Ep065: Attention Procrastination

Join Dean and Dan as they wrestle attention away from procrastination.




Transcript: The Joy of Procrastination Ep065

Dean: Mr. Sullivan.

Dan: There's that Mr. Jackson, again.

Dean: Happy Easter.

Dan: Every time I phone this number, a man by Mr. Jackson answers the phone.

Dean: Isn't that funny? And, here we are.

Dan: Yeah. Here we are.

Dean: We have gathered our attention.

Dan: Yes, indeed.

Dean: That's an important thing.

Dan: Very powerful. It's very powerful, this whole thing about attention. I think it's a skill. I think it's a skill that is: if you don't really practice it, you will lose it.

Dean: Yes. I have been paying particular attention to my attention in the last several days, just with an eye that I'm speculating that my attention is 100% of the time engaged in something.

Dan: Yeah, well, I feel that.

Dean: And, it's either engaged in some thing that I've chosen it to be engaged in, or it's being engaged in something that it has been seduced into being engaged in.

Dan: Okay. So, how do you start the day, because, obviously, when you're sleeping, you're not actually concentrating or engaging?

Dean: That's exactly right.

Dan: So, the children call sleeping. I think they call it dark sleep, then and naps are light sleep.

Dean: Right, dark sleep.

Dan: So, after you've had a dark sleep, how do you get focused, first thing in the morning?

Dean: Often, the first thing is my phone. That's often the first glance, and that will be just to see what's happened overnight, Dan, just to see what's happened overnight. So, that, I do often take some time. This is where Jean Paul Dejoria, when we had him on I Love Marketing, we talked about morning routines. And, I will often do this, is I will lay in bed and kind of just orient myself and just think.

 Often, I'll carry on a thought that I've been having in that twilight while I'm kind of waking up. I'll have been thinking; I'll wake up with a thought or wake up with something, and I just kind of explore that idea. So, I often do a lot of that because I don't wake up with an alarm or at any particular time. So, my days, unless I have them outlined or unless I have something going on with them, my days will often be as Ned Hallowell describes them, as a toddler at a picnic wandering through with whatever gathers my attention, you know? "Oh, look at this. Oh, what's this?"

Dan: So, can I ask you a question about that?

Dean: Yeah.

Dan: I mean, this is how you're reflecting it now, but has this been constant from the beginning? My sense is that our way we come to grips with using our brain, using our mind develops very, very early and we're completely alone while we're doing this because we were in a playpen or we were in a crib, and we're starting to come to grips with the world around us, shapes colors, sounds. So, how far can you trace it back that that's how you get your mind in gear for the day?

Dean: How far back can I trace the visualizer? As far back as I can remember, I've known about visualization, and I think early on, I realized I could visualize in my imagination real things and, as an athlete, I would often play tennis matches in my mind. I would be able to practice moves and play, go over things, and I had really good ability to focus my mind in that way, being able to do that.

 Now, of course, the difference now is that, back then, of course, there was no internet, you know, so the options for your mind to be seduced were less, I think, so you were either reading or something like that. I didn't have a TV in my room growing up and I don't have one in my room, now, but, growing up, I didn't have TV or anything like that, so I would either read or visualize or something of the sort.

Dan: Yeah.

Dean: Yeah.

Dan: Yeah, well, it's interesting that I was conjuring this thought this week. It's actually remarkable, the amount of different ways that humans come to grips with their individual minds multiplied by the number of people on the planet because I have a feeling there's probably, if you really drill down on any one person, you'd find that they kind of do it differently than anyone else, and the reason is because we're putting experiences together from what we knew about yesterday, so you're not starting from zero. You're starting with all sorts of images that you already have in your mind, and the thing that I find really remarkable is the degree that we can actually communicate with each other given the fact that we each develop our brains in a different way.

 I'm making that as a thesis. I don't know if you agree with it or not. I bet if you took 20 people and you kind of gave them a chance to actually talk about, "What's their best way of getting in gear for the day, mentally," they'd tell you a different story, especially if they hadn't heard somebody else, they hadn't heard somebody else describe it.

Dean: Yeah, I've noticed over the last couple of years, my stance on appointments and time commitments has softened and I've been putting those things in my calendar, and it's improved my productivity. I've understood the value of synchronous and scheduled time blocked for a particular purpose like this. Like, our standing Sunday appointment, it's created a great environment for us. We've been doing this, now, for over two years, I guess, now, right?

Dan: Pushing three, now.

Dean: Coming up on three years, and so, what I notice about it is that there's the great thing is there's been zero procrastination around it. We are consistently here. We know what's going to happen and we have created a great body of work from this, you know? We've birthed some incredible thoughts that have been very helpful for both of us and for others in the conversation in a way that this has 100% of our attention for this one hour, and we consciously made the decision to put ourselves in that situation that we would do that.

 Now, if there was some way that it were required that we had to, on our own, go off and produce our 30-minute thoughts on procrastination or productivity or anything that we've done separately from each other, that you're responsible for producing 30 minutes; I'm responsible for producing 30 minutes, I am for sure certain that there would be a lot of procrastination involved in that, that it would take four or five hours of time to produce that 30 minutes where we can both arrive here, and, in 60 minutes, create our combined 60 minutes with no thought or time burden before or after that.

Dan: Yeah, I mean, that's a really interesting thought to me because what I've eliminated, essentially, from my life over the, I would say, the last year, certainly, over the last year is anything where I have to go off and do something on my own. So, the most that I'll do on my own is maybe one of my little tools and I'll put some thoughts, "What's the project that I want to work on? What's the best result? What's the worst result? And, regarding the best result, what are five things that would lead to it?" And, this is where I'm going to be talking to someone else about an action project, and we just have a requirement in our company for any meeting, I certainly do, that somebody has to have a project and they're going to take responsibility for clarifying to everyone else when they come into the meeting what the project is, why it's such a good thing if we don't do the project, why it's bad thing and what would be the first five steps?

 And, that's just to get everyone else involved in the project rather than five people walking into a meeting and says, "Okay, what are we going to talk about?" which I find a complete waste of time to have a meeting where someone doesn't have something that they want to suggest and haven't given some thought to it before they walked into the meeting, but, what I noticed is I'm so bought into what you're talking about here, Dean, that I in the last two or three years, I just eliminated all projects where I'm expected to go up and do something on my own because I find it so nonproductive and also frustrating.

Dean: I find, yeah, you have to clear such a big swath of time to allow for this little bit of time that you actually are able to wrangle. I'll speak for me, that I have to create such a swath of space around me to create the chance that I'm going to be able to wrangle my attention for a fraction of time to produce the output that I need to produce, because that's what I mean about the reality of that I think there's probably a five to one multiplier of the time that it takes if it's me doing it on my own.

Dan: Okay, I want to add a thought to that. It came out in a workshop last week, maybe we talked about it on their last podcast. I don't quite remember, but, when there's an event in the future that you really don't want to do, you engage in what I would call dread time. And, dread time is that you're seeing yourself doing something you dislike and you dread it, and so, five minutes could be wasted, an hour could be wasted in the dread, and I've got a feeling that it's like a ten to one with the dread time.

Dean: That could be.

Dan: The actual time the event takes. And, I said it's kind of like when someone is condemned to be executed. The execution is usually quite quick. It doesn't take up a lot of time at all, the actual, you know, but the dread time for the individual who's thinking forward to this event, it could be in the hundreds or thousands of hours depending on how long they sit in the cell before they're taken out and executed. I going to believe that that's the greatest punishment right there. The actual execution, it's final, but it's not the most painful thing. It's the apprehension that's the most painful thing about it.

Dean: Yes, I think you're absolutely right.

Dan: And I think that where I have to deliver something on my own is painful to me because I really like utilizing other people's brains, and I don't have it when I'm there, and I really need the feedback and other people introducing other dimensions that I'm not, myself, going to actually create on my own. I actually need those other dimensions.

Dean: Yes, I agree. I think that's been an interesting realization that what I really enjoy is I like to create contexts that will shape, kind of cordon off my thinking around a particular thing. I know that our conversations are really going to be focused on procrastination and productivity and this.

Dan: In some form.

Dean: Yes. That's the overriding thing, so I've got a container, and I often find myself moving these thoughts around in my head knowing that were going to be getting together. This week, what's really been on my mind is observing my attention and so, I was looking forward to having this conversation about it to really clarify what my thoughts are.

Dan: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, and I feel exactly the same way, as a matter of fact. A couple of times before our last several podcasts, I've actually said, "Oh, I'm going to bring that up." I said, "Oh, that's a good one to bring up," and so, I just finished off this last week. I had three workshops, and these are the final three for this particular quarter, and then, starting in June, there'll be a workshop that's at least 50% different, so there will be about four hours of new material when I come back for the first workshops in June, but, the concept that really took off this past quarter was the one on bother, being bothered. I think this fits in with everything that we've been talking about, here.

 As a matter of fact, I think I came up with the bother concept simply because you and I have, for going on three years, now, been talking about the things that we procrastinate on, and the biggest thing we procrastinate on is something that really bothers us, and so, what I've come to because I've had ten full workshop conversations on this is: the bother itself is not very interesting. It's only that we are bothered that's interesting, and how do you quickly get out of it? That's the only thing that's really interesting to me because I have a total bias towards new action and new results.

Dean: Yes, yeah, and I think noticing those budding thoughts, that's kind of what I mentioned when you brought that up in our workshop, is that that's something that I have been focused on for a long time, looking, being vigilant and looking for what start out as tolerations, catching them of seeing, you know, that's, I think, the lowest form of bother before it kind of escalates to getting hot and bothered kind of thing, I don't know, and I used to consciously have a time on Mondays of make-my-life-better day to look at and see, "What are the top ten things I'm tolerating right now and look to get rid of those." It's a really interesting thing now to think about it with who can get rid of that for me.

Dan: Yeah, who's the help. Who does the how that I won’t.

Dean: That's exactly right.

Dan: It's a very interesting thing that I think we're on something, and I have no doubt that we can keep going with it forever. As long as you and I are in the mood to schedule a next hour, my feeling is that the topic that we're talking about, the context that we're talking about is endless, but we would always come up with new stuff and the new stuff we come up with would make use of the growing amount of different other ideas that we've actually developed so far, so on the one hand, it evolves, but on the other hand, there is a multidimensionality about the discussion that we can make use of thoughts that were our main topic a year ago or two years ago, but now they just give more texture and they get more density to any new thing that we come up with.

Dean: I wonder how many episodes we're at right now with The Joy of Procrastination.

Dan: Well, I can tell you. My podcast manager will be able to tell me that immediately because he's got the exact number of all the podcasts that I've done, so I will grab that.

Dean: Oh, there we go. I think we're at 62.

Dan: I will have that number. I will have that number for you. 62?

Dean: 62, we're at, yes.

Dan: That's a lot of talking.

Dean: And there is. That's a lot of talking. You're absolutely right. Yeah, a lot of great concepts. There's a book in there.

Dan: Yeah, it's interesting. Well, it's interesting. That might be a distraction, actually.

Dean: I mean, not for us to write, but for somebody else.

Dan: Yeah, well, I think that there are books. In other words there's Emily. I've already just with something one day, I've created a book and I'm going to create a bigger book, the Who, Not How. As a matter of fact, it's completely transformed the entire strategic coach program from start to finish. I mean, one thought that you brought in, and I said, "Oh my gosh, that's an interesting idea." Mind you, I have a lot of concepts that immediately wanted to mate with that new idea when you brought it in. To a certain extent, the unique ability concept or the unique ability teamwork needed who, not how for it to go viral. I could explain and everybody kind of got it, but when I said who, not how about that, people said, "Oh, who, not how, totally get it," you know? And, the other thing is, I've come to a contrasting definition between delegation, which is a bit of a downer concept with most entrepreneurs.

Dean: Yes, we had this conversation in Chicago.

Dan: Yeah, and one of our coaches, Russell Schmidt, the longest reigning associate coach with Strategic Coach: in other words, someone coaching Strategic Coach other than me, and we now have 17, and he was the first and he's now in his 24th year, and he said, "You know, forever, we've been talking to the entrepreneurs who come to Strategic Coach about delegating and they all nod their heads, "Yes, very definitely, we got to delegate," and he said, "But, they came back to the next work and they did a little bit of delegation, but not as much as they could have," and he said, "I wonder why that is."

 When he then came to the workshop and he explained who, not how, everybody immediately went out and, from an observer standpoint, they all went out and they delegated, and they delegated quite extensively, so there's something about who, not how that goes right to their brain center that delegating did. So, I was talking to three or four workshops about this, and then I finally got it, that, for the most part, delegation is a bureaucratic concept, you know? And, in coach terms, you're taking an activity that you yourself hate and you're pushing it down to someone who's not as good as you and they will also hate it, and, probably, in the process, hate you.

Dean: Yes, that's true.

Dan: Who, not how, on the other hand, is taking something that you don't like, aren't really good at, hate, dread, and you're pushing it up to someone who has a higher ability than you do and they love it and they like you more because you've done that.

Dean: Yes. It's amazing, isn't?

Dan: So, it should be totally opposite: intellectual, psychological, emotional concept. These are not synonyms. They're antonyms. They're kind of the polar opposite. The only thing is the only thing in common is that you hate the activity both for delegation and you hate the activity for who, not how, but the result is radically different from almost any way you want to look at it.

Dean: And, that's interesting because it is so much in the language, right? Delegation always does feel implied that it's someone of lower skill than you or lower, that you are above. You're delegating down, even in the way we look at it, the language, right.

Dan: Yeah, and it almost is a bit of a defeat. It's kind of a bit of a defeat because now you got to manage the person who you delegate it to. In other words, you've just introduced another complexity issue into your life that goes all the way to the time horizon. In other words, now you got to keep track of what other person's doing, and if they don't like the activity, you have to monitor them, you have to manage them and you have to motivate them. Yeah, it's a bummer.

Dean: It is. It is a bummer. You know.

Dan: And, you can see why this doesn't go anywhere and why bureaucracies after a while lose . I believe that every bureaucracy whether it's a corporate bureaucracy or a government bureaucracy actually starts off with some powerful motivation to actually get something done, and, but, it quickly loses its internal energy because of the thing that you're here. You don't like doing something. You push it down to someone else who isn't as good you are, certainly isn't as powerful as you are, and they don't really like the activity, but it's what they have to do, and you've just expanded not liking doing something to another person, and it's almost like the opposite of creativity. It's actually the opposite of creativity.

Dean: Yeah, because I look at bureaucracy, when you think about it, what's missing from it is self-interest or self-direction, I think about Milton Friedman's ways of spending money. It's the same thing of spending time as an asset. I forget exactly how he words it.

Dan: Tell me that. I'm not sure I know.

Dean: I don't remember it exactly but we'll work it out. He talked about the ways of spending money. So, let's say we're tasked with buying something for somebody, that if we're spending our money on ourselves, we're going to pay the most attention. We're going to make sure that we get the best value and get exactly what's the right thing for us, that that's how we get the highest level of attention.

 If we're spending our money on someone else, we're mostly just looking for, "What's a suitable thing for somebody?" right, that we're trying to get the best deal. We're not trying to go overboard or luxurious, or we're trying to, generally, save money when we're spending our money on somebody else. Then, when we're spending somebody else's money on somebody else, we don't really, whatever it is, but when we're spending somebody else's money on us, then we deserve the best of the things, right, and so, I think that same thing applies.

Dan: It kind of gives you from criteria to look at whether universal basic income would be a successful program.

Dean: I don't know. But, again in the bureaucracy thing when we're spending our time doing something that we really want and love to do, we're going to be fully invested with our attention and our intention in it, but when we're spending our time doing something at somebody else's direction, we're going to do what is the minimum. We're looking to do the least amount that we need to do to comply in a bureaucracy. It may be different if you're working directly with the entrepreneur and you feel like you're part of making a contribution to something, but if you are a rank and file numbered employee in a bureaucracy with three layers.

Dan: The person, yeah, and, where, the person, they don't actually own it. They didn't actually create it.

Dean: Right.

Dan: In other words, your present day employee of one of the big auto makers like gm. Well, that's a 100 year-old company and nobody even knows who created it because very few people really take the time to inquire in the history, but there's still more than a dozen layers.

Dean: And you're doing your work to appease your supervisor, you know? That's really the thing is you're doing the minimum.

Dan: Then you have a union steward who is acting on your behalf so that you don't do too much work for your supervisor.

Dean: Right, exactly.

Dan: Yeah, yeah, I mean, that's really it. I'm actually reading a book right now on it. It's kind of an abstract title and I'll bring it in on one of the further ones, but it's a socialist in Europe in the 1990s, and I've not finished the book yet, but he's trying to, within the framework of socialism, he's trying to figure out how capitalism can be socialized so that people in the 21st century have the same pride of activity and pride of ownership that single craftspeople had prior to industrialization, prior to the assembly line.

 And, I think he's going down a rabbit hole, myself, because I find it interesting, and I may not have shared this with you. I read a lot of books from the left, what's called the political left or the philosophical left, first of all, because they are trying to grapple with capitalism without being capitalists. In other words, they're trying to come to grips with the grayed-in equality of capitalism. Automatically, you put ten people in a capitalist system and you have ten different levels of participation. It's just the nature of capitalism that some people are going to be more gifted at it. This, I guess, is Pareto's Law. He says if you give everybody $10 on day one and check in with them on day two, 20% of the people in the room have 80% of the dollars, okay, and it just seems to be natural that some people are more gifted at focusing on pricing and profitability and property, personal property than other people are. It seems to be a set of concepts.

 But, I'm going through this because he's really grappling with something and he's trying to grapple with what I would see as the unique ability, the whole concept of unique ability, and what we've tried to approach in Strategic Coach, that if you're in your unique ability: in other words, that you identify things you love doing from those you didn't, things that you're good at from those that you don't, and work can be arranged so that you are increasingly just focused on what you're great at, and then you collaborate. You do teamwork with people who are great at what they are. Everybody feels that it's an upward lift, and I think he's trying to grapple that but he doesn't have the concept of the unique ability, and he doesn't have the concept of who, not how. Those are two missing things.

 And, he doesn't really have the concept of making your life bigger and better, so he's missing completely the entrepreneurial factor. I'm halfway through the book right now and not once has he talked about the whole notion that entrepreneurism is as different as you want to measure from bureaucratic life.

Dean: Yeah, I'm wondering now about that as the way that we martial our attention. If I look at it, that that is an asset that we are able to direct or not. I'm wondering about how much of your attention on a daily basis do you think that you are directing intentionally.

Dan: Well, I think there's quite a bit, and I will say this is because my way my day is and how it's structured, it's still: I have the thing that I only set myself the goal of achieving three important things in the day, and I've had that for at least ten years, and but, then, the second rule is I will not be doing this alone. That's rule number two, and number three is I'll be managed either by a game plan, which, in my form, would be impact culture, and I'll be managed by someone who's actually in charge of the follow through from that activity. So, the time is in the schedule.

Dean: And a lot of yours, are you doing more workshop days now or less?

Dan: Well, we've established a cap on it, so I hit 12. I hit 13, actually, this year, which you have to multiply by four because it's four workshop days, so it's 52, 52 days, and, this year, we decided to put a cap on it and that I will not create any more new workshop days, but there will be a factor of Ten Times workshops after a while eroding with renewals, and they'll be combined. Eight days will be combined into four days, so the two workshops will become one for the next year, and when that happens, I can start a new Game Changer workshop. So, over about a three year period, I'll be gradually diminishing the number of Ten Times workshops I have and increasing the number of Game Changer workshops I have.

Dean: Just like you did when you switched to Ten Times.

Dan: Except I did that in one year, yeah. Yeah, I did that in one year, but this has a bit more things involved because it's just got more working parts to do it, this next level, than the one before it, and, yeah, so, anyway, but, the thing that I'm getting here if I do an overview of what I see you as having done, in your entrepreneurial career and what I've done in my entrepreneurial career is we've made better use of money that created larger amounts of money, and, with that money, we bought talent to free us up from the activities that we don't like doing.

 And, at the same time, we've gotten much more super focused that not only the activities we do love doing, but doing them in a way that we multiply the impact of the activities that we love doing, which gets you into the positive loop again that it produces more money with which you can buy first-class talent to take care of it, so my sense is that we're kind of in the entrepreneurial dream world.

Dean: I think that's true. I mean it definitely feels like that, that, yeah, realizing it's taken a while to get to this point, but if definitely feel now that I've got a really great support environment that I can bring things in that, really, we are at a point where and have been for some time now that all I do are the things that only I could do, and that's been a great multiplier for us.

Dan: Yeah, you know, one of our podcasts in the future, I think, should cover, dive deep into this point, and that is that people will say, "Well, you'll probably get to the point where you're giving everything away," and I said, "I don't have any indication yet that that's going to happen. If anything, the intensity of my focus has increased as the activities that only I can do have become more powerful." In other words, the more impact I have doing the things that I love doing multiplies my desire to focus even more on them devote not more time but better time.

Dean: Yeah, and I imagine that part of the thing is that you never know what's going to happen. I think that might be true if we're exhausting our own. If we're of in a tower somewhere just contemplating our own thoughts.

Dan: Robinson Crusoe.

Dean: Yeah, that you're really going to reach the edge of your thinking, but I think that the unintended consequences are strategic byproducts of the things that are happening when we're doing it in a way that creates an environment for things like this. Like, our podcast is an environment that there's been strategic byproducts for both of us that multiply thoughts that you have.

Dan: Yes, very much so, and, you know, not only that, but I depend upon it.

Dean: Yes. Yeah, me, too.

Dan: Yeah, it was really funny. Remember that diagram I did of the United States in the last Game Changer workshop?

Dean: I do, yeah, at Frontier.

Dan: The Free Zone Frontier. Well, it was so funny because I'd taken some thoughts that Mark Young and I moved them right into the Free Zone Frontier, because the thesis of the Free Zone Frontier as it relates to the US is that is was the actual 270 years from 1620 to 1890 where the population went from mere hundreds from the first settlements to, I think in 1890, it was 63 million, and, pulling talented, ambitious, industrious or just desperate people from Europe primarily and then other places.

 That actually gave character to the United States, so that the character of what we call the American character is actually not a function of the established colonies along the Atlantic, but it's actually the movement of constantly pushing the frontier out and creating free zones where land was really free and there was new opportunities that didn't cost very much, and I was saying I think it's unique in human history that you had a period of time like that and a particular country had that amount of innocence. nobody had named the land. Nobody had put their name on it, and they say, "Well, they took it away from the Indians," but the Indians didn't really have a sense of property. They never established property rules or rights or everything else.

 And, most of it was purchased, anyway. It wasn't taken. They bought it from France or from Spain or from Russia and everything. But, anyway, it's so funny, but that was our Joy of Procrastination Mindsets going into the program, but also, there was the case where The American Checklist went into the program, so these podcasts are really fantastic for me because I'll get an idea, developing it in another framework, which is a podcast, and then that idea gets developed and it becomes useful for me in the main activity, the central moneymaking activity for me.

Dean: Yeah, I get it. And, that's an interesting thing that I imagine you're setting. I think that that is a context that is set when you have a podcast that has a particular sort of zone or channel that you're keeping that. I imagine each of your podcasts has and serves a very different outlet for your thinking.

Dan: Yeah, and I have a dedicated talking partner with each one of them, and this didn't actually come up out of my podcast with Peter Diamandis, but it was just being at Abundance 360 and I was hearing all these predictions of various technologies, 3D printing, virtual reality, driverless cars, renewable fuels and everything else, and it was just striking to me that some of these ideas had been discussed five or six years in a row, and predictions were made on stage by the experts who are invested in these, and, what I was noticing that the progress wasn't happening as fast as it was being predicted.

 So, it gave me an idea to go back. I just went to Google and I set, "Virtual reality, what are the biggest obstacles for the progress of virtual reality?" They're written off. I could find 10, 15 articles on it, and I began to realize that in human affairs, there's a certain amount of money that is created just through the exciting prediction that something new's going to happen and the calls for people to invest in it, okay, and there's a whole industry of getting people excited about new ideas and taking money and just putting it in there. The new Theranos movie on Elizabeth Holmes is a good example.

Dean: I saw that by the way, yeah.

Dan: Yeah, yeah, I think I do not know what happened. You said this, but we now know what happened to the Children of the Damned.

Dean: That's right.

Dan: Because one of them, anyway, we know she was one of them, but, when you look at how things, actually, over a time, a new technology actually gets roots and actually grows, it's all in working through the obstacles to the predictions.

Dean: Yes, yeah, and that, you know, it's funny, because it reminds me of Aubrey de Gray. That reminds me of the way that he's approaching immortality, that that's the thing, that they've, early on, identified that there were five or seven key things that you can't solve it unless you solve these seven things, and if you solve these seven things, you've essentially made death optional.

Dan: Yeah. Now, that's worth a look because I haven't seen those, so I'll certainly look those up, but, this is my strategy or concept that all those things which seems to oppose our goals are actually the raw material for and, the obstacles are not annoyances. The obstacles are realities.

Dean: Yeah, and, in isolation, they don't seem as insurmountable.

Dan: Yeah, and, you know, so, it kind of tells you. I think that the notion that we think the thought of something new and it's right there actually isn't all that satisfying. We'll do it three or four times just for the novelty of it, but there's no effort on our part and we don't become better in any way by getting the result, then we get bored with the result.

Dean: Yes, yeah. That makes me think about our balancing of input and output as far as attention. I think by default, our attention tends to focus on input that's effortless, that doesn't require any it's easier to engage your attention in something where you're just taking it in. That's probably the easiest form of engaging our attention, and I know that you have a couple of hours that you're proactively taking in in terms of seeking and just looking, but you're doing it in a way that you kind of go to the same things, but you don't know intentionally what you're looking for. You're allowing your attention to go where the story leads you. And, it's funny how I noticed that to, that when I look at the certain sites, I'll see certain headlines and something will spark and go, "That's an important one, right there. That's something. That's going to matter."

Dan: Yeah, I think it's very, very interesting. I actually had that experience a couple times over the last couple days, and I came across something, and all of a sudden, I used exactly your words. "That's probably fake." And, it was big because it allowed me to see in a new way a whole bunch of things I already knew, but they hadn't clicked into focus, so the important new thing is important because it gives new meaning and new structure to things you already did know.

Dean: Yes, that's the importance, I think, of really having a frame, having a framework that we're kind of looking for. You look at there's some overriding themes that set the context for all the things we're interested in being entrepreneurs: productivity, longevity, all of these things that kind of get on our radar because as much as it is, I'm not drawn or bringing attention to new developments in textiles or manufactured goods or anything like that. That's not where our frame is. We're not in manufacturing or in any sort of frame like that. We're interested in entrepreneurship and future-oriented stuff. And, I think that's an important thing, then. I just wonder about this. The reason I've been thinking about the attention is trying to find this balance of directing the attention versus letting the attention get hijacked or seduced. Do you ever find yourself in periods like that?

Dan: Yeah, and I notice the antidote to getting overwhelmed by input, for me, is to come up with a really, really good question, a really good question, and then it's that the input has reminded me to ask a question, but the question isn't logically the result of the input. In other words, I just run across a whole bunch of input, and then a question came into my mind, but you couldn't have designed this input if you put: this input, this input, this input together, then you'll have this question. It wasn't like that. It was just that because my mind was engaging with a bunch of things that came up.

 So, you know, for example, I'm very interested in politics and the democrats, because they lost the last election in the States, hate the electoral college because Ms. Clinton won the popular vote, but she lost the electoral college, and they said, "You know, it's about time that we put an end to this and make the whole thing the popular vote." Well, it's the eighth time that it's actually happened. She's not the first where the loser actually got more popular votes than the winner, and so, I said, "Well, they think that it's kind of like a vote of congress, or something. They can come down or the president can say, 'Well, we're going to get rid of the electoral college.'"

 So, I spent about a half hour diving deep into the whole issue, how would you get rid of the electoral college, and, it's self-defeating by the very attempt, and I think that the founding fathers, especially Hamilton and then Madison and then that group. So, you have to get two thirds of the senate to vote on it. You have to get two thirds of the senators, 67, to say, "We want to get rid of it." Then, you have to get the congress, so two thirds of 435, and then you have to get three quarters of the state legislatures, and, all told, it takes about ten years to do that, okay.

 And, all of a sudden, I said, "Gee, boy, so many news men and politicians are talking about getting rid of something when they don't even know how you would go about doing that, and it couldn't happen. It couldn't happen," and, the reason is it favors the smaller states and the number of senators and congresspeople if you take all the smaller states together and then you take the legislators of the smaller states, that they are protected by the electoral college so that you could never get the votes. You could never get two thirds of the senate, two thirds of the congress, house of representatives and three quarters.

 So, I don't know why I was thinking that question, but, all of a sudden, I just had a very concentrated 40 minutes. I'm not necessarily talking about the content of the topic, here, but what my mind did because it was wandering around and then a question came into my mind and said, "What is the actual process for doing that? Is that easy? Is it hard? Is it impossible?" And that, to me, is like I just got rewarded with a master class on something really interesting. Didn't matter what it is.

 It doesn't matter what it is. I just gave this as an example, but, I said, "What a wonderful thing, that your mind can go wandering, but then a question comes in and the questions, by their very nature, really focus your attention."

Dean: That is true. Do you constrain that time? Do you set a particular amount?

Dan: No. I wouldn't set a limit on it. I got to the bottom of it and this is Google and Wikipedia and whatever other source that I have to go to, but, what a great thing. What a great thing to have a mind.

Dean: It really is. That's what's so fascinating is there's never-ending things that we can do.

Dan: Yeah, and it kind of tells you you want to protect it, have it fighting shape, have it in top-notch shape, because it can do such amazing things. I find that just amazing what it can do, yeah. Well, we've really traveled a straight road today, Dean.

Dean: We really did. It doesn't seem like it could be possible that it's been an hour already, but it has.

Dan: Yeah. Yeah, what I mean straight road: we were really constricted.

Dean: Yeah.

Dan: Don't look off to the side. Pay no attention to it. Anyways, it's a real pleasure.

Dean: Right, exactly. Oh, that's so funny. Well, one of these days, we're going to run out of things to talk about.

Dan: Yep. I think it's a couple weeks now. I think it's two weeks before we talk, again, because I'm off to do stem cell therapy on thursday.

Dean: Hey, look at you.

Dan: In Utah, and then I am going to genius network.

Dean: Have you talked to Dave Asbury since he did this full-body makeover?

Dan: Yeah, I have.

Dean: He's fully onboard, there, huh?

Dan: Yeah.

Dean: That's awesome.

Dan: I talked to somebody who was a first-year entrepreneur in the Ten Times program. He's a doctor and he went for about six months ago and he said, "It surprises you what it does," and he said that, "The thing that surprised me most was how fast my reaction time has gotten again."

Dean: Oh, that's great.

Dan: He said, "I remember being an athlete when I was a teenager," and he said, "I remember what good reaction time I had, and I didn't have it, but I've gotten it back in the last six months."

Dean: Love it!

Dan: I find that interesting.

Dean: Well, I can't wait to hear all about it.

Dan: I said, "Yeah, can you snatch flies out of the air?" And he said, "No, not there, yet."

Dean: Not quite there.

Dan: That seems, to me, the gold standard. That would be the gold standard.

Dean: Well, you'll get there.

Dan: Okay.

Dean: I love it. Thanks Dan, I'll talk to you soon.