What got between Asimov and his writing

I’m reread Foundation recently – probably the book I’ve reread the most.

My copy has brittle, yellowed pages with the slightly uneven typesetting you see from older books.

It’s so old, Salvor Hardin’s line is the vastly superior, “the Galaxy is going to pot!” – something they changed after a few editions.

I wonder how much it shaped my worldview.

How wisdom beats savagery, how decay wants to destroy its own salvation, how a tiny, barren speck of a world can deflect the course of history…

It got me thinking.

Asimov was famously prolific. The dude could write like nobody’s business. Through a sheer tide of high-quality quantity, he redefined the science fiction genre.

There’s also another story from his life.

Ol’ Isaac saw a lot of himself in Hari Seldon – the genius in Foundation who launches a project that spares the galaxy from 29,000 years of anarchy and misery.

Seldon dies early in the story – off-screen, as it were. It’s not his story, but the story of what he left behind.

Later, Asimov wrote more about Seldon’s life – fleshing it out and stitching the Foundation setting in with his robots series.

He was able to write more about this character who was so much a part of him.

He wrote about his funeral.

And he didn’t live long after that.

You could say the timing was a coincidence. Or that he knew, consciously or not, that his days were short, so he finished his work in what time he had left.

I’ll admit, both of those explanations are likely.

But there’s another:

He grieved for the death of his character – the death of himself in fiction-form.

As a writer, I can’t help but think about this. I mean, Miyamoto Musashi died not long after (or towards the end of?) writing his magnum opus too.

I’m sure you can think of other examples, from writing or otherwise, where the last thing a creator did was create something great or meaningful.

I know what the joke answer to that is.

“Never create anything great – it’s dangerous!”

At least, I hope that’s a joke. It’s 2021 and lots of folks have strange ideas around danger.

If you’re like me, though?

That sounds beautiful.

We all die sometime. I plan to create my whole life – I can’t retire from it because it’s a part of me.

The thought of pouring the last of my essence into something sounds sublime. It’s the writer’s equivalent of dying gloriously in battle, I suppose.

Maybe you’re not quite there, though.

Maybe there’s something you’re passionate about, but you haven’t committed to it yet.

Or you might know there’s something out there, perfect for you, but you don’t know what.

If you’re not sure what to do next, then Crossroads Training is for you. There’s a part of you that’s excellent at weighing options and making decision – let me introduce it to you.

If you know what to do next but you struggle to take the leap, consider Threshold Coaching. If something holds you back, then it’s important to know what and why before proceeding.

Either way, you can sign up for it here:

https://guided-thought.com/appointment/

Why do you hold delete to fix a typo?

Here’s a strange quirk most of us do, including me:

Let’s say I misspelled the word ‘misspelled’ in this sentence (I wouldn’t be alone – that double-S catches people out). If I noticed that by the time I reached here, I’d hold down the delete key until I erased the offending mistake from the screen, then rewrite the entire sentence from my short term memory.

There are limits to that, of course.

If I noticed the mistake around, oh, I don’t know, here or so, I’d click on the mangled word and fix it with the precision of surgery.

Which raises an interesting question:

If we’re capable of such precise alterations, why do we ever delete half a sentence just to expunge one error?

I’m sure there’s more than one explanation for this.

For me, though – and I expect for many others – it’s about preserving flow.

As long as you keep meaningfully typing away at the keys, you’re still in that writing state of mind. The moment you invoke the mouse, though, that changes.

I’m assuming you’re typing with a mouse and keyboard, of course. The only thing more efficient than that is dictation, which I struggle with for some reason. I’m great at writing, great at public speaking, yet speaking something for others to read messes with my flow for some reason.

Anyway, there’s a point to all this.

Writing’s not the only activity that’s better when you get into the flow.

In fact, few activities aren’t.

And while I’m bragging about my writing prowess, did you know I can enter the writing flow state in less than a second?

It’s not perfect, of course. But there’s a reason why I used to struggle to write 300 words a week and now I write thousands of words a day.

I can even write with the news in the background, not that I do that by choice, and if I can do it with that killer of creativity, joy and flow blaring panic in between obnoxious ads, then I can do it anywhere.

Flow – it really is a wonderful thing. It feels great, it’s useful and it’s essential if you’re interested in exploring the edges of what you and your life can be.

Flow unlocks everything.

And trance unlocks flow.

I’m working on a protocol or two to help folks perform at higher levels. Flow is a part of it, but by no means the only part. If you’re interested in seeing what you’re made of, sign up for a Consultation (so we can talk more) or a Neural Reset (so you get a taste of the calm, relaxed focus you’ll feel):

https://guided-thought.com/appointment

Instead of not saying anything…

This common expression contains half a self-improvement strategy. You’ve heard this before, maybe even followed it.

It’s good advice, I guess.

It’s just playing a little safe. There’s so much more you could do with it.

And the expression is this, echoed by parents, teachers and overbearing classmates the world over:

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Like I say, that’s good advice. Complaining doesn’t help much. Sometimes you need to vent, sure. Once you stop venting, though, all you do is practice feeling upset.

Besides, it does no favours for your relationships. Complain too much and folk will start avoiding you, simply because you bring them down. And the more someone complains, the more we see them as equally bad as what they’re complaining about.

Sounds strange but it’s true. Spend enough time moaning about how lazy other people are, and people will see you as that lazy.

Negativity creates more negativity. There’s no escaping it. Play with mud and you will get filthy.

The strategy here is obvious:

Complain less.

Look for the bright side more.

This isn’t an invitation to turn into a lunatic. If your family suddenly die, don’t look for the silver lining – mourn them.

For the little things, though, you can probably let them go.

Ignore little insults and let small hassles pass unremarked.

It’s not easy.  But if you let them go – and I mean really let them go – it does wonders for your peace of mind.

This takes practice. The art is not in ignoring your frustrations or to suppress your natural responses. It’s all in how you choose to respond.

Even if you veer towards the negative in the moment, you can always wallow in it or beat yourself up over it.

Or you could move in a better direction.

Every time you choose positivity, you reinforce the habit. Soon it becomes who you are, not what you do.

So that’s one way to enhance your life.

But if self-improvement really interests you, what would you do with more techniques than you can use?

Like, say, 60 of them?

Get your hands on Three-Score Navike – the comprehensive and easy way to grow and evolve – right here:

https://guided-thought.com/navike

Stop feeling invisible

How many folks know you? I don’t mean your name and what you look like – how many folk in your life know the real you?

If I were to interview your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, how many could tell me what you like to do?

What your values are?

Your dreams and aspirations?

I hope the answer is ‘many of them’.

But for a lot of us, that wouldn’t be the case. Folks you know – even those you’ve known for years, even decades – don’t know what goes on in your head.

It sucks. I’ve been there and it’s the worst kind of loneliness. People surround you, yet you’re utterly invisible.

It makes you want to do something drastic, just to be seen.

Just to make that feeling go away.

If that’s where your mind is leading you, then there’s truth in that. Positive and drastic action can get you the recognition and acceptance you deserve.

(Destructive and drastic action gets you attention, but not the kind that’ll help you. If you have the urge to go nuclear – literally or figuratively – there’s a better way.)

But before I go deeper into that, let me be blunt. If you’re suffering like this, then false politeness and beating around the bush won’t help you. Just know that I say this with love:

The problem is with you.

It’s not that your friends and colleagues are blind to your amazing inner world, it’s that you’re not sharing it.

Now, I’m not blaming you. If you’re like me, you had a situation (or a hundred) where opening up led to pain and ridicule. You closed down and put walls up in order to protect yourself.

Or maybe your story is different.

Either way, I’m not blaming you. I’m not blaming anyone because that would be pointless. If I could say “that guy over there caused all this!!” would that help you?

No?

Okay, let’s move on.

One of two things is true:

Either you’re surrounded by decent folk who’ll accept you once they finally see you.

Or you’re not. In which case, becoming visible will attract decent folk to you. Not in any woo-woo, channelling the energies of the Universe sort of way. It’s simple psychology. People like to spend time with people they like. That’s so obvious, it’s a borderline truism.

But if no one can get a read on you, no one will know they want to be with you.

So far, so good. But let’s roll up our sleeves and talk about how.

  • Download Three-Score Navike and read it cover to cover.
  • Pick three habits that sound cool, interesting or useful.
  • Practice them.

When someone asks you what’s new with you, talk about these habits. Mention how far you’ve come and how far you want to go.

And, if you’re bold, talk about why you picked these three, as opposed to the other 57. What attracted you to them?

It might be slow going, but at least it’s movement in the right direction.

That just brings us to the first step. You can download it here right now:

https://guided-thought.com/navike

What to do when you don’t know what to do

Stuck in a rut?

Can’t see your way forward?

Feeling like you’re somehow squandering your potential?

It’s frustrating, I know.

That particular lack of fulfilment is a slow burn. It’s not an urgent pain, like a dog’s fangs in your leg. It’s a niggling thought. Something whispering in the back of your mind.

You could ignore it for a while, and sometimes you have to just to get on with life.

Or you could ignore it til the day you die.

You wouldn’t be alone in that.

Or…

You could walk the smarter path.

You could break the rut, move forward and feel that release.

Okay, great advice…

But how?

Sometimes that’s easy. You know the problem and you know the solution. In which case, your strategy is nothing more complex than ‘do it’.

If, however, you don’t know what to do…

You know something’s wrong but you’re not sure what…

Well, you might feel unsure of what to do. If you’re not clear on the problem, then what on earth could the solution be?

When in doubt, the best solution is this:

Improve.

Improve as much as possible in as many ways as possible. Master your hobbies, your appearance and your finances. Learn something and do something.

Grow stronger.

That’s why I wrote Three-Score Navike. It contains 60 simple, practical things you can do, most of them today, to improve as a person.

It’ll be subtle at first for most of you.

But a little bit each day can move mountains.

Integrate one of these habits into your life, then move onto the next. I mentioned above there’s 60 of them, and you always have more to learn, and you can begin right now, so grab a copy because you can find what you’ve been missing.

Here’s the link:

https://guided-thought.com/navike

Foundational mind training

Many people wonder if there are any side effects, consequences or negative reactions to hypnosis and meditation. Some people, including younger versions of me, would tell you absolutely not.

Your mind only gives you what you’re able to deal with, I would have said.

Now, there’s some truth to that.

But if that were always the case, why would we see people respond badly to it?

Because of mind training, you might become tired, lethargic and unmotivated.

Or you become anxious, stressed or jittery.

You could trigger hallucinations, chronic pain or headaches.

Some people even have psychotic breaks. I’m not being cute with my language here – I mean full on episodes where they lose touch with reality.

And you might never recover from these.

Because mind training is like training your body. You can go from being perfectly healthy to crippling yourself by working out too hard, with bad technique or with unreasonable expectations.

Delving into your unconscious strains your mind – sometimes in a healthy way, sometimes not.

But like physical exercise, the answer isn’t to avoid it.

It’s to be smart.

Learn proper form, understand your limits and build up slowly.

Stick with it, be disciplined and be sensible.

Your mind is like any muscle. You can snap it… or you can develop it. You can leave it stronger and more flexible than it’s ever been.

Mental exercise is just as addictive as the physical flavour. Maybe even more so.

And the payoffs are even greater. What does lifting weights get you – better posture, more energy, a nicer physique? Mind training can get you all of that (yes, even the leaner bod) plus a few extra bonuses.

Like a sharp, analytical mind that retains everything.

Or creativity overflowing from you onto your screen, canvas or sketchpad.

Or simply happiness.

If that appeals to you, I recommend looking into hypnosis. It can do wonderful things with your mind. Some are surface-level, like tidying up bad habits. Others run deeper, like reorganising how you think about yourself and the world.

But you might not be ready for that.

You might need a taste of self-improvement first, like dipping your toes in the waters of your own potential.

Don’t underestimate what even a taste can do for you.

Any improvement ripples through your life, making everything a little easier – including your next step up.

Three-Score Navike has 60 easy, simple and proven ways to enhance your life.

With that many, a few will work for you. Probably more. And just what will that do for you, once you begin to experience change in so many new ways?

https://guided-thought.com/navike

The part of you that’s like a puppy

The way some folk approach self-improvement is… well, bizarre.

Let’s say you want to get in shape. You know the best way is to eat better and exercise more.

So what do you do?

Your tell yourself what to do.

“Skip dessert tonight.”

“Wake up early and exercise.”

And then you’re shocked to find it didn’t work…

Or maybe it works for a while, then it all comes apart on you.

Even if you “feel motivated”. Because it takes more than self-improvement and motivation for success.

It’s like walking up to an untrained puppy, saying “roll over” and expecting them to budge.

It ain’t happening because you ain’t speaking the dog’s language.

That’s how you should think about self-improvement – like the part of you responsible for your habits is an untrained animal.

Something separate from yourself.

And something that’s your responsibility to train.

You can’t be “reasonable” with it because it doesn’t know what you mean by that.

You can’t be cruel either – not if you want real results.

What does it take? Maybe patience, maybe compassion…

And above all, it takes a plan.

Try to train a puppy or your own habits by winging it… well, good luck to you. You’ll praise and punish randomly, leading to random behaviour.

If you want a dog that rolls over on command…

Or a mind with better habits than it has now…

Then it takes intelligent work on your part.

Fortunately, the smarter you apply yourself, the easier it becomes. And the smartest ways lie in Three-Score Navike, which overflows with 60 simple ways to sharpen your mind.

Any other approach keeps you where you are, wondering where the puddles on the carpet keep coming from.

If you’ve had enough of that, check this out:

https://guided-thought.com/navike

If this isn’t phronesis, I don’t know what is

I talk a lot about brain training.

I’m not alone. Whenever I go into the app store, it’s always recommending cutesy brain training apps to me. I’ve never installed one, so it’s not like it’s a case of offering me what I’ve shown I want.

I’m sure I have the profile of a brain-trainer.

Stanford debunked brain-training games – hard. Although I don’t use the apps, I do sometimes browse brain-training games online.

Some have taken Stanford’s helpful suggestions to heart.

Most haven’t. They tend to slap a label on there, saying it’s unproven in small print, even after their copy says it is.

The main problem – which so few of these games address – is the games are too removed from reality. Gardening is better brain training because it gets you outside, using your senses and your body.

There’s a better form of it still.

See, there’s a way of thinking that uses the brain for what it evolved for. I don’t mean building tools, outsmarting our prey or hunting as a pack. Those are side effects of the phenomenal piece of hardware between your ears – as is art, religion, philosophy and technology.

You didn’t just evolve to think.

You evolved to be a genius – to be a G-D supercomputer cloaked in meat, doing things that are unheard of in science and nature.

Use your brain like this and it lights up.

Neglect it and it atrophies.

But it goes deeper than that.

An almost spiritual bliss comes from using your brain in this way. By changing how you think, you rapidly become smarter, happier and wiser.

If that’s not phronesis , then I don’t know what is.

Training like this infuses the pages of the Phronesis Accelerator Collection. On most of its hundreds of pages are habits, tips, strategies and exercises that best use your brain.

Get your hands on it here:

https://guided-thought.com/downloads/phronesis-accelerator-collection/

My arbitrary 8% mark-up

Recently, I released Phronesis Accelerator Collection.

Background:

Phronesis Accelerator is a monthly subscription I offered. If you care about continuous growth more than learning isolated skills, it was perfect for you.

I released the core material plus the first four issues as a bundle – this Collection, if you will.

If you do the maths on it, your brow might wrinkle. The collection is over 8% more expensive than if you’d subscribed to it.

What sort of game am I playing here? Shouldn’t there be a bulk discount or something, rather than a mark-up?

Nah, see, you’re thinking about this all wrong.

Don’t be mad that I’m selling it to you at a slightly higher price.

Be grateful I’m selling it at all. If you missed the chance to subscribe, here’s your chance to grab it now.

I’m not going to reward slowness and laziness with a cheaper price.

And don’t expect that 8% to do anything but rise again…

Anyway, it still works out to be absurdly affordable. It’s something like $1.50 per page or less than $2 a day if you rush through it. Since each page has things that might help you see the world differently and endure it better, finding deeper and better ways to be, I’d call that a win.

Grab it here:

https://guided-thought.com/downloads/phronesis-accelerator-collection/

5% as long as all of Harry Potter

My latest offering for you is a juicy one:

It’s 5% the size of the entire Harry Potter series. All seven books, laid out in a row, make for a lot of pages.

It varies depending on country and edition, so the exact numbers vary.

But if you’ve read the entire series through once…

… then you can read all of this with no problems.

Like Harry Potter, Phronesis Accelerator Collection has seven parts.

Three evergreen resources, the first four newsletters.

Unlike Harry Potter, this is incredibly valuable stuff. There’s no fluff and no filler – just useful tips and tactics for living your life on each page.

What kind of things?

Have a read of the sales page, which in itself is practically a novel. You’ll find something for you, no matter who you are, here:

Phronesis Accelerator Collection

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