So pick one thing that’s not going to affect your career and remove it for a week, get buy-in from your family, tell everybody what you’re doing and document the time you would have been doing that thing and document what you did with the time instead.
And see if you can start to work on this more that we all say we wanted in life, maybe you could plan that trip that you’ve always been talking about instead, pick something, remove it and see what happens.
So how do I do this?
I’ve been doing this for a couple years now. So I do it monthly where I remove new emails and things like subscriptions that are just kind of noise in my life. And then annually I’ll do the more difficult things. I’ll look at relationships because those can suck a lot of your emotional time too.
And then sometimes I’ll get extreme. So you don’t have to go this far with it. But as an example, last year, I was working on a book related to this topic and I had a lot of chaos in my life.
I was at my… one of my businesses just had a lot of things that I couldn’t control. So I figured out a way to extract myself because I really wanted to focus on getting this book outline done.
So I removed myself from the business and I left the country. I’d like to travel internationally. And I took a trip to Guatemala for a couple of weeks, completely off grid, no Wi-Fi, no phone, nothing.
And within a week, the fog had completely cleared. I’d nailed down and outlined a book which led to planning to publish it this fall. And it led to me to start, want to talking about the idea, which led to this talk.
So you don’t have to get extreme like this, but these life experiments build on top of one another as you start to do them.
So let’s get back to the core, though. So why would you even want to do this?
It comes back to that more we all think we want out of life where you look back from your death bed and say, “I’m really happy that I’ve binge watched three Netflix series that weekend or I watched every single NCA game, even the terrible ones.”
Or would you rather have spent that time – planning that trip, working on that book outlines, working on that new startup that you wanted to do, figuring out what you’re going to do after school, one of those things it’s up to you. The time is ours. It just depends how many hours do you think you have and we always have more.
So it’s not that I don’t do anything. I’ve just restructured these things and each of these input purges, changes the way you think about your life. So it’s this process of rebooting, rewiring and rethinking the way you live your life.
So you add things back in differently. I do email on a batch process now only a short amount of time every day. And I don’t let that suck my attention all day long, as an example.
So this is part of the, I mentioned that the problem is big and wide. So this is one piece – this purge the chaos piece. It’s a critical one because we get consumed by all of these inputs that we have into our lives.
But each one of these little experiments is a flame and a bigger revolution to try to free your mind from the things that are keeping you from what you want to do with your life.
So I’ve done about a hundred of these experiments now, over the last few years, since I started documenting them. And about 25% of them result in what I call an upgrade. So it’s some change in your life that’s valuable.
So it’s usually a habit change where you don’t… you watch TV in a different way, or do email on a different way, or something like that.
But it’s also a philosophical thing. So in science, Thomas Kuhn called these paradigm shifts. So you’re not just answering the question differently, you’re asking a completely different question.
So it’s not, “why am I watching”, it’s maybe, “I should be doing something with that time instead”. So it’s a fundamental change to the assumptions you have about the way you live your life and the questions that you’re asking.
Now, this may sound exotic and fun and travel and startups and all of this. And, it’s been a blast, but it’s also very difficult.
And every day is a fight to dissolve your boundaries and push the limits of what you can do. I mean, I had countless nights of worrying where the next dollar was going to come from with some of my startups.
And my trips weren’t… my boundary expanding trips weren’t like, I’m being on a cruise ship, hopping in the all you can eat buffet line. There were difficult trips spending a couple of weeks in the jungle, living with families and you know, with no running water.
And those trips were the ones that really meant something to me that had one of those deep upgrades for the way I see… I live my life. And this book, I’m really excited about it, but it’s also terrifying. It’s terrifying to think about putting something out there that people are going to criticize.
But I feel like this is expanding my life in different directions. And I feel it’s worth doing.
So one of these experiments that was, that didn’t have anything to do with a big, huge upgrade in your life was just a fun one. Something I started doing for fun. And my buddy Mike, and I decided to see if we could start a band in our thirties.
Now, most guys, when they hit their thirties, they’re quitting their bands. So we try to go the other way. And we were casual guitar players, but we spent a lot of time seeing if we could, as a first experiment, see if we could get an open mic.