David speaks with Michael Ashcroft, a writer and Alexander Technique teacher who previously spent 10 years consulting on clean energy innovation.

A lot of Michael's work centres around helping people expand their awareness. He's written several essays and posts I've loved, particularly about the concept of grinding, and how paying attention to our awareness can help us maximise our creativity, productivity, posture and physical engagement.

They talked about:

๐Ÿง  How mindset affects life efficiency

๐ŸŒŸ Managing awareness for productivity

๐ŸŽจ Balancing creativity and structure

๐Ÿ“ Developing a writing process

๐Ÿ’ก How to manage ideas and writing

๐Ÿš€ Paths to self-discovery

This is just one part of a longer conversation, and it's the last of three short episodes. You can listen to the earlier episodes here:

Part 1: Life, Work, and Awareness with Michael Ashcroft (Episode 64)

Part 2: The Alexander Technique with Michael Ashcroft (Episode 67)

๐ŸŽ™ Listen in your favourite podcast player

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๐Ÿ“น Watch on Youtube

๐Ÿ‘ค Connect with Michael Ashcroft:

Twitter: @m_ashcroft | https://twitter.com/m_ashcroft

Course: Alexander Technique | https://expandingawareness.org/courses/

Website: Expanding Awareness | https://expandingawareness.org/

๐Ÿ“„ Show notes:

0:00 | Intro

01:48 | How mindset affects life efficiency

10:06 | Managing awareness for productivity

13:18 | Balancing creativity and structure

20:24 | Developing a writing process

25:46 | How to manage ideas and writing

35:15 | Paths to self-discovery

๐Ÿ—ฃ Mentioned in the show:

Psycho-physical Unity | https://mouritz.org/companion/article/psycho-physical-unity

Hunter S. Thompson | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_S._Thompson

David Kadavy | https://www.theknowledge.io/kadavy/

Duolingo | https://www.duolingo.com/

Notion | https://www.notion.so/

James Altucher | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Altucher

Andrew Huberman | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_D._Huberman

Paul Millerd | https://www.theknowledge.io/paulmillerd/

Johnny Miller | https://www.theknowledge.io/jonnymiller/

Khe Hy | https://www.theknowledge.io/khehy-1/

Pathless Path | https://amzn.to/3i4LF7J

Rules Aren't Real | https://www.theknowledge.io/issue68/

KPMG | https://kpmg.com/xx/en/home.html

Swimming and thrashing | https://www.theknowledge.io/swimming-vs-thrashing/

Tim Ferriss | https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Ferriss

Full episode transcript below

๐Ÿ‘จ๐Ÿพโ€๐Ÿ’ป About David Elikwu:

David Elikwu FRSA is a serial entrepreneur, strategist, and writer. David is the founder of The Knowledge, a platform helping people think deeper and work smarter.

๐Ÿฃ Twitter: @Delikwu / @itstheknowledge

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๐Ÿ“ฝ๏ธ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/davidelikwu

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๐Ÿ“– EBook: https://delikwu.gumroad.com/l/manual

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๐Ÿ–ฅ๏ธ Career Hyperdrive: https://maven.com/theknowledge/career-hyperdrive

Career Hyperdrive is a live, cohort-based course that helps people find their competitive advantage, gain clarity around their goals and build a future-proof set of mental frameworks so they can live an extraordinary life doing work they love.

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The Knowledge is a newsletter for people who want to get more out of life. It's full of insights from psychology, philosophy, productivity, and business, all designed to help you think deeper and work smarter.

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๐Ÿ“œFull transcript:

[00:00:00] Michael Ashcroft: Is effort virtuous or is an outcome virtuous? Is it feeding your family or is it working hard to feed your family? Like which of these is the proper way to earn your life? And you really have to undo a lot of, or look closely at a lot of like societal conditioning because a lot of the conditioning is, work is virtuous, effort is virtuous. And so even then when we have the, the machines that will for us. We find other places to be virtuous by doing effort. Places that we efforts now are the places that we haven't yet figured out how to automate away effort because we need to effort it seems.

[00:00:36] David Elikwu: This week I'm sharing part of my conversation with Michael Ashcroft.

[00:00:41] David Elikwu: Now, we ended up deciding to split this into three parts because we covered so much ground. This was a really engaging conversation covering a spectrum of ideas around life, work, and attention or awareness.

In this part you're going to hear Michael and I talking a bit more about the Alexander Technique and the way in which our attention can shape our lives.

So you'll hear us talking about ideas like luck and serendipity and the extent to which we are open to ideas and experiences, and also how we should approach our ambition, and the extent to which we should grasp for things, and reach for things that are beyond our control.

Finally you're going to hear Michael and I talking about creativity and our writing habits and the way in which awareness can shape our creative pursuits and the habits and practices that we've developed to be able to write consistently.

[00:01:26] David Elikwu: You can get the full show notes transcript and read my Newletter at thenowledge.io and You can find Michael on Twitter @m_ashcroft.

[00:01:34] David Elikwu: And if you love this episode, please do share it with a friend. And don't forget to leave a review, particularly if you're listening on Apple podcasts, because it helps us tremendously to reach other people just like you.

[00:01:48] David Elikwu-1: I want to ask you a bit more about this idea of expanding and contracting in a bit. But before that, one thing I wanted to ask, I guess connecting the dots of the last two things we were talking about.

[00:01:57] David Elikwu-1: I feel like there is a sense in which you can max out, you could reach 10 out 10 through various modes. You can get there by grinding, you can genuinely grind to kind of reach a 10 out of 10 in terms of experience. You can get there through efforts just, which is not grinding. So it's not like where you still have the clutch down, where you're kind of pushing against yourself, but effort is just you're trying, right?

[00:02:20] David Elikwu-1: We talked about this idea of trying, and then there is also the concept of flow, and you know, maybe you're just kind of effortlessly in that space, continually.

[00:02:29] David Elikwu-1: I wonder, you know, what you think of the contrast between those different modes of moving and if there's anything outside of that which you think is also worth activating.

[00:02:38] Michael Ashcroft: So in your, in your three modes, I see grinding as, there are parts of you pulling against the, the way you want to be going or where you think you want to be going. So like half of you is pushing towards the goal, the other half is going like, no, no, no, we can't, I don't want to do this. I'm like, you're fighting yourself and a bunch of energy is like being lost to friction internally.

[00:02:56] Michael Ashcroft: The efforting version is like, when you put in more effort than is required for the appropriateness of the task, shall we say. Like, if you imagine a hundred meter sprinter, they are putting in exactly the right amount of energy and effort and tension into their bodies. If they put more tension into their bodies, they would go slower, right? There is an optimal amount. So if they over try, it's like choking in sports as well. It's like, you know, I really must, I have to hit this ball because otherwise I'm going to lose my contract and people are going to think I'm dumb and all that kind of stuff, so I'm going to really try. And then they choke and they miss and they have whatever, like, it just, it goes badly wrong until they get out of their heads and like, just hit the ball, right?

[00:03:33] Michael Ashcroft: So the thing that I'm nudging towards is not, no, don't expend energy towards a goal, right? It's not like floating through life. It's learning how to deploy exactly the appropriate amount of energy towards something and no more, right? So undo your conflicts, make sure you're all pulling in the same direction, and then learn that you don't need to push as hard as you think you do.

[00:03:56] Michael Ashcroft: Because if you do, you'll get in your own way. You'll cause damage and you'll actually have worse performance in most cases because you don't need that extra stuff and that's just getting in the way.

[00:04:04] David Elikwu-1: Yeah. There's two really interesting things that you mentioned there that I had some thoughts on and wanted to know how you would respond to it. So the very first thing, which I thought was really interesting, I loved the way that you were describing, I guess, you know, the, tension of pushing against yourself.

[00:04:17] David Elikwu-1: And it just made me think of, I don't know if you were following this room temperature superconductor phase that the

[00:04:22] Michael Ashcroft: Oh yeah, unfortunately I got caught up in that, yeah.

[00:04:25] David Elikwu-1: Same. And it's funny because every day from, from that very first day when the paper came out, was back and forth one day, I'm super excited. Oh my gosh, it's changing the world. The next day someone comes and says, it's rubbish. And then quite literally, you know, suddenly I'm following all these superconductor accounts and you're getting the minute by minute updates and each one is back and forth, back and forth.

[00:04:45] David Elikwu-1: I think the thing you mentioned that made me think about it was this idea of losing energy to friction and this idea that, while we might be grinding and while we might be trying to do something, and a lot of people might take pride in the extent to which they can grind, if you're losing so much of your energy to friction or you know, you're losing so much of your energy just as a natural byproduct of this process, how much wastage that is and how much of that energy could have been converted to being able to do other things. And in a similar way, when we think of the superconductors, if you have to keep it at such a low temperature just to get the maximum energy out of it, you know, like how much more could we be getting out of the effort that we're putting in?

[00:05:22] David Elikwu-1: So I guess that that's one frame that's already in my mind. And then the other one was tying to what you were saying, using the analogy of athletes. And yes, you could try really hard, and I think you've used the analogy before of like a child riding a bike and they are riding towards a tree and they focus so much on the tree that they can't avoid hitting the tree. And there's an extent to which sometimes when you're focusing so much, let's say as an athlete or as a performer in the workplace, when you're focusing so much on trying to make your bonus or trying to do the thing that is in some ways that hyper focus can lead you to burn out because you are focusing so much on that singular thing that I guess, you know, a lot of other stuff gets lost in the process.

[00:05:59] David Elikwu-1: You used too much of your attention on that thing. And what that reminds me of is I don't know if it was a study, but essentially they just looked at the cross sections of people's brains, they did MRI scans and the MRI scan of someone that is anxious, let's say, because you have stage fright or you're worried about something is exactly the same as someone who is excited, maybe because they're about to jump out of a plane, or they're do something that they love. Like to your brain, those two states are exactly the same, the only thing that changes is your perception of that state. So whether you are extremely I'm not sure if you're anxious and, worried about something or whether you're excited, your brain is lighting up in very much the exact same way. But by changing your perception of the way that you interface with the external stimuli, the way that you interface with the outside world, that is what changes everything about what that experience feels like. So a lot of the difference in the experience is what happens in your head.

[00:06:50] David Elikwu-1: So I'd love to know, I guess how you respond to, to those ideas and how I guess you would connect those dots between, I guess one is the internal perception and how we interface with the, the outside world. And then the other part of it is how do we channel the energy that we might otherwise be losing? To a more efficient process. You know, how do we become the room temperature super conductor.

[00:07:11] Michael Ashcroft: I love analogy there, that's amazing. So the thing that comes to mind is that internal story to some extent. Like you mentioned the story of excitement and anxiety, almost like, if I feel sensation to my body, I can tell myself I'm nervous, or I can tell myself I'm excited. That's just a, a narrative.

[00:07:28] Michael Ashcroft: I think there's a similar thing going on, in the world of grinding at work, right? A lot of people I think have this narrative that. Grinding is virtuous, right? That if they're going through work effortlessly, or at least it's not, I don't mean to say no energy, but like in a way that feels effortless, like things just flowing like naturally easily.

[00:07:46] Michael Ashcroft: That's not okay, right? You need to be struggling, you need to be suffering, you need to be like, yeah, grinding. And people need to see that you're grinding for you to be good. I think that's a really common story that gets in the way a lot and it causes people to put in a lot more, visible effort, shall we say, strain than is necessary and undoing those stories and kind of all of us agreeing, we don't care about how hard you look like you're working. We care about the outcomes. if you can do it effortlessly, good for you that's even better.

[00:08:13] Michael Ashcroft: I had this experience at school where we had this ridiculous grading system where we'd get like a letter and a number. The letter would be for the achievement and the number for the effort. So a was like top grade and one was most effort. And the way they framed it was that A1 was the best score, because like you got the best grade and you're working really hard when obviously the best grade is an A5. Because you end up with a top grade and you're not working for it. Like, that's clearly, that's the best thing, and the worst outcome is the E1.

[00:08:40] Michael Ashcroft: And I feel like we're kind of stuck in this A1 mentality in life where if you look like you're not working then you know you shouldn't come to work kind of thing. That's, that's not good enough. So I would work on undoing that narrative.

[00:08:51] Michael Ashcroft: The thing that comes to mind with the fixation on the goal. You mentioned, you know, working towards the bonus and getting burnout. I think that's true, and it applies at more day to day levels as well. So let's say you're working a project and you are working towards a goal in a way that you think is the right way. Like you are convinced, you are fixated on doing it this way because that's the way it is done. And because of that, you are not able to notice the ten better ways that might also be there because you're so fixated on that particular way of doing it. So again, the expansion of awareness is not just like, oh, I've noticed space. They go together. I can notice I'm doing this in a very inefficient way, or you know, my colleague suggested something, it's actually a really good idea. Rather than me trying to get the glory for having it my way, what if we just do it easier way. But you have to be able to notice your fixated opinion and viewpoint and way. And unfixate from that going like, you know what, actually, I'm going to put that idea down and try it this way and it might work out better. You have to go and try it.

[00:09:51] Michael Ashcroft: So I think a few of these things can come together to create a, at least a work life and more broadly a life where you can achieve more, where the perceived exertion is less and you're enjoying it more because you don't have all this extra strainy try efforty thing going on.

[00:10:06] David Elikwu-1: Okay. So I think this ties very well to another question that I had, which was connecting to something you mentioned, which is this idea of you don't want to be in a hyperattentive state all the time. You don't want to be having, you know, expanded awareness all the time. There's this perhaps necessary balance between expanding and contracting, and that has very strong parallels to when we talk about work and play. You know, you have activity and then you have relaxation.

[00:10:32] David Elikwu-1: What is the benefit of the interplay between these two? They seem like polar opposites. I don't know if you would say that is the case. But yeah, like what's the benefit of having the interplay between those two modes?

[00:10:43] Michael Ashcroft: Between attention and awareness.

[00:10:45] David Elikwu-1: Between, I think, well, what made me think of it was when you mentioned expanding and contracting, you don't want to be necessarily in an expansive state all the time, but you actually, maybe there's some having a balance.

[00:10:56] Michael Ashcroft: Right. So I don't actually know for sure if contraction is necessary. The reason I say that is that, for one thing, I suspect that whatever the Alexander technique of enlightenment is for meditators would be like near permanent expansiveness. So you're just like in the world fully. I'm not there. I don't know anyone who is there.

[00:11:15] Michael Ashcroft: The reason I say that is people often ask, well, don't you need to be contracted to do certain activities like writing, coding, high attentional activities. And my answer is always, maybe, I don't know. The reason for that is that I think in a lot of cases, contracted awareness is kind of like a, a strategy for let's say poor attention control. And when I say poor, I don't mean like bad, I mean like imperfect. So if noticing the sounds outside will cause your attention to like just bounce over there, then maybe it's constructive to, to close off the world around you. It's just that there is a cost of doing that.

[00:11:53] Michael Ashcroft: One thing I haven't mentioned about Alexander technique is the idea that, mind and body are one process. It's called Psychophysical Unity. In Alexander technique, it's called body, mind and zen. The idea that in this case, when your awareness is contracted, your body tends to follow , right? So if I lose the space above and behind me and my world awareness wise gets small, I tend to kind of shrink down like this and kind of get tense, right? So, sure you can kind of find yourself down here and then like, oh yeah, posture, and kind of pull yourself up here. But all I'm doing is moving this like tense contracted thing, like down up, rather than if I just expand out, my body can expand into the space as well.

[00:12:28] Michael Ashcroft: So when you do contract your awareness, you do tend to get these kind of physiological stress responses. Your breathing gets more shallow. You have this tension across your body. Your heart rate might increase slightly. These things I've noticed on myself. But it works right in the same way you said, like you can get to, you can get to 10 by grinding, you can get to 10 by efforting. It's just, there could be better ways.

[00:12:46] Michael Ashcroft: This is why I think meditation also trains concentration. So like, whatever happens in the world, you can keep your attention on the breath or whatever it might be. And in life, we don't tend to train either awareness or concentration or attention. So to the extent that we're not perfectly enlightened buddhas, I think some contraction is constructive for the context that we're in.

[00:13:06] Michael Ashcroft: However, I also think that if we were more skilled in all of these domains, we might find that it would be fine to be expanded all of the time, and then we could just keep our attention solidly on something at the same time.

[00:13:18] David Elikwu-1: Something you said brings about, an interesting question. Is the flow state expansive or contracted, like this comes back to this duality of, you know, okay, you've got flow, you've got effort. Assuming that being in a flow state is a good thing and it's the optimal state that you might want to be in. Let's say when you're working, when you're writing, when you're doing some activity, is being in that flow state, a state where you are so locked in on doing the work and on what you're doing, that it allows the work to feel effortless? Or is it that you enter a state of effortlessness that allows the work to feel effortless. Like is it that you are expanded and so writing doesn't feel like it has any cost? Or is it that? you are locked in and concentrating on the act of writing that, you know, time can pass and you can just enter that kind of contracted state?

[00:14:09] Michael Ashcroft: So my theory is that flow and awareness are independent of each other, but commonly we access flow in a contracted way. But I imagine like a, go up to my consultant days, a two by two here with awareness and flow. You can have, and most people know about contracted flow. So writing, coding, play music, it's like kind of, it's in here and then you lose hours. And then like where all that kind of good stuff that we know from regular flow.

[00:14:34] Michael Ashcroft: And then of course there's the other two boxes, which are just not flow. But the one that interests me is the expansive flow. And I have two examples for this one. One is, imagine like a martial artist. Who has like opponents, like one to the left, one to the right, and one in front. And any one of them might attack at any time, but it doesn't know which one, right? That person, that martial artist is about to be attacked. So they're definitely like, fully involved in the process of being available to respond. And they're, I would say they're in flow, but their awareness is broad and open because if they like get ready for this guy, this guy will hit them, right? They can't get ready in any particular direction. So that would be an open flow.

[00:15:10] Michael Ashcroft: Another one would be like a, a pitch sport like football or something, where your awareness needs to be on, okay, where's that guy? Where's that guy? Where's that guy? Where's the ball? Like what time is it? Like you're fully available and open and I would hope you're in flow as well. Although looking at the quality of many footballers, I'm guessing why not. But they're fully involved in doing it, so that they can respond appropriately. They're not like in their own heads.

[00:15:33] Michael Ashcroft: So I think we just have more examples in at least knowledge work, where flow is spoken about. We have examples of like contracted flow, but I think expansive flow is just as much of a thing. Doesn't need to be contracted to get flow.

[00:15:45] David Elikwu-1: Okay. That's interesting. And maybe, I guess this can take us to talking about your own process as a writer and maybe any processes that people listening to this might have. So what you were saying makes me think of my own 4x4 matrix, where you might have, the balance between discipline and vice and structure versus serendipity. And what I find interesting about thinking of that, that framework is, I feel like you can find someone on the internet that pushes each corner of that as being the ultimate thing, right? Being disciplined and structured is the perfect way to be as a writer. And if you're disciplined and structured, you will get so much done and that that's perfect, or discipline and serendipity and okay, if you have this incredible discipline of, you know, returning to your workplace, but also you open yourself up to serendipity and other areas where you can meet people and encounter lots of different ideas, then that's also the perfect state.

[00:16:35] David Elikwu-1: Or like vice and, and structure where, you know, you have some very notable people that were incredibly driven to their vices. They, they took the same drugs every night. They do all the same things all the time. They're always high when they're writing. That

[00:16:49] Michael Ashcroft: The Hunter S. Thompson approach.

[00:16:50] David Elikwu-1: Exactly, Yeah, that's the requirement of good writing. You have to always be drinking alcohol or even going to the other end, it's like vice and serendipity, where I think maybe that's like the complete openness of whatever life brings that will give you the, fuel for your, for your craft. And I think maybe there's a lot of comedians that fall into that category where it's like, I just go out and enjoy life and that brings about the interesting situations that allows me to use for my work. And I think maybe there's an aspect of each of these things that people could optimize for. I would love to know maybe, first of all, how you think that framing falls within thinking about like expanded and contracted states and what you think about, like what the best place might be to be in, I don't know whether it's specifically for you in your own work, or if you would have something you would prescribe for other people to at least to try on, on that matrix.

[00:17:41] Michael Ashcroft: I guess it depends where on the journey they are, right. And I, speaking for myself, I am very much towards the serendipity end of the spectrum. And I, I'm bad at discipline, so I, know that you have a weekly newsletter, it's very good and you like manage to do it every single week. And I'm like, damn, that is something I've tried to do a few times and I keep failing because I just can't consistently ship or commit to shipping like that. But my, my process is like, have lots of conversations, read stuff, and then when something is sparked, then I can like cohere it.

[00:18:10] Michael Ashcroft: I'm also slightly coping because my discipline is quite low in that sense. Like, I could be better at that. So I have that in mind as I'm talking about this stuff. Like, it's also a sense like I could just be better at discipline. That said though, I think one of the, failure modes of writing is just getting stuck in churning out derivative stuff. Like if you're very disciplined and structured, then you can churn out stuff that has no insight in it. And that's like, that's the risk I want to avoid getting caught up in.

[00:18:37] Michael Ashcroft: I will take the sacrifice of being inconsistent and perceived as a bit, you know, low output. If I can come up with stuff that like, yeah, you know what, that thing I wrote there that feels like I actually contributed something that feels like it's a, I'm contained within it. It's not just a summary of that person's stuff. And that's just a, there's nothing good or bad about any of these things. I think a lot of people have had great success with high volume communication of like good ideas that aren't necessarily their own. That's totally fine. It's just not the path I want to be on.

[00:19:03] Michael Ashcroft: So the link with the awareness I think is serendipity. Again, like noticing the $20 bill on the floor, you can only do that if you notice it, if your awareness has expanded. Similarly, if I'm reading something, I want my awareness to be sufficiently open that I can connect this thing with this thing. Like these things are quite far apart or that conversation with this thing I read, that requires a level of openness and an unfixation of how you think the world is for these new connections to be able to be formed. If you have a clear sense that this is how things are, then it's harder to have something disrupt that in a way that could actually be really interesting and useful, I think.

[00:20:24] David Elikwu-1: Yeah, it's a really interesting point. I think, first of all, I'll just respond to you thinking I'm very disciplined. I think, I'm definitely not maxed out on discipline. I use some elements of structure as a backstop for my ill discipline because I have like spurts of discipline. There are some times where I can write every morning and, you know, everything is fantastic and then I can easily fall off that track.

[00:20:44] David Elikwu-1: And I think even that takes me to, there's an idea that I went back and forth a bit with David Kadavy on which was my belief in trends over streaks. And so instead of focusing on streaks, which I am very prone to, I think I am naturally very much like a striver, I'm hyper competitive. On Duolingo. I think my current streak is like 150 something. But this is the key actually, because I, first of all, I know there's people that have years worth of streaks on Duolingo, but I used to have a streak of about a year on Duolingo. And again, it's for no reason. I don't even think it's necessarily the best way to learn language. I'm not even necessarily learning anything new. Because I've studied Chinese for years and years. I spent some time in China. But it's just a good way of practice. But I remember I had this very long streak, and then one day it broke and I was like, oh man. And that was it for probably like two years. I just didn't even use the app anymore, that was it. And so once the streak breaks, then I lose all the, the tension and the engagement.

[00:21:37] David Elikwu-1: And so I think what I'm trying to focus now is on, on the trend, which is like, If more often than not you do the thing that you know that you should be doing, then eventually you will end up going where you need to go. And it doesn't actually matter if it happens every single day. And in fact, it's almost better that you think of it that way, at least for me. Because when you think of it as a streak, as soon as you drop the streak, you're back to zero. Whereas if you think of it more like batting average, then every single shot that you take is an opportunity to increase your batting average. So it doesn't actually matter if you ever miss a shot. What matters maybe is if you continually miss the shots. But after every misshot, you have an opportunity to increase your batting average. So that opportunity is always there, the next day is always there. And so you always have an opportunity to, to keep pushing that thing forward. So maybe that's what I would say on the discipline front.

[00:22:23] David Elikwu-1: In terms of the other thing you mentioned, which I think is interesting, I guess going back to this balance of, you know, that that matrix and, and where you fit on it.

[00:22:31] David Elikwu-1: I think the serendipity is a key thing.

[00:22:34] David Elikwu-1: So I, can tell you maybe a tiny bit about my current writing structure, which I don't know but I just have a few small guardrails that help to cultivate the serendipity. So for example, with writing, when I was grinding and putting in a lot of effort, that's when it was hardest. I was losing too much energy due to friction and losing all this heat energy, light energy, all kinds of energy was draining out of me because I was grinding so hard just trying to write one newsletter a week. And it was so hard, I was getting burnt out all the time. And again, you lose the streak, you lose motivation all kinds of things can happen.

[00:23:08] David Elikwu-1: I think what changed is that, so right now I didn't, I think you've done building a second brain. I don't necessarily follow that kind of rigid process. I have one, I have two databases that I keep all of my knowledge management stuff in. And saying the word database makes it sound more sophisticated than it is. You could probably replicate this in, in any way that you choose. One is basically just bookmarks, so anytime I come across something interesting, I save it in notion. What I like about using Notion for that is that it saves the entire article, which means I can search for it later, then I make sure that the title is something searchable. So I'll just add a bunch of like SEO keywords so I can find stuff. And then I have one database, which is notes. So just stuff that I'm writing.

[00:23:48] David Elikwu-1: And so I don't focus on trying to write stuff every time I come across an idea that I want to write, I just make the note. I just at least write down a heading or a few bullet points. And then I had this system that I called Velocity, and now it's starting to sound a bit more systemized and it's sounding more complicated, but I assure you it's really not.

[00:24:06] David Elikwu-1: So I just have this system of like a star ratings, so like a one, three and five. So there's no twos there's no fours. But what that means is however much of an idea that I have, if it's a one that's just like it's a heading or it's like a few bullet points, I don't actually, I haven't thought about this too much, I just had the idea, I came across it. A three is like, okay, I've got a few bullet points, or maybe like a loose structure. And then a five is like, I've got a few paragraphs.

[00:24:29] David Elikwu-1: But what that means is that's a small bit of quote unquote discipline or structure that allows me to be extremely unstructured because I don't actually have to sit down and write anything anymore. I almost never do write something from beginning to end. I just throw out all the ideas. We will have this conversation, there's a bunch of great stuff we talked about. I'm going to write a few things down and I might just write one sentence. So then whenever I come to write, depending on how much energy I have, I can go to like the ones or the threes or the fives and just take that thing to the next level. Like I'm not going to finish it. I'm just gonna say, if I just had a vague idea, like a one sentence heading, how can I take that to like a few bullet points? And then that's it, and then I can go away. But what that means is that I have so many ideas because I'm always just like, I'm never finishing anything and I'm just always running around having new ideas, having interesting conversations, and then that allows these ideas to build up. So that's why I call it velocity, because it's like snowballs rolling down a hill. So eventually these ideas accumulate and eventually it reaches like a critical mass where I just have to finish it. Like I have to write something and then now I something share. But at no point did I ever sit down and have to write all of this from scratch because it makes my head hurt. It's a lot of work, a lot of mental energy.

[00:25:37] Michael Ashcroft: So each of your newsletters is kind of, it could be weeks or months in the making, because you've got like this little snippet that you had, that you caught like months ago. Now it has just surfaced in this newsletter, for example.

[00:25:46] David Elikwu-1: Yeah, exactly. And it's so interesting because very much like you say, there's a bunch of ideas that I have, I almost wish I finished it before because sometimes the moment passes, like it might be something that is topical or relates to something topical or I had the idea and I haven't had a chance to share it. So for example, there's one post, have I finished? I haven't finished. I can't remember if I finished it. But I definitely haven't shared it.

[00:26:07] David Elikwu-1: But it's about snails and the analogy was, it's not specifically about snails, it's kind of about like productivity. So I just found some interesting facts about how, I think snails use up to 60% of their energy making the trails. Because that's how they move around. So they create the snail trails Because that's how they get around. And what's cool about this, the snail trails, it allows them to, you know, walk upside down, walk on walls, do all kinds of stuff. so it's really useful, but it's very metabolically expensive. And you spend, yeah, as a snail, 60% of your energy just doing this thing so you can walk. But snails could move 50% faster if they just used other snails trails. If there was three snails and two of them just followed the first one, you know, they could all take turns and move 50% faster. But they don't. Every snail makes its own trail.

[00:26:53] David Elikwu-1: And so the analogy is very similar to work and a lot of our lives. Very often we can move so much faster if we just collaborated with other people and actually just looked to people that were ahead of us and followed their snail trail and looked for, okay, what are the lessons that I can learn from someone that's done this before? But instead for some reason, everyone seems to want to do things themselves and people insist on using 50% more energy making their own snail trail over there because it looks cooler or for whatever reason, but it's completely unnecessary.

[00:27:21] David Elikwu-1: So anyway, all of that to say that's an idea I had a long time ago, and kind of built up the idea. I haven't finished the post, but I've had that idea. It is just been sitting around. I haven't actually sat down to finish writing it, but yeah, that's the kind of thing, I don't know. Maybe one day someone else will write it and then I'll wish, oh, I finished that earlier.

[00:27:37] Michael Ashcroft: Well it's in the podcast now. so you've claimed it.

[00:27:39] David Elikwu-1: Exactly.

[00:27:40] Michael Ashcroft: Well, one thing that occurs to me actually is like, how you select your goal for writing really affects the effort you have to put in.

[00:27:46] Michael Ashcroft: So a lot of, like weekly newsletters are, I read these three things this week go over and read them and that's like, just read and that's like at the low effort end of the spectrum. The way that I've tended to do like newsletters is like, I had this experience in my life and here's my like, processing of the emotional stuff behind it, which requires me to have emotional experiences and like want to write about personal adjacent things. And it sounds like you've hit a really nice, like sweet spot in the middle of you're generating It's like, really interesting personalized stuff in a way that you can turn out consistently. So it's not just here are three links, it's like, here are my original thoughts.

[00:28:22] Michael Ashcroft: So yeah, I'm going to compliment you again. That's, I think that's very difficult, to kind of, to be able to do both at once consistently, honestly.

[00:28:28] David Elikwu-1: Yeah. Another thing I'll add not necessarily to accept the compliment, but just because this has been a long process of, of striving, right? Because naturally I'm a, grinder and it always kills me. Like I always end up sick or something always happens. It's, it's really not good. But I think slowly you get to a better process and it's still not perfect because it's still very hard to have a consistent process of writing. And I feel like I'm not as consistent as I could be and all of those things.

[00:28:52] David Elikwu-1: But I think the other part that I think is useful about doing things in this way is that it allows ideas to percolate more. So sometimes I come across something and I don't necessarily know what I'm going to connect it to, because I always like connecting different ideas. James Altucher calls this idea sex. So it's not just like, oh, I found this one fact, I'm going to regurgitate it. It's like, I found this fact and it connects to this other weird thing that I came across somewhere else and the combination of those two things is extremely interesting.

[00:29:16] David Elikwu-1: So, for example, one that just came to mind, although I can't remember how I wanted to talk about it, was this idea that treadmills were originally invented, I think it was in Danish prisons as a form of drudgery, right? Like they were forcing prisoners just to walk for days, like for a really long time, and it was stressful.

[00:29:32] David Elikwu-1: Okay, here's how I wanted to connect it, but again, I haven't finished writing this, this idea that people run for fun, which is so interesting. Like people get on the treadmill in their gym and they like looking themselves in the mirror and seeing themselves exerting all this effort and this idea. Oh, in fact, as we're talking, this is great because I'm actually writing the post because, I'm seeing how the dots connect. But I think it's this idea that, Okay, this thing that was originally invented as basically like a torture device, we now use it as a form of, you know, like we get excited by it. It's almost a trophy you see yourself sweating in the mirror, running on your treadmill. But again, all that changes, like we said before, is the perception. And it relates to, there's a study I came across a while ago, which was, I think is it Andrew Huberman that talked about it, where you have like two mice on different wheels, but the wheels are connected together. And so both of the mice, you want them to get a certain amount of exercise per day. The issue is one mice's wheel is connected to the other ones. And so whenever that mice exercises voluntarily, the other one exercises by force. And so even though they're getting the same amount of exercise every day, you know, because however much one exercises the amount, the other exercises, the stress differences, right? The differences that has on their brain, or how they feel is completely different because one is doing it for fun and the other one's been forced to do it by, you know, forces outside of their control. And it connects to this idea like we talked about before, where when there's an external force, when your job is telling you you have to work, you have to do all this stuff, it feels horrible, but when you voluntarily do it, maybe it feels great because you are re-crafting the narrative in your mind about how this is amazing, I'm achieving my goals, I'm trying to lose weight, I'm trying to do all these things.

[00:31:07] David Elikwu-1: So yeah, that's a kind of interesting idea where I just connected a bunch of random stuff that we and maybe it becomes useful.

[00:31:14] Michael Ashcroft: Yeah, that's a nice, inversion of that as well where, you know, the treadmill was a drudgery device which turned into a joyous one, well not joyous, enjoyable. The other one of that is like the dishwasher or the washing machine. It's like, oh, I have to unload the dishwasher. Oh, I have to like do the laundry in this amazing time saving device that people a hundred years ago would have killed to have and saves like hours and hours a week. Ugh, I have to do this. It's just the story. It's like if you just went to like, oh, this machine has cleaned all of my things and I was doing some work, it would be a whole different experience, but we just get stuck in yeah, in the story changes the whole experience. It's the excitement, anxiety thing again.

[00:31:50] David Elikwu-1: How do you think this connects to the idea of, I think we talked a little bit ago about this idea of like success or what we optimize for when very much, just in line with what you were saying, I saw a video, I think it was on Twitter the other day of it was just like some farm machines and it was one of those videos where you just see them doing like repetitive stuff, but it's so cool. Like we have this machine that can go along and pull rows and rows of carrots out of the ground instantly. And I was just noting that in five minutes of this machine switching on it does what used to be an entire day's work for an entire family of maybe like seven people, right? So people, people intentionally built these massive families just so that they could work. Because if you had a small family, you would starve, everyone would starve. you need a big, big family so that everyone can do lots and lots of work and spend your entire day, months and months working, harvesting all these crops so that eventually you can eat and, you can survive.

[00:32:41] David Elikwu-1: And it's interesting how we have abstracted away so much of that, this machine switches on for five minutes. It does an, entire day's worth of work and yet the entire family is still working. There's less people in the family, so you actually have less mouths to feed. But everyone's still so busy and it connects to this idea of, I don't know if it's just a Gen Z thing, but people are, like, oh, I'm so tired of work, I hate working. I can't believe I have to do this every day. I don't know if I'd necessarily go to that, to that extent. I think sometimes, like when we were talking about retiring, that there is some benefit in doing, having some purpose and having something that you do. But yeah, like how do we find the balance of what we want to be doing and what we think is whether it's enough or doing enough, I guess, whichever way you think about that, because there's some extent to which you can keep pushing that buck down the road forever, right? You could always continue pushing yourself to do more, you could continue striving to do more even when you don't necessarily have to, right? You have this magical dishwasher, it should save you hours and hours of time, and yet people are still stressed out having to use them.

[00:33:38] Michael Ashcroft: I think it really comes down to what you define is like a virtuous life. So I was saying before, is effort virtuous or is an outcome virtuous? Is it feeding your family or is it working hard to feed your family? Like which of these is the proper way to earn your life? And you really have to undo a lot of, or look closely at a lot of like societal conditioning because a lot of the conditioning is, work is virtuous, effort is virtuous. And so even then when we have the, the machines that will do it for us. We find other places to be virtuous by doing effort. Places that we efforts now are the places that we haven't yet figured out how to automate away effort because we need to effort it seems.

[00:34:18] Michael Ashcroft: So we I think get to redefine this to some extent. I think there is some virtue in trying in that, you know, putting energy towards things and striving. The thing I'm talking about here is just, you know, how you strive. I don't necessarily think there's value in over exerting yourself pointlessly that seems counter to nature if you like. I don't see a, a gazelle like running faster than it needs to run or running exactly as fast as it needs to run, right?

[00:34:44] Michael Ashcroft: Wasted energy is a bad thing. I think humans are very good at doing more than is required, shall we say. For some reason we have the, the capacity to go beyond appropriateness in that sense. So there might be a case of checking in, like, okay, what is appropriate? Well, I can feed my family and it feels effortless. Cool, great. I've won. You know, but there's something in this that drives us to, to do more. And that's the thing that is worth looking at carefully. I'm not saying to disregard it completely and reject it, I'm just saying like, keep an eye on it and ask whose interests it has in its, you know, at heart.

[00:35:15] David Elikwu-1: The last train of thought that I wanted to go down it might be, I don't know, two or three questions, but just following on from what you were saying is I'm interested to know, so you were previously on what, our friend Paul Millerd would call the default path. You had this job, you were at KBMG, you were going down this path of, you know, traditional success and you've kind of stepped off that and you're trying to reorient yourself in the world. I think there was a bit of a process around that of trying to figure out, okay, how exactly do I use my time? How exactly do I use my attention and my resources, my mental energy, all of these things. You're running the course, you're doing all these things.

[00:35:50] David Elikwu-1: What I was thinking about, which I think is also interesting also having spoken to Johnny Miller and Khe Hy and a bunch of these guys is, I don't think necessarily there's just the dichotomy between, or there's just the, the balance between default path and I don't know, Pathless Path. I think or what I'm interested to explore, and maybe you can tell me what you think about this. There also seems to be like the transition point of moving from, okay, maybe how I would frame it on a, spectrum is you have the default path, which is the traditional way that everyone does. And then there's kind of like the country path. A lot of people leave the default path to go on the country path and that's when you went to Bali, lots of people go to Bali or you go to Lisbon or you go to one of these places and you do a few of these things where it's like, it's not the default path, but everyone certainly uses this other path to figure out where they are going to end going. Which invariably a lot of the activities are still kind of the same. Maybe it doesn't have the same pressure, but it's still another path.

[00:36:44] David Elikwu-1: And then there is maybe what you would call desire paths. And desire Paths are what you, it's a civic you know, civic term of, I don't know if it's architecture, but it's a term of, okay, let's say you are building a park. There are paths you intentionally build and then there were pods that are worn over time by lots of people wandering off in a very different direction and eventually that turns into a path.

[00:37:05] David Elikwu-1: I remember I wrote this essay, I think it was earlier this year, I think it was called Rules Aren't Real. And it was about this idea that, very often the desire path becomes the path. And so you start off with a path where everyone is on. So let's say academia, actually, academia for example, used to be the desire path. It used to be the case that everyone was working and then some people would elect to actually just spend longer training with some masters and learning a lot more. First of all, you probably needed to have some money to be able to do that, but a lot of people would spend most of their time pursuing academic pursuits and that was the desire path. And then slowly over time the desire path became the actual path. And now everyone has to go to school and instead the desire path is leaving school to go off and work and to go and do all these other things. And so I guess, yeah, it's interesting how there's this circular pattern between these three different types of path.

[00:37:54] David Elikwu-1: I'd be interested to know where you think you are on that spectrum and how you think, like what do you think of the interplay between those different paths and how we can orient ourselves between them. Obviously, depending on what we're optimising for.

[00:38:06] Michael Ashcroft: Comment first on the, the Bali nomading thing, the travel thing that, that Paul seems to advocate for is that I think there's something about a lot of us growing up reading the lifestyle bloggers in the, the 2000's or the, the Zen habits is the minimalist and that kind of thing. So people of a certain age kind of want to go after the travel thing.

[00:38:24] Michael Ashcroft: So there's, you know, you've been working for 10 years and you wanna have a complete change. So you go off and travel and like value's a good place to go, there are other places, obviously, there's also the cost of living difference. So for me it was like I want to go traveling. I didn't want to stay in London. It was too expensive and blah, blah, blah. That's why I did it.

[00:38:40] Michael Ashcroft: But as I talk to some people who are obviously like nomadic by nature, like Paul, it's been a minute to me he feels like he's a, he is a nomad. He could happily move every few months and that's his preferred lifestyle. I had an interesting experience at the end of my year traveling was that I realized I wasn't a nomad. Like this has been really fun, but I like having a sense of place and community and roots. And I've even been toying with the idea of like getting a part-time job because I miss having colleagues and a team and like working towards a shared purpose. The thing I've been learning is that it's very easy to get fixated on, on a new story. So yes, I stepped off the default path, but I could very easily step onto default path A or default path two. You know, the other one, the one that everyone who quits their jobs goes off and does. And that's a trap, I think unless it's what you actually want, then cool. But this journey is no, what do I want? What do I want in the absence of being told what my options are, and it might be that I want one of the options. It might not be, but the journey is to figure it out for myself and like see through all the things I've been told in my life and the things I've been told I should want. Now what do I actually want? And that's a very difficult question to answer because you have to unwind a whole bunch of stuff and then listen to yourself in a way that you might not be practiced in doing up until this point. That's where I am, It's like, I could go hard in a bunch of directions, but I'm not because I want to like, check in with myself, like, which of these is aligned? Shall we say, which, in which of these directions will I not be fighting half of myself because I actually don't like it? And it's not easy to do that. I think that needs spaciousness and allowing yourself to feel lazy. And I'm very privileged that I have this income stream that, and I I don't work as well, but like, I know I don't have to work a difficult job. The same struggle exists, right? Regardless of context. If you want to figure out what you want, you need spaciousness. I think for that.

[00:40:28] David Elikwu-1: How do you apply, I guess your teachings to this practice of carving out your desire path, like is there a way in which you use the Alexander technique or expanding your awareness to enable you to think of I guess it's like divergent thinking, right? What are all the possible paths I could be going down, expanding my attention to think of all the like, I can imagine when you were working at KPMG, you were a consultant, you were a manager, you know, you might just have this trickle of thought in the back of your mind about, hey, there's something interesting that I found I could go and be doing that. I don't know if your immediate thought was like, oh, I'm going to jump off and go do this full time. Like how has, I guess, going through this practice of using the Alexander technique in your day to day life, maybe affected the way that you approach your work and play whatever states you inhibit.

[00:41:15] Michael Ashcroft: Yeah, the main way I do it is to notice the things that I want. I tend to get fixated on. It's like, oh, I could go off and do X and then catch yourself. Like, hang on, wait, wait, wait, wait. I was about to reorient my entire life to do this thing. It's a very silly example of this. I caught myself a few months ago listening to some Bollywood soundtracks. I think it's the, the dumb soundtrack is great.

[00:41:37] Michael Ashcroft: And I caught myself, maybe it was like a mild ADHD style adjacent thing, but I caught myself like an hour later. I've done a rabbit hole of like, Hindi learning. Like, okay, this is the Hindi grammar. This is like all the sounds this is like the etymology of words in Hindi. And then I thought, oh, I could learn Hindi. Wouldn't that be cool? And I like looking at Duolingo, And then I suddenly stopped, like looked at myself going like, what the hell am I doing ? Like, I have no need or actual desire to learn Hindi. It was just like triggered by this ridiculous, like, I enjoyed the sound of this song, and suddenly I'm on the edge of like, you know, doing some short course in Hindi for some reason.

[00:42:11] Michael Ashcroft: Like, that moment is like a microcosm of things that are happening all of the time. If we don't catch the contraction, you know, I got lost for an hour, I contracted my awareness and I got caught up in this path that wasn't mine. . Like, that's a very silly example, but being able to notice like, oh, I could write a book, I could make a course on this.

[00:42:29] Michael Ashcroft: So people who have like audiences, I think there's always a temptation to make a course on how to grow an audience and that kind of thing. And I've always been like, don't do it. Don't do it. Don't be the guy who makes money online by teaching how to make money online. Like just, I don't want to go that way.

[00:42:42] Michael Ashcroft: But there's always this tendency of like, oh, you know, I could, I could. And then like the, the pause of like, that's not my path. Does this feel alive and aligned? No. No, it doesn't. Leave it alone. But the Alexander technique kind of creates that spaciousness between stimulus and response so that I don't just go straight in and spend two weeks building some new micro course on something I don't actually care about. Like, and things like that, right. That's, that's the kind of thing where it comes up and learning to become aware of my own embodied responses that interoception, that that Johnny talks about of like, do I actually feel good when I'm involved in this thing? Or do I feel sneakily bad in some way? Is there like a thing that's fighting me? Can I learn to notice the thing that is pulling against the parking brake, the you know the, I'm in the wrong gear, that kind of stuff. I am in the wrong gear. I have got the brakes on, okay, do I want to grind through this? Probably not. Can I resolve the conflict? Turns out I can't. I'm not going that way then, right? That kind of stuff is, is a slow unfolding process, but it's a valuable one, I think. And that's where AT for me, comes in.

[00:43:40] David Elikwu-1: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I think the last question I'll ask you It's perhaps a slightly harder version of that same thing you were talking about.

[00:43:47] David Elikwu-1: But what I'm thinking about is that's kind of like the, the freedom from version I'm also interested in how you might approach the freedom version to for, oh, sorry, that's the Freedom to version. I'm also interested to know how you might approach the freedom from version for anyone listening to this that might be struggling with the, the Converse, which is, okay, so on one hand you were just talking about, okay, you have the freedom to chase all these things and do all of these things. What I'm always cognizant of is sometimes there are some people that maybe they're stuck in a particular position and they want to move or to navigate or to, you know, explore other paths but they don't necessarily have the freedom, maybe that they're not making money from some other side gig or they're not making money for doing something else, and they are trying to think of, you know, yeah, the freedom from version, which is in a similar sense, here are some things I could go off and be doing to allow me to go and live this other life. And that can be its own snare and that can be its own trap very much in the same way, but just simply with a different impetus, right. So I'd be interested to know how you might apply, I guess the same line of thinking to someone that was coming from the other side of things.

[00:44:51] Michael Ashcroft: So someone who is in a job, let's say, and in the Freedom, they want the freedom from their situation, shall we say. Is that what you're pointing

[00:44:59] David Elikwu-1: out?

[00:44:59] David Elikwu-1: Yeah. so for example, instead of exploring other options or exploring things you could do simply out curiosity, you're almost exploring things out of a necessity. Okay. The best example I can give this is, I wrote a while ago about this dichotomy between swimming and thrashing. And So sometimes, and I'm always very careful to catch myself in this, Is that sometimes I can be thrashing. Let's say if things aren't going well or I see an opportunity, I am thrashing, I'm kind of like flailing about. And again, there's two modes of being in the water. One is like you're just thrashing, you're just, oh my gosh, you see something that looks like a life raft. let me just work my way towards that and, and you're thrashing to try and find some kind of psychological safety as opposed to swimming purposefully.

[00:45:39] David Elikwu-1: Even if you're swimming in the wrong direction, you probably lose a lot less energy by swimming purposefully in the wrong direction and then figuring it out and turning back and going in the right direction, than thrashing in whatever way seems to promise the most safety because you could get there and it's a false economy.

[00:45:54] David Elikwu-1: There is no safety there, and so I think that is also a trap I've definitely felt myself in and perhaps there's a that might also find themselves in that version of the trap as well, where you exploring things just because they seem safer.

[00:46:07] Michael Ashcroft: Got it. Okay. Thank you for clarifying. So I guess using your, your thrashing analogy there, there's two versions of thrashing, right? There's one, because you're actually drowning. Or you're exhausted or you're in trouble, you're unsafe in some way. So if someone is thrashing in that sense, then for me the advice is like, find safety. Like do whatever is necessary to grab onto something that you know, someone's hand, a raft, something that will keep you afloat and like create embodied sense of safety that you actually feel, like, okay, I can, I can take a breath and relax.

[00:46:37] Michael Ashcroft: That's probably not most people though, actually. Most people I think are thrashing out of a kind of panicky, like trying too hard, like overwhelmed thing. And for those people, like first of all I check, am I actually unsafe? Are things actually unsafe here or is it this other thing. And if you are thrashing out of this sense of panicky effort, then honestly just what happens if you stop thrashing? because with the, with the swimming, if you just let go quite a lot, you'll move better, right?

[00:47:03] Michael Ashcroft: A lot of that thrashing makes you sink, honestly. There's an act of courage and faith there. right? Like you think you're drowning, you think that if you don't thrash then you won't make it. But actually that's not the case. If you just stop, then you find that you float, and you have more energy. There's that moment of like, I guess it sounds like bungee jumping or like doing a parachute jump or something like that, but you have to trust that the thing will catch you. Will this be okay? Oh, it turns out I stopped thrashing and I'm okay. So the move to notice the extra effort you're putting in and then just stop doing that and see what happens, can often unfold into, oh my God, I was just putting in like 10 times more effort than I needed to. Everything's actually totally fine. And now that I've stopped thrashing, I can just like swim in the direction. I want to go in, this might need help, this might need a conversation with people, this might need like all kinds of restructurings, but the first move there is to just like, stop thrashing.

[00:47:50] Michael Ashcroft: But only, I think once you've actually ascertained, would it be safe to do so? If I'm actually drowning, I want to grab something before I just like, stop swimming,

[00:47:57] David Elikwu-1: Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

[00:47:59] David Elikwu-1: I think it's the courage to break away from the instinctive, you know, just reaching out grab something as a default. And sometimes, I've definitely caught myself doing that in the past where yeah, because there's a perceived lack of instability. You just reach out to grab the nearest thing or to go and do something else.

[00:48:16] David Elikwu-1: But funnily enough, kind of like you're alluding to, sometimes you could reach out and grab something and that thing ends up to be a worse thing than the boat you just jumped off, right? You thought you were in trouble and now you've, you're out of the frying pan into the fire. You've gone and grabbed something because you wanted to grab something, and now you're doing something that's even worse, even more painful, even more stressful than, than what you were doing before.

[00:48:35] Michael Ashcroft: That's exactly what I did when I left my, the job I burnt out, that was like National Grid in the UK and I went to KPMG of all places. Like that was not a good move, like that was a thrashy move and I suffered for it.

[00:48:47] Michael Ashcroft: So I agree with you that the courage move of like, just ask yourself like the stoic question. Like if the bad thing comes to pass, how bad is it really? And can I recover? It's Tim Ferriss fear setting. It's you know, Prima Dotatio, Malora, I'm nothing of like if I get fired, if I don't do this project, if whatever, will I be safe? Do I have savings? Do I have family? Do I have like support mechanisms? If yes, can I give myself a week of not thrashing to get myself some Headspace and see what happens?

[00:49:15] Michael Ashcroft: Okay, cool. Then reflects, this again, There's Johnny Miller's nervous system mastery stuff. It's his, okay, right now I'm thrashing because I'm super activated. I am like in a stress response, in fight or flight. Deal with that first and then look around, right? Because as long as you're in that narrow focus, like danger mode, you're probably make bad choices, frankly. So deal with that first, and then yeah, see what, see what appears to you once you're no longer in that hyper agitated mode.

[00:49:42] David Elikwu-1: Perfect. This is a sage like wisdom and I'm glad we covered it from a variety of angles. But yeah, Michael, thanks so much for making the time. This has been a really great conversation I'm sure a ton of people will find it extremely useful.

[00:49:53] Michael Ashcroft: I really enjoyed it. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:49:55] David Elikwu: Thank you so much for tuning in. Please do stay tuned for more. Don't forget to rate, review and subscribe. It really helps the podcast and follow me on Twitter feel free to shoot me any thoughts. See you next time.

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