If It Doesn’t Suck, It’s Not Worth Doing

By Benjamin P. Hardy, medium.comDecember 21st, 2016

According to psychological research, the anticipation of an event is almost always more emotionally powerful than the event itself.

The dread of asking your boss for a raise is paralyzing and can last months. Yet, once you get yourself to finally do it, it’s over before you know it. The excitement of attaining some object or objective can become obsessive. Yet, shortly after you obtain your desire, you’re bored and in search of something else. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them,” says Dr. Thomas Gilovich, Cornell psychologist.

Interestingly, your mind can seduce you so much so that the idea of something becomes more satisfying than the thing itself, so you stop at the idea and never make it real. Thus, in his new book, Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday explains that a primary obstacle to success is the idea of success.

It’s so easy to dream.

It’s easy to tell people about your ambitions. It’s easy to create vision boards and write down your goals. It’s easy to stand in front of a mirror and declare affirmations.

And that’s where most people stop.

The very act of dreaming stops you from achieving your dreams.

You’ve played-it out in your mind with such intoxicating detail that you become satisfied enough. You become numbed. And you deceive yourself into believing you’ve actually done something productive.

Consequently, when you attempt the activity itself, you immediately hit a stone wall of resistance. More often than not, you quickly distract yourself from the discomfort with some form of momentary pleasure. Yet, Robert Greene explains in his book, Mastery, that you can learn to love this internal resistance. In his words, “You find a kind of perverse pleasure in moving past the pain this might bring.”

How To Get Out Of Your Rut

In his book, Living with a SEAL, Jesse Itzler tells the story of being inspired by a certain Navy SEAL and consequently inviting him to live at Itzler’s home for a month. Itzler admitted being in a personal rut and wanted to shake himself out of his routine.

Day 1: “SEAL” asked Itzler, “How many pull-ups can you do?” Itzler squeaked out eight shaky pull-ups.

“Take 30 seconds and do it again,” SEAL said. 30 seconds later, Itzler got on the bar and did six, struggling.

“Take 30 seconds and do it one more time,” SEAL said. 30 seconds later, Itzler got on the bar and did three, at which point his arms were exhausted.

“Alright, we’re not leaving here until you do 100 more,” SEAL stated. Itzler was puzzled. “Alright, we’re gonna be here a long-time. Cause there’s no way I could do 100.” However, Itzler ended-up completing the challenge, doing one pull-up at a time. Thus, SEAL convinced Itzler that he could do way more than he thought he could.

The principle SEAL taught is what he calls the 40% rule — which essentially means people feel maxed-out mentally and physically, and thus stop, when they are at only 40% of their actual capacity. Going past this 40% capacity is when it becomes uncomfortable. Thus, SEAL’s mantra, “If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.”

The Power Of Objective-Based Pursuits

“The pain is a kind of challenge your mind presents — will you learn how to focus and move past boredom, or like a child will you succumb to the need for immediate pleasure and distraction?” — Robert Greene

Like Itzler who shattered a mental barrier by completing 100 pull-ups, you too can get out of your rut by pursuing tangible objectives.

The concept is: Do something and don’t stop until it’s complete, no matter how long it takes.

Your goal is to learn how to accomplish hard things without continuously distracting yourself. You want to develop what Greene calls “A perverse pleasure” in experiencing internal conflict, and sitting with it.

This concept is embedded in Crossfit. Unlike most people, who check their smartphones between exercise “sets,” at Crossfit, you have a specific objective and you kill yourself until it’s done.

If it doesn’t suck, we don’t do it.

You can apply this principle to anything and everything. You can do a homework assignment and just do it until it’s complete. You can write an article and stick-to-it until it’s published. You can do 100 pull-ups, or run 5 miles, and go until you’re done. Who cares how long it takes?

The Greatest Opportunity In History

In his book, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport states the following:

“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”

Without question, we live in the most distracted time in human history. It is almost impossible to remain focused on a single-task for more than a few minutes at a time.

The law of opposites is in affect. With every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. While most of the world is becoming increasingly distracted, a select few are capitalizing on this fact.

Hence, Economist Tyler Cowan has said, “Average is over.” The middle-class is gone. Either you’re among the select few who are thriving, or you’re like most people who are distracted, overweight, and struggling.

The choice is yours.

When something sucks, do you quit? Or do you push-through and eventually enjoy the satisfaction of growth and success?

Anything worth doing is going to suck at the beginning. Anything worth doing is meant to require pain and sacrifice. Herein lies the problem facing America, which originally was built on the moral of impulse control. What once used to be a country filled with people sacrificing momentary pleasure for a better future, the overpowering message of today is live for the moment.

And that’s exactly what people do. They live for this moment. Consequently, when something sucks, or becomes hard, most people quit. Most people indulge themselves in momentary satisfaction at the expense of a better future.

To make matters worse, the twin “truth” of today’s culture is love yourself for who you are. The self-esteem movement of the late 20th century is an enormous contributor to America’s faltering success.

People are taught to love themselves regardless of their performance. Thus, they justify mediocrity. Yet, Asian’s and other immigrant groups who often are considered to have low self-esteem consistently outperform American’s who have high self-esteem.

Unlike in other parts of the world where hard work is seen as a virtue, the repeated phrase in America is: “Don’t work too hard!” Success these days is to get as much as you can for as little work as possible.

In the book, The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld explain that most successful people not only control their impulses, but also have an implicit sense of inferiority.

These people may have confidence, yet, they remain unsure of themselves. They have a chip on their shoulder due to being oppressed in some way. So they continuously push themselves, regardless of how successful they become, to prove themselves. They are never satisfied with what they’ve done. They continue to feel inferior.

These very traits are awarded in today’s economy because they are so rare. Again, few people control their impulses, but instead live for the moment. And few people, especially in America, have any sense of inferiority. Rather, most people have bought into the myth that you must first love yourself before you can become successful.


True confidence is earned. It’s earned by succeeding. Not by wishing for success.

True confidence emerges when you consistently push-through things that suck. The longer you sit with the boredom, pain, and discomfort — and actually create something meaningful, the more confident and successful you will be.

Hence, Ryan Holiday explains in an interview with Lewis Howes: you are rewarded for the work you actually accomplish. Not the promises you make.

Doing the work is hard.

Getting into elite physical condition is brutal.

Building deep and committed relationships is nearly impossible. Most marriages end in divorce.

Developing deep spiritual maturity requires giving-up who you want to be for who you really are.

All of these things “suck,” at least initially, and in-the-moment. However, if it doesn’t suck, it’s not worth doing. And you absolutely can learn to endure the discomfort of the moment to build a life worth having.

If you’re stuck in a rut, like Itzler, challenge yourself to complete specific objectives — no matter how long they take.

Pleasure Vs. Happiness

“A life that doesn’t include hard-won accomplishment and triumph over obstacles may not be a satisfying one. There is something deeply fulfilling — even thrilling — in doing almost anything difficult extremely well. There is a joy and pride that come from pushing yourself to another level or across a new frontier. A life devoted only to the present — to feeling good in the now — is unlikely to deliver real fulfillment. The present moment by itself it too small, too hollow. We all need a future. Something beyond and greater than our own present gratification, at which to aim or feel we’ve contributed.” — The Triple Package

True happiness — joy — is fundamentally different than momentary pleasure. Not to say momentary pleasure is inherently bad. However, it often gets in the way of something more real and lasting.

Anything worth doing brings a satisfaction that distraction never can. Don’t give into the resistance. Push through the difficulty. That’s where a joy that those who stop will never taste.

Said Geologist James Talmage:

“Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it brings no regret, entails no remorse. True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of pleasure may leave a barbed sting, [as] an ever-present source of anguish.”


Doctors: Seriously, Stop Sticking Q-Tips In Your Ears

Originally written in Gizmodo by Ryan F. Mandelbaum.
I tingle just thinking about the full-body sensation accompanying a Q-tip exploring the inside of my ear canal. But the guilt-ridden pleasure is always followed by a nagging mother whisper: “don’t put anything smaller than your elbow into your ear!” Well, scientists have decided to amplify that whisper.

 The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation published an updated set of guidelines on managing ear gunk today in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. The recommendations don’t contain many surprises, but they’ll definitely give you another reason to worry—screw around inside your ears too much and you might give yourself earwax impaction, which is basically a stuffy nose for your ear.

Earwax, also known as cerumen, is essentially the snot that serves to grease up the inside of your ears and trap any invading dirt particles. Your body normally deals with earwax buildups just fine, by circulating old wax out of the ear where it crusts up on its own, and by growing more skin cells, according to the report. If that process breaks down, though, earwax might build up in your ears, making it difficult to hear or resulting in a feeling of stuffiness. Around 10 percent of children and five percent of adults suffer from this problem, with numbers higher in older or developmentally-delayed folks. New data on cerumen impaction motivated the release of new recommendations for how to deal with it.

 The report can be summarized as follows:
  • Don’t clean your ears too much.
  • Don’t put small things like Q-tips into your ear. Sorry, I know, but Q-tips can push earwax further inside your head, making impaction worse or irritating the inside of your ear.
  • Call a doctor if you have symptoms like ear pain, hearing loss or stuffy-headedness that might not be from earwax.
  • If you’re suffering from earwax buildup, ask your doctor about safe ways to treat it.

And don’t even try ear candling, an alternative medicine procedure that involves lighting a candle over your ear to try and draw the wax out. It doesn’t make any sense and you’ll probably just get candle wax in your ears.

Your biggest takeaway should be that the earwax belongs inside your ears, and if you do end up with earwax impaction, call your doctor who can remove the wax manually.

[American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery]


How do I get better at networking?

Answer by Zack Freedman:

The Rules of Networking:

  1. Networking is bullshit. You don’t “network”, you meet people. Get out of the results-oriented mindset and enjoy the conversations. Be a goddamn human about it. Put down your phone, because…
  2. Comfort zones are bullshit. The only network worth having is one that has a diverse group. Wide and shallow is the name of the game. With a wide network, you have more interesting conversations, more options for solving problems, and more ears on the ground to spot trends. Grow some balls, leave your silo, and make friends with people who are utterly unlike you. Twitter and Facebook shield you, which is why…
  3. Social media is bullshit. Talk to people in the real world. A lot. Expand your options using meetups, clubs, mixers, and getting friends to drag you along to their social stuff. Try and talk to everyone at the event. Ignore your business cards, because…
  4. Business cards are bullshit. There’s exactly one reason to use a card – you take their card because you want to follow up on something they said. They like old Benzes and you have a friend who collects them? Ask for their card, write “Connect w Jeff re Benzes” on the front, pocket the card, and follow up with it. Don’t give out your card unless asked, because…
  5. “Let’s talk later” is bullshit. They’ll never follow up with you. The ball is firmly in your court. If the conversation went well, call them back within two days, link them with what you wrote down, and check in every two weeks or so. Two weeks?! Yes, because…
  6. You never stop selling. You never stop shipping. Your life is vibrant, fascinating, and fast-moving. Every week, you have new people to connect and new developments to tell others about. And you do so.Your regular contact builds friends. Your excitement makes them want to listen. Your activity spreads the word that you get things done.

    Conversations aren’t “How are you doing? Fine, how are you?” They’re real, visceral, and worthwhile. Most importantly, you’re actually helping people, and that’s why you start networking in the first place.

How do I get better at networking?

Why are people tired after over sleeping?

Answer by Nipun Sher:

Situation: You are so drowned in school or office work that you hardly get time to sleep on weekdays. You tell yourself that you will make up for the lack of sleep (sleep debt) on weekends. In fact, this promise of make-up sleep is one of the things that keeps you going. The much-awaited weekend comes and you try to “catch up” on lost sleep by sleeping longer hours, only to find out that you feel even more tired after waking up than sleeping in. Instead of feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, you feel sluggish and incapacitated.

I bet everyone has faced such a situation at one point of time or the other. So, what’s going on? And, why does it happen?


Big ol’ bum aka Body clock | Image Source: Lucid Communications

Basically, your body clock is a big ol’ bum. It has a penchant for following a regular routine (Circadian rhythm). When you oversleep, you mess up this routine. Big ol’ bum doesn’t like it and just goes bonkers. This results in a situation where your internal clock and body are not in sync. Due to this disruption in rhythm, your sleep cycle goes haywire and you end up feeling groggy and fatigued. This is very similar to how you feel when you are jet lagged.

Time for some definitions:

Sleep cycle: The sleep cycle lasts anywhere between 80-120 minutes, with the average being 90 minutes. Also, the average person has approximately 5 cycles every night, which amounts to a total of 7.5 hours.

Stages of Sleep Cycle | Image Source: Sleep Cycles. Sleep for Kids

Now, when you oversleep, you extend the number of sleep cycles. Generally, when you wake up, it is usually in the middle of a cycle. If it is during deep sleep or the REM stage of the cycle, you can end up feeling lethargic and spent. Additionally, the quality of sleep matters, too. If you spend more time in Stage 1 (lightest sleep), you will end up having a poor-quality sleep overall. As a result, you would try to compensate for the lack of quality with increased quantity, i.e., you will tend to oversleep.

Sleep debt: It is the deficit in sleep caused by the lack of enough sleep.
From Scientific American:

Sleep debt is the difference between the amount of sleep you should be getting and the amount you actually get.

Source: Can You Catch Up on Lost Sleep?

Sleep inertia: A body in sleep will want to stay in sleep unless an external force, such as Mom’s kick in the tush, is applied to it.

Jokes apart, sleep inertia may result in making you feel groggy after you’ve overslept. Here’s the definition from a research study on it:

Sleep inertia is the impaired cognitive performance immediately upon awakening, which decays over tens of minutes. This phenomenon has relevance to people who need to make important decisions soon after awakening, such as on-call emergency workers.

Source: Sleep inertia results in cognitive impairment

Oversleeping, it is believed, may cause you to experience sleep inertia more often. It is due to this, you feel the need to go back to sleep after waking up.
This state of sleep inertia, if severe enough, can also lead to a condition called sleep drunkenness or confused arousal.

Sleep drunkenness (SD) consists of difficulty in coming to complete wakefulness accompanied by confusion, disorientation, poor motor coordination, slowness, and repeated returns to sleep.

Source: Hypersomnia With Sleep Drunkenness

A study [1] published in the Neurology journal found that nearly 15% of us, or 1 in 7 people, suffer from sleep drunkenness. This “drunken stupor,” in severe cases, can also result in violent reactions and amnesia.

Oversleeping, if done once in a while, doesn’t result in any health risks; however, if you find yourself habitually oversleeping (Hypersomnia), it can cause serious health issues. A study done by Harvard [2] found that those who slept between 9-11 hours every night were more likely to develop a heart condition and/or develop some memory-related issues. Some other studies [3] have linked long-term oversleeping to diabetes, obesity, and even early death.

Other Factors

Even if you sleep regularly for 7-8 hours every night, you may still wake up feeling out of sorts and unrefreshed. This could be due to some underlying disorders:

Obstructive sleep apnea: It is one of the most common sleep disorders. It causes people to stop breathing momentarily while they are sleeping. It can also lead to an increased need for sleep, as it disrupts the normal sleep cycle. Even if you get sufficient amount of sleep, you may still wake up feeling tired, as the sleep you got was probably pretty light and crappy.
Read more about it here: Obstructive sleep apnea: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Delayed sleep-phase disorder: People with this condition also tend to oversleep and wake up feeling groggy and tired.

Delayed sleep-phase disorder (DSPD), also known as delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) or delayed sleep-phase type (DSPT), is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder affecting the timing of sleep, peak period of alertness, the core body temperature rhythm, hormonal and other daily rhythms, compared to the general population and relative to societal requirements. People with DSPD generally fall asleep some hours after midnight and have difficulty waking up in the morning.

Source: Delayed sleep phase disorder

Furthermore, people with conditions like Hyperthyroidism, Narcolepsy, Depression (mood) also tend to oversleep, and thus, feel fatigued.

One thing I must mention that not everyone who oversleeps does so because of some underlying condition. Alcohol and some prescription drugs can also tend to cause people to oversleep.

Role of Genetics

We all have a friend who thrives even on little sleep. We also know people who need at least 9 hours of sleep to flourish. So, what the deal? Normally, people who sleep less than 6-6.5 hours a day are said to be short sleepers, whereas those who sleep more than 9.5 hours are considered long sleepers. Some studies have found that genetics also plays a big role in how much sleep one needs. A study [4] published in Science successfully identified a rare mutated gene, DEC2, in a mother-daughter pair that enabled them to function normally on 6 hours of sleep every night.

Personally, if I feel groggy after waking up, taking a 10-minute walk outside, or sitting in the balcony with the sun beating down on me tends to take care of it.

[1] “Sleep drunkenness” affects 1 in 7 Americans, study finds
[2] Too little sleep, and too much, affect memory – Harvard Health Blog
[3] Sleep Duration and Chronic Diseases among US Adults Age 45 Years and Older: Evidence From the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
[4] Rare Genetic Mutation Lets Some People Function with Less Sleep

Bonus: University of Michigan’s developed an app called Entrain to help people reset their body clock by logging the amount and type of light they get throughout the day. I have heard from a lot of people that it actually helped them a lot with their sleeping problems. For more details, go here: Reducing Jetlag through Mobile Tracking

AsapSCIENCE: How Much Sleep Do You Need?

Why are people tired after over sleeping?