KB#27 - The Friday Four - A Decade as a Dad

mindset mindset advice the friday 4 Aug 11, 2023

Read Time: 4 Minutes

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#1 - The Imaginary Enemy

Ever wondered why so many people never start their big idea?

It's because they’re too busy worrying about what others will think.

That big fat fear of judgement.

A few weeks back, in the newsletter, I spoke about “The Spotlight Effect”

Quick recap: Everyone's too wrapped up in their own stuff to think about yours all the time.

Today, we're taking a slightly twisted turn.

Ever met my “Imaginary Enemy”? No? Let me introduce you…

Here's the strange mental model I’ve been using for years (Warning it’s not for everyone)

  • About to do something kickass? I Shout it from the rooftops. I Tell everyone. That way, backing out isn’t an option for me.
  • Here’s the twist: I Picture this crowd whispering behind my back, doubting and betting against me.

I’m talking haters. But not just any haters, imaginary ones.

Take my Box Jump Everest Charity Event Back in 2019.

No human had ever bounced on a box for 22 straight hours. Wacky? Hell yeah!

Sure, I had folks going, “You sure 'bout this, Jay?” But in my noggin?

I had a full-on critics convention:

  • “Weightlifter Jay doing endurance? Ha ha ha
  • “No one’s done that many box jumps because it’s not humanly possible

Were those exact words ever spoken? Probably not!

But dreaming up those invisible enemies pushed me to:

  • Train like a beast.
  • Nail my Nutrition.
  • Bulletproof my mind.
  • Harness that “Imaginary Hater Energy” to jump like a man possessed.

It’s a little crazy, but it gets the job done for me!

This “Invisible Enemy” stops me from taking shortcuts and gives me that kick to work harder!

Remember: It’s not about proving them wrong; it's about proving you right. ✌️


#2 - Dunbar's Number

Ever scrolled through your social media and thought, “Do I really know all these people?”

You might have 500, 1000, maybe even 5000 “friends” on there.

But how many of them would you actually go for a beer with?

Enter the mind-blowing concept of Dunbar’s Number.

Dunbar's Number is a theory by anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who noticed there’s a cap on the number of people with whom we can have meaningful relationships.

And guess what? It’s not in the thousands. It’s roughly around 150.

Humans are social animals, but there’s only so much socialising our brains can handle.

Think of it as the RAM in a computer…

You can't have 289 tabs open and expect it to run smoothly, right?

This doesn’t mean you can only know 150 people, full stop.

It means there are around 150 people you can have a stable, meaningful social relationship with - the ones you’d hit up for a coffee chat, remember their birthdays without a Facebook nudge, or trust with your Netflix password.

In this digital age, we’ve got this illusion of a ginormous social circle.

But reality check? Quantity ≠ Quality.

That guy from school you never spoke to but is now your "friend" on Facebook?

Probably not in your Dunbar 150.

Some things to consider doing…

Trim the Fat:

Consider a social media cleanup. If you wouldn't say 'hi' to them on the street, do you need them on your feed?

Cherish the Core:

Nurture those deeper, genuine connections. They're the gold in your social treasure chest.

Embrace the Limit:

Don’t feel bad about not being super tight with everyone. Our brains have a natural friend limit, and that's okay.

In a world where we often confuse "followers" with "friends," Dunbar’s Number is a refreshing splash of cold water. It’s not about how MANY people you know, but HOW you know them.


#3 - A Decade as a Dad

This week my daughter Elyza had her 10th birthday, and it’s crazy to think that I’ve been a dad now for over a decade.

I decided to write a short list of ten things I’ve realised since being a dad this decade…

1/ Children don’t learn. They absorb.

2/ It’s not how much time you spend around your kids that matters. It’s how much quality time and focused attention that matters.

3/ Your job is not to tell them what to do with their lives but to listen and point them in the right direction of where they want to go.

4/ Nothing beats the proud look on your kid's faces when you destroy every single dad in the school sports day parents race.

5/ “Because I said so” is a weak argument when they ask you, “Why?” Give them choices and get them to understand the reasons, if there even is one for saying so.

6/ Be their biggest fan, not their harshest critic - Ryan Holiday

7/ Guide them to be like them, not like you.

8/ I never thought I’d be a person that would say, “When I was your age…”. I was wrong 😆

9/ If you can negotiate with a 4-year-old to go to bed without resistance, you can pretty much negotiate anything you want in life 😆

10/ There’s not a single feeling in the world that lasts as long or as deep as the love you have for your kids. ❤️


#4 - Knowledge vs Understanding

Ever feel like you're just NOT the sharpest tool in the shed?

You're not alone.

Trust me, as a guy who failed most of his GCSEs and only just scraped a basic certificate in college, I can tell you one thing…

It’s not about what you know but what you UNDERSTAND.

To highlight this, I want to share with you an incredible story I came across this week…

A Teacher addresses a student and asks: “How many kidneys do we have?"

“Four!", The student responds.

“Four? Haha,”

(The teacher was one of those who took pleasure in picking on his students' mistakes and demoralising them).

“Bring a bundle of grass because we have an ass in the room," the teacher orders a student at the front.

“And for me, a coffee!” the student added.

The teacher was furious and expelled the student from the room.

On his way out of the classroom, the student still had the audacity to correct the furious teacher:

"You asked me how many kidneys ‘we have’. We have four: two of mine and two of yours. ‘We have’ is an expression used for the plural. Enjoy the grass.”

Life demands much more understanding than knowledge. Sometimes people, because they have a little more knowledge or ‘believe’ that they have it, feel they have the right to underestimate others.



👉  The Imaginary Enemy: Sometimes thinking that everyone wants to see you lose can give you the energy and focus required to see you win.

👉 Dunbars Number: The maximum amount of people we can care about is 150 people. Stop trying to be liked by everyone.

👉 A Decade as a Dad. Your job as a dad is to be a real life sat nav! They input their directions and you show them the best route to take.

👉 Knowledge vs Understanding. You can learn from everyone so never think you’re smarter than those around you. Life demands much more understanding than knowledge.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks Friday Four, see you next week for another instalment.

Jay Alderton


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