7th of September 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 30 Part 1


In this episode of Helping Joe, Joe talks about what he thinks are his 5 biggest issues and patterns on this podcast and in his life. Tucker and Nils tell him what the best, most fundamental thing he can do right now to work with all of these at the same time. They also give him new goals to work on each week alongside dating women.


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Joe’s Thoughts and Takeaways From This Episode:

Hey this is a running commentary of random thoughts, notes, and takeaways I had during or after this episode. – Joe

@Beginning – Follow-up on exercise from last week

In Episode 29 Part 2 @14:00 Tucker told me to write down all my issues and bring them up, so I did. I went through the notes (these notes right here that I write every week) of each episode to figure out what was most common or what was most consistent. Here’s my list:

1. Too rationalf, logical, and not emotional (Feelings)
2. Self-conscious, self-edit, tip-toe socially
3. Self-critical, self-judge, inner voice / monologue
4. Hyper-egotistical, arrogant with women at times
5. Suck at making friends, both male and female

@2:30 – Follow-up from Perfect Day Exercise

I didn’t want to do this and listed a bunch of reasons why. It was kind of sad to realize that I didn’t think I deserved a perfect day or didn’t believe it would ever happen so wtf is the point of doing this exercise.

Tucker makes fun of me because it is kinda weird: “I don’t even deserve to THINK of a perfect day.”

“You said, ‘There’s a lot of good things about me.’ Then the first things you said after that was, ‘I’m not a piece of shit.’” – Tucker

This was funny too but sad.

“You’re framing it all in the negative… I’m not a rapist.” – Nils

I’m glad they caught this because I wouldn’t have noticed I was doing this.

@9:00 – Creating lists without getting anything done

“I’m not sure I would approach this that way for you because all you do is spend your time creating these massively long, nested lists of nonsense and you get nothing done. Creating lists and organizing is great as long as you only spend 5% of your time doing it. If it becomes more than that, it is a way to avoid action. You do that clearly. You avoid action by ultra-organizing. It becomes so organized that it is a mess.” – Tucker

Sometimes on this show they’ll say something that’s probably true and I’ll argue it or fight it, like last episode about the self-sabotaging. And there are other times they say something and the truth of it just hits me and I think about it for a while afterwards because it’s just so right on.

They were right about this, so right. I do this so much. I have lists of all kinds of stuff. I’m almost like a hoarder with lists.

I have 10 different book lists in 10 different places. I always think I have to read these 3-4 books before I go out and do something which is sometimes helpful but not if it’s a way to avoid action and potential mistakes or failure which is what I think I probably do. It’s easy to make lists and organize stuff in front of you and feel like you’re getting something done but you’re really not. It’s totally a way to avoid action or actually doing stuff. I don’t know how I picked up this habit but I do know that it’s pretty bad.

I thought about this for a while maybe a week or two after this episode was recorded because they’re right. I’m not getting as much important stuff done and I’m not living up to my potential of what I can do when I spend all this time organizing and making lists of stuff that I might not ever use.

I felt fucked up about this too because I had been doing this most of my life, feeling like it made a difference and I was doing something, getting something done, when in reality I wasn’t. I just making a mountain of a list out of what might have been a molehill of action or getting something done. I don’t know if that metaphor fits but who cares.

Tucker gives a solution to this: “Ok take a post-it note, here’s the 4 major problems, 1-4 words, a sentence at most, put 4 of those on your wall. That’s all you can organize with.”

“You need to get away from being in your own head and spinning things around endlessly and you need to engage life by having friends, socially interacting with people, and doing things.” – Tucker

Yep this has been a pattern in the podcast and most of my life. I just have this fucked up habit of isolating myself, being alone with books or movies or doing things on my own when I don’t need to and it’s not as much fun or enjoyable as being with other people that I like.

“In the absence of relationships or a social net around you, you exist exclusively in your owm head. There are a lot of ways to deal with loneliness and isolation.”
– Tucker

“There is no level of intelligence, or organizing, or thinking that by itself is going to get you out of these issues.” – Tucker

Yea this is how I’ve tried to deal with some issues, especially anxiousness around women or new people by tricking myself into thinking it’s not a big deal, which never works. What has worked in this podcast is doing it, getting reps, over and over again, meeting fun new groups of people, and taking care of myself or not at least shitting on myself for failures.

“You don’t have the well of experience to rely on to validate your own thoughts.”
– Nils

“You don’t have good mental models for reality… In the beginning if you just done the opposite, you would have improved 50x.” – Tucker

That’s not so true now.

This was kind of funny but it’s true, there were so many early mistakes I made where my instincts and first thoughts were totally wrong.

@14:30 – If Joe had one thing, one issue to work on

Tucker: Social relationships with people. How many friends, what are you doing to make new friendships and cultivate old ones. MAKING FRIENDS

“Humans are social animals. When you put them in isolation, they become feral. We’re not equipped to be in isolation. Focusing on what’s going on in your head with no social network around you will just drive you crazy.” – Nils

“Those social relationships will give you the outside validation that A) you’re a good person and B) you have things worth talking about… There’s a world [of people] out there that doesn’t want to see you flush your life down the toilet.” – Nils

And I know this is true but my first instinct or pattern is to be by myself and do things on my own, which is stupid.

“You don’t have an anchor in social reality… You have terrible mental models for most things in life. [The answer] is not reading more. Interacting with human beings as helped you.” – Tucker

“You can then test and measure yourself and what you think against other people and get feedback. That’s how the human mind is designed to operate.” – Tucker

“You can’t play catch with a book.” – Nils

This was funny. In 7 words he basically summed up what they had been talking about for the last 7+ minutes.

I remembered a quote from Bruce Lee here about swimming: “If you want to learn to swim jump into the water. On dry land no frame of mind is ever going to help you.”

You can’t think your way or read your way into learning how to swim. And that’s probably true for a lot of things, being social and hanging out with people and making friends is one of them.

There a 100 ways to do this, but I can’t make a list out of them, I just have to pick and choose and do those things with people I like and see what happens.

@20:00 – Hormones and thought patterns follow behavior

“If you create a new reality for yourself based around social relationships, you will see physical, mental, emotional changes. You’ve already seen them. You’re only at 2/10 now.” – Tucker

Foundation of weight loss: Get good sleep and cut out sugar + grain.

Foundation for me: How many friends + how I’m interacting with them.

@23:30 – “I have a lot more better days, less shitty days, doing more stuff with more people”

I said this and almost choked up when I said it because it was true, and I hadn’t really taken the time to realize or appreciate it. But yea I’m a lot more happier and feel better about myself and who I’m with nowadays.

“We don’t talk about it but most people in our culture are sad and lonely and hate it.” – Tucker

@26:00 – Sitting with emotions, recognizing positive emotions, enjoying moments (foreboding joy)

“You need to work on grabbing a hold of those moments and sitting with them, not obsessing over if they will ever happen again.” – Nils

Yea I do this a lot where I expect the other shoe to drop, waiting for something shitty to happen or not think that that this fun time will happen again because it was a one time thing or I won’t see that person or that group again. And it’s stupid. It takes away from enjoying the moment and it’s not even true. It’s weird.

“You need to recognize your positive emotions and sit with those too. You don’t let yourself have either. Your entire life is just spinning in circles, doing tons of action, accomplishing nothing, avoiding feeling bad and not letting yourself feel good.”
– Tucker

I don’t know. This feels right but I hate to admit it because when he puts it that way it just sounds like my life is a waste of time, which it’s not. I’ve done some pretty cool stuff and seen places and done things… but on the other hand I still feel like I’m spinning in circles sometimes, where I don’t know where I’m going or I’m doing stuff but not really getting anywhere. And I’m not where I want to be in most areas of my life and it sucks.

“The good will only be there for so before you get disappointed and the bad comes along… so you beat down the emotion or you flee from it.” – Nils

I had a lot of resistance to this on this episode because doing this, waiting for something bad to happen, sounds stupid. Why would I do this?

But the more I look at it and experience things in my life and look at my reaction to them, I think this might be right. I don’t fully enjoy things as much as I could because I’m waiting for a perceived inevitable bad thing to happen, with friends it’s usually some sort of betrayal or hurt or they’ll just leave, not want to hang out with me anymore, which doesn’t really happen, but that feeling that it might happen is still there.

Also this was in Daring Greatly where Brene Brown called it “Forboding Joy” and how it’s a way to not be vulnerable by not enjoying the moment because some bad shit to happen.

One old guy told her, “I used to think the best way to go through life was to expect the worst. That way, if it happened, you were prepared, and if it didn’t happen, you were pleasantly surprised. Then I was in a car accident and my wife was killed. Needless to say, expecting the worst didn’t prepare me at all. And worse, I still grieve for all of those wonderful moments we shared and that I didn’t fully enjoy.”

I didn’t understand it that well when I was reading it but it’s starting to make more sense when I start having more joyful experiences and sometimes have this reaction to it.

“You’re preparing yourself for the inevitable, miserable failure that is hiding around the corner waiting to bash the happiness out of you.” – Nils

Tucker brings back up this moment @1:12:00 of Episode 22 where I had a great conversation with the girl I am seeing about where we are, and I appreciated it for a few seconds then went back to self-criticizing and it was hilarious because it was like wtf? Is he for real? (Charlie thought it was an act, which made it more funny)

Her solution for this was to practice gratitude btw

@30:00 – My defense mechanisms here

“You think it will never last so you defend and prepare for that short fleeting moment to disappear.” – Nils

I think this was the same thing that Brene Brown was talking about in her book.

“Lack of self-confidence and being self-critical are defense mechanisms, a preparation for getting criticized by the outside world.” – Nils

Yep he’s totally right… I beat other people to the punch by punching myself because I always expect a punch to come and most of the time it doesn’t. I do this a lot and it’s totally unnecessary but I think I do it as a way to avoid criticism by just saying it first and laughing at myself first or getting down myself first.

“You get there before the punch and the aggressiveness with which you get there incentivizes her to throw the punch and she wasn’t even interested in throwing the punch because she liked it and then you got mad at her.” – Nils

I realize how ridiculous this is and it’s funny but kinda sad and stupid. We talked about this story in Episode 23 and I knew it was fucked up then which is why I brought it up then but I still didn’t understand why I did that. Now I think I understand why.

“That’s what we mean when we talk about self-sabotage.” – Nils

@34:00 – The first, best thing you can do

“… entirely frame your life around your social relationships.” – Tucker

We talk about why I do this… it’s more by watching my parents (early models for how to behave), than listening to them or even my genetic makeup.

“You need to make a conscious effort to go out and make the best possible friends you can. People who have the traits and attributes you want and who are doing the things you want to do… If you end up with 3-4 friends like Charlie, you will end up with a great life.” – Tucker

He says this and my gut reaction is: I don’t know how to make friends with people like this and why would they want to be friends with me. I wished I had brought this up during this episode.

@37:00 – New social goals to alongside dating

Tucker gives me stuff to do to change my thinking so it becomes a habit:

Every day, have at least 2-3 points of contact with friends AND 1-2 physical in person things with friends.

Find 4-5 social groups. So improv, Recess, a job / coworking space, crossfit or a gym. 4-5 communities / tribes that you’re in.

This is all in addition to meeting and dating women.

I’ve already started doing this and it’s working!

“And relationship maintenance is really important and that’s so hard for a lot of people but it’s so important for long-term friendships. If you start now and make a point of it (emails, text messages) that’s how you build those friendships and become a functional member of more tribes.” – Nils

“… because you are a good person …” – Tucker

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