There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it. - Mary Wilson

Controlling your environment

Posted: May 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: | 6 Comments »

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The most important advice given by Tim Ferris is that it’s easier to control your environment than to control yourself through will power or motivation.

Anthony Robbins talks a lot about high quality problems.

If you spend all your time solving problems that are insignificant no matter how hard you work, how good you are, or how much you try your life will be nothing.  If you spend your time solving problems that do not relate to your goals you will never meet them.

You can fix your car, you can clean the house, you can be an accountant, but you can’t do these things and also be a movie star.  You can’t do these things and be the richest man in the world.

More than the time it takes, most of us have a very limited amount of willpower.  It’s a pain in the ass to go to work every day.  It’s a pain in the ass to mow the lawn.  You’ve only got some much mental strength to do things that are a pain in the ass.  Therefore you must choose them wisely.

If you start as an average person in an average town what will you accomplish very little of great consequence.  If your motivation is used up taking care of children, paying bills, showering, getting ready for work, going to birthday parties there’s nothing left of you for yourself.  What little time is left absolutely must be spent in complete thoughtlessness.  The most effective way to do this is have a beer and watch TV.  If you don’t you’ll end up with a heart attack, or better yet end up hopping cube to cube with a katana.

Bill Gates doesn’t need a beer and SportsCenter, but Bill doesn’t work for your asshole boss either.  Curing aids actually takes less motivation than replying-all to shitty emails from coworkers all day.  As your problems increase in stress, the fewer of them you can tolerate before bringing out the samurai sword.  Dealing with your crack addiction while nursing your dieing grandmother to health makes it hard to buy that Ferrari you’ve always wanted.  You can’t even get remotely close to a position where this could be a reality.  There are so many levels of things you must deal with before getting there that you’ll never make it.

Let’s take an average dude’s life dream.  Most dudes have a vague dream of spending all day being fed steak by high priced strippers.  Well there’s a few challenges one will meet pursuing this dream.  First it’s expensive.  Unless you happen to be friends with a lot of high priced strippers you’re probably going to have to pay them.  So you could get a good job.  Then you’d makes some cash.  But, a job comes with all these other things you have to deal with.  You’ve got to buy ties, show up for 8-10 hours a day, not piss off the wrong people, do work.  All the sudden you’re cought up in a whole lot of things that have nothing to do with eating steak.

Let’s try another strategy.  We’re going to become so awesome that high priced strippers will gladly buy steak and throw it on the BBQ for us.  This usually follows with another vague idea to lose weight so that the ladies will not be repulsed by our presence.  The normal strategy for doing this is to get all fired up and eat some salad and grilled chicken for 3 or 4 days and then say fuck that shit.  This never ever works.  It can’t.  You’re friends are eating pizza.  Your freezer has icecream in it.  There are no high priced strippers in your livingroom telling you to eat some more steamed broccoli, but the hot chick on TV says that burger king ribs are delicious.  Besides some douche in an Audi flipped you off on your way home and and a few fritos might just make you feel better about it.

This situation becomes infinately more difficult when you haven’t got a clear definition of your goals.  If you ask people what they want in life they can’t tell you.  What do you want?  I don’t know.  If you asks a guy what would be be willing to do to have strippers feed him New York strip all the live long day…..absolutely anything.  If you don’t actually have the balls to say yes I want it all.  I want what people are afraid to even suggest.  I want the Swedish bikini team to mow my lawn while I play xbox from my olympic swimming pool.  Without this you can’t pursue it.  You can’t get it.  If you can’t articulate it you’ll just spend all day doing other things.

So how do we get passed all this shit keeping us away from our floating chair by the grill?  Get rid of everything but the floating chair and the grill.  You must control your environment.  If you want to lose that gut you’ve got to get rid of the fat people in your life.  You’ve got to get out of the house, away from mcdonalds, away from your job.  You must immerse yourself in the world that you want to live in.  You can’t live in nowhere midwest town pumping gas and expect the Swedish bikini team to mow your lawn.  Step one move to Sweden.  Step two lean some Swedish.  Go to to the Miss Pole Dance World 2010.  Make some friends.  Hang out with the dudes who bang strippers.  There are people who do these things.  They have what you want.  If you spend your time in the environment that got them what you want everything becomes easier.  It becomes automatic.

Another example.  If you are a swimmer, how do you ensure your workouts are the best they can be?  Think extra hard about how you’re going to swim really fast for a long time?  No, put on a speedo and swim in a pool full of hot girls.  How do you become the best violinist in the world?  Hang out in your moms basement practicing extra hard or go to the best school and hang out with the other best violinists in the world?

See it is not the little things that keep us from what we want.  It’s not the TV or the birthday cake, it’s the 10 hour block of doing whatever you do all day.  It’s the 80% not the 20%.  You’ve got to go all out on the vast majority of your day.  Trying to muster that list bit of motivation to stop doing the small fraction of activities that you actually enjoy is just not going to work.  You can’t sleep less to fit in a workout.  You can’t simply pack your lunch and eat it at your desk.  You’ve got to get rid of the desk.  Look around you.  In your town are most people over 200lbs?  Guess what?  You’re doomed no matter how awesome you are.

Without an extraordinary environment you can not have an extraordinary life.  It is an impossibility.  Twenty four hours a day of menial tasks does not equal an awesome life.  There is no hope for you.  Except that you are doomed, and do something bat shit crazy.  Bat shit crazy is the only path to success.  Real success.  Working 60 hours a week to buy a mid level porche at the age of 50 is not success.  Will power is myth.  Find a world today that gives you want or makes it easy for your to get what you want.

So as an exercise, write down all the insane things you want.  No matter how ridiculous.  What would a perfect year be like?  Where would you go?  Then find other people who’ve done it, and get the fuck out of here.

-Allen


6 Comments on “Controlling your environment”

  1. 1 Kevin A. said at 2:25 pm on June 24th, 2009:

    “all day being fed steak by high priced strippers”. Badass.

  2. 2 Dan Donche said at 12:52 pm on August 3rd, 2009:

    I agree with all this completely. It makes perfect sense to me, because I think logically. I want the steak and the bikini team to mow my lawn. I’ll send you a picture when that comes about.

  3. 3 Diana Lee-Gobbitt said at 2:39 pm on November 14th, 2010:

    Couldn’t agree more especially last few paras..I did achieve a certain notoriety or a moment or two of ‘fame and fortune’ within the Arts Community c.mid 1970′s-1980′s NZ; I lead a fantastic and enchanted life amongst cogniscenti of the arts because of my absolute focus on breaking thru with new perceptions for art, industry, technology and science; there is nothing like being in a room full of people whose goals are similar – energy and intelligence become a group cerebral massage – certainly contributes to individual and team achievement of goals and dreams – thanks for sharing yr very worthy observations – Bestest – Diana, Windsor NSW

  4. 4 Joseph said at 6:22 am on November 15th, 2012:

    Why are there not more comments on this post? It’s freakin awesome. Even though my goal is not to drink beer all day and bang strippers (shit, I’m getting old!), this mindset is crucial to achieving anything in life. My new business didn’t start getting traction until I started hanging out with other entrepreneurs, online and off. Now the sky’s the limit. Now on to thinking how I can put this strategy to work in other areas of my life.

  5. 5 Mike said at 4:32 pm on January 4th, 2014:

    I appreciate the humor in this post, and it’s important to know what you want and how to start making lifestyle changes. But the real question is to know WHY you want what you want.

    The guy being fed steak by strippers is not happy. He’s pondering why the guy above him is being fed better steak from supermodels on his yacht. It’s an endless race towards future progress instead of attaining happiness in the present, and the material rewards aren’t the ultimate goal.

    Set high goals, but know thyself first.

  6. 6 Cyber Soup Kitchen said at 7:36 pm on January 7th, 2014:

    While I appreciate the humor and hilarity in this post, I don’t agree with two points it’s making. I don’t agree that abandoning your previous responsibilities and only surrounding yourself with the fruits of your personal goal is a good choice. And I don’t think that the goals listed in this post (the main gist, obviously not the literal sense) are ones that make this world functional or better.

    In the West, we have this emphasis on individualism. We have civil liberties and many choices. This sometimes gets overcompensated into our personalities and mentalities creating narcissism and isolationism. If everybody dropped their obligations to pursue their personal dream, everybody would be slighted by each other. This over emphasis on individual goals is too extreme and tearing us apart because of selfishness coming through.

    The destinations stated are not realistic for every person to do. If everyone wants to be some big shit curing cancer, who’s going to build the infrastructure to get there? This idealism and encouraging of every single person blows egos out of proportion. If everyone thinks that their idea or dream is more important than the rest, not a lot will get done.

    This post is humorous and may inspire a lot of people, but I believe it encourages selfishness, egoism, and materialism that is actually problem multiplying.


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