The Lost Chapters

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.

And then...

Well, let's just keep that a surprise for now.

Stay tuned.


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:

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Finishing things.

I'm glad you came to a sense of "completing" your book. The one thing you got to understand is, life is like music. It's there to enjoy while you're creating it.

Phrasing Music (life) is creating little complete miniature works. That make up a volume of sorts, which we call a concerto or aria, or symphony.

Well that is all I have to say.

Thank you!!!

I can't wait to see the chapters come into my inbox. I've been waiting for this for a long time.


PJ sounds like we've been coming to the same conclusions. I'm famous for telling my friends take it easy, there is no prize, your value is in your being not what you produce, but don't practice that kind of thinking for myself. Instead I beat myself up over and over again for doing the same things I've always done!! Good to hear from you again.

P.J., I'm a little confused.

P.J., I'm a little confused. So is this incomplete version of 'TTD' going to have any of the new insights you've just had on how the key is getting rid of learned helplessness or not?

No, but you'll still need what's in it...

Because the techniques for getting rid of learned helplessness depend on many of the concepts and techniques you'll learn from the seven chapters.

can i have a copy of the chapters of your new book?

hi pje,
i came across your site 3 days back and i found your site resonating with various experiences(frequent mental blocks and action paralysis) that i undergo and questions that i ponder over. further more the hints that i find here are soo useful to me.

Can i have the chapters of your new book that you are sending to the members?

Thank you,

Just sign up for the list...

Each week I'm sending the new chapter, plus links to the older ones so you can catch up.

Are the chapters still

Are the chapters still available? I just found the site today, and signed up for the mailing list, but I did not receive the links to all of the chapters.

There will be more emails in the coming week

...with links to the chapters. I'll also be changing the signup list over to an autoresponder shortly as well.

Welcome Back

Your other post ended with you saying "it's good to be back" and so I just wanted to say it's great to have you back - I missed you. Your "wheel" analogy in the other post really resonated with me. I think I got squashed a few times this past year, but learned from it and have some exciting things in the works for this year as well. So I'm really looking forward to seeing where you go from here.


Please add your thoughts about personality changes. Changes about long-term thought process. Such as changing from immediate thoughts of jealousy or anger into something good or nothing at all. I've been trying to change how I think for 10 years and have had very little progress.


First, get out of my head, this works too well
Second, stop looking like me, It's eerie

Same eyebrows, hair, glasses, semi-beard, voice twist

Loved the info

I saw one of your video's on I found it really fascinating. And, yes it did make me want to clean my desk. I would love to see more of your info and videos. Keep up the great work!


Thank you PJ for your insights.
They give me insights too.

"Don't try to be perfect. (It's a struggle). You are perfect the way you are."
Now I can say to myself:
"Don't try to be perfect. I am perfect the way I am."

Still I want to become different, that's all.
Different perfect, that is. By choice.

Best wishes for 2011