KB12 - The Friday 4 - Lessons From a Samurai

mindset mindset advice Apr 21, 2023

Today's issue is sponsored by Day One

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I tried every app and paper journal under the sun until I stumbled on Day One.

Day One has everything you need to get started with journaling, and the thing that has been a game changer for me is the custom prompt templates you can add so you know what to write about each day.

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#1 - A Lesson from a Samurai

Miyamoto Musashi was Japan's Greatest Samurai, who roamed the world between 1584-1645.

Before he departed from this world, he wrote a series of famous texts called the Dokkōdō

(Way of Walking Alone)

There are many golden quotes from this text, but I want to highlight one in this newsletter...

Be indifferent to where you live”

Now I don’t know about you, but whenever I go somewhere new that I really like, I imagine a world in which I’m there every single day.

Every year I take the family down to North Devon, and whenever I’m there, I feel relaxed and calm.

Most of my holidays are on Greek islands. I feel so calm and peaceful whenever I’m in Greece.

These places are special because I only visit them once a year.

If I moved to North Devon, I would be taking all my life problems with me, and eventually, I would have to deal with those problems after the honeymoon period.

Same with Greece. It’s nice to visit in the height of summer, but it would end up being a burden with my working schedule.

"We imagine ourselves in distant places simply because we are not there."

And as Naval Ravikant once said...

“Desire is a contract you make with yourself to be unhappy until you get what you want”

The quote isn’t about “Where you live.”

It’s about your way of thinking and desire for a better outcome when you reach a destination you hope to get to, such as weight loss or even happiness.

None of these is a destination, they are a journey, one which you’ll be taking for the rest of your life, so make sure that you’re enjoying that journey.


#2 - Ten Years To Mastery

In his book “Outliers: The Story of Success” Malcolm Gladwell introduces the concept of the “10,000-hour rule” and that to achieve true expertise in any skill is simply a matter of practising “in the correct way” for at least 10,000 hours.

If we break that 10,000 hours down over 10 years, that works out to 1,000 hours a year or around 19.3 hours a week.

To make that commitment daily, it’s about 3hrs a day!

If you’re trying to learn a new skill and keep getting frustrated, ask yourself this...

How much time have you currently put into it?

I’m going to give you an example of something that I think I’ve mastered over the last 10 years and one I aim to master in the next 10…


The thing I’ve mastered over the last 10 years - Social Media and Talking on Camera

I started my Facebook page in 2011 and have been doing social media and talking on camera for the past 12 years.

My Instagram page alone has over 7,255 posts which, if you considered each post from creation to editing to posting, takes around 30 mins equates to 3,627 hours just on Instagram.

Looking at my Vimeo account, “Where I host all my client content”, over the past ten years, I have added 2323 videos.

Most of these videos average around 30 mins in length and probably took around an hour to create, so just with client content, there are over 2,000 hours of being on camera.

There’s no doubt I’ve hit over 10,000 hours in these skills over the last ten years.


The thing I’m looking to Master in the next 10 years - Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Something that I’ve recently started is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

I’m currently spending about three hours a week doing it, and for the past two months since starting, I have realised if I want to master this skill, I need to invest more time.

Getting 10,000 hours in at 3 hours a week will take me 64 years to master the skill!

It’s a realisation for me two things…

  1. I should have started 10 years ago, haha
  2. I need to invest more time if I want to master it over the next 10 years

Because of this, I need to think about how to approach the next 10 years to become a master at this skill…

  1. Swap some of my gym sessions for Jiu Jitsu sessions (Currently Training in the gym 6-8 hours a week)
  2. Find ways to practice outside of the classes (My friend is a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu and is happy to “roll” on the weekends)
  3. Pay for 1-1 lessons with my Black Belt Professor (These hour-long sessions will speed up my learning curve)

One of the biggest reasons I’m showing you all this is so you can develop some patience and persistence with what you’re looking to achieve.

If you’re 6 months into your journey of mastery and feel like giving up…. DON’T!

The path of the warrior is lifelong, and mastery is often simply staying on the path - Richard Strozzi-Heckler


#3 - Playing Chess with Pigeons

This week I was reminded of an important analogy to help you become more productive...

“Never play chess with a pigeon.

The pigeon just knocks all the pieces over.

Shits all over the board.

Then struts around like it won.”

We’ve all at one time in our lives had that long-winded argument in the comments section with a stranger.

We try to get our point across about a subject we know a lot about, only for it to fall on deaf ears with no one any the wiser 30 mins later.

Whenever I feel myself getting into this conversation, be it in person or online I’m reminded of an important quote from Keanu Reeves.

As I’m getting older, I’m realising the productive power of not needing to be right all the time, and if someone disagrees with what I say, I just respond with an appreciation of their input on the topic.

This simple action has saved me many hours a week, which has been put to better things such as spending time with the people I care about and writing this newsletter.


#4 - The Spotlight Effect

In 2000, researchers at Cornell University conducted a study on what they called "the spotlight effect."

They found that people tend to overestimate how much others notice their actions and appearance. In other words, we often think we are being watched or judged more closely than we are.

The researchers asked participants to wear a t-shirt with a large image of a celebrity on it and then estimate how many people in the room noticed the shirt. The participants consistently overestimated the number of people who noticed the shirt.

Most days, people walk around worried about what other people are thinking about them.

If you spend all this time wondering what people think about you, please understand that nearly everyone you meet is doing the same.

This means that everyone you meet is thinking about themselves and not you.

Just knowing this should help you better in social situations and permit you to do things you want to do in life without the fear of judgement.



👉 Be indifferent to where you live - Your home, “both in reality and in your head,” is a place of comfort you’re in right now, not a destination you need to get to, to feel happy and complete.

👉 10 Years to Mastery - Whenever you want to master a new skill, look at it over a 10-year timeline and map out a plan of action to succeed. This will help you become more patient and persistent towards the goal.

👉 Playing chess with Pigeons - Life is too short to argue with strangers on the internet. The most productive action plan is to let them think they’ve won.

👉 The Spotlight Effect - To quote David Foster Wallace, “You’ll stop caring what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.”

I really hope you enjoyed this week's Knowledge Bombs and I’ll see you next week for another 4.


Jay Alderton


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