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Think for Yourself. No More Questions.

MTF

Never give up
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I used to be an extremely shy and awkward individual until I was 21. Picture a dork interested in RPGs, add a level of creepiness, hermetism, and a fake “I don’t give a F*ck” vibe inspired by my obsession with 2Pac at the time, and that was me.

Then, having realized I could no longer stay like that if I wanted any success in life, I became deeply interested in personal development.

Considering my non-existent experience with the opposite sex (and a big fear of thereof), one of my main interests became self-confidence and picking up girls.

Long story short, after consuming lots of materials, I encountered (online) a guy who studied under some of the top pick-up artists at the time (it worked for him: he cold approached a girl who later became his wife).

I began bombarding him with questions via email, trying to figure out everything related to the subject.

And one day, he got tired of my constant questions and replied with a curt email telling me, “No more questions. Approach 100 girls and email me then.”

I was resigned at first. How was I supposed to change without his further guidance?

But then I heeded his advice and finally started taking real action out in the world.

My first few approaches were terrible. I was absolutely terrified. But I pushed through. I journaled about every approach. I congratulated myself for what went well, looked for improvements, and learned from each interaction as a scientist from each experiment. Over time, I got comfortable with it and other men started asking me how I was doing it.

After a few dozen approaches, I approached a girl who’s still my girlfriend 12 years later.

There was no need to approach 100 girls. And I had no more questions for the guy who told me to get lost. I found all the answers in the work I’d done myself.

Looking back, no amount of questions would have ever helped me break out of my social ineptness. Any advice I could have received would have no value because it wouldn’t come from my own experience but through somebody else’s perspective.

Later on, as my self-publishing business was taking off, there were very few people I could emulate and bother them with questions. Instead, I had to rely on myself to grow my business.

I made a series of decisions driven by my own observations and data, untested stuff that nobody else was doing. They proved to be incredibly lucrative, having generated six figures, and still bringing me money to this day.

In hindsight, being one of the first freed me to innovate and try my own ideas instead of looking for confirmation and case studies for everything I wanted to do.

As I got older and some of my self-esteem issues resurfaced, I forgot about this approach

Instead of getting answers through my own observations and action, I defaulted to seeking books, coaches, communities—anything and anyone I deemed more “credible” than myself.

Idea for a new business? Look for some success stories online to make sure someone more “credible” had success with it (it doesn’t matter that your background, skills, preferences, etc. are completely different). This only led to money-chasing and filling the pockets of business gurus.

A workout plan? Hire a ripped coach who supposedly knows what he’s doing (it doesn’t matter that he’s been genetically blessed and ripped his entire life and doesn’t know how to coach). This only resulted in a severe injury for me as I stopped listening to my body.

A difficult decision in life? Look for similar problems on Reddit, forums, or elsewhere online, delegating your decision to a bunch of strangers who may be complete losers yet who are more “credible” simply because a few hundred people upvoted their response. This only led to an even deeper disconnect with my own thinking process.

When you constantly seek answers outside, you lose the ability to think for yourself

The other day I decided to join a community for men to get some clarity on some men-related stuff. It only struck me how ridiculous it was after I joined it. Here I was, a guy wanting to be more “manly,” but looking for advice from other (broken) men on how to be a better man even though there’s no single definition of what it means to be manly.

Just like there isn’t a single definition of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Of course, there are dictionary definitions, “shifting economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield,” yada yada yada.

But there are infinite variations of what it means and how to actually fit it into your own life. My definition is very different from @Antifragile's definition which is very different from @Lex DeVille's definition and very different from @Andy Black's definition.

And speaking of Andy, as he would put it, we’re team producer. We take action, make things happen, assess, adjust, and try again—based on what we do, not on what others think we should do. If you want others tell you what to do, be an employee.

Sure, you may have some very technical, specific questions that others can answer for you and help you overcome an obstacle.

But in general, very little, if any, production happens if you constantly seek the perspective of other people instead of taking action and assessing its results and coming to conclusions yourself.

In today’s world drowning in advice about every possible thing, many people have a tendency to default their thinking to someone who's more “credible” than them.

But unless you’re learning a very hard skill that requires someone’s constant supervision to learn (medicine, engineering, piloting an airplane, being an astronaut, etc.), you can gain much more by thinking yourself instead of always seeking external advice.

Here are 7 things that may help you break out of that vicious cycle (and yes, I’m aware of the irony that I’m providing advice so feel free to stop reading here and think about it yourself):
  • Set a very clear, quantifiable goal and complete it before asking further questions. This can be as simple as sending 1000 cold emails or publishing 100 videos. Real-world action gives real-world insights unique to you that are worth infinitely more than just more theoretical knowledge coming from someone else.
  • Avoid the temptation to always default to AI for creativity and/or problem-solving. Give yourself more time to think and produce your own stuff first. If you want to augment it later, that’s fine, but don’t immediately give up when you’re struggling to come up with ideas.
  • Spend more time alone, in a distraction-free environment where you have mental space to think. Walking in nature is great for that. So is surfing or swimming (water activities are great because you can’t have a phone with you), hiking, or even just taking a beach chair somewhere without people and sitting for thirty minutes looking at nothing in particular, letting your brain ponder your next move.
  • Journal or otherwise analyze your progress or lack thereof. See what kind of things you can learn just by looking at it through your own perspective instead of muddling it with multiple perspectives of other people.
  • Remind yourself that nobody else knows you as well as you do. Yes, even therapists, mentors, coaches, etc. can’t understand your background, preferences, values, etc. And just because something worked for them doesn’t mean that it has to work for you. It’s okay to have your own theories and test them instead of setting them aside in favor of someone else’s “credible” advice.
  • Resist the temptation to say “I don’t know” and immediately seek the help of someone else. Give yourself time to think. One of my freediving coaches told me to spend 30-60 seconds after each dive analyzing it in my head before saying a word to him. Usually, I knew what I did wrong and what I did well without having to ask him.
  • When in doubt, default to the simplest action you can take today that will bring you closer to your goal instead of asking yet another question or doing more research. In entrepreneurship, this usually means finding the quickest path to getting paid for the value you’re offering.
 
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Andy Black

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When in doubt, default to the simplest action you can take today that will bring you closer to your goal instead of asking yet another question or doing more research. In entrepreneurship, this usually means finding the quickest path to getting paid for the value you’re offering.
^^^ This! Start as close to the end as possible. If you get paid because you do XYZ then go do XYZ, and get paid.

When you constantly seek answers outside, you lose the ability to think for yourself
This too. Spend too much time consuming and it doesn't just mean you're spending less time producing. It's filling your head up with noise so you can't hear your own thoughts. Often you already know what to do.
 

jbg

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  • Spend more time alone, in a distraction-free environment where you have mental space to think. Walking in nature is great for that. So is surfing or swimming (water activities are great because you can’t have a phone with you), hiking, or even just taking a beach chair somewhere without people and sitting for thirty minutes looking at nothing in particular, letting your brain ponder your next move.
  • Journal or otherwise analyze your progress or lack thereof. See what kind of things you can learn just by looking at it through your own perspective instead of muddling it with multiple perspectives of other people.
  • Remind yourself that nobody else knows you as well as you do. Yes, even therapists, mentors, coaches, etc. can’t understand your background, preferences, values, etc. And just because something worked for them doesn’t mean that it has to work for you. It’s okay to have your own theories and test them instead of setting them aside in favor of someone else’s “credible” advice.
1000% agree with these 3 things. It sounded like cheesy Master Yoda bullshit when I first heard it. But it works. Writing is so OP it's insane.
 
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