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DAN KOE

ALEX MATHERS

TAYLIN SIMMONDS

Founder, KorteX
3.5M followers

medium.com top writer
120K followers

BRAND CONSULTANT
79K followers

★★★★★

★★★★★

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"If you want practical strategies to maximize your own well-being, then create a profitable internet business around your passions, interests and curiosities – Goldfield is your guy."

DAN KOE

In this newsletter I’m going to explain to you what the #1 cause of stress is—and how to beat it.

A 2012 study by NHS Scotland found that, 'psychological distress is associated with increased risk of mortality from several major causes…'¹

Stress is literally a matter of life or death.

Unfortunately, most people never bother to wriggle free of stress because they simply don’t know it’s possible to do so (even though the methods have been taught for thousands of years in other cultures.)

¹Association between psychological distress and mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 10 prospective cohort studies https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e4933

Toxic Culture: Stress As A Badge of Honour

Have you ever been praised for working hard?

Have you ever wondered whether your hard work really brings better results?

Millennials are clocking on to the truth that smart work is better than hard work.

But school brainwashed you into thinking that hard work was praiseworthy—just because it was hard—since before you were tying your shoelaces.

Here are the other main reasons people struggle with stress:

  1. It’s familiar
  2. It’s woven into most ways of doing things
  3. It is somewhat effective

I’m going to explain how you can overcome these problems.

Here’s how, step-by-step…

Step 1: Find An Alternative

Stress is not the only way to get things done.

It is a way to get things done, but it’s not the only way. I promise.

Fill Your Tank With A Cleaner Fuel

Consider the last time you worked on something you enjoy.

Did you find it stressful? (If so, you need to find a new hobby.)

Were you able to produce something? (Yes, your Minecraft build counts.)

This is proof that stress is not the only way to get something done.

And before you protest, ‘of course there’s no stress in playing Minecraft!’ I remind you that many people would find Minecraft stressful, and there are things that stress you out that others enjoy.

It’s all interpretation.

Effortless Productivity

Writing newsletters is enjoyable for me.

I wrote a recent issue while I was on vacation.

But some people hate writing. It stresses them out.

Personally, I love it, and so I was able to do that ‘work’ while I was ‘off work’.

And so I get the benefits (self-expression, connecting with people like you, building my tribe).

But why does all this matter?

Stress Is A Matter Of Interpretation

If writing itself had the power to make people stressed, everyone who did it would get stressed.

In other words, it’s not the activity itself that makes you stressed. That’s physiologically impossible.

It’s your interpretation of the activities you do that stresses you out.

Specifically, when you resist what’s going on, you create stress.

So all you have to do is change your interpretation of what’s happening.

Easier said than done, I know, so I’m going to help you out…

Step 2: Reconsider The Way You’re Doing Things

We humans are wired to stick with what’s familiar. Recently, we’ve talked about in terms of the ‘comfort zone’.

What’s crazy about the comfort zone is that it often includes pain—especially when that pain is so normalised that it’s part of your identity.

If you’ve ever gone back to a lover you already broke up with then you know what I’m talking about.

How to Break Free

Wisdom traditions and psychology agree that the way to get out of your comfort zone is to—

  1. Recognise you’re in it
  2. Recognise it’s bad for you
  3. Make a series of small decisions to go in the direction of deliberate, healthy discomfort

Let’s say you find your job stressful.

  • You struggle to wake up in the mornings because you dread what’s coming
  • You avoid eye contact with everyone when you arrive
  • You think about clocking off all day (which only makes the day seem longer)
  • You do the minimum possible on work tasks (which has your boss on your back)

What you need to do is flip this 180.

Find some other reason to get up in the morning. Make time for a hobby; get into healthy breakfast foods; meet a friend for a workout.

Next, deliberately smile and greet your colleagues. Maybe you can brighten someone else’s shitty day. Trust me, whether you hear about it or not, they’ll appreciate it.

Finally, immerse yourself in your tasks and do them to the best of your ability. It doesn’t matter what they are, I assure you this will make your work day pass more quickly. It’ll also get your boss off your back.

Put all this together and you might even find yourself in line for a promotion. When that happens, you’ll likely have increased responsibility but also the increased freedom (and money) to go with it. Get enough promotions and you’ll be calling all the shots yourself. Or maybe you’re able to take your savings and start your own business doing what you love.

The best start on all this is to do it as an experiment. Me telling you that this stuff is a good idea just isn’t worth that much—I want you to discover the benefits of these shifts in your own direct experience.

From Breakdown to Brilliance

Here’s a favourite story about stress from one of my great teachers, ​Ram Dass​.

There was a man who worked as Vice President of a large company that handled industrial loans. This man had a nervous breakdown.

On leaving hospital, the man decided he wouldn’t go back to work. He sold his belongings, bought a guitar and went travelling around the USA.

He learned to meditate, experimented with psychedelics and enjoyed a stress-free life for a number of years.

Later, wandering through his hometown, the man bumped into someone from his old company. His ex-colleague told him that the Vice President position had just opened up again and they’d love to have him back.

‘Why not?’ he thought.

He shaved his beard, bought a suit and went back to his old job.

‘Was it the same?’ Ram Dass asked him.

‘It was completely different,’ the man replied. ‘The first time I did the job I was Vice President of a company handling industrial loans. When I went back, I went back to be with people, and the reason for our being together just happened to be industrial loans.’

It’s all interpretation.

Step 3: Get A Glimpse Of Your Life Without Stress

Motivation (light at end of tunnel).

  • What steps 1, 2, 3 ladder up to.
  • Give hope.
  • Illustrate results.

What would your life be like without stress?

What would your typical day be like?

Now that you know this is all about simple interpretation, this future is more possible than ever.

All you need to do is stop resisting what’s going on. Then you’re free to engage with it freshly.

You’re going to need to get out of your comfort zone, and this can be tricky, but don’t worry: I have the cheat code for you.

This cheat code has been called ‘mindfulness’ and ‘meditation’, but these are just labels. Forget any preconceptions you have around those labels and do a little experiment with me.

  1. Get comfortable in a distraction-free spot
  2. Relax (accept things as they are), let go (stop wishing things were different), shut the fuck up (stop judging and describing things)
  3. When you notice that you’re tense, resisting or distracted, celebrate! This is good self-awareness
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3

I assure you that this little experiment will greatly assist you in everything I’ve written about in this newsletter.

The Dalai Lama assures you too.

My Life Before And After Stress

Once upon a time I was so stressed out that my mental anguish was manifesting as chronic physical pain.

This pain was at its worst when I did my work, which was playing and teaching drums.

I had to lie flat on the ground after performances just to get some pain relief.

Naturally, I attributed the pain to the work itself. So I started to hate the work. So I got more stressed. Downward spiral.

It wasn’t until I started experimenting with the practice I laid out above that things got easier.

I started to look at and work with my stress directly (rather than being at the mercy of the experiences I was having).

As my mental anguish eased, so did my physical pain. I found fresh enjoyment not only in my work but in everything else I was doing too.

Eventually, I rediscovered the natural clarity, peace and happiness that is my birthright. It’s yours too, I promise.

That's all for now.

Win/win for the win,
dg 💙

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