Just and Only

In his book “Relentless”, Tim Grover (trainer to Michael Jordan and other world class athletes) examines two words very carefully. The words are “just” and “only”.

Compare the following two statements a business owner may make when losing one client:

  1. “It’s just one client”
  2. “It’s a client”

When you describe the loss as “just one client”, you are smoothing the situation for yourself. When you minimise the impact of the loss, you are unlikely to take action or conduct analysis to recover your position. In this state of mind you will not make preparations to go to war against your competitors.

Compare the following two statements made by someone trying to exercise more frequently and deciding whether or not to complete a training session in the afternoon:

  1. “It’s only one session”
  2. “It’s one session”

“Only one session” negates the value and importance of the session. It gives the person an out.

What if instead of seeing the upcoming session as just another one of many that could be made up for another time, they saw it as irreplaceable.

The completion of this session would strengthen a positive habit, and build further momentum towards the achievement of goals.

Consider each moment as special. Each sales call as unique. Each interaction as an opportunity to accomplish something meaningful.

Here are some other places where these words and rationalisations might pop up:

  • “It’s just one slice of cake” (when trying to lose some weight)
  • “It’s just one cigarette“(when trying to quit)
  • “It’s only one drink” (when trying to cut down alcohol consumption)
  • “It’s only one dress” (when rationalising spending money frivolously)
  • “It’s just one day” (taking a day off when you don’t feel like doing anything”
  • “It’s just one time” (rationalising any unethical behaviour)

Be mindful this week and begin to eliminate the words “just” and “only”  from your vocabulary.

Do, Die, Don’t even try

Priming yourself for optimal performance prior to commencing a task is an essential component of success. (Yes I demolished the burger)

When you care about the task, and place value on the outcome you should take a moment to get yourself prepared.

Before beginning work on the task ensure that it falls into your 20% of tasks that are responsible for 80% of your results (following the Pareto principle).

Once you have confirmed this, make a quick plan for the tasks completion. Think about how to do the task efficiently. Review resource requirements and bottlenecks – see yourself completing the task in your mind, scanning through the necessary steps.

If you are motivated to complete the task, and have oriented yourself, you should now be primed. There is although one more crucial step; the mindset.

To improve your chances of success – approach your task with the following mindset.

  1. I will do this task with 100% effort. I won’t get distracted.
  2. I can only be defeated if I die or give up, and I will not give up.
  3. If you cant commit to #1 & #2, don’t even bother trying. You are wasting your time.

Summarise this simply to yourself as: Do, Die, Don’t even try. Say it before you commence. Say it when the task gets hard. Say it until you don’t even need to say it anymore but you just know it.

(Credit to the book “Sorted!: The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Bossing Your Life” by  Andy McNab, Kevin Dutton)

On philosophy

Jack and Jill went up the hill.
Do you know why they went up the hill?
Do you know what they did when they got to the top of the hill?

There are many reasons for why they might have gone up the hill. Maybe they were on a treasure hunt. Perhaps there was a helicopter waiting to rescue them from a flash flood, and the top of the hill was the last safe place for evacuation.

It’s also possible that they just wanted some exercise, or to see the sunset in all it’s glory.

Any action you take is based on your values, which are derived from your philosophy. Philosophy refers to  your system of thinking, making decisions and taking action in this world.

You can choose your philosophy, or you can adopt the dominant systems of thinking that permeate through your network and society. These are often flawed, and misaligned from your core values.

To develop your philosophy you need to decide what you are about.

  • Are you an achiever?
  • Are you driven towards self-mastery?
  • Are you here to serve others?
  • Are you here to heal?
  • Are you here to dominate?
  • Are you here to learn?
  • Are you here to love?
  • Are you here to destroy?

Pick one. Or write your own. That is your core purpose for being. You chose it.  Now embrace it. Make everything else that you do serve that purpose. Congratulations, you have a philosophy.

I am driven towards self-actualization. Every day that I grow and learn, I become better equipped to help others achieve their goals. This means that in my capacity as a author, teacher & friend, I am able to make a greater contribution.

I’ll discuss some of the tools I use to support my core purpose in a future post.




Do you ever feel a little displaced?

Just a little odd in your own body. No, I’m not referring to the feeling that you get when you shelve 5 ecstacy pills and lose your concept of self for 3 days. I’m talking about the more subtle sense of ” not at home-ness”

How does it feel? Annoyed. Itchy skin. Restless. Neurotic. Uneasy. Mildly agitated. Cranky. Bored.

What does it signal? Some disharmony between your life and your dreams. Some unresolved conflict or situation. A dissatisfaction with the present moment.

What’s the solution? Accept the situation first. Find a quiet place to sit and try this meditative technique called a Body Scan.

Locate your attention. Where is it? Get a sense for whether it is focused or diffused.

Try to narrow it down into one laser beam and rest your attention on the top of your head.

Now imagine that your attention is a gentle wave and calmly allow it to sink downwards from the top of your head until it reaches your toes. Take 1-2 minutes to do this. Feel each body part fully.

Breathe slowly while you do this. Repeat as necessary.

If you are not fully at home now, you should at least have your feet in the door.

Now you can ask yourself:

“What’s the one thing that contributed most significantly towards this mood”.

Don’t obsess over it if you can’t determine a cause, life has unavoidable lows and this might just be one of them. If you can identify something, change if immediately. Home is essential. We need to feel comfort in our skin so that we can thrive despite the chaos outside of it.



I’ve been reading about rumination lately and it is simply fascinating.
A cow will chew then swallow its food, only to regurgitate it then swallow it again. Upon reentry the food is able to be properly absorbed by the cows stomach. This the process of rumination.

Rumination in humans is a little bit different. When we make a mistake we should simply look for the appropriate lesson, integrate it and move on. Instead we replay the scenarios in our heads and often experience the accompanying shame and guilt. We continue to eat these negative emotions repeatedly even though they have no nutritional value.

To remedy this fault you could stop playing the “If-only” game and start playing the “If-then” game. Compare the following statements that you could make to yourself after failing an exam:
A) “If only I had studied harder for my exam I would have gotten a better result”
B)”If I try a prepare more thoroughly for the next exam then I will get a better result”

“If-only” is past focused, while “If-then” is present and future focused. This subtle shift in language can yield positive results. Stop ruminating.

If the food you are eating is no good for you, spit that shit out and move on to your next meal.

You decide…

I recently attended an event where the presenter discussed the idea of decision fatigue.
In short – your brain begins the day reasonably full and each decision you make drains a little bit of decision making juice from your battery. If you deplete it completely you may find yourself inhaling 24 chicken nuggets and a sundae at 2 in the morning.
This idea might explain away some of my many questionable late night decisions 😮
To get some benefit from this concept you could:

  • Get up early and tend to your meaningful work before the day crushes your spirit and will to live
  • Make important decisions earlier in the day (postpone until tomorrow if you receive late request)
  • Delegate decision making to someone else later in the day (“You decide what’s for dinner’)

The decisions we make tend to shape our lives. Let’s try to make better ones.

What Causes What?

What Causes What?

Many kids didn’t like science growing up because it was too hard. There were reports to write up and measurements to make. It could seem overwhelming. I enjoyed this part of science. The part that I did not enjoy was its apparent disconnect from reality. It felt unreal to me.

I observed that we would complete experiments under controlled conditions. We followed a prescriptive approach. Everything needed to be precise. A deficit of 1 milliliter mixed into a substance would fail to elicit the appropriate reaction and our results were deemed a failure.

Reality did not seem to conform to these rules. Reality was so much more random to me. It was difficult to understand.

  • You could behave in class but still get in trouble because your friend was talking.
  • You could drive on the road carefully and be struck by another vehicle that is being driven carelessly.
  • You could make plans for a long and beautiful life and fall violently ill.

It’s hard to make sense of what causes what.

I think that the concept of Locus of Control can help here.

The concept relates to what you believe is responsible for the events that occur around you.

If you have a largely Internal Locus of Control you believe that you are responsible for the results you see in your life. You believe that your actions cause the events in your life and thus always take responsibility for negative and positive outcomes. You believe that the only thing standing between you and your goal is your level of effort and commitment.

A person with a largely External Locus of Control on the other hand believes that they are not ultimately responsible for what happens to them. Fate and randomness play a much greater role in determining what outcomes appear in their life. If they get a promotion even though they worked hard, they put it down to good luck or timing. When negative events occur there is an external source to blame.

So what causes what?

I’m not really sure.

But I do know which mental model is more helpful in building a satisfying life.

By choosing to adopt an internal Locus of Control you are putting the power of your life back into your hands. I warn you that it might suck a little at first because there will be no one to blame except for yourself if things don’t go well.

On a positive note if you focus on your actions and believe that they are the difference makers, you are more likely to consider ways to change your behaviour and create better results in the future.

You can take the test here to determine your Locus of Control: Locus of Control Test