In the roughly 18 months since I first decided to write Thinking Things Done, I've actually produced enough written and recorded audio and video materials to fill, not just one book, but five or six.
Of course, I didn't produce that material for the book. It was for the regular activities of my Mind Hackers' Guild membership, as well as for subscribers to my monthly newsletter and CD program.
But, in the course of producing all that material, it has become increasingly apparent to me that there was simply no way I was going to achieve all the goals I'd set out to accomplish in Thinking Things Done, with just one book.
The simple truth is, I was trying to write at least three separate books in Thinking Things Done:
A book about what natural struggling is, and how to stop it
A book about what natural motivation is, and how to get it
A book about powerful mental techniques for planning, decisionmaking, habit creation, and other traditional "productivity" topics
And aside from the fact that such a book would've been maybe 600 pages long, it would've been far too chaotic and rambling - an issue that was already quite apparent to me when I first stopped writing new chapters in 2009.
(Indeed, a literary agent who read the first half dozen chapters last year even suggested to me that perhaps the book I should be writing instead, might be called "Naturally Successful" or "Naturally Struggling".)
But I spent most of the last year in denial about this, planning to "get back to it" at some point and somehow make it work. Every few weeks I'd take another go at redoing the chapter outline, trying to squeeze fifteen pounds of feed into a five pound sack.
And it just wasn't working.
Of course, if you're been a member of the Mind Hackers' Guild, you've already seen, heard, or read everything that I've produced in the last year or two on these topics, and had a chance to take advantage of the techniques.
(In fact, one prominent Guild member (Bryan Todd, co-author of The Definitive Guide To Google Adwords), saw such improvements in his ability to handle both big projects and the small daily annoyances of work, that he got me a gig hosting a sort of private internet radio business advice show, called "The Leverage Point with P.J. Eby". On it, I'll be answering business productivity and business process improvement questions from members of Perry Marshall & Associates' subscription programs, such as Renaissance Club and Mastermind Club.)
But if you're not a Mind Hackers' Guild member, then all you've really seen of the work I've been doing is a couple of sample chapters and the occasional special report or blog posting... and I haven't been doing much blog posting in the last six months, either, for reasons explained on my main blog.
And I've come to realize that while I knew an awful lot about getting started, when I started the book... and learned a lot more about focusing, while I was trying to write it....
There was something important that I hadn't yet learned about finishing, that I only recently discovered.
Specifically, a mental block I had, that kept me from declaring anything finished, in the sense of "complete". I was never really satisfied with anything I did as a completed and standalone course or book or workshop, because...
There was always something that could be improved.
It wasn't perfectionism as such - I was perfectly okay with producing and delivering "imperfect" materials to Guild members. Instead, I had a distinct aversion to ever announcing or offering for sale anything as a finished product.
Now, as I mentioned in the very first chapter of Thinking Things Done, it's always easier to see the bugs in other people's brains than in your own. And many people had pointed out this little "but it's not really finished" quirk of mine to me, but of course, as is usually the case with our brain bugs, I felt that they "just didn't understand". I mean, this stuff really wasn't finished, after all...
But not too long ago, I was trying to figure out why I was always setting unrealistic goals in an attempt to please people, and I stumbled onto the actual bug in my brain that was doing both things.
When I was little, I learned that I didn't have the right to declare something finished or completed. Because, whenever I told my mother I had cleaned my room or finished my chores, she found something wrong with them that I hadn't done, and yelled at me for claiming to be finished. I quickly learned to do things like asking her to take a look at my work (but not claiming to be finished), and to downplay all my accomplishments with, "well, I'm making progress, but it's not really finished yet..."
And it's pretty obvious that I've been doing this for my entire life since then.
So it's time for me to make a change.
Instead of continuing to fret over having the perfectly "finished" outline, or the perfectly finished book, I've decided to do something completely different.
First of all, I'm going to declare what I currently have done on the book "finished"... as in "Thinking Things Done, The Incomplete Edition". And I'm going to send it to everyone I promised a copy, as a series of 7 chapters via email.
These seven chapters lay out the groundwork for everything else I do and teach, which is why I've already been giving them to new Mind Hackers' Guild members for about a year now. In particular, beginning with chapter 3, they teach the essential basic mind-hacking skills of RMI, somatic marker checking, positive motivation, and negative feeling elimination.
So, I'll be sending these out, one per week, beginning on Friday, February 12th, continuing through March 12th.
And while that's going on, I'm also going to be doing something else.
Specifically, I'll be reviewing the tons and tons of finished material I've produced in the last couple of years, looking for the newsletters, CDs, and workshops that most succinctly conveyed the key ideas that I wanted to put out in the "finished" book, and even more specifically, the ideas that actually ended up making a difference in my own life.
Well, let's just keep that a surprise for now.
P.S. If you want the free chapters, make sure you're on my mailing list. If you heard about this page from me in your email, you're already on it. If not, sign up here:
Last week, I sent out a copy of chapter 1 to everyone on the waiting list, and a lot of people sent in comments and stories about it. And it sounds like a lot of people can hardly wait for chapter 2... let alone the rest of the book!
"Your first chapter sounds like you were describing me! Your thoughts about successful vs struggling people make so much sense." -- Sue M.
"I am a sceptic, for all the reasons that you've given in your first chapter, but what you have written is very compelling, and from having read your work in the past, you have a very practical, down to earth approach that (if it works) sounds very exciting to this old procrastinator. I am looking forward to your book!" -- Jim van M.
"I read chapter 1 outloud to my husband and we totally related to what you wrote....
We are waiting with baited breath to find out how to activate our robots. I am a natural struggler and my husband is a semi-natural struggler. He hasn't always had a lot of trouble but the stress of dealing with a long term health condition has thrown him off balance. I, on the other hand, had the ability to turn anything in to a struggle, right from birth!
You have got our attention. I am planning to share as much of this as I can with my 17 yr. old who despite being very intelligent, likely could be diagnosed as ADD. I'm hoping he might learn something helpful before creating a mess in his life like the one in his room. Thanks for letting us in on your discoveries!" -- Lisa I.
"Thanks PJ. I have read and found the chapter a page-turner. It creates the high curiosity element, for me at least, to get to the next chapters. Good if this momentum is maintained throughout the book." -- Mohamed R.
"...Promises to be very different and helpful. I'm currently writing my first novel but my defeating behaviour keeps threatening to stop my progress and get me to quit. I want to finish my goal and become a published author this time. I just turned 39 and I think now is the time to reach my dream. My whole life has been a series of failures and disappointments but I know that deep inside I'm more than that. I'm better than that. Thank you," -- Olga P.
"The first chapter is brilliant and I'm on the hook. I'm in waiting mode cause I feel like anything else I try is just more of the same and I want to bloody get on with it.... I'm exactly like you in that I have a library of self help and it never made the difference.... Is there anything I can do (money?) to get my hands on this info faster? Is it available to clients? Either way let me know. Thanks!" -- John McN.
"Is there any way I can get the rest right away? I need to seriously change things now. My marriage may depend on it. I'd really appreciate it." -- Danny McD.
Well, if you're anxiously awaiting the rest of the book, you'll be very happy to know that I plan to send out Chapter 2 a little later this week. (And I'll include a link to Chapter 1, in case you missed it the first time around.)
Plus, I'll also be making a special, private announcement about a way you can get the rest of the book much sooner than everybody else... and about a special, members-only webinar where I'll be answering YOUR questions *live*.... about New Year's resolutions, willpower, and a whole lot more.
So, if you're not already on the mailing list, be sure to sign up here:
P.S. If you've already read Chapter 1 and would like to share your thoughts, please add your comments here. Thanks!
It's kind of tough to write a book while fighting carpal tunnel syndrome. (Especially when your desktop publishing software keeps screwing up the table of contents, too!)
Anyway, I'm now close to halfway through the writing, and barring any more flare-ups or software problems, I should be done in mid-to-late January.
I'm really excited about what I've written so far, because even though I've been teaching a ton of this stuff in my seminars, newsletters, and CDs, I've never put it all down in one place, as a complete SYSTEM before, and it's awesome. I'm actually discovering new things as I put it all together, and it's going to take my work to a whole different level in the new year.
During the countdown to the launch of the book, I'll be sending out a lot of goodies (including several sample chapters) to everyone who's on the waiting list. So if you're not already signed up, fill out the little form below. You'll also get immediate access to the "prequel" e-book ("Why Can't I Change?"), and various videos, special reports, etc.
Josh is a long-time member of my self-improvement group (The Owners' Circle), and a naturally successful person in his own right. In this recording, he and I have a bit of fun back-and-forth about his current projects, swap success and failure stories, and generally use him as an illustration of how "naturally successful" people usually think.
In the book survey, a lot of people have been asking me questions like, "How can I change the beliefs that are keeping me from getting things done?" and "How can I do things when I just don't feel like it?"
Well, I'll be answering these questions fully in the book, of course, but later this week I'll also be shooting a video with my fellow NLP guru Bruce Muzik (of "Relax and Attract" fame), and we'll be giving you some things you can use right now.
But first, here's a little sneak preview of what we'll be talking about, that's also an excerpt from the book version of Thinking Things Done.
I've put together a 2-page PDF on my "Seven Laws of Belief", including a worksheet that takes you through much of the belief-change process we're going to teach. Download it here and check it out. Then, keep an eye out for the videos that go with it!
P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment below to let me know what you think, or if you have any questions, so I can be sure to cover them in the coming videos.
Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month since I released the last video. Time flies when you're having fun... or when you're sufficiently busy!
I've been hard at work outlining the major parts of the book, deciding what techniques to include, how to sequence the concepts, etc. I did a simple cover sketch on a 4x6 card, and carried it around with me for a while. Then, just this weekend, I did a full cover design -- and reworked the website graphics to match.
I went on the road to spend a weekend with a client of mine, filming a case study -- some of that will probably turn up in various videos going forward, although I'm still reviewing the footage.
I've also created a new "prequel" e-book, called "Why Can't I Change? The Real Reason Why Trying Harder Doesn't Make You Any More Successful"; you can download it for free by registering here.
Last, but far from least, I've been working out deals with authors and publishers of various self-improvement products to provide them with videos, articles, and other material so they can let their readers and customers know about the book, in exchange for commissions and/or cross-promotion. It's pretty exciting, because other authors and speakers usually ask the best questions and it has certainly given me a lot of new ideas for videos, and even some things to add to the book.
Meanwhile, I'm hard at work on the next video, "interior design" of the book, and of course, writing. I've also been applying one of the new techniques I came up with just for the book, and it has really boosted not only my productivity, but my energy as well. Can't wait to share it later!
(P.S. If you're in the "online information publishing" business and are interested in doing something together, drop me a note via my contact form, and I'll point you to the background info I've prepared for potential partners.)
In the survey, a lot of people have been asking questions like:
How to keep doing things instead of just thinking about them?
How can I continuously turn a sense of "lock-up" into a flow from idea to action?
How do I find the motivation to get started?
How to stop reading self-help books and start doing?
So I created this little 10-minute training video to answer them. In it, I explain how to use natural "pull" motivation to instantly turn thoughts into action... the way the thought of having some chocolate cake can quickly turn into action!
So watch, learn, and enjoy! Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment here, to let me know what you think.
Every day, I set out to make a video. And every day, I "failed" to do so. So within just a few days, I felt absolutely miserable.
It took longer than I expected to work through the fears, doubts, and limiting beliefs that were in my way. Although each was permanently banished within an hour or less, there were a whole lot more of them than I thought there'd be!
There were all sorts of beliefs I battled, ranging from the idea that I need to "work for a living" and "life is a burden" to a bizarre fear of fear itself, to worries about how the video would be received or how I'd be perceived by the people watching it.
I deleted each and every one from my brain, but when the dust cleared, something unusual happened...
I just stumbled onto this "tip sheet" from the "National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization" (by way of 43 Folders), and I thought I would share it with you... because it's utter bullshit and completely useless.
Tip #1 is, "Remember that it is motivation that gets you started and habits that keep you going. Resolve to get started." WTF? How is that in any way a tip? That's like that old stock market "tip": buy low, sell high. Thank you, Captain Obvious!
And in the classic self-constradictory style of these nonsensical tip sheets, tip #4 tells us that what's delayed is often forgotten, but #5 starts out with "Delay until you have enough information"!
And the rest of it, of course, is either meaningless drivel or pointless twaddle that adds more things to your to-do list, instead of giving you less to do.
This is exactly the sort of crap that drove me to figuring out my own self-help methods in the first place. People need REAL answers, not mindless pablum. They need to know HOW to get started -- and "resolving" is definitely not how you do it.
In fact, "resolving" is a terrific way to de-motivate yourself, because it's basically preparing your mind and body for conflict. When you narrow your eyes, grit your teeth, and generally tense up your body, you're telling it, "I'm about to get into a fight." Not helpful.
What you want to be doing to get started is tapping into desire instead: pull motivation, not push. More on that soon.
So, I spent the last couple of days wrestling with video equipment, scripting and F/X planning, and a bit of time on the book design. Actually, I probably spent even more time wrestling with myself, to overcome a bunch of emotional distractions like:
frustration with being behind (compared to my over-idealistic initial schedule)
fear that my training videos will be too boring (or alternatively, not communicate enough)
feeling like I can't just relax and enjoy the process... like I had to work hard and stress, even if I'm doing what I want to be
And I'm pretty sure that's only half the real list, but I've already forgotten the rest. (The best and worst thing about making rapid personality changes using my "mind hacking" techniques is that they tend to create amnesia for the old belief or behavior, because it seems so unnatural once you've stopped believing or doing it!)
But my brain isn't the only thing that needed a bit of cleanup. Check out this YouTube video I just uploaded, that shows precisely how messy my office is. (Plus, it even has a couple of productivity-related tips, because you know I can't pass up an opportunity to teach something, once I've got an audience!)
So have a look at it, then leave me a comment below (here, not on YouTube!) and tell me what you think:
P.S. Be sure to sign up for a free copy of the book, too. Please note that I won't be leaving that option up forever, though, because at some point I've got to stop collecting questions and start answering them. ;-)