Diversify your thoughts. I spent too much of my life thinking about money. And then thinking about women. And sometimes thinking about money and women at the same time. I don’t know how they counted this but someone once told me we think 60,000 thoughts a day. All 60,000 of mine would sometimes be about money and women, with a little about food and defecation. Meanwhile, there’s 100 billion other fun things to think about each day. I live 100 feet from the Hudson River. Across from me on the river is West Point. Mountains and leaves surround all of it. It would be so easy for me to diversify into pleasant things but too often I’m obsessed down one category. Obsession and Anxiety is equivalent to Subtraction of thoughts. It makes you a counterfeit person instead of an authentic person.
The post is about diversifying all areas, but I think he is really onto something with this section on thinking. I definitely tend to obsess over a handful of things throughout the day: usually just food and women. Sometimes something else, too. It could be designing my blog, my krav maga test tomorrow, etc. The thing is, unless I take out a notepad and decide on a next action then record it, I continue to have repetitive, circular thoughts that go nowhere…. except maybe to boobs or cheeseburgers.
The other thing that having limited, repetitive thoughts does is limit your ability to get into flow; therefore hindering your productivity and enjoyment of the task at hand. I believe that by diversifying your thoughts, and appreciating your current surroundings or current task (or something else, I’m not positive here I really need to practice this more), getting into flow will be almost automatic. This is huge.
So, yeah, diversify your thoughts. If you are having a repetitive thought, immediately stop what you are doing and identify the next action and record it; ideally the thought vanishes. The results here could be substantial, shit, ginormous.
Please share any other ways you use to diversify your thoughts below.
Photo is fall foliage
Great post - thanks for the reminder - mind was trapped today on how much Diablo 3 still sucks and the Giants loss today. Eddy Azar posted something in a similar vein a month or two back on things he learned in life - namely something about not being able to change your thoughts/feelings but you can change your focus/perception (which in turn changes thought/feeling). Diversifying my thoughts and adding in some Tynan-esque gratitude really got me going again.
> mind was trapped today on how much Diablo 3 still sucks and the Giants loss today
If things that are completely outside of your control draw all of your attention it's even worse.
Gratitude, I like it. Yet another way to diversify your thoughts. I have not thought of it like that before. I have been practicing gratitude lately in the Stoic form of negative visualization, thanks to Tynan's recommendation of A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy.
In that same vein, I believe meditation is another example of thought diversification. Errr thought elimination but same idea.
What other methods can we come up with?
I would say people should try to meditate too. It's good for your brain and general health to not be obsessed with thoughts too. Not to mention you gain a better awareness of the thoughts you are having in daily life and how most of them are either completely useless or unhelpful in that moment.
Also, as you mentioned, if a person has the exact same thought all the time then it's likely a lack of action taking place. Which means fear, anxiety. Also indecisiveness. But once you take a lot of actions, you move on to new thoughts. Although they might be in the same category.
Otherwise, I really enjoy talking to different types of people and digging deep into their hobbies, jobs, or whatever. I probably have a bunch of audio and video files on different subjects like Roman History or Architecture, but I don't really care about those subjects so I don't listen to them. But, it's a whole different story if I talk to someone else who is interested in those subjects.
Seems kind of strange to me that he even tackles it from diversifying thoughts and not just diversifying actions, environments, people, etc. There's kind of a limit to how meaningful your thoughts are going to be in a bubble.
I see the value in diversifying your thoughts, but also in taking different vein by actually limiting my thoughts into a singular focus.
For example, what I'm doing is focusing 80% of my thoughts on the making of money. This way, all my thoughts and actions are towards my current first priority: learning how to make money.
Now, on most weekends, I'll stop thinking about money and business and focus instead on being social and relaxing. This keeps me from burning out or ignoring most of my world.
If you have a primary goal, something you wish to achieve more than anything else (be it getting great with women, or being able to make automated income, or whatever else), is it not advantageous to purposefully narrow down your world to that one thing for most of the time? Permanently of course not. But for a couple of months or years, I think it may be.
What do you think?
It is one thing to be absorbed by the activity you are currently performing. It is a entirely different story if you are obsessing over one goal endlessly. I mean, how many unique productive thoughts can you have about getting great with women or making money throughout the course of a day, without actually engaging in a relevant activity.
This is why the Getting Things Done model is so attractive and valuable to me. You divide your life into projects (a goal can have multiple projects) and always identify the very next physical action you can take for each and every project. You then record it. This keeps repetitive, circular thoughts out of your head and allows you to crush the task at hand, which could very well be brainstorming business ideas or meeting women.
What Im saying: if you are thinking about making money all day, and coming up with business plan after business plan that is one thing (and also very rare), but it is a whole different thing to daydream about tits all day.
If someone wants to be great with women doing 2 hours of challenging approaches per day is plenty.
The guy who spends 80% of his time thinking about woman is needy. As all his self esteem is bound up in being successful with woman, rejections will be very painful.
If the guy feels successful in other projects his doing rejections won't be as hurtful.
I logged into my stock account the other day and realized that contrary to my previous claim/strategy of investing solely in Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, I had no Berkshire shares left. Time for an update, I reckon.
So what happened? Nothing against Berkshire, for sure. I sold almost all of my shares at a profit, and I still have full faith in the company. But sometimes opportunities come along that are too good to pass up, two of which I'm currently invested in.
1. Every morning, I write down 10 or more ideas. About anything.
In every study I have heard of that examined why creative people are creative, the only conclusion anyone has come to is: creative geniuses don’t have better ideas, they just have more ideas. Therefore they also have more statistical outliers. They have more really good ideas and they also have more really bad ones.
By writing down ideas every day, you train yourself to come up with more and more ideas. It’s like a muscle. If you don’t work it out every day, it will atrophy.
I got this from James Altucher and you should read these two posts on his blog. Been doing this since March 18th, which isn’t a long time ago, but I can already tell this is a spectacularly awesome thing to do every day.
2. Every night, last thing before bed, I open up a text file with two headings: