Why You Can’t Enjoy Life
The Mastery Letter #6
All through my life I went through periods of happiness, depression and anxiety.
Eventually I would get out of the slumps, but I never knew why they happened.
I always wondered what was wrong with me.
Until I turned 30.
After reading my old journals and thinking about what I was doing during all of those times, I realized it was attributed to periods where I wasn't focusing on all 3 domains of life.
There was a period where I was meeting new people, seeing friends often and being very social.
I also was lifting and taking decent care of my health.
The problem was, I was totally stagnant at my IT job. My body's response was anxiety. Because it was telling me I was not doing what I needed to do.
I was improving on the health and relationships side, but wealth was decaying.
Once I took action and started working towards promotions, learning new skills, planning big moves to another company, all the sudden the anxiety and depression was GONE.
I set the goals and already felt better, even before I took action on them.
There was another period where I was working daily towards wealth goals, paying off debt, saving, working towards a promotion etc. I was also still living with roommates, had a girlfriend etc. so I was very social.
The problem is my health was suffering.
I was drinking too much, and my diet was off.
I had 3 months of anxiety and brain fog that plagued me during that period.
I quit drinking for a few months, adjusted my diet and felt amazing.
Everything was on track again.
Every day I was partaking in habits that pushed the needle in the 3 domains.
I found the balance.
I was winning at life.
When you win, you increase your chances of winning.
It's the dopamine and testosterone effect.
Dopamine and testosterone are closely related, when one goes up, the other follows.
They are always sky high when I'm actively pursuing goals in the 3 pillars.
You often see very wealthy people who are great in the wealth domain but have shit health and relationships.
You'll have people that are broke as hell but are healthy and very social.
When these 3 pillars are in good health, you have goals set and you are actively working towards them, happiness will arrive on your doorstep.
Health + Wealth + Relationships = Happiness
Let's go into these pillars a little more in depth to learn why they are so important.
Health keeps your mind and body in peak condition so that you can enjoy the fruits of life.
Endorphins are released during exercise, laughing and sex.
It is natural pain reliever.
Serotonin is also released more often when you're exercising, eating well, and getting adequate sun.
They both make you feel amazing.
Everything else in life is useless if you wake up feeling groggy and terrible every morning due to a malnourished diet and no exercise.
You should go to bed excited to work in the morning to create impact on the world.
Your dopamine and testosterone should be aiding this.
You must have good habits in order to keep your health in check.
As humans, we have 2 primary drivers, reason and emotion.
Emotion can be viewed as an elephant, and reason as the rider.
We are primarily controlled by our desires which are regulated by emotion.
This means the elephant will have most of the control, most of the time.
The elephant, or our desires, can also be called the automatic system, because all it really does it respond to different stimuli in the environment it is in.
The rider, or our reason, can also be called the controlled system.
The automatic system will always win...
You change your environment to adjust what the elephant is able to see, that way it can't react.
What the does that even mean you ask?
It means don't put cheez its in your fucking pantry and you won't eat them.
We can't stop our desires, we can only curate our environment to outsmart our desires (elephant)
If you are married, don't go to a party with beautiful, single women and drink alcohol.
It's that simple.
Stop wasting your finite willpower putting yourself in situations where you have to do wrestle with your elephant, it's going to win.
You can't control the elephant with the rider, but you can absolutely control what it sees.
If you hate exercise, put a fucking mini treadmill in your living room.
If you hate cooking and cleaning, like me, buy an air fryer and throw some meat in there for 13 minutes.
Eat a pound of meat and tell me you still want to go to Raising Canes.
You won't because 100g of protein is too satiating to want that BS.
Buy protein bars and bananas. They require 2 seconds of removing a wrapper to eat and are healthy.
If you hate vegetables drink Athletic Greens every morning.
If you hate lifting weights, buy a pull up bar for your door frame and do 1 push-up, 1 pullup and 1 body squat. Next day do 2. and so on.
If you struggle with focus work remotely and put your phone away.
If you are too lazy to learn, adjust your YouTube algorithm to content that teaches you the skill you want to master and then apply a shitty iteration of it same day.
If you hate reading, download audible and listen to it while you take a shit. Habit stack it with something you already do.
If you want to write, follow the copywriting entrepreneurs on twitter that are writing daily, follow their newsletters, and start writing like them.
This is curating your inbox with things you want to learn, turning social media (twitter and Youtube) into a learning ecosystem.
If you can't find quality women, get off shitty dating apps and go to the place you're likely to find the girl you want.
Hopefully that is a library.
Women looking for successful men don't go to a dive bar; they go to a 5-star hotel.
I think you get the point.
Also, meditation is a tool that will calm your elephant. I've mentioned it many times in my newsletters.
I highly suggest you use it.
The point is you must curate your environment, so you trick the elephant towards healthy desires that lead to long term fulfillment and satisfaction.
This is the pillar you will use to achieve true freedom. This is where you will execute on your purpose in life.
This is where dopamine will be released in the brain to pursue your purpose and goals.
It is a chemical released in the brain that brings you pleasure to assist you along the way, to incentivize you at every step.
It feels awesome.
Let's be realistic, most of you will have a 9-5.
I have a 9-5.
In order to be financial free and escape the matrix, you will need to also find a high-income skill and use it to provide value to the world in some way through a service or product OUTSIDE of your 9-5.
You will be rewarded proportionately based on your impact.
You will use these rewards to escape the 9-5 and do what enjoy doing.
If you can find a skill that allows you to earn great money, work remote, and help others learn their journey, this will bring great satisfaction.
This may take a while.
I just began my writing journey at 31 and spent over a decade in IT before I came across all of this.
Find a remote career you can achieve mastery in within 5 years and make 100k+.
Your journey of finding purpose is that of concentric circles.
Using your 100k salary, you can now use any extra time and money to slowly move from circle to circle, towards the center to find your purpose with different side hustles.
Keep trying new things, use your $ to purchase courses to learn new skills, like a buffet, and see what sticks.
Take action and make iteration after iteration to improve over time.
I tried drop shipping and failed. It wasn't for me.
I tried Air BNB and it didn't work out.
This is my 3rd attempt at a side hustle, and it's my favorite and one I will continue doing it regardless of if it monetizes.
Writing is cathartic.
The skill scales massively.
Reading and writing have an insane synergistic effect that compound when done in combination.
There are thousands of high-income skills that require writing.
As Jordan Peterson says, writers are the most potent possible version of a person because they can articulate their ideas out into the world effectively.
You will know once you find something you enjoy.
When that happens, simplify everything else and double down on your strengths.
Let's talk about work commute.
The data shows that driving to work decreases happiness. You are better off living in a smaller home, with a 10-minute drive, than a mansion an hour away.
Another reason why you need a remote job, is so you can not only avoid traffic and wasting time, but you also avoid distractions.
Collaborative open form office environments have been debunked many times.
You simply cannot focus and do deep work with idiots making small talk all the time.
Studies have found that good relationships had the highest correlation to happiness.
While building your relationship pillar, your brain will release Oxytocin.
This chemical releases during social bonding, sex, and pair bonding with loved ones.
Even a simple hug can do the trick.
They studied many people who were making small wages, but had great communities, family, friends and religious gatherings that contributed to their wealth not mattering.
Also, if you read the book "A Man's Search For Meaning", you'll realize you can find purpose even in the worst conditions. It is a doctor's journey through surviving a concentration camp during WWII.
If you don't have good relationships, a simple hack you can use throughout your life is Reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the most important component of creating and maintaining connections with people.
When you treat others well, expecting nothing in return, is the of the strongest ties that bind society together.
Even vampire bats do this.
When a bat outside of their family had an unsuccessful hunt, they will regurgitate blood to share with the bat.
The bats remember this and help them at some point in the future.
The key here is to use the golden rule and reciprocity in your relationships.
Treat relationships the same way you do health and wealth.
You must build and cultivate them over time.
Build wealth, a strong body and mind, and relationships.
The best times in my life were/are:
Going on rock climbing trips with my friends around the U.S
Going on international trips with my girlfriend
Hanging out and talking with my mom and brother
You just can't beat true experiences where you build connections with people you love.
This is called inconspicuous consumption.
You are going on vacation and spending on an experience that connects you with people.
Not for validation.
Not for Instagram likes.
Just for the experience.
The opposite of this is buying material things, conspicuous consumption.
This is what you must avoid.
This is where you are buying a new car just to beat the guys at work, a new house to compete with your friends, a new chain to post on instagram.
It's all for attention and validation.
All the data is clear, material spending just gives you a spike of dopamine and then you return to baseline soon after.
Don't keep up with the Jones'.
It just raises the expectations of what you need from a material standpoint, all while not bringing you any level of happiness.
Focus on experiences with friends and family and giving.
This shows long term gratification over decades.
Philanthropy and volunteering were also highly correlated with happy people.
If you don't have a find a community, go make new friends at an indoor rock climbing or martial arts gym.
Volunteer at a local dog shelter.
You will thank me later.
Now that you know the 3 pillars of happiness, you need to break down each into daily habits and systems.
None of the above matters if you don't implement it into a daily system and take action.
The more of these activities you do daily, the more you will experience good dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin, which will bring you natural fulfillment.
I recommend using Google calendar to create a block for each:
Morning Wealth block
Afternoon Health block
Evening Relationships block
You will be reminded daily to take action in these 3 different areas.
Wealth activities are anything that contributes to increases your income and overall financial hygiene. I do two blocks, 8am-11am and 1pm-4pm. The first is deep work like writing/studying and second is simple tasks like meetings.
Deep focus a high-income skill
Start an online business
Check mint for financial hygiene
3 lever moving tasks for your business or 9-5 job
Health activities are anything that improves your mental or physical health like eating healthy foods, meditation, lifting, and pursuing mastery in a hobby like guitar, martial arts or rock-climbing. I do these 11am-1pm.
Relationship activities are anything that involved you calling, texting or spending time with loved ones. I do these in the evening around 5pm-9pm.
Go on date
Rock climb with friends
Go on a long walk with your dog
When you hyperfocus your days on these 3 areas, you will be surprised at how your quality of life improves drastically.
You want to make sure to work on all of these to be fulfilled.
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”
Talk to you next week.