I’ll say it again – I’m not a recognised expert in many important fields.
Nothing I say is, say, medical or psychological advice, nor should it be taken as such.
I’m just a guy talking about things.
But while I can’t offer formal advice on these issues…
… I can tell you, in the abstract, what good advice looks like.
It probably doesn’t pay to listen to hypocrites. If someone says “moral purity should be your only concern!”, then ask them about the escort on their arm and the whisky on their breath.
Maybe they know they’re a cautionary tale – sort of like “don’t do what they did or you’ll turn out like them”. I don’t know, you still have to wonder why they don’t take their own advice.
This month’s Phronesis Accelerator issue is all about warning signs. When a canary dies in the mine, you don’t sit around and gawk at it. The whole point of it dying is to tell you to get out already.
Hypocrisy is a warning sign, but in other people.
What does this have to do with anything?
Well… maybe nothing.
Or maybe it’ll give you an insight into something important.
I can’t promise anything.
But I do know, based on what I read and hear every. Single. Day… some of you need to know this. That’s no exaggeration – I say need and I mean it. Without it, you could lose a lot.
One day, I’ll probably share this information more publicly.
But not for a while.
I’m not sure if you can afford to wait.
So wait, you shouldn’t.
I explain it all in the bonus report for the April edition of Phronesis Accelerator. Getting the bonus report isn’t a question of money – you have to earn it. Only then can you appreciate it and apply what I say.
It’d be easy to read this, smile and nod, then move on.
I’d rather you didn’t.
Anyway, you can read more about what the Phronesis Accelerator program is at the link below. That also tells you how to go about scoring yourself the bonus copy.
It does involve moving fast, though.
Don’t think the deadline is far off, because it’s always closer than you think:
I remember getting a shiver when my brain spawned this pun, from whatever ooze thoughts come from:
The Canary in the Coal Mind.
I love a good pun, see. And I love a terrible one.
I doubt I’m the first person to come up with this. Maybe I’m about to embarrass myself and it’s the name of some famous song or program or something.
As of this writing, not yet. But who knows.
Whether or not you’ve heard this pun before, you’ve heard the idea.
Your brain doesn’t act randomly. You might wonder if it works well or optimally or consistently, but it’s not random.
Emotions, bad habits and destructive urges might confuse you, bewilder you or frustrate you. It might seem as though they come out of nowhere but if you weren’t here to think those thoughts, no one else would think them for you.
This is foundational stuff in neuroscience – a neuron never fires for no reason. It only ever sparks because of chemistry or electricity.
Neurons scale into networks, and those networks generate thoughts. No spark, no thought.
Which means there’s always a reason behind every flash of anger, every misplaced feeling of frustration, every thought that lies to you, every urge for just one more glass of wine, cigarette, donut…
And that’s great news! If there’s a reason – no matter how misguided – you can do something about it. You can’t reason with random.
The only question remains: what kind of reasons?
Do you crave that donut because your ancestors grew up, lived and died in a world where calories were scarce, precious and fleeting?
But if that were the full story, you’d have been feeling those cravings all the time. Why do they come and go? Even factoring in hunger, blood sugar, fatigue and whatnot, sometimes the craving is there and sometimes it isn’t.
That’d be a curious thing, if it weren’t so mundane. Of course thoughts, urges and emotions come and go! Anyone who’s lived as a human for a day knows that.
… then… what?
Where do these thoughts come from and where do they go when you don’t think them?
Any answer is going to be incomplete – an oversimplification.
But, hey, we do better than “see food… feel hungry…”
If you’re curious about where your urges and impulses come from – and if you’re not, you must have no interest in self-development – check the upcoming Phronesis Accelerator issue.
So many of your problems aren’t problems – they’re warnings.
Learn what they’re warning you of… and what to do about it:
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
“I just completed a ten-day cleanse. I was so good at it, I finished in three hours!”
Yeah, yeah – hilarious, I know.
But what if it wasn’t a joke?
What if you could complete hours of meditation in a fraction of the time?
I’m revealing something cool in a week or two that answers that.
In the meantime…
You’ll get the most out of everything I offer – including my books – if you enjoy a Neural Reset every now and then.
Just like how the best way to run 20 km is to learn to run five…
… my upcoming thing that’ll give you a weekend’s worth of meditation in a few hours will work better if you have a Neural Reset first.
That and all the usual benefits, of course.
It’s not essential, but it’ll help.
Sign up here:
Have you ever tried explaining meditation to someone who’s never done it?
You can say what it’s like. It’s like reading a good book, like losing yourself in its pages, only your losing yourself in your present awareness now.
It captures the gist, I suppose.
But it doesn’t fully explain what meditation is like.
It’s not easy to capture the experience of how your thinking churns and boils at the edges, how every moment becomes so big and still, how your awareness gazes through itself even as it gazes at it…
… because so many of you are reading that and shaking your heads.
Again, it’s like meditation but that’s not really how it is.
The best descriptions of meditation are closer to trippy gibberish than a roadmap.
It’s easier to experience it than to learn about it vicariously – even if it’s hard for you.
Here’s where it gets interesting:
If a meditator asked me about hypnosis, I’d say it’s a lot like meditation.
And that’s true.
But it’s not.
It’s like it in the sense that it’s closer than most experiences, but it’s something new.
Something that must be experienced first, then understood – maybe.
Or maybe not understood even then.
If you’re a keen meditator and get a lot out of it, great.
And if you’re craving something more – something extra on top of that…
… start with the Neural Reset. Let me know that you’re a meditator and I’ll take you further, deeper and into exciting new regions of the mind.
Seriously, you’re gonna love this:
Do you ever feel stuck?
If so, I can relate.
And perhaps this will help you – if you reflect on what I say and take it to heart. Resist the urge to simply smile and nod along, no matter how obvious this might seem.
Really think about it.
Because that’s the answer – to think.
Folks will tell you it’s easy to break a rut. Do something different. Order your coffee from somewhere else, get off the bus a stop earlier, go for a walk, read a book…
Those can be handy tactics.
But what’s the strategy behind them?
Or, if you prefer, what’s the principle?
A rut isn’t defined by your actions. The first time you went through your routine, you weren’t in a rut. And someone else – someone with a fondness for order and routine – would find that simply delightful.
So it’s all in your thinking.
Which is different from saying it’s all in your head.
A simplified view of the brain is that it seeks to think the same thoughts. What worked yesterday will probably work tomorrow, so why waste time and glucose processing inferior options?
Speed and efficiency matter. If a car hurtles towards you, milliseconds count.
Let’s call this your autopilot.
When too much of your day is on autopilot – when not enough of it invites you to think new thoughts – then you have your rut.
So… how do you think new thoughts?
Any change to your routine will do it – hence the common advice.
But what’ll really do the trick is trance.
I’ve talked about this before. When something surprises or confuses you, your brain reaches for an answer and can’t immediately find it. The next thing it does is enter a trance, to help find a deeper answer.
It sidelines conscious thinking for a moment until it has something – then the conscious mind can check it.
Again, I’m simplifying things a lot here, but this captures the gist of it.
The key lesson from all this:
Trance is excellent for thinking new thoughts, which is excellent for breaking ruts.
“Great!” one says. “I’ve heard that watching a movie puts you in a trance – I’ll do that then!”
And that can help.
Until that style of trance becomes part of your rut.
Watching one movie a month, with your full attention, is different from watching two a day while you browse memes on your phone.
Trancing on your own can sometimes become part of the rut.
Having someone guide you through a trance, though?
All of a sudden, we have something dynamic, responsive, engaging and chaotic.
I’m not saying my Neural Reset will never get repetitive… but the moment it starts to, I can change up what I’m doing and give you a fresh experience.
And isn’t a fresh experience what it’s all about?
You’ll never feel anything quite like this, so sign up:
I’m not big on caffeine.
I used to be. Coffee tastes great and smells even better. Plus, who couldn’t use a kick every now and then?
Therein lay the problem, pendo.
Sometimes, coffee would make me alert, sharp and focused.
Other times, it would make me jittery and needing to pee.
Most of the time, though?
My energy would plummet, I would feel queasy and I couldn’t concentrate.
It took me a while to notice the connection, because it took a while for those symptoms to show up. I don’t know what the deal with that is and I don’t care. I cut out coffee, black tea and green tea, and I was able to function again.
So how do I get by without something as essential as coffee?
I could say that coffee is a luxury, not a necessity.
I could say you get used to not having it.
And those are true.
But here’s why, while I might miss the taste of coffee, I’m not pining for a caffeine buzz:
Caffeine doesn’t contain the concept of alertness. It’s a chemical. That chemical interacts with the brain in certain ways to make you feel alert.
A principle of neuroscience is:
If you can access a mental state with chemistry, you can access it without chemistry. Your brain doesn’t need caffeine to focus or LSD to hallucinate.
Some folks misapply this principle. They hear that and say, “see? Depression isn’t real! You can just choose to snap out of it!”
I never said it was a matter of conscious choice.
Choose to feel intense, even debilitating pleasure right now.
Aww, it didn’t work? Obviously – which is why you should have been suspicious of this whole ‘choice’ nonsense.
The brain creates states, sometimes guided by external chemistry, other times without – but how it does that is subtle and tricky.
You can train yourself to feel certain states stronger and more reliably. That’s not the same as anyone being able to choose to feel anything at any time.
It’s how I get by without caffeine – and, as my prolific writing shows, I focus better than most folks can with it.
Maybe I’ll put something together like that one day – a hypnotic coffee shot of sorts.
In the meantime, the best mind training begins with learning to explore trances. Simply entering a deep trance often enough can create the changes you want.
More alertness from less coffee, for example.
If it takes more work, the trances lay the foundation for it.
That’s why I offer the Neural Reset. You will get more of what you want, even after one session – the only question is how subtly or dramatically things will change.
Sign up for a session here:
If you wanted to layer me thick with labels, you could.
You could call me a cis white male right-handed Australian millennial.
I could shrug and say, okay.
Or I could, if I wanted, challenge some of those. I am Australian, but do I really identify as one? I was born close to the middle of the millennial range, but is that really the best label?
In many ways, those are bad fits.
So maybe I brainstorm and research for a bit until I find something perfect.
There are benefits to that. If someone else has the same label(s) as you, it means you’re not alone. It helps you express something you couldn’t find the words for before.
Using the right word is more inclusive – a beautiful thing.
But if you say full stop, end of story here, you’re skipping over a few lessons from history and psychology.
Psychology first: language focuses and constrains cognition.
Example 1 – children have a range of behaviours. Start calling a kid obnoxious and they’ll be obnoxious more, non-obnoxious less.
Example 2 – someone hears that electrons ‘sometimes act as waves’. They don’t know what the words mean, exactly (or even that they’re wrong) but they think they understand it, so they stop thinking about it.
If you stop thinking about politics, philosophy or your identity because you ‘already have a label for it’, you’re short-circuiting your intelligence.
Now, for the history lesson:
You might think that slapping finer and finer labels on people is like assembling a party in Dungeons & Dragons. You’ve got the half-orc ranger, the human paladin, the elf rogue and the halfling wizard – and this diversity gives them strength. After all, a talented GM could (and should) create a ‘fair fight’ that dismantles an all-wizard party.
Bu that diversity only works when the party is unified.
Tyranny rises into power effortlessly and smoothly when it can use labels against you. It’s a classic stratagem of class warfare – you can’t fight the masses, but you don’t need to. Divide them and get them to fight each other.
Unity gives our differences strength. Disunity turns them into a weapon.
And I know what some of you are thinking:
“Unity! Exactly! It’s a shame there are millions of Nazis in this country. Once we shame and deplatform them into silence, though, then we’ll have unity!”
That’s not unity.
The tools of fascism are a poisoned chalice. You can’t sip from it, even to fight for democracy.
Book burning, censorship, removing freedoms, imposing your beliefs on others – if these run rampant you have, at best, a warped democracy. And a warped democracy is moments from tyranny at all times.
You can disagree, you can argue, you can even hate some ideas. But don’t forgo what unifies us – especially if you care about diversity and inclusion.
With genuine unity, those are genuine results of it, not something folks pay reluctant lip service to.
The best part?
I’ve seen diversity campaigns decrease diversity (“we want more skin colours and fewer points of view around here!”)
I’ve seen inclusion used as a tool to exclude people.
But I’ve never seen folks say, “you know what? We’re all friends here and we should respect that,” without it leading somewhere better.
I’m big on unity. To me, it’s the common sense objective – the goal that subsumes many others. Maybe it’s because of my background – everyone can go into a trance at any time. When a group of folks trance together, it’s sublime.
It doesn’t matter what labels you where or what labels you shun.
You’re human, therefore you can enter a trance.
You can enjoy it, as if you’re giving your mind a cleansing bath.
Check out my catalogue of trance-based solutions. Then pick a time, lock it in and complete the form I email you.
Because when you experience something beyond words, you realise how little those labels matter.
Here’s my schedule:
There are two sorts of addictive.
Let’s consider the first:
You crave this most when you’re down.
It takes the edge off, but you quickly need another hit. Enough never seems like enough.
It gives you a sharp high followed by a crash.
Go without, you feel awful. If you push through that, you start to feel better.
Now consider the second sort:
You crave it when you’re feeling good.
It deeply satisfies you. Even a small amount helps get you through the day. More is better, but not essential.
Going without makes you feel flat. If you keep going without, you’ll feel worse and worse until you rediscover it.
It gives you a natural high that easily lasts all day.
The first sort includes many drugs, but also things like junk food, gambling, video game binges…
The second includes things like exercise, music, meditation…
So when I say the Neural Reset is addictive, you know I mean the good kind.
If you want a sweet, sweet taste that’ll make you feel so good, sign up for a session:
Plenty of folks want to quit smoking.
So they buy gum and patches.
Maybe they buy a book on how to quit or an audio program coaching them through it.
They might even go to see a hypnotist for a session or three.
These folks are chumps – every one of them.
That seems a little harsh, doesn’t it? I mean, they want to quit smoking. These products help them quit. What’s the problem?
The problem is a disconnection between means and goals.
You want to buy clean lungs, better health, more energy and greater dignity. Instead, you buy… gum? A few hours of a hypnotist’s time?
Those things can lead you to quit smoking… but there’s no guarantee. What if it doesn’t? Then you’ve spent money and all you have is a book you don’t want.
That’s why I run my Freedom from Smoking program differently.
You don’t pay for ‘an hour of my time’ or ‘three-to-five sessions’ – you pay to be a non-smoker.
If you quit smoking in one session forever… great! Be proud of how efficient you are.
If you quit after a session, then fall back into the habit six months later… great! Sign up for another session at no extra cost.
If it takes five sessions… ten sessions… 20 sessions… great! As long as you keep coming back, we’ll do what it takes to get you there.
Either way, it costs you the same – because you’re not paying for my time, you’re paying for the outcome.
You might see the assumptions and incentives built into this business model. I have a strong financial motivation to help you become a non-smoker – as fast and reliably as possible. If I couldn’t get results, then this approach would ruin me.
I could say I’m confident I can help you, but why should you believe me? This way, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
I might change this offer in the future, if I find a better way of serving you.
In the meantime, I offer you this guarantee and simple fact:
As long as you stick with the program, you’ll become a non-smoker.
Sign up for it here:
One of music’s crowning achievements belongs to Weird Al Yankovic.
If you haven’t heard Trapped in the Drive-Thru, go give it a listen – but clear your calendar first.
It’s sublime – an 11-minute song about a guy who goes to a drive thru to order a burger.
And, no, it’s not an instrumental track – it’s dense with lyrics.
And, no, he doesn’t get attacked by ninjas or anything. It’s him, in a car, ordering a burger. That’s the plot.
Being a Weird Al song, it’s full of jokes – but the meta-joke is it’s this long, epic story about something mundane. Everything that happens in it earns a knowing nod.
“Yeah, that’s happened to me too!”
And so you laugh, you smile, you chuckle…
Well, the protagonist isn’t a good guy. He’s an asshole. It’s not like he’s kicking puppies or anything – he’s just short-tempered, selfish and rude to literally every character in the story.
(There are many characters…)
It starts with him watching TV, so zoned out he doesn’t even know what he’s watching.
It ends after a needlessly stressful night, one that could have gone better with a nanogram of planning or self-awareness.
Somehow, I doubt he learned his lesson…
The joke that’s meta to the meta-joke is…
Okay, you know those songs that have really upbeat tunes but really depressing lyrics? Like Khe Sanh – it comes on and everyone bops along, as if it’s not about a PTSD-riddled soldier heading back to South East Asia to “hit the mattress” with a “Chinese princess”.
The song is bleak as hell, but not if you ignore the lyrics.
Anyway, Trapped in the Drive-Thru is similar.
It presents as comedy, but it’s really horror.
If you can relate to the song in any way – and I sure as manure can – you should feel, at the very least, pangs of existential dread.
If not outright panic.
Think I’m exaggerating for comedic effect? I’m not, but if I were, this would be that same ‘horror wearing the mask of comedy’ style of joke.
Because check out the comments under the video on YouTube. Count how many it takes before someone mentions the onions, as if quietly bragging about making to the end.
As if 11 minutes of comedy demands superhuman endurance or focus.
If that feels like a stretch of your concentration, then you are just like the guy in the song.
That’s okay though – the nameless protagonist could have avoided most of the mistakes. Maybe even all of them, but let’s be realistic – no one’s perfect. Still, ‘most’ would have been enough to make it a fun night out for all.
If you study the plot closely, (I have, by virtue of this being a sticky earworm for me,) you can spot the points where even a little more calm, focus or kindness would have changed everything.
Regular Neural Resets – or even a recent one – could have saved him from a night where everything seems to go wrong.
“But it’s not his fault they forgot the onions!”
Yeah, it is. Listen closely.
Even if it wasn’t, he made every situation worse. Who’s to say they weren’t messing his order because he was a jerk?
Anyway, $5.82 (or $7.02 in 2021 US dollars) is a sweet deal for a chicken sandwich, cheeseburger, curly fries and a large root beer. A Neural Reset will cost you more than that and, in my honest opinion, it’s an even better deal.
How much would they have paid to get their evening back, I wonder?
Sign up for a session here: