23rd of November 2015

Helping Joe, Episode 40


Tucker is back on the podcast this week, and he is angry.

He, Charlie, and Nils dig into Joe’s emotional issues and work habits. There is a big reason why he doesn’t get anything done, and they help him realize that he has this anchor holding him down which he is emotionally attached to.

Joe also goes on a date with a girl who has heard the podcast.


You can click here (right click, then click save as) to download the episode directly.



This episode was sponsored by Criquet Shirts, a high quality clothing company that designs simple, comfortable, old-school polo shirts made from 100% organic cotton. They hooked Joe up with their polo shirts which are now the best shirts he owns. Go to and use the promo code MATE to get 20% off your order.


This episode is sponsored by Athletic Greens, the best whole foods green supplement out there, go to to get 50% off your first order.


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 – My 1,000+ pages notes

The loud slams or pounding noises you hear is Tucker throwing my lists and notes on the table. It was about 20 lbs. So many notes.

It was really weird and coincidental that their schedules and Tucker coming back lined up with the day of my birthday.

We start with the good stuff thank god because if we didn’t, we would have never gotten to this.

@3:00 – Great date at Vino Vino

I could tell she was free that night but I was thinking in my head that being too available = uncool, but got over that because I’m not cool and I am free so I we made plans to go to Vino Vino and it was one of the best dates I’ve been on in Austin. Everything just clicked, great chemistry, a lot of fun.

@11:00 – 2nd date, she knows I am on the podcast

I knew this would happen sooner or later and I guess there are enough articles about Mate and Tucker out there that they pop up in a google search of me and that’s how she found out.

This was funny because I think they expected me to freak out or lose my shit, but I didn’t, probably because I knew that she liked me a lot and liked her and it was a fun date. We were in bed when she said it, so it obviously wasn’t a bad thing even though I feel really self-conscious about it because all this personal information is out there for her to go through.

I fully expected any girl who found out about this to flip out or never contact me again. She did neither. It was actually kind of fun talking about it.

Talking about this on the podcast was really fun. They had a lot of good jokes.

She said she was too busy to listen to the 40+ hours that I have recorded on this podcast. And I believed her because she’s a full-time nurse, in graduate school, really busy and all that.

“You severely under-estimate what women will do to understand the men that they like.” – Tucker
“Especially when you tell them not to do it.” – Nils

But after they said this I was like “ah damnit”

@15:00 – She was worried about going out with me because of my profile

I guess I come off as kinda of quirky and weird on Hinge (and Tinder too). I have too many goofy pictures. I need to redo this, make it better.

@16:00 – Another girl I hooked up with but didn’t like

I didn’t really like her that much but still had sex with her and kind of regretted it right after it was over. I just wasn’t that into her but it still happened because I hadn’t had sex in a while and was a little drunk and wanted to see if I could do this, take a girl home the first night meeting her. It was fun but I just wasn’t feeling her and it’s hard to explain why. Like if I was into her, why did I have sex with her? I don’t know.

“You got my load. You don’t get my heart.” – Nils

This was one of the funniest jokes I’ve heard. Amazing.

“The best thing about this is that you understand your preferences and respect them and are moving in line with those.” – Tucker

@18:00 – People at improv found out that I work here and do the podcast

It was actually kind of fun talking to people about this and nowhere near as humiliating as I thought it would be.

“As a quick side note: again and again, every time you are courageous and dive deep into your problems, people respect you and compliment you and like you for it.” – Tucker

It was nice he said this before digging in and ripping me for making these nonsense lists. I appreciated this remark.

@ 20:00 – My lists

I really didn’t want to print all this out and thought they were kidding at first.

Tucker is exaggerating here but in general, he’s right. I spend more time making lists than actually getting stuff done.

“… and I might stab him.” – TUCKER

“This is called mentorship by the way.” – Nils

This was hilarious and perfectly timed joke from Nils.


“This is sad, and we are going to dig deep into who you are.” – Tucker

The Master List of master lists:


At first, the quote I got was ~ $1,100.

I’m not retarded. Fedex’s online software for sending in print jobs is horrendous but to be honest I also didn’t do anyting to change the settings and make the price lower because I didn’t want to do this. Nils and Charlie helped me lower the price on this.

At the end it was $101.93 for like 1,750+ pages

We talk about all these different lists. This was funny but painful.

@27:00 – Tucker reads off 1 Workflowy nested tab

It’s good he read this off so people could hear what this looks like, how ridiculous it is.

This is kind of funny. Charlie is laughing. This is painful for me. I was sweating while they were reading this.

“A lot of this is stuff we’ve told you, not bad info, but what is going on man? … You have taken the internet and put it into Workflowy.”
– Tucker

Yea I thought he was exaggerating and didn’t really hit me here, but he was right. I saved so much information it was like my own google or something.

@30:00 – Charlie reads journal entry I wrote about my dad

I was really worried about him reading this.

“If you feel something, you feel something.” – Tucker

Yea but I feel guilty for feeling this, for writing it, and for having it read on the podcast. I didn’t feel good about this at all.

It was just sad him reading this because I still feel that way sometimes. Also, I felt bad they (or I) put my dad out here like that on a podcast, kind of fucked up. He takes things really personally too so I know he would be upset if he heard this because I don’t talk about this stuff with him.

“Who does that sound like Joe? You do the exact same thing. Everything you described your dad does, you do… You just reflected yourself back to yourself … He engages in the same kinds of behaviors you engage in, just his version of them.”
– Nils

“It’s clear as day.” – Tucker

When Nils said this, I thought he was crazy and I want to disagree with this here but the more we got into this podcast, the more I realized he was right.

“He’s a flawed human being like all of us and we all have differing abilities and desires to deal with our issues and get past them to have effective relationships with people we love.” – Tucker

This sucks. This fucking sucks because I see his life and it’s not a fun future. I don’t want to be like that.

He’s frail and weak, maybe because he’s getting old. But still he could workout, lift weights, stay strong, do something but he doesn’t. He just goes for walks sometimes.

His wife, my stepmom, doesn’t control him but when I see them interact and talk he just always asks what she wants to do and follows along and does that. It’s like he’s lost the ability to think for himself or do what he wants to do when she’s around.

At least that’s how it appears to me. And maybe he’s happy in that relationship but it doesn’t seem like it. I think in some ways he’s living an apology for fucked up shit he did years ago.

He and her built a fancy house in an expensive neighborhood because my stepmom always wanted to build her dream home even though she is a teacher who never made enough $ to do that. This was a fucking retarded decision and I was upset about it for a number of reasons. But I kept my mouth shut because it would have just led to a stupid argument and him being angry or stubborn. I remember reading Walden and thinking, “my dad built his own prison.”

I stopped looking up to my dad probably when I was 19 or 20. I don’t ask him for advice because if it’s not something hands on or technical like a low level car or house or money problem, it’s a waste of time. There’s been maybe a handful of times where he’s given me great life advice.

I’m rambling too much here. This stuff probably doesn’t even belong here but oh well.

@35:00 – Back to my lists

“This is 1,000 pages of inaction.” – Tucker

“It’s regurgitated information that you haven’t done anything with.” – Nils

“Reading is fantastic, the desire to learn, curiosity, is fine. 1,000 pages is not that.”
– Tucker

@36:00 – We talk about OCD

I think the point Tucker was getting at was that I use making lists and saving information as a way to stay in control of my life or emotion.

“It’s a way to exert control in a world where they feel powerless and controlless.”
– Tucker

@38:00 – Collecting and processing information

I first started doing this, collecting stuff and saving it for someday after reading Getting Things Done a long time ago.

I reread that book to prepare for this podcast and kind of self-diagnose what my problem was.

According to that book and system, I had too many collection buckets / baskets, too many apps like Evernote, Workflowy, OneTab, and I never processed anything I was collecting so it just built up and got out of control.

Anyways that’s what I thought my problem was. It was just a matter of processing the stuff I was collecting. I didn’t think about why I felt like I had to collect so much stuff.

@40:00 – What happened in your life that started this? – Nils

This was a really good question. Tucker thought that I had been doing this my whole life but I knew that wasn’t right because I hadn’t so Nils asked this.

I quit school and left home.

“You removed the two major forms of certainty in your life. The rigid structure of higher education and where you came from.” – Nils

“You’re using external forms of control for all the internal chaos because you can’t deal with stuff on the inside so you deal with stuff on the outside.” – Nils

On the podcast I didn’t understand this and didn’t catch this last part because I was still thinking about the first part of what he said, how leaving school and moving might have caused this behavior and how it fucked me up. My mind was kind of blown and I was trying to think back to that time and figure out if this was really the case. It was just a lot to take in and there were certain points like here where I zoned out and wasn’t focused on exactly what they were saying.

“In their (OCD people) head, washing their hands relieved their anxiety, out of control feeling, then it became a habit.” – Tucker

I went home and spent the next week deleting lists, trying not to make new ones, and observing this behavior, why do I make a list, what causes it? I do this exact same thing as OCD person if I feel uneasy, bad, anxious about something, I make a list of things I can do to research a problem or solve the problem and fix it, then I feel better because I know there are things I can do to get out of this hole, but then instead of doing the stuff on that list, I file the list away somewhere to take action on later and never get anything on that list done because I lose it in this collection of nonsense. So long-term my problems don’t change, but short-term I feel better.

“That’s one of the best ways to relieve anxiety and get organized. I do that everyday, but I don’t have 1,000 pages of lists.” – Tucker

@45:00 – What if we burned or deleted all of this?

“Give me 2 things that are important to you that you engage with.” – Nils

I said the todo list and the book list, but it’s funny as Nils pointed out with the book list, 90% of the books I read come from the recommendations they make on this podcast here. The other 10% come from friends or random books I pick up or books I reread. 0 come from any of the 72 pages of booklists.

“What on this 1,000 pages is something that you use? That you need for something in your life going forward?” – Tucker

WHAT WOULD BE VERY BAD IF YOU LOST THIS? I don’t know. My to-do list I guess, but I think that’s it, and we get into this because it’s 105 pages which isn’t a todo list.

“How much of that do you think you value based on the effort you took to compile them?” – Nils

He was asking if I wanted to hold on to it just because I spent so much time collecting them, like the sunk cost fallacy I think.

And part of this was right on, like I didn’t want to lose what I had in Evernote or what I had in past folders and docs of old work just because I had built that up over years.

Tucker reads part of my todo list. This is embarrassing. I feel like the same way I did when I let Charlie into my shitty room to show him how I was living. I was just embarrassed and like “yea I need to clean this up and improv it.”

“The internet is a giant todo list according to your definition of a todo list.” – Nils

“This is Joe’s therapy.” – Tucker

I didn’t understand this when he said it here but it became blatantly clear later in the podcast. These lists serve no other purpose outside of being a coping mechanism to feel like I’m making progress or doing something when I’m really not. And I feel better after making these lists.

@51:00 – They say I’m a hoarder with my lists and my room.

I admitted that I was an INFORMATIONAL hoarder but they took it a step further with my old room situation.

“You used trash as a trash can.” – Charlie

“What you are doing is worse because at least a hoarder can leave their house. What you are doing is clogging up your brain. You can’t escape your brain, which is where all this comes from.” – Nils

“Just like OCD people, you have done the exact same thing with keeping these lists and these notes and Nils nailed the timing.” – Tucker

@53:00 – “The next step for you was homeless.” – Tucker

Tucker was wrong and exaggerating here to prove this point.

“It is getting worse, not better.” – Nils

“You were going to what Charlie just read [about your dad]. Your trend line was going directly to who your father is now and the aspects that you are revolted by.”
– Tucker

“My point was that what you described about your father inspired a sense of revulsion and the irony there is that the behaviors you were describing are behaviors you currently exhibit.” – Nils

On some level yes, but I don’t think so.

“The more you disagree, the easier it is for us to understand the flaws in your thinking.” – Tucker

Wow this was such a great piece of advice and quite empowering to speak up about something.

“He has TV. You have the internet.” – Nils

“You have picked an anxiety relieving method that looks more productive so you can convince yourself that you are different… in a weird way that’s more insidious… that’s why you should burn it.”
– Tucker

“You don’t trust Google? How many times on this podcast has one of us said something and you GOOGLE IT because you don’t believe us!” – Charli e

@59:00 – Burning is a symbol

“When you burn it, it’s a way of severing that tie in your head and understanding you are going to move forward in a different way.” – Tucker

“If that stuff was important, you’d use it. It’s not going to go anywhere. It’s information.” – Nils

“It will be important someday, then I won’t have it.” – Me

“That’s what hoarders say about receipts.” – Nils

Yea I have a pile of receipts in my closet too. I don’t know why, just in case I guess.

“This is literally dialogue from the show Hoarders.” – Tucker

I talked about my uncle who is a legit hoarder.

“He’s dying of cancer and still won’t let that stuff go. Does that not explain how deeply strong those emotional ties are.” – Tucker

“You know that claim is absurd because you have no track record of doing it.”
– Nils

I know that I’ve never used this stuff in the past or read or done anything with it but I still feel this need to hold on to it or categorize it and save it and not let it go.

“It’s your way of avoiding action. What if you just deleted all of it and just focused on action? ” – Tucker

Tucker has 2 lists:
-Must do now
-Can wait (What’s coming next)

“What if you decided nothing goes on this list unless you have to do it today or this week?” –

“How about no lists ever?” – Charlie

This sounds retarded. Then I just have to remember everything and keep it in my head then I’ll forget about stuff and miss things for sure.

But it would probably be better than the bullshit I’m dong now. Doing the extreme opposite and seeing what happens sounds like a good experiment but I don’t think that I can do this.

“This is how you alleviate guilt, by writing it down.” – Tucker

Yea this is so true, ahah, I would send him lists of stuff I wanted to do as a way to show him I was doing things without actually doing them. I’m still doing this.

“But you never go back and do it so it’s not important and doesn’t need to be done.” – Tucker

Tucker is blowing up here and rightfully so. It doesn’t make any sense, why do this, or why I want to keep this stuff. But I can’t just delete it all. I can delete some of it.

“It’s stuff I want to do.” – Me

“It’s stuff you want to do, not stuff you have to do.” – Nils

“He wants to want to do it.” – Tucker

“You want to be the kind of guy who wants to do that stuff.” – Nils

Yes that’s totally true. I want to be that guy but I’m not doing anything to get there except making lists and taking notes, filing them away to do some day. This is so sad and depressing. This list and note building is basically meaningless nonsense. It sucks. It’s garbage.

Join the Mating Grounds Mailing List

Get the voicemail number to ask us your questions directly: