How To Take Back Control Of Your Life From Alcohol, Porn & Social Media | Cal Newport

Transcription for the video titled "How To Take Back Control Of Your Life From Alcohol, Porn & Social Media | Cal Newport".

1970-01-01T08:45:09.000Z

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Introduction

Intro (00:00)

All right, enough of that nonsense. Let's move on. Today's deep dive is not about email. So what do I want to talk about? Well, here's the thing. I receive a lot of emails from listeners and readers about struggling to take back control of their life from powerful sources of distraction. Now, because I'm a technologist and I write about tech and society, they're often citing technological sources of distractions like social media. I hear increasingly, especially from young men about online pornography as well. In addition, though, I've been hearing more often recently non-digital sources of super distractions. So we're talking alcohol consumption is a big one to hear about as well. I often call these super distractions because they're more than just a diversion for the people who are suffering from them. It is a major impediment to them actually getting where they want to get in their life. They are holding them back, not just momentarily diverting them. So I thought I would talk about super distractions today. I thought I would talk about what causes them and more importantly, what you can do to combat them. And so I want to break up this deep dive into three parts. I'll start by myth busting common misconceptions about the source of super distraction and replace it with the idea I think actually makes sense. We'll then use that idea, this deeper understanding of how super distractions actually form to come up with a new mindset about how you tackle them. And then finally, I want to use that new mindset to get tactical. And I've got a series of concrete steps to suggest about how you put this new understanding of super distractions into work, into action to take back control of your life. All right, so that's our plan. Let's start here with a little bit of myth busting. There are two common explanations for how people get to the state where there's some sort of super distraction behavior that really gets in the way of them living their fully flourishing life.


Content Summary: Personal Goals & Ideology

Dont Multi-Task! Downplaying Social Media (01:51)

The first is utility maximization. It's this idea that in every moment my mind evaluates the options and says, which option is going to give me the biggest return in the moment? That's what I'm going to spend my time on. It's a common explanation for digital super distractions. The sort of canonical case study here is I probably should be studying for my test, but TikTok in the moment is going to be more entertaining. So I'm doing that because it's more entertaining than this other thing. And I have it with me all the time. So I'm going to default to the more entertaining option. The other common explanation behind super distractions is brain rewiring. I took the substance, maybe it was I drunk enough, or I began using a particular drug. was I drunk enough or I began using a particular drug. And now my brain fundamentally rewired to have a sort of craving for this in the same way you would have a craving for oxygen. And it's essentially unavoidable. There are truth to both of those explanations. They're not wrong, but they are also incomplete. And we know this because of some of the counter examples that exist when we look closer at super distractions. Let's take digital super distractions. I studied this in depth for my 2019 book, Digital Minimalism. I talked to over 1,600 people. I ran this study with 1,600 people who were struggling with the role of their phones in their lives. And one of the interesting points that came out of this, it was not this phone is more interesting to me than these other things. It is, why am I avoiding things that I know are more meaningful and enjoyable and more valuable to me? Why am I avoiding these things to look at this screen? There was a sense of bewilderment among the people I talked to about why they would take their attention away from their young child during bath time to look at something mundane on Instagram, or they would avoid a sunset that would fill them with awe and peace to comment on something on Twitter. So the on the ground reports of digital super distractions was, this isn't better than the other things that are in front of me right now. This is why I'm upset. I'm taking time away from really good things to look at this thing that's not so good. The utility maximization argument cannot be complete. We see something similar, especially when we talk to more substance-based super distractions. Yoan Harari has this interesting book called Chasing the Scream that looks deeply at substance addictions. And one of the points that he makes in this book, which stuck with me, is he says, the way we think about things like opioids, like heroin, the way we were taught to think about these is just the substance itself being in your body will rewire your brain so that you are hopelessly addicted to it. The way I was raised in the 80s and 90s was if, you know, and this is a Harari example, if a mad scientist kidnapped me, you know, strapped me down and injected heroin into me, I would leave the mad scientist den a heroin addict.


Why Do These Things Pull You In (04:58)

But Harari makes this interesting point in the book. You know, in England where he's from, we give heroin to grandmothers all the time. When you go in to get knee replacement surgery or hip replacement surgery, which is incredibly common if you're older, we use dimerol is what the UK NHS was using, which is just a medical grade heroin. So we're giving grandmothers heroin all the time, but they don't come out of the hospital addicted to heroin. So there's something deeper going on here than just some substances. So there's something deeper going on here than just some substances.


The hurting (05:31)

If you ingest them, maliciously rewire your brain and now you can't avoid seeking out those substances. So what else is going on here? A big part of the answer is the quieting of psychic pain. So psychic pain is a really distressing feeling of discomfort that is coming from your emotional or psychological state, not from your physical body. So it's not a physical pain, but it is a mental or psychological pain. It involves, for example, anxiety. It could involve, for example, unhappiness with yourself or your life. This overlaps quite strongly with shame. It could be grief or loneliness. It could be hopelessness, the sense of nothing's going to get better about my situation. Those are all very painful sensations. And there's a reason why they feel bad because of course they are maladaptive. The reason why they're so distressing is that in our evolutionary history, when we felt these feelings, our brain was supposed to be incredibly motivated to make a change. Why does anxiety feel so bad? Because 150,000 years ago, anxiety was typically related to something bad was about to happen. And it was really distressing. Your brain would say, stop everything else. I think something really bad is going to happen. Oh yeah, you're right. Our food is out and there's a saber tooth tiger. Let's try to fix that situation so we're not eaten. Let's say you're really unhappy or feeling shameful 150,000 years ago. Your brain is saying this really matters because we live in a tribe of seven and we all have to cooperate to not get stomped on by mastodons. We need to do something about this. And in that context, there's probably something you could do. I'm going to go do something heroic or try to win back the praise of my tribe. So in our history, these feelings were very distressing because they would push us to do things that would help us pass on our genes. But of course, in the modern context, none of this is relevant anymore. The sources of these feelings are not the sources that we originally were adapted to respond to. And we have all sorts of different responses that did not exist in our evolutionary history. So they've gone from being adaptive to maladaptive. So how does this connect to super distractions? Well, here's what ends up happening. You have a source of psychic pain, no obvious way to treat it in the way we might have in a tribe 150,000 years ago. No obvious way to treat it in the way we might have in a tribe 150,000 years ago. You begin using one of these super distractions as a way to temporarily quiet that psychic pain. Your brain then makes the association, this activity helps with this psychic pain. Psychic pain is very bad. So we're really now into this activity that quiets that psychic pain. This is now the thing we need to do. And once your brain decides that this activity is how we make this unbearable psychic pain go away, it makes it very difficult not to do that activity. Now the brain's motivational centers, the dopamine centers, they all get fired up to make you pursue that activity because your brain is very into making pain go away. And this is not just a craving. It is also, and this is something who don't deal with these issues don't often understand, it is a distress in the absence of these activities. Someone who doesn't struggle with alcohol abuse, for example, doesn't realize it's not just, I really want to have a drink. It's when you're not having a drink, you feel increasingly distressed and anxious about it. Your mind is saying, this is the thing that helps the bad thing. Why aren't you helping the bad thing? And it becomes very difficult of emotional numbing. It's like, this is what I go to. And because it presses buttons, because it's engineered to press buttons that are unrelated to my particular psychic pain, it's like putting ice on a sore knee and that pain kind of goes away. I can numb for a little while. Once your brain learns that, you feel very uncomfortable when you're not just looking at your phone. It's not just this craving, I really want to see what's happening on TikTok. It's this, I don't feel good not looking at my phone. And it becomes a super distraction. Same thing happens to young men with online pornography. It's this weird distress. Your brain wants something to numb and go away. This is how we do it. This then is what we need to do. That is the source of super distraction. There's often this big aspect of once your brain learns it numbs psychic pain, it puts all of its resources at making you do that behavior and feeling bad if you're not doing that behavior. All right. So then once we recognize this, what does this tell us about taking control? Hey, it's Cal here. I just wanted to mention, if you want to have help taking action on the type of ideas we talk about in this show, sign up for my email newsletter. The link is right here below in the description. Two to four times a month, I send out detailed articles about the types of ideas we discuss here. It's the best way to stay connected to me and my audience's quest to live a deeper life. So sign up below. From Super Distractions. Well, what we need to do is find alternative treatments for psychic pain that your brain can learn to love. Once it gets these alternative treatments for psychic pain that it can focus on, then the grip on the super distractions weakens. So white knuckling it, quote unquote detoxing it in the absence of anything else is not very effective because your brain says the psychic pain is still there. It's bad. Go back and do the thing that makes it go away. If you can develop an alternative way of dealing with the psychic pain, then your brain says, okay, that's fine. Fair is fair. We'll do this other one now. And it's almost as if the demon on your back that was pushing back to your phone, back to your phone, back to your phone, back to the bottle, back to the bottle. It's like that power is suddenly diminished. I mean, we can see some classical case studies of this from sort of recent figures. I mean, we can see some classical case studies of this from sort of recent figures. There's an interesting memoir, Rich Roll, the podcaster Rich Roll, has a cool memoir called Going Ultra or Finding Ultra. It's an interesting story, right? So Rich Roll, if you don't know about him, he grew up here in the D.C. area. His dad was a lawyer in Bethesda, went to Langdon private school in the DC area. Really good swimmer, D1 swimmer at Stanford, developed the alcohol problem. And it became pretty bad, especially once he was done with athletics. He developed it, by the way, if you read the story, to deal with, there's a lot of stress and anxieties and psychic pain based on his incredible athletic, what was required to be an athlete at that level and the realities of how far he's going to get. And it was all he had difficulties. And so it was an alcohol abuse followed. He finally got off the alcohol abuse by replacing it with food abuse. Similar thing, even eating like a lot of junk food can release a chemical that you can then trigger onto it. Like this is the thing I need to make my pain go away. Right as he approached mid-age, he replaced this with a commitment to these ultra-endurance athletic events he talks about in this book as a different way of dealing with the psychic pain.


Reframe job number one: getting off the couch (12:40)

And his mind then turned over to that and said, okay, this is what we're doing. The alcohol abuse was gone. The food abuse was gone. From there, that blossomed into a bigger commitment to healthy living. He got very into veganism and then moved on from just doing ultra endurance events to creating his podcast, which is all about trying to help other people live more meaningful lives. But anyways, how did he get away from these super distractions in his life? He got away by replacing them with something that was better. We see story after story about this, be it Cheryl Strayed hiking the Pacific Coast Trail as a way to get over the grief-induced drug and alcohol abuse, or go back 1,500 years and we, St. Augustine living his hedonistic life in North Africa and through religion completely having something else to heal the pain that he was feeling before. So how do we do this then? Let's get tactical. So we have super distraction. I'm on my phone too much, pornography, maybe too much alcohol, but every time you try to cut back, you find it difficult. If we're going to replace these super distractions with a better source of helping with your psychic pain, how are we going to do that? Let me give you four steps. Step number one, we got to redefine your image of yourself as someone who is disciplined, as someone who has the capability of doing hard things, even if it's not immediately gratifying.


Daily Discipline (13:57)

And the best way to get there is to come up with a few daily disciplines that are not trivial, but are also tractable. They should cover a few different areas of your life, probably something health and fitness, probably something work-related, probably something intellectual or spiritual spiritual related. And you just start marking that on your whatever planner or notebook you use. You just start marking every day, did I do these three disciplines? There should be tractable. They're not super hard, but they're also not trivial. Even just that for a month is going to begin to rewire your conception of yourself as, oh, I can, when needed, do things that have a long-term value. I do have discipline. You're changing your identity. Then you need an organizing meaning for your life, the structure of your life around. This is what's going to come next after you've redefined yourself as someone with discipline. You're going to need probably a religious or philosophical framework to commit to. Here, the word of advice I'm going to need probably a religious or philosophical framework to commit to. Here, the word of advice I'm going to give is practicing. Most philosophies, and especially most religions, are built to be revelatory through action, not through cognition. It's not, I sat here and I read all about Buddhism and I've decided that this sounds right and until I convince myself it's right I'm not going to do it no it's meant to go do these practices and it is through the actual actions that you have the revelatory insight about oh what is true and what is effective or not so you need an organizing structure or framework and you have to live it don't just study it live it you don't know anything about it until you've actually done it. Most of these ancient ideas are built around action. They're not based around just linguistic investigation. You have some sort of organizing framework for your life. And don't overthink this. You can change it. The binary that matters here is the difference between no structure or framework for values in your life and some structure or framework for values in your life. You can change it, but you don't want to be in the first option of having nothing. All right, step three. Now it's time to do some resets. You imagine you have discipline. You have an organizing framework for your life. This is what matters. I'm doing these practices to commit my life to these things that matters. I have some moral clarity there. Now you do some reset. Let's reset how you organize all the junk in your life. How do I keep track of tasks and work and my calendar and all my information for my banking? How do I plan? Am I using multi-scale planning? How do I keep track of what's going on? How do I triage if I have too much on my plate or not enough on my plate? Do I owe taxes or how am I doing my financials? You just systematically, I do not want stuff hanging. I control stuff. I control stuff on my terms. You want to reset your approaches and goals and work. What's going on in my job? Where do I want to get? Let's do some lifestyle center career planning. Maybe let me get more organized. Let me get on the ball. Let me start actually delivering what I'm saying. I'm going to deliver. Let me be reliable and be organized. Let me systematically cultivate some deep work. So the work I do is at a higher caliber. You get that dialed in. And then finally you reset entertainment, distraction, and leisure in your life. What do I actually want to do with my time outside of work? Which technologies do I need? I'm not going to bring a technology into my life unless there is a really good explanation for why I need it. And if there's a really good explanation, then I'm going to put rules around it to get the value and avoid the cost. I'm not just going to randomly have TikTok in my life because someone somewhere had some scenario in which maybe a post would help a business one day. Now you've got to earn your way into my life. And most technology is not going to. You replace the cheap stuff with the better stuff. Here's what I do. I read every day. And here's when I read. And I go for these thinking walks in the evening after I shut down work. And I don't use any of these social media services, but I get my news from over here. And once a week, I check these people on Instagram, but that's the only time I use it. I'm going to start watching good movies on Fridays. In fact, I'm going to go through the AFI top 100. I'm going to do that for the next hundred weeks. You get on top of what is it that I'm letting into my life when it comes to leisure and entertainment, and you dial that in as well.


Resets. Leisure/Entertainment. (18:10)

And this is going to be much easier to do now because you've already reinvented your identity as yourself as a disciplined person. You already have now committed through practice to a organizing framework for meaning in your life. And this is a foundation on which to start building these resets. And then finally, step four, pursue a remarkable goal. So you have something like Rich Roll training for his outlandish ultra endurance events. You have something that you're turning your energy to and coming back to again and again. So when times get tough in the moment, you say, yeah, but I have this bigger thing going on that I want to succeed. And so I'll go through what's hard right now, or I'll endure what's hard or I'll endure this distraction and keep coming back to what I think is important. So you have something pulling you forward.


Pursue a Remarkable Goal. (19:00)

So redefine yourself as discipline, find an organizing structure for your life, reset organizational systems, work and entertainment decisions, and then pursue a remarkable goal. Now you're in a better situation. Now you have the upper hand on the super distractions because everything I just described to you here is going to give you a solid human response to psychic pain. It is you recognizing, if you are approaching your life this way, you can recognize and deal with psychic pain. And you have outlets for dealing with it that are sustainable and that actually amplify what's important about your humanity instead of squashing it or putting it down or trying to protect it from yourself. It's an alternative your mind and body can get on board. They say, I have no interest in looking eight hours just at my phone. I no longer need the four drinks every night as a way to kind of just numb my anxiety. I have these other things that are helping me respond to my anxiety. And this actually feels deeper. This is deeper aligned to me. Now, if those four steps sound a lot like the deep life stack, it's because they basically are. We come back to good ideas again and again on this show and we adapt them as needed. And basically we're applying those ideas to this notion of super distraction with some tweaks here. Very few original ideas. Deep life stack is sort of at the core of this, but this is the big thing I want you to take away is psychic pain demands treatment. And if you don't develop a good treatment for it, you're going to end up treating it one way or the other. And it's probably not going to be the way that is sustainable. It might be a way that will ultimately destroy you. Now, of course, the final caveat here, all of these things can get pushed to extremes that need more serious response. So if it's not just, ah, I keep having drinks and more than I want, I hate being hung over. If it's beyond that, if you have a major alcohol abuse problem, then you need professional help with addiction recovery there. This is a substance that crosses the blood-brain barrier.


Important caveats for this topic (20:58)

It can be very difficult to deal with. If you have a major alcohol problem, you probably need major professional support. So let's throw in that caveat. Similar, if the psychic pain for which these various super distractions are being palliative towards, if it's incredibly intense to the point where it is really getting in the way of your day-to-day life, you need professional help for that as well. So it's not just, I'm sort of anxious and I'm going on my phone all the time, or I'm not happy with what's going on in work, so I'm trying to distract myself or numb myself. If it's, you know, I'm canceling things, I can't get out of bed, I'm feeling a hedonic, feeling a sense of pervasive a hedonic hopelessness.


Poor Charles limits fantastical superpower (21:28)

Well, then there's professional therapy that is meant to do exactly, deal exactly with those extremes as well. So we'll throw in those caveats. Psychic pain gets really bad, bring in professionals. Substance abuse gets to a really bad point. We've dealt with this as a society before, and there's very strong addiction recovery resources to use here. But for most people, they're on this too much, drinking more than they would like. The young man is looking at pornography all the time and feeling all the shame for it. There is a psychic pain here that you can deal with. You can deal with in a healthier way. And you might be surprised by the freedom you discover. You can take back control of your life from super distractions. You just have to get to the real source of the problem if you want to have a positive impact. So there you go. That's a cool book, you on harari book chasing the screen so that's the same harari that wrote stolen focus okay yeah same same one so harari has written three contrarian books um chasing the scream and the main argument in chasing the scream is basically what i was in chasing the scream is, is basically what I was talking about here. That addiction is a highly active substance plus beginning to connect using that substance to escape pain. So like you can take as a, like a bunch of painkillers after surgery, um, and then, and then stop taking and be fine. But if you start associating the painkillers with like, this is making me feel better about my hopeless economic situation, then you get this tightened loop where your brain says, oh, this is how we get rid of that pain. We have to have the drugs. So that's where it was interesting book. Then he wrote a book about depression that also had some contrarian take that it was saying by focusing too much on just the also had some contrarian take that it was saying by focusing too much on just the the biological explanations that got real big in the 90s you have a chemical imbalance let's just fix it he was saying we underplay uh these lifestyle elements that the treatment for depression his argument was should be like this incredible intervention and like all the details of your life to make you know like often it's almost like a logical response to a real hopelessness that you could respond to by making your life less hopeless.


Three Books By Johann Hamburg (23:27)

And he has all these stories about in certain countries. That's how, like when people are dealing with that, the response is like, well, let's help you get your like business going again. So it was kind of contrarian and then stolen focus. He's trying to be contrarian about distraction and argue. I don't know it well i have to go back and reread it but he has some contrarian arguments there about like adhd and is this really um is this caused actually by new technology and not just a completely unrelated brain thing that changed so that's his thing is he does these sort of like contrarian looks at, I guess, psychological related issues. He was interesting guy. All right. So we've got some questions that are roughly on these topics as well as a case study to get into. First, I want to briefly mention one of the sponsors that makes this show possible. And that is our good friends and my bed's good friends. Cozy Earth. Cozy Earth Bedding. friends and my bed's good friends cozy earth cozy earth bedding these are the sheets that we use and a hundred percent absolutely love we bought multiple pairs so that when we clean our sheets we have another pair of cozy earth sheets to put on for a while we only had one pair and it was terrible because there's the bad weeks and the good weeks and there's such a difference between like our perfectly normal sheets and the really good cozy earth sheets that it was almost depressing to get to the in-between weeks.


Cozy Earth Offers Better Sleep & Luxuries WITH Discount (25:01)

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Blinkist: The Go-To Audiobook App for Non-Fiction (26:30)

I also want to talk about our friends at Blinkist. Blinkist is a subscription service that offers you short reviews summarizing the main ideas of over 5,500 nonfiction books and podcasts. Most of these summaries can be read or listened to in just 15 minutes or less. The way that Jesse and I use Blinkist is as a triage service for the books we read in our lives. If we're interested in potentially reading a nonfiction book, the first thing we'll do is add that to a queue in Blinkist. Then we get around to it. We will either listen or read the blink, which is what they call the short summary on that book. And I'm telling you, getting the summary of the main ideas for an accomplished nonfiction reader almost always tells you exactly what you need to know about whether this is a book worth buying or not. In some books you say, okay, I've got the main ideas. I can see how this book's going to unfold. It's just going to gloss on these three ideas a bunch of times. I'm glad I know these ideas. I'm not going to buy the book. Other times you'll read or listen to the blink and say, oh, this is fascinating. Like I want to go deeper on this and you buy the book with confidence. So it makes your success rate with buying a book and subsequently loving the book. That success rate goes way up if you are using Blinkist. They also have a special feature right now called Blinkist Connect, which allows you to essentially share a subscription, getting two for the price of one. So you're getting two premium subscriptions for the price for one. So you can share your Blinkist love with a friend. So right now, Blinkist has a special offer just for our audience. Go to Blinkist.com slash deep to start your seven day free trial and get 25% off a Blinkist premium membership. That's Blinkist spelled B-L-I-N-K-I-S-T. Blinkist.com slash deep to get 25% off and a seven day free trial. Blinkist.com slash deep. get 25% off and a 7 day free trial Blinkist.com slash deep and don't forget that right now for a limited time you can use Blinkist Connect to share your premium account you will get 2 premium subscriptions for the price of 1 alright let us move on now to some questions Jesse what do we have first?


Storytelling & Self-Improvement Techniques

How to escape from the Comfort Zone? (28:40)

first question is from Tracy. I set a big goal in life and eventually achieved it. After six months, my life started to take a downturn as I fell into a comfy zone after hitting my goal. How can I escape the comfort zone when I don't know what goal to set next? Well, Tracy, there's a common problem here, especially among high achievers, Tracy, there's a common problem here, especially among high achievers, which is if you've oriented your life exclusively around these sort of big ambitious goals, and sometimes these are professional, but sometimes they're actually leisure goals as common too. So training for a marathon or some sort of athletic event that's really difficult. If your life is oriented exclusively around these big goals, you are going to run into the problem you're talking about now, which is the down period between them. I mean, for some people in particular, I'm thinking about the big wave surfer, Laird Hamilton, his wife, Gabby Reese, will talk about his lows between the highs of the big wave season. So there's a season in the lows between the seasons, he'll fall essentially into a depression because he doesn't have this, like we're out here, we're surfing, we're fulfilling our goal. Uh, the downtime can be really difficult. So what's the solution here? Well, it's unsustainable. If all you're doing is pursuing big things because you can't always have big things to pursue. And at some point in your life, no one bats a thousand, you're going to have a couple of pursue. And at some point in your life, no one bats a thousand. You're going to have a couple big things that fizzle in a row. And that's where really the hammer comes down for high achievers. That's where they really fall into a funk, where this project didn't work and this thing fell apart. Couple in a row. If this is what you've oriented your life around, then you'll find yourself completely adrift. What you really want is a deeper foundation, a deep life foundation that is sustainable and meaningful from which you launch your big ambitious goals. If this is a sustainable enough foundation, you are fine in between goals, or you're fine if a couple of goals in a row fail because you have this deep foundation that's plugging into the things that are important to you in your life, making sure that your life in general is structured around what you care about, whether you happen to be pursuing a big goal at that moment or not. So a good place to start is just the layers of the deep life stack. You can just go back to the deep dive that we just finished a couple minutes ago and look back at the layers I talked about, disciplined and building a framework of values, then resetting and organizing the big parts of your lives. Remember the last layer, only the last layer there was pursuing something remarkable. So maybe go back and check out those three layers, really get that souped up and get comfortable with that before you launch your next big thing. That's going to make pursuing the big things more interesting, more fulfilling, less stressful, less anxiety producing. That's going to make pursuing the big things more interesting, more fulfilling, less stressful, less anxiety producing. You're going to be able to find more pleasure in the process itself of the pursuit and less of an obsession with the outcome because you don't need that outcome to feel good. You feel good because you have these disciplines built into your life, because you've reoriented your life around a framework of meaning with real practice and rituals in there, because you have reset and reorganized the aspects of your life that connect to things that really matter to you on a regular basis. So whether or not this huge professional project succeeds or not is not that vital. You're finding value in the fact that you're pursuing the project. And then when it's done, you're also going to be fine for a few months in between. I'll mention finally, Tracy, this is something that comes up in my book, Slow Productivity, that's coming out in March. The second principle of slow productivity is work at a natural pace. And I profiled these traditional famous knowledge workers from time past that all had this up and down rhythm. There's periods where they're working intensely on something and long periods where they're not intensely on something and long periods where they're not. And it comes up and it comes down. And when we zoom out to the period of the 30, 40 years of their professional life, we just add up these cool things they finished. But when we zoom back in, we see there's periods where they're really into it. And there's periods where they're barely touching it. And there's this sort of natural give and take ebb and flow. So this natural pace is what we're wired for. And I think having that deep foundation, deep life foundation from which you're launching these particular goals is going to make it much easier to have this more sustainable natural pace. All right. So work on that, get that dialed in before you launch your next big project.


Does Dopamine Fasting Actually Work? (33:02)

All right. What do we got next? Next question is from Tyler. Does dopamine fasting actually work? I'm afraid that if I stop seeking dopamine entirely, I could become depressed. So I guess this is a thing right now, Jesse, dopamine fasting. Does this basically mean, and maybe we should look this up, but does this basically mean like cold turkey detox? Like I'm going to just stay away from the distractions that are hijacking my dopamine system. It's probably similar to like food fasting. Yeah. And by doing that, I'll like lose the, I'll lose that drive. Yeah. I'm not a huge, I'm not a huge fan of dopamine if that's what it is, Tyler. My issue is dopamine fasting by itself has a real chance of not working. And I think our best reason for understanding that is the deep dive that we just finished. So a lot of times, again, and very brief summary, but the super distractions that really plague us, the me on my phone all the time, me and my pornography all the time, me drinking too much or eating too much junk food, the super distractions that really plague us are often plaguing us because our mind has decided this is my primary response to some source of psychic pain, anxiety, or unhappiness, or shame about your place in life, hopelessness, grief, et cetera. So if that's why, if that's the driving force with a super distraction, cold turkey net is a risky move because your mind says, I will not tolerate the psychic pain. So just saying, I'm going to rip away from you the thing that helps with the psychic pain and we'll just white knuckle it, by which I use that term to mean you're just holding onto the table really hard, so hard that your knuckles turn white. You know, that's probably not going to succeed. Your brain says, no, I win. Pain is bad. We need to do something. Now you might get lucky and you might stumble into an alternative thing that your mind latches onto and that's better. But I say, why wait to be lucky? Why not be much more intentional about it? So to me, it's not really about starving your dopamine system, but re-aiming it at something more sustainable. Your dopamine system is only involved in these super distractions because your brain really wants to make sure that we do something about the psychic pain. So let's give it something better to do. And that's going to require a deeper life, a foundation of depth that actually is sustainable and then rebuilding discipline and values and getting in control and resetting parts of your life and then rebuilding these more meaningful things to do with your time, these more meaningful responses to the inevitable psychic pains. And then your dopamine system is no longer your enemy because it says, ah, this weird behavior of staring at the phone. We have other ways to deal with this now. So, you know, I don't think it's necessarily bad, but I don't know that it's going to work. And I think it might generate needless pain. If you really are suffering, you just say, let me just stop looking at my phone and you change nothing else. Could be difficult. It doesn't have to be that difficult once you understand what the underlying mechanisms actually are.


Overcoming negative rumination (36:08)

All right. Ooh, a third. Is this a third T in the row we have coming up here, Jesse? Yeah. I like it. Tracy, Tyler, and Tanya. What do we got here? All right, next question is from Tanya. I find my inner voice very cruel and I struggle with negative thoughts. Do you have any advice on how I can overcome these on a daily basis? So Tanya, this is a very common thing. I want to start with that. I think this is misunderstood about mental health issues from people who don't suffer from them is how often the common source of the mental health issues is these inner voices. So psychologists will call this negative rumination. It's a voice in your head that is constantly pointing out negative things. So for anxiety, the negative ruminations are those looking to the future with concern. What about this? What about that? What if this doesn't go well? What if this disaster happens? What if, you know, it's looking to the future and constantly pointing out things that it's worried about. For depression, it's the same voice. It's just often looking to the past. Why did you do that? Oh my God, that was the wrong thing to do. You're so worthless. People are thinking about that. I'm sure people are talking about it. No one, look at that event, that guy who snubbed you. Yeah, it's one no one respects you. So it's just looking back at your life so far, like a, you know, upset movie critic just pointing out everything that went wrong. voice has a really strong foothold in your head, it's got a real comfy chair and it knows that, oh, I'm going to be listened to. They can change its, you know, themes, but it's in there screwing around with your brain. And that's why we often find those two particular mental health issues so tightly intertwined. So it's a very common, well understood issue. I think of it a lot like knee pain. You know, it's, it's a, oh, I have this thing. It's really common. It's really annoying. I should do something about this because otherwise it makes a, I have this thing. It's really common. It's really annoying. I, I, I should do something about this because otherwise it makes my life really hard right now. And my knee hurts, but also because it hurts, it's making me walk differently. And I might get like even bigger problems going forward. Let's get it treated. And that's the right way to think about overwhelming negative ruminations. Your knees hurting you. It's time to get it fixed. There is a lot of good approaches to fixing rumination. In particular, second wave and third wave psychotherapy are essentially focused like a laser on ruminations and how to dissipate it. With first wave psychotherapy, which is talk therapy, the Freud influence therapy and analysis. This is what people think about from Woody Allen movies and is talking about your kids and your childhood and your life. Second and third wave psychotherapy are much more evidence-based and it says we need to tackle ruminations. So second wave psychotherapy is from understanding my history correctly, and I hope I'm getting my terminology correct. Second wave psychotherapy is defined most notably by cognitive behavioral therapy. This is where you directly address ruminations and point out the distortions in the thinking. You give names to the distortions, you separate yourself from the rumination, and you try to diffuse their power. Tanya, if you're looking for an introduction to second wave psychotherapy, the proper book to look at is titled Feeling Good. Big bestseller from the 1970s or the 1980s that walks through all the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. Third wave psychotherapy is best defined by ACT, acceptance commitment therapy. defined by ACT, Acceptance Commitment Therapy. It's similar. Again, it's rumination-based, but here it has more of an Eastern-motivated approach of noting all the negative ruminations, not resisting them, but also not entertaining them, and persisting with committing to useful value-driven behavior regardless. So it's a sort of diffusing of, it's just this thing that's, there's this voice and I have a name for it and I have a name for the character and he's in there doing all this chatter. And I sort of like, okay, I'm good to see you there, but I'm going to go on and do this thing I think is important. So you see like ACT, for example, ACT is very effective for anxiety-related issues, panic attacks, for example, ACT is very effective for anxiety related issues, panic attacks, for example, where it's like, well, yeah, you know, bad things could happen, but this stuff matters. I'm just going to go forward with it. Cognitive behavioral therapy is, it tends to be very good for more of a negative rumination on your sort of depressive ruminations. So you can intervene. It's like, no, that's stupid. Not everyone was embarrassed by me. And the fact that that guy said this thing at the meeting doesn't mean that everyone thinks I'm dumb. So CBT is very good for that backward thinking rumination. ACT is very good for forward thinking rumination. It's like that stuff could happen, probably won't. But I'm going to live my life and you get used to it. So they have different approaches. If you're looking for the good consumer public-facing book on third-wave psychotherapy, look at The Happiness Trap, which we talked about in a recent book as well.


The happiness trap (41:06)

So Tanya, buy those books first. See which of these resonates more with you. And I would read both of these books and see which of these resonates more with your particular brand of rumination. It's possible that just the ideas in these books themselves, you start doing the exercises and you immediately see improvement. This happens with a lot of people. If you're not seeing improvement immediately, then you get a professional therapist involved. What do they do? They're professionals that are administering these evidence-based ideas on minimizing rumination. They're the brand equivalent of the knee doctor. The reason why I'm suggesting you buy these books first is that when you're looking for a therapist, now you know what type you're looking for. And so if you're dealing with negative ruminations on your past and CBT really resonates, then you're looking for a cognitive behavioral therapist. If you're dealing with anxiety and forward-facing ruminations and the ideas from ACT are resonating, then you look for a therapist that says they're an ACT practitioner. So now you can be kind of selective in who you're choosing. One of our sponsors, for example, BetterHelp is an easy way to get involved in professional therapy that's cheaper and more flexible than trying to find someone who happens to be open nearby, but maybe you also just know someone nearby. But this is what I would say. Take this seriously. What you're facing is incredibly common, but you do want to get on top of it. We have a lot of tools to get on top of it, learn the tools, and if needed, find a professional to help you administer them.


A good routine for deep work (42:34)

All right, let's do another question, Jesse. a good routine in place for my deep work. My desk is cleared from all documents, same for my computer. I set out exactly what I want out of the session and how long it should take. I then do a deep, do a loop around the inside of the building twice, clearing my head while listening to binaural beats. I then do two minutes of breathing exercises outside. Then as soon as the door opens, it's showtime. My problem is is shower work when i block off even to do specific shower work my mind wanders all the time and i find it difficult to get things done do you do anything ritual wise before shower work well first of all i like this deep work ritual yeah what do you have okay uh let's summarize clean desk clean clean computer desktop, um, lay out a plan for the deep work session, what I'm going to do and how long it's going to take a loop around the inside of the building twice while listening to these, I don't know if this was either binaural beats. I think it goes in from Huberman. Oh, okay. Excellent. So it's probably a specific, what's this like a white noise type thing? Yeah. Okay. Two minutes of breathing exercise outside and then opens the door and goes in and work. Cool deep work ritual. We talk about these all the time. Deep work is unnatural. And so we have to sort of trick our brain into wanting to do it. So having a really multimedia, multi-sensory, highly repetitive ritual that comes right before deep work, eventually your brain builds this automatic reflexive connection that you finish this ritual and it's ready to execute. There's a good question. Should we be doing something similar for shallow work? And I think it's a good question because I think we don't treat shallow work with enough respect, at least from the standpoint of cognitive preparation.


Why Rituals Are Important (44:26)

Now, something we've been talking about more and more on this show is the cost of loading up a cognitive context and how this is difficult and takes time. So like before you're doing deep work, one of the reasons why these rituals are helpful, like Mark just talked about, is not just because it reflexively puts your mind into a deep work mode, but you're clearing out, you're giving your brain time to clear out unrelated old cognitive context and load up the context of the work you're about to do. Part of what's effective about this ritual then is that Mark reviews everything he's going to do at the beginning of the ritual, this ritual then is that Mark reviews everything he's going to do at the beginning of the ritual, initiating the loading of that context. And this ritual takes enough time that he can start clearing out the context of whatever email or Zoom nonsense he was doing right before the deep work session. And the ritual is all activities that aren't going to trigger other types of context as well. It's listening and walking and nothing that's related to work. And so part of why this deep work ritual is effective is that he shows up loaded from a brain perspective to do exactly that work. Now, I think a shallow work often requires those contexts as well, but we don't treat it with the same respect.


Discussion On Deep Work & Impacts Of Digital Distraction

Deep Work Ritual (45:37)

So it might seem like the most shallow thing in the planet that I'm going to answer emails. This isn't deep work. I'm not writing the great American novel. I'm answer emails. This isn't deep work. I'm not writing the great American novel. I'm answering emails. But from a cognitive standpoint, each of those emails has this complicated social professional context that you need to fully load to figure out how to carefully word your response. And if you just haphazardly just jump in and start typing emails, your brain's like, I am not ready for this. And then when you switch to another email from a client that's completely unrelated to what you're just doing, your brain plays the comic break squealing sound like, wait a second, we're not ready to do this either. And you feel that real resistance. And I think that's what Mark is pointing out here. It's because you don't have the right stuff loaded up. You're trying to force information out of your brain that it's not ready to do. And so this is a good time to declare that for certain types of shallow work, let's not ready to do. And so this is a good time to declare that for certain types of shallow work, let's ritualize some of that as well. So for email, let's start with that example. Let's take your email inbox, and I'm going to give you a ritual right now. Let's go through the single threading exercise we talked about earlier in the show, break up the emails into different cognitive context subject matters. If you're using Gmail, you can label and archive them so they're all with a common label.


Email Foot Pedals (46:51)

By the way, here's another hack on that. You don't have to actually give content specific names to these labels because there could be over time dozens and dozens of different relevant cognitive context, just label them context one, context two, context three, context four, context five, up to context 10. It doesn't matter what the names are. It's just, you have some way of, okay, oh, there's a bunch of emails about this very specific thing. I'll call that context three. So do that, right? So figure out like, what are the different topics I have to answer in my inbox, label them, put them together and get them all out of sight. Now you can say, what am I going to tackle first? Context one. Now I'm going to do the two laps in the building that I did before my deep work. But now the point of these two laps is to begin loading up the relevant circuits for context one.


How to Walk It Off (47:34)

And just think in your head while you're walking, okay, these emails are all about a conference that's coming up. Let's start thinking about the conference. What's going on? Let me get that context loaded. You sit down at your desk, load up just that context. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. Answer those emails. All right. What's context two? I'm up two laps around the building. Switching to that context, starting to think through, okay, these are all emails about a project. Where am I on the project? You know what, before, what do I really need to do here? You know what? We're really behind. I think maybe we need to do a more drastic reset. Start thinking about it as a way to get the context shifted. Do a couple laps around the building, sit down, boom, email, email, email, email. So why don't we do the same type of rituals around this particular shallow work task? I like that. Let me give you another shallow work ritual because I'm on a roll now, Mark. I like your idea. I've got a Zoom meeting. All right. Well, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to put that Zoom meeting on my calendar and I'm going to put 20 minutes after that Zoom meeting on my calendar right after. As soon as I put that meeting on my calendar, I extended that appointment by 20 minutes. And so as soon as this meeting is over, I'm going to write down all my notes and I'm going to just walk and think about that meeting. Lapse around the building, walk around the block. All right, what just happened there? What do I really need to do next? Was that really a good idea? Are we missing some information? What are the right steps here? Actually, I should not do those steps and just talk to Paul. And like, we probably need to just, this is going to be a longer conversation. And maybe we, you start thinking about it. You're loading, you know, you're thinking about it.


Shallow work rituals. (49:07)

You're trying to make sense of it. You sit down and you, you, you send out the emails, you update all your to-do list. You go in your calendar. You're like, this is great. This is all out of my mind. And I still have 10 minutes left. Now I can just reset. All right. What's next? So we have a ritual there following shallow work to process all the details, close all the loops and give your brain a breather. So again, a shallow work ritual that could be important. I'll give you one more as long as we're thinking about it. What about physical tasks? I got to get this thing from the store and mail this letter. Put those all together. Say, great, I put these all together. I have a whole hour. I'm listening to, you know, I have a book I'm excited to listen to on tape. And I'm just going to use this almost meditatively. Just I have this big list. I can start checking things off while I'm here. I'll go to this store, then I'll go to that store and just sort of feel this feel of just physical progress of tasks being checked off your list while you're listening to an interesting book or something and make that into a whole organized ritual of I'm now in task mode and I'm really leaning into it. So I think the bigger point here, Mark, which you've sparked in me, which I'm liking, is this notion that shallow work can be as cognitively demanding as deep work in certain aspects, in particular when it comes to the complexity of the context surrounding different types of shallow work. So having some rituals that respect that might make the same shallow work seem much easier. So we shouldn't be dismissive about shallow work. Well, that's just something you can do whenever and it's easy.


Deep work and Digital Distraction. (50:33)

And all I care about is the deep work. I really need to care about my mind. We got to care about our minds for everything we do in the knowledge for context, deep and shallow combined. All right, so what I want to do now is actually read a case study. So sometimes listeners send in case studies of their experience using the type of advice we talk about on the show. So this case study comes from Mishia, and I will read it. So Mishia and I will read it. So Mishia says, I read digital minimalism six weeks ago and immediately started an electronic detox. I did not have social media before, but I used to watch YouTube, Netflix, and Disney plus while cooking, cleaning, and sometimes for leisure. I used to complain that I had no time at all. I was struggling to get things done at work. I was not able to focus to finish my data science certification boot camp. I was not able to spend quality time with my 12-year-old son. I was not getting enough sleep. When I started the 30-day detox, I noticed that I was able to focus more. I enjoyed spending time with myself and my thoughts. I was able to read and replicate some machine learning papers. And most of all, I was fully aware of the present and improving my relationship with my son. Signicide distractions such as YouTube and streaming services gave me myself back, my thoughts and my alone and silenced time.


Case study. (51:49)

I always enjoyed silence but maybe because the fast-paced society I felt I needed to subscribe to these streaming services. At the end of the 30 days I was able to finish my data science certification. I am currently sleeping eight to nine hours every night. I spend much more quality time with my son. I was able to read four books and my brain is not hungry for dopamine anymore. I mean, sometimes I want to just lay down and binge on something. So I always have my Kindle with me. And when I feel this way, I purchase a thriller, mystery, science, fantasy, and fiction or fiction book. And I get to read. I rediscovered the pleasure of reading i was so impressed how little changes can actually make a huge difference thank you so much cal i cannot thank you enough well misha that's a really cool story and i i wanted to read it because it emphasizes the people we don't always realize the impact of these super distractions on our life we We think like, yeah, I look at my phone and have some streaming services, but that's just kind of like in the background and in downtime. It's not a major shaper of my experience of the world, but it is because it becomes something you come back to, to escape or to get away from these sources of psychic pain, be it anxiety or hopelessness or grief or whatever it is. And they become this background numbness in your life that takes you away from other things. We're used to this from the substance abuse community. Talk to a big drinker about life after drinking. They tell it's like taking the limitless pill from that movie, right? Where it's like, oh my God, I have so much time and energy and there's all these things I can do. And they didn't realize how much of their life was, you know, feeling inebriated or recovering from drinking and what a big impact it was having on their life until they took it away. And people report the same thing about digital distractions, just like Mishia did here. Her life is so much richer now. She's doing the things she knows are better. And because of that, her life is much better. This goes exactly to the deep dive from the beginning of this show.


Book Recommendations & Appreciation

Digital declutter. - Cal Cal Newports book. (53:48)

I'm sure if we push closer, there is difficulties that were being numbed or dealt with by all these digital distractions in Misha's life. She now has other things, explicit alternatives to deal with that psychic pain, this sort of pursuing time with her son, reading, working on stuff that's important for her career. Once she was able to inculcate these new activities by using the digital declutter suggestion from digital minimalism, once these alternatives, more humane and sustainable, these deeper sources of meaning were in place, then the cheap stuff was no longer so appealing and her life is much better. So I think that's a good case study. I love this idea that she thought she had no time. And then she realized she actually had all the time in the world. It was just a matter of controlling who got access to it.


I love Digital. (54:37)

So Misha, I like that case study. Hopefully you've motivated some more people to go through some sort of transformation. So Mishia, I like that case study. Hopefully you've motivated some more people to go through some sort of transformation. So you can look in digital minimalism and there's a whole program in there specifically for digital distraction or go through the deep life stack we talked about earlier. But if you are finding more and more, your life is caught up in these super distractions, it's time to take back control. Mishiaia did it i think you can do it as well all right so we have a final segment coming up i want to react to a piece of news i found interesting uh first i want to briefly mention another sponsor that makes this show possible and that is our friends at ladder I was having a moment there where I was pondering I'll tell you what I was just pondering in that moment of silence right now do I have enough life insurance I was so distracted by that question that it distracted me from the ad I was reading and you might be the same way life insurance is one of these things that anyone who has people who depends that it distracted me from the ad I was reading, and you might be the same way.


Alliance Corporation: Life Insurance Simplified (55:39)

Life insurance is one of these things that anyone who has people who depends on them, kids, a spouse, et cetera, often feel anxious about. I know I don't have enough, or maybe I don't have any at all, or I have some small policy through my company that's not going to do anything, God forbid, if something terrible happens. It's a source of anxiety because it's just hanging there. And why don't we deal with it is because it is ambiguous. How do I go get life insurance? It sounds like a hard thing. It sounds like, you know, Flo from the insurance commercials or the guy with the red shirt has to come to your house and like give you a shot or something or like listen to your heart with a stethoscope. We don't know. How do you do this? How do you get life insurance? That is where Ladder enters the scene. It's 100% digital. There are no doctors, no needles, and no paperwork if you're applying for $3 million in coverage or less. You just answer a few questions online in an application. You need just a few minutes on a phone or laptop to apply. Their smart algorithms will work in real time, so you'll find out if you're instantly approved. No hidden fees. Cancel anytime. Get a full refund if you change your mind in the first 30 days. These are good policies. These are policies insured by insurers with long proven histories. We're talking about insurers that are rated A or A plus by A.M. Best. So go to ladderlife.com slash deep today to see if you are instantly improved. That's L-A-D-D-E-R life.com slash deep ladderlife.com slash deep.


Mint Mobile (57:18)

I also want to talk about our friends at Mint Mobile. Mint Mobile is the first company to sell premium wireless service online only, which saves a lot of money and allows them to pass those savings along to you. With Mint Mobile, you can order a wireless plan from home and save a ton of money. We're talking about phone plans that start at just $15 a month. That could be $100 or more less per month that you are paying for phone service. They get this so cheap because they are online only, so they don't have to deal with expensive retail stores. For example, they can pass those savings directly to you. All their plans come with unlimited talk and text plus high-speed data delivered on the nation's largest 5G network. We were talking about Mint Mobile. I was talking about it recently. I've been giving a talk at my kids' schools about phones and kids, and I brought in my $45 phone I bought on Amazon that has its wireless service through Mint Mobile because the parents were wondering, how can I give my kids access to text messaging without having to buy them an expensive iPhone and $100 a month plan and all the bells and whistles that are on an iPhone? And I said, just buy a phone off of Amazon like I did. Get a Mint Mobile plan, $15 a month. They send you the SIM card in the mail. You just stick it in. Now they have a phone. They can text you. They don't need the ability to play Roblox on landscape mode on some sort of fancy device. So I was pitching Mint Mobile to parents at my kids' schools just within the last couple of weeks. So to get your new wireless plan for just 15 bucks a month and to get the plan shipped to your door for free, go to mintmobile.com slash deep. That's mintmobile.com slash deep. Cut your wireless bill to $15 a month. That's mintmobile.com slash deep.


Cal Newports (59:17)

All right, for our final segment, I want to go back to something that we haven't done in a little bit, Jesse, which is our classic Cal Reacts. Take a bit of news that I saw or someone sent me that I thought was interesting and that we could talk about. So the news I want to talk about today, I'm bringing up on the screen here. And I should mention, if you're listening and want to see what I'm talking about, just go to the deeplife.com slash listen episode 270. The videos are at the bottom. So the article I want to talk about was published in Neiman reports. So, uh, Neiman is the study. It, they study journal. It's a journalism school. So Neiman reports is about the media business. Um, the title of this article is six months ago, NPR left Twitter. The effects have been negligible. Well, you could already tell I'm happy about this one. All right, let's read the subhead here. The numbers confirm what many of us have long suspected, that Twitter wasn't worth the effort, at least in terms of traffic. I'll read a little bit from this piece and then we'll talk about it. All right, here's a little bit more. A lot of people threatened to leave Twitter. Not many of them have actually done it. But last April, Twitter gave NPR a reason to quit. It labeled the network U.S. State Affiliated Media, a designation that was at odds with Twitter's own definition of the term. NPR stopped posting from its accounts on April 4th. A week later, it posted its last update, a series of tweets directing users to NPR's newsletters, apps, and other social media accounts. Many member stations across the country, including KUOW in Seattle, LAist in Los Angeles, and Minnesota Public Radio followed suit.


Leaving Twitter (01:00:54)

Six months later, we can see the effects of leaving Twitter have been negligible. A memo circulated to NPR staff says traffic has dropped by only a single percentage point as a result of leaving Twitter. All right, I bring this up because this is something I've been arguing for a long time now, which is we give Twitter in particular and social media more generally, we were giving it way too much credit. There is this idea out there like you have to be on Twitter. This is where news breaks. It's where people learn about the world. It's how people find out about you and what is going on. NPR's experience says that's not true. And it turns out the people who were really pushing this were people who were addicted to Twitter. It's like the people who your friends at the bar who get really mad when you say i'm going to stop drinking like this is what do you mean like this is fun this is like where everything happens where all the socialization happens there's a lot of this was happening around twitter was it really important for this news organization to be tweeting out their stories no it wasn't important to their mission. They have reporters. They know what's going on in the world. They do radio reports. They publish things on their own website that they can control. They have podcasts. They have email newsletter subscriptions that they can control. And that is perfectly reasonable way for them to distribute the news. And it works fine. And their traffic didn't budge. Because again, Twitter is heavily used by a small number of addicts. There's a slightly larger group of people who like to watch the car crash, and then everyone else doesn't care. But it seems so important because a lot of the people in that first circle also happen to be big personalities. They're journalists, they're media personalities. And so they give this sense of, because to them, it's where everything's happening, but it's not really. It's not really. So if this is true for Twitter, think about for your own life. I mean, if it's true for NPR, that's like major news organization leaving the social media home of all news and everything was just fine. Ask yourself the question, what would happen if you did the same? And you could I know the excuses. This is where I'm going to learn about the world. It's not. There's a lot of source of news. You can learn about the world and everything that's going on, even with a little bit of fact checking involved first, without having to be on Twitter. This is where I'm going to meet interesting people. Hey, guess what? You can meet interesting people who are not on Twitter. And the very fact that they're active on Twitter probably means they're not that interesting anyways. You say, well, this is where I learn about really interesting ideas. Guess what? There's a lot of ways to learn about really interesting ideas. So I want to generalize this NPR example to more people. These services are not as vital to the functioning of our civic life, our personal lives, the media landscape. They're not as vital for all these things as we told ourselves. It was this period of social media totalitarianism that we're just coming out of, where it felt like there was no other option but to be subservient to these services. And I think we're realizing that's not the case. And we're leaving that thinking. And I think this is an important piece of it. I mean, I wrote in deep work, 2016, right in that book, I said, this decision by the New York Times in 2015 to tell their reporters you need to be using Twitter is wrong. And it was last year that they circulated a memo and said, we actually don't really want you using Twitter. It was wrong. Do your thing, do your thing really well. You probably don't need to be on these services. And if you do be there with care, anyways, it just made me happy, Jesse to see that. I just, these, I have dealt with this my entire career. You're crazy. You have to be on these services. And it's because the people who write about these services are all on them and addicted. They just can't imagine life without them, but a major news organization left and nothing happened. Look at all the wasted cycles of all of those reporters spending so much time like on Twitter and battling with people on Twitter and trying to get their tweets up and how it influenced their reporting and all it just, they could have just avoided all of that. Yeah. They had just read deep work and been like, yeah, we're not going to do this. They'd be heroes. All right. I want to end with just something fun. So the, the reader who sent in this article, Matthew, also sent me some photos from a bookstore he came across. I just wanted to show a photo because it's cool. This is a train station that they converted to a bookstore. And I love that. So I've loaded on the screen here for those who are watching, just a pleasant thing to leave us with. An image of a train station that has been transformed into a new bookstore. I love this type of thing. By the way, not to nerd out on bookstore stuff, but if you're seeing this image online, you're looking at the shelf that I'm showing here. It's predominantly face out. That's a cool move. More and more bookstores are doing this. Ryan's Bookstore does this in Boss Drop where it might be less inventory, but more curated inventory and you have much more face-out shelves.


Experience At Train Station Book Store

Train Station Book Store (01:05:49)

You can see the books face-out, so that's kind of cool. Anyways, nothing makes me happier to see cool bookstores in cool places. The more bookstores, the merrier. So Matthew, thanks for sending that along and good for whoever, uh, whoever built that bookstore in the train station. Good on you. All right. So that's all the time we have for today. Thank you for listening or watching. If you're a listener and you enjoy the show, please leave a review, please subscribe. That helps iTunes tell more people and Spotify tell more people about the show. And I do want more people to find out. Otherwise, we will be back next week with a new episode. And until then, as always, stay deep. Hey, if you like this video, I think you'll really like this one as well. Check it out.


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