how silly your rationalizations actually are.

One way or another, just do what you want. Stop complicating things. Follow your heart! Be free and happy!

Finally, I will add that this doesn’t mean neglecting important responsibilities such as your finances- it’s wiser then to reflect on these things so that your heart truly wants it.

When I live more in tune with my heart, I feel more motivated to work harder and longer because I’m actually producing wealth to spend and save for things I genuinely want to do!

What does your heart want?

Go follow it (:

Thanks,

-Michael Keller

Observing Patterns of Existence: Your Destructive Pendulums Revealed

“People don’t have business problems. They have personal problems that reflect themselves in business.” -Sam Ovens

Months after completing the best business course ever (that link is referral if you’re interested), I am still processing what I’ve learned. I rushed through week I and week II of the course, yet I’m finding those weeks to be the most valuable, funny enough.

That quote above was found on I believe week II, in which course creator Sam Ovens spends a whole week to immerse you in your mindset & mentality so that you don’t fuck up all the valuable information you learn.

It was difficult to go through Week 2’s content because I didn’t always understand initially how relevant it was. For example, one thing he talks about is your “Patterns of Existence” over a macro period of time.

It’s hard to observe these things until you become aware that it exists- and now that I’m aware, and have been aware for months, I can observe my negative patterns of existence play out over many months.

Another critical thing taught in Week 2 is that success is not about playing up your strengths, but minimizing your weaknesses. This is counter-intuitive to typical mainstream feel-good content which is all about “focus on your strengths.”

But when applied, this way of thinking actually makes sense. You could have a ship as awesome as the titanic, but it only takes one hole (weakness) to sink it. Same is true for your life: it doesn’t matter how many healthy habits you have if you shoot up heroin and undo all the good you’ve done over the course of years.

The problem is that many of our true weaknesses are not obviously apparent. My obvious weaknesses are easiest to mitigate because I know that they exist. The long-term, macro patterns are extremely difficult to realize without a high degree of awareness.

Observing Long-Term Patterns of Existence

Your “pattern of existence” is basically the yin/yang of your life spread out over a period of time.

One example of this is the entrepreneur who hustles really hard when times are tough, then blows away his earnings when times are good. His “peak” and “low point” are unconsciously defined. When at the low point he hustles and shapes up, and when nearing the peak he becomes lazy and loses it all.

As I wrote it’s extremely hard to observe this. Some patterns may become obvious with some reflection after reading this, but I guarantee that you will be reflecting back on this post (if you truly indulge in it) months later as now you will be consciously aware that this exists.

I’ve recently become more and more aware of my long-term patterns of existence. That is, the deceptive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors I have that feel so relevant in the moment but end up being quite destructive in the long run.

That’s because in the moment they are helpful. But long-term they end up trapping me into a cycle which I’ve been on for years.

One of my Long-Term Destructive Pendulums

One long-term destructive pattern I’ve had is a period of “immersion” in one subject in which I neglect other areas of my life in order to fulfill a singular task. Instead of balancing multiple areas of life, I find myself jumping too deeply into one.

The best example of this is my business immersion upon returning to Bulgaria. I decided that I just wanted to focus on business, and became obsessed with making progress. I neglected other areas of my life to work all day.

But slowly an explosion started to come… When what I was doing didn’t produce results, I snapped and spent 3ish weeks not being productive at all. In fact, it was embarrassing just how unproductive I was in those 3 weeks, especially when compared to my previous month of intense progress.

Suddenly my social needs started screaming, and I began to date, hangout, party, and do what I needed to in order to get my social needs were met. In the past couple weeks I’ve had dozens upon dozens of new Facebook contacts added, and created some pretty awesome group parties and group dinners and other group-related events!

But this was not sustainable either. My period of immersion into this area of my life neglects business, so I know obviously that I must get back on the productivity train. I need to deliver results for my clients and I need to get new clients for long-term sustainability in my career.

This has been a pattern for quite some time. In fact, it’s a bit of a blow to the ego to realize just how unconscious I was of this. Let’s go back into my life and observe this:

  1. When I first moved to Phoenix from Omaha (mid 2016), I went through a 6-month period of social immersion. I didn’t work much.
  2. Then I went through a period of business immersion in which I severely lacked a social life but ended up launching my business (first 6 months of 2017).
  3. Then I shot back into a period of social life & dating when I moved to Montreal (last 6 months of 2017)
  4. Then I got a girlfriend, and ended up focusing a lot on health and improving my health (first 6 months of 2018)
  5. But then my business nearly collapsed, so I re-immersed myself in business, and ended up breaking up with her as I realized it was not a healthy relationship (last 6 months of 2018).

These are extremely rough estimates and of course there are yin/yang drops in between, but even over a 6 month period I can see how I go through different boom-bust cycles.

These cycles have become shorter and shorter recently, but are still there nonetheless. There are also other cycles.

Dissolving the Pendulum of Existence

Consciousness is the starting point when it comes to dissolving any egoic pattern, especially the unconscious ones. That doesn’t make it easy though- you have to consciously go against what you’re feeling in the moment for the sake of balance, but not so much against what you’re feeling such so that the pendulum inverts.

In my case I’m trying to introduce some balance in my life, which I’ve written about previously. I need to find a way to balance social life and business as these are the two big areas of my life now that my health is consistently great no matter what happens in this boom-bust cycle.

This means working less and socializing less such so that both areas of life can be handled at once. I actually did a great job of this while I was living in Thailand earlier this year, as I would work hard throughout the day but never work past 5PM / 17h- that time was reserved for social gatherings and/or dating.

I think that when I finally get a home base (hopefully by later this year) I will be able to implement more of this balance in my life too. Constantly traveling to new places presses the “reset” button on the social life progress made, whereas when you live in one place and have regular friends it’s a lot easier then to work until 5PM then be DONE because people want to hangout with you anyways.

What are your Patterns?

As I’m learning in life, improvement is really not about maximizing your strengths- it’s about handling your weaknesses because those are the things which fuck you up. Goliath was taken out by David through one tiny weakness, all of his strengths mattered not when compared to David.

The first step is observation and awareness. The answers become more clear when you observe… Without observation, you don’t even realize that you have a problem!

Now that I know one of my biggest long-term destructive patterns of existence, the solution can come up. Instead of me writing stories about my struggles or endlessly searching on Google for solutions to my problem, I can relax and let the answers arise from within, as the problem comes from within…

-Michael Keller

Good Research is Near-Impossible

In a world filled with endless information at your fingertips, you think that we’d be better off than ever- right?

I think it’s not true. Especially based on my experience with digital marketing.

It’s all too easy to forget how to properly research things. When was the last time you found yourself on the second, third, or even eighth search page for Google?

As I level up in life, I find that the questions I am asking are a lot more complicated than what a simple Google search can provide.

In fact what I’m discovering is that what you find on the first page of Google is triggering, useless, and completely unproductive.

It’s getting hard to do solid research. Proper learning still has to be done via the classic book-reading, or finding experts.

I don’t know if it’s always been this way for Google or not, but as my questions in life are becoming more complex, I’m discovering it quite difficult to find complex answers.


Keep in mind I’m not asking questions so absurd such as “what is the meaning of life” that we haven’t figured out for thousands of years. They also aren’t simple questions like “what does XYZ mean.”

One example of a recent thing I was trying to understand is the occurrence of white male – asian female relationships.

It’s been scientifically proven that this combination is popular, and often desired. It’s also a 2-way street- it’s not just “creepy men” desiring Asian women. The Asian women are doing the same. Believe me, I’ve lived in Thailand and had female Thai friends- for at least Thailand, white Westerners are certainly more desired by the local population.

But why?

This post isn’t about this question specifically, but of all the more complex questions I’ve had like this in life that Google seems to no longer be capable of answering.

For example, I’ve tried to research what it’s like to live in Vegas, why obesity is particularly high in the USA, and how to pick a solid home base.

The results are often triggering, useless, and massive time-sinks. Properly intaking solid information is now becoming less important than literally finding that information in the first place- and learning to disregard everything else.

SEO: Manipulation by Content Creators

With Google being a solid source for simple questions such as finding the address of a shop, locating a nearby yoga studio or bar, or defining a question or translating a word, it becomes easy to forget that Google (and all search engines) aren’t necessarily dependable for more complex questions.

As a digital marketer I’ve learned about something called “SEO.” This is “search engine optimization,” and it is the science of making your web page rank higher on Google.

For example, if when writing an article you include more of a certain keyword, Google’s bots will be more likely to rank your website higher for a particular search term.

You can also increase your SEO via a variety of other methods, one method being to have people spend more time on your website. This is why websites now are often filled with lengthy yet useless articles also filled with all kinds of pictures- it increases the length of time you spend on the page and thus increases their SEO.

The quality content creators are often geniuses in their respective fields such as psychology or science. The other content creators are focused on SEO and ranking higher because they are “gaming” Google’s algorithm to their advantage!

This creates a feedback loop. When your web page ranks higher because of SEO practices and not quality content, the creator is more likely to create SEO-focused articles and not quality content. Others start this as well.

Now we live in a day where many of the websites on the first page of Google for any search term are SEO-optimized, not quality or content optimized! You are discovering what is the equivalent of an online advertisement- NOT a genuine article.

Example: simply type in SSD vs HDD. This is a storage type on a laptop. The short answer is that “SSD is better than HDD.”

But the first article doesn’t say that. They write a lengthy, content-filled (yet for the most part impractical) article about all kinds of specifications and useless details that no one really cares about.

Even clear-cut research such as how much RAM you might need in a laptop is difficult because of these ridiculous SEO-focused articles that try to waste as much of your time as possible in order to rank higher on the Google search platform.

We can’t blame them or Google because that’s simply what they gotta do to get paid- so we have to take care of ourselves and realize that Google often sucks for more complex questions and make sure that we properly research or find the best sources for finding solutions to our problems.

The front page is often useless! In the example of me trying to research the white male – asian female combination all I could find were ridiculous articles of people triggered about this very real situation. I could only find one relevant video, but it wasn’t that useful.

In other research I’ve attempted, such as on sleep optimization, people fill articles with all kinds of generic fluff but the best information is difficult to access.

Reflective Walks are Better than Google

In many instances I am discovering that I learn less by hunting on Google than when I go for a walk in the city or around nature. I like to disconnect, turning off all stimulus and just go for a walk and let my mind do its thing.

Eventually my mind begins to quiet down, and I start to get reflective contemplations on things in life. I start to develop more creative, unique thought instead of repeating the useless jargon the mind repeats to itself.

Don’t get me wrong- I love Google and think it’s extremely powerful, and I am so grateful for it.

But sometimes for medium-level (or even high-level) problems or questions simply going on a walk has been more effective for me in discovering the solution. If it isn’t enough, then I often become a lot clearer in how I ask the question so I can narrow down the search criteria into what I absolutely need to solve the question.

The mind (ego) wants to get MORE information. It feels that it needs to understand and have a clear answer, especially as this is how low-level questions are solved.

For medium to high-level problems, this question for information often does more damage than it does good! This is because the articles on the first page (and even first five) are useless, triggering, SEO-focused articles that provide little value to you.

They often don’t solve a legitimate problem but instead just get you to read and engage with something lengthy. They get your click, your time, and then rank higher on SEO while all the legit articles fall deeper.

It’s much wiser just to let your own internal wisdom find the answer in a moment of silence…

Masterminds & Asking for Advice

Another avenue that tends to be quite effective is “masterminds.” They’re simple and super powerful for finding clarity. It’s simple.

You get a few friends, schedule a time to meet, and then meet in a quiet place where you can be undisturbed.

First one person talks for a defined period of time (ie. 2 minutes) about a specific problem.

Everyone must listen intently and take notes. Then everyone writes and creates solutions to the individual’s problem. Then everyone shares (one at a time, with one clear speaker at any given moment) their solutions or thoughts.

This continues for every member of the group, and it is an amazing experience. These are simple to organize and will give you some powerful insight.

Google is not intently listening to your specific problems! It can only take the search terms which you provide, whereas other humans can listen to a 2-minute speech on your problem. That is power.

You could also just ask a friend for advice, which is good too. But masterminds are better because you get multiple people’s advice at once and I’ve found that by listening intently to other people’s problems you get epiphanies on how to solve your own.

Learning How To Use Google

Another thing I’ve been doing recently is making sure I’m researching with the fullest capabilities possible. Google is extremely powerful- much more than a simple search!

For example if you put quotation marks such as “this” around a word, then Google will ensure that the article that pop up MUST contain this word. There may be other neat tricks I don’t know about.

Putting the “quotation” marks around words helps you find more relevant, detailed information, and I find that it narrows down the results list A TON. If you have 5-word search but your desired articles MUST contain one word, then Google will cut out all articles which don’t have that word- saves you a ton of time!

There’s perhaps more that can be done…

Curating a List of Solid References & Websites

Another thing which I’ve found effective is curating a list of effective websites for conducting research.

For example if I’m researching self-help I know that “Mark Manson” or “Steve Pavlina” may have the solution to my problem. If I need something more spiritual, I may include “www.calmdownmind.com” in the search as I’ve found this is an amazing website for spiritual-related content.

The key is to include the name of the desired website in your search term, or search for the content via the website. For example, maybe you Google “calmdownmind.com” how to meditate. Notice the quotations around the website- this ensures that Google only includes searches from THIS website. I can also search that website directly.

Courses & Paid Content

Courses and paid content still have the best information. More importantly, courses have a pre-curated list of content that you can access instantly.

Sure, you can technically “find everything online for free.” But you’ll get lost in all the bullshit on the internet as well.

Just paying for the content and saving yourself the time by getting a course which is content-packed with VALUABLE content is so much better and totally worth the spend.

Books- The Holy Grail

I still believe that books are the best source of information on Earth. Come to think of it, the vast majority of important things I’ve learned have been from a small list of solid websites, books, paid content, and then masterminds.

But books have been the key instrument in all of this. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for books.

Finding books is the most painful method of research because first you have to find the book, then you have a search through the book or even read the entire book in order to get your desired solution.

While the most painful & long method, I find it to be the most effective and as my questions in life becomes more complex, I’m noticing an innate desire for books over all kinds of other material!

Books are not SEO-focused. If they’re written right, then every page will be filled with or supporting some extremely useful content. Authors have little to gain by uselessly triggering you or wasting your time- it is instead in their best interest to provide maximum value on every page in order to get the best reviews possible!

Whereas on Google you are benefitted by lengthy, triggering, useless articles, on books you are benefited most by short, useful, and true + applicable content.

Improving Research to Improve Life

Alright so that’s all. I’ve just been reflecting today and realizing as I try to research various things online just how… ineffective Google and the other methods of today are becoming.

I’m all about improving my life as well as others, and Google is still epic- we just have to make sure we understand the machine and are using it properly! There is still some epic things we can discover on Google- for example it can be used to discover books on various topics.

Overall though we must be careful when using this platform because there are people writing SEO-focused articles that are gaming the Google system without providing real value to us.

Unfortunately Google is not yet capable of weeding out these articles, though I hope that one day Google will become more effective in its abilities so that it can provide to all of us for the better.

In the meantime conducting real research on any subject whether for entertainment or improving your life is still difficult, even with the advent of useful technologies like Google.

It’s important to do your research right, otherwise you may not find the desired answer- or worse get the wrong answer, but think that it is the right answer….

-Michael