I didn’t use technology for 5 days last week. Went to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Brought some books, my journal, and my mind. Here’s the highly requested Post-Retreat Report Thread…
How did I prepare for this trip? I brought…
- 5 pounds of ground turkey
- 5 pounds of rice
- Old journals
- 10+ books (finished 3)
- Articles from @YousXP
- @ComedicBizman’s 7 Day Digital Detox Prescription (from Tej Dosa Letter #8)
- No expectations
What were the rules?
- No clocks in the cabin
- No phone
- No computer
- Only books/articles/journaling
- Limited speaking
Can you give me a quick recap?
- Day 1/2 – Felt lonely/isolated
- Day 3 – Woke up in middle of night by smoke detector (lol)
- Day 4 – Started to see my life in third person (exciting + enlightening)
- Day 5 – Felt like a horse before a race
- Day 6 – Went home
What did you actually do all day?
- Upon waking: 1-hour meditation
- Pullups (under a bridge)
- Quick yoga sessions
- Before sleeping: 1-hour meditation
What books did you read?
- Conscious Living by Gay Hendricks
- The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
- Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron
- Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
All interesting and thought-provoking for different reasons (will write a thread on each book).
What insights did you gain?
- Harder than expected
- Play more hands
- What you create becomes smarter than you
- Create a new character
- Excellence is asking “will this get me closer to where I want to be?”
- Figure out what you can control vs. what you can’t
(1) DIFFICULT IS GOOD
I’m comfortable with my own thoughts. I’m comfortable sitting in silence.
But the first 36 hours were difficult, lonely & isolating – unlike anything I had experienced before.
You know what happens when we go through “difficult” times?
We get stronger.
(2) PLAY MORE HANDS
The more hands you play, the better you get.
If you lose the hand, great… you learned something.
If you win the hand, great… you have more chips.
(3) SYSTEMS BECOME SMARTER
When you create something, it can become smarter than you.
Example… You start a website and post for 5 years.
Unless you have a photographic memory, you after 5 years will not be able to recall every example you posted… but your website can.
(4) CREATE A NEW CHARACTER
Somewhere around Day 2, I started to forget who I was.
Which got me excited.
“My old character is dying… so I can consciously create a new one.”
I decided my new character would be even MORE disciplined, focused, & excellent than the one pre-trip.
(5) WHAT IS EXCELLENCE, REALLY?
Excellence is asking yourself in every moment:
“Is this what will get me closer to my goals?”
It’s evaluating your behavior on a second-by-second basis to ensure that what you’re doing right now will make you better.
(6) FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL
We spend a lot of time worrying about stuff we can’t control.
But if you actually list out up that which you can vs. can’t control, it’s helpful.
For example, I did this for writing (pictured below)…
What changes have you made since coming back?
- One task at a time
- Utilize deep work sessions (53 minutes on, 17 minutes off)
- Bought ergonomic keyboard + stand
- Following a training plan (@anymanfitness No Squats/No Deadlifts)
- Reviewing mindset folder consistently
Would you recommend it?
Depends on the person.
Doing something like this with a wife/kids would probably be challenging. To get the most out of the experience… may help to have experience with meditation and analyzing yourself.
Also helps to be a reader and journaler.
What were the side effects?
- More present moment focus. Mind better able to focus on one task at a time.
- More difficult to write. I wrote every day for 5+ months straight. Then I stopped for a week. When I got back, it was like my mind forgot how to do it.
Are you going to do it again?
I could see myself doing it once every 6 mo./year.
Overall, I’m incredibly grateful to learn from books, nature, and myself. If you have any questions I didn’t cover, drop them below. 🙂
Thanks for reading!
To your success,