Fixing the muddy middle

Most folk find it easier to start a project than finish one.

Starting is fun and exciting. There are limitless possibilities. When you think of how things will be at the other side, it’s downright seductive.

Some folk find the wheels fall apart right at the end. These are the perfectionists, not wanting to release anything until it’s without flaws.

Perceived or otherwise.

And some have a fear of failure – it’s better in their minds to abandon the project at the 90% than to finish it and be disappointed.

For most of us, though, the challenge lies elsewhere:

The muddy middle.

This is far enough from the start that all the fun and freshness has worn off. In fact, you might be darn sick of the project by now. And it’s too far from the end to simply dig deep and soldier on.

The muddle middle is where dreams die.

It’s where novels lie, abandoned by their authors.

It’s a land of half-finished cabinets, cookbooks and cardiovascular improvements.

When you answer to no one but yourself, the muddy middle is fatal. It’ll kill all your ideas until you stop bothering to start them.

It also coldly murders your self-improvement projects. Like any project, you start off full of spice and pepper.

It’s exciting to imagine your future, where you’re smarter, healthier, richer and more popular.

The best part is you see some rapid improvements early on.

Then?

Your progress slows.

You have to work harder for every percentile improvement.

You become tired.

Other self-improvement projects tantalise you.

If you’re clever and wise, you’ll anticipate this and build in countermeasures to every project you undertake. Relying on raw enthusiasm is a rookie move.

Speaking of countermeasures…

Now, I’m not going to say Monster Mind Edukaré has no muddy middle. I can’t control your attitude towards it.

But it does have some cool countermeasures built in.

One is the sheer variety. What you learn and how you learn it never stops evolving.

The other big one?

That’s ReIGNITE – module 11.

The first module uses my IGNITE System to harness all that excitement and use it as fuel.

ReIGNITE takes that fire and… well, reignites it.

Done properly, it can create enough momentum to keep you flying through the other modules.

How does it work?

You’ll simply have to find out:

/monster

Making your background work for you

Most of us have some sort of internal dialogue, running most of the time.

The mindfulness meditation approach involves eliminating that voice, if only for a moment.

Honestly, that’s a great strategy. The dialogue is distracting at best.

And if you study mental health issues, you see how bad it is at its worst. Some of the darkest, most destructive actions come from folk listening to their own dialogue.

It’s not just background thoughts, though – it’s background anything.

Like the music you listen to, your commute, your office, the way other folk look at you – it all plays a role in how you think and act.

Some of that background stuff is even hypnotising you.

And by ‘some’, I mean ‘a lot’.

Your brain wants to enter hypnosis. It craves it. And society has gotten very good at putting you into a trance all the time.

Is that a good thing, a bad thing, or what?

Trances, like all useful tools, are as good as how you use them.

Treat them carelessly and they’re terrible for you.

Learn how to ride that wave, though?

Then they’re nothing short of amazing.

Fortunately, it’s easy to spot when you’re in a trance.

And just as easy to hijack it.

All you need to know are the 11 signs you’re in a trance right now.

Self-hypnosis is easy when the world does all the work of hypnotising you.

How can you learn to spot and use these signs?

Module 7 of 19 of Monster Mind Edukaré covers everything you need to know. It’s a story-laden, practical guide into the true nature of your unconscious mind.

You can wrap your fingers around it here:

/monster

Why Monster Mind Edukaré isn’t for self-help addicts

Spend time hanging out with the self-improvement crowd and you come across the addicts.

They find some new guru, product or experience, and know that’ll change everything.

They try it.

Maybe it feels amazing.

Maybe it’s immediately disappointing.

Either way, they move onto the next thing. Or, in some cases, come back to this old thing again.

For a self-help addict, the thrill is in the purchase and the daydream. They like to imagine themselves improving more than doing the hard work involved.

If it sounds like I’m judging them, I am – it’s condemnable behaviour.

It’s not without empathy, though, because I was one of these people once. I happened on some amazing self-improvement opportunities, followed them and became whole enough to shake the addiction.

Now, I’m willing to put in the hard work that self-improvement requires.

(Usually.)

This is why I made Monster Mind Edukaré – my premium, platinum and powerful mind training program – the way I did. It appeals to who I am now, not the sort of person I used to be.

If you’re after the cheap thrill of buying a program and letting it rot on the shelf, this isn’t for you.

It’s expensive.

It’s long – very, very long.

And, while a lot of it is fun, a lot of it is hard work.

Oh, and most of all:

I don’t offer refunds. I give away so much free content on my site there’s no excuse for not knowing what to expect.

For some of you, these are deal-breakers. That’s fine. We’re both better off knowing that before things go further.

For the rest of you?

Who understand large improvements require large investments?

You can find scores of mind training resources right here:

/monster

What to be instead of positive

If you spend any time on Facebook, Instagram or similar, you probably see someone who posts like this:

90% of what they write is so saccharine it messes with your insulin levels. They use hashtags like #blessed to talk about how amazing the miracle of each breath powering each moment is.

The other 10%?

That’s them losing their cool, venting and ranting over whatever.

Once upon a time, someone told them to “be positive”.

And they were foolish enough to take it to heart.

Being positive isn’t bad advice as such. I mean, it beats being a miseryguts. Except when it’s forced. Positive thinking is not the only thing you need to do to live a great life.

I’m not saying don’t be positive. It’s within your power and it does make a difference.

But if you force yourself to smile through each moment…

Well, it comes out it dramatic outbursts. Hence these moodswinging lunatics cluttering up your feed with inspirational quotes interspersed with white-hot rage.

And if I’m describing you here?

Excellent news – I’m about to set you free.

Instead of forcing yourself to be positive, here’s an easy and much more rewarding option:

Be focused.

Find something worthy of your time and attention, and give them to it.

It might be your family.

It might be a cause.

Whatever it is, focus on it. Figure out how you can support it. Instead of wasting time complaining on social media, think about what you can do – right now – to make all that a little better.

When you start thinking like this, you’ll naturally become more positive. And more interesting, too. You’ll no longer be a two-string guitar, spouting about how magical or horrible life is. No, you’ll have something real to say.

Like all advice, you’re free to ignore it.

What I will say is this:

Your focus is one of your greatest mental tools. Finding something worthy to focus on changes everything.

And your first step might be to focus on you.

To focus on your focus.

Doing that lays the foundation for everything else.

So get your trowel and start laying:

/monster

When victory depends on more than grit

Some folk, when setting self-improvement goals, aim for the loftiest heights.

I say that’s fantastic. Go big, because going home isn’t an option.

But I’ll admit there’s a risk here.

It can sneak into any project – even the sort of thing you can smash out over a weekend. But it’s more common with the more ambitious projects.

It boils down to one question:

How much can you control the outcome?

You might want to live a more creative life – a worthy goal if ever I’ve heard one.

Here’s the problem:

A lot of that lies outside your control.

Want to be a famous novelist? Great – go for it. Work hard, study hard and write hard… and you’ll increase the odds of success. But maybe no publisher will touch you. Or maybe you self-publish and get lost in the noise. It happens.

Most painters, dancers and musicians never get far with it. If you break even, you’re doing well.

Because so much depends on factors outside your control.

Maybe that demoralises you.

Or maybe you like the challenge.

Then again, perhaps you step back and ask: okay, is there a better way then?

You don’t want to give up on your dreams.

At the same time, history is littered with warnings. Plenty of folk obsess over a single path to their dreams and burn out.

And plenty of others who leap from project to project, never committing to anything and so never achieving anything.

There’s a fine line between too flexible and too rigid.

It turns out there’s an easy way to walk that line, which I cover in the IGNITE System (module 1 of 19 in Monster Mind Edukaré).

It’s so important, I cover it again in module 11.

You can use it to find all sorts of ways to live a deeper, richer, more satisfying life. Like everything else, you get out from the IGNITE System what you put into it.

And that starts right here:

/monster

Never let yourself be satisfied

One of the things folk warn you about – in life and in self-improvement – is always feeling unsatisfied.

The danger, they say, is that nothing ever becomes good enough.

You get a promotion and you immediately focus on the next one.

You get the girl, then start thinking about the next relationship.

Then you wander the earth, spending your time wallowing about what you don’t have.

This is one of those things that isn’t as bad as it seems. And it sure beats the alternative. What, you’re just supposed to check out of life? Draw a line in the sand and say, yes, this is where I’ll rest now?

Some folk might like that. For me, that’s a living hell. I need to keep moving forward, chasing the next big thing.

Other folk can settle for what they are. I’m far from complete, though, so I’m gonna keep working on myself.

As far as I’m concerned, the ideal life is one where you’re never satisfied… but in a smart way.

You can let yourself gripe and moan about what you don’t have.

Or you can relentlessly chase what you want, while also being happy about it.

You can fall in love with the chase. When you fixate on the outcomes – the bigger house, the better job – then every moment you don’t have those, you’re a failure. But if you fixate on the process – building your skills, establishing revenue streams – then every day, you succeed a little more.

You can appreciate what you have, even as you create something better. A common mistake is to resent what’s yours. That’s a loser’s mindset. Winners see the value in what they already have, without deluding themselves about the problems.

Or you can be mindful about the whole thing. Live purely in the moment, with no narratives about yourself or your circumstances.

Either way, you’re never satisfied.

And it’s your greatest strength.

One of the stranger things is when you’re unsatisfied with your mind. What do you do then?

Study?

Get plenty of sleep?

Meditate?

All of those will help.

But if you want to take it further – I’m talking to professional mental athlete levels – then you need a serious training regimen.

Something like this:

/monster

Take realism and shove it up a chimney

Yesterday, I gave some anti-advice. I defied the clichés of self-improvement by saying you should compare yourself to others.

Even envy them.

Here, I’m going to do it again.

Another common wisdom nugget is to set realistic goals. I only have two problems with that:

The realistic part.

And the goals part.

I suppose if you are going to set goals, they should be achievable. No point aspiring to be a champion heavyweight boxer if you turn 84 next week.

Or you could set ambitious themes for your life instead.

What do you want to do with your life?

Stop climate change?

Found a business empire?

Save the country from enemies, abroad and within?

Become the best parent on the planet?

You probably won’t manage these. They are frightfully unrealistic.

And that’s great.

If you treat them as themes, not things to achieve, you never stop being a winner. As long as, every day, you do something that aligns with the theme, you’re golden.

Even at 84, you can do something that makes you more of a boxer than you were yesterday.

You can take a moment to think about your ambitious theme. The cool part is, no matter what you pick, you have today’s step forward right here.

Because no matter what you pick, it’ll involve your mind.

So train your mind to depths you never imagined before:

/monster

Compare yourself to others and envy them

One of the classic – dare I say, cliché – self-improvement tips is:

“Don’t compare yourself to others!”

The logic being that you’ll only make yourself miserable.

We often compare ourselves to people at the top of their field, seeing only their successes, not the road behind them.

Or we look at someone smarter, more attractive or more confident than us, thinking, gosh, there but for the curse of the Devil go I…

When we look at people, we tend to oversimplify them. We have to. Humans are part of our world and we have to manipulate, appease and seduce them in order to get by. But humans are also too complicated to model accurately, so we approximate.

In other words, we might only see little bits of someone else’s life.

And if all they show are the good bits, that’s all we see.

So why compare yourself to something misleading and wrong?

I’ll tell you why:

It’s an excellent source of learning.

Learn what you admire in others and you learn what you need.

Even if what you see is fake.

You can take their mask and make it real for you.

Envy is a great tool. Sure, it can consume you – like any tool, you have to use it right. When you use it as a source of information, not a source of resentment, it becomes a handy thing.

The more you resent folk, the more powerful you become.

It’s an intriguing idea and it goes against what most folk will teach you. They’ll tell you to appreciate what you have, not fixate on others.

I say that’s a false dichotomy. You can, and should, do both.

But how, though?

How exactly do you use envy and comparisons like this?

I’m glad you asked, pendo. Because in Unlock the Vault – module 16 of 19 in Monster Mind Edukaré – I give you simple, step-by-step instructions on how to do that.

It might not be easy.

For some of you, it won’t be quick.

If those are deal-breakers, then you want to stay well clear of this long and in-depth program:

/monster

Interconnected holographic database brains

Folk often compare the brain and the nervous system to the most complicated invention of our time.

They used to describe it as a vast hydraulic system.

Then they called it a telephone switchboard.

Then, a computer.

And if it’s a computer, that makes your memories like a database.

But that’s not right at all. Databases, when working properly, store information perfectly. A record lasts forever, preserving the data with 100% accuracy, until something goes wrong. No matter how many records and no matter how often you access them, it remains unchanged.

Memories don’t work like that.

They change, combine, drift and disappear.

And a brain injury isn’t like a database glitch. If you corrupt some records in a database, the unaffected records remain perfectly accessible. The damaged ones are gone forever. But the brain is different – smash one part and the whole system becomes a little less perfect.

That’s not a database. That describes a hologram. Smashing a holographic record into three leaves you with three holograms, each a little fuzzier than the original.

The information persists, even if the whole system degrades.

I’m not the first to think of the brain like this, even though it’s not entirely true. After all, localised damage can wipe out a specific set of functions.

A blow to the back of your head could leave you blind, even as the rest of the brain soldiers on.

So in some ways, the mind is like a hologram.

In others, it’s a database.

In others still, it’s the internet.

But really, it’s not like these at all. I mean, these things are close. But so far, the mind is the mind, and nothing we’ve invented is all that like it.

Which means it might sound arrogant when I say I know how to interface with it.

I can barely describe it, but I believe I can influence it?

I’m perfectly humble about it, though. These techniques I describe are how your mind works to change itself.

I didn’t invent anything – I’m merely taking what others have found to already exist inside.

And what could you do with this ability to literally change your mind?

Well, anything you want, really. So long as you put the effort in first.

Here’s where you begin:

/monster

What does your problem want?

When you deal with some persistent problem – anything from a bad habit to a chronic neurosis – it’s easy to think about what you want.

You want the problem gone.

You want to be free of this, to be better.

But do you ever stop and ask what the problem wants?

Western psychology’s current take on things is, short of physical damage to the brain, our minds don’t break. They adapt. If you’re a neurotic mess, it’s because the neuroses protect you from something you’re not ready to deal with yet.

The pushy, assertive, arrogant jerk? Someone made them feel small once, and they’re still overcompensating for it.

The timid, nervous ball of anxiety? They were once punished for standing up for themselves and learned it’s better not to.

It’s a rather Jungian idea – your problems aren’t defects or flaws. They’re survival strategies, only they’re misapplied.

You might not agree with this philosophy.

Heck, maybe it isn’t true.

But the more I learn about the body and mind, the more I see strength and adaptability, not weakness.

There are contexts where your problem is exactly what you need in order to survive or even thrive.

Being anxious makes sense if the future is uncertain and dangerous. You’d want to spend time fretting on all the ways the world could kill you.

In modern times, that’s less relevant for most of us.

But how does your unconscious mind know? It’s only going off what you and everyone else taught it. If you fixate on the ways things can go wrong, your unconscious assumes that’s the state of things.

Or if you feel the need to get one over everyone, it’s because your unconscious learned that’s what it takes to survive.

Good intentions, bad outcomes.

But the great thing about your unconscious is it’s great at unlearning too.

You can reorient and educate your mind for a healthier, happier, more productive way of thinking about things.

Maybe you can completely dismantle your neurosis.

Maybe a trace of it will linger.

Either way, you can become much better off about it all.

That’s what hypnosis, meditation and other forms of mind training are all about: engaging with your unconscious in new ways, showing it what you want and letting it take care of the rest.

Many folk meditate. Most of them haven’t experienced this sort of release.

That’s because they haven’t done it like this:

/monster

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