One of the best compliments you can get is “I like the way your mind works.”
And when I was young, I always envied those more intelligent than me.
How did they do it?
How did they articulate their thoughts so well?
How did they say what I’ve been thinking for years but couldn’t string into words?
How did they hold high-level conversations with a sense of understanding that leaves you feeling awestruck, but like you are so far below them on the level of knowledge?
I’ve tried to emulate the voice of the stoics, ancients, and modern masters. Soon I realized that language evolved for a reason. We have a more diverse toolset to pierce through the noise and acquire truth.
The poeticism of Watts.
The pithy advice of Seneca.
The crypticism of Nietsche.
The elegance of Peterson.
There was a gravity to their words that stuck in the back of my head.
In reflection, it led me to where I am today.
I always wanted to do something creative.
I knew that I didn’t want to earn a living from my body, or my time for that matter. I had to earn with my mind.
This led me down a brutal path of life and business failures that led to the discovery and cultivation of high-value skills.
Design, marketing, sales, technology, programming, writing, film, and more that trained my mind for creative problem-solving.
Today, I am grateful to say that I can earn a living and sustain a high quality of life by moving two levers: the inputs and outputs of my mind.
In this letter, I want to discuss 4 big ideas:
- Your mental body and how it rules your life.
- How mental bodybuilding is your path to intelligence.
- Why mental real estate is the most valuable resource.
- How to monetize your mind to create your own source of income.
Mental aesthetics is your master key to the doors of the good life.
I – The Mental Body
In the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Waltz, there’s a phenomenon that surgery patients radically change their lives after changing their physical appearance.
Many patients went on to achieve their wildest dreams.
The dreams they didn’t think were possible before, even if the “blemish” that held them back was as simple as a bump on their nose (that was unnoticeable to the average eye).
But it wasn’t the physical appearance that made the difference.
It was the change in self-image.
A change in the body they held as a mental construct, one that often didn’t reflect their physical appearance.
This brings up the principle of expectations vs reality.
Humans tend to latch onto thoughts, ideas, and beliefs to make sense of the world and aid their survival.
We hold an idea of the past or future in our mind, and if present reality doesn’t match, tension is the result.
Tension narrows the mind and creates stress.
It prevents you from seeing the world as it is, because it isn’t supposed to be anything other than what it’s being.
When we hold an image of who we think we are in our mind, even when we’ve never directly seen our own face outside of external reflections, anything that challenges that image is seen as a threat.
Even fitness models voted to have the most aesthetic physique in the eyes of the masses have body dysmorphia.
Hell, even I have body dysmorphia after being in the gym for 10 years.
The image of who they are does not match their appearance.
This influences how we perceive and interpret the world around us.
Something as simple as the idea of an unhealthy meal can send a fitness model into an emotional spiral of rage, self-hatred due to a past binge, and the urge to preach that all people should abide by the diet ideology that they subscribe to.
The same holds true for everything we think we are.
From religious beliefs to budgeting techniques to the business models and jobs that allow us to survive, our identity turns sour when we create permanence in our minds that does not match the impermanence of life.