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Training Yourself

To train any animal, you follow a simple process. You somehow indicate what you want it to do, and then when it does it, you give it a reward. Maybe in some cases you punish it if it doesn't do what it's supposed to do. Then you repeat until the animal is trained. When it comes to training ourselves, though, we come up with a million weird and ineffective ways to do it.

Why is that? Maybe it's because we don't want to face the truth about what it takes to train ourselves, so we hunt and hunt for shortcuts. As someone who has trained himself to do all sorts of things, I think that the solution is much easier.

The first fix is to drop this idea of looking for a shortcut. Often times people will spend years trying to find that shortcut to losing weight, learning a new language, or developing a sense of optimism. Maybe they save a month or two, but they would have been a lot better off just doing it the hard way to begin with.

When people tell me that they're going to change, the number one indicator I've found to predict whether or not they'll succeed is how quickly they start. If they start right now they have a much better chance of succeeding than if they start, "after this pack" or "on January first" or "as soon as I'm settled in". If you don't want something bad enough to start immediately, you may as well give up and not waste your time on it. Obvious exceptions are when there's a concrete logistical reason to start later like, "I'll start training for skiing in the winter, because that's when there's snow".

I'm Realizing How Much a One Night Vacation Can Be Worth

On SEBASTIAN MARSHALL

I'm in Mui Ne, Vietnam for just one night. It's amazing here, really, it's paradise.

Before this short trip here, I never understood why people do a weekend getaway or leave the city they live for just one night. I always wondered - what's the point? I thought, "If you're going to travel, why not spend long enough to get the flavor of the place you're going? What's the point of going for one night?"

I didn't understand back then. I understand now.

When you're very attentive and taking great care of your time, two days/one night can be a lot of relaxation and rejuvenation. I did two hours of work yesterday in the morning before coming to Mui Ne, and an hour at the end of the day. I slept on the five hour bus ride here, I took a short nap while here, and I'll sleep on the bus ride back - so I'm basically getting 21 hours awake here.

Do you realize how long 21 hours can be when you pay attention to your time, nurse it, nourish it, and spend it well? Sitting by the water, swimming in the ocean and pool, having Vietnamese coffee, drinking coconut milk out of a coconut... ah, I feel like I've done so much living while here, much more than 20 hours of living.

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