No Status Quo Blog about Productivity and Lifestyle Design en-us Mon, 09 Dec 2019 04:08:42 +0000 Sett RSS Generator Reply to The Best Of Tynan Here are the posts that have had the greatest influence on me so far:

Love Work

The Race

What Your Priorities Are

On Bullshit


How I Won't Fail

The First Distraction

The Age of The Independent Creator

Happiness and Satisfaction

If these posts were turned into a self improvement book, it would probably the be the best book on that subject. I'll read them again in the next few days. Thanks for reminding me about them!

And finally a couple of old, fun posts. Probably the first two that I read on his blog.

The Infamous Indoor Ghetto Pool

How I Became I Famous Pickup Artist 

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Sun, 10 Feb 2013 22:35:06 +0000
Reply to 10 Lessons From 10 SETT bloggers. I agree with Paul that every decision you make has a huge impact on your life. But it doesn't stop there. Every decision you DO NOT make has the same impact. How often does the average person think about the choices he's making in life?

Most people don't go to college because they have a passion to learn or because they need their degree. Instead they do it because that's what everyone else is doing. They just go with the flow, and take the default option in any given situation.

Isn't that crazy? 

We're talking about four years and debt, but most people don't even question if that's what they really should do. That's how I ended up in college. It took me three years to realize that. 

But most people never come to this conclusion. They don't think about the big choices in life. They just get a job, get married, buy a house, and have two children. Because that's what they're supposed to do. That's what everyone else is doing. Instead of following their own dreams, they follow the American Dream.

Even the choices you DO NOT make have a huge impact on your life. Be mindful of everything you're doing. When you don't make a decision, someone else has already made that decision for you. 

Do you really want to live someone else's life?

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Sat, 09 Mar 2013 23:36:25 +0000
A Letter to Myself a Year from Now Following the advice of the best living copywriter John Carlton, I decided to write a letter to myself one year from now. This letter describes my goals and aspirations when they have already come through one year later.

Could there be a better way to publicly humiliate myself than to publish it? I don't think so. But if it helps me take it more seriously, I don't have a problem with that. Without further ado, here is the letter I wrote to myself one year from now. 


It's January 13, 2014. 

I'm sitting in my small but well-designed apartment in Jūrmala, Latvia. I have just returned from skiing in the forest. I'm in great shape and I feel productive and full of energy. I eat healthy food. I exercise almost every day. I've never felt better before. I'm healthy and happy.

I've graduated from college and become a successful freelance copywriter. I've proven to everyone (and to myself) that I have what it takes to make a living online and that I don't need a master's degree to become somebody. In December I earned $3,0000, and I expect January to be even more profitable.

I'm always looking for new opportunities and I'm using part of my freelancing income to fund other projects. My first info product is already being developed, and I expect to launch it in the first quarter of 2014. If all my income stopped today, I could maintain my current lifestyle for another 6 months.

I'm learning new things every day. I'm always studying, reading books and acquiring new skills. I do this for the intrinsic beauty of learning, not just for the extrinsic benefits that are associated with it.

I have a beautiful and smart girlfriend who loves and understands me. I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not to win her over. We just like each other for who we are.

I've done a fair amount of travelling, and I have even more planned this year. I've travelled outside the western world. I have the freedom to pack up everything and leave for a month tomorrow if that's what I prefer. 

When travelling, I'm not just a passive tourist. I get to know the local culture and people, and I make friends. I learn about the world and get to know the amazing people that live in it.


The clock is ticking, so I better work hard to get there.

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Wed, 20 Feb 2013 22:39:55 +0000
Overcoming a Vague Dissatisfaction with Life by Nate Dodson “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.” Lily Tomlin-- We’re tired. We signed up for a race, but we can’t seem to find the finish line. However, when we’re fresh out of college, we can picture it at leas]]> Note from Nate Dodson:

“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.” Lily Tomlin


We’re tired.

We signed up for a race, but we can’t seem to find the finish line. However, when we’re fresh out of college, we can picture it at least...

Fat paycheck, downtown loft apartment, badass bicycle.So we strive for that finish line for a few years and get there.But we’re still unsatisfied because now our ambitions have changed. We are sick of slaving away for 10 hours every day. We like our job, but hate it at the same time.We want creativity and freedom in our lives. So we quit, and head towards the new finish line in sight. We want to make an impact, write a book and travel to Thailand for chrissakes.So off we go, writing and meeting cool people and doing cool things.But the finish line keeps fading farther into the future.We’re 30 years old now, and lots of our friends are settling down starting families. Shit, we better find ourselves a spouse! Everyone is getting married, and we might miss out and become a lonely old geezer.So we chase that for a while. And it happens. We find our spouse and get married. But then we feel trapped. We wonder again, “Is this what life is all about?”And on and on and on and on and on and on.....But then one lonely day, out of the blue, sanity stops in for a visit.We’re out on a sunrise hike, and things are really quiet and beautiful, and it hits us like a ton of bricks: this whole rat race thing in a joke.We see it for what it truly is, a lie.What the heck is a race without a finish line?? How can we possibly win?? Where is the satisfaction??We realize that no matter how rich, or famous, or how many amazing projects we get done - once you’re dead you’re dead. In the grand scheme of time, everyone will be forgotten in the blink of an eye.It’s all for nothing.But then a bug bites our ankle and we cuss and forget about the whole thing, going back to work on our novel (the thing that will get us victory, at last).And again, on and on it goes. Never fully happy. Never satisfied.---This pattern is extremely common in young 20-30 somethings with good educations and all the potential to succeed according to conventional wisdom. And many have actually succeeded according to conventional wisdom (good job, health, etc).I’ve been here myself. And it’s a very confusing place to be.I used to think that I’d dropped out of the rat race because my focus wasn’t on finding a typical 9-5 job, big house, and all the trappings of a conventional life.But after years of vague dissatisfaction, I took a hard look at my life, and realized I’m just racing a different race.I’m racing against other different rats. Smart, creative, lifestyle designing rats. Rats that want to write books, build companies, and make a difference in the world.And at the same time, I realized its a race without a finish. It’s a joke, really. No one wins. Everyone just ends up dead and exhausted.It sounded pointless, so I quit.I dropped out of the race.Now I walk when I want, jog when it sounds fun, and do some sprints here and there to stay lively.Here’s what’s helped me get there:


Having less stuff and wanting less stuff is HUGE for personal satisfaction. But I’m not just talking about possessions here.Learning to be satisfied with less accomplishments, less projects in the pipeline, and less goals in general is an effective strategy for becoming more satisfied.I like to just focus on having good average days. For me, this means chipping away a little bit on a project, spending time with my wife and dogs or friends and family (and helping out), eating some healthy meals, and doing a bit of reading.At the same time, I see the big picture and understand that stringing together a few months of good average days will mean completed projects, richer relationships, better health, and a wiser mind.By setting the bar lower, I feel like I’m more relaxed throughout my day. A good, average day is attainable and therefore a peaceful, satisfying existence in general.Another tactic for adopting a minimalist mindset is to purposely decide to favor simple clothing, shelter, and diet. When we adopt such preferences, we will see that our needs are more easily met.We will also spend less money and time on acquiring goods, giving ourselves more freedom and a bigger buffer for occasional risk taking.


This one can be a challenge, but if you can completely stop caring what others think of you, you automatically attain huge personal power, confidence, and satisfaction.And this also relates to minimalism, because a lot of what people do to impress others is purchase fancier cars, houses, clothes, and toys.In our quest to stop caring, we should consciously decide to become indifferent to both people’s approval and disapproval of us.A good way stop trying to win people’s approval is to realize that in order to win their approval in the first place, we would need to be complying with their definition of success. In other words, we would need to be adopting their values.I don’t know about you, but I like to think that what I have decided to value has been chosen by me. My values are my most sacred “possession”, and I hold them near and dear.I also believe it’s valuable to purposefully go out in public purposely dressed down in relation to others, so that you may learn to consciously accept or ignore others low opinion of you.---Dropping out of the rat race and adopting these principles has personally been the most useful strategies I’ve tried to reduce or eliminate any vague sense of dissatisfaction with life.On occasion, I still get the feeling that something is off, like life is a struggle. Or I wonder if remaining dissatisfied is a good sign that I am an ambitious person.Thats usually when I return to these principles and after re-considering my situation, I realize that I am perfectly satisfied with what I have. That contentment and tranquility are worthy ways to spend my short existence on this planet.If you want to read more on this topic, here are two great articles:

What do you think about all this? Is it worth competing in the rat race? Is satisfaction even a worthy goal?####

Photo is me and the dogs napping - a simple joy during a good, average day.

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Sat, 09 Feb 2013 23:23:26 +0000
Refuse to be outworked by Sebastian Note from Sebastian:

If you're striking off on your own, thousands forces outside of your control will conspire against you. You'll have to deal with politics, egos, deals falling throughs, markets shifting and crashing, competitors who do a variety of actions ranging from brilliant to insane to innovative to unethical... you'll deal with clients who are demanding or flaky, you'll see forces outside your control like breakups and divorces screwing up very good partnerships and employee/employer relationships...

...the list of things you'll have to deal with is legion. Quite frankly, in a way, you're somewhat insane for grabbing the reigns and trying to build the world of your own accord.

With many of the forces working against you, they're outside your control. But of the things inside your control, there's one that leads to winning and losing more than anything else, so remember --

Refuse to be outworked.

You might be outsmarted by people more brilliant than you, outmaneuvered by people more politically connected than you, out-executed by someone who cracks the nut faster than you, but if you refuse to be outworked you're almost guaranteed to be successful on some level and to live a meaningful life.

When I first heard this advice, I thought it was about putting in hours. And it is, to some extent. But really, that's a small piece of the equation once you're over a certain reasonable baseline.

To outwork people, you've got to do a few things:

*Employ consistency in your work life. You need certain times you block out for your key stuff. If you're haphazardly scheduling your work hours, you're going to get outworked.

*Get into full engagement when working. You need flow state. That means you need to work on a single task diligently and resist temptation. Some temptation is irresistible to some people, so you need to structure your environment so those temptations aren't near you.

*Work all the time you work. Something magical happens when you refuse to take procrastination breaks. You don't get twice as much done. You get twenty times as much done. Real breaks are incredibly valuable, those involve getting up from your computer and going for a walk, making a tea, eating some fruit, or otherwise disengaging. Work all the time you work, except for real breaks that actually relax. Literally refusing to procrastinate is not the norm and hard to do solo (perhaps impossible on some things), so recruit someone to work with and constantly check on each other.

*Begin to work at a faster pace. Not frantically. Just a cool fast pace. If you have any partner or collaborator, ask how long in hours or minutes until the next task is done. Then ask, "Does it really have to take that long?" Oftentimes something you blocked out 3 hours for can actually be done in 20 highly engaged minutes. If you do the math on pairing that constant work, consistency, and full engagement, you get insanely larger amounts of stuff done.

*Learn to like the hard problems. You should do the hard stuff first, because if you don't, it won't get done. Surprisingly, many hard problems don't take much time or effort to tackle. The reason we skip on them is fear, not because it's a bad of use. Hard problems are frequently the best use of time.

*Get obsessive about a compulsion for closure. Once the end is in sight, you become the Terminator. The last 3% to 10% is when most people slow down and scratch their head. Power forwards! It'll never be perfect, but the projects you've stalled out near the end are the largest wastes. You almost had it. Refuse to do anything else or switch what you're doing until you're done.

Adopting these habits have made me insanely more effective. And surprisingly, happier and less neurotic. When I'm spending time with my family or reading a book, I know it's well-earned time and feel no gnawing sense of anxiety. Try adopting even one of these ways of working and you'll do much more. Adopt all of them and you'll be insanely more productive.

Bonus tip: Start noticing excuses. Note that I didn't write "Stop making excuses." Yeah, do that. But most excuses are sneaky, they come cloaked in some seemingly reasonable concern. The thing is, you can almost always route around them. Just start noticing what's an excuse, and you're 90% of the way to solving it.

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Sun, 03 Feb 2013 12:49:48 +0000