Do This to Change Your Life for the Better

This Week’s BIG Idea

At the end of The Shawshank Redemption, Andy Dufresne, a man sentenced to life imprisonment decides to escape the maximum security prison. In the dead of night, he enters a tunnel he had dug for two decades, uses a rope to reach a narrow sewage pipe, goes through it, and successfully escapes. When the ordeal is over, he opens his arms, looks toward the dark sky, and, quite literally, lets the rain wash down all the crap he had to go through. There have been many interpretations of The Shawshank Redemption over the years, but to me, this is what self-development is all about: you have to go through a lot of shit to come out the other end a better person.

I’d love to tell everyone reading this that exercising regularly, meditating, or starting whatever healthy habit you want is easy. Those are things that can change your life. Although changing your life is simple, it’s not easy. As Mark Manson recently said “Nothing meaningful in life is easy. Nothing easy in life is meaningful.” Some things are hard because that’s what makes them important in the first place.

It isn’t just habits that are difficult. Confronting your flawed thinking, deconstructing your ego, and detaching yourself from those convenient stories you tell yourself is not a walk in the park. I’ve talked before about fear and how we should use it as a compass. Well, we’re likely to meet emotional roadblocks whenever we have to do something. Our mind will do anything it can to convince us that we shouldn’t. To grow up, to become a better person, and to improve, we must ignore that voice. Most of the cognitive biases we have were useful to our ancestors, but don’t make much sense in the modern world. So don’t take them as laws but as mere biological suggestions. Again, these are all things that can change your life.

The self-help world is full of “woo woo” techniques that encourage you to look at a mirror and repeat affirmations so that the universe just hands you things like that job promotion you’ve always wanted or a brand-new Lamborgini. That’s not how you change your life, because we live in reality, not in The Secret. Numerous rewards are waiting for you on the other end. You just have to be willing to sacrifice something to get them.

What I’m Working on

I’ve been working on a homepage redesign for a while now. I think I’m happy with the results so far, but I might make some additional changes in the future. Although there isn’t a unique formula for redesigning a homepage, the more I work on it, the better it looks. I’m already seeing some results, so people seem to like it as well.

What I’m Listening to

Piano Ghibli Collection 1: this has been my go-to video whenever I have to transcribe book summaries. I’ve been a Ghibli fan for some time, but I think I like their music more than I like their movies. Listening to this while I work has been a joy and I’m thinking about uploading an audio version of this video to Google Drive so that I always have access to it. 

What I’m Reading

Rejection Proof by Jia Jang: I loved this book so much that I read it cover to cover in two days. In the book, an entrepreneur named Jia Jang tried to get rejected for one hundred days straight. His idea was that by getting rejected so much and so often, he’d be desensitized to it. Interestingly, the better he got at it, the harder it was for him to get rejected. This book is an indispensable guide to anyone who wants to overcome their fear of rejection.

What I’m Watching

What I Learned from 100 Days of Rejection | Jia Jang: I recently listened to Mark Manson’s podcast. At one point, Drew Birnie, content producer of the show, mentioned a book called Rejection Proof. The book’s about a guy who went out of this way to be rejected in a one-hundred-day social experiment. Do you know what this man realized? Once you get the hang of it, getting rejected is hard. If you ask someone something nicely, they’ll probably say yes. The man behind the experiment is Jia Jang and he tried to borrow money from random strangers, he asked to play soccer in someone’s backyard, and he even tried to get a “burger refill” at McDonald’s. He turned his entire experiment into a must-watch TED talk that I’m recommending to anyone from now on.

This Week’s Quote

“I’m not interested in anything that’s not sustainable. Friendships, investing, careers, podcasts, reading habits, exercise habits. If I can’t keep it going, I’m not interested in it. I think the only way to do that is if you are going out of your way to live life at 80-90% potential. If you’re always trying to squeeze out 100%, almost certainly it’s going to lead to burnout, whether it’s a friendship or a relationship or an investing strategy. If you’re a type A person, it’s almost impossible to do. But going out of your way to live life at 8% has always been a strategy that I want to do just because I want to keep it going for a long time.”

Morgan Housel

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