Episode 3 of The Joy of Procrastination.
Transcript: The Joy of Procrastination Ep003
Dean: Dan Sullivan.
Dan: Dean Jackson, I can tell your voice anywhere.
Dean: How have you been procrastinating today?
Dan: Yeah, well actually, I’m using the method. Last night, I didn’t actually do it this morning, but last night, because I don’t work on Saturdays. I mean, having lunch with Dean Jackson certainly wouldn’t fall into the category of work. Anyways, Sunday is always a writing day for me, so last night I just put down a list of the things that I was writing. I have to write, but I’m behind on it and I’m feeling the pressure because there’s deadlines.
One of them, for tomorrow morning, and I just made a list, work of the three, not the two of them and I’ve got about another hour after this phone call and the three top procrastination’s are all finished and on their way by email. If you really great.
Dean: That’s so great. We had a great workshop this week, by the way, it was really very, it was nice to see the lights go on in any workshop where every single person is completely agreeing. We do procrastinate, and feeling immediately, feeling free and not this shameful, hidden thing. To turn it into some raw materials and energize it. I think everybody was really excited about that.
Dan: Yeah, every time I’ve done a workshop, I’ve done six so far this quarter, so in a full quarter I’ll do 12. I have my last one for September tomorrow and this is a brand-new group. These people have never been in coach before, and in the very first hour, they’re going to get the procrastination priority, the new exercise that I introduced to your workshop. I said, “Why not?” You know, I’m going to basically say to them that basically, I think that I’m starting at 9 o’clock, I think I’m just going to tell them, “There’s going to be a lot of you at 10 o’clock and will not only say I could leave and go home right now and it’s been worth the trip,” but I think a lot of them will say, “You know, whatever I paid for the whole year of coach, I just got my value back from the very first hour.”
Because you and I both know, Dean, that even the most successful people live constantly with a kind of sense, as you indicated, sort of a sense of guilt, but there’s a lot of emotional, what people perceive as a waste of emotion, a waste of time, waste of opportunity because even the most successful and high achieving entrepreneurs have this dark secret in the basement. It’s not just in the basement, but it’s in a secret room in the basement that nobody can never see.
Dean: That never gets a discovered, because they’re trying to cover it up, cover their tracks.
Dan: Yeah, it’s almost like when they die they hope that they can steal the wall-covering, the doorway so no one goes into that secret room and discovers that even though the world perceived them as these really high achievers, actually they just wasted a lot of time and that when everybody thought they were a great hero, they weren’t feeling so good about themselves because of this dark secret. It’s an interesting thing. I know it because I’ve lived with myself as an entrepreneur for 43 years, and for 43 years, I have been coaching entrepreneurs. I know that in all the planning sessions, this always comes out. “Why am I not getting to this? Why do I know I have to do this, but I’m not doing it?”
I mean, this has been nonstop, for 43 years, thousands of hours of conversations. I’ve coached over 6000 entrepreneurs and I haven’t seen one yet where this doesn’t come up as a perpetual problem.
Dean: Well, I’ll tell you from going through the exercise of engaging the Four C’s formula right into transforming the procrastination into action, it gave me a sense of exactly what to do next, which was great.
Dan: I’m going to ask you a question, Dean, because you seem the sort of person who can do almost anything you set your mind to with apparent ease. This is inside knowledge, here. Now that you have this, what do you think you can apply yourself to now that there is every reason in the world to know, now, that your performance and achievement will also jump to a higher level, apparently, with complete ease.
Dean: Yeah, I think that the delay is the, being able to eliminate that delay or recognize that when there is a delay, it’s because I haven’t done the process of deciding what the commitment is. Sometimes, that can be as easy as scheduling, acknowledging that I need to get some clarity on something and realizing that’s the first step of it rather than just ...
It’s funny, because if you think about the task or the thing that we’ve been procrastinating and our attention, our attention is drawn into the things that are in our unique ability and we know exactly what to do, we want to do them. We’re kind of getting that jet stream of appointing our attention in that direction, and it’s easy to complete or connect with that intention, but it’s almost like with the procrastination item, there’s often this repulsion. You get closer to it and you just can’t engage your attention with the polarity of what the task is and it repels it. As frustrating as that is, I was thinking about that yesterday after we had lunch, that that’s really a flipping it so that the first action, the first thing that we’re going to do is actually something that we have clarity on and some of positive energy around.
Dan: Right, and one of the things, and I didn’t bring it up yesterday a bunch, but I came up with the word should as one of the telltale signs in your mind you’re using the word should, either in a there’s something you should do, but you haven’t yet done it or something you shouldn’t do, but you keep doing it, you know, your continuing to do it. That’s one of the indicators, but then when people are going through their list, and that lets them create their first list.
I think should is one of those things that probably always works, if you’re using the word should. Once you to get your list, and you’re just doing this randomly. I said, “Don’t try to put it in order, don’t try to prioritize it, just come out and when you get to the bottom, you’ll have a great deal more clarity, first of all, because you’ve told the truth, and in many cases this is the first time you’ve actually allowed yourself to write this down and actually see it in the full light of day.”
Then, people say, “How do I choose the one that’s most important?” This is what came out. This wasn’t me suggesting it to them, but it came out in the conversation in a couple of the workshops, the ones that drive me crazy, that’s the procrastination’s that keep me awake at night is where it involves other people and I’m the bottleneck. Not only am I feeling inside my own self, I’m not getting this done, but other people are seeing me as a problem, and more as the time goes by, they can’t start something until I do something and then there’s a lot that I do in my company where Dan has to do something first before other people’s unique abilities can really be triggered and sometimes it’s a number of people.
They have to see something for me before their part of the work actually starts, and I really noticed that those are the ones that I wake up at 2 o’clock in the morning and I can go back to sleep. It’s not the ones where it just concerns me. It’s a commitment or an obligation that I made for myself, it’s really where an actual obligation has been, has actually been made in the outside world and I have witnesses and my failure to deliver can be seen by a lot of people.
Dean: I have noticed that too, and I think those items have a built-in mechanism that ultimately then forces you into doing something. I remember mine did it. Have you seen the illustration where, if you imagine, like the horizontal line represent a timeline, and at the left and it says Project Assigned, and on the right and it says Project Due date or deadline, and then it’s a divided into two. 95 percent of the time, from the left towards the end it labeled goofing off, and the final five percent is labeled all of the work done while crying.
Dan: Yeah, that’s one of those hieroglyphics you see. It could be that maybe was on the inside of the Egyptian pyramids are just 95 and five diagrams, one form or the other, where the great snake god is going to get you.
Dean: Yeah, but I had that realization, Dan, that those ones that are public are the ones that ultimately, that pressure gets to the point where you can’t take anymore and you are put into action, and those projects ultimately get completed, although, at the last minute, and I think that that’s a different flavor of procrastination than the kind of proactive procrastination where there’s a nobody waiting on the other end. It’s something that you want to do, and you keep putting it off and off because there is no deadline or no commitment involving other people that forces you into action. What do you think about that distinction there?
Dan: Well, yeah, I think the totally accurate one, and in fact, I think a lot of our success as entrepreneurs is it that we know for a fact that, as painful as it can be, where much more likely to follow through and be successful with something where we’ve made a public, I don’t want to say a public commitment, we’ve acquired a public obligation, because we’re procrastinating because we feel obligated, but we haven’t made the commitment to actually follow through.
Then, there’s lots of things where their kind of a private ones, you know, that they could relate to fitness, they could relate to health, they could relate to personal organization. There’s something that really bugs you, it’s always messy, but you, I got about three suitcases, they’re not suitcases, there were roller bag, but I always like having a clean roller bag so that when one of them fills up, I just buy another one. I’ve got two of them that are chock full of stuff that I say, “You know, I’m going to go and clean that up, but it’s a lot easier just to buy a new roller bag.”
I tell the story like that and, I mean, I used to be embarrassed by it, but it actually creates a great truth telling sort of session, if I tell it in a group of 10 people. They may not use roller bags, but they’ve got drawers, they’ve got cupboards, they’ve got boxes.
Dean: A few archival boxes and bookshelves.
Dan: Some of them even have storage lockers and everything like that.
Dean: Nobody we would know.
Dan: One of the things you understand, you know, once you realize that you won’t tell, we both, on the last podcast, told a story about procrastination. You went first, and you told about when the dog ate your biology notebook, or a story like that, and then I sold the story about a high level, or, you know, with a government official that actually led to one of the most important breakthroughs to get the whole strategic coach going, but the thing, Dean, since we been at this, and it’s approaching two months now that we’ve been having this conversation since the first one, what I’m finding is that confessing, not really confessing, but just sharing what you’re procrastination’s are, does more to create a sense of connectedness to other people than almost anything, any other kind of information I’ve ever share my life.
Dean: I think that’s true. I really do. I think it’s interesting that in our workshop, to hear kind of the things that people were procrastinating on and I think about the gentleman in my workshop that is a talking about the attic. It’s on his list. He’s got to clean the attic, organize the attic. I think that metaphoric attic that we all have kind of thing. But, it was really interesting to share my experience of that similar thing, because I went through and organized everything that I had all these papers, all of these are things that I wanted to keep, all of these samples of things, all of these materials from education staff and workshops.
I had everything, it took weeks to do this project, and got archival boxes and organized everything and actually had a label maker to label the boxes so they look all great, lined them on these shelves. That was 10 years ago, and realized as I was getting for another round of that now, that I had barely looked at anything in that great archive that I had set up. My approach to it was imagine if, because I ask myself, literally, because I was reminded, you know, when Richard Branson had the buyer on Necker island and lost all of his journals and stuff. As I thought about that, I thought, “What would happen if there was a fire in this organization room here?”
I just thought, “Okay, let’s pretend that there was a fire and I’ve got 15 minutes to save anything that I want to save. Then, the fire is going to start in 15 minutes.” It was amazing, the clarity that I found from that. It was very little.
Dan: Not much, yeah, not much.
Dean: Not much, very little.
Dan: I wouldn’t even think of my personal computer, because he gets backed up all the time, the standard process.
Dean: Yeah, everything is on the cloud.
Dan: Even, I don’t know anything I go after that would have future meaning. I mean, Babs is ... Bev is always in there. I go for it. I don’t think I go for anything else. One of the things about this, and I just want to go further because I’ve had, as a coach, I’ve had a lot of experience of people, personal coach, people would say that one of their frustrations is backward organization it in other words, using time right now to go back and imposes some organization and order on your past that you never had back then.
It’s funny, it’s almost like they’re writing their eulogy or their tombstone. People go through all of Dean’s files and they say, “Boy, that guy was organized.” Is that the legacy you want to have? “He had all his files organize.” You could say a lot about Dean. I know he was frustrated and I know he didn’t get done what he wanted to do, but man, when he died, if you went through his files, he did a beautiful job organizing his files.
Dean: It was all organize.
Dan: I mean, is that your number one achievement of your life, that your files were organized? Here’s something, I mean, this is sort of funny thing, but because I know you have this amazing system for almost predicting people’s progression in real estate, you know, home-buying, because when people move from the first on to their second home and their third home, I just wonder if they filled up garage and attic and basement is one of the trigger points for someone looking for a new house, because they know ...
Dean: It’s the real estate equivalent of getting a new roller bag.
Dan: Yeah, and saying, “What’s easier? Moving to a new home or cleaning up the existing garage?” Yeah, I think a lot of people would say, “Let’s go for the new home.”
Dean: I think you’re right, absolutely. I think part of the interesting thing, as I was really reflecting on whether I wanted to go through and read, archive or say that stuff and just expand the archives, I was really thinking how times have changed in the 20 years that I’ve been collecting all of that stuff. I’ve been journaling in an organized way for over 20 years now, and I’ve got all of these journals, all of these things. Occasionally, I’ll go back and look through them, but it’s not in a way that is ... Now, I’m going to find anything, now, I’m just procrastinating and now I’m getting around to doing that thing that I wrote about then. I was very influenced by your idea about immigrants thinking. Maybe you could talk a little bit about that, because I think that …
Dan: Well, it’s a pretty known statistic, and the countries I’ve studied are the ones where we have the Strategic Coach Program, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, and their big immigrant countries. Another one where we have a lot of clients from his Australia, so basically the list, if you look at all the English-speaking countries, they probably have the highest ...
Dean: Yeah, it’s a net in rather than a net out.
Dan: Yeah. They’re all pretty high- immigrant countries. In other words, they don’t make a point about anyone’s origins for their family or their ethnicity as much as other countries would. Part of the reason about that is that Britain, when it was just the island nation, was a seagoing, and they don’t have much land themselves. In those days, they didn’t have much natural resources, but they were a big seagoing, they were an island and a lot of the first expiration of the entire planet, the first map-making, the first trade routes in everything else, came out of Britain.
I think that the notion that what constitutes a society is it where you came from but it’s what your aspirations were and what your ambitions were and that really was a bunch of ideas. America’s, one of them is individualism, another one is ingenuity, and there’s a kind of notion of constantly growing and those sets of ideas can be, in the mind of anybody born anywhere on the planet, when I think a lot of people who, for example, would move to the United States from halfway around the world, they found America attractive, and the reason was that they were kind of one with an American mindset.
Over time, they said, “You know, got to get to the place where my mindset is at home and is supported by other people.” The thing of leaving behind someplace where your family may have been for centuries and really leaving relationships behind, leaving status behind, leaving ownership behind and going and arriving in a new place where you have no status, you have no reputation, just for the opportunity to have an opportunity, that’s hard to figure, it takes a fair amount of ingenuity and courage to pull that off, and I’m sure there’s quite a push-back on the part of the family members and friends that stay behind. There’s a sense of failure and betrayal and everything else that you have to push through.
When people arrive, and then you measure their career against people who are born there and whose families have been there for a long time, generally, it’s a 40 percent difference and a lifetime achievement, and success and wealth creation and everything else. Immigrants just outperform native people in the country. I think a bigger reason is that the very act of moving makes it much more likely. It also means that they made a decision on their future at the expense of their past.
There’s nothing they left behind is more valuable than what lies ahead, and therefore there’s a huge jump in their alertness and their curiosity and their responsiveness and their resourcefulness that native born people are locked down, like they got lots of garbage bags. They’ve got a lot of roller bags and a lot of attics and everything else. It’s hard for them to move with the same sense of confidence and speed as a someone who just left everything behind, and the only thing they have to work with is the present and the future.
Dean: Yeah. I wonder if we could name something like that, like domestic immigration or mental immigration?
Dan: I think entrepreneurism is kind of a form of domestic immigration in the sense that home, for most people, is it that someone else is going to create their job security. Someone else is going to prepare them for life. Somebody else is going to create the opportunity for them and protect them from bad sides, and if you consider that the home for most people when it comes to how I’m going to make a living, how I’m going to be secure and how it going to be safe, anyone who chooses to be an entrepreneur is kind of leaving the safety of being taken care of to going out there and saying, “I’m going to find my own wits.” I think it makes you more likely.
Dean: I had a phrase that I came up with almost 20 years ago now, I wrote something called “Nine reasons that time management almost never works, and what to do about it.” One of them was that, I had the sense that we are in time debt and by that, I meant if you could take a list of, and make a list, an exhaustive list, of all of the things that you are carrying around into this sack of intentions, that were either things that are legacy things that have some future time obligation or things that we intend to do that are, that have some mental hold on our future time, and the things that are, that we’re procrastinating or are things that we owe somebody right now.
Even if you just push the pause button and could just clean up all of the things that you’re in the middle of, or things that are started and unfinished are things that are owed to people, that if there’s a sense that a lot of them, we’re in time debt. The thought I had it was of looking at that list carefully and figuring, is there a way that we could declare time and bankruptcy on some of those things?
Dan: And get a clean sheet.
Dean: And get a new credit rating. That’s exactly right, which is along the same lines of the immigration of physically removing yourself, because when you do that, you’ve removed yourself from all of the financial things. You come with, it’s kind of fascinating, you know, most people who are ...
Dan: What immediately came into my mind when you talked about that, I hadn’t done nine things, but I had three things that I thought were oppressive thoughts related to time management. I’ve seen time management consultants, and I’ve seen, I haven’t read too many books because it’s not the type of book that I would read, but people who are in time management, there’s kind of three oppressive thoughts that seem to come from all the time management and that is it that all moments of time are equal to each other. That’s number one. Number two is, the second one is that you’re always running out of time.
You were born, and from the moment you were born, if you’re a year old, you have less time than you had when you were born. If you are 10, you’re running out of time, right off the bat. All moments are equal to each other and you should fill every moment up with useful activity. That’s the third one. You’re responsible for every moment that you have. It’s the most precious thing you have. There’s this is the preciousness. I think procrastination is a violation of all three of those, or all three or four of those. Your sinning against proper time management when you’re procrastinating, and I think part of the time debt or the guilt, there’s a kind of immorality related to procrastination because you’re kind of sinning against proper time management when you’re procrastinating.
Dean: That’s a very, I hadn’t thought about it like that, so let me work that true. You do get that sense, and I thought about it a lot, too, that your, the clock doesn’t stop. I don’t get a sense of my time diminishing as much as I get a sense that my time is continuing, whether I am actively engaging or not. I’ve actually had, you know, I tried to visualize things and I imagine it like one of those runner video games or guitar hero, where it’s constantly moving, and I am in control of my little capsule here and I can direct my attention to whatever track I want to run on, but it’s always moving.
It’s either I’m engaged or not engaged in something that is, you know, that I intentionally choose or something that I just defaults to. That sense, I think what you’re saying, societally, we’re kind of, and even from that achievement sense, that we do feel guilty if we’re not engaged in a something proactive or intentional.
Dan: Yeah, I go to Cape Cod every year, and on your summer resort, you have your T-shirt shop and all sorts of interesting T-shirts. I’ve seen T-shirts that have more philosophy to them that large books. The one that always amuses me, and when I have Christian friends who are a little bit touchy about their faith or anything else, you can’t really joke with them about them. There is a T-shirt I’ll often buy them and give it to them and it says, “Jesus is coming, look busy.”
There’s a whole volume of philosophy to that, about, basically, you’re being judged and the first thing you want to do, the teacher, I mean, there are kids that the teacher says, “I’m going out of the room,” and the moment to go out of the room, everybody starts yammering and talking to each other, but then you could hear the footsteps of the teacher coming back and everybody was about it. The feeling, I think, is that you’re being observed and being held accountable at all times for how you’re using your time.
If it’s not a religious-based thing, then it’s sort of an organizational sort of overlay that you are being watched, you’re being supervised, you are being judged.
Dean: I’m not applying myself right now.
Dan: You’re not applying yourself and everything like that. There’s this weird thing, we’ve talked many times, Dean, about there’s two things. I think the distinctive between where someone is really depending on acid to get something done and is really vital, but then there’s the things where is your own game, you set this up with yourself. I think that’s what the distinction is, but I think in both instances, there’s a sense that you are kind of being watched.
In the public one, you actually are being watched by the people who can’t start doing what they’re doing until you get the thing done, but even where it’s your own game, I still think there’s a such a thing as you are being watched, and it goes back that it’s a sin to waste time. You should not waste time, and yet my experience is that relationship to those three things, as I said, every moment is equal to every moment in importance. All you have to do is look at what was important last year and what wasn’t important and you find out that, for the average entrepreneur, there might have been a couple dozen events or completions that actually made the difference between a great year and a not great year.
If you actually took the time of those events, it’s not very much time of the whole year, and those were the home runs, then, you were just doing a lot of business around those things, when the final analysis it didn’t make any difference.
Dean: That’s an interesting thought, because one of the things that I have was that we are focusing on the wrong time-frame. When you look at something like, look at something like Warren Buffett, who has really, over his entire career, and he’s been completely honest about the, in his annual reports and things, in the summing up his whole career, that there’s really been a couple of dozen key decisions that he made that have led to do everything, and he looked at them as he’s got a punch card that he makes very long-term, intentional decisions about something, and all of the, everything that he built has come from that.
I think that frequency, when you think of it like that, it’s really kind of, it is interesting. If you’re thinking about the time-frame, if you are a day trader with a day trader mindset, you’re constantly, the frequency of and the preciousness of each moment is different than if you’re making a decision with a 20 year window.
Dan: Yeah, it’s really interesting. We’re doing this recording before the first presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Dean: Hillary, tomorrow night.
Dan: I was watching the news, because I’m a news junkie, a political junkie, I’ve been following politics ever since I was a young kid. It’s very, very interesting that Hillary has a taken time off from her schedule to rehearse her debate. Probably the last two weeks, she’s been rehearsing the debate and going through the 90 minutes and anything that can happen during the 90 minutes which she has a response to. Probably, I mean, in Chicago, where I have my house in Chicago, it’s about four blocks from the high school where Hillary graduated from. Park Ridge, it’s called Main South High School.
The story was is that Hillary was the valedictorian, she was the number one student from kindergarten through first grade and then when she went to college she was valedictorian. One of the things is it that she got up very early, worked all day and then stayed up late at night and did extra work on weekends and she always outwork everybody, always out-studied everybody. That’s the story on Hillary. I bet she’s approaching the debate the same way, with the same thing.
Yeah, she was using every possible moment to get prepared for anything that could happen, and Trump has just been going out giving speeches. He’s been as busy just giving speeches as he has. He hasn’t really varied his schedule at all and he’s not really preparing for it. He said that Donald Trump has been a successful because he didn’t prepare very much. He just realized that he would just be fully present when the thing happens and then he would just respond in the moment what occurred to him.
It’s kind of interesting, because I would say that Hillary thinks all the backstage time before she gets to the real event is as important as the real event, and he doesn’t. He doesn’t. He said “It’s just when I’m actually on stage that’s important.”
Dean: Oh, okay. Now I get it. That’s what you mean by all moments aren’t equal. You’re saying that all of that stuff, all of that getting up to the moment, it’s the actual, the 90 minutes is the thing. That’s higher.
Dan: Yeah, I think he always feels prepared for the next thing that he’s going to encounter, and therefore studying and rehearsing it doesn’t do him any good. It’s kind of hard to prepare for a guy like that because he won’t repeat himself. He’ll do the first debate whatever comes to his mind. I mean, he’s probably got some direction about don’t cross this line don’t cross that line, but I think they are very general, simple rules.
Dean: Yeah, I think that’s what struck me about it that people in general who are clear on their values or their thoughts, preparing to memorize some articulation or something or prepare the perfect spin for something isn’t. Yeah, I think when you are prepared, anybody can ask me anything and you’re ready to go.
Dan: Yeah, it’s kind of like rehearsing for the unpredictable. By the very nature of it being unpredictable, you can’t prepare for it. You can only prepare for what you have already seen. There’s no assurance that that’s ... It’s like an army preparing for the last war and everything.
How do we pull this all together under the ... Because we really covered a lot of different dimensions and a lot of fields, but one of the things I’m seeing is I like your whole concept of time debt. Time debt. I think there’s a lot of richness in that we feel that we’re always in debt, we’re always scrambling to get out of debt, and there’s never a time credit, in other words, if at a time surplus that you’re building up.
Dean: It’s an interesting thing, the metaphor that we choose. It seems like most of the metaphors around time are money-related in a way. Right? It suppresses resource, the most valuable asset, don’t waste time. You got to invest time, or not, yeah, there is that sense of sort of a monetary mock to time, that we’re wasting it or ...
Dan: The other thing is that it’s only conscious time when we’re using time properly. It’s not unconscious time. Like where you’re just letting your mind wander. That’s kind of considered waste of time.
Dan: Yeah, whatever, or sleep. A lot of people are saying, you know, I wish I could cut my sleep hours down, ideally, that I didn’t have to sleep at all. Boy, I really worked over the years to get the amount of sleep I need down from eight hours down to five hours, feeling that they’ve somehow gained three hours of time, yeah, a competitive edge.
Yet, I’ve really spent a lot of time talking to people who do sleep studies. I’ve done sleep studies myself, because I have sleep apnea, so I use a CPAP machine and thank God I do, because I’ve had it for about four years, and it’s made all the difference in the world. First of all, the biggest impact is on Babs, because if you have a CPAP machine, you just don’t snore. I haven’t snorted about four years, but the other thing is I always feel relaxed in the morning, where before I sort of felt uptight because it wasn’t really relaxing.
Everything I’m getting out of sleep is that people kind of go a little bit crazy if they don’t get enough sleep, for they become very repetitive, it’s very hard for people short on sleep to really be creative and therefore, the only thing that you could possibly pull off, if you are sleep deprived is repetitive stuff where it’s sort of repetitive, mechanical kind of stuff. The whole notion that the hours spent when you’re sleeping, the thinking that you’re doing during those hours is worth nothing. It’s worth nothing. It’s a wasted part of your life is the sleeping part of your life.
Yet, they find that at nighttime your brain is super busy and disintegrating things and all the experiences from the previous day are worked out and your brain actually needs you down and out so that it can actually pull things together and massive amounts of actual brain repair and brain integration and simplifying and cleaning out stop and everything else happens while you’re sleeping. Yet, a lot of people feel their sleep hours are the wasted part of their day.
Dean: Yeah, I think that is true. I mean, you certainly look for, I mean, people look for that kind of efficiency in everything, even with their sleep, approaching it that way, but it’s interesting how things change when you’re metaphor changes, or your view of it changes, that it’s not a diminishing supply. I’ve been thinking, since you said it, about that mindset that every minute that it’s slipping away, that we have less and less time is really a ...
Because the fact is that we don’t really know how much time we have, but we do know that the only time we can actually engage with is today. I thought a lot about that, and I think often ...
Dan: Well, actually, the present moment. I mean, it’s just the present moment that you can actually engage with. I mean, you can anticipate ahead and you can remember backwards, but the only one that you can actually engage with is just what we’re doing right now, that were fully engaged, but an hour before the phone call, I wasn’t really engaged, I was anticipating and we’ve remembered the previous phone calls, but we couldn’t engage with it. You can only engage with what you’re actually present with.
Dean: That’s true. I think one of the things that goes along with the lifetime extender of you’ve often and publicly said your intention is 156 as your, to get all the way through this century here, so we’ll see all the 2000s here. I always laughed about it because the way you responded was a so enlightening to me. They were saying, “Dan, this is really not possible and you’re just kind of setting yourself up for disappointment.”
You said, “Well, I’m not going to be disappointed, I’m just going to live, live, live, live, test pattern.”
Dan: Yeah. Others may be disappointed, but I won’t be.
Dan: I will tell you this, and it really became pronounced when I turned 70, the fact that I had this framework going back to the 1980s, I noticed when I hit 70, which was, and you were there, because you were a culprit in springing the huge party on me when I was a 70. Actually, it’s the closest I’ve come to suspecting that you were a liar, the way that you set me up for that.
Dean: Tricked you.
Dan: Yeah, but the whole point was I’m really observing very closely now, as I’m moving through my 70s, how other 70-year-olds are thinking about their lives. For the most part, I’m seeing people closing down. I’m seeing them, they’re not starting new things, they’re simplifying, they’re not making plans anymore, and the reason is because they bought into some conventional notion that they’re almost finished. They’re 72, but they’ve read the actuarial tables and they read the longevity ...
Dean: Oh, we’re winding down now.
Dan: Yeah, I might have another 10 years, 15 years.
Dean: Well, you’re being forced to take distributions from your retirement savings now.
Dan: Yes, you're being forced. The government is actually, and they’re taxing them.
Dean: Enough already.
Dan: Yeah. They didn’t attack you, they didn’t ask you, they didn’t tax you, now that you’re being forced, now they’re taxing, you know, so things are running out, time is running out, money’s running out. I hope I die pretty soon, because I just don’t want to be, without any money. It’s a weird thing, and my biggest money earning years are, as I look forward, the really big ones, more than anything I’ve ever made, are somewhere ahead and continually.
The biggest achievements, the greatest impact, it all lies ahead of me, and I think one of the big reasons is that at 72, I don’t see myself as halfway yet through my lifetime. It might be comparable to someone in their late 30s or something, how they’re viewing the framework of their life. I’ve been thinking it for so long I have a where the thoughts about my lifetime. I think about my lifetime, the number 156 just pops into it, and therefore every other number is in reference to that 156.
What society thinks 72 means has no bearing on me. It has no relevance to me whatsoever.
Dean: That’s what I say to people. What I got, when you were saying that, and I’ve thought about the intention and the benefit of the lifetime extender, is to really just change your mental model that the trajectory of your life is still up, up, up, up. That you’re still moving forward rather than cresting in winding down. That, I think that’s the big thing I would say about you that I don’t know many 70-year-olds with a 25-year plan that there two years into, and 7 books into a 100-book objective. It’s kind of an exciting thing.
Dan: Yeah, but it seems normal to me I know what it looks like from the outside, but for me, this is just as normal to me to be thinking this way as anything at a much earlier age when I was in my 30s. It doesn’t feel any different. When I was in my 30s, I feel I had an enormous amount of time ahead of me, and when I was a 72, I have the same feeling, that I have an enormous amount of time ahead of me. Therefore, it takes the, I think it takes the pressure off that I’m wasting time.
Dean: Yeah, the time abundance model, in a way?
Dan: Yeah, I read, Steve Jobs had this great thing, this address that he gave. I don’t know who it was too, but one of the things he said that he felt that he had a death sentence because he had really screwed up. He had pancreatic cancer, and pancreatic cancer, if you don’t catch it early with the best possible medical assistance, and a standard medicine, if you get something early through testing, there are standard medicine things that can basically stop pancreatic cancer, but it’s one of the fastest, possibly, if you get past the 20 percent mark there’s no chance of getting it.
The full around with it and he was using all sorts of alternative diets and everything else, and he wasted the crucial window of opportunity when he could’ve gotten on top of that. He probably knew, pretty well, for five years before he died, that it was a death sentence. He talked about how important it was not to have very much time. He really, really did his best work during those last four or five years, but he wasn’t easy to work and he wasn’t easy to live with and he wasn’t easy to work with.
I have just the opposite approach. I’ve got a life sentence. I’ve got a long life window, and it affects the way I exercise, it affects the way I eat, it affects, just like we’re doing here. Here I am at 72 and I’m starting a brand new podcast series. Literally, that could go, I think, we could stay with this subject for the rest of our lives and we wouldn’t run out of new material to talk about.
Dean: I’m really enjoying it. I think looking back at what we talk about on these first three episodes here is setting the stage. I love the fact that we didn’t have any idea of where we go or what. I’m just having such a great experience exploring the ideas with you, and I think having identified now that everybody procrastinates, that that’s something that we all have, but this idea of turning that procrastination into the raw material, using it, harnessing that energy of the raw material into actually prioritizing our days is a great thing.
I love that we’ve talked about some of the mindsets around time, because I think that there’s a lot of that stuff. Even if we make that exhaustive list of all the things we’re procrastinating, maybe there are some things that might be worth declaring time bankruptcy on. You know, just getting clear on those things and figuring what we are going to take into that bigger future with us and doing that sort of mental immigration, freeing ourselves from the past, all of these things that were caring in our sack of intentions here.
Dan: Yeah, and, you know, I think one of the things is, and we could talk about this the next time, Dean, is to credit yourself with intelligence for your procrastination. In other words, that it’s because you’re highly intelligent that you are procrastinating, but you’re missing some understanding of what’s actually going on. But, it was your intelligence that put on the brakes in the first place. The thing about putting on the brakes and just not moving on something, you then have to be conscious of that you’re doing that and then you have what we’re developing here in our podcast, and also, with my exercise in this strategic coach program, I’m saying you should be conscious that you are procrastinating, and then there’s some next actions you can immediately take to actually turn the procrastination into an incredible focuser and motivator.
I think that’s the beauty of it, and the theme that you’re being stupid, that you’re morally failing, that you are weak, you’re a loser and everything else, that immediately means that you keep yourself unconscious. If you grant yourself, “I’m doing this for a very good reason, I just don’t know what the reason is,” I think that’s a better approach.
Dean: Absolutely. Well, as always, it’s fascinating.
Dan: Yeah. Wonderful, it’s a joy.
Dean: It’s a joy to procrastinate with you.
Dan: Procrastination. Dean, we’re now ready to launch. We’ve said we get three in the can and now we’re launching.
Dean: Off we go.
Dan: Yeah, I’ll have Anna do some forward-planning. We possibly we’re going to see each other in Scottsdale, we might get together and just do one where we’re sitting in the same room together and actually talk.
Dean: That would be nice, too. Absolutely. Perfect. I would be the man on the field.
Dan: You know what? We could bring some else in.
Dean: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. We could do some man in the field work, see if we could find any procrastinators.
Dan: Yeah, we could just be in a hotel room and sneak out and get a bell man or something and bring them in and interview him. “Do you procrastinate?” “Oh my god, I could write a book on procrastination.”
Dean: That’s exactly right. Okay, Dan.
Dan: Thanks a lot, Dean. See you next week.
Dean: I’ll see you next week. Yeah, bye-bye.