Do the Opposite #78

Detachment for Fun and Profit: Act like You Don't Need It, Pushing Through Discomfort, Simple Ways to Be More Present, Work Less

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“Like You Don’t Need the Money” by Derek Sivers

The “fake it till you make it” aphorism is true. In order to achieve our goals and shape the reality we want to live in, we need to convince others to work with us. It comes down to the confidence and non-nonchalance that we display: we have to act like we don’t need anything. It’s the opposite of being needy.

You’ve probably seen this in your own life or the lives of your friends: when one person is needy, instead of attracting another, they repel them. The more desperate a person becomes the harder the force with which they repel. Same goes for business partnerships, friendships, loans, agreements, contract & salary negotiations, apartment hunting. If I go to a job interview and appear as I desperately needing the job (even though I might be at the time), the company will see that and will low-ball me on the salary offer.

So, do the opposite. Act like you don’t need a thing and be your own “castle”, your own little country. That’s why learning to be frugal (maybe even ascetic, Spartan) is so empowering: you distance yourself from being overly attached to the things and outcomes you want and the people around you. Then, suddenly, everything and everyone comes to you. Like that butterfly that lands on your shoulder the moment you stop trying to catch it.

“Work Less” by Leo Babauta

I know lots of you are busy trying to wrap up this crazy(!) year. Give yourself a break and allow some room for free time. Acknowledge that it’s been stressful enough and the end of the year doesn’t have to be like that. Work less, worry less and it’s okay to postpone things that aren’t terribly important. Prune your “to-do” tree.


Pushing Through Discomfort | The Minimalists

If you make a habit of pushing through discomfort, you become truly unstoppable. Doesn’t matter how fast or slow you’re moving; when you are “on the arena”, in the discomfort zone, you are expanding, growing and enriching your life.

I know this kind of contradicts the advice above, but in reality it doesn’t. It’s not about doing everything that’s on your list and more, running around and trying to complete all necessary as well as all nice-to-have tasks. It’s about cutting down on those, and focusing on the ones that will truly move you forward, and these are usually the ones that cause most discomfort.

Once you are working toward truly important (to you) goals, the discomfort fades away. It’s only there to stop us from starting.

Simple Ways to Be More Present in Life | Ronald L. Banks

Often we get so busy with every day problems, to-dos, errands and plans that it feels like we’re on autopilot. How can we pause, reset and enjoy life? Ronald has some practical recommendations for us.

Having Trouble Getting into IT? You Can Do It! Here's My Story. | Jay from LearnLinuxTV

This one is a very inspiring story of difficult childhood, struggle and relentless pursuit of a dream. I love Jay’s channel and have been watching it for a couple of years now, but I didn’t know his story. May it inspire you how it inspired me!

Why Your Ego Is (Slowly) Ruining Your Life | Better Ideas

This video made me think. I’ve definitely experienced the negative effects of my ego’s constant desire to be the best at everything and feeling bad when I don’t magically become a world-renowned expert on a topic I’ve been studying for only a month. There’s a middle ground to be found between the monk’s mind of not wanting anything and the ego’s desire to be, do and have everything. Very useful lessons in this video, check it out!

Featured Tweet



“What gets measured gets managed.”
— Peter Drucker

“If you want to get better, do the things that no-one else wants to do. Do the things that no-one is even thinking about doing.”
— David Goggins

“Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?”
— Steve Jobs

”When we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set into motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist in our cause; serendipity reinforces our purpose.”
— Steven Pressfield


I’m building an app called ZERNO to help you build & stick to habits ― if you join the waitlist, you’ll be in the limited few to get early access to the app!

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There's also a YouTube channel with weekly videos on the same themes that are covered in this newsletter. Take a look at the channel here and let the ideas influence you into an improved and happier life!

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Keep doing the opposite,
Alex Kallaway