Blackmail is Better Than WillPower

Anyone that has ever asked me about what I like reading for non-fiction knows I’m a huge Tim Ferriss fan. I loved all of his books, and have given away copies many times. I loved that so many people practiced what he preached and changed their lives. I love that he backs up all of his claims with evidence and sources. I also like that he’s a bit of an asshole. Loopholes to kick ass in Martial Arts Championships? Exploited. Squeeze out every bonus you can out of a concierge service? Done. Train and manipulate your coworkers and bosses to never bother you while you’re working, or work while overseas? Check.

In case you don't know, this is Tim Ferris. Impressive, right?

In case you don’t know, this is Tim Ferris. Impressive, right?

The guy is selfish about his time, and he ruthlessly cuts down people who want to squander it. I bet he laughs at people who wait 3 days in line in front of best buy for Black Friday. “Poor sods, look how they fart away their time.” he thinks, as he rides by on his Ducati.

I have a caricature of Tim in my head, of all his Ferriss army unwittingly being a part of his social experiments while he’s behind a computer analyzing the experiment data; hunched over like gollum, laughing maniacally with a bottle of Red Wine in one hand and a head of half eaten cabbage in the other.

Enough about that. The main point is that he challenges the status quo and does it without seeming like a how to infomercial guru.

And yet, for how much of a fanboy I am, I haven’t applied jack. I’ve done a few half assed attempts at slo-carb, and then binged on 15,000 calories of everything I felt like, and ended up 2 lbs heavier than where I started. Essentially, reading his books have been mental masturbation. I’ll read real hard, ejaculate some notes into my journal, and then it’s off to eat a lard sandwich(ok not that bad). But why the disconnect?

I signed up for Tim’s new fatloss app thing, and put $50 on the line. I couldn’t get motivated. I finished, but it wasn’t motivation enough. Basically I didn’t care that I’d lose $50. I bet if I put a grand on the line, I still wouldn’t care. (A grand is so much money to me, but it’s just money. It doesn’t light a fire under my ass.) How the hell do I get motivated then?? Willpower? The law of attraction? (the secret is a rubbish book by the way, I’ll do a book review soon.)

Willpower is the biggest lie I’ve ever heard. There’s no such thing as willpower. Not in my reality. What works is consequences. Willpower is when you go “hell yea, lets do it!” and 4 days later you’re sitting on the couch watching A walk to remember, eating a tub of ice cream and chinese takeout. If losing a bet meant that I had to eat a grub, or let a tarantula sit on my bald head- Holy shit. I will put a picture of a tarantula on my fridge, in my car, in my wallet, and I will terrify myself into getting shit done. I hate hate hate loathe spiders. The thought of a fat taranjalasaurus rex gripping away at my head makes my testicles crawl up and cower in terror somewhere behind my lungs…..ugh. Now that’s motivation.

That’s my conclusion. To look a fat spider in its many many eyes and say, Fuck you spider. You’re not sitting on my head, not today. The motivation to avoid pain/ridicule/terror far outweighs my motivation for short term pleasure (cake, candy, tv, whatever.) That’s what I have to exploit to make this work.

That’s why I’m living at home. If I fail to start a business that makes great money, I’m going to be stuck at home longer. At my age, that’s shameful. Almost as bad as a tarantula scheming imminent disaster on top of my head.

If you have stuff you need to get handled- find out what your leverage point is. What is your equivalent to a tarantula? Once you find it, set measurable steps to achieving a goal. Let people know so you can be held accountable.
And then go do it.

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