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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

55% of U.S. employees failed to take all their paid time off in 2023.​¹​

they may as well be walking to the ATM, drawing out days' worth of pay and sliding it into their employer's wallet.

but why would they do this?

because they're unable to stop—even when they're paid to do so!

when was the last time you stopped? like, really stopped—as in felt truly at ease?

to flip the question: do you remember the last time you were NOT haunted by the ghost of the next thing you had to do?

the idea behind the REAL pandemic

try to find one person in your life who can tell you honestly that they don't regularly experience some form of anxiety. (or just take my word for it that you'll struggle.)

there's one cultural bias (idea) responsible for this, which is the strong preference for action over rest.

since before you were forming memories you were told not to be lazy.

not long after that you were forced into a system of schooling, which was founded on the idea that your wellbeing must be sacrificed for exam results.

my father worked 70-hour weeks when i was small. he continues to drink 10 cups of coffee per day in retirement.

perhaps you use caffeine too. it seems harmless, right? but if you try going cold turkey you'll soon be reaching for painkillers instead as you try to manage the headache that comes from withdrawal.

perhaps you use alcohol in the evenings to wind down from all the stimulation.

can't get up in the morning. can't sleep at night. this is the struggle of the typical employee in the 21st century.

society demonized rest, used drugs to deal with the resulting imbalance, used drugs to deal with THAT imbalance, then got you posting reels from the spa day you dropped $500 on to cope with it all.

stress as a badge of honour

in my early 20's i worked a weekend as a freelance musician that i'll never forget.

  1. i drove 120 miles to a rehearsal
  2. i did a studio recording the following morning
  3. i drove 130 miles to catch an overnight ferry from the UK to France
  4. i played a show the following night
  5. i took another overnight ferry back (booked a sleeper room this time)
  6. i drove 120 miles to the next show
  7. i drove 200 miles home

and when i finally got into bed, sleep wouldn't come. (no doubt due to the 4 cans of red bull i'd used to make sure i didn't die on the road.)

i was delirious for days afterward. i told my friends and colleagues all about it. and, of course, they were impressed.

we've created a culture where harming oneself is cool.

of course, this is unsustainable.

"the hustle" is a limited-time offer

Elon Musk admitted to interviewers that his work ethic has been "excruciating" at times, and that he's had to depend on medication to sleep.​²​

Arianna Huffington famously woke up in a pool of her own blood, having collapsed from exhaustion.​³​ she went on to write a book called the sleep revolution.

of course, sleep is of limited value if you're determined to harm yourself while you're awake.

there's no denying that de-prioritizing your wellbeing is one way to get things done in the short-term.

but is it the only way?

no.

no it's not.

the fallacy is that more hours equals more productivity; more sweat equals more cash.

and sadly, this remains the only option for most people, because almost no-one in our culture is even aware that for thousands of years there's been a potent alternative (by which people have achieved far more than today's business celebrities ever will).

Elon Musk vs. The Buddha

years ago i asked my first mindfulness teacher an important question:

"if this buddha dude was completely happy and satisfied, why did he walk thousands of miles across India giving all these teachings?"

my teacher smiled, then told me "because with wisdom and compassion he saw that it was a good thing to do."

i was stunned.

at that time, the only reason i'd ever done anything was to not feel bad. my decisions were based on fear, shame and guilt.

the idea of doing something just because it was beneficial was completely outside my vocabulary.

but as i learned more about the buddha and how he did his thing, i saw that i could run my life that way too.

the energy i unlocked was enormous.

instead of procrastinating until i became anxious, then trying to do something to deal with that anxiety, then doing whatever i had to do...

slowly i rearranged my life so that i just did good sh!t that benefitted other people and hey presto: good sh!t happened for me as a natural consequence.

of course i, personally, am yet to even approach Musk’s achievements, but the buddha? i argue that the buddha has done more for the human race than any other person in history.

because what good is being on Mars if you’re f¥cking miserable?

can you be happy and productive?

yes.

yes you can.

in fact, more and more experts are agreeing that happiness boosts productivity.

youtube productivity icon Ali Abdaal just titled his first book Feel Good Productivity.

the Journal of Informatics Education and Research found that "A person's level of happiness is a critical factor in determining their general health and productivity at work..."​⁴​

Management Science found happiness had "a positive impact on sales performance, which is driven by changes in labor productivity through workers converting more calls into sales..."​⁵​

Wanglin Ma et al. found a correlation between farmer happiness and farm productivity.​⁶​

and Charles Henri DiMaria et al. found "a positive association between the variables of interest found at the individual and firm level, [supporting] the view that promoting subjective wellbeing is not only desirable per se, but it is conducive to higher productivity and improved countries' economic performances."​⁷​

so, what do you do with all this information?

how to stop working too hard (and be MORE productive)

"Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you." - Anne Lamott

what you need to do is rediscover how to rest.

when i say "rest" i don't mean bingeing "too hot to handle" on Netflix. (if anything, that will take you closer to a nervous breakdown.)

i mean genuine rest: relaxation, ease—to slow down, quiet down and check out of your habitual anxiety, stress and dissatisfaction.

when you rediscover that this rest is your natural state, you'll discover—as millions of others have—that happiness is present by default.

the best way for me to introduce you to this kind of rest is with ​a guided meditation i recorded before christmas.​

but i'm going to give you something more today too.

mini, minor & major rests

Dr. Jenny Brockis recommends busy individuals bring these 3 different kinds of rest into their schedules.

a mini rest can be as short as a single breath. in this space you might pay attention to the sensations of your breath, which will bring your attention to your body—a welcome break from the mind if you've been anxious all morning.

alternatively, you might:

🔹gaze at the sky for a moment
🔹stand up and stretch
🔹enjoy a sip of coffee
🔹think of a loved one
🔹recall the experience of following the guided meditation above

next, a minor rest can be something like a walk, a nap, some good food or another of my ​85 guided meditations​.

finally, a major rest might be a hiking weekend, some tourism or even a meditation retreat.

see how this works?

in the words of Ziji Rinpoche, rest is best.

without it, the best you can hope for is anxiety. the worst is a nervous breakdown like Arianna suffered.

how i used genuine rest to realize peak productivity

when i first heard about the power of rest from mindfulness teachers i thought it was too good to be true.

but i couldn't forget the possibility.

"what if it is true?" i wondered.

"what if these teachers are right, and everything i was told about how to be happy was wrong?"

i had PLENTY of evidence that following society's rules had made me (and thousands of others) miserable.

so i decided to try it out.

i entered deeply into the practice of natural rest.

i realized the happiness that depends on nothing.

and the natural progression of this was to teach it to others.

cut to April 2023, when i ran a cohort course on mindfulness. the 12 students in that group enjoyed ​amazing results.​

sadly, i've not had time to run the course again properly. but many people have expressed interest.

i didn't want to leave them out in the cold. so i've restructured the course to work as a solo process with a 1-to-1 coaching call at the beginning, plus text support for 4 weeks.

if you think you'd benefit from it, you can ​learn more here​.

that's all for this week.

with love from my sofa,
dg 💙

¹ Chris Colmar - 50+ telling paid time off (PTO) statistics [2023] (​https://www.zippia.com/advice/pto-statistics/​)

² TIME magazine - Elon Musk Says Stress and Long Hours Are Taking a Toll During an 'Excruciating' Year (​https://news.yahoo.com/news/elon-musk-says-stress-long-063214181.html​)

³ Firas Kittaneh - The Sleep Revolution: An Interview with Arianna Huffington (​https://amerisleep.com/blog/interview-arianna-huffington/​)

⁴ ​Journal of Informatics Education and Research​ - Role of Happiness in Individual Work Performance: An Empirical Study (​https://typeset.io/papers/role-of-happiness-in-individual-work-performance-an-mnwrwigy​)

⁵ Management Science - Does Employee Happiness Have an Impact on Productivity? (​https://typeset.io/papers/does-employee-happiness-have-an-impact-on-productivity-3bloa3n6​)

⁶ Wanglin Ma et al. - Happiness and farm productivity: Insights from maize farmers in China (​https://typeset.io/papers/happiness-and-farm-productivity-insights-from-maize-farmers-1pwo3ndkn7​)

⁷ Charles Henri DiMaria et al. - Happiness Matters: Productivity Gains from Subjective Well-Being (​https://typeset.io/papers/happiness-matters-productivity-gains-from-subjective-well-586zqi4ecz​)

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