I was 100% sure that I will pass the first cut for the Angel Investor Summit. I was so confident! My pitch deck was so perfect in my eyes. I spent so much time and energy on it…
I put so much effort in developing VR model, renders and the website… I put my soul into it. My schedule for the past 4 months was the following: Wake Up -> Office -> Gym -> Office -> Sleep. Four months I spent working my ass off, believing that this was something worth pursuing. I went through ups and downs. There were a lot of dark moments, but I also laughed and had fun sometimes. I put a lot of work into this startup. I couldn’t even make it through the first cut. There were 40 startups, 24 of which made it through. I wasn’t even given a chance to tell them what’s this all about.
When I got the rejection email, I couldn’t believe. “It is unfair!!!”, I thought to myself. I put in so much work… This might be a sign to stop. Maybe all those people who said that the idea is crap were right. It might be. I still have no job, no income, no nothing. Stuck in the middle of Canada, in my camper – f*cking around with ideas. I am sick of ideas!
“Oleksandr, you must have a lot of money left, since you still play around”, my “mentor” said. “F*k you”, I thought to myself, but politely thanked for his feedback and ended the call. I was crushed in pieces. The website is crap. The business idea is crap. Everything is not good enough… I give up.
I haven’t had any break since May. Nine months I’ve been busting my ass off, trying to create a source of income. Dumbass… Nothing worked out. I guess I haven’t tried hard enough. Lazy… Not smart…
I created a lot of illusions about myself and my abilities. I drawn in my own lies. I choke on my own brain vomit.
Look around – people are working. Everyone seem to know what to do. At least they make some money. I am a dreamer – that’s all I am good at. I walk around and dream…dream…dream. I have ideas – they sound cool. I feel smart. Haha! I feel smart – I am a big dreamer. If only I could get paid for generating ideas – I would be a millionaire. Fuck I am sick of myself…
I don’t want to do anything anymore. I AM DONE. I give up. Tell me what to do and how to do it. Working for an employer sounds like vacation to me. I could finally relax and simply follow the directions. Do what they tell you to do – be a good boy and get paid. Is it really what I want?
You don’t want to be around me. Everything annoys the crap out of me. People, dogs… I can’t look at myself in the mirror. Fuck
Yes, yes… Feel sorry for yourself. Want to cry maybe? Go ahead. Now what? Nothing had changed and you still here. What are you going to do now cowboy? You are on your own, remember? There is nobody to rescue you. Oh yes, and your family don’t talk to you. Haha! Your mother and brother… the rest of the family. They don’t give a f*ck. All you have left is your father, who also has a lot of shit to deal with on his own. You don’t have any meaningful relationships in your life. No women – just you and your dog for the past three years. Now what?
How about using the old, proven method? Go get some donuts with cream. Or maybe a cheesecake? You deserve it – you poor thing. How about a bottle of wine? Or maybe this time you need something stronger? Perhaps. You haven’t tried drugs. What a great time to start exploring psychedelics? LSD, MDMA..? One time won’t hurt. What are you worth anyways?
Me and my dog… Blake. I have no home. I have no one to love. I have nothing to do. No money. No job… All I have is my dreams, truck and camper. I am a useless dreamer. I lost all I had. I feel sorry for myself, again. Fuck, what a miserable experience.
Now what? What should I do?…
I was in a bad mood. I was exhausted. I went back to my camper and dropped dead tired on my bed. I cried… then falled asleep. Woke up about two hours later, feeling a bit more energy, however still depressed. What should I do? I need to stand back up. I need to pull myself out this hole. I need a plan.
What if I knew all the answers? What if all the answers were in me and all I needed to do is just ask? What would I ask? They say that the quality of my life depends on the quality of questions I ask. Let’s try:
Should I pursue this business, yes or not?
What do I need to learn from this failure?
Not everyone will like and approve your ideas There will be people who say it’s crap I feel crappy when people say it’s not going to work
Does the Universe try to help me?
Yes. I don’t see any reasons why it won’t
Is it the sign that the business is not for me?
Can I become a millionaire by 30?
Depends how bad you want it. Is it a need or a wish?
What would … do if he was in my shoes?
He would try something different
Is it worth trying my “Staples coaching ideas”?
Hey, listen. What do you have to lose? Make as many mistakes as you can. It’s time to fail! Fail big. Fail fast. Cry for a day or two, but then get up and go. You are tired, you are exhausted – that’s understandable. Anyone in your position would feel exactly the same way. Moreover, this is exactly where people drop and quit. If you want to quit – quit, but don’t take it personally. It’s your life and your decisions. You have options, did you forget?
I don’t want to quit, but I realize that I need to change something. What will I change?
That’s not a good question. Try again.
Do I need to start business development from the “community” side of things?
Are you sure? It seem as a waste of time
I am sure
Is this why I’ve been getting a lot of negative feedback lately? Do you nudge me into “community” direction?
I wish you could answer why… but do I really need to know? No I need help and support. Can I count on you and your wisdom? Can I trust you?
Will I ever become a millionaire?
Am I stupid for asking all these questions and answering myself?
No. What do you lose?
Alright, the plan is:
Build a community of Deep Work people I don’t quite like the phrase “Deep Work”. Is there is a better word describing this? Flow… Zone… idk.
Create an app?
Help Staples with re-branding. Develop the coaching
On Monday night I was eating plain, cold, boiled chicken breast. It tasted so good that I realized that my taste receptors had changed. I was really tasting and enjoying raw vegetables – the same way, as before I went off the track with my weight gain. Moreover I realized that I haven’t had a single thought about fatty or sweet (junk) foods. I had carbohydrates cravings, but I wasn’t thinking about donuts and cakes, I was really craving plain oatmeal or pearl barley.
Entire week I felt sloppy. Both my mood and athletic performance got a toll. I felt apathetic to any kind of exercise. I had to drag myself to the gym almost every day. It was hard to stay focused at work.
I slipped into a minor binge (overeating) before bed on Friday night around 10 pm. Later I learned that people tend to be the hungriest around 10 pm mark. This is due to increased hormone level – Ghrelin – the hunger hormone. If you diet and severely restrict your caloric intake, try to go to bed sooner than later. If you stay up late – there is a great chance that you will end up by the fridge, binging on carbs.
My blood sugar levels are back down to the norm. This week was the first time when I saw 4.9-4.9 mmol/l on my glucometer. That’s GREAT! I am back to the levels, where I used to be a year ago. Three weeks ago my fasting blood sugar was well above 5 mmol/l. 5.5-6.5 was not unusual to see.
This week I was craving fatty foods. On my “refeed day” I went for a large fatty steak. I felt very good afterward. The energy came back and overall condition had improved.
DIET: WHAT’S IMPORTANT? WHAT’S NOT?
CALORIE IS A CALORIE
ENERGY BALANCE: TO LOSE WEIGHT, YOU NEED TO CONSUME LESS THAN YOU EXPAND
The amount of food consumed is a determinant factor to how much weight we gain or lose. Yes, different food sources have different energy contents. There are a lot of factors that determine how the food is being digested and absorbed. Nevertheless it all comes to a simple equation: if you eat less than you expand – you lose weight. If you eat more than you expand you will inevitably gain weight. It’s that simple.
Having a monotone diet that consists of a few ingredients is very helpful for weight loss. It also makes it easier to manage your calorie intake.
99% of professional athletes don’t count calories. They have their daily protein component, which contribution to energy supply is minimal. Also, protein does not convert into fat. Athletes know that on a daily basis they need to consume about 500g of plain cooked chicken breasts. As for the carbs – athletes know that to maintain their weight, they need to eat approximately 2 or 3 cups of oatmeal (dry weight). The rest are fats: one or two handfuls of nuts or one avocado.
The study suggests the following: “We conclude that a calorie is a calorie. From a purely thermodynamic point of view, this is clear because the human body or, indeed, any living organism cannot create or destroy energy but can only convert energy from one form to another.”
Tip: measure/weight the food you cook, when it’s raw (dry weight).
BREAKFAST IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY
Should we eat breakfast or not? If you don’t feel particularly hungry in the morning, and the hunger shifts to the second part of the day – distribute your meal consumption accordingly. Hormone Ghrelin (hunger hormone) reaches its peak concentration in the body around 10 pm. That’s why most of us experience carbohydrate cravings in the late evening. On the other hand – its lowest levels are in the morning, around 8 am. If you really feel that you are hungry and need to have breakfast – go for it. However, if you wake up and don’t feel particularly hungry – it’s totally okay to skip it.
Scientists came to a conclusion that the more food options you have – the most like you to overeat. In other words, the more different kinds of foods you have in your fridge – the more like you are to consume more energy than your body needs. This is especially relevant for those who try to lose weight. Minimize the variety of foods in your fridge.
THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT CONSUMING LOW GI FOODS ARE MORE SUPERIOR TO WEIGHT LOSS TO EATING HIGH GI PRODUCTS.
Every human body is different and unique, therefore we all have different blood sugar responses to the same foods that we eat. There are low of “Low GI” diets, proponents of which claim that consuming foods that have low glycemic response better for weight loss. People get really anal about GIs, and claim that the foods which have GI over 70 to be “bad”. There is so much histeria around SUGAR. Is it true? Do you really think that you can’t get fat by eating brown rice or pearl barley (low GI)?
“The average weight loss was 1.5 kg on a low-GI diet and 1.6 kg on a high-GI diet. To conclude, there is no evidence at present that low-GI foods are superior to high-GI foods in regard to long-term body weight control.”, (Raben, 2002).
What about cardiovascular diseases caused by high GI foods? There was a study, that concluded:
“There is currently no evidence available regarding the effect of low GI diets on cardiovascular disease events. Moreover, there is currently no convincing evidence that low GI diets have a clear beneficial effect on blood lipids or blood pressure parameters.”, (Clar, C 2017)
“…making dietary recommendations based on GI may be misleading, especially since low GI does not always mean high nutritional value, and high GI foods, such as potato, may have other healthful qualities including low energy density and a high satiety rating. Thus, focusing on overall dietary quality and promoting the healthful aspects of the diet (e.g., dietary fiber and fruit and vegetable intake) may be a better approach to help reduce chronic disease risk.”, (Vega-López, 2018)
Also, the same study concluded that: “…compared low and high GI diets with moderate or high carbohydrate content and reported no differences in weight loss by GI or carbohydrate content of the diets. This study further assessed metabolic adaptation 12 months after the weight loss period, and suggested no differences in weight regain based on GI during the weight loss phase.”, (Vega-López, 2018).
What if we were to eat high GI foods mixed with the ones that cause lower spike in insulin? Potatoes, especially mashed potatoes, are known to result in high glycaemic responses. However, we rarely eat potatoes on it’s own and such meals are typically accompanied by other foods. Scientists tried to answer the question: How glycaemic responses to a mashed potato meal changed when a high-fat food, a high-protein food (chicken breast) and/or salad were added to the meal? Good question, isn’t it? Here is what they found:
“We conclude that both fat and protein have an independent decreasing effect on the glycaemic responses to mashed potatoes in healthy subjects. The estimation of the GI of a mixed meal by calculation is imprecise when the meal contains fat and/or protein.”
When we speak about weight loss – It doesn’t matter whether you eat foods which are low or high on the glycemic index scale.
The weight of our bodys don’t change from eliminating one product or another. It changes from the energy balance of foods we consume vs energy we expand.
EATING MORE FREQUENTLY DOES NOT “SPEED UP METABOLISM”
There is a notion that in order to “speed up” your metabolism, you need to increase the frequency of your meals. Hence, if we eat less frequent – our metabolism slows down. That is simply not true. Let’s see what the research says:
“… recent prospective research has demonstrated a significant increase in disease risk with a high meal frequency (≥6 meals/day) as compared to a low meal frequency (1⁻2 meals/day).”
“The use of the IF diet effectively improves glucose metabolism in patients with type 2 diabetes… The positive effect of the IF diet has also been documented in obese and diabetic people. The reduced amount of food consumed when using the IF diet results in a decrease in body weight. It also improves glucose metabolism and increases the sensitivity of tissues to insulin by increasing the B cells of the pancreatic islets.”
Two-three meals a day – is the most optimum frequency for health and body weight maintenance.
EATING LATE IN THE EVENING IS NOT BAD
People say that eating after 6 pm is bad for your health. Why so? People say that our bodies don’t spend as much energy as they do during the day. Because of it, most of the food that we eat before going to sleep – will convert to fat. Sounds interesting. Is it true? How much energy our bodies consume during sleep vs active periods during the day?
“In a subgroup of 40 normal lean subjects the mean ratio of overnight metabolic rate (Overnight MR): BMR was 0.95 (range 0.85 – 1.02, s.d. 0.04). The mean ratio of lowest sleeping metabolic rate (Lowest SMR): BMR was 0.88 (range 0.83 – 0.96, s.d. 0.04). Ratios of Overnight MR: BMR were not significantly affected by different levels of exercise on the preceding day. “, (Goldberg GR, 1988).
When you sleep, your metabolic rate is 4% lower vs when you are awake. What this means is that if you were to burn 2,000 calories /day while awake, while at sleep, your energy expenditure will go down only by 80 calories!
Are large dinners associated with excess weight, and does eating a smaller dinner achieve greater weight loss? Great question! Here is what the science says:
“The meta-analysis of intervention trials showed no difference in weight change between small and large dinner groups (-0·89 kg; 95 % CI -2·52, 0·75, P=0·29)… Recommendations to reduce evening intake for weight loss cannot be substantiated by clinical evidence, and more well-controlled intervention trials are needed.
In other words – it doesn’t matter when you eat, as long as you stay within your optimal caloric intake.
THE HIGHER QUALITY OF YOUR LIFE – THE BETTER FORM AND HEALTH YOU CAN OBTAIN.
It will be harder to lose weight for people who constantly stress about money. The more financially and socially stable you are – the fitter you can get. There are exceptions.
What I learned after Week 2 of weight loss?
Energy consumption during the first week was ridiculously low, so I made a conscious effort to eat more the next week. I ate approximately 2,800 calories more, which equals to more than one full day worth of food.
The day after “refeed” day, I felt really hungry upon awakening. It even hurt a bit in my stomach. That’s good! I believe it’s due to improved metabolism caused by high carb intake the day before. I endured the cravings and went back on to the low carb track.
Blood sugar levels typically spike one day after refeed. That’s odd. I would expect to see elevated blood sugars immediately, on the next day, but it doesn’t work that way. The spike happens on the second day, after refeed and then gradually declines at the speed of about 0.2 mmol/l a day.
I see direct correlation between carbohydrate cravings and blood sugar levels. The lower it gets – the more I begin to think of bread and simple sugars. Sometimes I even have food dreams in my sleep. I assume that we can use glucometer to schedule refeeds. Depending on a lot of factors, particularly the activity level – some people will be able to deplete their glycogen stores faster than the others. Once the muscle and liver glycogen is low – we begin to see a drop in blood sugar levels. Theoretically, we can schedule carbohydrate refeeds every time the person drops 0.6-0.8 mmol/l. Once the number reached – refeed.
Three days of minimum/no carbs were easy. In fact, my carbohydrate cravings were much more manageable than the week before. I almost didn’t have any. Anyways, I had a day of refeed on Wednesday, as planned.
My approach was simple – eat a lot of carbohydrates, as much as you want. Create a caloric spike with carbs only. No limitations, whatsoever. The only rule was to choose carbs with minimal fat content. If I were to buy a loaf of bread, I would pick one with the lowest fat content. Same for cookies, rice cakes and all sorts of simple carbs I ate that day. Fat – was the only macronutrient that I was searching for on the back of the packaging. This did not workout very well…
After the second workout of the day, which was strength training, I felt particularly hungry. Started with about 150g of oatmeal (dry weight), then it went on and on. Five flatbreads plus a bag of marshmallows. Simple carbs, pure sugar, but no fat – should be fine, right? Wrong. Once you begin eating sweet junk food, there is no stopping. I ate way more than I should’ve and felt sick that evening. This taught me a lesson:
Refeed Days also should be controlled and have boundaries.
What this means is that even on refeed days, I got to stick to a specific number of carbs I consume. Something like 400-500g of carbs, the rest is protein. For each person this number will be different. Also, not to mention that if you don’t feel that you crave carbohydrates that much – there is no reason to stuff yourself with oatmeal. Postpone the refeed day to tomorrow or day after tomorrow.
Carbohydrate Alternating Diet – THE THEORY
There are many names for this method of getting rid of subcutaneous fat. But the meaning is always the same – “floating” calorie intake. For several days in a row, you get the minimum calorie content practically by minimising/eliminating carbohydrates in your diet (eat mainly proteins).
All this time, your fat is actively burning as a source of energy, however at the same time your body slows down metabolism due to lack of energy. After a few days, you arrange a “belly party” by adding a lot of carbohydrates to your diet in order to speed up the metabolism and improve your well-being. After saturation, you go into negative territory again. This alternation of “starvation” and “global gluttony” allows you to burn subcutaneous fat more efficiently than the traditional low-carb diet.
This is a modified version of the regular low-carb diet. It’s very simple: constant manipulation with the amount of carbohydrates consumed. First, you consume low carbs -> fat burns + metabolism slows down. Then you consume a LOT of carbohydrates = no fat burns + metabolism accelerates. Why does this work so well? Because you get all the pros and you minimize the cons. PROS – the lack of carbohydrates is necessary for weight loss. CONS is a slowdown of metabolism (slowing down fat burning).
In the body, everything is CONNECTED and LOGICAL. There is a basic energy source that is very cheap and therefore best suited for conversion to energy. It’s called CARBOHYDRATES stored as GLYCOGEN in the muscles and liver cells. And there are emergency sources of energy, which are very expensive and therefore consumed last (when there are no carbohydrates anymore). IT IS PROTEINS and FATS. Including those that are stored under the skin. Alternation depletes glycogen stores and thus forces you to use fat (you lose weight). A few days without carbohydrates maximally deplete glycogen stores (the body begins to burn fat). In response to low energy consumption your body turns on the emergency response – slow down of metabolism and fat burning. This is when we start “carb loading” or “refeed”. Having filled the muscles and liver with glycogen for a day or two, we block the “dangerous ricochet” of our metabolism. After stabilization, we again go low carb for several days, after which we introduce the refeed back again. Two steps forward, one step back. We move up and down, in a rhythm, alternating between lack and excess.
On the first day of restriction of carbohydrates, the body loses its glycogen reserves, on the second (third) day with restriction of carbohydrates, the body begins to burn fat, on the following days, while maintaining a low level of carbohydrate consumption, anti-stress adaptation to hunger is turned on, which is aimed at maintaining weight (slow down of thyroid gland hormones, increased secretion of catabolic hormones, decreased insulin secretion, slowing down the conversion of fat into energy, etc.) In general, if you do not add carbohydrates at this time, you can greatly slow down or even completely stop the process of fat burning.
1-5 DAYS = LOW CARB (2-4 grams of protein + 0-1 grams of carbohydrates per 1 kg of weight)
1-2 DAYS = CARB LOAD (1-2 grams of protein + 3-5 grams of carbohydrates per 1 kg)
The cycle is repeated many times. The result in theory should be as follows: weight is reduced due to body fat loss, while the percentage of muscle tissue remains the same. For the first couple of low/no carb days, the body switches to self-sufficiency and begins to use the most convenient fuel – its own glycogen. Having quickly depleted its reserves in the liver and muscles, it starts the breakdown of fat and by the end of the second day it accelerates fat burn to its maximum. However, you cannot continue in this way forever, otherwise metabolism will slow down greatly in a couple of days as well as the process of losing fat. This happens because the body perceives the situation of carbohydrate deficiency as life-threatening and tries to preserve the “necessary” fat reserves by burning the less valuable – muscle tissue. Therefore, when you are on a “starvation” diet, the weight first drops sharply, and then suddenly freezes for a long time. But if you spur the metabolism on the 5th or 6th day with an additional infusion of carbohydrates, the body continues to consume the existing fat, and the carbohydrates eaten go to replenish glycogen stores.
A four or five day cycle of a carbohydrate alternating diet can and should be modified to fit your unique lifestyle and body. Many people successfully modify this pattern, for example: low carb for five days in a row, from Monday to Friday, and then load with carbohydrates on the weekends. You must experiment to find the most optimal schedule for you.
This diet can be very effective. Actually, as it is not surprising, but the driest I was from using this diet. BUT it requires a VERY INDIVIDUAL SETUP! It is very easy to be wrong. THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT DIET BECAUSE YOU NEED TO CHOOSE TWO THINGS INDIVIDUALLY:
NUMBER of LOW CARB DAYS (by day)
SIZE of “CARB LOAD” (by days and by quantity)
First, the number of days may be too many or too few. For some people 3-4 days of low carb may actively slow down metabolism, so they will need to start eating carbohydrates. Other people can sit on a “starvation diet” for a week, continuing to actively burn fat. If you give those folks a lot of carbohydrates in this case, then the process of fat burning will completely stop.
Second, the “carbohydrate load” may be too large or too small. It is generally enough for one person to just eat a large portion of rice for breakfast and his/hers metabolism will go back up to the same rate as before the diet. However, others need to stuff themselves with a lot of food for two days to accomplish the same result. It also matters which carbs you eat: “fast or slow”, complex or simple. Because of so many different factors – it is very difficult to find your perfect ratio of days and amounts. You got to be in tune with your body. In an experimental way you need:
Choose number of days without carbohydrates
Select the size of the “carb load”
I can’t tell you the exact numbers. You need to experiment and watch the result. I can only give rough guidelines with which I would start these experiments. For beginners, I would try 2 days without carbs + 1 day refeed. I assess how I feel and look in the mirror. If you feel good (there is no muscle weakness), then I would increase the duration of low/no carb to 3 days + 1 day of carb load. I would work in this mode for 1-2 weeks, observing my feelings and reflection in the mirror.
FEEL GOOD = you can extend the low carb (add days) FEEL BAD = reduce low-carb days or increase the load (amount and/or days) THE MIRROR SHOWS PROGRESS = don’t change anything THE MIRROR DOES NOT SHOW PROGRESS = you need to change the unloading and/or loading
Ideally, you should choose such a balance of low-carb days and refeeds, so that you lose weight in the mirror, and you feel good (metabolism does not slow down). Somewhere for 50% of people it will be about 4 days of low-carb + 1 day refeed. Moreover, on the day of carb loading, it may make sense to only eat in the first half of the day and fast for the rest of the day.
It also makes sense to experiment with the GI of the carbohydrates you use during loading. You can try eating simple carbohydrates (sweeter) or complex carbohydrates (oats, rice, buckwheat etc.) depending on the duration of the load. In theory, complex carbohydrates are better on the diet, in practice I have noticed that if you have a short “window” for intake (for example, only the first half of one day), then simple carbohydrates work better. Experiment.
*If hungry, you can add breast or fish (animal protein source)
STAGE 2: CARB LOADING – REFEED (1 day)
Buckwheat or Rice (300g)
Unlimited protein and fiber
On this day, we get an excess of carbohydrates. I gave an example with oatmeal and rice. This is not a dogma, but just an option. Perhaps you like pasta or bread more. Or maybe even honey. On this day, you can experiment with carbohydrates. BUT remember that this is not a day to indulge in binge eating. Carbohydrates are not for pleasure. It is primarily a tool to prevent a slowdown in metabolism. Therefore, you choose products not in terms of taste, but in terms of effectiveness for further fat burning.
By now you understand that the goal is to deplete your glycogen stores, to initiate the fat burn. Experimentally, I found a few ways to speed up glycogen depletion:
HIT. Any sorts of sprints: running, on bike, swimming. Short bursts of energy at all out efforts.
Weight training. Heavy weights + supersets
Swimming. At least 30 minutes
Cold water immersion
ON AVERAGE, THE HUMAN BODY BURNS ABOUT 30 CALORIES PER KILOGRAM OF BODY WEIGHT.
Let’s say, you weigh 75 kilograms. To maintain your body weight, you eat approximately 2,250 calories/day (30 cal x 1 kg). One day you decide to lose weight.
You set your caloric intake to 1,100 calories per day, creating about 1,150 cal/day energy deficit. In a short period of time you lost 10 kilograms. Wooo Hoooo! Right? Let’s see what happened to your metabolism. Now your body weight is 65 kg. 65kg x 30 cal = 1,950 calories / day to maintain. Your body now requires less energy to maintain essential functions. As your body’s weight decreases – the energy consumption decreases as well. This is the law of physics. What happens if you decide to maintain caloric intake of 1,100 cal / day? Your body regulates hormones in a way, so you start expanding less energy. Protein synthesis decreases or stops completely. You don’t build new muscle tissue, and at the high risk of destroying the muscles that you’ve already got. Resynthesis of glycogen also decreases because carbohydrate sources are minimal. Certain bodily processes either stop and slow down, so your body becomes more efficient and uses energy. This is called – Adaptation. Your body adapts to femen in order to survive. You lose any motivation for physical activity. If you used to go to the gym 4-5 times a week, now you train lighter or even skip one-two training sessions. You might also notice that you feel less emotional. Jokes are not so funny anymore. You become careless. Your libido drops. You don’t want to have sex, you just don’t care.
What I will do differently:
Refeed days are planned and controlled
Complex carbs are preferred on refeed days
No fat on refeed days
Supplement with protein to feel more full and lower insulin response
After you’ve asked a question – be quiet and wait for the answer. Make it a habit
Small talk might be a useful way to warm up, but it’s rarely the bridge that leads to a conversation that matters.
Coaching for Performance
It’s about addressing and fixing a specific problem or challenge. It’s putting out the fire or a building up the fire or banking the fire.
Coaching for Development
It’s about turning the focus from the issue to the person dealing with the issue, the person who is managing the fire.This conversation is more rare and significantly more powerful.
The Kickstart Question
Start a conversation with the question: “WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?”. It invites people to get people to the heart of the matter and share what’s important to them. It’s an encouragement to go right away to what’s exciting, what’s provoking anxiety, what’s all-consuming, what’s waking them up at 4 a.m., what’s got their hearts beating fast.
Projects -is the content of the situation, the stuff that’s being worked on;
People – its you relationships with others and your role in them;
Patterns – this are the patterns of behavior and ways of working that you’d like to change. This are personal and challenging questions. Not often appropriate in organizations;
“What’s on your mind?”, you ask
“The [… thing they are working on…]”, they say
“So there are three different ways that we could look at it”, you offer. “The Project side – any challenges around the actual content. The People side – any issue with team members/colleagues/other department/bosses/customers/clients. Patterns – if there is a way that you’re getting in your own way, and not showing up the best possible way. Where should we start?”
[Let them pick one P and talk about it. When they done discussing it, take them to other two Ps]
Ask the question
If you know what question to ask, get to the point and ask it. Then shut up and listen.
“Out of curiosity…”
“And What Else?”
Ask it a few times, probably until the person says: “There is nothing else”. That’s good – you’ve reached the end of story.
Start with: “What’s on your mind?”
Then: “What else?”
Then maybe: “What else could you do?”
When trying to finds a the root cause of the issue, ask: “What’s the real challenge here for you?...”. Push further with “And what else is a challenge here for you?”
When starting weekly check-ins: “What’s important right now?”. Keep pressure by asking: “And what else?”
When someone explores new ideas, ask: “And what else might be possible?”
The Focus Question
The goal is to focus on the real problem, not the first problem.
“What’s the real challenge here for you?”
“If you had to pick one of these to focus on, which one here would be the real challenge for you?”
What makes the focus question works so well are those two final words – “for you”.
Tip: Instead of asking Why, reframe to What? Instead of “Why did you do this?” Ask “What were you hoping for here?”, “What made you choose this course of action?”
First Three Questions Combination
Open with: What’s on your mind? (The perfect way to start; the question is opened but focused)
Check in: Is there anything else on your mind? (Give the person an option to share additional concerns.)
Then begin to focus: So what’s the real challenge here for you?(Already the conversation will deepen. Your job now is to find what’s most useful to look at.)
Ask: And What Else (you’re asking about the real challenge)?Trust me, the person will have something. And there may be more.
Probe again: Is there is anything else?You’ll have most of what matters in front of you now.
So get to the heart of the problem and ask: So… what’s the real challenge here for you?
You want those you interact with: your team, your boss, your customers, your suppliers to be engaging rather than with reading. You want your people to feel that working with you is a place of reward, not risk. And you also realize that you want to feel like you are safe so that you can stay at your smartest, rather than in fight or flight mode.
Silence is often a measure of success. When you asked a question and she doesn’t have the answer ready within the first two seconds, take a breath, stay open and keep quiet for another three seconds.
Tip: When someone asks you “How do I … ?” Say, “That’s a great question. I’ve got some ideas, which I will share with you. But before I do, what are your first thoughts?”. And when she answers, which she will, you will not your head and be engaged and interested, and when she finishes, say, “ that’s terrific. What else could you do?”. More nodding, more being interested. Then say, “ this is all good. Is there anything else you could try here?”. And then, only then, you can add your own idea.
The Strategic Question is:
If you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
“What could being fully committed to this idea look like?“
“Just to be clear: what exactly are you saying yes to?”
If you say YES to this:
What projects do you need to abandon or postpone?
What meetings will you no longer attend?
What resources do you need to divert to the yes?
What expectations do you need to manage?
What relationships will you let wither?
What habits do you need to break?
What all stories or dating ambitions do you need to update?
What beliefs about yourself do you need to let go of?
Five Strategic Questions
What is our winning aspirations? What game are you playing and with (against) whom? What impact do you want to have in/on the world?
Where will we play? Choosing a sector, geography, product, channel and customer allows you to focus your resources.
How will we win? What’s the difference between you and others? What’s your “unfair advantage”?
What capabilities must be in place? Not just what do you need to do, but how will it become and stay a strength?
What management systems are required? It’s easy enough to manage stuff. It’s much harder to figure out what you want to measure that actually matters.
What have you learned since the last time we met?
What did you learn?
What was the key insight?
What do you want to remember?
What’s important to capture?
What was the most useful for you about this conversation? Or
What did you find most valuable about this chat? Or
Had a meeting with my “business mentor” today. It’s been awhile since we met last time – about a month ago. I’ve done a lot of work since then and I wanted to show him my accomplishments. Mainly I was looking for a feedback on the website and VR model of my product.
First thirty minutes of continuous stream of critique were tolerable. I took a lot of notes and I agreed with most of his suggestions. At some point it started getting under my skin. Now he wasn’t only criticizing my website, but the entire business in general. I spent about two months developing this freaking website and I was sick of it… He totally crashed everything – the formatting, layout… Yes, his comments made sense, but it didn’t feel right. He was hitting on the whole idea.
I was speechless. At first, I tried to explain the concept but I stopped. It felt as I messed up as a kid and was trying to explain my actions. Therefore I shut my mouth and kept listening. I was crushed… I thought of myself as someone who is good at accepting criticism, but maybe I am not? Maybe my business is really a shitty idea? What if he is right and no one needs it?
And the he said: “You must have a lot of cash left, so you continue working on this idea?”. That comment really got me. I started laughing. The criticism was so strong and even personal, so I started laughing in response. This was the self-defence response of my physic…
I thanked him for his time and feedback and left the meeting. I felt crushed. I could not do anything… “All I do is burn my savings”, “all I am doing is just f*cking around… playing the entrepreneur”. It’s been eight months since I got laid off. I’ve been trying lots of ways to make money. I was working hard. I promise I did… I did not party. I slept six hours a night. I could not allow myself to sit down and watch a freaking movie. Hustle, hustle, hustle… Yes, I traveled for a bit, but guess what – I always was working on something! I guess I was working on wrong things. I applied to hundreds of jobs. I had job interviews. It did not lead me anywhere. I guess didn’t try hard enough…
I don’t ask it to be easy. It never was. I am tired. I don’t want to do anything. Maybe he is right – I’ll just continue playing around while I have the money. Once I drained my bank account I’ll do what everyone does – find a job and settle in. Stupid idea. A lot of wasted time…
What’s the purpose of MVP? The most important role of an MVP is to let us learn about what our users want. MVP’s should provide value to our users, but it is a secondary priority. It should provide value only after we make sure they are actually interested in that value. There is a step before the MVP.
How to quickly measure interest in your product or a new feature without even creating the product itself? There is a concept called a “Fake Door”. This approach involves some manner of pretending you have a product or service, and therefore require you to create a manual, prototype, or page that is a key component used during research.
Let’s say you would like to build and rent a tiny cabin house. Some Scandinavian designs have inspired you. You will need to find someone, an architect who could help you with the concept. DO NOT invest your hard-earned dollars for an idea you’re not sure about. There are two ways of finding out if potential customers want it:
Launch a landing page with key benefits and a screenshot and collect email addresses of people who are interested. If conversion rates of people giving their email address divided by landing page impressions are high enough, a decision is made to develop the product.
Ask potential customers if they want it. What’s considered as a healthy process in many organizations is sending a team with a new product idea to the organization’s top customers. The team then passionately describes the idea and asks for feedback. Would you use it? Would you pay for it? How much? What features do you want? If 10–15 customers show they are interested, the organization goes ahead and develops the product.
How to design fake door experiment
There are three ways to design a Fake Doors experiment:
Landing or crowdfunding page Launch a landing page that attempts to prove some kind of commitment on behalf of its visitors. This commitment could be asking them to pay for a product that doesn’t exist yet. Starting an IndieGoGo or Kickstarter project is a variation of evaluating such a commitment. Be aware, though, that crowdfunding attracts very specific types of audiences that might not overlap with yours.
The button to nowhere When you want to evaluate if people need a certain feature within an existing product, add a button or link or tap target to your product indicating that a certain capability or feature exists behind it. When users press, click, or tap it, show an indication that the feature doesn’t exist yet—a “coming soon” note or an “in progress” banner. Obviously, this technique requires you to have a product and enough visitor traffic.
404 testing Launch an advertising campaign, for example, with Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. Ads included in the campaign lead to a 404 error page. You don’t need to develop anything. Your only goal is evaluating if people are interested in the product based on the ads.
WHAT I DID WAS:
Spent a small budget on an architect to help me with creating the concept. I used Fiverr.com. Then found the local guy through the word of mouth.
Created several high-fidelity visualizations representing my cabin near a beautiful area – a lake and woods.
I hired professional to develop Virtual Reality model (if your budget allows).
Designed a website with landing page using Themify.me free website theme to represent my dream cabin for rent.
Embed the map to display multiple locations. Don’t stick to only one location – this will help to test different markets. Used the Airbnb website to find approximate addresses for your future cabin. Find the examples and see where they located.
I drove traffic to the landing page through some paid campaigns.
When someone fills in the booking form, you then automatically directed them to the page that explains the concept of testing the demand. I also gave a 10% discount for booking once my service is ready. You need to be transparent and compensate somehow for the effort so as not to leave a bad impression about your brand.
Collected all data regarding: money spent on advertisement, website visits, booking forms filled, emails, customer locations etc.
Below is the screenshot of automated email that was sent out in response to booking request:
You can easily create and present two versions of a product/service and measure which one gets higher demand.
Why should you do it?
You can get qualitative metrics to create a business forecast.
You save a lot of time and money on creating products which your customers don’t want.
You can collect the emails addresses of people who might be your audience to test your next ideas, prototypes, or eventually become your customer.
What do I try to accomplish with the website and VR prototype?
The main goal is to Validate the Idea. I want to get a good sense of whether people need something like what I am trying to build or not. I need to know for certain if there is demand, before I get myself in debt. The main question I try to answer is: Do people need the product or service?
To get the accurate feedback from your audience, three things need to happen:
They must know about the product. Your marketing and public relations channels must meet your audience.
They must understand the product’s value. Words, images, demos, and videos must communicate the value of the product and make potential customers feel it solves a problem or meets a need they have.
They must agree to the product’s cost. Potential customers must accept the price point and be willing to pay what you ask for the product.
Alright, I’ve got a good website and the prototype model. Visitors of my website get a good understanding of what this is and why it exists. There are bunch of photos and videos that showcase what it is. There is a blog page and “About” page which have detailed descriptions of the service. Also, VR model allows to get inside and look around. “Cool!” – some people might say. “So what?”. It’s not enough to showcase the idea, but make potential customers act. Preorders? Bookings? To avoid the “So what?” question, my potential customers must accept the price point and be willing to pay what you ask for the product. This means that I need to include the price and a way to pay – “Reserve online”.
It’s not enough just to launch a landing page, thinking it’s the right way to learn if people need you product. The problem is that the only question landing pages answer is “Are people interested enough to give us their email address?” You learn nothing about what people want or need. Humans have no idea what they need and will almost always be nice to people who ask them. It doesn’t cost them much to be nice and say it’s a great idea.
So what will be a good idea validation indicator? What needs to happen, so I can tell for certain – “Yes, people do want my product!”? The answer is – the ratio between how many people showed interest in the product/feature and the number of people who got exposed to the message about it. “Showed interest” means they either paid to buy the product, funded it, clicked the button to nowhere, or clicked through an ad. In my case it was “Reserve Now” button. People who were interested, would pick dates, location and reserve the stay. I will be assessing the ratio between visitors and bookings requests. The lower the ratio – the better.
What ratio will I consider “good enough” to go ahead and start building the product? Anything above 5. This means that out ever 100 visitors, I will want to see at least 20 bookings. In this case, I will be confident to say: “There is a demand for my service! Let’s build it!”. Anything below 5, will make me question my idea: “Do people really need it? Not sure…”.
Also very important to have the “right visitors”. You have to measure the demand among you target audience, not just anybody. Otherwise the results will be screwed and will not represent the real picture.
After you have collected data, it’s time to evaluate, make an informed decision, iterate, and move on. When the threshold you’ve set in advance is crossed, or if participants are very enthusiastic about your offering, these are all great signals that potential customers recognize the value of your product, feature, or service and that they want it. This serves as validation, and you can go ahead to make progress with developing a product prototype.
In most cases, though, you will find that your assumptions are invalidated. You learn that your idea has failed. Potential customers don’t provide any clear signal they want your product. This is where a lot of entrepreneurs, product managers, and startup founders make bad decisions. Many of them decide to ignore what they learned and still chase their passion for making a product out of their idea.
Research is to help inform your intuition. Sometimes, it’s the audience that you need to pivot, not the product. In any case, be sure to make a decision based on data you collect, then implement it, and experiment again. Iterate and test again. When you get frustrated that people don’t want your product, then change and test it—that’s innovation, design thinking, and user experience.
Fake door — The MVP before the MVP | Hacker Noon. (2017). Retrieved 10 January 2021, from https://hackernoon.com/fake-door-the-mvp-before-the-mvp-61197ed264a3
Research, V. (2021). Validating Product Ideas Through Lean User Research :: UXmatters. Retrieved 10 January 2021, from https://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2016/02/validating-product-ideas-through-lean-user-research.php
Ries, Eric. The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses. New York: Crown Business, 2011.
Alright, back to my weight loss. Below is the report for the first week of “dieting”.
My goal for the first week and thereafter was to lose 1 kg. To accomplish that, I started the first week simple – with typical “cut your calories” + “cut your carbs”. Right of the bet, I set my daily caloric intake in the following way:
50% Protein (313g)
15% Carbs (94g)
35% Fat (97g)
I pre-cooked my meals on Sunday and set the intentions straight. I packed a sh*t load of chicken breasts in several containers and brought them to the office fridge. I didn’t cook anything for carbs and decided just to eat lots of salads, broccoli and brussels sprouts. I thought that would cover my daily carb allowance. For fat, I ate a lot of nuts, a few avocados, olive and coconut oils. I also tracked everything I ate in MyFitnessPal app. Results are below.
What I learned after Week 1 of weight loss?
Unbelievable! What an insight… Whole week I lived on little over 1,100 calories a day. I expected myself to perform well in both sport and work. What an idiot! On day six, on Friday I gave into the binge and felt guilty afterward. I blamed myself for no reason. I realize now that it’s a miracle that I lasted that long at this level of energy intake. Six days on 1,100 calories…
Alright, what’s my total weekly energy deficit? Assuming that my basal metabolic rate is around 2,200 calories /day (standard for male my age and weight), I should’ve eaten AT LEAST 15,400 calories a week (2,200×7). This does not include any activity, just to keep my heart beating and maintain normal functions of my body. In reality I consumed 8,169 calories, which is almost twice less of the bare minimum. A 1,000 calories /day energy deficit. Unbelievable! And then I blame myself for craving sweet and salty foods…
HEALTHY EATING AND EATING FOR WEIGHT LOSS ARE NOT THE SAME
Bloating & Water Retention
If you eat too little and push your body with exercise – you might retain water. If you don’t know how to deal with it properly, it can fuel an emotional firestorm of anger and frustration. Look, The fat you lose through proper dieting can be obscured – both on the scale and in the mirror – by additional water that your body is holding on to. The fat loss only becomes visible when the excess fluid is flushed out of the body, creating the illusion of extreme fat loss over very short periods.
First of all – CALM DOWN! This is expected. Stay focused.
During the “Minnesota Starvation Experiment” scientists made an interesting discovery that came from this study. Weight loss progressed in a nice, linear fashion in the beginning. Men lost about 2 pounds per week, every week. After some time, though, it became erratic and unpredictable. Body weight would remain stagnant for several weeks followed by overnight “bursts” of large amounts of weight loss (3+ pounds). Of course, it’s physically impossible to burn several pounds of fat overnight. Water retention.
What was happening is the men were steadily losing fat even when their weight wasn’t changing because as they lost more fat, they held more water. This only became obvious once the excess water was expelled, which gave the appearance of very rapid weight loss. Apparently this is such a well-known fact, that bodybuilders even came up with a name for it – the “whoosh effect.”
It gets more interesting. Listen to this: “… a 2,300-calorie meal was served to celebrate the half-way mark of the experiment … many of the men woke up several times to pee that night and, in the morning, were several pounds lighter than the day before.” Scientists found that a reliable trigger for the “whoosh effect” was a dramatic increase in caloric intake.Bodybuilders who dieted down to a super-lean level (7% body fat and below for men, 16% and below for women) also experienced something similar after doing a refeed day.
Prolonged calorie deficit dramatically raises cortisol levels. This causes quite a few unwanted effects in the body, including bloating and increased water retention.
COMBINATION OF LITTLE FOOD AND A LOT OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY RAISE CORTISOL LEVELS, WHICH SPIKE WATER RETENTION IN THE BODY.
Refeeds and cheat meals lower cortisol levels, which explains the large expulsions of water. A few tips for reducing water retention:
Don’t cut your calories too aggressively. Literature suggest: 20 to 25% calorie deficit.
Don’t do hours and hours of cardio every week.
Implement refeed days or cheat meals to give your mind and body a break.
Basically, to drain the excessive amount of water, you need to lower the levels of Cortisol in your body. You need to calm your body down and show it that you’re not planning to starve yourself to death.
On day five of my diet I noticed a particularly strong smell of my sweat. Interesting, I wondered what made the change? People call this type of smell an ammonia smell. In short – this was a red flag that my diet did not keep up with my energy needs.
Your body normally metabolizes carbohydrates to create the fuel it requires for exercise, but if you’re exercising hard and don’t have enough carbs to meet your body’s needs, your system will switch over to protein metabolism. That’s easy for understanding. Most of the people, when they start dieting, go too hard too soon. They either cut their caloric intake too much and/or cut the food group completely (typically carbs). This is exactly what I did: brought my carb intake to bare minimum (under 100g /day) AND slashed my calories too much (~1,000 calories deficit /day).
My diet consisted mostly of proteins (43%) and fats (33%). When your body breaks down protein, ammonia is one of the byproducts. Normally your liver would convert that ammonia into urea, and your kidneys would dispel in the form of urine. “… if you’re starved of carbs and using protein for most of your energy, your liver may not be able to handle all the ammonia your body produces. In those instances, your sweat becomes the vehicle through which your body jettisons all of the extra ammonia in your system.”, (Time, 2020)
This is most common among people who eat low-carb and high-protein diets, or people who are over-exercisers, like ultra marathoners. I fit both descriptions… The big takeaway here is that if you’re smelling ammonia in sweat, something’s wrong. I did exactly what my sports doctor suggested – added more carbohydrates to my diet. Also, if upping carbs did not help, there might be problems with your liver or kidneys.
What adjustments will I make?
Implement two “carb loading days”. That’s it. I won’t up my calorie intake just yet. I know it’s ridiculously low, however before I up the energy, I want to see how I will feel with two days of carb loading days. What will my Week 2 look like?
As I said, I will keep my caloric intake at 2,500 calories /day
The first thing that will happen when you cut your food intake, your body will activate the sympathetic response. You might feel more energetic and more focused than typical. Your body is in a fight or flight response, so you can go find and kill that mammoth. I noticed these changes in my own experience. Despite the fact that I was eating less, I felt more focused, and energized. This made me think that dieting could be a great tool not only to lose weight but to endure hard times in our lives. Final exams, deadlines, stressful life situations – diet or fasting can help to maintain the energy and stay sharp.
Metabolic Adaptations [4th-5th day]
When experiencing reduced energy intake, you body takes over and does two things:
Reduce Energy Expenditure
Once Food Available – Regain Fat ASAP
Hormones regulate our body’s energy expenditure. For example, hormone Leptin drops 50% on the 3rd-4th day of dieting and continues to decline gradually over the course of weight loss. This hormone is being produced by your fat cells, therefore the more body fat you’ve got, the greater concentration of it is in your body. This is a satiety hormone, which regulates your hunger. The fatter you are – the less hungry you should be (in theory). The lesser body fast you have – the lesser Leptin concentration, hence you feel hungrier. Got it?
Weight loss is a great stress for your body. In response to stress, you will have elevated stress hormones like Cortisol. As a result of this – your blood sugar level will also rise. Add to this cardio exercises, stress at work, lack of sleep and your brain will become resistant to Leptin – satiety hormone. You will easily overeat, because you don’t feel full anymore.
This all leads to reduced metabolic rate. This is how your body adapts. It doesn’t care that you need six pack abs or want to look great for a wedding. The one thing that your body cares about is to survive at all costs.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that your body can do extraordinary things to conserve energy. It can turn on and off your emotions because they use up to 20% of the energy. Someone will tell you a joke, but you will react with a poker face. You will feel indifferent to dramatic movies during which you used to cry before. Forget about sex – no libido. Your body canal also turns that function off. Spontaneous activity decreases. Your movements will become much slower and predictable. The lower your body fat levels – the worse these symptoms can get. Your brain can even control how far you see, to decrease the amount of incoming information. This will save energy to process this information.
You can’t fool your body. Once you start dreaming about food – you’ve reached the bottom.
After a long run on Saturday morning, I decided not to have breakfast. Why? Because I over ate the night before, so I thought I would give my body a break. I ran 21 km that morning, which put me in about 1200 to 1400 calories deficit. Despite such a large expenditure, I was surprised to note that I wasn’t feeling hungry. It was more of a habit, I realized, do you have a large meal after a hard workout. I scanned my body and asked myself: Am I really hungry? The answer was – no. So why do I eat, if I am not hungry? Of course there is a lot to do emotional eating and behavior patterns, however I will leave it for the next conversation.
I finished my run at 9 AM in the morning and haven’t eaten anything the entire day. The urge to put something in my mouse came up several times, however it wasn’t hunger. It felt weird not to have eaten for the entire day. Before bed I had about a handful of almonds, a bag of carrots and half a glass of wine. I thought to myself that I might spiral in uncontrollable binge the next day. The body will take its back – as I thought.
It didn’t. I felt like I could go the second day with no eating. In fact I started liking this sense of emptiness and lightness. I got worried that I could develop some sort of eating disorder like anorexia.
I was a little agitated and short tempered. I didn’t feel tired or lethargic. I had enough energy to do some easy 10 km run and a 60, 90 minute bike session. I continued training twice a day, as usual, but the hunger wasn’t there. I thought that my body was cleaning up itself on the inside. The next day, despite not being particularly hungry, I ate right before bed. I overeat. I felt bloated and ashamed.
The next day I decided to repeat my experimentation with fasting. I haven’t had any food from the time I woke up until 4 PM in the afternoon. I went for an 80 minutes bike session that morning. I was expecting to feel weak and tired, however I ended up doing several hard intervals, averaging 200+ Watts. I knew that I was in an energy deficit, however I felt great both mentally and physically. I thought to myself: “This is great! I want to feel like this all the time.”
I have no problems fasting for 20 hours, but I do struggle to stop once I’ve started.
….in flow, we are so focused on the task at hand that everything else falls away. Action and awareness merge. Time flies. Self vanishes. Performace goes through the roof. It’s height speed problem solving; it’s being swept away by the river of ultimate performance. Flow naturally catapults you to a level you’re not naturally in. Flow naturally transforms a weakling into a muscleman, a sketcher into an artist, a dancer into a ballerina, a plodder into a sprinter, an ordinary person into someone extraordinary. Flow is the doorway to the “more” most of us seek.
Researchers now believe flow is in the heart of almost every athletic championship, underpins major scientific breakthroughs and accounts for significant progress in arts.
Phycologists have found that the people who have the most flow in their lives are the happiest people on earth.
Flow is one of the most desirable states on earth; it’s also the most elusive. No one has found a reliable way to reproduce the experience, let alone with enough consistency to radically accelerate performance.
If we can master flow, there are no limits to what we can accomplish. We are our own revolution.
“Don’t ask what the word needs. Ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs most is more people who have come alive”, (H. Thurman)
“Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.”, William James
…High achievers where in intrinsically motivated. They we deeply committed to testing limits and stretching potential, frequently using intensity focused activity for exactly this purpose. P. 19
As a matter of fact, so many people find this so great and high an experience that it justifies not only it’s self, but even living itself. Peak experiences can make life worthwhile by their occasional occurrence. They give meaning to life itself. They prove it to be worthwhile. To say this in a negative way, I would guess that peak experiences help to prevent suicide.
While sleeping, we have good dreams and bad dreams. While taking psychedelics, we have good trips and bad trips. Flow, on the other hand, is always a positive experience. No one ever had a bat time in a flow state.
… when you let go of the rope and drop in, you go into warrior mode – you flex your muscles, you grit your teeth, you’re ready for anything. I’m so focused I can’t hear the wave when I’m riding it.
People reported feeling extraordinarily creative the day after a flow state, suggesting that time spent in the zone trains the brain to consistently think outside the box.
I saw there was a pattern to it: Being exhausted made it easier to quiet the mind and get to the zone.
The voice of intuition – the center of the zone’s mystery. Everybody who has ever been in a flow state has heard it – a voice very different from the mind’s normal chatter.
Right before I have to make a move, the voice tells me what to do. And it’s never wrong. When the voice tells you to do something, you do it: right then, don’t think, no questions asked. Not listening to the voice is what will get you killed. I learned that really early in my climbing career.
I was following the Voice. I was doing everything I could to cultivate that heightened awareness. I was down there alone, sleeping under the rocks, not talking to anyone, meditating – all to help strengthen my intuition. The Voice said climb, so that’s what I did. I started climbing like a maniac. I couldn’t have slowed down if I tried.
Normally, people can access about 65% of their absolute strength. Trained weightlifters can get this up to about 80%. But that’s usually the end of the line. If we could access all our strength on command, we could very easily overextend ourselves, pushing beyond our limits and doing serious damage along the way. In the zone, the brain releases a number of powerful painkillers that deaden us to the damage being done and allow us to push our maximal strength closer to each absolute boundary.
Human beings are hardwired for exploration, hardwired to push the envelope.
At its best, writing the code happens in the state of flow. What matters is not the amount of time you are present, but the amount of time that you are working at your full potential. An hour of flow really accomplishes something, but ten six minutes intervals, sandwiched between eleven interruptions will rarely accomplish anything.