The Considered Life – with Daniel Gefen

minutes read

Join me in this conversation with Daniel Gefen, owner of Gefen Media Group and author of the bestseller “The Self-Help Addict”.

We talk about intentional living, being addicted to self-improvement, priorities, ruthlessness, craving for attention, three key ingredients for living the high life, JK Rowling, how actions create feelings, the fear to take action and many other topics.

Daniel Gefen Show notes

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Daniel Gefen Transcript


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Marc:  Great. Good to have you here, Daniel, welcome to the show. 

Daniel: Good to be here. Thank you, Marc.  , 

Marc: I have been, uh, like sifting through your book and last minute I was like sick last week and I couldn’t actually read the entire thing, but it was a fantastic pleasure to, to read what you write. So. I have very limited, like background information on you.

So, so could you just, you know, like make a tour of, of your life, of your development journey, what brought you into this kind of self-help addiction and so on? 

Daniel: Yeah, first of all, I just be careful. If you ask me to go through my life journey, I might be here for a few days talking. So can I just, I’ll keep it, I’ll keep it as short as, as I can, but, Yeah, essentially, I would say, in, in high school I would, you know, I had a craving for attention, you know, I desperately wanted, attention.

And so I would jump up on tables and, you know, do everything I can to get, get everybody’s attention. I was the class clown and, very quickly realized that people were not laughing with me. They were laughing at me. so I went from the happy clown to the sad clown. kind of, it was a very depressing period of my life and, to cut a long story short and we, we could dive into sort of any part of the story that you want, but I ended up, going from sort of.

Craving needing that attention to then working on myself and getting to a place where, you know, I, I now, perform, but I don’t perform for other people. I perform based on what I believe. I can help people with. I got into podcasting, around four years ago and that changed everything for me.

and we can kind of get into that story as well. but I, you know, I had a lot of jobs that I got fired from because I couldn’t work for anyone else. I, I kind of. You know, really enjoyed my own freedom and that doesn’t really work when you’re being told that you need to be somewhere at a certain time.

And you can only go to the, to, to have lunch when you, when you were told to have lunch. And I want to have lunch when I’m hungry, you know, I want to go on vacation when I want to go on vacation. So. I was essentially chasing freedom and found freedom in the form of, starting my own businesses and becoming an entrepreneur and working when I, when I want to work and working with who I want to work with, doing things that I enjoy, not doing things that I hate.

so I became very good at delegating and outsourcing a lot of things that I didn’t enjoy, or I wasn’t good at. and, eventually was. Ask to be on someone’s podcast four years ago. And I had no idea what a podcast was. And, next thing I knew, I fell in love with the microphone and fell in love with this media, this form of media, of speaking to an audience all over the world without needing to leave my house.

I have five children by the way. So traveling is not really, even though now it COVID traveling is not so much an option, but even before COVID, it wasn’t an option because you know, all of my. Children are under the age of 12 they’re young, and I want them to grow up with a father at home. So I don’t really don’t really want to be traveling around the world.

You know, when my children need that daddy at home. So podcasting allowed me the ability to reach millions of people all around the world without having to the sacrifice. My. My family life. and that was very important to me. 

Marc: Thanks for the introduction Daniel and I totally understand what you mean by traveling and family and everything. Having been there myself. Now let’s talk about the considered life. And as I define it, it’s intentional, reflected and sustainable. When I was listening to one of the episodes of the Daniel Gefen show, which was your podcast at the time, there is one episode called intentional and that caught my immediate attention.

In that episode, you are talking about a call that somebody has set up with you to talk about work. And right at the beginning of the call, that person tells you I don’t have any budget working with you. And you were phrasing it in a kind way, but then you best could it terminated the meeting after seven minutes or so now when I have meetings and the corporate meeting worlds, you know, you’re invited to meetings, you don’t know what the agenda is.

You don’t know what your contribution to the meeting is. And so on. So this idea of really being more reflective and intentional about. The use of time and the desired outcome, you know, it’s like going there and really focus your activities on activities that are contributing to the objectives and to the outcomes.

But that seems to be kind of difficult to start with, right?

Daniel: I think it’s just about priorities. What’s your priorities. What’s most important to you and making sure that that that’s what you’re making time for. Because it’s very easy to get distracted. You know, if we, if we don’t set clear boundaries in our life, then life controls us, then everything around us and everyone around us, basically pulls us here, pulls us there.

We’re like a puppet. but when we create healthy boundaries, so then we gain back control of life. We then decide, okay. You know, do I have time for this? Person right now, is this the right time, right? To have this conversation, should I be doing this activity right now, or should I be doing something else that I really would like to get done?

And sometimes you have to be very ruthless about it. Like, like a surgeon, you know, a surgeon. Is is ruthless because a surgeon has to, you know, save somebody’s life and, and when there’s a life, at stake. So the emotions kind of get put to the side. For a little bit, you know, I imagine a heart surgeon that gets too emotional.

They start crying. Oh my God. Oh my God, this person’s dying. Well, get out, get another doctor. We can’t, you can’t use this person. It’s not going to be effective. Right. So since no, get out of there, right? You need ruthlessness. Sometimes you need to have it, but it comes from a place of love. A doctor, a heart surgeon.

His ruthlessness or her ruthlessness is coming from a place of incredible love that they want to save this person’s life. and it goes the same with anything else. Sometimes you might have to be ruthless with your time, because you are really wanting to give more to your family, because otherwise you’re not going to be there for them.

Marc: Right. And it also comes down to, you know, like the ability to say no 

Daniel: to 

Marc: all the opportunities that are there, but that don’t really contribute. Right. 

Daniel: Right. Exactly. you know, when you start to set up boundaries and you start to be more proactive and more intentional with what you want to achieve in life, you realize that sometimes no.

Is it becomes your favorite word, you know, it becomes like a kind of like your, your, your, your secret weapon, you know, And, and there’s a lot of people who are afraid to say no, because of, you know, hurting someone or, you know, coming across as maybe, you know, a jerk or whatever. But, yeah, we, we have to be a little bit selfish in order to be selfless.

So when you go on an airplane, which today it’s a little bit less common, but. Yeah. Back in the day, when you used to get on an airplane, they always told you to. Put the guests, not the guests, the oxygen mask, they put the oxygen mask on your face first before your child, and then you put it on your child.

Now that seems counterintuitive because you’re thinking about your child first, your child, you think your child comes before you, so you want to make sure that your child is taken care of and then you take care of yourself. And so they tell you, no, no, no. That’s the wrong way to think. because if. You cannot take care of yourself, then you cannot even take care of your child.

And so the same thing in life, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of anybody else. 

Marc: Yeah. And that, that, I think that’s a very powerful message because there they are. You know, when, when I have people in coaching, they are sometimes when we go through the use of time and, and their focus on their, why they are so focused on other people that they are forgetting themselves.

Right. So they’re taking care of, you know, like anybody around them. But they are totally in, so not caring about themselves and they are basically giving up themselves and, and sacrificing their own life fathers. Right. 

Daniel: Yeah. 

Marc: And, and, and, and you can’t, I don’t remember who said that, but you cannot love anybody else until you love yourself.

Right. And, and that’s a bit in the, in the seminary. 

Daniel: Yeah. I think that, love the way that love works is imagine you have a bucket. And, you fill up the bucket with water. And so when you fill the bucket with water, the bucket, when it gets full, what happens if you keep pouring the water in, it starts to overflow that overflow of water then goes into other buckets.

But if you don’t fill up the bucket first with the water, then the bucket is it’s going to be empty. It has no, no nothing to give. So that’s how I see love. In a scale on a grand scale is when you fill yourself up with the love, then it overflows and then everyone else is, is receiving that, that love.

Marc: That’s a very nice picture of you. Great. One of the things that struck me when, when you, when, when I was starting reading your book is, you know, before you said at school, you were craving for attention and so on. And, they, they are just, you know, like a couple of sentences from the book that read like the truth is it doesn’t matter who they think I am.

Yeah. Because what they think about me has nothing to do with me. Right. And, and, and that goes down where, you know, like the, who you are. And you, you are perceived by other people. They always putting that your actions and what, what you say into their own reference frame right there. They are aligning that with their own history, their own experiences, their own expectations on whatever.

So the picture you give actually has nothing to do with who you really are. Right? Correct. You go on like who’s Daniel, Gavin, and. I am who I think I am. That’s the power of mind. I get to create who I am. So, it’s, it’s about ultimately it’s about the stories that we are telling ourselves about ourselves, right.


Daniel: make who we are. 

Marc: Yeah. That has to do with, you know, like how people around us are perceiving ourselves. Right. 

Daniel: Right. Yeah. I mean, if you can imagine a world. Where everyone is holding up a mirror. So it really, everyone is just reflecting to you what, what they’re seeing through their eyes, through their lens based on all of their experiences.

And so the picture that they showing you is not necessarily the truth, it’s their truth in their own world, but it’s not your truth. So a very different thing. Absolutely. 

Marc: And I think one of the big mistakes or the big dangerous even is that if you are making yourself dependent on that reflection, because then you have basically your own life, which is driven by your interpretation of other people’s interpretation of who you’re supposed to be.

Daniel: Right. Exactly. 

Marc: Yeah. And, and that’s kind of basically needing leading nowhere, right? 

Daniel: Yeah. So, 

Marc: and, and, and, and you’re saying that the three key ingredients for living the high life is a persistency, creativity and courage. Right. And so agree with that because, you know, there, there are like people when they, especially people who are.

Having the desire to, for example, transition from a corporate job into entrepreneurship and, and, and living the life they want and not living a life that other people think they have to lead. It’s like we are, we are starting stuff. And then after, you know, like two, three, four, I don’t know, podcasts episodes, or one, two, three letters to editors who are rejected, then people are just giving up.

Right. Hmm. So is that there seems to be this expectation that, Oh yeah, I have this brilliant idea. And then I go out and everybody’s going to love that. Right. creativity is great, but if you don’t have this persistency to really push through, regardless of like, what, what barriers or what impediments you encounter, that’s so important.

Right? And you have so many stories in your book where you actually described that you are. you, you, you are calling people like five days, six days, seven days in a row until you get the deal, right? 

Daniel: Yeah. Yeah. So, actually in my, in my first company, I, you know, I had this the way that I did things wasn’t until you tell me, you know, stop calling me, leave me alone.

I would, I would keep calling. Right. And, I, there was this one person I called, I think it was maybe six times, seven times. Every day in a row. And, the seventh day, he said to me, Daniel enough already, you know, he’s gave me a whole big lecture. He started telling me for 20 minutes, you know, Desperation and it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, borderline harassing and, you know, you’ve got to know when to, you know, back away and et cetera.

And at the end he said, anyway, you know, sign me up. as a client, I’m filling out the form and I was sending you the, the form. So I was laughing inside because I thought this guy just gave me a 20 minute lecture and then he signed up in the end. Right. But that’s, that’s the beginning of the story story continues.

So 30 minutes later, he calls me again and I pick up the phone and I’m thinking, Oh, you know, you’re going to give me another lecture now about something else. I don’t know. And he says to me, Daniel, So I’m actually an investor on a, I’m an angel investor. I just recently sold my company for 300 million pounds.

And I really like your, you know, I like the way that you’re persistent and your tenacity, I’d like to invest in your company. So this guy who, you know, was telling me off and giving me a whole lecture, not only did he become a client. But he ended up, being a potential invent. I turned him down because he wanted 70% of my company, but in the, but at the end of the day, this guy was interested in investing in my company.

So people will say one thing sometimes, but, at the end of the day, nothing beats. Consistently, moving, moving in the direction that you want to go and you will get people who will push back. And those people you have to just, you have to just keep pushing forward. Anyway, you have to just kind of, you know, let them give you the lecture and just move on, move on.

And you never know, some of these people might end up being your clients and they might even end up being your business investors. So who knows? Right? 

Marc: And it seems to me like it’s, especially, I think you also make a reference in your book on that. It’s like what we see on social media, right. Of highly successful people.

It’s always just the bright side. It’s always the side where they are successful, where they are having all these, nice cars, nice houses, lots of money in the bank and so on and so on. And what we don’t see actually is old. The sweat and tears that are the quiet in order to get there. Right. But what we don’t see as that, like 95% of what they actually do, what everybody does ends up with failure all with or not, let’s not call it failure, but let’s call it undesired results.


Daniel: Yeah. 

Marc: And, and it’s like, if you want to sell one book, To a editor or to a publisher, then you probably have to write a hundreds. If not more submissions to it until you have success, but that is not what BC. Right? When, when, when Brendan published his first book, I don’t know how many edits first he had to, to, to present to.

it seems that especially. These days since the advent of social media, there is kind of an expectation. I do just one little thing and then I’m going to be highly successful. Right. So it’s a kind of distorted reality really? 

Daniel: Isn’t it. Yeah. I mean, take a J K Rowling, write the author of Harry Potter, right?

Famous author of Harry Potter. yeah, I mean, she, she was, she’s probably one of the most successful authors that I can think of. Right. and she was turned down by pretty much every single major publishing house in, in the UK. And this is the, the author of Harry Potter, one of the most successful, if not the most successful, book series to actually be written.

so you know that, and that’s just one of many, many, many, many examples of people who are extremely successful, but had a tremendous amount of overwhelming amount of, of, of rejection. You know, so 

Marc: even though they’ve got product, right? 

Daniel: Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean, you now, every single one of those major publishing companies are absolutely kicking themselves because they missed out on an opportunity that would have made them a lot of money.

you know, you can’t even imagine. So. You know, they’re kicking themselves now, but, so you’re right. Yes. Even even a great product, could be rejected many, many, many times before someone actually gives it a chance and says, you know what, I’m going to give this a go. I’m going to give this a chance.


Marc: So success is success as the exception, right. And, being not successful with something that’s basically the rule and we just need to push through and overcome and, you know, like not giving ourselves the idea that, you know, like the first thing we do in a particular direction is going to be the big successful thing.


Daniel: Yeah. And I think belief is a big part of it. Yeah. When we don’t believe in ourselves, we put out an energy in the world. And when you speak to people, they pick up on that energy, mostly subconsciously. and so you are projecting this sort of. The energy of I’m I’m not really gonna succeed. It’s almost like an expectation of being rejected.

Ah, this is not going work here. I know they’re going to say no, I know they’re going to say no. Right? And then it becomes true. Whereas if you have this very strong belief that this is going to work, that this is going to be successful, the energy that you’re putting out is an energy of success and people are attracted to that, you know, and failure at failure, energy.

it repels puts people off. It, it makes people want to run away, but success, energy attracts people. Yeah. 

Marc: And I think that, you know, like when, when you are, In in, and this kind of an, it happens to everybody, right? We have this kind of negative thoughts about this is not going to work. This podcast recording is not going to fly.

Right. So are there any things that you particularly are doing, like everybody’s talking about morning routines or whatever, are there things that, that, that you would say. These are helping you to get out of this kind of negative thought spiral and you know, like you use to bring you back up. 

Daniel: Yeah, I think self-talk is, is very powerful.

it’s so you essentially, your brain, I like to think of your brain is almost like it’s almost like a dog. you train a dog. You just like you train a dog to do things to, to, to behave a certain way. Your brain is no different. You have to train your brain to behave a certain way. So if your dog does things that are not acceptable, it, maybe he, he goes to the, you know, he makes some in the middle of the living room floor.

So you’re going to, you’re going to tell don’t know, you cannot make over that and you punish the dog and you tell the dog, no, you gotta go. And you got to go over here to make, to, to, to, to write. and then when he does a good job, you reward him, give you, give the dog a cookie, whatever it is, a treat. So it’s the same thing with the brain.

The brain is like an animal. It just needs to be trained. The trend, if the brain behaves misbehaves and it says, Oh, I’m not going to do this. I’m not good enough. I’m not going to no, no, no. Hey, Hey, Hey, you’re a talent. Oh, you want to tell the brain? That’s not how we think. We think posted that’s, you know, we’re going to do this.

We’re going to, we’re going to encourage it. And then when you achieve something, you got to reward it. You’re rewarded say, Hey, that was great. You see, we did it. See that? Well, we do that. And so. We we get stuck because we become attached to our thoughts. And the thing is, we’re not our thoughts. We are separate from our thoughts.

And the proof of that is you can observe your thoughts. You can actually do an exercise where you can just listen to your thoughts. You could just sort of notice them. Now, if you were your thoughts, if you were attached or you were. You know your thoughts, then you wouldn’t be able to do that because, you know, you can’t, the observer cannot be observed by itself just like a knife can’t cut itself.

Right? So if you are separate from it is it’s only if you’re separate from it. Can you observe it? The fact that you can observe your thoughts means that you are separate from it and therefore your thoughts are just a separate part of you. And so just like a dog, you can train the dog, you could train your thoughts at the same, same, same way.


Marc: so you can, and they’re very much like that. It’s like, I am not my thoughts. Right. So I can serve them. I can, watch them. I can be grateful about them. And ultimately it’s another step in the process to decide, what am I going to do with those thoughts? Right. 

Daniel: Well, observing is the first step because observing allows you to see that, that you are you, you’re not them there and they don’t control you. You control them. So for example, a dog, when you’re walking the dog and the dog wants to go in a certain direction, what do you do?

You pull him in the direction that you want to go, right? Because why? Because you’re the owner. You’re the monster. The dog has to follow the master. It’s not the other way around. If, if, if a dog, always gets what it wants, right? So it wants to go and run over here and, and, and eat, whatever it wants to eat over there.

Then you’re going to have a dog that’s very, very, you know, untrainable and, and, and causes a lot of havoc. And you’re not going to have any control. And so you need to train, you need to train it to go. In a way that you want to go because you are the master and you want to show it that you are the master, you are the owner, and it’s the same thing with your thoughts.

The next thing is, once you observe it and you recognize that you are the one that’s able to control it. So then you become the master and the thoughts becomes your, you know, your tool in a way you use it and you shape it to serve you, but your thoughts are there to serve you. Not the other way around.

Marc: Yeah. And that’s what you’re referencing to in the chapter about ownership, right? When you say I started telling myself over and over again, I am in control and I will trust my own decisions. I would say full responsibility. If things go wrong and full credit of things go, well, I will not be afraid to fail, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Right. It’s like taking control about. Your life requires that you’re basically taking control of your thoughts and the first step, right? 

Daniel: Yeah. And also part of that is also not falling into a trap that a lot of people fall into, which is self pity. You know, poor me, I’m a victim. And, that is a very destructive, it’s probably one of the most destructive, thoughts because you get so trapped into that, prison.

It’s a self-made prison. You essentially lock yourself up. And you say, I can’t do this because you know, this is what happened to me when I was younger and this is just the way it is and the government or this one or that one, the economy there’s. And, and the self-pity is just a, an excuse, really. It’s just an excuse, not to be courageous and to break free.

And, so self-pity is, is something that you need to become aware of. And then again, reprogram. So that you don’t have those thoughts of self pity. 

Marc: Yeah, exactly. Last, I think it was last week. There was one of the questions in one of those influence of forums on Facebook, where somebody asked the question, what is the, what is the biggest challenge that you have as an influencer coach, whatever, with, you know, like COVID and, and my answer to that was, it’s not like all these people who are suddenly.

Giving away responsibility for their like failures. Let’s call it like that too. Like COVID and the effects of COVID. Right. And they are saying, I cannot do this and that because of COVID and this is unsuccessful because of COVID et cetera, et cetera. But I think then there’s just another excuse for basically not following through.

Right. They had just found another target of responsibility. 

Daniel: Right. That’s it. Exactly. 

Marc: And then if you take it,  from the thoughts to the actions, and that is something, especially in performance coaching, which was my field,  helping people to  perform better in whatever direction they want to perform better.

Then, you know, like one thing is to, to understand, to make them understand this kind of distinction between the self and the thoughts and the ability to eventually control the thoughts and. The, the other thing is that I have many people who say, yeah, I want to be more fit or I want to be performing better in my job and whatever.

And then the immediate question is, but what if I’m not motivated? Right. And there’s one thing in your book that you have, right. If you take action, the feelings follow, right. So motivation in that sense is not a prerequisite to take action, right? 

Daniel: Yeah. I think you can get stuck in the motivation cycle.

so you just revving up the engine, revving, rub, rubbing up, but you’re not shifting into drive, so there’s no action happening. It’s just motivation, motivation, motivation, motivation, but it’s not enough. and if you wait. for your feelings to, to win until you feel good enough, you may never take action.

You may just keep waiting your whole life. and that’s, that’s a tragedy, whereas action always creates feeling. And the proof of it is, you know, you go for a run, you feel good, you know, it’s, it’s, it creates, it creates a feeling of, of, of, of good, right? You, you, you go, you go to sleep, right? That’s an action.

You even going to sleep as an action, right? You go to sleep and, and you feel better in the morning. Sometimes you feel really bad. and you’re getting a little angry and frustrated and you just need to go to sleep, have a good night’s sleep and yeah, they wake up and suddenly your feelings are different, different feelings.

you might be hungry. And, I know for example, if I’m hungry, everyone get out of the way because that, that Daniel’s gonna, you know, you know, start shouting at the kids and the wife, you know, my wife just says, just eat something that it just needs to eat something. So once I, once I eaten, I, you know, now I feel differently.

So feelings come a lot, from actions that we take. So try to become, try to get into the habit of taking actions before you, before, before the feeling. Right? Try to, if you want to change your feeling the best way to do it is, is by taking an action. 

Marc: In, my last, asked me anything I preserved, there was a question, you know, like how to I, how do I get into doing things I don’t like to do?

Like chores or whatever. Yeah. Very very often. I mean, nobody likes paying invoices and things like that. At least nobody. I know. take, take just the first step. Make make yourself the promise that do the thing yet. You don’t like to do it for just five minutes or just one minute. Right. And do that one minutes and then one more.

And then one more. And the funny thing is that’s precisely what you also wrote in your book, right? One step after the other. It’s not like if you issue climb the Mount Everest, right. You are not going to visualize. you go from base camp to. Like the, the top apex, whatever you call it in one step, right?

You are going to take one step after the other. And one of the things I noticed that when, when people are trying, especially those challenging things that acquire, Much work and many, many different steps. That’s like they’re shying away from taking the first step because of the entire thing seems so complex.

Right. And then they are getting into a kind of parallel because they, they just unable to, to take the first step and then just focus on the first step and the next step will then follow logically. Right. And that’s also partly because as we said before, like actions are creating feelings. 

Daniel: Yeah, exactly.

Marc: one, thing that, I found the parallel to, what I’ve recently wrote in the, in the short book peak performance I published two weeks ago or so well, thank you. It’s it’s just a little like 40 pager with, a couple of strategies, routines, and habits to. Implement as a suggestion because they work for me and from, for, for many of my clients, to, to level up your performance.

Right. And one of the things is that, don’t let the notification pirates, hijack your life, right? It’s it’s like we are, we are living anywhere where even without electronics, we are, we are living in a way where we have so many. sources of input, right? And so many sources of distraction. We have daily news media.

We have email, we have WhatsApp and SMS and, and, and you name it. Right. And one of the things I wrote in the book is like, just shut everything off. Right. Because even if you have the discipline to not look on your cell phone, when it beings, it’s going to be disrupting your thought process and it’s going to be disrupting the deep work you’re currently doing.

Right. And what you actually provide is basically the same thing. And then the other thing is also focus on one thing. Right. And, because the brain is, Not actually very good in, in achieving and maintaining focus due to our evolutionary history where this would have been just a deadly habit. Right.

But, We, we have all these thoughts popping up in our brain and whatever they say, like eight seconds intervals or whatever. And then focusing on one thing is really important. And as we said before, it’s like, it’s a habit you develop, right. Because if you let your brain wander around and then you’re giving in and you find yourself like on Facebook for half an hour, 

Daniel: um Hmm.

Marc: That’s absolutely con counterproductive. Right. So how do you achieve, to this kind of focus state or as some set of flow state? Is there something that you do for that? 

Daniel: yeah. I mean, well, first of all, just to the point of the notifications popping up on your phone and things like that, that’s that falls under what I mentioned earlier about.

setting boundaries and, and taking control back in your life. these are examples of, you know, things that get you to essentially pull out your strings. And again, you become a puppet. and the question that I asked myself is, you know, I want to be a puppet in life, or do I want to have freedom and make the right choices when you’ve got notifications, you don’t really.

You’re you’re losing your power to choose because. It’s so strong, you know, the chemical, construct, that every time you get a pink, there’s a conditioning that happens, is so powerful that you’re, you’re really giving yourself a major disadvantage. And there’s a lot of energy that you need to use every time you refuse.

And you’re using up all that. That energy that really should be, you know, channeled and focused towards doing things that are productive. So even if you manage to say no to those notifications, you’re going to end up feeling very weak by the middle of the day. Because after 20 times you saying no, your, you know, your capacity starts to you start to go low on energy.

Yeah. And that’s why people become very tired and they haven’t even done much in a day, but, but just that, that alone, you know, it takes up a lot of energy. So why, why, you know, why put yourself in that situation to begin with, it’s better to just not have the notifications and then you don’t have to keep fighting, those distractions.

Marc: Yeah. Also because you know, like every, every time you inhibit something, right, that’s basically draining on your single battery that you have in your brain. Right. So you’re making a contract and we know that from the researcher for  and associates. That you know, there’s one single battery on the brain that you need for decision-making and every decision you make or every, any ambition or any, conscious, redesigning of thoughts and all these things that are mainly residing in the new aquatics, they are draining energy and, and then there are two things.

One over the day, you become less good in. Taking high quality decisions. Right. And, and the other thing is you are just becoming tired and more susceptible to giving in, on your feelings, giving in on the emotions. 

Daniel: Yeah, exactly. You’re depleting the battery. Yeah, 

Marc: exactly. and the other thing you also mentioned is like get structured or get lost.

Can you elaborate a little bit on that?

Daniel: Yeah, basically you, you wake up in the morning and you have a goal I want to achieve, you know, ABC. and then you suddenly get, you know, the distractions keep pulling you off of the path of where your goals are. And by the end of the day, you look at your, you look back at your day and you realize I didn’t do the things I wanted to do because I ended up being pulled in all different directions.

so, you know, basically, you know, Get focused or get lost. Just, just means that if you don’t get focused, you you’re going to end up lost in all the distractions that come up. Yeah, 

Marc: exactly. And then if you don’t create the structure of your day at a moment, ideally early in the morning, when your brain is still awake and you’re able to make good decisions.

Right. so, so that’s one of the things that I actually set forth in, the book, the DART principle that I. published a couple of years ago, very unsuccessfully, by the way. it’s, it’s like at least basically from decision that’s the D to action. and. One of the habits promote in the book is like structure your day from really the point in time where you wake up to the point in time when you go to bed, because that allows you actually to define your, where your focus is for any particular time window in the day.

Right. And I mean, even if you have, if you have your time with your family, That is time that you have with your family and you don’t fiddle around with your iPhone while you have family time. Right. So that’s supporting 

Daniel: yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent quality time over quantity is 

Marc: important. Yeah. And having a clear direction.

Right. Because if you have something where in at least in my calendar, if there is a free time window and like, I just, you know, like kind of, kind of float around one, what am I going to do with it? Right. 

Daniel: Right. That’s exactly true. Yeah. You got to make sure that, you know, so I have a checklist, kind of like a little to-do list on my computer every day when I switch it on, I just write down the things that I want to get done in the day.

And throughout the day I check, I check them off. I keep it very simple, but it kind of gets me back to focus whenever I sort of get lost. I go back to the, to the to-do list and I kind of go, Oh, okay. That’s what I need to do next. 

Marc: Yeah.

Yeah. That’s the same here. I mean, you know, I have my. big chunk things that I need to do, like writing a blog post, or writing a document for my corporate job or whatever. and that’s going to be penciled into my agenda. Right. And then I have all these nitty-gritty things to do.

That takes something between five and 10 minutes. And I don’t want to pencil each scenario, single thing until the agenda, but I want to reserve time in order to get them done. Right. 

Daniel: Yeah,

 Marc: a couple of questions actually, that, that you ask in your book and that can so relate to that because, having been in that particular, like near death situation, a couple of times in my life as the question you’ll die, what do you want us to leave behind? And what do you want to be remembered for.

What legacy do you want to leave?  Is that something you are thinking about? when you set also your objectives and when you, when you design your life? 

Daniel: yeah, it’s interesting. I, guess it would depend sometimes I feel like, I don’t like to think about. The death because it’s so morbid. 

Marc: yeah, 

Daniel: I try to just enjoy, I try to enjoy life, you know, as much as I can, you know, I think if you focus too much on. The, you know, what’s going to happen when I die and what do I want on my tombstone? all of these things. I mean, it’s good.

It’s good to do this exercise once in a while, but I wouldn’t do it too often. I wouldn’t think about it too often because it can lead to a trap. I know for me that if I, I can overthink, I can overanalyze and if I go down that path, then usually it’s more depressing than productive. Because then I start to say, well, What’s the purpose of life anyway, you know, I’m going to die.

What’s the point? yeah. You know, I don’t know when I’m going to die. I maybe I, God forbid, but what if tomorrow suddenly something happens and then all of my plans basically go nowhere. Right? There was the point. So it just leads to, I think, a lot more. Just depression and destructive thoughts and thinking than it does productive.

So if you make an exercise out of it, maybe, you know, once every couple of months or once every, whatever it is. So, so then you set aside time and you, and you do it. Sort of intentionally as an exercise, that’s healthy, but if you’re constantly thinking about it, that’s unhealthy. It’s not a, you can’t live.

If you’re constantly thinking about death, do you know how you supposed to live? Right. You just, just dying all the time in your head. So stop dying and start living, you know, just, you know, Live with purpose, live with purpose, have purpose, have meaning for sure. You know, but, death is, is, you know, 

Marc: it’s like when people say you have to live everyday, like it was your last one.

It’s like, no, Y 

Daniel: Y yeah, no, that’s very depressing. I’d be very depressed. If it was my last day, I’d probably be crying and then saying goodbye. Like that’s not, nobody would go flying a kite or flying out of a plane or doing crime and main Andrei. They’d be, they’d be there. If they knew that they were dying today, they’d probably be just, being with their family and.

Crying and, and, and, you know, being in a very sad state. So, you know, it’s a lot of BS out there. Advice I don’t agree with. Well, 

Marc: there’s the stoic practice where they call it mental moody when they are just remembering themselves that, you know, like life has an end. And as I said from time to time us think, it can be valuable to just make sure that you get yourself back into the focus on the purpose, on the why that you have defined, right. And to be sure that you are not literally wasting time on nonsense. Right. but as you say, like all the doing that and living like every day was, you know, like one day is going to be, yeah. Last one, that that’s not really useful actually.


Daniel: Yeah. And listen, whatever works for you. I’m a big believer that not most advice it’s personal. So if you, if it works, take, take it. If it doesn’t work, Chuck it like no one has to listen to. No one has to take any advice from anyone. You, you it’s advice. It’s, it’s suggestive. It’s not, this is how it has to be, 

Marc: you know?

Yeah. Yeah. And, and that is something that I, I observed in the recent years as when, when those, those self-proclaimed live gurus, they are, they are telling people like you have to have a morning routine and you have to have these 13 things done before you start your day in order to get prime for success on everything.

And the Very first thing I wrote at peak performance as like, if I really have to give an advice to somebody it’s know yourself. Right. Because works for, for Daniel doesn’t work for Mark and vice versa. Right. So figure out what works for you and. Like adopt the things that do work for you and all the time also be reflective about, you know, like I tried a certain thing.

Did it work? Was it useful if yes. keep it or improve it or whatever. And if it wasn’t useful, then just discard it. Right. And, that leads back to this kind of self-help addiction thing, right? You, you read like 30 herself at books per year, and then you’re, you’re all over the place was trying out different things and implementing all different, latest fad, mental diets.

So to say, And ultimately you ending up with just in, in, in this spending all your time on self improvement, but you don’t get anything done, 

Daniel: correct? Yeah. Yup. Yup. 

Marc: So, when you talk about the South Hab addiction cycle, how did you get out of that? What, what did happen in your life or what, what were, what was causing the mindset shifts that got you from like being in the addicted self-help, person, I call it odd by the way, like obsessive development or, how did you get out of there?

Daniel: well, first of all, I think it’s a constant challenge. I don’t think I necessarily got out. I think I’m getting out, more often than I used to. Right. So, 

it used to be that I would. Read a lot of books and watch a lot of, you know, videos and listen to a lot of audios and, just consuming massive amounts of information.

And I wouldn’t take any action. I would just. Constantly need more, need more need. And that’s the, you know, sort of the definition of really addiction is it’s a compulsive obsession, with no end. There’s no, there’s no satisfaction. There’s no, bottom of the pit, it’s just, it’s just endless. and so self-help is a very big addiction.

Because people find themselves just, never really achieving or, or, you know, doing what they want to do, because they’re always just getting ready. It’s like, imagine you spend your whole life getting ready to go to the party, but you never go to the party because. Okay. You keep getting ready. And then, and then, you know, going back to what we said before, and then you die and then he never, never went to the party.

He never got to learn to do it. So, so you got to, at some point you have, I mean, you get ready for the party, but then you’ve got to go to the party and enjoy it. So, I, Nowadays, I would say I spend less time getting ready for the party and I spend more time, you know, enjoying the party, whereas before I would spend most of my time getting ready and very little time actually enjoying the party.

So, The, the answer is, is, is really what we said before, which is the, it’s the whole action leading the emotions, as opposed to emotions, leading the actions, because when you’re getting ready and your, you know, consuming and consuming more and more and more content, your really feeding your emotions and the emotions that you’re feeding is the thoughts that say, I’m not ready.

I can’t do this. I need more help. I I’m afraid I’m going to fail that really you’re disguising your fears with preparation. So you say, Oh, I’m just studying to know how I can do this, but really you’ve studied enough. Like you, you have enough information that you could do this, you could go out. And the truth is, is that anyone can tell you this, the real learning happens when you’re doing, it’s not in the book and it’s not in the YouTube video and it’s not on the podcast that you’re listening to.

It is in your action that you take that you’re going to learn a thousand times more than you can ever learn, you know, reading a book or listening to a podcast or watching a video. So. You know, you can, you can do the minimum to just kind of understand the basics, but then you have to take the action. And, once you take the action.

So then you learn and you grow and you take more action and then you can go and you can learn more about, you know, the next stage of the development of what you need to do. And then again, you take some more actions, so it doesn’t mean never consume it content. It doesn’t mean never, you know, you know, read a book or never watch a video or never listened to a podcast.

It just means. No. When, when you’re just making an excuse. No yourself. It’s like what you said, know yourself, know when you’re just excusing yourself and you’re disguising. You know, preparation, I mean, fair with preparation and that’s the key. and so that’s how I’ve managed to break out of that sort of vicious cycle of self-help addiction.

It’s just by getting into the habit and training my brain to take action. even when I don’t necessarily feel like I’m ready to take action. 

Marc: Yeah, because you’d never feel really ready. Right? There’s always something on top that you could learn or become better. And then into something and the little story here in Switzerland, when you, how to obtain the driver’s license for a motor bike, you actually go and buy a motorbike.

You have a learner’s license, and then you just get on the bike and you drive. You don’t have to have any horse or whatever right now you can watch it. Yeah. All the YouTube videos, you can read all the books about how to drive a motorbike. But that is not going to help you anything. Right. Because ultimately you learn how to do it by just getting on it and then drive you.

Wouldn’t probably going onto a highway, to start with that, but on a small road, but you know, like still it’s, it’s about doing the things. Regardless of whether you feel ready or not. And then increasingly go to, as, as you learn along, increase your challenges. And then one day you’re going to go to the highway and then one day you’re going to go to the race course or whatever.

Daniel: But 

Marc: as long as you’re just like, like remain in theory and, and being in this total fear state about how to put it into practice, that’s not going to help anything. Right. 

Daniel: Yep. Agreed. 

Marc: Yeah. And I’ve seen, I’ve seen so many coaches and they go like, yeah, I would like to do this, but I don’t feel ready. It’s like, you know, like define ready for me.

Like, what is the, what is the key for your ready state? And they don’t even know. Right. It’s just like, I feel not ready. Yeah. What’s not ready. I don’t know. So. What makes us say you’re not ready, you know? 

Daniel: Well, that’s a good, that’s a good way to analyze it in a way is that maybe that could be the test, right?

If, if there’s an actual reason that you can a good reason you can come up with and then maybe that’s maybe then you’re right. Maybe you, you, you, you do need a little bit more information, but if you cannot come up with a very good reason, so then that’s just a feeling then, then it’s most likely just fair.

Marc: Yeah, exactly. And, and that’s, that’s the fear to start that most people suffer from right. Fear, fear to start doing something, right? 

Daniel: Yeah. You’re doing it. Then the fare usually goes away or at least it doesn’t go away entirely, but it definitely small enough that you, it doesn’t debilitate you and you can keep going, even with a little bit of fear inside of you.

Marc: Yeah. Yeah, I think fear can also be a, a very useful driving force. Right. 

Daniel: Oh, a hundred percent fair is a very, very, good emotion to have because you need it. you know, if you didn’t have fare, you’d probably be dead very, very quickly because you would do things that would, be that wouldn’t be good for your survival.

So fair is, is, is there to protect us. it’s very, it’s very important, but it is like anything else, if you don’t use it for what it’s intended for. You can create a lot of destruction. 

Marc: Yeah, exactly. So, so embracing it and using it as a, as a tool maybe, it’s not the right word. It can be very useful and it can be very 

Daniel: powerful letting, letting it do what it needs to do, what it was, what it was created for.

but that’s it, but not more than, 

Marc: yeah. So Daniel, it was a great pleasure to have. You here talking with you was so interesting from, from all different angles. 

Daniel: Thank you. Thank you for having me 

Marc: on. You’re welcome. So have a good time. Stay safe, stay healthy and well, maybe till next time 

Daniel: till next time.

Thank you so much.


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