How To Cure Your Phone & Social Media Addiction (My 3-Step Process) | Cal Newport

Transcription for the video titled "How To Cure Your Phone & Social Media Addiction (My 3-Step Process) | Cal Newport".

1970-01-01T08:50:22.000Z

Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Introduction

Intro (00:00)

So what we are going to talk about is inspired by an article that multiple people have sent me recently. It is an article with an attention-catching title, "Why I Traded My Smartphone for an Axe." It's an article about the extreme length someone went to try to cure their damaging smartphone habit. So I figured we would take a look at this article and using it as a jumping off point to tackle the following deep question, what does it really take to cure your smartphone addiction? So to get started, I'm going to put this article up on my screen here, "Why I Traded My Smart Phone for an Axe." This article came from Barry Weiss' publication, "The Free Press." This was written by a teenager named Caleb Silverberg. Here's the subhead. At 15, Caleb Silverberg made the most important decision of his life. He ditched technology and headed to the forest. Well, that sounds intriguing. Let's look a little bit deeper at this article. We'll start by establishing the problem in Caleb's life. So Caleb says, "During the pandemic, I became a slave to screens. My Saturdays were pretty grim. I'd wake up and drag myself to the couch where my Xbox had been waiting for me all night long. The closed shades blocked the beaming sun and any hope of enjoying it, swimming in the ocean, biking the mountain, hiking with dogs. At 15 years old, I looked in the mirror and saw a shell of myself. My face was pale. My eyes were hollow. I needed a radical change." All right. So the article goes on to explain the change that Caleb discovered. As he writes, "I vaguely remember one of my favorite things. From my older sister's friends describing her unique high school, Midland, an experiential boarding school located in the Las Padres National Forest is a place in which cell phone and video games are forbidden." So Caleb, sensing that he is in a bad way in terms of his relationship with technology, decided this is what he needed to do. He needed to go to this school, Midland, in the Las Padres National Forest, a school in which you're outside and there are no phones and there are no video games. He succeeds.


Technology’S Impact On Life?,

Midland Making Garden School (02:31)

September 2021, he makes his way to Midland as a student. Here's some notes on what that experience was like. As Caleb writes, "At Midland, students must chop firewood to generate hot water for their showers and heat for their cabins and classrooms. Armed with an axe, I found myself liberated from the constant allure of technology. I discovered the joys of engaging in face-to-face conversation and savoring moments without the urge to post them on social media. Towards his conclusion, he says, "I am now going into my junior year at Midland school. Whenever I am at home, I find myself on my phone much less and then only to catch up on my favorite TV shows and to talk to the numerous lifelong friends I have made at school. Midland helped me change how I live my life. I'm no longer dependent on a smartphone." Well, so this was a sort of inspiring story. Of course, I figured after reading this that I needed to check out more about this Midland school, I loaded a couple of photos here up on the screen for those who are watching. This looks great to me. This is talking about aspirational. There's a picture here on the screen that says, "Life at Midland is one big adventure." You see farm fields surrounded by mountains. We see people hiking. We see people working on a computer. We see people climbing a rock wall. Let's click here on the link for "Learn More." See what else we can find out about this school. I just like looking at these pictures. They just make me feel like I'm thorough or something like that. Here's videos on the screen. There's a dog. Oh, here's someone taking a saddle. Here's someone riding a horse. Here's someone jumping off of a raft, collecting eggs from a chicken coop, cooking tamales. I don't know what these people are doing. Big scenic lake, a swimming hole that they're looking at. I mean, I get the appeal of this place. You see these beautiful scenes of nature where everyone is outside and riding horses. You hear about Caleb, the author of that article, finally escaping that life as being a hollow shell of himself that he was living at his couch's home and re-engaging and savoring moments in the world. I think all of that is really aspirational. I really do like watching those clips.


The misleading message (04:58)

But the point I want to make now is I think these stories also have a dangerous side to them. The issue with these popular stories of extreme measures being deployed to try to get away from issues with technologies is that they paint the picture that that's what's required. That the grip that our technology has on us is so strong that short of retreating to the Los Padres National Forest to chop wood in a camp in which phones are not allowed, you are just stuck looking at your TikTok all day, looking at your Instagram reels all day. Because most people are not going to follow in Caleb's footsteps and head to the Midland outdoor survival experiential school, most people would then conclude, "I guess this is just the world we live in. What can I do about it?" I think we need to move past these extreme pictures as this is what it takes and get more pragmatic. I believe that it is quite possible to have a similar effect that Caleb experienced at the Midland school without having to go to the forest. I think you can have a similar impact and a similar result without having to radically change the day-to-day rhythms of your life. This is the type of solution we need to look at is those that are pragmatic and accessible to people to do right now in their current situation. Here's what I'm going to do.


Step 1 (06:24)

I'm going to walk you through a four-step process for getting a similar experience to Caleb without having to move somewhere else and without having to remove phones entirely from your life. Step number one, you need to do a 30-day digital declutter. This is a concept in term that I introduced in my 2019 book, Digital Minimalism. It is a concept that I honed after running an experiment with over 1,700, I would say, 1,700 people who went through this experiment with me so I could see what worked and what didn't. What do you do in a 30-day digital declutter?


Step 2 (07:02)

You take a break from optional personal technologies. You're not on TikTok, you're not on Instagram, you're not on Twitter, you're not on Facebook, you're not streaming things on your phone, you can still do your work email, you can still receive text messages from your daughter when they need to be picked up from school. But optional personal technologies you step away from for 30 days. So you're not going to the Los Padres National Forest, but you're simulating that break on a much smaller timescale. All right, step two, it's not enough to simply walk away from your technology and white knuckle it and hope that you have some sort of detox effect. I do not believe in this idea that somehow technology overuse is like a toxin in your body that if you can just detoxify yourself, you'll be cured, that's not how it works. You have homework during these 30 days. You're not just white knuckle in and say, "I'm not going to use Instagram." You are going to aggressively try to reengage with the activities that will replace this technology use. That means experimentation and self reflection. Experimentation, you need to go out there and join things and do things and go places and build things and learn things. You need to be very active. Reconnecting with activities that you suspect might be important to you or activities that you knew at one point in your life were important to you and you've lost track with more recently. You also need to be self reflecting. What matters to me? Why? What's important to me? How is my life going? What's not going well? What is my vision of my life going better? What am I avoiding?


The Third Step (08:40)

Recognizing or acknowledging about my life? What have I been avoiding with that digital opiate that is coming out of that piece of glass I hold in my hand? What am I avoiding about myself that I should confront that I can then once confront and acknowledge and accept start planning what a vision of a life without that would look like? So you got experimentation, you got self reflection. That's what you're doing during your 30 days. As I learned in the experiment I ran with 1700 people, if you do not experiment and self reflect and instead just try to detoxify yourself from technology, you won't last 30 days. Your mind will talk you right back on the TikTok. It'll talk you right back on to Instagram. They'll say, "This is not really so bad. Come on, what else are we going to do? The boredom is excruciating and the whole thing will fall apart." So you have to be active. All right, step three. Here's the important part. What do you do as these 30 days wind down? Here is where I'm going to suggest a concept taken from finance which is zero based budgeting. Now in finance, zero based budgeting of course is applied to actual budgets. It's approached the budgeting for let's say an organization where instead of looking at your existing budget and asking, "Well, what can I cut or what can we change or where are we spending too much?" You start from scratch and say, "What does our organization need to do? What are the key things we do? How much money does that take?" You build up a budget from scratch. What are the things that are important? How much is it going to cost? That's different than taking an existing budget and saying, "What can we cut or what can we change?" I'm going to suggest that you apply a zero based budget to your personal technology use. You start with nothing. You've just spent 30 days free from these technologies. So you're starting from nothing and you say from scratch, "What is important to me?


Honeycomb Computing (10:32)

What technology do I need to budget to support these things that are important to me?" In doing so, you're going to build back up a personal portfolio of technology that is tightly coupled to what matters to you. More importantly, the technology that was taking up a lot of time and cycles of your attention in your life is likely not going to make it into this budget because when you start with what matters to you and says, "Okay, what technologies do I need to support this thing that matters to me?" You're unlikely to find the answer to any of those questions being on TikTok for nine hours. You're unlikely to find the answer to this question of what's important to me, what technology is going to support me. You're likely to find an answer that says, "Mindlessly scroll Instagram for four hours a day." So when you work forward from values, not backwards from what default activities are, it's a completely different picture. And if you're doing zero based technology budgeting, you have this other advantage. If you know why you're adding a particular technology back into your life, it is so much easier to add rules around that technology use that makes sense.


Should You Be On Social Media? (11:39)

If you know I'm adding this technology to support this particular thing, then you can talk about what features you don't need. You can talk about which devices you can access this technology on, how often you need to access this technology. When you have a reason for adding a technology, you have a foundation on which to build natural fences. So what I want to do here is give you one, two, three, four, five examples of zero based technology budgeting in action. So you have a better sense of what I'm talking about here. All right, here's a classic example I talked about in my book, Digital Minimalism. I met several different visual artists who went through this process with me, 30-day declutter, experimentation self-reflection, zero based budgeting.


Actual Fences (12:22)

When they're going through the zero based budgeting step, they said, "Here's the thing. I know I was spending too much time on Instagram, but Instagram serves an important purpose for my vocation as an artist because there are other artists who post their work in progress on Instagram. By seeing their works in progress, I get creative inspiration, creativity in the artistic fields require input. You have to see a lot of interesting stuff to have your own original ideas. So these artists concluded, "I need Instagram in my life because I need this inspiration." However, because they knew why they were adding Instagram back into their life, they could put natural fences around it. And what they realized is, if the main point of Instagram in their life was just to get inspiration, why was it on their phone and why were they looking at it three hours a day? There's not that much original art out there that requires you to look at it three hours a day. So what they did instead with my prodding is they said, "Okay, I'm going to, first of all, curate who I follow on Instagram down to five to ten artists who I respect." So my feed will be mainly filled with work from these five to ten artists. Two, it takes what? 30 minutes max per week to see anything new that these people have published. So what I'll do is I'll put aside a set evening every week where I load up Instagram. They did it on their laptops, not on their phone. They took the app off their phone so you just don't have it there as a default. One evening a week, turn on the computer and scroll through the newest post from these five to ten artists. All of the creative inspiration is there. You still maximize that benefit, but in this example, the footprint of Instagram in their life has now been drastically reduced. I mean, one of the artists talked about a Friday night ritual, "Glass of Wine," put on some music, scroll through these photos. You're in the right mood to receive creative inspiration. And this became a really positive thing in her life, but also it was just taking up 20 or 30 minutes. Whereas before, this was something that was a constant source of distraction. All right, let me give you another example. You're a writer and Twitter you've discovered is a good way to engage with your audience or at least keep your audience, your community of readers sort of engaged in remembering you and engaged with your work and maintaining an audience so that you can tell them at some point when you have a new book coming out.


Example 1: Authors on Social Media (14:46)

So let's say we recognize this is important. This is my best vector for an audience. But now that you know this is why it's important, how can we put fences around Twitter use in this scenario that supports the value, but minimizes the other potentially negative impacts? Well, one thing you could do here, and I'm borrowing the strategy from friend of the show, Ryan Holiday, who does use Twitter to send out quotes about stoicism. He sends out one quote per day. How does he do it? Let me give you a hint. Ryan is not on his phone looking at Twitter all day, engaging with people and being in arguments and trying to tweet with them. He has a Google Doc somewhere and they gather these quotes in them and he has someone on his team who once a day actually does the posting of the quote. He doesn't have to touch Twitter. So the writer in our scenario can do the same thing. Keep the tweets you're going to do in a Google Doc. Hire someone to post them for you. This is not some extravagant thing. You can for 50 bucks a week outsource this task to a virtual digital assistant. It's not going to be some sort of extravagant $50,000 a year to do. Pay a minimum amount of money to signal to yourself that I take this seriously, but also I don't want to touch this tool. So, again, in this situation, the writer says, "Great. I'm going to have a constant stream of tweets that I've really thought about them crafting at Google Doc. I don't touch Twitter. The value is being supported. The negative side effects are being minimized." By example three, keeping up with the news. I have to be on social media. People are talking about the news. How often do I learn about some story because it's trending on social media? If you recognize that being informed is a value, you can now say, "Well, what's the best way to use technology to do this?" You can find answers that don't involve be on Twitter all day and upset. Subscribe to a Sunday newspaper. With a daily or weekly news digest email from a newspaper, listen to a daily or weekly news digest podcast, talk to your friends. That's probably going to be more than enough. I do that and I know what's going on in the world. This idea that you need to be like a breaking news producer, pulling streams from five or six teletype machines as you quickly look at the breaking news from around the world, that's not you. You don't need to do that. So, again, this example, you identify your value. I want to be up to speed on the world and then you ask the question, "What's the best way to do this?" You realize what you have been doing is not the right answer.


Example 2: Youtube Entertainment (17:17)

What about YouTube for information and content? Maybe YouTube is how you look up how to advice. Maybe YouTube, you like creators on YouTube like me. You like that content better than what's on TV. How then if you recognize this value, I need YouTube to help me figure out how to do home repair. I need YouTube because I'm tired of watching sitcoms and I'd rather watch Andrew Huberman's interviews on YouTube than I would watch the Tonight Show on NBC. If that's a value of yours, how then can you use this technology in a way that's going to support that value without the negative side effects? Well, we've talked about this in previous episodes of this show before, but you can get a plug-in to turn off the up-next recommendations. If you need how-to information, you're searching just for those videos, but there's no rabbit hole to follow. What about you like Andrew Huberman? You have certain content you want to watch like a TV show. Bookmark the page. Bookmark the YouTube page. Then you can when it comes time to, "Hey, I want to watch a show while I eat lunch." Have five bookmarks and you can treat them like channels. Let me go to the bookmark for Andrew Huberman. Let me go to the bookmark for Cal. Here's his latest weekly video. I'm going to put that up on my smart TV. Again, it's a way to get the value out of the tool here without having to be, for example, stuck in YouTube rabbit holes for hours every day.


Using technology to keep up with your friends (18:43)

Final example here, keeping up with your friends. For a lot of people, this becomes an excuse to constantly be glued and reacting to messaging through their phone, taking away their ability to enjoy other things and have gratitude for other things in their life. If you recognize that technology helps you keep up with friends better than in a pre-digital technology world, you can recognize that value. But then again, ask the question, "How do I support this value with technology while minimizing the negative side effects?" In this case, what you might do is the following strategy. There are certain times, excuse me, there are certain times during the day where you check text messaging or instant messaging tools to check what's going on with conversations. Maybe after work, at lunch, again in the evening. They're turned off otherwise. You don't have WhatsApp or your iMessage just generally on and available throughout the day. There are certain times you turn it on. The other times, you either have the app closed or you go through the effort of actually adding the filters which you can do on an iPhone or Android to say, "Hey, let's do important texts for my family, but let's mute the big group text threads with my friends, et cetera, for now." The next thing you do is start to get off your proverbial butt and actually with the people that matter to you in your life, set up IRL regular activities. Don't convince yourself that I'm constantly answering group text message threads. That means I'm connected to my friends. Don't give yourself that storyline as an out. Say, "No, okay, I'm not constantly available on these anymore." What I'm going to do is make sure that every other week we go to the movies. I call my parents twice a week. For this friend here, we always go for a walk on Mondays and you start doing the effort of getting real social interaction with the people that matter to you. You put these two things together in this example and you're not disconnected. Still, a few times a day, you're able to chime in and have some touches on the digital. You don't mind that you're not constantly in touch because you're also in real life in this particular scenario, seeing people and doing things with them. You're sacrificing non-trivial time and attention on behalf of your relationships. That's what's typically required for your brain to actually treat a relationship as serious. That's what's typically required for your brain to think that you actually are being social. It doesn't know about text on a cell phone screen. It doesn't know that socializing. Again, if you know it's important to be in touch with my friends and the phone can kind of help, you can say, "But what's the best way to do this?" Anyways, this is zero-based technology budgeting. You're a 30-day declutter, you rebuild up your personal technological portfolio from scratch. What are the things that really matter? What technology do I have to budget towards the things that matter? What rules or fences do I put around those technology use? This will almost certainly radically change your relationship with technology without requiring you to retreat to a forest and chop a wood all day and have counselors take your phone and video games away and you have to go years and completely rewire your mind. This is something you can do right now. You could start it today and 60 days from now have a completely different relationship with your tools. It has nothing to do with removing tools from your life forever. There's nothing to do with demonizing tools and saying digital tech has to go. It's instead saying, "I care about the things that matter to me. Hey, tools, you're going to help me pursuing what matters. You no longer are in charge. I'll figure out what matters. Where you can be helpful, I'll let you in my life." Where you can't go away. I don't care. I don't need to hear about it. You can do your TikTok dance ice bucket, Instagram real trends on your own time. I don't care about that anymore. I'm getting after the stuff that matters to me. I'm using tools when it helps me and otherwise you can get out of my way. No acts required.


Sponsors: Blinkist and ExpressVPN (22:34)

There you go, Jesse. Zero based budgeting. I like it. I'm a nerd for the technical terms. We have some questions coming up that more or less are going to orbit around the same general topic of reforming your relationship with technology in your life. First however, I want to mention one of the sponsors that makes this show possible. That's our longtime friends at Blinkist. The Blinkist app enables you to understand the most important ideas from over 5,500 nonfiction books and podcasts in just 15 minutes with the Blinkist app. You can read or listen to blinks of these books and podcasts. These blinks give you a 15 minute summary of all of the key points. The way I use this app and the way that Jesse uses this app as well is as a triage tool for the reading component of our lives. If a book seems interesting, we'll add it to a list. When it comes time to buy a new book, we will listen to or read the blinks or the books we're thinking about buying and use that information to decide if it's worth buying or not. What you'll find is 50% of the time, you listen to or read the Blink and you conclude this book is not what I thought or it is what I thought but I think this 15 minute summary, I get it. 50% of the time, by contrast, you listen to the summary and say, "My God, I got to buy this book." These points seem fascinating. I want to learn more about it. It's a perfect sidekick. Think about it as a digital sidekick for the reading life. That's how I use it. It's how Jesse likes to read the blinks. I like to listen to the blinks but we get to the same place. Right now, Blinkist has a special offer just for our audience. Go to blinkus.com/deep to start your seven day free trial and you will get 25% off a Blinkist premium membership. That's Blinkist spelled B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T. Blinkist.com/deep to get 25% off a seven day free trial, blinkus.com/deep. Now for a limited time, you can use Blinkist Connect to share your premium account with someone who you think will enjoy it. You'll be getting two premium subscriptions for the price of one with this special Blinkist Connect offer. Check that out, blinkist.com/deep. I just want to talk about our friends at ExpressVPN. You need to be using a VPN.


Staying Connected While Productive

VPNs (25:08)

This is Cal the computer scientist talking to you now. You need to be using a VPN and here is why. When you access the internet, other people can see what sites and services you're accessing. If you're in a public place using Wi-Fi, anyone with an antenna can see the packets you're sending wirelessly to the access point and what destination those packets are going to, what website or service you're talking to. If you're at home through your private internet connection in the privacy of your own home, your internet service provider can look at what websites or services are you talking to, they can collect that information and they can sell that information, which they do. People are watching what you do, what sites you talk to, what services you use. A VPN prevents them from doing that. The technical idea is very simple. If you use a VPN instead of connecting directly to a site or service, you instead connect to a VPN server, you then tell the VPN using encrypted messages that no one can read, here is the site or service I really want to talk to. The VPN server then talks to that site or service on your behalf, encrypts and hides the answer and sends it back to you. Anyone who's listening to your communication, your internet service provider, the creepy guy next to you in Starbucks who for some reason is holding a six foot tall RF antenna with giant headphones on, trying to act nonchalant, just sitting here holding it. They can't see who you're talking to. All right, so you need a VPN. The right VPN to use is ExpressVPN, it's the one I use. They have servers all over the world. So wherever you are, there's probably a server that's nearby geographically to connect to, which is key for speed. They also have a lot of bandwidth. So again, speed, speed, speed. And finally, their software is intuitive. You just turn it on with a click and then you use your web browsers or apps like normal. It's completely hidden in the background that there's actually a VPN protecting you. So secure your online activity by visiting expressvpn.com/deep today. That's eXPR ESS VPN.com/deep and you can get an extra three months free expressvpn.com/deep. So you always think about doing the ExpressVPN ad. The Gene Hackman character from the conversation. So I don't know if you know the conversation. It's a great Francis Ford Coppola movie. But Hackman's character is a surveillance expert. And he wears this weird, cheap, plastic raincoat that's the movie from the '70s. And he has all these electronic gadgets he uses for big antennas and for his whole laboratory full of bugging equipment and microphones. So I always imagine Gene Hackman from the conversation sitting across from you in the Starbucks with headphones and the antenna. And there's like a rotate. His hat has a satellite dish that's rotating around. That's so good. And that's what's out there. ExpressVPN. Alright, enough of that nonsense.


Questions from tech reformers (28:03)

Let's do some questions from you, our listeners. These questions should all roughly have to do with technology reforming your relationship with technology. Jesse, who is our first question-asker, interlocutor? First question is from Wes. Wes says, "Like Cal, I don't use social media and I have a computer science degree. I too am ignorant of what is occurring in the world." Not ignorant. Not ignorant. That's makes the difference. "It's occurring in the world and I have social connections without using social media. However, I still wish to share my work online and build an audience for similar reasons as Cal. The world being so engrossed in social media, I'm unsure how to go about this while maintaining my privacy as Cal does. I would like to hear Cal's advice on how he manages a YouTube channel, podcast, online writing, etc. and how he's comfortable with sharing information like his face and his name while still remaining private." Well Wes, I think- I understand the question. I think you're making a mistake. There's an inversion in your thinking here that is very common right now in people who are thinking about trying to make a move towards being some sort of, I don't want to say writer anymore, content producer. Let's use that phrase. Here's the inversion or mistake that I think you're making and a lot of other people are making too. They start by thinking about the channels. What are the channels? How do I optimize the channels? What's the right way to use Twitter? What's the right way to use YouTube? What's the right way to build a paid email newsletter? What are the best practices? How do I get the sort of maximum conversion from non-paid to paid subscribers? They start there and then say I'll figure out like what I'm going to say. That's backwards. Where you need to start is figuring out what do I have to say that people care about? How do I actually find something that I'm the right person to talk about that there's a non-trivial group of people out there who are going to be very engaged in what I have to say? This is the hard part.


Have something to say (30:04)

It is very difficult to figure out a message that you're the right person to say you can say it well and the way you're saying it's going to appeal to a lot of people. That is very hard to find. That's where all of your effort should be if you want to do something like I do even as a productive side hustle, nevertheless as a living. That's all the hard work. Once that's clicking, you can care a little bit more about, "Okay, well, how am I reaching people?" Then you can care a little bit more about, "Okay, maybe I want to optimize how I'm using these various channels." But none of that is important until you get the first thing first solved, which is having something to say that people care about and that's where your energy should go. So why do people invert this? Because the internet marketing channel optimization stuff is fun. It seems so tractable. I have a term for this, by the way. This is a term that I think came out of online productivity circles from the late '90s, early 2000s. I call it checklist productivity. We saw a lot of this from the West Coast productivity personalities in the early 2000s. We are really attracted to systems or schemes that are checklist based. If you do these 10 things, each of which is tractable by itself, a really big result will happen, a really positive thing will happen. Checklist productivity is really appealing because you can tell yourself a story, "I'm going to succeed here because other people don't have this information."


Checklist productivity (31:26)

They just don't know that these are the 10 things that you do. If I do these 10 things, I'm going to get this big reward. You convince yourself that you found this information and how motivating is it. I know I can do each of these 10 things. They're all tractable, but they're a little hard. I set up this account. I start doing this. I optimize this. I have a tweet schedule. Everything is tractable. In this storyline, if I just do these things, it's like moderate amounts of hard work on a regular basis, I'm going to be a major online personality. It's incredibly appealing and it doesn't work. Everything is driven by having something to say that people care about. That is the hardest thing in the world. That is the hardest thing in the world. I think a good analogy here to think about is old fashioned television. Every TV network by 1965 knew how to make a television show and how do you hire writers and how do you film it right and what is the 3-act structure of a sitcom and how do you break up a show and how do you market a show and what's the right way to do advertising. All of that was known and yet most shows don't succeed. What was the most important thing? Finding a show that people wanted to actually watch. That's where all the energy was. The showrunners, the writers, the personalities, when everything just clicked just right, was worth billions. This is like Seinfeld. When it didn't click just right, you lose money on it. Everyone knew how to build a show. What mattered was could you build a show that people wanted to watch? That is the right analogy for thinking about being a content producer in the digital age. Think about the checklist about how to optimize your YouTube channel, care about having something to say that people really care about. If you succeed in this and you see some traction, then you can start caring about, "Well, what channels am I using? Maybe I should change that. What channels am I using? Maybe I should improve how I use it, but don't let that come before the actual hard work of figuring out something to do." How do you actually do this then? It's like choose a couple reasonable channels to get started with and try to get success in those and let that be what you do. Once you have success relative to those, that's when you can care about it.


The data will do the rest of the thing. Ignoring Checklist Productivity Productivity (33:29)

My own career, I started with books followed soon after by blogging newsletters. I want to publish books that succeed and I put my energy into that and then I started blogging about those books. That was basically just where my energy was for a long time. Once I really felt like, "Okay, this is clicking. I have something to say. I have an audience.


Background on podcasting (33:48)

I'm looking at the technology world. I've been doing it for a decade." I said, "Okay, now I'm going to go into podcasting. Now I'll think about that. I'm going to go into podcasting because I have all these things to say that are clicking enough, sold millions of books and there's, "I have a big audience now. Podcasting, I've really thought about it and I was very late to this because I'm very deliberate. Okay, I'm going to go into podcasting now because I think that's a way to interact with this segment in a more meaningful way and it's a new technology wasn't there before." Then once we got into podcasting, I slowly then started caring about how do you do this right. Now that we're a few years into it, we have it down to a better science. I think Jesse would agree. I have Jesse on board. We've got our sound guy. We've got our ad agency. We've got our studio. That all came slowly after I had something to say. More recently, we've decided that video is very important. The podcast could be an engine for reaching a different audience via YouTube and we did that for about a year just to get used to it. Now we actually have a professional on board and we're figuring out how to do that right. That all came after. The podcast had traction. Okay, this content is working. Now let's think if there's another related channel that's going to reach an audience who would like to hear this is not hearing it now. So again, this channel optimization stuff comes after content works. So Wes, don't get the cart before the course here. Focus on having something to say that people want to hear. Focus on getting tangible, unambiguous evidence that people like what you have to say. I don't care what channel you do this on whether it's a book or a sub-stack or Instagram. Just choose one, don't worry about it. And only then do I want you to really care about optimizing, getting on your tech hat, starting to tweak the features, all the fun checklist productivity stuff, wait until you have no choice but to get involved in that. I think that's the right way to do it. I mean, just you probably see this too. The internet is full of, you can just tell it's people who've got some checklist somewhere. Yeah. I see this on Twitter a lot now where there'll be a link or someone, I'll come across it because they're mentioning something we did. And you'll go to the Twitter page because I don't have a Twitter app or anything. So if I'm looking at something on Twitter, I'm just in a web browser and I'm just like bookmark a baseball reporter's page. So I'll go into browser to their Twitter homepage, I don't know what you call it. It'll be 60 subscribers. And they'll have this weird sequence of content and you're like, oh, they just did a course about this or something. And it's all like, they've optimized this whole thing about, and it's like, here's my thread and then at the bottom of thread it says, well, if you like this, you'll also like these other things and please subscribe. And it's like they're all doing the same course. But none of them have a particular selling proposition like, well, who are you? What's your point of view and why are you the right person to talk about it? It's like they've just heard this course of like, if you do threads on productivity books or something that you'll be alley of do a dollar or something like that. You know, it's like, that's really hard to do. Anyways, it's a bone I have to pick is like, we don't put enough energy into the hard part first, which is having something to say. Yep. It's a lot more fun. And the same message you give to aspiring authors about like writing a book, being the right person to talk about the right subject. Yeah, that's always my thing about book writing. You have to have a topic that people are going to feel like they have to buy. You have to be able to write and you have to be the right person to write that book. And most people get one or two out of the three, but not all three. And that's why they fail to sell a book. So it's like a cool topic, but it's like, who are you to write about it? Or it's a, you're the right person to write about it, but who cares? Or you're the right person to talk about it. It's a cool idea, but you're not a good enough writer to really pull it off. So you got to have all three. All right, let's keep rolling. What do we got next? Next question is from concerned parent. What are your thoughts on using an iPad as a standard part of the K through 12 education system?


Understanding The Value Of Education & Technology

The Value of Technology in Education (37:39)

Is it effective in teaching children or are we introducing more sources of digital distractions? Well, I think there's a big debate that is going on and is worthwhile surrounding the utility of Ed Tech in one of my books. And I don't remember if this was digital minimalism or deep work. I think it was in my book, Digital Minimalism. I have this footnote that's become sort of infamous, or I weighed tentatively into the Ed Tech debate and say this idea that we need kids to be very comfortable with computer interfaces like iPads because the economy is high tech and it's going to help them be programmers in the future or something is like giving kids hot wheels because we want them to be good at becoming automobile mechanics. The separation between consumer facing digital interfaces that are optimized and easy and the complicated skill of developing technology is so big that they're basically disconnected and I didn't buy that argument. So I've been involved in the Ed Tech arguments. But when it comes to this particular issue and I hear this a lot from parents, the kids using technology in school is making them reinforcing unhealthy technology habits in their lives. I think that argument, I think they're orthogonal. I think the issue of young kid technology abuse is orthogonal to in the classroom Ed Tech. Whether or not your kid is doing reflex max math on a Chromebook or they're playing YouTube videos on the Prometheus board in their class, whether or not they're doing that will not determine whether or not your kid has a healthier unhealthy relationship with technology. The technology in the classroom is relatively well constrained. They're doing specific things on it. We can argue about whether it's important or not. We can argue about whether these tech companies are basically just laundering tax dollars from people's property taxes into their corporate coffers by trying to convince schools you have to buy all this tech. We can argue about all that. But the Chromebooks and the iPads and the YouTube and the Prometheus boards is not what's making your kid addicted to technology. It's what's happening at home. That's what's happening at home. What technology do you allow them to use and how do you personally model technology use in your own life? Those are the two things that matter. If you let your kid just have an iPad or a smartphone and have unrestricted access to the internet or hours and hours playing online games, they're on roadblocks, they're on Minecraft servers, that's the thing that's going to make by far the biggest difference in what their relationship with technology is. If your 12 year old is on text messaging with her friends and on Snapchat, that's because you let her do that. That's going to be the problem. Not whether or not they had a Chromebook in school. Not whether or not a teacher played a YouTube video on the Prometheus board because they retired. EdTech is orthogonal from kid technology abuse.


Could edTech ever be worth it? (40:34)

That's my current thoughts on it. Why I'm emphasizing this is that I think it's easier sometimes for parents to have fingers to point outward than to have to grapple with, man, it's going to be really hard if we set a technology policy for our household that we think is healthy, it's going to be really hard, there's going to be a lot of social pressure, my kids going to yell at me every day and they're going to say, all my friends are doing it and we're going to be really stressed out about it. I'd rather just say, we're not happy with our kids technology set up, but there's all these reasons why that's not our fault. iPads in school, what are you going to do these days? I think it's an excuse. There is, however, I think a tentative connection between EdTech and kid technology overuse that you do need to be wary about. That is this very clever excuse that middle schoolers in particular have started using or they say, I have to have unrestricted access to the internet through a smartphone or iPad because I have to go on the internet to do my homework. And a lot of parents fall for this. The fact that there's some part of their math homework is in a Google classroom somewhere or like once a year, their social studies teacher says, look up some information online. The fact that they convince you that that means they need an iPhone.


Oldest trick in the book. And my oldest, I mean, is like five years old. But I hear a lot about it. And what I think is going on here is not that the parents are dumb. It's too hard to actually do what all of the evidence points at, which is what would be healthy here, which is, and people don't like to hear this, but is unrestricted internet access through smartphone and iPad should be 16 or older. But so hard socially and parentally that we're desperate for some excuse to not have to do that. So we will fall for this. Oh, yeah, they got to do, you know, their homework's online. They have the phone. All their work's online. They use Chromebooks at school. They have to have a phone. It's a completely, I think, a fallacious connection. It's a logical fallacy to broken syllogism. And I think we all know that, but it's an excuse. So that is the tentative connection is that I think a lot of middle schoolers have figured out. I can use the fact that some school stuff happens online to justify using six hours of TikTok a day. So anyways, there we go. I would say care about EdTech, but don't connect it in your mind as being critical to the other really big issue, which is what is my kid's relationship with technology writ large that comes down to the parents. It's really tough, but I don't think we have any excuse about the grapple with that head on. We'll see. I'm giving a couple of talks at my kid's school coming up. Oh, you are. Again, yeah. So we'll see. We'll see how that goes. They have to have the internet. They posted on Google Classroom. They posted what the schedule is going to be for next week. So I have to use 19 hours of Roblox at the night. Parents are like, yeah, check it out. You know why it checks out? Because Google Classroom involves the internet and Roblox is on the internet. I mean, A follows B, B follows C. Give them an iPhone. Your son's been playing Fortnite without stopping to go to the bathroom for 45 hours. Are you worried about that? Oh, no, no. They use Prometheus boards in their classroom. That's technology. So it's like they've got to-- the kids have to use technology. They have a Chromebook in the school. What can I do? What can I do? I can't stop them. You hear it. You know who talks of-- it's always like, Sim might have pressed me. I don't know if you've heard this, Jess. You might have mentioned-- you might have noticed this that Bill Simmons-- when Bill Simmons talks about his kids, the podcast Bill Simmons, he'll always say things like, oh, I can judge by-- I can judge how much they like a movie by like how many minutes they put down TikTok to watch-- to actually look up when we were like watching a movie together. So you're just like fully conceding that my kids are just on TikTok all the time, and I'm lucky if they maybe look up every once in a while. I don't know. It's crazy. Technology is weird. I think it's because we all use it. I don't know. It's so weird. I mean, you would never hear someone in that situation be like, oh, I can tell my kid really likes a book because they put down the 40 of malt liquor they've been slamming all day to actually read it. The other question is, why are you letting them slam malt liquor all day? It's like, what are you going to do with the kids these days? It's crazy. It's like, yeah, I mean, when he stops smoking for 10 minutes, I'm like, wow, he must really be engaged in what's going on. Isn't that interesting? I mean, of course, he can't stop the kid from smoking all day. Of course. This whole thing of like, what can you do? The kids saw a laptop at one point. I had to give them an iPhone. I digress. I digress. All right, what do we got next, Jesse? By the way, angry letters from that from parents should go to Jesse at Cal Newport, that's where all your angry letters should go.


Supercards (45:39)

I always get angry letters for this because parenting is impossible and it's more complicated than I say, but I feel like I'm a parent, so I'm able to like rag on other parents and we all just get mad at each other. All right, let's move on. Next question is from Austin. Hey, I've been going deep on Cal's work after reading deep work last year. I'm currently implementing changes and processes from digital minimalism and a world without email. All right, my question centers around sites like Goodreads, Letterbox or Last.fm that collect data and help track media consumption while having a social dynamic. I love these sites as I find it useful to track books and movies. I may be interested in, but also because I'm a little obsessed with data and stats and that part of my life. I worry that I'm tying my interest like going deep on like reading, film, watching and music too closely to technology in a way that feels inorganic at times.


LAST.FM (46:28)

Is this a problem? I recognize some of these sites. Goodreads, I know. Letterbox, I know. That's like movie fans. Do you know Last.fm? No, I don't. I don't know what that is. I'm going to load that up over here. Actually, let's see here. All right. Let's see. Last. I'm just curious. I just want to make sure we're talking about the same things here. I'm loading up Last.fm on my screen here. So for those who are watching the deeplife.com/listen, episode 266, Last.fm. Explore top music powered by your scrables. Oh dear lord. All right. So I don't know what a scrable is, but Last.fm looks to be like a music, social music site. Olivia, Rodrigo, spiking tracks, all times scrables. I really hope that term doesn't catch on. I'm not a live global counter showing the total number of tracks listened to in users since 2003. That's a big number. Okay. I don't mind. Here's my general take on it, Austin. As I've written about in the pages of my New Yorker writing, I've talked about this a few times. I like in general indie internet. I like in general sort of indie social, smaller sites, smaller communities, sites that aren't trying to aggregate everybody onto the same platform. This was my most recent New Yorker piece where I talked about threads and Twitter and it was called, "Do we need this? The world need a new Twitter." And the argument of that New Yorker piece was the very notion that it's important that we have a global conversation platform where everyone's on the same platform. That notion is flawed. That's never going to work well. Of course we're going to end up with the Lord of the Fly scenario and it doesn't actually increase or solve any problems that anyone actually has. It's much better to have many more narrow niche bespoke places for people to gather to talk about particular interest. In general, the idea of blast.fm or Goodreads or Letterbox, I'm okay with. Now I know those aren't truly indie social media. Goodreads is owned by Amazon and these have become relatively large services. But in general, I don't mind online communities that bring people together around particular interest so long as you think that the benefits outweigh the harms. So often when you do your zero-based technology budgeting and if music is very important in your life, just start from scratch. How do I want to invest, make technology investments in this thing I care about and just reflect on your last.fm use in this case. If it's given you a lot of benefits, find a way to put it in there with some of your neat fences. And if not, maybe like actually you know what, what I really like is this maybe is pitchfork newsletter that turns me on the new music and this podcast I listen to and I use Spotify to be able to sample a lot of songs and see if I like them and that's the right technology portfolio. Then do that. Just be honest about here's what I care about what is a good package of technology to support this and then just be happy with your answer there. Don't worry about what you're missing out. Same thing with Letterbox. If it's really helping you discover and appreciate movies then go with it. If it's not, maybe just subscribe to a couple movie podcasts. Same thing with Goodreads. If it's helping you discover new books in a useful way, go with it. If it's not, you find yourself just obsessing about your stats and not getting much value then don't go with it. So in general, I'm not, I think it's important time for you to do some clarification. I like the internet. I like the internet as a way of bringing together people who might not otherwise be able to find each other, to gather around common interest or identity. I think that is a miraculous development that internet gave us. And the right scale for that to exist is on small. Gathering to talk about movies is great. Gathering to talk about, so if we have a thousand people getting to talk about movies, that's great. A billion people gathering to talk about everything on the same Twitter platform, that causes trouble. So just be honest about your use there, Austin, but I'm not going to be mad at you for using those. If it's giving you value, I think it's a good use of the internet. All right, what do we got next? All right, next question's from Adam.


Lack of progress in life (50:43)

I'm 30 years old and I feel like I should have my life together by now. I don't like my career. I'm not healthy and I'm constantly stressed about money. Do you have any advice or simple actions I can implement in my life on a daily basis to make progress and head in a positive direction? Well, so the reason why I included this question in today's episode, which is really about our relationship with technology, is that I'm making the guess that the first obstacle to clear on the path away from the shallows in which Adam is mired and towards a deeper life, the first obstacle to clear away here is probably a harmful relationship with technology. So for people of this age, you're in your twenties, you're in your thirties and you feel stuck. Often one of the things that is keeping you stuck is these tools, is what's coming in over your phone and what's coming in over your smart TV. The reason why it keeps it stuck is because these tools are optimized to scratch the itches that are core to our humanity. We want to connect to other people. We want to have efficacy. We want to do things that are recognized. We want to have standing in our community. We want to be inspired by beauty and on craftsmanship. All of these are deep human instincts that are wired to push our lives in more productive, deeper directions. But there's apps on your phone and on your tablet and on your smart TV that can satisfy those urges just enough to keep you satisfied. Okay, I guess I'm okay to keep you stuck in your status quo. You're texting and on social media enough that you feel like, well, I'm not literally alone. I'm talking to people. So you consider that it scratched. You're making progress in a video game. And that's just enough of scratching that itch. If I want to make something of myself and be recognized by my community that you're not forced to get up and do something, you're yelling at people on Twitter. You have a tribe on there. We're yelling at the libs or we're yelling at the Maga crowd. And that kind of scratches barely this itch of like, I want to be involved in something bigger than me that matters. The itches are scratched just enough that you stay on the couch and you stay stressed and you stay like your life isn't put together and like nothing is happening.


Role Of Technology In Meaningful Life

How does technology fit in a meaningful life? (52:55)

But this is the danger of these tools is that they prevent us. They prevent us from getting fed up enough to actually make changes. So this is why I want to say let's start. Let's start with reevaluating your relationship with technology. And this is where I want you to do something like we've been talking about like zero base technology budgeting. Get all this stuff out of your life. Take a 30 day break from all of these optional tools, no video games, no social media, no YouTube, no streaming. Spend those 30 days aggressively self reflecting and experimenting with analog activities that are meaningful to you, figure out what's going on with your life. Face and confront. This is Nietzsche looking into the abyss, what you're not happy about in your life. Why and then move past this to self author, what you want your life to look like in five years. So you have clarity about what you dislike now. You have clarity about what you would love in your life going forward. You have clarity through your experimentation and what really is important or meaningful to you what you really enjoy and what you don't and then rebuild your technological life from scratch. Everything has to earn its way in for a particular purpose. I care about this, what's the right way to use technology to do this. I care about that, what's the right way to use technology to do that. When you do the zero base budgeting, most of this stuff that's gunking up your life at them, that's keeping you quiet. That's keeping you just satisfied enough that you don't get off the couch is going to be gone. If you recognize, hey, I'm 30. I'm 30 in a man and I want to stand up and be a useful member of society and respected by my community. When you know that's really valuable to you and you know that there's some self-accrimination about you not doing that and you're trying to build up from scratch, well, what technology can help me do that? You're not going to answer if you're being honest. Well, I just want to be make it to the next level in world of Warcraft or whatever. No, you're saying, no, no. Okay, I need to actually do something here that's going to be meaningful. Work in technology, help me. Maybe it can help me find a group and connect to a group where I can then go and real life and join that group and make progress. It's going to completely reinvent your relationship with technology. Instead of it keeping you pacified, it instead becomes a tool you deploy in the construction of a deeper life.


The discipline stack (55:07)

Once you've done that, once you've cleared out the technological pacification, now we can work our way through what I call the deep life stack. You can work your way through the layers of the deep life stack on your way towards a deeper life. We talk about this a lot, so I'll move quickly, but you would start then with habits and discipline. Pick a couple of areas of your life you've identified as being important and have a daily discipline that you follow, a habit you follow every day. It should be tractable but non-trivial. This is all about just telling yourself the story of I can do things that are important even if I don't have to. I can make progress on parts of my life I care about because I think it's important in the long term even though I don't want to do it in the short term. As part of that discipline stack also start tracking in a central place. Here's the systems and habits and disciplines I follow. That thing is going to grow, that document will grow as you make your way through the stack. Then you move up to the values layer of the stack. Now you really clarify and codify what you learn during your technology zero based budgeting exercise. What am I all about? You need to have a code. This is what I'm about. This code is not just here's things I care about. It has to be a psychological/philosophical game plan not just for how do I excel but how do I make it through the hard parts. What's important to me and what's going to pull me forward through the parts that are really hard especially early on when I feel like nothing's going right. The coach will tell you what am I going to do when things are going really well and how am I going to live up to that. You want to have your first draft of this code. If you're from a religious background you're going to find a lot of useful work there. If you're not you can find a lot of good useful work in philosophy. You want to be really clear about what you're writing down here and don't worry about getting it right that can evolve. Then you move your way up to the control layer of the stack. It is now and only now Adam that you start to get organized. Get the messy parts of your life together. Get your finances in order. Get your fitness in order. Get your productivity systems running so you're not just all over the place. Get your act together and work. Build up that career capital. Start seeing you Adam as this guy gets it done. He does it when he says he's going to do it and he does it at a high level. Why do you do that? That's going to give you leverage to start shaping your career towards what matters to you. Remember we're not getting our act together. We're four steps in here. We've already started clearing out the technological pacification. We've done discipline. We've done values. Only now do we have the foundation we need to actually power through the difficulty of organizing our lives. Then you get to the final layer of the deep life stack as we're going to have vision. You begin planning to make your life more remarkable. The first time you go through this you'll choose one area of your life and say how am I going to make that area my life more remarkable? Maybe it's a professional thing. Or maybe it's a fitness thing. I'm going to become incredible shape and become a Cameron Hain style deep back country bow elk hunter that's going to require me to train marathon daily or whatever it is.


WHAT IS A DEEP LIFE (or a rich inner life)? (58:10)

Maybe it's an intellectual pursuit. You're going to take one part of your life and make it remarkable. This is going to take you about a year and you're going to be so much better at this point Adam. Then you just keep revisiting this. Hey, as technology creep back into my life an unhealthy way. Let me re-clarify in zero base budget. Work your way up the stack. Do that once a year. Adam, you're like a year away from your life being a lot better. You're five years away from your life being something that people remark about. I have complete faith in that. But this is the new thing I'm adding now because I've realized this listening to you my listeners. You have to think about the technology use like the same way you would think about perhaps an alcohol or drug problem if you were pursuing a deep life.


How do I stay on top of things without getting sucked in? (58:56)

Until you solve that you're going to have a lot of trouble with all the other things. So you want to start with getting that technology monkey off your back and then we can work our way through the deep life stack. All right, I think we have time for one more question, Josie. Yeah, we got one more question from Julie. How can I stay on top of current events while still living deep? It's so easy to get sucked into social media scrolling. But what about the news? Well, Julie, I'm assuming you're not a network television news director. You're not someone who is sitting backstage at the NBC Nightly News panning cameras and telling producers to go after stories. You're not a news director. So you can chill out about the news. You don't need to know everything that's going on. You're not even really learning everything that's going on on social media. You're getting a bunch of takes on things that are going on. So my first thing I'm going to say is just chill out about feeling like you have to be up on everything. You're not a news director. So what should you do instead? Just having much more minimalist news consumption ritual. Take a weekly newspaper or even easier. Go to Starbucks on Sunday. They sell the newspapers there by the Sunday paper. Read it for an hour that alone. You will be just as informed as you are now with a lot less stress. Now, if you don't want to do that, there are news digest emails that you can get from newspapers with the digital subscription. There's news roundup podcasts that are both daily and weekly. Listen to some of those. Put on NPR when you commute to work and listen to morning edition. There'll be a major story going on. There's an earthquake somewhere or something's on fire. They'll tell you about it. That's enough. You know enough. Now, I know this might sound radical, but let me tell you if we go back, what's this? If we go back about 10 years, let me tell you who did adopt this approach, the news consumption. Everybody everywhere. Because it was the only way to do it. There was a social media. You know what? People were fine. This idea that in 2009, people just stumbled around blindly, I don't know what's going on. Who's the president? Really? That guy? All right. I mean, okay, what's going on? Yeah. Who died? Okay. I didn't know. There was no place I could go where strangers were yelling at each other about the news. So how would I possibly know what was going on in the world? Somehow people knew what was going on in the world 10 years ago, even without social media services they could look at all the time. So just go back and tap into that 2009, 2008 version of yourself.


Thanks for listening. (01:01:35)

You'll be perfectly informed. But I'm glad you bring it up, Julie, because this is one of the last traps. I think people that have a pretty good relationship with technology, one of the last traps that still snags them is this news thing. It really is, I think it's a storyline of these services themselves. You've got to be connected. You've got to know what's going on. This is where everything's happening. It's not. There's plenty of ways to get enough news without having to be staring at your phone all day.


All right. I think that's pretty good. Good questions. So I want to move on here in a second to our final segment. I have a cool topic that a special guest is going to join me to help me talk about. First, however, I want to mention another one of the sponsors that makes the show possible. And that is our friends at Latter, L-A-D-D-E-R. You probably, if you have a family or anyone who depends on you, you probably need more life insurance. It's the type of thing that especially of a certain age you begin to realize, "Oh, I need more life insurance to whatever small thing my employer offers." But you're procrastinating. And why are you procrastinating? Because it feels like a complicated thing. How do you get insurance? Do you get that guy who wears the red shirt and the TV commercials and the YouTube bag commercials? Does he come over? How do you find that guy? Does he give you a bag of insurance? We just don't know. Insurance commercials are these incredibly vague things on TV where it's funny people and you're like, "Well, I don't even know what this means." So we put it off. So I'm going to tell you how to get the life insurance you need much more simply than hoping that red shirt guy comes by. And that is to use Latter. Latter is 100% digital. There are no doctors, needles, or paperwork involved if you're applying for $3 million in coverage or less. You just answer a few questions about your health and an application. You need just a few minutes and a phone or laptop to apply. There's smart algorithms working real time so you'll find out instantly if you are approved. Latter works with insurers that have long proven histories of paying claims. These are insurers that are rated A and A plus by A and Bess. So you can trust the insurers that you end up working with. So go to ladderlife.com/deep today to see if you are instantly approved. That's L-A-D-D-E-R life.com/deep ladderlife.com/deep. I also want to talk about my body tutor, which is run by my longtime friend Adam Gilbert. My body tutor is a 100% online coaching program that solves the biggest problem in health and fitness, which is lack of consistency. They do this by simplifying the process into practical, sustainable behaviors. Here's how it works. When you sign up with my body tutor, you are assigned a coach. This coach works with you directly to figure out your nutrition plan and your fitness plan. Here is your exact workout. So when you're going to do them, here's what you're going to do with food. And then you check in with this coach every single day online. They have a simple app. You tap a couple of things or submit. You can also do it on the web and you get feedback from your coach every day. So not only do you figure out what you should be doing, you get daily accountability on actually doing the work. Knowing that a coach with which you have a relationship will know whether or not you've did your workout today, will know whether or not you followed the nutrition plan is incredibly effective and motivating. This is why my body tutor clients rave about it. It gets results. So if you're serious about getting fit, Adam is giving deep questions listeners $50 off their first month. All you have to do is mention this podcast when you join. If you have questions, Adam wants you to call our text. You can find his personal cell phone number at the top of every page on MyBodyTutor.com. So you know he's serious about getting you results. So go to MyBodyTutorTUTOR and mention deep questions to get $50 off. All right, Jesse, well, we're moving now to our final segment.


Why Is It So Hard To Find Real Friendships?

Culture wars: Real friends matter more than ever. (01:05:38)

As long-time listeners know, in our final segment, we typically go in a different direction. Then the rest of the episode. And in particular, there's a topic that a lot of listeners have been sending me articles about recently. So I figured we should tackle this. And this is this notion of the friendship recession. Are we in a friendship recession? If so, is it a problem? And if it's a problem, what's the right way to solve it? It's just a right way to build from scratch a robust series of friendships in your life. This seems really tightly connected to our broader vision and living a deeper life in a distracted world, especially in a world where we have these social apps and text messaging tools that give us the illusion of being connected to people, but don't trick our brain into thinking that we're actually being social. Real friends matter now than they ever have before. So in order to talk about this, I'm going to bring on a special guest. That's a long time, a friend of mine and a long time friend of the show. It's a comedian and podcaster. Jamie Kielstein, I'm bringing him on because he recently went through a process of building up a robust group of male friendships in his 40s. So I figured he would have a lot to teach us about what worked and what didn't. So let's get Jamie on the line now to talk about the friendship recession. Jamie, I brought you on because we were actually just talking about this topic offline. I was thinking, wait a second, save it. Let's do this in public because I guess that's what we do these days, everything is in public. So anyways, thanks for coming on and helping me figure out this topic. Now, is that term though friendship processions? That one you had heard or is that just us being geeky? Yeah, I was going to say I haven't heard it because I have friends that I'm hanging out with and not reading your jerky newspapers. No, it's something that I haven't heard that term, but when you said it, it hit me so hard in my heart that I was like, oh yeah, that, I mean, I think about, it just automatically made me think about the years I was just drowning and didn't even think about the fact that I had like no male friends and that I was just trying to fill the void with everything else, girls, career, whatever. And yeah, so I mean, it makes total sense. But I also think there are some easy fixes we can get into. But yeah, I'm here for it. And I'm also glad you introduced me as your friend because that would have been a real sad turn to this segment. Or just my only friend, maybe that would have set the segment up better. Although, dude, I do feel like podcasters, I don't want to get too esoteric, but I do feel like we make our friends, I mean, this will tie into actually social. I mean, I think a lot of people have convinced themselves that if they talk to a lot of people on Twitter or social media that they're actual friends and it's like, or even like girls on only fans and it's like, no, that is not a real connection. It's artificial. And even for us, for podcasters, you know, I consider guys friends. And then I realize I've just podcasted with them. Right. So frequent guest on your podcast is not a quite right to a male friendship. Like I've been on your show like four times like, come on, we're best friends. Let me show you.


How common are friendships? (01:09:02)

I'll show you. Let me show you the actual article that coined this term. We'll look at a couple of the claims here and see if we're all on the same page. All right. So as far as I can tell, this Daniel Cox article from a couple of years ago from the National Review is where the term friendship recession was introduced. It was then supercharged by Richard Reeves doing a big think interview more recently, but I think this was the original source. It just didn't spread as much back then. I guess we were still thinking about pandemics and such. So here's a couple of quotes from this article just to put us on the same page. As Americans try to rebuild and reconnect, a new survey conducted by the Survey Center on American Life finds that the social landscape is far less favorable than it once was. Over the past three decades, the number of close friends Americans have has plummeted. This friendship recession, first use of that term in print, I believe, is particularly bad for men to percentage of men with at least six close friends fell by half since 1990 from 55% to 27%. The study also found the percentage of men without any close friends jumped from 3% to 15% a five-fold increase. Single men have fared worse. I also heard the author Richard Reeves when he was talking about this more recently cite a study that said loneliness is equivalent from a health perspective to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. All right, so we've got a call. When you smoke cigarettes, you look cool. When you're just lonely, what a bummer. Also, you're going to get friends if you smoke cigarettes because they're going to think you're awesome. Go smoke cigarettes. What are you doing? What's the whole podcast? Yeah, man, that, you know, I mean, geez, I'm even thinking about, I think I have really healthy male friendships now for the first time in my life. It's helped me a lot. But as you were reading that, I started to think like how rare it is.


Loneliness, and why do people have so few friends? (01:10:57)

So like my brother is still friends with like his best friends from high school. And my reaction to that is like, what's wrong with you guys when that probably is like, it's so healthy. It's so good. And yeah, how that ties into loneliness. I really think that a huge part of it is we're getting these false senses of friendship from the internet, you know, oh, me and all these people are mad at Ted Cruz on Twitter. That's that's my posse, right? Or again, I mean, only family. I've never, I have girlfriends who have only fan pages. I've never talked to them about it. I've never subscribed, but apparently it is, you know, you're talking back and forth to them like you're in a relationship or like you're, you know, whatever. And so if you're already lonely and nervous about the real world or nervous to date or whatever, and then you just have these tools like, Hey, here's a sense of it. I can just see how that would just like spiral into utter despair. Right. There's a technological element also explaining this. I cited some of these studies in my book, Digital Minimalism, these at the time they seem paradoxical, but these studies that showed when social media use went up, so did loneliness. And then the social psychologists followed up and said, what's going on here? And they introduced this term social snacking where they said, as you use social media more, you convince yourself that you're getting your daily dose of social interaction. You do less of the analog social interaction, but our brain does not recognize digital interaction, especially just text based interaction, like on a text message screen or leaving comments on Instagram. Yeah. Brain doesn't recognize that as interacting. So you think you're social deeper in your brain. They're saying we haven't interacted with the human in weeks and you feel sort of paradoxically lonely. So technology, it made this worse is what it, what it sounds like. Yeah. So you eat two buckets of KFC chicken and you're like, all right, I'm really full and feel sick. And I guess I got my protein intake, but it's just like, are you actually getting like substance? You know, it's, that's why, you know, when friends of mine or me even with like really poor and younger, you just eat a bunch of fast food because you're like, well, this is cheap and I'm getting so much. And it's like, yeah, but you're not. You're getting so much like, and you're getting all these empty calories. You're not getting real, you know, nutrition.


Larry Sanders (01:13:26)

And so really similar. Now, let me, before we get to, I want to get to the specifics of your transformation, because it's very interesting to me, your friend transformation, but just because you're, you're more in touch with the culture around us than I am because, you know, I married with a bunch of kids and I'm too busy and don't know what's going on and I'm a nerd. That was kind of a nice way of being like, you're, you're sad and don't have a family. Yeah. So when it comes to sad familyless people, I think number one person, yeah, you and Jennifer Aniston, like these are the two. No, but when you just look around, you're out in the world more than I am. Do you buy that it's this is worse in general? Like when you're talking to other men, when you see other men, you know, and your social circles, are people, are you seeing this? Are people lonely or are people talking about it? What's the word from the street, Jamie? Yeah. And are desperate for connection and it is, you know, it's hard, man. It's weird because it's hard enough to find a girlfriend, to find someone to date, to ask someone out, let alone you're kind of doing the same thing, but like with a dude, you know what I mean? Like, I even noticed that, and I'm sure the guys listening to this can like cop to this is I remember I just became really good friends with my trainer, the dude who trains me at the gym. And you know, I would come home and I would like light up to my girlfriend about him, just like you would when you met a girl. I was like, oh my God, Trev is like, he's so sweet and like he's like really pushing me harder and like I felt like I like, I PR today and then we got in the sauna and like, man, we were talking about like spirituality and suddenly like as I'm describing him, I'm like, oh, this is how I would describe. Oh my God, I just met this girl. She's so cute. Like we vibe on the same things. We have the same goals, blah, blah, blah. And, but it, it, it takes a little bit of like security, you know, I mean, Cal, when we grew up, everything was called gay. It's like, oh, you're showing emotion. Oh, you're, you know, in touch with your feelings like, oh, you're hanging out with that. And so like, I really do think there's this weird part in men where it's like, we want so desperately that male connection. Jiu Jitsu so popular. You know, we, we, we've, we've gone from handshakes to like bro hug, but like full hug is only for like really good. Like there is a, we crave that camaraderie, but it's also like, we don't want to be weird, especially as you get older. I mean, making friends in general is super hard. What, I mean, do you think something has changed about that? So in other words, in 1990, that was the end point of that article that like in 1990, compared to now there's been this fivefold increase and not having friends, et cetera. Was there, I mean, there must be a pathway to male friendships that existed in the dozen. Now, because of course it's not that in 1990, we were much more comfortable, you know, expressing feel. That's when we grew up, right? As you were saying, this was where, yeah, if you were in touch with your feelings, that was gay. But if you used to phrase you're in touch with your feelings, that too is gay. And so it all sort of recursively piled up on itself. So what was it? I wonder there must have been maybe it's just the, the, the role of work. Maybe it was more stability and location. You didn't move so much. Maybe it was church. Maybe it was family earlier. It's got to be something that was a cheat code for male friendships. And when that was removed, it was suddenly to use metaphor from our childhood.


Growing up with social interactions (01:17:08)

You couldn't beat the boss and contra because you no longer had the, you no longer had the super gone or whatever. I don't really know what that would be. I don't know if you have any thoughts about 1990 versus now. No. So I think that it definitely has to do with the internet and it just has to do with like less social gatherings in general, right? So I was always a girlfriend guy, I believe the term is co dependent and I would always just, my relationship was everything. And when I broke up, that's why this breakup going through now is super weird. And actually I'm leaning on male friendships for the first time because usually I lose a girlfriend and I go, I got to go to the next girlfriend, right? Like that's the only option for connection. And so I think like, if you look at 1990, there were just more gatherings, right? More people went to church. There were, if you were a liberal, you were unions, you, you know, you weren't working from home as much. Yeah, you went to an office. You went to an office every day. The last time I had friends was like my football team in high school and I've been like getting out of shape. It's like, go to a gym, join a CrossFit, do jujitsu. I mean, if I didn't do jujitsu, I'd probably still have zero male friends. That was the thing for me. So you do something cool and challenging with guys who, you know, you, like most of my male friends I look up to. Yeah. And I don't know if people think, you know, when they're, when they're looking for friends that like they have to be the cool one. And it's like, no, you don't want a bunch of little like mean girl underlings. Like you will be good enough. People love helping other people, you know? I mean, the fighters I hang out with are the best fighters in the world. And they're not like, you can't hang out with us until you become the best fighter in the world. I give something else to that circle and then they build me up and make me a better fighter. And so literally just like, again, this, it sounds like they didn't advise you. Shoot your shot. Yeah. Well, okay. And it's like, you know, the best fighters in the world, I can't help but think about the guy from Bloodsport, whose main fighting style was to just boom, the guy with the beard and the American with the Harley Davidson shirt. But him hanging out with John Claude Vondam or David Dukes as the character's name was probably really life affirming for him until he was put into a coma by being too cocky about knocking out the guy with the giant pecs. But I think this is, it's very apt, right? It raises element. But okay. So this is what I want to get to now. So we're going to talk about. Even if she'd all be friended, all of those dreadlocks Jamaican, this instead of killing them, would have, would he have found a healthier inner life balance? I think so. I just read a book about Steven Seagal, by the way. This is a different story. But I think that's it. Oh, yeah. We've got that afterwards. And I became friends with his daughter, who's very nice. But I have so many questions for her that I'm just like, like sitting on. Oh, my God. It was such a weird, it was a whole, it was a whole book about 1980s action films and all of those actors.


Timelines (01:20:08)

Weird, interesting, fantastical, terrible. It's just, okay. Anyways, we'll put that aside. I mean, I think what we're trying to build towards is we would like Steven Seagal to be our friend. All right. But let's go back to, let's go to your life though, right? Because my understanding is you recently added, you made male friendships really for the first time in a long time. Yeah. A big part of your life. My understanding of your timeline, tell me if I have this wrong. But here's my, here's my Jamie Kilstein timeline. All right. I'm really nervous. You're living in LA, more or less just hanging out with Moby. Yeah. Then you, then you moved to Arizona. And as far as I can tell, you were living in a retirement community. So you're essentially hanging out with, with old ladies. Yeah. And like elderly Mexican men. Then you moved to Austin and it somehow, once you got to Austin, you now seem to have a lot of friends that you do things with. All right. So, yeah. Give us the story here. How did you get friends? As a 40 year old male at the time in Austin, Texas, what happened? Okay. So here's what I think happened. And again, this is very similar to dating advice. That time in Arizona, when I was like kind of a hermit. So I moved to Arizona with an ex-girlfriend of mine because we were in LA and we were clearly settling for each other. But we were both nice enough. We were just, it was my only dating app relationship. And we were just like, she was tired of creepy guys. I was tired of like LA girls on the internet. And we just so desperately wanted to make it work that we were like, you know what? It's probably LA's fault. It's probably not us. We should just leave LA. And so I end up in, so we go to, we literally picked a place randomly on the map. So we were outside of Tucson, Arizona. And not surprisingly, we broke up. I think probably like a year after living in Arizona, like right before COVID happened. So my first time as being a single adult male was over COVID, which is, oh boy, it's really like a do or die situation, which is like, am I going to kill myself or am I going to do what I probably should have done a long time ago, which is like figure out who I am. The year that I spent by myself was the first time that I figured out who I really was. And I couldn't try to fill that gap with. So now I have this breakup. It was a loving breakup. It was a sad breakup. I had this breakup with my girlfriend and I have to fight the urge to be like, okay, just find a new girlfriend. Because usually we're so used to kind of like adapting to whoever like the next person is.


Starting And Maintaining True Connections

Get familiar with yourself in isolation (01:23:03)

COVID did not allow me to do. There was no other option. I couldn't date. I couldn't have friends. I couldn't do any of this stuff. And so for your listeners who are really lonely right now and are struggling, I can say that the first thing you should do before you date, before you even make male friends is to figure out like, who are you? Because that year I was reading books. I was finally watching the movies I wanted to watch. I was like taking walks in nature. I started meditating. I was doing all these things on my own. Yeah. So what you're saying is so you got familiar with yourself. Yeah. Took the time to actually be with yourself. And I would add the addendum to that, which you're not going to do by spending more time on screen. So I'll just add in that caveat. What is every example Jamie gave walks meditation, getting back into activities he had enjoyed before reading books, watching movies. None of this was fight on Twitter with your crew or your Instagram follower. Yeah. Bad bus. Only fan. Like, yeah, yeah. No, no, no, no. Yeah. All right. So then you got to know yourself. And then it sounds like what happened was you use that to identify meaningful analog activity now that you had the self reflection, you could identify, like for you, for example, you got back in the Jiu Jitsu, which is something you had done very seriously earlier in your life. Yeah. And then, then church after that, which again was coming out of self reflection. You were now very familiar enough with yourself that when you were sort of looking around and hanging out with the sort of spiritual, not religious type, like this isn't quite right. I think a church, but this church, that required self knowledge, right? Yeah. Actually, I was a little bit church and was like, do I hate Moby? But yeah, no, I mean, like, dude, my superpower and the reason I'm not dead is like being able to like be self analytical. It started as self hate, which sometimes can backfire. But yeah, just being like, why am I here? Because I also want to add that if you're looking for friends or a girl going to a bar every night, just like screens also isn't the answer. Right. So like, well, I'm surrounded by people, but you're numbing yourself out. You're having vapid conversations. If you can even have a conversation over the music, like, I always joke that I want to meet my next girlfriend just like at a bookstore. Yeah. Like, I just want to like, we accidentally both reach for like the same graphic novel account, the same Calvin Hobbs book or something. And but I think that and when we were talking, you know, right before we went on air, I thought about this. I did not think that this is where this was nowhere in my head that I was going to veer in this direction.


Attracting real friends (01:25:51)

But as I talk about it, I realize, Oh my God, this is the most important thing you can do, which sounds counterintuitive because we're talking about being lonely. So it's like, why would you want to spend more time with yourself? There is such a difference between, you know, if I stayed at home all day and just scrolled on Instagram and watched porn and, you know, texted my ex like, yeah, dude, that's a real lonely day by myself. But if I write and I go to the gym and maybe instead of helping coffee here, I go to Starbucks and I ask the barista how they're doing and I have that interaction and then I meditate and then I journal what if like I'm waking up early, I'm not sleeping. I wake up at 515. I don't have a job. I'm an artist. I'm a comic. I'm a comic fan everyday so that I can have that time to myself. Yeah. Man, when I'm around people, that's how I can be my authentic self. And then when you're being your authentic self, you will attract people who are like, Oh, I like that guy. And you will also be able to walk away from a circle of friends that maybe that's just, you know, whatever, whatever the hookup version is of friends. Yeah. Yeah. So there's one final step here to get out the touch on. So we have the self reflection leads to activities that are deeply meaningful. You're meeting people through those activities. So you're now surrounded by people who are on the same wavelength. So this is clearly going to be a source of high quality friendships. I guess the final piece then is there's still a little bit of trigger polling that requires a little strategizing. We hinted at this earlier. But now it's like, I really like these guys and we're on the same wavelength and they make me better and I really hang it out with them. So then there's that final piece, right? Okay. Now I have to just have to courage to say, and this is the dating analogy, but hey, you want to come watch the fight or do you want to come do whatever? So what did you discover about that?


Where Jamie Overcomes His Shyness (01:27:49)

Is that as bad as men fear or is it just something you got to just go for? Yeah. I'm like, I'm running through because I'm also, I'm an introvert. And so I'm not good at it. I, I seem very like bubbly and social in social settings. It's just because I'm projecting and I'm terrified. Yeah. And so I definitely haven't been like, you know, hey, do you want to go get coffee? I mean, I have with my pastors, but that's like their job. I feel like when my pastor's hanging out with me, that's like, if I was like, I had sex, but like I paid an escort. It's like, what are she supposed to do that? My pastor see him said, but like, okay, so be someone you would want to hang out with is number one, right? So if I go to jujitsu and I sit in the corner and scowl at everybody, I'm probably not going to get an invite to hang out. But if every time I go to spar with someone, I go, Hey man, what's your name? Great. And then we roll and I go, Hey, when you did this, that was really good. You know, blah, blah, blah. And then maybe they start coming and asking me for advice, you know, whatever. Maybe everyone, maybe you're the funny person. Maybe you're the person who just asked people how their day is. Maybe you just, you know, my, my main jujitsu coach is a guy, Marcelo Garcia, who is the best in the world. So his gym was like packed, but every day he would go up and he would walk around while people were chatting. He would shake everyone's hand. And so I try to do that when I go to a gym, I try to like, you know, if I'm teaching the kids class, I'll shake the parents hand stuff like that.


The gym (01:29:26)

And then through that, people just feel comfortable around you and maybe they start asking you questions and maybe they just become your gym buddy. I have dozens of gym buddies who I've never hung out with, but there are also people that if I show up and they go, Hey, how are you doing? I can tell them, Hey, man, I'm struggling. I got this breakup and they will give me amazing advice before class. Then usually in these places, there are like group activities. So if you're going to a crossfit gym or a jujitsu place, chances are, yeah, when there's a big pay per view, they're going to watch the fights and you know, you can be so likable that they invite you. There have definitely been times where I'm like, I just have a good enough sense that I'm like, these guys like me, like they follow me on Instagram, even if I don't follow them. Like, I think they like me that I'll even be like, Hey guys, if there's ever room, like I'd love to watch the fights with you. You don't have to say, can I come and watch Izzy fight this Saturday? But you can go like, Hey, if there's ever, or if you're ever going out, one of my church friends, this girl AJ, the day after the breakup, I go, Hey man, I got to be more social. I know like, I usually say no when you guys like invite me out. But like, if there's ever anything going on, can you at least like float it to me? And she goes, Oh my God, I'm having a birthday dinner tonight. I was like, I didn't want to invite. I figured you wouldn't want to go. Do you want to go? Yeah. And I went and then I met a bunch of different church friends. And now they've hit me up. The one piece of advice I really want to give, because I know you won't give it on another piece on another episode, is this is where social media can actually be kind of good. And maybe I don't know if it's just, I think it's for normy people because I have a bit of like an audience. So people think it's in my real life, if they don't know what I do, they think it's cool and they follow me. But I have had a couple people that I've met from Jiu Jitsu or church or whatever, that they'll find me on Instagram. And that kind of tells me, Oh, this person likes me. And maybe when they write me on Instagram, you know, I can't write like every like random person back. But like when they write me, I go, Oh, shit, Nehemiah from church is hitting me up like about my story. Like maybe I actually have more in common with him than I thought. And that will kind of like, that'll be an icebreaker for, because I don't want to just, I have very low self confidence. So I don't assume people like me. But if I see someone's like, followed me on Instagram, I'm like, Oh, okay. But then where you will agree is then it's your job to not keep that relationship in Instagram. Right. I mean, you're describing like 2010 social media where it really was, okay, my friends follow this, we keep up with each other. And sometimes I get a second order connection, like a friend of a friend who I sort of know is a way for them to interact with me. And that was the heyday of social media.


Vlog 9 04/20/2022 (01:32:23)

It was just, yeah. Yeah. That's different than being like, I'm friends with Tucker Carlson because we both hate the same people on Twitter. It's like, yeah, yeah, he liked a tweet of mine. All right, this is excellent. So I'm going to do what I do, which is try to reduce this all down to a step by step advice for my listeners. So this is the Jamie Kilstein prescription. Well, first of all, the setup here is that especially for males, friendships are really important, especially as you're getting to your 30s and 40s, as Jamie was talking about, it is if anything like a buffer against hard things that happen in your life, a source of motivation, et cetera. So you need them. Don't just have, don't just keep in touch with your high school buddies or just know like, I don't want to mess up your list. But I didn't go into nearly as much detail on that. I was trying to get to the how to, but like it has saved my life 100%. I have been going through so much for the last decade, 15 years of my life that having strong male friends who I look up to be able to like, when I'm struggling, like this sounds so cheesy, but like put a hand on my shoulder and be like, dude, I see how hard you're working. You were going to be like so good. You have no idea how far you've come since even the first day I met you and having another man tell you that, you just go, oh, like that's so much different than even like your wife being like, babe, you got this. It's just, it's different. Yeah, it's been, yeah. Right. So fundamental, it's saved, Jamie's life fundamental. Okay. So, so how do we do this?


Digital declutterers (01:34:04)

Well, if we're going to make a prescription here, one, I would say go back to, you know, my digital declutter is a good starting place. The thing we talk about in digital minimalism, where you take 30 days away from all this optional technology, do self reflection experimentation, we usually talk about the digital declutter just as a way of figuring out how to update your technology use. But now let's add that on as the first step towards upgrading your friendship situation. Because during that 30 days of reflection experimentation, you get to know yourself better. Now, typically we say at the end of that 30 days, I look at your tech use fine, but let's add a new obligation here at the end of that 30 days, join something. Yeah. Join something based on what you discovered during that 30 day declutter that is going to surround you with other people who are on the same wavelength with your values. And I would add to that being around those people will probably also bring other things into your radar to join. I mean, Jamie, correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a synergy between you getting back in the jiu-jitsu in the church because there's crossovers, right? Some of the people that the fighters you were meeting were also religious. And so these things cross pollinate. They weren't two separate thoughts. It was like once you're in the world of people you admire and like to be around other meaningful things emerge. I mean, I got that right, right? It was all these things sort of mixed together. Yeah. And that's actually that's another great tip, which is like once you know yourself and you have these interests and these things that you love that are kind of different or whatever, like if I need a dude at church who you know, you love stand up comedy and he loves stand up comedy, suddenly you go like, oh my God, did you watch the new Shane Gillis special? And now you're bonding over nerd stuff. Or they play guitar or you know, like jiu-jitsu is a huge one. Like I have so many people come up to me just because they see my ears and they go, you know, I'm like, I'm talking to that guy. There's no way I'm not talking to that guy. But it's also if you have nothing that you do or nothing that you're interested in, you're just like bored. Online.


Creating Strong Friendships And Bonds

Connect with family friends (01:36:09)

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's a lot harder to connect. Right. Okay. So then that brings to the final step. So now you've you've joined things based off the values that you've rediscovered during this sort of period of reflection. Now you're surrounded by interesting people. And then the final step is to put yourself out there that like, hey, let me know if you're going to watch the game of the fight or go to see this film. Like, I want to know. We're coming to this now boy meeting for two months now. Time to make some friends. Yeah. Like next time you like raid a government building, let me know. I mean, I have like this, this civilian commando gear. I've got this, this, this bear shaman, you know, mask helmet. Look, I have it, you know, whatever, you're raiding a building. Just going to collect this. Just going to come. I'm not using it. You know, not using it. Let me know what could go wrong. I think everyone will forget us. Yeah. That's a good turn. Yeah. Good turn. Okay.


Plan for Six Months (01:37:09)

So that, but here's what's cool about that advice though is like right now if you're listening to this and you're thinking, you know what? This is me. I'm lonely. I'm online all the time and I'm feeling lonely. I have no backstop. This plan we're talking about, this is six months from right now, potentially to a very upgraded friend relationship, a month or so of self reflection, you join things, get involved for a few months. That's it. Yeah. You do that. You're going to have, you're going to have at least a few new friends and then it's going to snowball from there, you know, and then like, well, this and some, you're going to tighten some friendships and others will lose you'll find others, but that's it. Like six months from now, because it went fast for you Jamie. So like give, give our listeners hope like six months from now, you really could be in a very positive social situation, friend. And that leads to everything else, you know, it's like that builds you up. So you become a more confident person. You being a more confident person leads to other things in your life. You know, I, this is very hard for me to say because I've been flamed by a lot of like constantly online people. But what I will say is like while it is not healthy to only have these relationships online. So literally you're in, if you're listening to this, like you're intelligent, you're funny, right? Like, um, you make people laugh on Twitter or Reddit or whatever. Um, those skills that you have online, it's going to be nerve wracking at first, but they do translate. They do translate. Like, if you can make people laugh online, you can make people laugh. Um, in real life. It's just about building up that confidence. And that's going to be a, you know, a step by step process and then show yourself grace. You know, um, if you do get nervous and you're like, oh, this is so stupid. You know, ever since I started reading, they were listening to self development podcast or even with religion. Um, the worst you can feel sometimes is before the breakthrough where you go, I'm doing the right stuff. Like I go to church now. Why would I have a breakup? You know, um, or I'm trying to make friends. I did everything. Cal said. And I showed up at the fights and I was too nervous and didn't say anything. I guess there was no hope. Nope. That's just the first step. And then the next time you're like, I'm going to talk a little more. And then the next time, and you just keep piling on wins. Yep. And you look back and I'm glad I started right. Exactly. Moved it there. All right. Well, excellent. Well, this was great Jamie. Um, just a reminder for the audience. Your podcast is the back row with Jamie Kielstein. What's that website, Jamie? Yeah, you can go to backropod.com. Um, and there's the YouTube channel and I have a newsletter I do every week now where I'm writing about mental health and stuff like that. And yeah, we're talking about like the mental health spiritual journey, but also, um, there getting a little more into like culture politics and trying to bring people together and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Yeah. And it comes with something to do with friends. All right, Jamie. Well, thanks for joining me. I look forward to talking to you again in four months. That's the way we do it. Bye, friend. All right. See you. All right.


Conclusion

Outro (01:40:23)

So there we have it. Thanks to Jamie for coming on and talking to us about the friendship recession. I want to mention actually Jamie's sister, Stephanie Krause has a book out that I thought would be relevant to our audience. I know Stephanie through other, other reasons. And we were talking about this book recently, her new book, it's called whole child, whole life, 10 ways to help kids live, learn and thrive. So in particular, you worry about your kids and technology. Stephanie is great on these matters. So check out that book, whole child, whole life, 10 ways to help kids live, learn and thrive. That's author Stephanie Krause, who happens to be Jamie's sisters. There we go. Jesse. Yeah. Everyone's connected to everyone. So hopefully you like the show. I should probably also remind you, if you do like the show, leave a review. There's been some nice reviews left recently and I really appreciate that. Subscribe as well in whatever podcast listener you use that does help the podcast networks show the show to more potential listeners. So reviewer subscribe does help. Otherwise that's it for today's episode. We'll be back next week with the next show. And until then, as always, stay deep. Hey, if you like today's episode, I think you'll also like episode 263, which gives a four month plan for completely overhauling your life. I think you will enjoy it. Check it out. So today's deep question, how can I reinvent my life in four months?


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