Hey, what’s going on, guys?
So, this week’s video is going to be
a little bit different than most other videos I have done on this channel.
Because for the most part of the videos
that I do have a pretty set-in-stone topic.
I try to keep a pretty narrow focus on whatever I’m talking about.
but for the last four months
I’ve been keeping a note in EverNote,
just called five self-improving tips.
And I put that number there arbitrarily.
But I came up with something that I thought was interesting to me.
They were just something that I felt was like mindset change I made a long time ago.
And it’s really improved my life.
And that gave me an idea for a video
where I’ll just sort of list out some of the subtle or maybe not-so-subtle mindset changes just
that I’ve made over the last decade or so since I graduated high school,
that have really improved things for me on a daily basis.
And I was gonna wait until I had a longer list to
do a video on these sort of mindset hacks,
but I think the four that I have now which I’ve just sort of added over time as I thought about them
make up a pretty good list.
So today we’re gonna go over four mindset hacks
or mindset changes that I’ve made slowly over the past 10 or so years
that’ve really improved my life.
And if you can adopt even just one of these into your own life,
I think you’re gonna notice a marked improvement as well.
So let’s get into it.
Mindset hack number one is
to become okay with being the worst person in the room,
and by that I mean, like, the worst person
at whatever skill you’re trying out.
This fear of being labeled as the worst person in the room
or of looking bad in comparison to everyone else
keeps people from pursuing the things they want to do,
or it keeps them from increasing the difficulty
or moving to the next level in something they’re already pursuing.
And if you can become okay with being bad at something or comparatively bad,
or if you can become okay with being worse than everyone else in your peer group,
then you start to compete in a higher league.
And when you are the worst person in the room,
that means that there’s nowhere for you to go but up.
And everyone else around you is somebody who you can learn from.
So the example of putting this mindset into action
that immediately comes to mind for me is
from last summer when I started doing downhill mountain biking.
Now downhill mountain biking, especially the lift access version where
you literally put your bike and yourself on a ski lift, and you go up to the top of a mountain and ride down
is a pretty difficult and risky discipline in mountain biking.
In fact, my friend Martin actually broke
his finger doing it back in the fall.
I started this in the summer,
and I started off being pretty bad.
I noticed that all these people kept passing
me up on the trails.
And I kind of felt self-conscious about my abilities at first.
Then I realized that if I just challenged myself
to follow these people who were better than me,
I actually would get better more quickly.
And I found that this actually did happen.
I was more afraid to do things like go off jumps or take trails at higher
speed when I was alone,
but when I was following somebody,
there was, like, this competitive instinct that kicked in.
I found myself pushing myself a little bit further
and really challenging myself to keep pace
with this other person who was better than me.
And this mindset actually paid off on the very first day that I went mountain biking,
’cause I went with my cousin to a bike park in Boulder Colorado
and there was a jump that I just could not get myself to do.
Every single time I would go up to the jump,
I would hit the brakes, I would stop.
Then I’d have to take my bike, lift it up,
and walk down, pass the jump.
I was just too scared to do it.
And my cousin, who was a little bit better
at mountain biking than I was,
not a ton, but a little bit,
said, “Alright, this time we’re gona go.”
“You’re gonna follow me.”
“I’m going to hit this jump,
and you are going to hit it with me.”
And watching him do it, and knowing there was an expectation
that I was going to have to rise to the challenge
because he was doing it as well forced me to do it.
And I actually hit that jump, and afterwards it became easy.
So again, if you can become comfortable
with being the worst person in the room,
even if it’s a self-perception kind of thing,
then you are going to allow yourself
to compete in a higher league.
You’re gonna expose yourself to people who are more skilled
and who can bring you up to speed more quickly.
And one last thing that I do wanna know when it comes to this mindset is that
for the most part, people are kind of self-absorbed.
So say, if you go to the gym
and you are out of shape or
you are lifting the least amount of weight out of the gym,
people aren’t going to make fun of you,
because they’re there to do their own thing.
They aren’t there to judge you.
So just keep that in mind when you start a new hobby
or you start trying to improve yourself in any way.
If you’re around other people who are doing the same thing
they’re probably focused on
their own goals and their own efforts.
All right, mindset hack number two is
to treat real-life goals kind of like video game levels.
And the reason that I have this on the list
is that when we play video games
at least, I play video games
I am 100 % okay with dying or failing,
because I know that in just a few seconds after dying,
I am going to restart the level.
I’m going to try again.
And the process of dying over and over and over again
in some cases is part of the experience.
It’s part of the fun.
One of my absolute favorite video games
in the world is called Celeste, which is,
in my opinion, one of the best platforms ever made.
And if you go look at my death stats for every level in the game,
they are ridiculous.
In fact, I think in one of the levels
I have over 1,000 deaths.
But because I’ve gone through that level and died 1,000 times,
I can now basically speed-run it,
and the process of doing so looks really cool,
and it’s really fun to do.
And I know that all those deaths
are part of learning process.
Every single time I made a mistake,
I got a little bit better,
I got a little bit more knowledgeable about what to do in that situation.
I made an adjustment.
Now in real life,
a lot of times, we feel like we have to
get things right in the first time,
whether it be out of embarrassment,
or whether it be out of the fear of wasting too much time.
But that’s not how things are.
It’s just like a video game.
If we can treat things as a learning process,
even if they’re failures, then we’d become more open to going through that learning process,
and we become more able to gain those skills.
The fear of failure is something that really holds people back.
So if you can start viewing yourself as a video game character
at least insofar as you’re allowed to fail certain things,
maybe not allowed to fall into pits of spikes,
but if you can fail certain things,
then you’re going to sort of move past that mental roadblock.
Mindset hack number three is to become okay
with confronting harsh realities or bad news.
And this is a mindset hack that I got from the book
Good to Great by Jim Collins.
This is a fantastic business book.
I think anybody who is in the professional world
or an entrepreneur should read this book.
And there is a quote
from an executive of the company Pitney Bowes, his name is Fred Purdue,
that really stuck with me after I read this book.
In fact, I think this might be the concept that stuck
with me more than any other from this book.
And I want to read the quote to you here.
The quote goes,
“When you turn over rocks
and look at all the squiggly things underneath,
you can either put the rock down
or you can say, ‘my job is to turn over rocks and look at the squiggly things,’
even if what you see can scare the hell out of you.”
The sad thing is, a lot of people would rather avoid looking at bad news,
avoid looking at harsh realities than confront them.
And this causes a lot of problems.
Some people know they probably didn’t do well on the test,
so they avoid looking at the test results
until they realize they’ve been kicked out of school.
Or some people know their bank account balance is probably
a little bit lower than they’d like it to be,
so they just don’t look at it
until there ‘s an overdraft
or until there’s a bill that isn’t paid.
In our quest to avoid pain,
we often avoid looking at things that cause us mental pain,
just because they are, like, the bearer of bad news,
the harbinger of bad news to come.
But the people who are truly successful are the ones
who can confront these harsh realities,
because when you do,
when you don’t shy away from them
or pretend they don’t exist,
then you can, after you get over the emotional pain, the shock of seeing them,
formulate a plan for dealing with them.
So become okay with confronting these harsh realities.
Yes, it’s tough.
Yes, you kind of never really get totally used to it,
’cause you always have that little part of your brain
that just sort of wants to go do something else,
but you have to become able to push through that mental resistance.
Finally, I want to talk about the one mindset hack
that I think has improved my life more than any other.
And it’s simply building a sort of background loop in my head
that constantly asks where am I wrong
or how am I wrong?
I’m always looking for my own blind spots.
This mindset hack was kind of forced upon me
when I was a teenager when a girlfriend of mine
actually broke up with me,
and she told me the reason that she left me was that
I always had to be right.
Every time we’d get into an argument
or even just a conversation
I always had it to be the person with the last word.
I didn’t really realize this at the time,
but when that happened,
the pain of being dumped was so great
that I was forced to look at my actions,
to look at the way that I thought.
And I realized that, yes,
I did have this implicit assumption that I was right in all things
even if I would have never admitted it even to myself.
And I think a lot of people are like this,
especially people who are generally successful
at a lot of the things they do.
There’s this sort of hubris or pride that
develops in the back of our minds and
sort of squashes any humility we have.
And it causes us to miss a lot of our blind spots
or to assume things that are true.
So even though that experience was very painful,
I count it as a blessing,
because it sort of forced me to develop this assumption
that I’m probably wrong in a lot of areas.
Even when I think that I’m right about something,
there might be a blind spot.
There might be something that I’m missing.
So I ask myself, what could I possibly be missing?
And a lot of times I try to put myself in the shoes of the person that I’m talking to
and ask, what is their perspective on this?
What could they see that I might not be seeing?
Now I don’t think you have to go through
a super painful experience to develop this ability.
And I would say that a lot of its refinement
came from reading books like Harry Potter and the Methods
of Rationality or Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
or even some of the individual blog posts over on LessWrong.com
which was one of the original resources where
I started learning about human rationality, and learning to
notice my own confusion and notice my blind spots.
Regardless of how you go about developing this ability,
once you do get better at using it
and making it more habitual
you’re gonna become a much more likable person,
because people will see you as not arrogant,
as open to noticing your own flaws and your own blind spots.
And aside from that,
it’s also gonna make you a better problem solver.
As Barbara Oakley talks about in her book A Mind of Numbers,
there’s this concept called einstellung,
where the work that you’ve done to learn something earlier can
sort of block the ability for you to consider new information,
because you have these very well-worn neural patterns
that are pretty difficult to break out of.
But if you can build this metacognitive skill
of constantly challenging your beliefs and looking for your blind spots,
you’re gonna be far less susceptible to this einstellung.
So going forward, start tying to consciously challenge your beliefs.
Start asking yourself, how could I be wrong?
And in doing so you’re gonna become a much better problem solver.
Of course, if you want to boost those problem-solving skills
even further, then the best way to do it is
to practice problem solving on a daily basis.
And a great place to do this is at Brilliant.org.
Brilliant is an excellent learning platform
for anyone wanting to improve your skills
in math, science, and computer science.
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or on computer memory, computer algorithms,
or gravitational physics, you’re gonna find yourself immediately thrown into
challenging problems that stretch your problem-solving capabilities
and stretch that lateral-thinking ability
that we talked about in earlier videos
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by tons of introductory lecture material
you’re getting right into the problems right away.
So your interest in the subject is going to
remain high the entire time
and you’re gonna learn much more efficiently as well.
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they can get you interested in new topics that you hadn’t considered before.
so if you want to try out that daily problems feature
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so learning right now, you can go over the
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and if you’re one of the first 83 people to
sign up with that link you’re also gonna get 20%
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Big thanks to Brilliant for sponsoring this video
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Hey, what’s going on, guys?