Life, Gratitude, & Clarity

It hasn’t even been a week, but I’ve noticed massive changes in my brain & life since consciously reducing my “distraction addiction.”

Instead of watching endless YouTube videos, I watch none- maybe one, then done.

Instead of putting on my headphones, constantly listening to music or podcasts, I have embraced the awkward elevator talks and boredom.

When I decided for my brain that it could no longer get dopamine from those methods, it has begun auto-optimizing for my other areas of life.

The answers to questions such as, “where do I want to live, what do I want to do for work, what am I passionate about,” etc. keep getting answered. I just feel… clear.

Every morning I used to go down a rabbit hole of bullshit on my phone, wasting several hours.

Now I get up and workout in the morning instead of the evening, and that “morning workout high” is carrying me through the day (this is likely a huge cause of the many benefits I’m experiencing too, re-adjusting my workout schedule).

The coolest benefit is feeling re-inspired to do business & work again.

I bought this expensive business course that is one of the best. When I first went through it, I went through the areas I felt most excited by, not in any order (despite the creator telling you that you MUST go through everything in order for it to make sense).

I went to wek 5’s content, then week 4, then 3, then 2, and then finally 1- but I rushed through week 1, thinking arrogantly that I didn’t need it.

Guess what? I got my ass kicked!

When I was in Bulgaria earlier this year I hustled my face off for a month straight, denying my mental health, social life, and dating life. And I walked away with nothing to show.

How is it that I could experience success sometimes with minimal work (10 hours per week) but then other times when I was pulling in a 10 hour day I had nothing to show for it?

It’s because I didn’t do the boring foundational work that’s necessary in business.

It goes back to “Distraction Addiction.” My brain was so used to constantly being stimulated by bullshit that it couldn’t bare to handle the boring, lame work of business that legitimately creates success.

I had to get knocked down a few times to return to a humble state, realizing just how little I know.

In short, my problem was I was selling things the market didn’t truly need. Yet I was spinning my wheels as if I need better ads, better Emails, better this and better that.

Nope, the fancy marketing tactics don’t work if the market doesn’t want the product.

With my brain fixing itself, I find myself capable of sitting through a boring 1 hour lecture about how to conduct market research. It actually is becoming interesting, perhaps also because I have tried the “succeed fast” way, so now I am humbled to do the real work required to succeed.

Since cutting out my distraction addiction, I’ve picked up a few healthy habits. Here are some of them:

  • Reflection- my brain is naturally reflecting on life, problems, pains, and joys. I am realizing that I don’t need to Google for advice, ask a million people, etc. I can just reflect on my pain and find a solution (that’s not to say it’ll always be that way, but for now it is).
  • Clear thought– my brain is thinking clearer. I can think about complex things and stay focused on a topic for longer
  • Affirmations- I’ve picked up affirmations again
  • Morning Workouts– they suck and are definitely easier in the evening after you’ve loosened up but it’s a great way to wake up and feel awesome
  • Self-Control– in general I feel I have a lot more self-control.
  • Social Acuity– I’m already pretty good at this but it’s getting better. I can handle the discomfort of new social interactions easier
  • Introversion- strangely I’m feeling more like an introvert and capable of being one since this. I don’t need people/girls to stimulate me.

These are no doubt just the surface-level benefits, and more are to come.

Another huge one is that my perception of time is changing. I used to feel like days went by so fast and there was “no time,” but now I feel like there is A TON of time.

For example, a few days ago I went on a date with a girl and we had “only 3 hours” together. But it felt like a long 3 hours (and it was a great date FYI).

I just feel more productive in general, perhaps because you can easily blow away 3 hours on social media/videos just like that, whereas 3 hours spent in the “real world” go by pretty slowly.

Gratitude

My memories feel clearer, too. Suddenly I am able to remember yesterday, the day before, the day before that day, etc. much easier.

With my brain not being constantly stimulated, it’s like it’s naturally sorting out everything in my life. I know I keep writing this and it might sound strange, but you should really give it a try.

I don’t feel like I’m in conscious control of my brain, and that’s OK & GOOD. It’s just a machine processing my life, I’m letting go, not stimulating it with bullshit, and because I’m doing both of those things it’s naturally doing its thing.

I am having moments of immense gratitude + love. Perhaps it’s because I’m 100% here to “experience the moment.”

A few days ago I drove up to the mountain just to enjoy the view, alone. My phone was off the entire way, and I hadn’t been stimulating before.

I felt like crying from joy at the wonderful view. It was magical. I thought to myself, “this is the purpose of life, to experience, to explore, to live in each moment as it is.”

Why hadn’t I felt that way before? Because before I was trying to SNATCH PHOTOS OF EVERY SINGLE FUCKING VIEW & ANGLE.

Isn’t that what we are all doing? We go to some temples or mountains or cool shit and PHOTO PHOTO PHOTO then leave!

Without the excess stimulation, the constant “BOOM BOOM BOOM” of social media bullshit or music or notifications or WHATEVER, I am in the NOW, and in being there feel immensely grateful to experience this life.

I am becoming more aware of… Everything. I’m driving the same roads I do every day, but this time I see new cafes, new restaurants, new secret alleys to explore…

I am remembering my past clearer. Where I came from. Who I am now. Who I am becoming.

I feel immensely grateful for all of the friends I’ve made & the experiences I’ve had all around the world.

Why had I forgotten just how amazing life is? The constant noise from the phone alone caused me to forget, caught up in all the distractions of the little roller coasters.

Yesterday evening I briefly saw a few pics on my IG feed as I was responding to some messages- I saw every smile fake, everything bullshit.

I’m not saying it’s all bad. It definitely has its utilities. But c’mon, I know some of y’all aren’t smiling like you do on your IG feed.

We are masters of the internet world, yet incapable of connecting in person.

I think that disconnecting from my phone is attracting people to me as well. Yesterday after my workout in the park, instead of leaving my headphones on or derping on the phone, I decided to walk around in reality, and smile at people.

A girl said “hello” to me, and we started chatting. I met her friend, and the three of us started walking together around the park.

We spontaneously decided to drive to a temple together, then go to a cafe after. I met more friends of their friends at the cafe.

Also at the temple I made another acquaintance. Because I wasn’t peering through the world via my phone, I made eye contact with someone and we started talking. We exchanged contacts and will get lunch sometime.

The simple decision to exist in reality is connecting me with several other humans, it’s crazy.

Yesterday I met at least 6 new people all because I decided not to peer into my phone. Instead, I woke up to reality, and peered into the eyes of others.

It wasn’t even me that said hello. I did nothing. I just looked and smiled and people came to me.

Yesterday was supposed to be a routine day, but ended up being an exciting adventure of making new friends, exploring temples, and enjoying laughs.

How many opportunities are you missing because you look into your phone instead of the eyes of other humans?

I’m noticing my decision affecting others as well. I mentioned a girl that was so addicted to her phone she couldn’t hardly communicate with me on our first date in my last post.

When she told me when she was free, I asked if she’d be going out with me, or her phone. I put my ultimatum down and she put her phone down, and she went from a “boring phone girl” to a sweet, cute girl I enjoyed being with because I would not accept her phone addiction.

Reflection

Ray Dalio created an epic 30 minute YouTube channel called “Principles for Success” (click the link to view).

My biggest take-away from it, and partly what inspired my anti-distraction-addiction goal now, is his emphasis on reflection in the process of success.

Being clear-minded and free of distractions, I feel my brain processing events, feelings, and thoughts naturally.

The boring 3 minutes I spent waiting for the elevator in my apartment building are no longer stimulated by roaring music + IG notifications. Without that stimulation my brain can, without conscious effort from me, process it.

That right there is why I write so passionately about this! I feel human again! And I am amazed at the fact that I have to try SO LITTLE to become clear about my thoughts & feelings.

There’s very little required of you, too. Just turn your phone off for a day and watch what happens.

Anyways, back to Ray Dalio: I realized that I was charging through life without reflection. I repeated over the past couple years many of my mistakes, and I also lost perspective.

I stopped feeling inspired & grateful to live my life because on IG I constantly saw hot girls + smiles + ultra-fit guys “better than me” (but not actually), and my brain couldn’t think clearly with background music roaring all the time via my headphones.

Now that I’ve given myself boredom time just to reflect, I’m becoming clearer and clearer day by day on my financial goals, travel goals, etc.

And like I keep writing over and over, it requires no conscious effort on my part.

Whereas before I was constantly trying to figure things out, now they are figuring themselves out because my subconscious mind is free to wander!

In Bulgaria earlier this year I remember talking with a friend so anxiously, trying to figure out “where should I live?”

Should it be in America? Bulgaria? Asia? Oh gosh, the anxiety, the complexity!

Now I’m chilled out, I know what I want & need, I don’t need any feedback. I’m not 100% certain yet, but I know the steps I need to take to become certain.

When you wake up to reality, you figure out how you want to live- really.

There have been some uncomfortable emotions. I have some writing this, now. A little emotional pain that I’ll have to go into.

That’s why distracting is so much easier. I could forget these emotions for a minute by opening YouTube. I’m not gonna lie, I have that impulse slightly.

But I choose not to. No more. STOP!

The discomfort needs to be embraced. Life feels long now. One day is… A REALLY long time.

Instead of the days flying by, I’m going “holy shit man 16 waking hours how am I gonna spend all this time???”

I’ll keep you all updated, but I highly encourage you to join me. Turn off your phone. Disable notifications. Be clear. No more music. No more TV, movies, videos, anything. Stare at the wall and discover your true life.

-Michael