Ep. 256: Start With Discipline

Transcription for the video titled "Ep. 256: Start With Discipline".

1970-01-01T12:01:34.000Z

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Introduction

Cal's intro (00:00)

So this is today's deep question. Why does cultivating the deep life start with discipline? I'm Cal Newport and this is Deep Questions, the show about living and working deeply in a distracted world. So for those who are watching at youtube.com/cal Newport Media, episode 256 or at thedeeplife.com, you'll notice I am back in the Deep Work HQ, the original studio, joined in person by my producer Jesse. Jesse, I'm already nostalgic for this place. It's good to have you back. Now I'm only back temporarily. I'm just in DC for a few days. We wanted to make sure that we got a recording at the old HQ. I'll be back in New Hampshire for most of the rest of the summer. So most of the rest of the summer I will be broadcasting out of the Deep Work HQ North up in Hanover, New Hampshire. However, I am bringing back up with me quite a bit of equipment. So for my first stay up North, I flew up there at a small bag. I brought bare bones equipment. I'm driving back up this week. So I'm bringing some cameras and some switchers and some lights. So you'll see if you're watching at youtube.com/countyportmedia, you should hopefully see in the weeks that come me making Deep Work HQ North closer and closer to HQ South in terms of both the quality and the visual looks. I'm excited about that project. But you know what, Jesse, there's nothing better than the actual studio itself. So and you're bringing the shirt up, right? I'm bringing the shirt. So we're going to try to replicate it, but it's never going to be the same as the DC, the Coma Park studio. It'll be a triumphant moment, triumphant moment when we return for good. I can tell you're determined. So you're going to make it work. I'm going to make a cool studio up there, but it's not going to be the same. So it'll be cool when we get back. You know, just in time for me to leave and go north of the summer, Jesse, the book store down the street finally opened. Oh, it did? Yeah. So just in time when I could be in there buying books daily, it opened just as I was leaving. So we'll have to check that out more when I get back. But if you're into the Coma Park area, people's books to Coma Park, it's open. It's rock and roll and check it out. We'll have to do something there at some point, Jesse. Yeah. Yeah. It's a cool space. It's a cool space. So what are we going to talk about today? I wanted to get into a question or issue that you, the listeners have been bringing up recently. An issue with or a question about, I should say, the deep life stack. The deep life stack being the rough organizing framework we've been using recently to think through the quests to escape the shallows and make your working and professional life more deeper. This sort of central question of this show, we've organized it more recently around this notion of the deep life stack. And there's a question about the stack that I wanted to address. But just as a reminder for those who are new to this, let me actually bring up on the screen here. The old diagram with the deep life stack I drew a few weeks ago. So again, this is, if you're watching, this is episode 256. That's what you should look for at youtube.com/countinpertmedia. So you see on the screen, if you're watching the deep life stack, we have a series of four layers that you move through in order as you're trying to transform your life from something that is shallow and reactive to something that's more intentional and deep. So we had this first layer was re-established discipline. The second layer was build a foundation of values. The third layer was create, calm through control. And then the final layer was planned for the remarkable. That's where you actually get to the different areas of your life, what we used to call the buckets and trying to overhaul them one by one to be more intentional and remarkable. There's an arrow at the top that says iterate because you go back through this at least once a year and clean up different layers, revisit different layers. All right, here's the question. The question that I was sent from many of you is why discipline is at the bottom? Why is not values at the bottom? Why not figure out what really matters to you? And in there you will find the motivation. In there they, this is the question people are asking me, why not have values first? Because in there you'll find a motivation to do everything else. That's where you'll get your orientation. So there's a reason why I don't have values first. And I wanted to talk about it today because I think it's just useful in general for thinking about the types of transformations we discuss on this show.


Main Discussion Topics

Today's Deep Question (04:35)

So this is today's deep question. Why does cultivating the deep life start with discipline? Now here's the framework I want you to use when thinking about this question. When it comes to making changes in your life, there's really two types of goals. And we'll call the one type externally powered and the other type internally powered. So what I mean by this is externally powered goals are changes to your behavior or consistent actions aimed towards an objective that are driven by a palpable sense of excitement or motivation in the moment. So for an externally powered goal, you feel motivation. You're excited in the moment. Yes, I want to do this. I like the way it makes me feel an internally powered goal by contrast is one where these changes or consistent actions are driven by an internal sense of efficacy. You trust that you can keep going on something you deem important, even if it doesn't feel desirable in the moment you trust yourself to make progress on what matters because you know the long term results is where you get your fulfillment. You trust yourself to be able to stick with it. If in the moment you say I'm not excited about this anymore, I don't really want to do it right now. So if we think about some examples here, I've long labeled for the aspiring novelist national novel writing month to be an externally powered goal. The whole idea about national novel writing month is that you get really excited about the idea of being a novelist and you drift on this and you surf on this motivation through this month with a bunch of other people all doing the same thing right every day. You let the excitement about it carry you through to very quickly get a manuscript done. An internally powered goal by contrast for the aspiring novelist might be the slow accumulation of pages. Maybe you want to finish four short stories over the course of an entire year, each of which you're going to bring to a writing group that's going to critique and give you feedback that you can then integrate into the next story. And you're on month five of this one year long plan, just putting in your pages, even though you don't feel like it, even though you're tired, even though the last short story didn't work long after the art or for novelist life has passed, that is an internally powered goal. Another example is talking about fitness, doing that one time action because you're pumped up about getting in better shape. Maybe you had a health scare or you're inspired scene or reading about someone who is in really good shape and so you buy that gym membership or you tell your partner, I'm overhauling my eating. I want you to be really hard on me if you see me eating the wrong stuff. That's in the moment you're driven by the in the moment excitement. Like I'm definitely going to do this. So let me try to set things up the force myself or the keep myself inspired to do the work. Whereas an internally powered goal towards something like health and fitness might be that actual just reshaping of your schedule that has that space every day for the long walk has that space most days for some type of training, something that gets you to the home gym and just doing it and it's five months in and you just do it. I don't want to do it today. There's nothing particularly exciting that I've seen recently. I haven't even been thinking about fitness recently. I've been interested in something else. I still go to the garage and lift those weights. I still move the meetings to make sure that four to five is always clear so I can get to the gym. I'm not going to be internally powered. Similarly watching productivity YouTube to try to motivate yourself to work really hard. Wow, look at these people with these well edited clips that have all this musical montages working hour after hour on YouTube. Now I'm motivated to try to finish this hard thing all in one push. That's externally powered goal versus the internally powered goal of just sticking with semester, weekly, daily time block planning, multi scale planning, just doing the work, making the plan, executing the plan again and again, letting results pile up over time. All right, so here's the thing. If you are not comfortable with internally powered goals, you are not going to succeed transforming your life using the deep life stack. Now think about values, for example, let's say instead of becoming comfortable with internally powered goals, you said, let me just start with my values first. Let me figure out what it is I care about, what should be motivating me. Here's the reality about this. A refined and powerful sense of values is based as much in experience as it is in self reflection. If you are coming to values first from a context in which you basically exist in a setting of externally powered goals, you go after things only when you're motivated and then your interest wanes when that motivation goes away. If you live in that type of world of reactive ambition, the values you come up with themselves will be warped. They're going to push you towards things that are maybe easier than harder. When you try to think about how do I put my values into action, you're going to avoid things that require regular difficult disciplined action and find things that are more less demanding, less in the moment. You're not going to have the iterative experience of pursuing hard things and seeing what matters and what doesn't, this needed to have more insights. You will come up with values, but they're not going to be true to you. They're not going to be in their most powerful state. They are going to warp themselves around your general mindset of reactivity of externally powered goals of chasing what seems exciting in the moment. On the other hand, if you have an internally powered goal mindset, if you're comfortable with that, you're going to have more rigorous values. You're going to have values that are more born out of experience. Then the routines and codes and rituals you build around them are going to be more demanding and therefore probably more effective. If you don't have an internally powered goal mindset, you will fail when you get to the calm stack as well, finding control, calm through control. This is where you get your systems in order. You organize your obligations in time. You find breathing room. That's all internally powered goals to do that consistently. You will fail there if you're not comfortable with that. If you get to the planning layer without comfort with these type of goals, you will also fail because your plans for overhauling different buckets in your life, if built only around externally powered goals, will have these flashes of motivation and then crumble away. Very little long term or sustainable transformation will happen. Every layer of the deep life stack you are going to struggle if you're coming at it from a mindset of I only do externally powered goals. This is what that first discipline layer is really about in the current version of the stack we're using. Discipline is on the bottom not to have some sort of martial allegiance to rigorously defining your life as this is the end dollar be all. What I really mean by that layer, and this is the way I consistently explain it, is that you start by choosing a small number of things, two or three, tied to areas of your life that are important. In the variety, there might be a sort of a community one here and a fitness health one here, maybe something related to craft or whatever is important. Two or three things tied to areas are important where you have a daily discipline that is carefully selected to not be trivial, but to also remain tractable. You're in that region of tractability that is right beyond triviality. It's not simple to do. It's not I'm going to touch my gym shoes every morning, but it's also not I'm going to get up at four and run 12 miles every morning. It's somewhere in between. It's I get my coffee and do this 20 minute walk and jump on the pull up bar in the park halfway through. I'm just doing that every morning before my day even gets started. It's not trivial, but it is definitely tractable. You have these daily disciplines, two to three, that's it. Covering a couple different areas of your life and you do them every day. You mark that you did it every day. If you use something like my time block planner, there's a metric tracking space where you can write this every day. If you don't, you can have another type of notebook. There's a friend of mine who buys these oversized wall mounted calendars. You see all 30 day calendar on one big sheet that's I would say two feet by two feet hangs it on his wall and for his core disciplines, he marks a big X on the day. The Seinfeld method don't break the chain. You just see, did I do it or did I not? Now you can put all of your energy not into some grand scheme, some grand overhaul of your life, some impossibly ambitious, I'm going to become an ultra marathoner. You can instead put all of your energy into just here's a small number of tractable, but non-trivial daily disciplines. I want to mark it on my sheet every day. That's doable. That'll stretch you if you're from an externally powered goal mindset, but it's not going to stretch you to an impossible degree. That is the main focus of that first discipline layer. If you do this long enough, daily disciplines, your mindset shifts. The way you think of yourself shifts, you begin to think of yourself as someone who is capable of and attracted to internally powered goals and now all the other layers are enabled. Now you can attack the values true to what really matters to you with the rigor required for that to make a difference in your life. You can track the finding calm through control with systems that you're going to stick with and actually benefit from that consistency. You're going to get the planning and actually trust yourself to be able to make potentially significant overhauls that take effort over time and diligent focus and the turning your attention away from distractions month after month. All of this becomes possible, which means the deep life becomes possible. That's why I put the discipline as the first layer. Now there's other parts to it. The other thing I want you to do when you get to the discipline layer is just create your central repository. Here's where I write down all the systems and disciplines I'm following. You do want one place for that. That's the other part of discipline is just having a place where you just say, "This is where I keep track of the things I do so I just have one place to look." You set up that first folder. It could be physical or digital. I don't care. Then you start. The first thing you put in this is going to be your initial daily disciplines. As you move up the stack, you'll develop more systems, more routines, codes, disciplines. All that will go into that same folder that you created up front. This is really again why discipline is first is that if you don't shift your mindset to the internally powered efficacy, nothing else is going to happen. Everything else is going to be flights of motivation and then you're going to see your intention begin to crumble. We see this in some classic tales. There's some classic tales of books around the internet, internet famous or book famous figures who had exactly this order of operations in the transformation of their life, beginning with disciplined activity. Oftentimes arbitrary seeming discipline that then changed their mindset and enabled a much more intentional transformation of their life. Thinking about Rich Roll. I'm not Rich Roll, the Rich Roll podcast. If you go back and read his memoir, Finding Ultra, what do you see? Rich was a college athlete. Actually, I don't know if you know this, Jesse, around here. He swam. He was at Langdon. Oh, really? Yeah, he was at Langdon. But a really competitive swimmer, swam, D1 at Stanford had Olympic aspirations, developed substance abuse problems. Went to law school, became a lawyer, had drug and alcohol problems, got sober, but when he got sober, he traded it off for eating terribly. So he finds himself around Jesse Knight's age right now. And he is really out of shape. He walks up the stairs in his house. This we talked about his memoir after eating cheeseburgers late at night. And it winded. He finds himself winded. And he's like, "This is enough. Something has to change." He doesn't really know how to do the change. So what he just does, why not, is he puts on his running shoes and goes for a run. He lives down in a Calabasas. Beautiful house, actually. Goes for a run. And he talks about this book. He ends up running some absurd distance, like 18 miles or something. He just sort of just keeps going and then comes back. And something about that clicks. And he says, "I'm just going to exercise." And he just starts exercising. What he was sort of used to from his college athletic days, but he just starts exercising. And after a while, he's saying, "I want to train and do some sort of endurance of it. This is his daily discipline. I'm just going to do this one thing. I'm going to start just training for endurance type sports." And that becomes the core that transforms his life. And of course, he becomes famously a vegan and then starts doing these really attention catching endurance athletic challenges and then transforms that over to his podcast, a ritual podcast where now he's more of a sort of elder statesman of the self-improvement space and delivering wife wisdom to people and has built this whole really cool career and lifestyle around all of this and completely healthy guy, completely in tune with himself and his spirit. But it all started with an arbitrary discipline. I'm going to run long distances. And it's not that there's something specific about running long distances that was really important for the way he envisioned his life. I think it was the discipline transformed his mindset, reactivated the confidence and his ability to go after internally powered goals and then everything else in his life changed after that. And Jocko Willink, I think of the same way. If you listen to how Jocko Willink, the former Navy Seal and host of the Jocko podcast, if you talk about his story, when he joined the Navy to become a Seal, he was a young sort of punk kid that was up to no good sort of a drift. He sought discipline. And I think this is arbitrary discipline. I'm going to do special operations training. It requires incredible discipline. But you'll see in his story that that then transformed him. The discipline of, in this case, special forces training gave him this idea of I can handle internally powered goals. I can control my life. And now he has molded himself into someone who is the opposite of a punk kid, but someone who lives by a code and values. He was literally involved in the writing of the Navy Seal code, the code by which Navy seals now identify that they work and operate. The discipline came first. The transformation came second. I think we see something similar in Cheryl Straff's book, Wild. I say your name wrong often, Jesse. We should look it up at Cheryl. Strayed. I say that possible. That sounds right. Yeah. You look it up. Anyways, I don't know if you're familiar. You might know her from her columns and what she's done since or the, but if you've seen the Reese Witherspoon movie that was made about her breakout nonfiction memoir, Wild, and what you see in that memoir is Cheryl took on a act of arbitrary discipline at a time when her life was all over the place and out of control that arbitrary acted discipline was hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. Strayed. Strayed. Yeah. Cheryl, Strayed. STRAYED. That's why I wrote it down actually. All right. I had to write Cheryl, Strayed. So it's an arbitrary discipline, but she was having drug problems. It was really having a hard time dealing with, I believe it was the death of her mother and there's all sorts of issues going on. Arbitrary discipline. But what that did was then shifted her mindset to say, okay, internally powered goals are something I can do. And now is, you know, obviously is a very influential cultural commentator and thinker. It helped her get out of that really difficult place. So we see this often in classic stories as well. The seemingly arbitrary discipline becomes the foundation on which all the intentional stuff is built. And that is the mindset shift I want you to do until you're used to this identity of yourself as someone who can do these type of internally powered goals. All of the navel gazing in the world is not going to get you very far. All of the thinking through what really matters is not going to get you very far. You're going to see activity burst in flames of inspiration that then dissipate as the winds of everyday life and the grounding realities of normal responsibilities take away that temporary charge. And so it's a mindset shift comes first, everything else fault. So that is, that is why I have discipline as the very first layer of the stack. All right. So what we're going to do is I pulled some questions that all, I think roughly orbit this notion of discipline and applying disciplines as the solution. So the sort of using discipline to change your mindset that all roughly orbits that central ideas, their questions from you, the listeners. And then we have a something interesting segment at the end where we'll talk about an unrelated topic that you sent in to my interesting at cal Newport.com email address. First I want to mention one of the sponsors that makes this show possible. That's our good friends at Hinson shaving. Jesse, I gave my Hinson blade a real workout today. I hadn't shaved in two days coming into this morning, right? So we flew back from New Hampshire and we were working, you know, packing and working around the house and, you know, wasn't out and about in the world. And I said, okay, we got quite a bit of growth here. Let's see if my Hinson razor is up for it. And as you can see, it was. Yeah. Right. And here's the thing. One 10 cent safety razor blade put into this beautiful Hinson razor could handle multiple days, multiple days of growth, smoothly, no razor burn, no next.


Cal talks about Henson Shaving and ZocDoc (22:40)

How does this work? Well, it's because the Hinson razor is this again, beautifully designed precision milled piece of aluminum. The people at Hinson know how to do this. Their day job, so to speak, is designing parts for the aerospace industry. So they have these high precision routers that can build metals to extreme tolerances. So you get this beautifully milled piece of aluminum. You put just a standard 10 cents safety razor blade in there. You screw it on and you have only 0.0013 inches of blade extending beyond either side of the razor housing, which means you get no up and down flexing or diving board effect. You get just a very rigid cutting edge. And so that one blade in this beautifully designed razor can give you a very good shave. Gets rid of clog, gets rid of burns, gets rid of nicks. It's also quite affordable. You pay a little more upfront for the, the razor itself. But because you're using 10 cent blades, it quickly becomes cheaper to operate than using a subscription service or going to the drug store every month to buy the disposable sort of plastic house, 97 blade, whatever apparatuses they're selling these days. So this is why I love my, my Hinson razor and I recommend it. So it's time to say, notice subscriptions and yes to a razor that will last you a lifetime, but hinson shaving.com/cal to pick the razor for you and use code Cal and you'll get two years worth of blades for free with your razor. Just add the two year supply to your cart and when you enter the promo code Cal at checkout, the cost of those will drop the zero. That's 100 free blades when you head to H E N S O N S H A B I N G dot com/cal and use that code Cal. I also want to talk about our friends at the always fun to pronounce Zach Doc. This is one of those products that just makes so much sense. I'm surprised that it didn't exist before or I'm surprised I ever got along without it. So Zach Doc is a free app where you can find amazing doctors and book appointments online. We're talking about booking appointments with thousands of top rated patient reviewed doctors and specialists. You can filter for doctors who take your insurance or are located near you and treat almost any condition you're searching for. You can also look at reviews. So this just makes it easy. I need a podiatrist. I need a new primary care physician. I'm looking for a dentist. You just go to Zach Doc, your Zach Doc app or Zach Doc.com and you say, it's what I'm looking for in this area. Takes this insurance. Boom. Here they are. Which ones are taking appointments? Great. And then you can click and say, okay, what are the reviews? What are actual patients think? Patients really like this doctor. It's nearby. It takes my insurance. They're taking new appointments. Great. Let's book an appointment right now. It really makes health care much easier to navigate. No more just asking around your friends. Hey, do you know a podiatrist that you like and they said, no, I've never gotten to one. It takes all that out of it. It is the smart way of actually finding medical care providers and then working with those providers. I've had, I guess, three different doctors now that have used the use Zach Docs. So not only does it help me find them, but also the appointment booking. Also the reminders when they're in the Zach Doc ecosystem, you get great reminders. Hey, appointments are coming up. You can do paperwork online in advance. I'm a big fan of Zach Doc and the Zach Doc ecosystem. I'm also a big fan of being able to say, Zach Doc.com as much as possible. So go to Zach Doc.com/deep to download the Zach Doc app for free. Then find a book a top rated doctor today that's z-o-c-d-o-c.com/deep.


How do I stop falling off the productivity wagon? (26:32)

Zach Doc.com/deep. Alright, Jesse, let us do some questions. Sounds good. First questions from Fahad, a 21 year old student. I feel like I have two different personalities, one is very productive and intentional, another who wants to be a slob, scroll social media, play video games and watch TV all day. How do I stop falling into the slob state? Fahad, it's a good question. It's not a original question. And I mean that in the good sense of your issue is not unusual. Your issue is not something very specific to you. And in particular, your issue here has nothing to do with some sort of intrinsic character flaw that has been overcome. I think we often miss when we talk about tales of people who diligently and dissaflantly work through big accomplishments. We often miss the subtlety that goes into setting up a lifestyle or work environment in which you actually are able to maintain motivation and accomplish something big. That is a lot more subtle than we give credit to. It's not just about some people are able to white knuckle it and some people are weak. It's much more complicated than that. There's a couple things I want to focus on here as being important. One has to do with how you choose what you work on, one has to do with how you build a lifestyle or approach actually working on it. So let's start with the choice question. And then the second piece will cover more, that's going to overlap more with the central theme of today's episode about cultivating discipline as a mindset. Let's start first with the choice of project. Oftentimes, especially for young people in Faha'u'd, you say you're 21 years old. So that counts as you, you're half just in his age, which is its own psychological issue for just in I need to deal with, but don't worry about that. For someone who's young like you, you have to be very careful in what you choose to work on. So there's a couple things that is going to potentially short circuit your motivation. One is you just set too much stuff on your plate. Yeah, I'm going to do this and this and this because I can't wait to get started and I want to work on all these things. And I just want to get really motivated and go for it and your mind gets exhausted and says we can't be starting a business and to AC in our classes and writing a book and training to be in really good shape. It's just too many things. The energy involved in trying to keep up with these things is too much and it just seems intractable and forget it. Motivation is gone. The type of issue that happens here is your mind maybe have one or two things. It's not the quantity, but your mind doesn't trust your plan for execution. You're like, yeah, I want to look like Thor. But all you're doing is sort of just randomly going to the gym and sort of lifting weights and your mind's like, you don't know what this is not going to lead the Thor. We're not going to let we're just doing random stuff. Or you say, I want to be a famous writer and you're sort of writing every day and your mind says this is not how this works. Just you're writing kind of random stuff where with no guidance, no structure, what's going to happen with this, we're not going to become a famous writer doing this. Once your initial just general excitement about being a writer dies off, we're going to withhold motivation and then you're going to find yourself falling off. Being careful about how you choose what you work on, a reasonable load, and then study what you work on and make sure that your plan for approaching it is evidence based and logical that your mind will trust, yeah, we're going to get results with what we're doing. To get there, especially if you're young, might mean bringing your ambition down and aiming at a much closer milestone. It's not I want the Pulitzer Prize. I want to be a regular contributor to the college magazine. You bring it down to a more proximate goal. You have a plan to get there that your mind trusts. The choice of things matter if you want to have your motivation be sustained. All right, the second big category here comes to that mindset we talked about earlier during the deep dive earlier in the show. Because your mind think of yourself as someone who is able to handle and stick with internally motivated goals, it sounds like right now, no. So when I hear I get going, I'm reading you here, I'm very productive and intentional and then it sort of falls off and I become a slob. If I had to guess this productivity and intentionality might be aimed in part at externally powered goals. You're working because you're very motivated about some particular outcome. You got yourself excited about it watching YouTube videos or reading something and something got captured you and got your attention going. And that's what's motivating you to do the work, to return to the books, to return to putting an effort. And when that external power begins to dissipate, then social media TV comes back. So seeing yourself instead as someone who finds pride in sticking with internally powered goals, you're going to have less ups and downs. How do you do that? I'd go back to the deep life stack. I would start with the discipline layer. I would choose two to three daily disciplines covering a couple of different areas in your life that are non trivial but are also tractable and start marking on a sheet on a time block planner on a calendar on your wall wherever you want to do it. Did I do each of these each day? And really do that for a whole semester. Then return to, okay, what's my more ambitious goals for what I'm going to do with my time? You will find that it's easier to stick with it. Your mind is much more comfortable with, we believe in this. These are carefully chosen. We stick with things even when they're hard. That is what Faha does. That is who we are. You change your self conception by training your mind to think about what you're doing differently. All right? So there's nothing wrong about you, Faha. What's wrong is some of the details of your approach towards your very admirable goal of doing intentional, remarkable things with your time. So choose carefully and spend some time developing a mindset of discipline, a comfort with internally powered goals, and I think you're going to find that this up and down whips sign between I'm working 10 hours a day and I'm on social media all day, that's going to start to even out.


How do I cultivate more consistent discipline? (32:23)

All right, Jesse, what do we got next? Okay. Next question is from Jacob, a 20 year old from Colorado. I seem to have contracted a case of what I call seasonal discipline, where I'll be very actively disciplined on falling my habits and systems for a few months at a time and then fall off really hard for a few months in an endless agonizing loop. I'm wondering if you have any tips for cultivating a more consistent commitment to discipline. You got a lot of young people today, Jesse. I know I was thinking the same thing. Makes us feel, makes us feel old. You know, when you were doing the Henson Reed, I was thinking, you know, you haven't shaved in two days and I was like mine, I go back and forth a lot, but mine's white now. Oh, mine is too. Yeah. Yeah. It is, well, salt and pepper, but it's definitely white. And I can see it at my sideburns as well. Yeah. My hair is still mainly brown, but oh, that's coming. That's coming. We need to balance these 20 year old questions. I'm telling you, Jesse, next we'll get, I don't know, a 41 year old question is going to be like a combination of wanting to know about tax filing. You know, I'm doing my schedule C deductions and wondering if this is, if this is the right, you know, line item to put that deduction. A mixture of talking about, yeah, tax filings and then also, I don't know, what else to potential hair surgery and like, yeah, hair surgery. I, I'm thinking like this hair surgery for that hair surgery and I would kind of a tax question and also I'm tired all the time. And I need to show I get like, like testosterone treatment. Yeah. Meanwhile, these young kids are, yeah, I was up 12 hours, 20 hours straight working on my screen play and we're like, I only get two hours of working in the morning before I fall asleep and we can nap. All right, Jacob, sorry, let's get back to your question. Seasonal discipline. You, you, some, some periods do well, some periods you do not so well. All right. Very similar to Fahad. So I'm going to have again two solutions here where this is going to overlap with what I talked about with Fahad is just the mindset training piece. So the very same thing I recommend at Fahad that I recommended at the beginning of the show, I'm going to recommend as a starting point for you as well, that discipline layer, that very first layer of the deep life stack, two to three, non trivial and tractable, non trivial, but tractable, daily disciplines, covering multiple areas of your life that you track every single day and put most of your productivity, intentionality, focus, all that willpower on just doing those every day, not breaking the chain. You want to market every day on a calendar. It's a good tune up just to get your mind back in shape as I don't need external power to do things. I don't need to be in a season where I'm excited or things are going well to make progress on important things. I can also make progress in the hard seasons in the proverbial winters when other things are going on or the work itself is not going so well. So there's a mindset tune up and I think that returning to that discipline layer can help with that. And then just like with Fahad, but with slight differences and specifics here, I would say let's also think about what this, what you're calling here, habits and systems. What these habits and systems are. So even if you have the right internal conception of yourself, it is still the case that if the particular habits or systems you've put in place, if those particular habits and systems aren't sustainable, or if they have a lot of friction, they work, but they have overhead that don't need to be there and your mind senses that, you were going to accumulate stress fractures, right? You're going to accumulate over time this friction and grinding of the systems not quite right. It's too big, it's too hard. It has steps we don't need to do. It's like the system is going to start building up these stretch fractures until the whole thing eventually breaks apart. And that's maybe why you can only make a few months. This is very common in the world of productivity systems that if the system is not compatible with your life and streamlined and believable, you can last with it for a while. But after it gets this clunky, I'm typing these notes and it goes into this note system that then automatically populates these type of systems. And every day I have a generative AI bot take these and generate a schedule and then I use that schedule to sort of schedule my hours. These type of high overhead, high friction systems, they begin to just accumulate too much wear and tear until all of the gears get jammed. And then you just say enough with this and you fall back to doing nothing until doing nothing after a while gets you so stressed out and overwhelmed by being disorganized that you go and build a new system and that starts generating friction until it's gears mashed and then that could also be the source of what you're seeing here. One season up, one season down, one season up, one season down. So you also want to really check out your systems here, streamline them. The simplest possible thing that actually helps you get your work done sometimes is the right thing to do. Get rid of unnecessary things. Have a core document where you keep track of here is what I do and how I do it. So you're not just trying to keep track of things in your mind and you can see where there's overlap or redundancies or your systems are sort of out of control. You want something that fits very naturally into your life. So if you're starting from scratch here, I would say something like multi-scale planning, you have a strategic plan, a weekly plan and do some sort of daily time block plan during workdays but not the weekends. Have some sort of good system for capture of your tasks so that you're not have to keep track of those things in your head. Put those two things together, maybe mixed in with some sort of fixed schedule productivity mindset of this is my work hours and everything else has to fit into it. That's a good start for organizing all the professional things in your life. Use very simple tech tools for implementing this. I'm talking, you know, you have a paper time block planner and then a couple of Google Docs to keep track of strategic plans and weekly plans. You can use Trello to keep track of task or even just a long text file where you're typing things. Simple technologies that are easy to get in and easy to get out that you can access from multiple platforms. That makes a big difference. As you add in other structures or goals around your personal life, keep it simple. You know, so again, let's go for simplicity, accessibility. Let's try to minimize friction. Let's just make the general rhythm of your life something that's very sustainable. That'll help too. So I don't know in your case, Jacob, which is the bigger problem. So I don't know if it's a mindset issue that your systems are fine, but your mindset just needs right now, external fuel for you to work on hard things, or if it's a systems problem, your mindset's fine, but your systems have too much friction. So look at both. But between those two things, I think you're going to find the seasonality of following systems is going to go away. One epilogue I will add to this as well is don't reject seasonality outright as an issue. I think it's an issue if your systems are seasonal. I stop being organized during some months versus others. I think it's completely fine if your workload is seasonal. In fact, in my new book, Slow Productivity, which is coming out in March, there's a whole principle is about working at a natural pace, and it really gets into seasonality and how natural and well suited humans are for that. So I do want to throw that in there. You might just be getting exhausted, right? Like a professor, by the time the professor gets to the end of spring, traditionally, they're exhausted because they've gone through a full school year. So to actually pull back some in the summer makes sense because you need to recharge. If you try to go all out in the summer after a hard spring and after a hard fall before that, you might just run out of steam altogether. So I think seasonal workload could be fine as well. So let's throw that in here. Not just as an epilogue. I'm going to throw this in Jacob as my third part of my answer. Make your workload seasonal, but keep the systems the same. You're still multi-scale planning, but when you get the sum months of the year, the amount of stuff you're putting to your week, the complexity of your daily time block schedules are much easier. And you get that relief of, man, this feels great. I can really control my time. I'm taking Thursdays completely off because why not? I'm using planning so I can move pieces around. This is great. I can actually extract a lot more relaxation and recharging because I have some structure. So I think a seasonal workload could be excellent, but you don't want your systems to come and go seasonally. And you want to make sure that your mindset is one that doesn't require external power. So there we go. I upgraded this from two parts to three parts, Jacob. And hopefully you will find that useful. All right. Let's keep going here, Jesse. Yeah. And then the time management video on our YouTube channel is definitely something you should check out. Yeah. So look under the, what's the core ideas? It's the playlist. Right. So YouTube.com/countiport media. Look at the playlist. There's a playlist called core ideas. There's one titled, a video titled time management where I talk about that multi scale, multi scale planning.


How do I convince myself to follow through on demanding projects? (41:20)

Yeah, shows up shows up right in there. It's a good place to start. All right. Next question is from Loyad from India. I often take on multiple projects, but then they as they become hard, I ban them halfway. How do I stop doing this? All right. So we have a very consistent type theme today. I think the reader could or the listener could almost answer this question on their own now, which is my goal. I really want to hammer this point home as much as I can. So Loyad, why are you abandoning projects when they become hard halfway? Well, as you can imagine, I'm going to have two parts of my answer here. One is mindset. If your mindset is one that depends on external power for you to get through goals, you are not going to get very far and hard projects because the external power, which in this case is that actual emotional feeling of motivation excitement will die down as projects go on as they get harder and then you'll stop doing them. So you need to reshape your mindset towards one is seeing yourself as someone who can handle internally powered goals. Guess I'm going to suggest you do that layer one of the deep life stack two to three daily disciplines, non trivial, but tractable. Every day Mark them. Just train your mind. I do things that are important for me, even if they're hard, even if I'm not excited in the moment. And there's a deeper satisfaction I get out of that. That's why I trust myself to do this going forward. Secondly, the issue here is going to be similar to what I talked to both Fahad and Jacob about. You might just have too many projects and they might just actually be too hard. So be very careful about that. I think one project worked on consistently and slowly over time is going to in the end open up more opportunities and have more impact in multiple projects that you're trying to tackle in a frenzied burst. So it's a sort of a key slow productivity principle here. Work on fewer things. So you might just have too many projects. Again, you have this impatience of I'm young and there's so much I want to do and I have to make my mark and you don't realize just choose the one thing that you patiently start building your your skill on. It's frustrating maybe now when you're 22, but by the time you're 24 or 25 and that's bearing fruit, the fruit is going to be so much riper and sweeter than if you had spilled that time instead just jumping from thing to thing trying to jump from the latest idea to the latest interest. I mean, I knew someone like this in college, Jesse and I kind of remember his name, but I'm not sure if I have his name right. And maybe I should anonymize it anyways. But I knew about him because he was my year at college. Maybe he's a year younger and he was the only other person I knew who was trying to write a book. And so he had he had interest in books, but he had all these other interests as well. Like he was interested in politics because Dartmouth is in Hanover, which is in New Hampshire. So when the presidential season would come through, which happened twice when I was there, everyone comes through New Hampshire because of the primaries, he got lots of political figures coming through. So he was also getting really involved in helping to like organize, I believe it was a debate for the 2004 presidential election and the other project going on. And and so there was this real sense, I remember man, he's doing a lot of things. Book writing was one of them, all these different projects. It's the excitement of I have these, he was very capable, very capable and all these different things I can make my my market. I was not that way. I wanted to I was just writing, I was doing my CS work and writing. And I just that was my main thing outside of my school work was just writing. And I just I wanted to write this book and do it well and then immediately turn around and sell another. I just wanted to make my writing better. And I was willing to put my time to focus on that. And so there's this point early on, we're both kind of working on books and he had a lot of other stuff going on. But all that stuff, I don't know what happened to it, but I just kept focusing on books. I wrote another book that was a little bit better and then I took some time and wrote a third book, which was much better than it set up my fourth book, which was a hardcover. And now that has born much more interesting fruit. I have actually it took me a long time, but I've developed myself into a writer who can have a career as a writer. So in the moment when I was 20 or 21, it seemed maybe naively slow, like I'm just going to work on this book and try to make it good. I don't want to be distracted. But looking back as a 41 year old, I said, man, I'm so glad I stayed focused on that. Because how much interesting stuff has making writing one of my two core focuses of my life really opened up. So Lloyd had slowing down doing less things, sticking with that in a sustainable pace over a long period of time. That's typically what you want to be doing if your goal is either impact or opening up interesting opportunities in your life or some combination of those two. That slow productivity approach is probably better. So that might be what's going on as well as your mind is so overwhelmed. This is too much. So we got mindset and we have your mind being reasonable. So your mindset might be off, you need external power, we fixed out the practice. Your mind might be working perfectly fine and is making the reasonable observation that does this too much work. We have too many things we can't possibly be making a difference in all of these. They're beginning to conflict with each other. So you might actually just have to think about doing less. >> Actually, focusing is one of the main messages in your student folks like where you tell people not to do like a thousand activities and stuff like that. >> Yeah. In fact, I was reminded that, so I'm back at Dartmouth and I didn't really remember this like I got up there. I've been back a bunch of times over the course of the last couple decades to give talks. One of the first talks I gave, there's an old poster of this, I have somewhere in my basement. I've forgotten about this. I think it was a year out of college. I came back to Dartmouth and gave a lecture to students there about navigating their student career. This was one of the big points I was making. It was do fewer things. Do fewer things. Do them really well. You are much better off, for example, being the best student in the computer science department than you are being the student with the hardest schedule on campus. I have three majors and I'm doing these impossible. You're much better off, and I'm only a computer science student. In fact, I balance my computer science courses with easier courses. I take full advantage of independent studies and thesis studies where I can reduce my course load but still get credits. My course load is very, very manageable. What I do is I take that energy to become the best student in those computer science classes. That is way, way more valuable than I did a triple major or I had really hard semesters. No one cares how hard your semesters are. Similarly, I wrote a book for Random House. It's going to get you much farther than I had six different clubs. You know how hard that was? I was a treasurer here and I ran this. I did this initiative. No one's keeping track of that. No one cares. I mean, they're like, yeah, you seem like a go-getter, but it doesn't catch their attention. People care about the thing you do best. You're almost always better off making your best things as good as possible, which almost always requires doing less. Again, this came out of my advocacy about student stress, which I did this 2004 to 2007 period. I did a lot of this, a lot of talks all over the country about this. At the core of my advocacy about student stress was students need to do much less. There's only so much that tactics and strategies and time management. They can only get you so far if you have too many courses and activities. And then as a college student, there's no real reason to do a lot of things because no one in your future is going to care about that. There is no college admissions officer type figure in your future who is going to pour over what you did at college and say, how hard was their schedule? Let's get letters. They say this person was really impressive. They worked on all these things. How hard were their course load? No one looks at that after college. If you're trying to go to grad school, it's going to be a professor evaluating your application and what they want to know. Where did you go to school? What grades did you get in your major? Have you demonstrated you can do research? That's all they care. That's all they care about. They're not going to look at your, oh my god, they had three. This is a really complicated schedule. Look at these activities. They could care less. They're going to work for a company. Typically they want to know where did you go to school? What was your GPA? How did they do in the interview? That's what they care about. And again, we're going to see this again and again. Go to law school. What do they care about? Here's LSAT's GPA. You can look up the grid school by school. This LSAT requires this GPA to have a high chance of getting in for basically every school except for maybe Yale. That's what you need to do. I have this grade point average. I need this LSAT score. Practice until I get it. Now I can get it. No one is going to be pouring over your resume to see how hard your schedule is or how stressed you were. That became a big core of my student advocacy. Trust advocacy was avoid unforced error students. Create schedules and loads that are very manageable and then do what you do really well. Do a small number of things well. It's such a more sustainable strategy. And in the end, opens up more opportunities than I did at a hard schedule and did a lot of things. Okay. So that was a big part of my schedule. The other part of my, this is going off tangent, Jesse. But I was talking about this at a student event the other week up at Dartmouth. We kind of brought up all this. I dredged up all of this stuff I used to do around student stress advocacy way back when. And I remember the other thing, the other thing that came up often was when student stress became a big issue, especially at the high school level, the response, and I think this is still sort of an instinct we have right now. The response was all of these Ivy League educated commentators who are writing about this, thinking like Alexander Robbins or Denise Pope would then turn to these aspirational students who were stressing themselves out trying to get into like an Ivy League school and say, guys, there's more to life than going to a good school. Now, just chill out about it. And this was completely falling flat because here they were with their Stanford and Yale degree saying like, well, I did it. And I'm doing this kind of cool stuff and I'm kind of famous, but like just go to the, you're so you're kind of in fact, you're flawed and especially your parents are flawed for pushing you to actually want to come here, just temper your ambition. So it was very much this pull up the drawbridge behind you type of mentality that just wasn't working. The students who are most stressed, if you came to them with your Ivy League diploma on the wall and said there's more to life than going to an Ivy League, they would 100% tune you out. Because they would say, I disagree, you look like you're doing something cool. I want to do something cool like that. If the only thing you can offer me is be less ambitious. I'm sorry, but I'm going to ignore you and go back to whatever's caused me all this stress and causing all these troubles. And so I was also back then this 2005, 2006 period, this lone voice out there in the student stress debates. And this is when they really picked up speed when the millennial demographic bump hit up against limited college admission slot, when the common application became widespread. And now you could apply to 50 colleges pretty easily. This is when acceptance rates plummeted, right? So the 2000s, early 2000s, this is when it became a real problem. And I was out there, you know, as a lone voice among these other voices saying what you have to offer students is an alternative path to their ambitions. You have to keep the ambition in the question. Okay, you want to go to a really good school. I'm not going to try to talk you out of that. I mean, I want you to know it's okay if that doesn't happen, but I'm not going to tell you you're bad or your parents are flawed for thinking you want to go to Harvard or whatever. But let's talk about how you do that. And actually, this path of overloading yourself and just trying to grind it out is not very successful. Here's alternative paths where you could be very interesting and have a good shot at these schools, but your life is very sustainable. And I used to call it the Zen valedictorian strategy. And I wrote a lot about and talked a lot about it. My third book is actually about this strategy. I followed five kids who got into really good schools without being stressed and deconstructed how in the world did they do this. And so I was the lone voice out there often that would say I think it's completely fine. You have to recognize and accept people's ambitions and then start giving them more sustainable strategies for pursuing those ambitions. We're way off Loyance question at this point. But anyways, this is all I was just thinking about this. I was talking to all these college students the other day. We did a student dinner. Yeah. And I was talking to a lot of them about because they had just gone through this to get into Dartmouth. I believe Dartmouth's acceptance right now is negative 2%. Yeah. Like they actually kick out a certain number of people each year. You have to get I think to get into an Ivy League school today, you have to work really hard in STEM classes in high school, get to the head of those classes, use those technology to invent a time machine. Then bring yourself back to 1997 that says negative, you actually have to go back in time to be accepted. I think they try to reduce the number of students there every year. I don't know. That's all neither here nor there. I'm just seeing this mindset. I don't know why I'm in this mindset again. But I guess Jesse, you caused all this by saying I talked about focus on my student books. Yeah. Like in my student books, I really was trying to just be very clear about here's how a lot of students do really well and a lot of it's not doing too much. Being organized about what you do, but keeping your load manageable and actually it's a very sustainable path.


What’s the problem with studying for 10 hours a day? (54:30)

Yeah. Not completely out of nowhere though, because I think we'll see this final question. I think it's going to be relevant to this final question. All right. Last question from a CS student. In a previous podcast, you mentioned not to work for 10 hours at a time like many productivity YouTubers do. Can you explain why not? These YouTubers are often the biggest names in YouTube productivity and seem like they are excellent students and are creating long term deep life habits from it. As long as you make sure to avoid shall work, I was wondering why is working 10 hours a day a problem. Have you seen these videos, Jesse? No. People have been sending them to me. I've taken your advice like even before I knew you about like the no, you can't see any other videos on the homepage. Yes. So I only come up. The plugin that takes the recommendations off of YouTube. Yeah. By the way, I'm a big believer in that still. YouTube is a great library. It's a terrible television channel. That's what I always say. So to use it as a library, I want to learn how to do this thing. I can search and find videos on how to replace the oil in my very particular type of car. It's an excellent library. Or I want to look up. I've heard about Cal Newport. I like Cal Newport. I know his podcast is on YouTube, so I can have that bookmark. I'm going there to look up Cal Newport videos to see his podcast. That's great. They use it as a TV channel. Let me just click on a recommendation and then see if the recommendations are more interesting than I'm watching and click on those recommendations and sort of following those rabbit holes. That is more dangerous. But anyways, there's a whole productivity YouTube where these YouTubers do these over the top, I think of it as a sort of nerd version of David Blaine productivity endurance challenges. I guess it's time lapse, but 10 hours studying straight. And they make it sort of heroic. And this often works well on YouTube. If the thing you're doing is over the top, you take whatever emotional reaction that is relevant to that topic. So you see someone well organized and studying well and you're like, oh, I kind of that I have an affinity for that. I want to be a better student. And then you show someone doing it for 10 hours, you push it over the top. It takes that emotional response that pushes over the top. That's engagement. And people watch these videos and get really into it. So it's a classic YouTube strategy being applied to the topic of productivity. So why not study for 10 hours a day? You can see in the students question. These are big names on YouTube. These people are YouTube famous. They seem like they're really good students. Why there's a clarity to it. There's an extremeness to it, a sort of monastic discipline to all I do is study all day. And I guess my ask you the CS student, it would be to turn the question back on you and say to what end? So what are you trying to accomplish if you're working 10 hours a day on school work? Well, you might say, well, then for sure I'll get into med school. Okay, so then then what? Well, okay, I guess I would study 10 hours a day in med school so that I could graduate top my class and get a really good residency. Okay, well then what? Well, then I would work 10 hours a day so I could do research. I could be the very best resident and get sort of an academic clinical position. Okay, well then what? Well then I'd really want to do 10 hours because I could feel every hour working on my medical research and clinician practice. I could move up really quickly and become an attending, get tenure at the associate university very quickly. I was like, all right, well then what? Well then I could, if I really worked 10 hours all day long, then I could probably become chair of this particular medical department and bring in all this different money and we could really expand the hospitals or and then what? You keep following this out and you look back and say all I've done is just work really hard. What about all the other elements of life? So like the what it, where is there in this point some sort of victory where you say now I can have a full rich experience of life? It's just working for the sake of working because of what's next. Putting aside the fact that it was completely unsustainable and these YouTubers don't work 10 hours all the time. They do again, it's like looking at David Blaine frees himself into a block of ice. He doesn't spend most days frozen to a block of ice but it got a lot of engagement when he did that as a stunt for a television special. They're not spending their day doing this all the time. It's not a sustainable way to live but even if it was in general, this is like let me grind and work all of my hours so I can get the next thing really, you know, get to the next level at the very highest level. It's not sustainable because it keeps going. Now there are some exceptions to this like sure some professional caliber Olympic athletes do this but they're doing this for a very narrow window because they have until they're what 33 before they have to move on and live the rest of your life. It's very different if you're training for the Olympics like this with this level of intensity because it's a in dated thing but if you're talking about your career as a student and she professional career there's nowhere, there's no place where that ends essentially until you die. What type of life is that? So why don't you work for 10 hours a day because it's not living. It's a sort of parody of workism if I'm going to take a term from Derek Thompson. So what works better slow productivity. Working with good focus and good organization on things that matter consistently and systematically over time. This can produce work of real impact of real meaning. It can open up all sorts of interesting opportunities in your life. It can allow you to do and accomplish very competitive things and it's compatible with a well-rounded life and it's compatible with I don't just work all the time. I'm not just always stressed out. I'm not just always overwhelmed and trying to keep up or compete with someone else. It often also produces, in a lot of fields, better results. You don't see the very best novelists that are winning all the awards getting there because they spend more hours working on their novel every day. No, it's this sort of slow and steady work on their writing. They're very careful and intentional about their time. They think, they read, they walk, they integrate and they come back and write. And you get really great, you know, we're going to get a sort of Colson Whitehead is out of the slow development of real talent. Not out of, I worked, I wrote 12 hours each day and the other writers are only writing six hours each day. Now, I think there's a comfort in this for very ambitious young people because it makes you think, it gives you a very simple framework. I turn this knob of hours. The higher the knob you turn up on hours, the more successful you'll be. Most people aren't going to turn the knob past this point because they're weak. I'm not weak. If I'm willing to take the pain, it's very simple. What I need to do is just hard. It's just keeping my hand in a metaphorical ice bucket longer than you did. I like this. I'm going to do 10 hours. You're only going to do four. I'll be more successful. So it makes success seem much more controllable. It's just a matter of raw will. But again, that's not the reality. Great work, innovative work in academia, in the arts, in business or business strategy has its busy periods, but is not built upon. I have to be working all the time. So I just think it's no real way, it's no real way to live. I just say, this is why I come back to my original question to what end? What comes next after your 10 hours a day as a student? What comes next after your 10 hours a day as the investment baker, junior associate, because you took that job because it was the most competitive hardest one to get. What comes next after you get managing director at the investment bank? What comes next after you go off the start your own hedge fund? What comes next after you hit the billion dollar valuation? I mean, there's always things you could be overworking yourself towards, but again, to what end? What comes next? These are the questions I always come back to. So I think it's a stunt what these productivity YouTubers are doing. I've spent my entire life in professional academia, the smartest people don't do that. They work hard and undergraduate, they don't, right? I mean, because it's not that hard. They work hard in periods and other periods, they're in thinking periods. They have other types of things going on. So I'm just not this idea that you're going to somehow just, I love the simplicity of it, but this idea that you're going to somehow just out raw number everyone else. And that's where your success is going to come from. It just is not sustainable. It goes against the deep life that we talk about here. It's way out of balance over the top and really not the right way in my mind to build a life of intentionality and depth. All that's new, Jesse, this like work 10 hours thing. It's because it worked on YouTube. Yeah. I think for young people, they see it. They don't realize how new it is. It's someone just figured this out a few years ago that is very compelling content to be like, man, I just studied 10 hours and you watch them doing it. They did it. They stuck with it. And look at, that's great. It just seems so simple. I don't know. It's like the productivity equivalent of David Goggins doing just ran all day long or did pushups till my arm fell off. When we heard Mr. B's talk about, if you want a compelling video, you don't have a lot of money, you can put together paper clips for multiple football fields and people will watch it. Yep. Or Boba says, how high can he count? He counted to like a million or something and it took him 12 hours. Yeah, it works on YouTube. It's not actually a strategy for productivity. It's a strategy for getting good views on a YouTube video. Maybe our YouTube videos will be the counterpoint of the youth out there or old man videos. I want to move on to something interesting, but first let me mention a sponsor that makes the show possible. That is our friends at element. NNT element is a tasty electrolyte drink mix with everything you need and nothing you don't. That means lots of salt, but no sugar. Why salt? Because you need electrolytes as part of keeping a good healthy balance. So if you are dehydrated partially because, let's say you've been talking all day or you've been sweating a lot because you live in DC, but the humidity is roughly all the percent.


Cal'S Recommendations

Cal talks about LMNT and My Body Tutor (01:04:22)

I don't know the exact term, but it's just terrible here right now. You lose a lot of liquids, including a lot of salt. So you can't just drink water. You need water with electrolytes. That's what element specializes in. It has a science-backed ratio of 1000 milligrams sodium with 200 milligrams potassium and 60 milligrams magnesium, but no junk, no sugar, no coloring, no artificial ingredients, no gluten, no fillers, no BS. I also really like the taste. I'm a big element fan. This is what I use after my workouts. This is what I use after my long thinking walks, especially in the summer. I like the strawberry, no watermelon, that's strawberry. It's a watermelon flavor. It's my favorite. They were a sponsor early in the show and I got hooked on it by the samples they sent us. So I had been buying and using element on my own until they returned as a sponsor. So I was happy to have them returned because this is one of these products. It's what I use. Let's open the packet, add it to a water bottle. If I'm really sweaty, I do the whole packet. If I'm somewhere in between, maybe I'll do half a packet. I feel as if I can tell the difference, but I like that there's no sugar. I don't have to worry about drinking it, unlike other types of sports drinks. It's perfectly suited if you're on a keto, low carb or paleo diet, or if you just don't want a bunch of sugar, but you do feel like you need more than water after some heavy activity. So right now, Element is offering a free sample pack with any purchase that's eight single serving packets free with any element order. This is a great way to try all eight flavors or share element with a salty friend. Get yours at drink element.com/deep. This deal is only available through my link. You need that slash deep to get the free sample pack. So you must go to DRINKLMT.com/deep. Keep in mind this is totally risk free. If you don't like it, you can just share it with a friend and they will give you your money back. No questions asked. You have nothing to lose. Speaking of exercise, and I also want to talk about our friends at my body tutor. I've known Adam Gilbert, my body tutor's founder for many years. He was the original fitness advice guy on my study hacks blog. His company, My Body Tutor, is a 100% online coaching program that solves the biggest problem in health and fitness, which is lack of consistency. You sign up for My Body Tutor, you're matched with a coach who helps you develop a fitness and nutrition plan based around your goals, your lifestyle, your context, you in particular, and then you check in with this coach using an app on your phone every single day. That's where you get the consistency. There's another human in the loop who you feel a responsibility to follow the plan and who can help you adjust on the fly as life circumstances necessitate it. This is why I think My Body Tutor has been such a successful program is because it gets results. Information is easy. Follow through is hard. My Body Tutor solves that problem. If you're serious about getting fit, Adam is giving deep question listeners $50 off their first month. All you have to do is mention this podcast when you join. Just mention deep questions when you join and they'll give you $50 off.


Additional Interesting Information

Something Interesting, Harrison Ford's Slow Productivity (01:07:37)

Just your final segment is something interesting. This is where we talk about something interesting that you and my listeners have sent into my interesting at calnewport.com email address. I'm going to load up now a short post that one of you sent in that I thought was interesting. Okay, so here we go. Here's the post. This was posted on I suppose LinkedIn. I have it up on the screens. If you're watching YouTube.com/CalampertMedia episode 256 or the deeplife.com episode 256. This is about Harrison Ford. I thought this was appropriate because there's a new Indiana Jones movie in the theater. I'll be taking my voice too shortly. Here's what this post says before he was Han Solo or Indiana Jones. Harrison Ford was a carpenter. In 1964, Ford moved to Hollywood to become an actor. But I arrived on a metaphoric bus full of people who had the same ambition he said. He came up with this plan to prevail over the competition. As Ford spent time around the other aspiring actors on that metaphoric bus, he became aware of something. Most of them were in a hurry. They were in a hurry to make it or to make lots of money or to prove something to someone. Whatever the reason, most run a tight timeline. So, Forbes plan was to do the opposite, the length in his timeline to do so. Ford said, "I had to have another source of income, so I became a carpenter." By doing carpentry, he explained I was able to wait it out. As the years went by, the attrition rate eliminated many of those people from the competition pool. Until finally, there were only a few of us left on the bus from the entering class. I always saw life that way. You just have to find a way to stick it out to prevail. I like that story because it's a great vignette of slow productivity in action. There's something that's both effective and sustainable by working on a small number of things over a long period of time. Consistently, this is the definition of internal powered goals, the theme that unifies this episode. I'm sticking with this, even if I'm not excited about it every moment, even if my motivation goes up and down, even if my success or failures have periods where one is big and the other's down and that flops back and forth. I'm going through a hard period now. I consistently make progress. And not just working blindly, but really getting feedback, adjusting, you can imagine Harrison Ford struggling with roles early on, pivoting when he sees a different type of role, seen he's a special type of training. It's this relentless return. What can I improve here? What's not working? How can I adjust my trajectory? You're making adjustments. You're letting evidence come in. You're learning more, but forward momentum always continues. Steps every day. So you're moving in the right direction, adjusting your path, always moving. This more often than not is what unlocks really interesting impact and interesting opportunities, a slow productivity approach, a small number of things that through internal power, you keep pursuing over time, just relentlessly. I'm sticking with this, updating how I do it, but sticking with it over time. Small number of things done really well, a reasonable sustainable pace, really is, I think, a very sustainable strategy for a deep life, a very sustainable strategy for eventually achieving deep accomplishments. So I thought that was a good story to end on. Productivity doesn't have to be fast. Productivity doesn't require constant intakes of motivation, inspiration. Productivity doesn't require these 10-hour YouTube productivity, YouTuber style, binges of I'm just out white knuckling everyone else. Sometimes it says, boring as Harrison Ford said, I'm just going to take my time and keep working on this craft, taking feedback, adjusting, taking feedback, adjusting, having a second trade to support myself until finally American graffiti happens, then Star Wars happens, then Indiana Jones happens, and the whole thing breaks open. So sometimes slowing down is the right way to actually make it farther down the path as paradoxical as that can seem. All right, so that's all the time we have for today's episode. Thank you for tuning in. We'll be back next week with another episode. I'll be returning to the Deep Work HQ headquarters north for another month or so, but the show will, as they say, go on. So I look forward to doing the next show and seeing you then. And until then, as always, stay deep.


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