Sept 28, 2023: Tom Holland on Jay Shetty’s Podcast

Thursday was a magnificently productive writing day, for my own projects. Listening to the Tom Holland episode on Jay Shetty’s podcast On Purpose got me feeling more motivated. I listened to it on the 8:30am commute to Isani for my practical driving lesson. The streets were still pretty empty, which I really enjoy because in other cities, I find that the morning commute to work states at even 6 or 7am. Unfortunately, there was a mix-up in the schedule so my driving instructor wasn’t free. I just decided to come back for my driving lesson the next day. After that, I had the whole day free to work on my own novella writing. I find that I do need days like that where I have nothing scheduled, or only something short scheduled in the morning that forces me to get up so that I’m not just lying in bed being lazy.

I had been thinking that I wanted to try for a 10, 000-word day, but it wasn’t a serious goal. In the end, I was able to crank out 4, 250 words over six writing blocks. I sat writing from 10am to 7pm, which means that over 9 hours, I had a concentrated 4 hours of writing. It’s crazy to see how the half-hour breaks in between each writing time block do add up. I typically write for about 25-30 minutes each block, although sometimes that extends to 40-45 minutes if I’m in a particularly good flow.

I was able to keep motivated while writing by choosing snippets to record for my Instagram stories. It’s just a way to break up something that can otherwise maybe seem a bit monotonous. I enjoy the process of identifying what from my first draft I feel is put together enough to even see the light of day with an audience (sometimes it’s so bad that I won’t show it to another soul; other times, I think it’s passable and I’m okay sharing it), and then experimenting with voices and/or accents to bring the narrative to life a bit more energetically. It was noisy with chatter where I was writing, so that wasn’t prime podcast recording environment, but it did the trick and allowed me to ‘gamify’ the writing process a bit.

Some takeaways from the podcast:

Monks’ Three Modes

Shetty explained that there are three modes of being and we could try to identify which mode we are in during a certain moment so that we can be more intentional with our energy and where it goes.

Mode of Ignorance: whenever we do things out of fear or insecurity, like when we are jealous

Mode of Passion: whenever we do something focused solely on getting results; when we have an agenda

Mode of Goodness: whenever we do something because it truly aligns with our core values, when we make a decision and feel at peace with it

Guided by these modes, Shetty talked about how he values aligning energetically with a person as his first priority. Right off the bat, you can tell whether you can get along with another person, whether they radiate the kind of positivity or vibe that you want in your life. Of course, when it comes to business relationships, he talked about aligning energetically and strategically with business partners, because it is important to collaborate with people who have that determination and self-discipline to be able to see projects through. That is how one can set oneself up for success in all relationships in life.

This brought me back to an article I’d read a few days before listening to the podcast, which talked about the importance of focus and attention. We really are living in an attention economy; everything around us is fighting for our attention. In a very real sense, our world is shrunk down to what we choose to pay attention to. Perhaps narcissistically, what we pay attention to exists (in our world) and what we don’t pay attention to doesn’t exist (to us).

Being selective and intentional about our attention helps us in many ways. Overall, our experience of life changes for the better when we can manage our attention to serve our well-being and flourishing. When we manage our attention and focus, our life stops being a chain of reactions to things that simply happen to you, putting you in the passenger seat of your own life, and starts being something that you are in charge of and can create to your wildest imagination. While things still happen to you, you can control your response, and that changes everything: such as whether you become the hero, villain or victim… the one who forges on or the one who is left behind.

As John Milton famously wrote, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”

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