A major reason for stress, anxiety and overwhelm – and a super-simple concept to fix it

If there’s a conversation you need to have and it’s taking space in your mind – have the conversation.

If there’s an unfinished job you keep remembering, write it down.

When you have a finnicky problem you can’t seem to solve, journal and brainstorm on it.

If there’s a pile of unfolded laundry in your bedroom, fold it and store it away.

If there’s dishes in the sink, wash them.

(note: don’t fall into the freelancer-favourite ‘I’ll just clean the fridge and kitchen cupboards out while I’m at it’ – instead, write that (separate) task down).

If you keep remembering to water the plants or order new printer ink, water them or order it.

Do you see a pattern here?

All of these items are open loops. Unfinished business.

And your mind, your subconscious, keeps bringing them back to your attention, because you told it to.

You made a mental note to ‘remember this thing’.

And it does, and it’ll keep reminding you, like the faithful servant it is.

But each time you tell yourself ‘remember this’, you’re creating an open loop.

Those add up, and after a while your subconscious is adrift in a whole mess of unfinished business.

And bam: overwhelm, stress, anxiety, confusion, lack of clarity, and the inevitable consequence:

Procrastination on those tasks that actually really matter for your life and your business.

The solution is simple and elegant:

The tasks you can do in two minutes or less: take 30 or 60 minutes, and rip through them. Execute, do, check off. You’ll feel a LOT better, quick smart.

And all the things that take longer, or that are contingent on somebody else’s feedback, deliverables, or presence: make a note of it.

Not a mental note, but a hard copy. In your phone, or your computer, or a notebook.

That way, your brain gets the message ‘you can drop it now, it’s stored elsewhere’.

You’re closing the open loops that cause stress.

Now, you might object that when you do make lists and notes, you never go back to review and execute (I used to be guilty of that as well).

But consider this: if you live in stress and overwhelm, you likely don’t execute on all those reminders anyway, so there’s little lost there.

Besides, you can use post-it notes in prominent places to remind you of the tasks that you really shouldn’t forget.

And in any case, the calm and clarity you get from doing a lot of small tasks and writing down the bigger ones will make you feel better, AND it will help you get back to your lists so as to execute.

So, remember: your brain is not a hard drive, it’s not built for storing things.

Don’t fill it with open loops.

Your brain is a processor, an idea&solutions machine. The best thing you can do for yourself is to commit to offloading all reminders from it, so that you get the mental space you need to perform at your highest intellectual capacity.

And if that sounds like a good idea, just wait and see what you’ll learn in my Calibrate Reality Webinar…

There’s still spots on the guest list, so hit reply if you want to be on it.



Who Would be Most Likely to Buy Bread?

A hungry person, obviously.

See, a friend of mine is in the middle of launching a new business venture:

I forget what the process is called, but the idea is that he creates full-surround photos of physical products. That way, a buyer can zoom, rotate, pan and tilt the photo, and gets to see the product in all its detail and glory.

Super useful for e-commerce businesses, of course.

So I asked my favourite question: how are you going to sell that stuff?

Always fun to see the plans someone has for their marketing strategy.

He explains his plans (which aren’t bad) and then I ask: who’s your perfect customer for these photos?

“Everybody with a website and physical products!”

Uh-oh. Not good.

Because yes, everybody in that category is likely to benefit and see increased sales from buying those photos, but:

Not everybody will want them. Or have the budget. Or be ready for it. Or understand why it will improve their sales. Or be ready to upgrade their website. Or or or…

Millions of reasons why ‘people with physical ecommmerce’ might not buy.

So if my friend then tries to sell his photography to all and sundry without any thought to who is actually most likely to buy, he’s setting him up for massive amounts of frustration and wasted time.

He’ll have to wade through untold numbers of ‘sorry, no’ before he gets to a yes.

As they say in marketing: find a hungry crowd, and feed them.

So for my friend, much smarter would be to ask: who is the most likely to buy?

Which would be, of course: those who are already looking to upgrade their online presence.

And in that set, there’s ‘those who have a budget allocated for it’.

And in that set, an even smaller (but far more eager) group called ‘those who are actively looking for full-surround (or whatever it’s called) photography.

Put yourself in front of those people, and you have the highest possible chance of landing a buyer, right?

This. This exactly, is why I’m creating the Calibrate Reality Dojo. Because my friend didn’t just think illogically and irrationally – one could say he didn’t even think at all.

And we all suffer from that in one way or another. All of us, and I’d be surprised if you were an exception (I certainly ain’t!) make decisions without giving things proper thought.

Which leads us to outcomes that aren’t what we made the decision for in the first place.

Two points to keep in mind:

Always think before deciding.

Always ask yourself who would be the most likely to buy your thing, before going out and finding people.

Oh, and the third thing: don’t miss the CRD Webinar that I’m preparing.

It’ll help you think and make better decisions, so you can create better outcomes in your life and business.

Hit reply if that’s what you want, and I’ll put your name on the guest list.



The One Decision to Never Ever Make

… is the decision that you’re not ready to implement.

You might decide to finally step up to the plate in your business, but if your family circumstances or the dayjob you have simply don’t allow you, all you do is frustrate yourself.

If you want to lose weight and decide to finally go to the gym a few times a week but you know deep down that in reality you won’t, all you’ll achieve is feeling bad about yourself.

Over time, these ‘wishful decisions’ add up, and wither away your self-esteem.

After all, haven’t you ‘tried’ so many times?

Must be that you just can’t do it. Haven’t got it in you. Proven, over and over again, right?

Nope, wrong.

You very likely have it in you, to follow through on decisions you make.

But unless you’re ready, in terms of mindset and life-circumstances, to actually get into the acting on, and sticking with, the decision, you’re sabotaging your current, and future, results.

And the reason we make wishful decisions, the ones we don’t implement and install in our lives?

Emotional motivation, without backing from the mind.

Because the wish, and the desired outcome you envisage, just feel so damn good!

Look at me, being the guy who goes to the gym, getting all fit and trim ‘n stuff… what a wonderful vision… Bam! Decided. I’ll go as soon as I can. Right after I empty this tub of icecream.

Here’s the deal: decisions are made based on emotions, always. Psychological fact.

And if your mind, your rationing capacity, isn’t in agreement with the emotional side of it, you’re making a wishful decision.

And they rarely, if ever, work.

My recommendation: when in doubt, don’t.

When you’re not 100% clear – emotionally AND reationally – that you’re going to do the thing you decide, just suspend the decision.

You won’t miss out on anything good, because you’d likely not implement and act on your decision anyway.

And, you won’t screw up your life either, because if the outcome you want is important enough, your emotions will bring it back to your attention over and over again. Won’t let you forget.

To make a decision that actually works, maybe use my framework. It’s real simple.

When there’s an outcome you want (emotion – the desire to get the outcome), and it requires a decision, this is the model:

Think –> Decide –> Implement.

But don’t decide until you know, rationally, that you’re ready to do it and stick with it.

My Calibrate Reality webinar will teach you simple and fun methods to quickly take you through the thinking process.

Hit reply and say yes, to get on the guest list…



Confucius Say: Man Who Hunt Unicorn, Never Eat

Jim Rohn famously said: “Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

Sounds like a man after my heart, this Mr. Rohn.

Except for the ‘attract’ bit, because you don’t attract success: you create it, one step at a time.

Most people though, try to create success by hunting for unicorns.

“That new website, that’s what will bring me the customers!”

“Learning that new skill, that’s gonna do it!”

“Once I get my husband to stop calling all my business decisions into question, then I’ll be able to really move forward!” (followed by googling a relationship therapist, when they’d be better served with the help of a divorce counselor, because you can’t change others and shouldn’t try)

“I just need to crack the code on SEO/Adwords/Influencer marketing, and then I’ll have a thriving business!”

All of these, and all the other unicorns: nonsense. Won’t work. Some of it might help, but looking for the magic solution won’t get you the real, actual success that you want so badly.

Much better to gradually, slowly, steadily, transform yourself into the kind of person who creates success for themselves.

And the best place to start?

Clear, critical thinking. Followed by making decisions that balance gut-feeling with rational validation.

And I can’t wait to show you my Calibrate Reality framework for doing just that.

Won’t be much longer now…



What’s the Gap?

What’s your definition of ‘made it!’?

Meaning, your big, fulfilling goal, the one that matters most – the ultimate grade of accomplishment?

Take a note, write it down on the right side of a sheet of paper.

Next, what’s your current situation like, in terms of how well on your way you are to getting to the goal?

Write that down on the left of the paper.

Inbetween, draw a horizontal line.

That line, the space it represents, that’s the gap.

That gap stands for the things that need to happen, or be built, in order to get to your goal.

For me, my ultimate goal is to go back to my roots: To make music.

Not only that: to be a performing, gigging musician.

I gave up music when I entered the monastery 25 years ago, and god do I miss making music.

There’s just NOTHING like jamming with a band, and sharing the energy between each other.

Yes: it’s better than chocolate, and yes, also better than that other thing.

On the left side is my life as is, and it’s good but it doesn’t give me space for launching myself into music.

So for me, the gap is creating more automation in my business. Hiring more assistants, setting up more systems, and creating a course around the work I’ve so far only done 1 on 1 or in group coaching.

Which means I need to ‘can&clone’ myself. Creating a course that helps people and earns me money, and reduces the need to trade time for money.

And it’s something that I think, at some point, should be part of your plans as well.

Oh it’s wonderful to do the work we’re good at. I love coaching and I’ll bet you love your designing or painting or massaging or counseling.

But there’s a definite limit in how for you can take that.

Trading time for money doesn’t scale.

You can only charge as much as the market will bear, and you only have a set number of hours in the day.

So if you want to break through and move up, there will come a time that you’d serve yourself (and your business and your family and your customers) well by boxing your best work up into a package you can sell in a systematic automated way.

And if you’re thinking ‘I’ll write a book!’ – I have a harsh truth for you.

A book isn’t a revenue model. Books are stupid hard to earn a living from, because you’ll need to publish at least 5 to 7 of them before it starts earning good money. Unless you find a publisher who pays you an advance and brings your book to market.

And the last time I saw one of those, he was riding a unicorn.

Trust me, I’ve done the research.

But you do need some sort of systemised way to share your genius with the world.

But what? And how? And how to figure out how to set it up?

Those questions, you’ll find a lot easier to answer once you step into the Calibrate Reality Dojo – the free webinar that is nearing completion.

I demo’d the draft of the presentation to my friend and client Paula, and she said it was quite, quite valuable.

So, don’t miss it.

If you’re not on the guest list yet, hit reply and I’ll make sure you get a no-cost, 30-minute strategy session to thank you for joining.



Martial Arts for the Mind? You Bet…

Amazing to see what a human can do, given proper persistent training.

Especially when you look at extreme sports, or martial arts. The jumps people make, the ultra-fast response times, breaking stone by hand…

Or Bruce Lee’s one-inch punch – which might have been staged to some degree, but even accounting for the part, it’s still a massively impressive feat.

The human being simply is an astoundingly large mess of potential and possibility.

But what if you could develop the same kind of power, speed, resilience as a super-trained martial arts specialist – except mentally?

What would your life be like…

…If you could solve any problem?

…If you could overcome any setback, with grace and ease?

…If you would show up to life every single day, fully ready – and able! – to take on whatever life throws at you?

Imagine for a moment what life would be like if you were a Shao-Lin monk of the mind?

Can be yours to have, you know.

And it isn’t that hard. You don’t need to spend 12 years in a monastery. No need to train yourself by crawling up a staircase backwards on your hands and knees in a monastery in Asia.

No, to practice martial arts of the mind, all you need to do is develop the skills that enable you to control your mind.

Because most of us, we’re totally stuck in our heads, have no control over it, and the only respite we get is when we feel good.

But that’s no way to live. And you can change it.

Train your brain, learn how to think critically and develop the skill to make decisions the way an executive would.

In other words: balance rational thought with a healthy emotional world.

Which is quite different from how things usually are in the West:

Completely irrational thought, gullible absorption of whatever shows up in a Facebook feed, and an unhealthy emphasis on feeling good.

Not that feeling good or being happy is bad, but consider this:

Feelings come from thought – so if your thoughts aren’t designed to create wellbeing, how can you end up feeling good, consistently?

Exactly. That’s why every change starts with changing the way you think. And I can show you how, and I will… soon. Working hard to finish the webinar, and I hope to send off the slides to my designer this weekend.

Anyhow, must crack on. Got a webinar to build for you…

Raise your hand to register your interest and I’ll put you on the guest list… get you a nice bonus too: a 30-minute strategy session after the webinar, to make sure you get to implement your learnings in the best possible way…

Hit reply, say yes, and it’s yours…



What’s Your Biggest Struggle?

I’m genuinely curious to know.

Because that free Calibrate Reality webinar I’m creating, that’ smeant  to properly help you.

And the more I know what my readers find challenging in life or business, the more I’ll be able to create something that solves the problem for you.

So help us out here: what’s your biggest challenge, the biggest conundrum, the most vexing issue or problem in your life or business?

I’ll reply with my best answer, if you reply.

But there’s two rules to qualify for a reply:

Rule #1: Tell me the highest-level problem you can identify.

Because ‘how to sell on social media’ or ‘where to find buyers’ or ‘how to get my kids to eat their greens’ isn’t all that interesting. There’s courses and books you can buy to answer those questions for you.

What I’m looking for is high-level problems, such as ‘after 25 years of working for the man, I still don’t have the courage to set out on my own’.

Or: ‘I know I can get more out of life, but I just can’t stop blaming others, instead of taking ownership’.

Or: ‘I know my product/service is worth 10 times more, but I’m petrified of raising my rates because I second-guess, and question my worthiness’.

See what I mean? Behind every obvious problem (selling too cheaply) there’s another problem (fear) and behind that another one (self-worth) – so I’m looking for the problem behind the problem behind the problem.

So before you reply, think: what’s the ultimate, top-level problem behind it all?

Rule #2: It’s got to be a problem that’s not of a technical nature, not something about how to improve something you do. Again, all that can be learned from books and so on, often for free.

The kind of problem I am best at helping with, goes beyond ‘how to fix my salespage’ or ‘how to drive more traffic’ or ‘how to fix my fried attention span’. (if your attention span is a problem for you, there’s a real easy instant improvement btw: stay the hell away from social media. You’re welcome).

What I’m looking to help you with, is problems at the level of your identity and self-awareness. Existential issues, in a sense.

Rules clear, if you want a reply?

Cool, so let’s play:

What’s your biggest, most challenging, most vexing issue in life or in business?

Tell me…



Excellent Servant, Terrible Master (How to Get Out of Your Head Quick Smart)

A mind is a wonderful thing to have. It can remember things, create ideas, think through problems and solve them, design goals and the plans to get them to manifest… lovely stuff.

Not quite as lovey though, is its tendency to dominate.

Like a dictator, ready to stage a coup any moment it gets a chance.

One moment you’re happily doing your thing, feeling good, and bam: suddenly a thought pops up that spins your thoughts out of control. Doomsday scenarios, rehashing old conversations and things you ought to have said, banging your mind against problems you’ve already and unsuccessfully tried to solve a 1000 times before, and before long your good mood and happy creative state is gone.

Thing to do, is to learn how to work with your mind, instead of letting your mind work you.

Because the mind is an awesome and powerful servant, but a terrible master.

Which you know from experience: when you let it run wild, it can take you all kinds of horrible places. Avoidance and procrastination being one of the first stations.

Cat videos, Facebook, Netflix – ANYTHING to move your mind away from what it seems to have bitten into like a pitbull.

But there’s a more fun and more productive way:


Or more specifically: using a pen and paper for intelligent reflection.

That’s quite different from journalling or writing morning pages, btw. Those might be fun, but intelligent reflection is a whole different level.

It’s kinda like taming the mind, and it’s real simple.

Step 1: Identify a problem, unresolved question or other issue that keeps your mind occupied.

2: Formulate it as an open-ended question and write it at the top of the page.

3: Brainstorm the living daylights of that puppy! Jot down any idea, no censorship, doodle and diagram and just put black on the page.

Before long you’ll have discovered something useful, or interesting, you’ll have created clarity, and you will find that – magically! – your mind no longer needs to cling to the topic for the moment.

Peace at last.

Note: for this to work, it’s got to be pen and paper. Brain science shows that longhand writing has a different effect on the brain, and you just can’t get the same level and depth of poking around in the subconscious if you write on a keyboard. Trust me on that one.

Note 2: If you REALLY can not bring yourself to write longhand, the next best option is to go for a long walk/soak in a bathtub/drive, and record yourself while you talk yourself through the brainstorm. But really, writing is MUCH more powerful, because your eyes are getting instant positive feedback from the things you’re writing down.

I discovered this last winter, when my coach had me buy a quality notebook, and he started feeding me writing prompts, always in the form of a question.

And as the good little student I am, I took it seriously and journaled on all the prompts he gave me (obviously: if I pay a guy to give me the best tools and methods for moving forward, it makes no sense to not do the homework).

And the results over the last 6 months have been massive. So much clarity. So much better decision-making.

All from a daily habit of asking myself a tough or complex question, and allowing my subconscious to flow out through my pen.

For example, I spent weeks *thinking* about what my Calibrate Reality training should do for people. Couldn’t get clear on it.

Until I wrote the question down, journalled on it for 30 minutes, and bam: I knew precisely what it would do, who it would be for, and I had the starting point of the whole programme.

So. Stuck in your head much?

Create a question, write it down, brainstorm on it.

And if you’re stuck on something and you don’t know what’s the best question to ask yourself, send me an email and tell me what you’re facing. I’ll do my best to give you a writing prompt that will help you break through it.


A Life as Beautiful, Rich, Creative and Giving-based as Mine? Become a Surgeon

Took a long time, hard work, and lots of tough choices, but life has become rather swell for me over the years. Pretty damn perfect, in fact.

(Side note: like that photo here – I had just written my email, went to the beach for a plate of fish, and it just so happened that the waitress was wearing the perfect illustration for today. Gotta love synchronicity)

Like they say: Tough choices = easy life. Easy choices = tough life.

So if you want a life that’s as rich, peaceful, beautiful, creative and giving-based as mine, there’s only one way to create it:

Become a surgeon.

Think about it:

If the goal is ‘a healthy patient’, a surgeon will ruthlessly remove anything that jeopardises that goal.

It’s the only way.

If your goal is whatever version of ‘perfect life’ applies to you, then there’s two steps to take:

1: Excise with extreme prejudice everything (people, places, things, habits) that in anyway obstructs your progress, or negatively affects you state – your calm and you ability to think clearly. .

2: Once done with that (or you’re in the process of it, & you’re noticing how goddam awesome life is starting to become), it’s time to level up:

Excise with extreme prejudice anything and everything that does not directly, and at no disruptive/damaging cost, contribute to your goal for life.

Yes, this can be hard. It means sacrificing things you care about (or maybe: are attached to?).

But ask yourself: if you want a ‘perfect life’, how badly do you want it?

If it’s important enough, are the sacrifices not worth it? Also: are YOU not worth it?

You can either live a ‘nice life’ which includes a bunch of stuff that you’ve resigned to, or you can live a ‘perfect life’, in which the space previously taken up by crappy things and people, gets filled by awesome things and people.

Oh, and if you think it’s selfish to design your life and your happiness this way, ask my friends and my clients how liberally I share, give, do charity, support, and help wherever I can.

The happier, more free, and more relaxed you are, the more others will benefit from your well-being.

Worth it? I’ll say.

I’ve made my choice.

Have you?



Never Get Good at the Small Tasks

In any given day or week, how many of your tasks and activities should actually not be done by you?

Unless you have a team working with (and even if you do), there’s going to be a ton of things that need to be done, but they’re the little things, the day-to-day.

Scheduling posts, filing paperwork, replying to low-importance emails (as opposed to high-importance customer inquiries), updating your website… heck even doing the dishes or washing the car.

Most entrepreneurs (even successful ones, and even those who do have a team) will automatically default to ‘taking care of business’ kind of tasks.

The smart ones know that automating and systemising things makes those things faster and more efficient. So far, so good.

But, not perfect.

Because when we optimise and automate the small tasks, we end up being very skilled at the small stuff – and no matter how automated, we’re still required to monitor, tweak and improve them over time.

And that means we become a kind of micro-manager of ourselves, on small things that don’t make a big difference in our business. They’re necessary, but they don’t cause growth – they just support growth or prevent it from slowing down.

I heard about this ‘small jobs’ concept from James Schramko (seriously smart business thinker – you’ll do yourself a favour by listening to his various podcasts).

He used to sell luxury cars (ethically, from what I can tell – not your typical car-salesman), and one of the tasks in his week was to cut rubber floor mats to size (boggles the mind why that would even be necessary for luxury cars, but hey), until one day someone in the dealership said: ‘Never get good at the small jobs’.

So simple, so useful.

Me, I’ve decided to not even deal with the small tasks any longer. I’ve finally decided to hire a virtual assistant, because really it makes no sense for someone who can deliver powerful transformational coaching, to deal with day-to-day (required) trivialities.

It’s why hired a cleaning lady before I could ‘afford’ it. It’s why my new VA is going to scout for a publicist who can get more views on my work, because hunting the job boards for the right candidate is not my forte and in terms of the work I should be doing, a waste of time.

If you’re an artist, get yourself a studio assistant, if only for one morning a week.

If you live in an area where dust or vegetation messes up your car, don’t wash it yourself but have your friend’s son do it for some pocket money.

Get yourself someone to handle your taxes, someone to mow your lawn… whatever you need to get done that doesn’t either bring you real joy, and/or doesn’t contribute to the growth of your business.

Now, you might think that you can’t afford to but remember this: your time is worth more than what someone else earns for simple and small tasks.

Thinking that you’d better keep the money and do it yourself is scarcity thinking, but worse: it robs your business of the supervaluable hours you could be putting towards actually growing your venture.

And you don’t want to steal the most valuable work from your own business, do you?



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