Join Dean and Dan as we start a new year celebrating joyful procrastination.
Transcript: The Joy of Procrastination Ep030
Dean: Mr. Sullivan.
Dan: How are you today, Mr. Jackson?
Dean: Well, I am being joyful about my procrastination. How are you?
Dan: Well, I'm feeling the same way. I was reviewing the 18 months that we've been talking about procrastination, and one of the things that occurs to me that we've both been benefiting each in our own way, and I think there's been some common territory that we've both discovered. It struck me that we may be the first two people in human history actually having this discussion.
Dean: That's so good, and it's true.
Dan: Yeah, because I've read a lot of philosophers and none of them have talked about this. I've had the benefit of going to the great books college, St. John's, and we read pretty well most of the key books of Western history, and not once did the topic ever come up, and not once did people ever talk about talking to someone else about this phenomenon of procrastination. It just occurred to me as I was reviewing my thoughts before locking into the podcast today, that this may be the first time that two people have actually talked about this, and certainly in such a focused and systematic way.
Dean: Of turning it into a superpower, using it as raw material.
Dean: I wonder what the actual root of the word procrastination, where that first became popularized, and what was the time period that procrastination became a recognizable thing.
Dan: Well, I can do this in one of two ways. I can look it up right now, and I have the...
Dean: A Wikipedia page of this.
Dan: No, I have the big, big, actual English dictionary.
Dean: Oh, it's a big dictionary.
Dean: That's your capital-
Dan: Pardon me. I just had to sneeze, but I have 20 volumes here behind me.
Dean: Oh my.
Dan: This is the biggest English dictionary in the world. This was given to me. My staff one, because it's the gift you give to someone who you don't know what to gift to them, so you give them an English dictionary, and it keeps them busy for the rest of their life.
Dean: I love it. That version is the capital D dictionary, isn't it?
Dan: Yeah, well actually it's more of a history book than it is a dictionary, because what it does is gives you the history of every word.
Dan: I'm just looking here.
Dean: This is going to be worth the wait, because I think it's very-
Dan: Yeah, well I'm not looking ... I'm just looking it up just on Google here. I'm just looking here.
Dan: The action of delaying or postponing something. I didn't need the Google to tell me that. It's Latin, and it comes from the verb procrastinare. Let me just check here. I'm just going to put the phone down for a second.
Dean: Yeah, this is fascinating. Okay.
Dan: It's basically toward tomorrow.
Dean: Toward tomorrow.
Dan: Toward tomorrow, yes. Yes, we're moving this to tomorrow. We're moving it toward tomorrow. It says, "Procrastination can take hold in any aspect of life. Putting off cleaning the stove, repairing a leaky roof, seeing a doctor or a dentist, submitting a job report or academic assignment, or broaching stressful issues with a partner. Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression, and self-doubt." Really strange that something that's such a powerful experience-
Dean: I was just going to say that's such a negative spin on it.
Dan: Yeah, but it's such a powerful experience that nobody would've really brought this up, except in dealing with it as something really, really negative, a terrible thing to have happen. Yeah, that's very, very strange. It's probably because all the researchers who would look into this procrastinated doing it.
Dean: Oh, that's so funny. Yes.
Dan: And all the philosophers who might've really given us enormous insight said, "Nah, I don't know if I'm ready to do that or not," you know?
Dean: Yes. Yes.
Dan: "I don't know if I want to have any of my competitors know that I actually do this."
Dean: Well, I bet you, and here we are embracing it, turning it into a positive superpower. I was listening at the end of the words that they were using: guilt, and shame, and all those words, all very-
Dean: Inadequacy. I think, yeah, we've completely turned that on its tail here. It's funny that you were saying you were thinking back over the 18 months. I was kind of doing the same thing, reflecting on what we've actually sort of put into action on this. You're going all the way back to I think this first idea of recognizing it as a never ending source of our priorities that's always kept in background for us, always there ready to access right away. Our immediate priorities. We don't have to think about that. No to-do list required. It's all there. We know what to draw on from it.
Dean: Just that tapping into it, that one question of, "What have you got for me?" And never coming up blank. I ask that question every day. I mean it's really become ingrained now, and I always have an answer for it.
Dan: Yeah. I mean, it's very interesting. When I first met Babs, and then there was the first trip home to introduce me to her family. This was a couple years in that I knew her that we were sufficiently committed to each other that Babs just decided to take Dan home to meet mom. It was funny because Babs had kind of told her what I do, and what we were doing together, and her mother got her aside and she says, "Well, don't you worry that he's going to run out of ideas?" Babs said, "Well, that's actually not really the problem."
Dean: Sure, run out of ideas.
Dan: Yeah, and I've often thought that it's because I've been ... I was working on this in a very unconscious way before I brought it up at lunch that day, but I've always found that this kind of negative feeling that I was feeling if I would just go into it, out would pop some new ideas. People often say, "Well, where do you get new ideas from?"
I honestly feel after the last 18 months that anybody who's willing to go into their feelings of procrastination, and first of all don't treat it as a bad thing. Treat it as a powerful thing, but not a bad thing, that it'll tell them what new thing that they can do, what new idea they can have, new decision, new action, new communication. Any one of these, and it's ready at any time they want to, because there'll always be something that's being held up.
Dean: Yes, and I think that the next sort of thing that I realized out of that was almost when it presents itself, when you first start asking yourself that, "What have you got for me?" The usual presentation of it that you'll get, like the first thought that you get is a noun. We talked about that difference between that the noun is the scary thing, and when you say, "You've got to finish that report," the report, that's what I've got for you, but the freedom is in almost like a second layer of it.
When they say, "the report" it comes at you scary, and big, and dark, and intimidating, but the follow-up is, well what about the report? Just kind of like that next level is like, and then it becomes well we've got to do this, and this, and this, and it becomes now much more actionable. I think the second layer is where the action is, because what we typically do is it looms over us, and we instinctively retract from it. We instinctively kind of move to the procrastination.
Dan: One of the things, just as you were saying that I was thinking that a series of actions that would make up a completed project, and let's say all told there's about 10 of them. There are about 10 actions that you're actually going to have to take, but when we initially procrastinate we only see the final action, and we're kind of blind to all the actions that are actually...
Dan: Actually, the first one is actually more doable, it's certainly more doable than the last one. The first action is 1/100th of the difficulty of the final action if you were trying to pull of the whole action in the first place. The first one is let's just brainstorm for 10 minutes. That's an easy action. That may be the easiest action of all is the, "Well, I'll just get a sheet of paper and write down everything that comes to mind about this project. No, I'm not producing anything. I'm not showing this to anyone. I'm not accountable for this. I'm just going to let my mind explore the idea for the next 10 minutes."
Dean: And it's really, it's an interesting-
Dan: Speaking of which, the 10 minute time system has come out of this discussion loud and clear.
Dean: Yes, and that's where this is the thing that a couple of things have come from that. This idea of the 10 minutes, like certainly what I've really come to appreciate is how much time 10 minutes actually is. It's a pretty substantial unit. It's a pretty substantial unit. You can make a lot of headway in 10 minutes. It's perfectly suited to brainstorming, because there's a multiplier on that 10 minutes of brainstorming, and I've been tying this in.
I mentioned to you this idea of what I'm lovely calling now the MOO method, the Multiplied Oral Output method, and that I went through and experienced on Monday where I really started thinking to myself after we had our conversation on Sunday, "How much can I actually do with just talking?" Like without actually doing anything other than the talking.
After I brainstorm and get my outline of what the things are that I wanted to do I had a conversation with Stuart, and I had a conversation with Lillian, and when I had brainstormed all the things that I was procrastinating, all the things that it had for me, I put the who beside the item, and I had one list for Lillian, and I just in one ... We maybe talked for, maybe it was 20 minutes, but it was like me completely just distilling my desire, what I wanted for the outcomes, just describing it to her in that one phone call.
Then I did the same thing with Stuart, and we probably talked for 40 minutes, but there were some pretty detailed things that I just bypassed my go off alone and think about it. I just did that real thinking right there in real-time with someone. It was just such a productive hour. It was crazy.
Dan: Yeah, so compare that to how pre Joy of Procrastination, how you might have experienced the items that got discussed, and I kind of feel got passed on to Lillian and Stuart. Talk to me June, early June 2016. What would that experience have been?
Dean: Yeah, that's probably even the third generation of it. Even then, like I think that the initial realization of kind of seeing how we layered these on top of each other, the idea of the brainstorming. I wasn't thinking in terms of 10 minutes then, because it was ... I was just thinking about the brainstorming, but not really putting a timeline on it like this. I would do the brainstorm, but then I would feel like I had to do a little more on my own of it before I would pass it on to somebody.
Dan: Yeah, because this was pre who. The distinction should be pre who and how too.
Dan: You would've brainstormed, but they were possibly brainstorming a whole series of things that were how things that you would then have to attend to.
Dean: Yeah, and so I certainly would do more of it, and there would be a little bit more involved in my role of it, but as we've been talking, getting to the point now where I fully embrace being able to pass this to collaborate with the right who, and it's kind of really my output now is, it's phenomenally better. I've just got a third writer now that I'm working ... I'm realizing now that the multiple of an hour of oral output, it's a full day basically. There's probably eight hours of processing that can be done with an hour of...
Dean: Of talking. Yes.
Dan: Of MOOing. You were just MOOing.
Dean: I was just MOOing. Yeah, so now I've really, coming up here in December now this is the first full year of deploying this method without, before I named it the MOO method, of doing my More Cheese, Less Whiskers podcast, and having a writer go in and take the transcript of it, and find the nuggets in there, and write two three to five hundred word articles from each episode, so that I can now send three emails a week to my list, and it's all derived from me talking for one hour. Yeah, and that becomes a real driver.
I've just launched a new podcast for my real estate agents called Listing Agent Lifestyle, and now I have another writer doing that exact same thing for this podcast. It's really like I'm starting to see this ... I think that it's not just about speaking too. There's something really different that happens when you talk, when you have a conversation and you record that conversation. All of a sudden you've captured it, and turned it into a now digital asset.
If you don't record it you've just spilled it into the ether there. You haven't captured it. There's zero leverage in it, but when you capture the audio you've got the digital audio file which you can use. I had a really neat thing where I was talking with Chuck Charlton, one of our realtors who I had on my Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast, and we were talking about this video that I had sent him a couple of years ago.
It showed these guys riding their boat down this canal, and shining a light at night, and the fish just jumping in the boat. I had used that to describe the way that our getting listings program works. That you just shine the light and the fish, the people call you to come and list their house. We were talking about that, and one of the items I mentioned on Monday that I had a conversation with Stuart, that that was on my mind. I thought, "You know what, what would be really great is if we find that video clip, and then overlay the audio of Chuck and I describing that, and him describing the way that his listing getting system works, and make that as a video that we can use to promote the episode of that podcast."
I said that, and then that set off this chain of events that we found it, and then I have the video with exactly the way I described it, but we wouldn't have that if I didn't record that conversation. You really see all the different uses, like from the raw material of spoken word, conversations captured and recorded turns into you've got the audio that you can slice up.
You've got the transcript that you can do fully, or you can turn parts of it into articles. You can take excerpts from that and turn it into a book. Right now I've got a, this year will have a More Cheese, Less Whiskers book that is all of the articles, the 104 articles that we wrote from the podcast compiled into a book. That's going to be a neat thing. Just all these derivative things that you can get from that.
Dan: You know what I'm thinking-
Dean: Maybe you could do like-
Dan: I'm thinking an image of you at sort of just prior to your sixth birthday, which would've qualified you to go off to school and be abused by teachers.
Dean: Yeah, teachers.
Dan: I'm thinking the same thing, because I was a wanderer before, and I was a talker too. I mainly spent my time talking to adults, because there were no children my age when I was growing up. It wasn't until first grade that I actually went out with kids who were my own age. One way we can look at what we've been through over the last 18 months is that we've both de-schooled ourselves.
Dan: What I mean is that we've gone back to what worked prior to going into first grade. I didn't go to kindergarten. I don't know if you did, but I didn't go there.
Dean: I did. Yeah.
Dan: You went to kindergarten too?
Dean: I did. Yeah.
Dan: Yeah, but that's mostly play.
Dean: That is mostly play. You're right. Yeah.
Dan: I mean it's kind of organized play. More organized than you would play on your own, but it wasn't the heavy fitting you into the mold process that started happening in first grade. Just think about you already having probably the skills that you have now, and in an early stage, and not conscious, because we're not really all that conscious. We're near, but we had the ability, and I did too before that, and then what does the schooling do? The schooling hows you. It hows you. I'm turning into a verb. It hows you. In other words, whatever instincts you had towards whoing, they get you away from whoing, and put you into howing.
Dean: Howing and whoing. Yes.
Dan: They run you through 12 years, and then as you go on to higher education beyond grade school and high school, and then there's another four, it might be six years, and everything else, but it's all about howing. You're isolated. You're told you have to do your study on your own. You have to do your papers on your own. You have to do your tests on your own, and it's all howing.
Dean: Yes, and that's, you think about-
Dan: But we had both figured out whoing even before we went to school.
Dean: It's true. Yeah, well you really ... All that, and of course the things that we learned then are completely, like the ability to ... All the remembering of things that is required to do all that rote repetition. Wow.
Dan: But you remembered things before you went to school. I remembered things.
Dean: I did. Yeah.
Dan: I remembered stories. I remembered people's stories, and everything like that. I had a terrific memory for other people's experiences that came from whoing. It was talking to people. Saying, "Gee, wow, what was it like to live on a farm before there was electricity?" That could be an hour description. Yeah, it's really interesting that we were probably at the last gasping stages of howing in the world. In other words, because now that we've gone digital that's kind of like an encumbrance. The howing people in the digital world are the ones who don't make much money.
Dean: Yeah, when you look at, I mean the one thing I remember midway through my kindergarten year was my introduction to the concept of 1972. That it's not 1971 anymore. It's 1972 now. I was in kindergarten for a little while, and then we took some time off for Christmas, and then I came back. All of a sudden, now there's this whole new canal. It's 1972. That was an interesting ... Because before that you had no sense of that even that there's time like that. That this is the passing of this.
Dan: Right. Yeah.
Dean: It's funny how I remember, like I'm seeing the visual right now. I'm seeing on the blackboard. That to me was like an awakening. That was something that this was 1972. This sense of space. Time and ... That seemed pretty important at the time. Funny.
Dan: Yeah, well it is. It was very interesting, Shannon Waller, whose been the longest with us of our team members. She's in her 27th year now at Strategic Coach. She had her oldest daughter who is now just going off to college, when they taught her sign language there's a whole school where they can show parents how to teach their children sign language, because they have words in their brain before they can actually speak, and they find that kids who learn how to sign when they're about in the year before they actually start talking, they become much more verbally proficient if they develop sign language.
She knew about 40, 50 signs, and they could communicate with each other. I learned about 10 of them. I could communicate with her. It was really, really interesting. There was a day when she couldn't actually say words. Then there was the next day when she started saying her first words. The day before she had told a story through sign language where it involved, she was remembering something from her previous day. There's a sign for the previous day, and it was seeing a bird in the park. She was telling the story. They say that when they start telling stories where they're using time almost immediately they're on the threshold of talking. They're on the threshold of talking.
Dean: Is that right?
Dan: Somehow time consciousness has come in, and there was a distinction in her mind between the day she was actually in and the day before, but she was telling a story from the day before right now, and they say when the child's brain has that ability to shift in time, they're right on the threshold of talking, because it's such a powerful discovery that they have to talk. They're starting to get the urgency to talk. I was just struck by that, because that 1971, it's a very powerful thing when we grasp time, or the units of time.
Dean: Yeah. When you think about it, it really is. We do spend the preschool years expressing ourselves through talking, and expressing our wants, our needs, our desires, getting things done through other people. Then we immediately step into this assembly line.
Dan: What's interesting is that I didn't talk until I was two and a half, which is very late. My mother was taking me to the doctor for a checkup, and he said, "Well, he's really quiet," and she said, "What do you mean?" She says, "Well, he doesn't talk. He doesn't very much." "No," she said, "He hasn't started talking." The doctor says, "How old is he?" She says, "Well, two and a half," and she says, "Oh!" The doctor, Marla, said, "There must be something wrong with him."
Dan: You know, "Because it's late. It's late." She says, "No words at all?" She says, "Not a word at all." He says, "Well, how does he get what he wants?" She says, "He just sort of points. He points to the person, and he points to the thing."
Dean: Ah! We're on to something here. Yeah, 72 and a half years later it's the same thing.
Dan: Yeah. I've just gotten back to-
Dean: We've finally come full circle.
Dan: I've come full circle back to the original skill. You just point to the person, point to the thing, and no wasted words.
Dean: That's so funny, Dan.
Dan: Yeah, but then she said one night at dinner I started talking, and I had vocabulary, I had syntax, I had grammar, and everything. She said I was off to the races. This is a learning pattern of mine. I don't learn. I don't seem to be learning. I don't seem to be learning. I don't seem to be learning. Then one day it looks like I've learned it. I'm sort of sensing this right now this year. This has been the most remarkable year of increased productivity of my entire life, and from the conversation you're experiencing the same thing.
Dean: Yes. I wonder what ... That's why it's important I think to-
Dan: We weren't learning. We weren't learning. We weren't learning. Then in 2016, 2017 we learned.
Dean: Yeah. I think it is, it's worth noting what the actual, the practical things that I do now that I wasn't doing that just now seem so natural. Like certainly that daily question of, "What have you got for me?" Like really acknowledging the procrastination, the going beyond the noun of it, the finished, intimidating big presentation of what it comes up with, and identifying, "Okay, so what about that?" Then the brainstorming of it, and adopting now the-
Dan: And then the 10 minute frameworks.
Dean: 10 minute frameworks for that, which automatically, starting with this idea of 100 of them as an abundance of units is fantastic. Have you been counting your units as you go? I haven't started that.
Dan: I did it for three or four weeks, and then I lost the value of documenting them, because I've acquired the habit of just asking the three questions. Is it worth 10 minutes? Can I do it in 10 minutes? And kind of, let's see how much I can get done in 10 minutes. I find that anytime during the day when I think of something I'll think, "Is this worth 10 minutes of my time?" The answer is, "Yes." "Okay, can you get it done in 10 minutes?" I said, "Well I can get something very important done in 10 minutes." I said, "Okay, let's do it. Let's do it."
Dan: Here's the interesting thing. I start a brand new workshop tomorrow. The quarter starts tomorrow. Usually the 30 days before a new workshop is kind of angsty for me, especially the last 10 days or so before it starts. The reason is that, looking back, I put off a lot of things that were necessary to put in the hands of other people, and it created a tension in me that I wasn't doing those things, but it was also creating a tension in my mind that I was going to jam people at the last moment with these things.
Everything was finished for me on Thursday, which isn't late because there's a day and a half of production time when things have to be printed, and bound, and put into binders, and everything else. I know a day and a half doesn't jam them. If I do it Friday at noon it really jams them, or they might have to do weekend work. But the major brand new things that I needed were done three weeks ago, and put into production. All the new stuff was completely finished two weeks ago.
I was trying to figure out, and what it was that I got an idea for an exercise, and I just sat down and I said, "Let's just sketch it out. Let's take 10 minutes and just sketch it out." Low and behold, the whole thing was completely sketched out in 10 minutes, walked back to the artist, walked her through it, and had the finished artwork back within about an hour. Then all I had to do was write in the sample copy. What I was doing, Dean, is that I was just saying, "Well, I can probably knock that off in 10 minutes." I did three brand new exercises in, if I add up all the time of the three new design exercises on my part before they went into the hands of the artist it was less than six Jackson units.
Dean: Wow. That's so great.
Dean: That ties in kind of with something that I've been doing in the last, I'd say real consciously in the last 60 or 90 days. I've really started asking myself this, "What would I like to do tomorrow?" And really seeing what you can do today to set up something for tomorrow. Like thinking ahead, because we're primarily, when you really get down to it we've discussed the idea that there's really only two timeframes. There's right now, and not now. When you get a sense of ... I mean that's really the only times we actually can embrace, or can understand. If it's not-
Dan: It's the only two parts of life is just right now, and then other thoughts.
Dean: Yes, exactly. But thinking through, like thinking ahead, and I was thinking about it that it's almost like what an experience transformer is after the fact, to think about it ahead of the fact.
Dan: Well, I mean you're relying on experience. The thing about this, I mean that thing that you just said is so crucial, and I think it's almost worth a future podcast on it. That there's only two time dimensions. There's right now, and not now.
Dan: If you look where I have been unhappy in the past, I'll talk about myself in the past is where anytime I wasn't in right now.
Dean: Yeah, that makes sense, and that's where I think-
Dan: I was either back there, or I was up there. In other words, I was looking back or I was looking forward, but neither of those places is right now, and they're not accessible to you. There's nothing you can do about back then from an action standpoint, and in truth there's not really much you can do in the future from an action standpoint.
Dean: Right. That's exactly right. That's why whenever I get those feelings of like the overwhelm, where you've got all of these things like you feel pressing, and I have to say it is, I very rarely get to that point now. I think about it now, how just natural it is that we're fully acknowledging the procrastination early on, and embracing it, that it's really a ... I think there's that real sense of being more current, I guess, or up to ...
Dan: Well, it is, and you know I read, you know I'm big internet surfer, and I'm doing this, and one of the things that I really am sensitive right now is where people are making predictions about bad things in the future, and I was saying, "Boy, there's a person who's trapped." I'm not even paying any attention to what the person is predicting. I'm just taking a look at how the predictor must be experiencing life, that they're taken up with this bad thing that's in the not now timezone. Whether it's related to the climate, or it's related to artificial intelligence, or it's related to energy or anything, there are just all these bad things that are being talked about. "This is what's going to happen," and everything else. I'm just sitting there how this person probably doesn't spend much time in the right now.
Dean: Right. Yeah, and that really ... I think that those kind of thoughts, they really do rob us of the right now.
Dan: Well, we have no capability in the now. We only have capability in right now. We have lots of capability. As much as we want to develop in the right now. But it's not up there, and it's not back there.
Dean: That's true. That's true, and I think that being confronted with something scary where you feel you have no capability must be terrifying.
Dean: Yeah, I mean it's ... I'm wondering, I was just thinking about this whole, like the times that I have been caught up. It's always, like there's always something that we're doing when we are actively in the negative way in the past procrastinating. It's to avoid that thought of facing what's coming in the future. We always are doing something.
Dan: Yeah, but the thing is that if you've got a lot of right now available and you're not using it, because you're preoccupied with something in the future, or something in the past that's where that sense of waste comes from I think. Is that look you've got to right now, right now. The next 10 minutes you could turn the corner on your thinking methods project, but you're seeing the right now is insignificant in compared with something you're frightened of, but you're imagining in the future. There's this sense I can't actually use what I have available to me. That's a tremendous frustration, you know?
Dean: Yeah. I've found, like even those 10 minutes of thinking in the now really can make a big difference. Where I live right now in Florida, everything, basically everywhere that I go in Winter Haven is approximately 10 minutes away. I'm about 10 or 11 minutes to Starbucks, and then I'm about 10 or 11 minutes from Starbucks to my office, and 10 minutes from my office to my home.
In any given day there may be as many as five or six opportunities that I'm driving for 10 minutes at a time, and I've taken to, for most of those things now instead of listening to the radio, or listening to a podcast, I've taken the probably 50% of those units just thinking. It's amazing how much clarity I can get about ... This is, sometimes I'll ask myself that, "What have you got for me today?" clarity on my way to Starbucks, and by the time I get to Starbucks I'll then pull out my notepad and go through my, "What have you got for me today?" is very then much more organized, because I've been thinking about it for the 10 minutes to get there rather than starting it then. There's something about that, just in the thinking.
Dan: I think if you look at it as kind of like a muscle, like a physical muscle, by doing that you make your capability of using those 10 minutes better each time you do it. It's very interesting. I went to see my physiologist at Canyon Ranch about a month ago. A month, maybe a little bit more. He was saying one of the big things you don't want to lose as you get older is balance, and he says that there's this neat thing that you can do that he said will increase your balance significantly.
That is, and he says it takes about a minute, but you've got bare feet, and you put your feet out in front of you, and he says, "Just open your toes as much as you can, and take each of the toes to that side." So, you've got them upright and you take your right foot to the right hand side, and the left foot to the left hand side. He says, "Do that 10 times." Then he says, "Just stick your feet out as far as you can and pull them up as far as you can. Do that 10 times. Then put your feet out and put them to the inside. Sort of turn them to the inside, and do that 10 minutes."
He said that it takes about one second or two seconds each time you do it, but he said, "If you do that for six months, your balance will be twice as good as it is right now. That's all you have to do. You don't have to do anything else. Do it once a day," and he says, "The nerves will get used to it, and the nerves will inform the muscles, and the muscles will increase the balance." He said, "That's all you have to do to get better."
Dean: Wow, so give me the protocol again.
Dan: There are three exercises. In one of them your feet are upright. You always start with, you're sticking them out as far as you can. You've got your toes in the air. Then, the first exercise is to take each foot and move it to that side as far as you can, and then back upright, back upright. You rotate 10 times. Then the next one is where they're upright, and now you stay in the same line and you push your toes as far as they can go forward, and then pull them back as far as you can all in the same line. Then the next one you spread your feet a little bit. Now you push your toes to the inside, so they're pointing towards each other back and forth. You do each of the exercises 10 times. I've been doing it for about a month now, and I just noticed that I'm much more stable. There's much more spring in my foot.
Dean: More hitch. Yeah.
Dan: He says, "You're just waking all the nerves up that have gone to sleep because you've been wearing shoes all your life." He said, "Your feet just get very, very lazy because you don't have to really use them, because you're used to wearing shoes, and you depend upon the shoes to do the balance. “After a while," he says, "you're unsteady on your feet, because the nerves have kind of gone to sleep." He said, "All you'll do is just wake up the nerves." My feeling is that we're waking up the present in all this exercise. We're waking up what's possible in the present. It's like we're saying, "Geez, 10 minutes. That's an incredible amount of time." Well, most people think 10 minutes is a throwaway.
Dean: Yes, exactly. That's been an eye opener for me. There's something about that silence too. It's funny how our brains seek to be engaged. Like I notice that we're always paying attention to something, and I think that that attention wants to be engaged in something. When it's that attention that shirks or shies away from the big intimidating thing of confronting this big noun of a project.
And immediately that it's much easier to watch this one more cat video on YouTube, or read this one more article. That's much easier, and so when we direct that attention to this thing by tricking it with, "Let's just spend 10 minutes and brainstorm this right now," and then it comes along for the ride. I think that's what's so valuable about conversation is that you're fully engaged in a conversation. A conversation has your full attention.
Dan: Yeah, and you're matching up your thoughts with the thoughts of another person. That's a very creative act, because it's unpredictable, and so you've got to have your wits at a high level saying, "Oh, what did Dean just say? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah." You kind of want to communicate that you got what the other person said, and then you say something in response that shows that you kind of understood what the other person said. In other words, you brought your own thoughts and you kind of lined it up with the thought of the other person. I was just thinking about the scary projects. From the earliest childhood I can remember is, "Don't look directly at the sun."
Dean: Don't look directly at the project. Yeah.
Dan: Don't look directly at the project. It'll blind you. The thing is, we're masters of shadows. When you think about how we make our Earth, if we've spent our life not looking at the sun, what have we looked at? We've looked at the shadows. We're the masters of a million different kinds of shadows, and we call that reality. I remember when the solstice was there, and I didn't pay much attention to it, but I noticed I was in a town in Cape Cod where they're at the solstice, and people were looking up with their sunglasses. I said, "Don't look at the sun."
Dean: That's bad.
Dan: I went back to childhood training. I said, "I'm going to get through this day, and I'm still going to be able to see. Some of these people aren't, because they looked at the sun." I said, "I will not have missed anything." But it's very, very interesting that metaphor of not looking at the sun. Don't look at things that you can't take action on, because it'll demoralize you.
Dean: Yes. Yeah. I love it. Yeah.
Dean: What are we going to focus on?
Dan: How did we get to where…
Dean: I know, exactly.
Dan: How did we get to where we are today? It'd be interesting to reverse engineer that, and the twists and turns of the conversation, but we both are in agreement if I would sum up that there's been profound change in our personal productivity since we've started this series.
Dean: I agree with that 100%. Yes.
Dean: Yeah, that's what the interesting thing is. It's been such a subtle and evolving process that it's almost like we're looking back on our progress there, so that we could see the evolution of it, and see what led to what, but it's completely different for me now than it was when we first started, for sure.
Dan: There's a topic that occurred to me, because I was just writing a few things down before we got on the phone, and that is that I've become very good natured about other people's procrastinations.
Dean: Why is that? Just because you recognize what's going on, and how easy it is to overcome it.
Dan: Yeah, well I kind of comprehend what's happening to them. People are not moving forward on a project and I said, "Are you finding this a bit scary? Are you feeling jammed about this?" They said, "Yeah." I said, "Well, let's just talk about it for a few minutes." I said, "Let's just talk about it a few minutes." I said, "So, let's not talk about what you can't do. Let's actually zero in on some things that you can do right now." Within four or five minutes I'll get them started, and they feel untrapped, and they'll move forward.
I think the reason is because I'm not looking at myself negatively because I'm procrastinating, I'm also then shifting that to how I treat other people. I'm not looking at what they're doing as negative. I know they're kind of stuck, and if I can just talk to them about it they get unstuck, so I find that more useful personally.
Dean: Wow. Dan, as you were talking about that I almost had this vision of an app button that somebody could push and be connected to an impact filterer on demand.
Dan: Yeah, well I did a whole impact filter on this project, how to get it started with Ari Meisel, and it's in the Breakthrough Booklet this time.
Dean: Oh wow.
Dan: Yeah. I'll send it to you. I'll send it to you, because I'm sending it out to everybody that it concerns. It goes into action tomorrow, so I'll send you the impact filter. It's in the Breakthrough Booklet.
Dean: That's so great.
Dan: I took it seriously. I took it seriously.
Dean: Yes, me too. Then I'm going to see you in less than two weeks now. Not this Thursday, next Thursday.
Dan: Thursday of the week after next.
Dan: Or, Thursday of next week. Not this coming week, but the...
Dean: That's right.
Dan: Thursday of the ... Yeah.
Dean: That's right.
Dan: And the Saturday. Thursday and Saturday.
Dean: That's right. Yes!
Dan: Yes. All righty.
Dean: Then are we recording on Sunday?
Dan: I think we're on for next Sunday. I think we're on.
Dean: Perfect. Good.
Dan: Yeah, I think we are. Yeah. Good.
Dean: Have a great week.
Dan: All right.