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.
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.
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. (: