Getting Ready for Nostalgia

Good Afternoon Everyone! For the next couple of weeks, I will be getting ready for the August open submission period for Apparition Lit Magazine. This quarter’s submission is based on Nostalgia. I’ll be posting updates and excerpts from the story here until the submission period starts on August 15.

Nostalgia: A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

Feeling Trapped by Promises? Cut Yourself Out of the Web!


We all know the problems that arise from a web of lies, a web of promises poses similar issues to those who are prone to make too many. Promises are necessary for daily life if you want to maintain your relationships and continue to be paid for the work you do. However, handing out promises without consideration can land you in a sticky situation. Keep reading for some ideas on how to cut through the web of promises and to live beyond the reach of promised social responsibility.

Let’s start with a common scenario. You want to please the people in your life, and to do so you make promises without considering the impact on your time, the people you are promising, or how they relate to the other promises you have made. You are now stuck in a web of promises and feel that you have only a few options in front of you. You want to please the people you have promised. You want to fulfill all of your promises. You may not know how to do it, especially if some of those promises are conflicting. How do you get out of this situation?

Let’s tackle the first and obvious step. Stop making promises. You can’t get out of the situation if you’re adding more promises and expectations on top of those you already have. If someone comes to you with a request you can let them know that you’re a little busy at the moment and will be happy to get back to them later.

Next, you’ll want to write down as many of the promises as you can remember. Go back in your memory as far as you can. Details are important. Who did you make the promise to? What is involved in the promise? Is this something you can bang out in a couple minutes? When did you promise to deliver? All of these points should be captured for each promise. This will help you in the next step.

Now is the time to prioritize. Look at your list and consider the following: When am I supposed to deliver on this promise? How long is this going to take? How important is it that I get this done immediately? Who is this promise for, and what is at stake if I don’t deliver? Arrange these promises in a logical order that makes them easy to accomplish. Perhaps two of your promises are location-bound and close together. You can knock out two promises at once with a quick trip.

Finally, act, and don’t stop acting until you’ve closed out the entire list of promises. Each promise completed carries with it a sense of pride and good feelings for having completed something special for another person. Use that good feeling as momentum to carry you through the next promise on your list.

What happens if you find a promise that you really don’t want to complete? There will be times when you make promises you don’t intend to deliver on, as bad as that sounds, we’re only human and the urge to please is strong. When you come across a promise like that it is best to mark it as dead and let the person know that you will not be able to complete what was promised. It may hurt the relationship a little, but not as much as waiting, not delivering, promising again, then completing the task with a small amount of resentment.

What do you do with competing promises? First, look at the people you promised and determine their relative importance. Perhaps you promised your boss that you’d stay after work to help with a project, forgetting that you promised your wife a night out. You would look at the importance of each relationship and the potential damage done by canceling. Maybe in this case your wife would be devastated at the cancelation while your boss would ask someone else to fill in for you.

Let’s say that both people are equally important to you and there are no clear favorites in choosing which promise to complete. In that case, look at the importance of the request itself. Promising to look after a family member’s dog or going out to the bar with some friends is a good example. Both people are important to you, so you can’t choose between the two of them. The promise itself is the key here. Your friends will miss you if you’re not at the bar. The dog can not walk or feed itself. In this case, you take care of the dog.

In both cases above it’s important to talk out your cancelation and apologize for any hurt feelings. This will let the other party know that you do care and will go a long way in mending any damage to the relationship that the cancelation may incur.

Stay Out of the Web

Now that you’ve cut away the webs of your current predicament, how do you make sure that it doesn’t happen again?

Value action over making promises. You don’t need to make promises when someone comes to you with a request. The habit of making promises amounts to a stall tactic while we’re doing something else. The key is to act as soon as possible or even immediately to get the request out of the way.

Know when to say “No”. All requests are not the same, and if you’ve gotten into the habit of people-pleasing and making promises then your ability to say “No” has been compromised. People know when you can’t say no and many will take advantage of this weakness to no end. Practice flexing your no muscle. Think about the request and how it impacts your time. Start saying no. Understand that saying no will likely result in a few hurt feelings, and you can’t let that stop you.

If you have to make a promise, keep track of it. Too many promises results when you can’t remember the other promises that you’ve made. If you have a good memory or you work fast on what you promise this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. The problem occurs when you have too many promises to keep track of. What then?

Write down your promises. If you write down your promises you have a greater chance of not forgetting what you promised, to whom, and when you’re supposed to deliver. This also gives you the benefit of review to make sure that your promises aren’t counterproductive.

Get them done fast! The problem with promises is that they automatically relegate the action to the future. If the request is small and easily accomplished don’t wait. Small promises tend to slip from our minds faster than the big ones.

By following these steps you can get yourself out of almost any web of promises with little more than a couple hours of grit and possibly a few hurt feelings. Once free of the web of promises don’t go looking to get yourself stuck again by carelessly promising yourself into it again. Keep the steps above in mind any you’ll find yourself acting faster and worrying less about forgetting the promises you’ve made.

The Promise Trap

The dreaded opening to a casual conversation… “Do you remember when you promised…?” Welcome to the promise trap. We often find ourselves here when a promise has slipped through the cracks of our busy lives. For some of us, it happens more often than not, and it’s not a pleasant feeling. Think, however, for a moment about the other person. How must they feel at a promise that remains unfulfilled? You don’t have to think very hard since we’ve all experienced it, and it sucks for everyone involved. First is the disappointment and feelings of distrust experienced by the person who was promised. There are also feelings of worthlessness and shame in the person who has broken the promise.

For many people, promises are spoken contractual agreements that are often entered into lightly.

When you promise someone you are setting an expectation in their mind. Breaking that expectation results in hurt feelings and damaged reliability. If you’ve ever broken a promise, intentionally or otherwise, you know how bad it makes you feel. So, why do we make promises when not fulfilling them causes so much trouble? Here are a few common reasons that I believe are a bit closer to the truth than some psychology sites may lead you to believe.

It makes us feel important – This can be a real problem for the person who is on the receiving end of the promise. The person promising you the world, or perhaps to take out the garbage, is more interested in the feelings they get with your appreciation of the promise than they are in actually doing the deed.

Honest Intention – We honestly believe that we’re going to do the promised action. This is especially troubling for people who may not have a good idea of their own limitations and get in over their heads.

Coercion – A promise is made, begrudgingly, in the spirit of maintaining peace. These are often instigated with an either/or statement. “Either you make the bed in the morning or you’ll spend the next week on the couch.”

Quiet – There are some people who won’t go away until they get something out of you. In these cases, you’re forced to make a promise just to get some peace and quiet. “Fine, I promise to take you to the movies, just let me get back to work.”

Fear of Disappointment – This is especially prevalent in parents who don’t wish to let their children down. A promise is made to appease criticism or to shore up a relationship, though in reality, we’re making the promise because we don’t know how to say “No”. “Yes hon, I promise I will get you a new phone, I just need time to figure out how to pay for it.”

The passion of the Moment – There are times when we get caught up in the passions of the moment and we start making starry-eyed promises that feed into the passion and drive it further. I’m reminded of the lyrics of a fairly popular song.

 “I swore that I would love you to the end of time!
So now I’m praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive”

The Necessity of Promises

Let’s take a look into promises in general. What do they give us? Well, they play an important social role in securing contracts between people that help grow relationships. These relationships are especially important between parents (or other adults) and children who regard them as infallible. Of course, children lose this view of adults as they grow. Promises also offer a level of certainty and expectation in relationships that help hold them together through rough times. This is especially important in marriages and long-term unions where the fulfillment of a promise leads to feelings of love and commitment.

We can’t forget the bad aspects of promises though. A promise effectively relegates an action to the future as opposed to initiating action immediately. Whenever an action is relegated to the future there is the possibility that it will not happen or possibly be forgotten. You also can’t control how the promise is perceived by the person receiving the promise. Unrealistic expectations may arise from innocent promises and you may never know about it until it is too late. For example: “I promise I’ll take out the garbage.” is received as “For the remainder of my time on this Earth and in this relationship I shall be the only person to take out the garbage. Fret not my love, for you will never have to touch another bag of reeking filth again.”

That last bit is a fairly tongue-in-cheek look at it, but you’d be surprised at how the mind works when presented with a promise. In the end, however, the positives outweigh the negatives and we’re left with the certainty that promises play an integral role in daily life. So, with that conclusion, how do we go about it?

FreemanFrancis Promise Guidelines

  1. Minimize the promises you make.

The quickest way to resolve your problems with promises is to immediately stop making promises for everything that is presented to you. If an action is required and it won’t take much time (i.e. taking out the garbage), stop what you are doing and attend to the request. By following an action-first approach the number of promises will drop dramatically.

2. Plan, don’t promise.

There will be times when the request is too big to handle immediately. In such cases, you should avoid making promises and instead plan for the request. Work with the person who is making the request to plan out when and how the request will be fulfilled.

3. Consider reality.

We’ve all been asked to make a promise that we know will be difficult, if not impossible, to keep. In cases such as these, we should weigh the reality of the promise. Questions such as: “Do I have control over the outcome?”, and “Do I know enough to succeed?” need to be answered before a promise is made. Promising to take your girlfriend to the moon offers a serious issue with the reality of keeping the promise.

4. Be aware of conflicting promises.

If you’ve promised to take your wife to dinner on Thursday night while also promising to meet the guys at the bar at the same time it behooves you to ditch the guys. The last thing you should do is take your wife to the bar to hang out with your friends. Conflicting promises becomes a greater issue when the number of promises you make increases. Keep this in mind and carry a little notebook around with you to keep track of your promises.

5. Remember that a promise cannot repair deeper issues.

There are times when a relationship is severely damaged and making promises seems like the best way to repair the rift. Some problems, however, cannot be repaired through promises alone, even if you follow through meticulously with each one. In these cases, a promise acts more like a bandaid than a tourniquet.

6. When in doubt, “No” is a perfectly suitable answer.

Remember that one of the reasons we make promises is because we don’t know how to say “No” without feeling pangs of guilt. This is a feeling you need to get over if you’re going to save your time and sanity.

So, where do we end with the question trap? The first and most important thing to remember is that promises are important in our daily social interactions. As a result, we can’t just get rid of promises, but we can reduce them to essential promises only. You should know how to gauge a request and whether or not you need to make a promise to get it done. When a promise is made, however, do everything in your power to follow through and deliver quickly.

Is it Better to Forgive Yourself Before Seeking Forgiveness From Others?

Photo by S Migaj on

In a recent post on reliability I made the point that you should seek forgiveness from those you have hurt through your lack of action. Following this, you should seek forgiveness within yourself so that you may move on to work on your reliability. After some thought I realize that I may have this backwards. Should you seek forgiveness from yourself before approaching others?

Intentional self-reflection shows a high level of maturity and awareness of your actions and their repercussions. By seeking self forgiveness first you prove to yourself that you are willing to take the steps necessary to reform before another person can weigh in on your choice. This is not an easy thing to do as the scenes play out in your head. Forgiving yourself first puts you on another level that others can sense. You have taken the time to resolve your issues and you are ready to approach others. You shine with genuine concern over the impact your past actions have had while maintaining a calmness and control of one who has been forgiven.

Another important benefit of forgiving yourself first is that it prepares you for the task ahead. Use visualization, acting, and meditation to prepare for each encounter. By going over the broken promises, missed deadlines, and discarded projects you start to gain an understanding of how other people view you. Ask yourself: “How would I feel if this was done to me? Would I be disappointed? Would I trust the person who let me down?” With that knowledge, you can tailor each request as needed. Visualize each person you have let down and ask them for forgiveness. Play through the encounter and visualize every possible way they could respond, even the possibility of their refusal.

You should remember, when asking for anything there is the possibility of not getting it. Asking someone to forgive you is no different. Self reflection and resolution prepares you with the fortitude you’ll need should forgiveness be withheld by others. There can be many reasons for this reaction: Anger at your past deeds; Pain from the memory; Pride that does not allow one to forget; or perhaps the person views it as unnecessary. In situations such as this you should drop your need for their forgiveness, assess the state of the relationship, and be prepared to terminate it if necessary.

Finally, by playing through the scenarios with each person you get a feeling for what you are willing to do to mend the relationship. Use your knowledge of each person to gauge how they will need you to prove yourself. Perhaps it will be a simple shrug of the shoulders and a quick resolution. Maybe you will be placed on probation at work and be required to deliver daily updates. You could be asked to give up something you love, or agree to decreased freedom. In each scenario ask yourself if you are willing to pay the price. Keep going through different scenarios until you find a price you are unwilling to pay. That will be your que that the relationship may be over if that price is requested. Keep in mind though, a level you are unwilling to pay for one person may be acceptable for another. For example, your boss wants you to relinquish your work from home Friday so that he can keep an eye on you. You see this as a price that is too high to pay. However, your wife asks you to give up your Friday night out with the boys so that you can spend more time with her. In each case you are asked to give up an important level of freedom, and you will only pay that price for your wife.

In the previous post on reliability I make the point that seeking forgiveness is an important part of resolving past issues in order to regain the trust of others and, while well intentioned, I had the order backwards. After the thought exercise above it is clear to me that self forgiveness as a starting point has many benefits missing from the previous process of going to others first. It is my hope that this clarification helps you through your own process of restoring your reliability and other’s trust in you.

Why I Write

It may be a little late to do an introduction, but hey, why not now? Let’s tackle the question of why I write.

From a young age I always loved writing little books and stories for my classes. It was entertainment for myself and for those who I wanted to read those books. As I got older I found deeper topics to write about and the process became a bit more cathartic for the feelings I had as a teenager. After high school I continued to follow the writing process for personal benefit as I experimented with different styles, stories, and characters. There are more than a few notebooks laying in a landfill somewhere with these old works still in them.

As I worked my way through college I attempted the creative writing path, only to become disillusioned with the process. I continued my writing practice in a new curriculum and shifted gears away from fiction and fantasy as my schooling became more scientific. This practice continued for another 20 years as I worked in various fields from chemistry to live streaming. Now for the past fifteen years I have been focusing on self-help blogging with some of the ideas that come to mind every now and then. Perhaps you can see from my archives that I’m not exactly prolific in this area, and for good reason.

Despite my best intentions to help people with the various topics that cross my mind, the truth is that I’m not 100% vested in the field. If I was then I could make a viable business out of it. The truth is that I am more drawn to my roots as a fiction and fantasy writer. Yet, at the same time, I cannot ignore everything I’ve learned since getting out of college. I have done a lot with my life and I want to share my experiences.

To that end I have been working on a number of short stories with imbedded lessons on how to improve various aspects of your life. These stories may come as one off scenes, or even as whole series of related stories. The point is to entertain as well as teach at a level higher than the stories you would read as a child.

You can find the first of these stories under the category entitled: “The Boy in the Wood”.

A Couple Morning Thoughts

Good Morning World, here I am, up at 5am getting some of my work out of the way. It’s a strange thing, really. Going back through my posts over the years I found my comments on waking up early. At the time I was interested in sleeping in and letting myself wake up naturally around 7 or 8 in the morning. The idea was to redefine the meaning of early for yourself and let your body get the rest it needed. I guess an important point I neglected at the time was to note that these times could change depending on your current circumstances. Hence why I am awake at 5am getting some work done.

For a number of years now I have found myself drawn to the self-help style of writing and many of the books I pick up are of the same topic. Does that make me a self-help expert? Perhaps. Do I want to be one? No, not really. I like helping people and I have a lot of information and my own ideas about how to get around mental blocks and increase productivity, but it’s not where my heart is. Perhaps it is time I shift the attention of the blog towards my real writing passion, fiction and fantasy.

Well, that’s it for a couple of morning thoughts. I think it’s time to get back to work and finish up my latest post. You can find it here later this morning or possibly this afternoon.


A Daily Mantra

Don’t Stop. Don’t Slow Down. Don’t Succumb.

These words pounded over and over in my head this afternoon as I approached the cold water of my shower. This wasn’t just cold water, this was ice cold, the coldest the pipes can manage in 80+ degree weather. I stepped into the shower and felt the familiar rush as my body started cooling off.

I had never really used this mantra before that moment. It came to me out of the ether and really fit the moment and my mood as of late. I even knew immediately what each part meant. I’ll break it down.

Don’t Stop. This seems fairly straight forward, but think about how easy it is to stop. In any endeavor we undertake the ability to stop is always there. I could have stopped before stepping into the cold water. I could have stopped before writing this post. You can stop, but then you never get the benefit of pressing on.

Don’t Slow Down. This one can also read “Don’t Think About It”. If we’re after a goal, or feverishly working on a project, think about how easy it is to slow down and think about what we’re doing. Or worse yet, to rethink what we’re doing. I’m not talking about the quick thought processes that run through our heads while we’re in thrall, those are alright and expected. But cross examining and rethinking what we’re doing leads to a dark place of stagnation and analysis paralysis.

Don’t Succumb. There will always be the dark thoughts that enter our minds. The doubt, the comparisons, the evil and belittling voices that echo in the silent moments. This part of the mantra is a reminder to push back against those voices. Don’t let them gain a foothold, for they have a domino effect on us. The voices enter, we listen, we slow down, and finally we stop.

This is a mantra that I choose to repeat as much as possible in the coming days and weeks. This is a mantra that will get me through what I need and want to do. Take this and use it for yourself.

Answering the Questions: Am I a Polymath? How Would I Know?

Alright, you’ve found yourself here, on the site of a self-proclaimed polymath. Are you wondering if you fit the model? Is there is a model? Maybe there is, but it seems to me that the model is written from the outside perspective. Let me tell you about what I know.

A polymath is a person who can take deep knowledge from very different fields and blend them into something new, an idea or movement that takes the world in a different direction.

A polymath is never satisfied with the answer given to her by another person. She will keep digging, researching, experimenting, and learning until the answer is formed before her eyes.

A polymath can trigger intense, deeply focused bouts of concentration. These bouts can last hours and defy the modern theories of information retention. The information flows into him and he can easily absorb and learn.

A polymath is capable of saying no to any subject or information that does not aid him in his search. If a subsection of a field is inconsequential to his inquiry, then it remains unabsorbed.

In my experience this is the way a polymath works. That said, there is always a difference between what is known and what is believed. What are my beliefs as to how a polymath is formed?

I believe the structure and memory function of a polymath is fundamentally different from other people. Their ability to cross pollinate disparate disciplines takes them beyond the capacity of the dilettante or generalist.

I believe access to vast reservoirs of knowledge is a fundamental difference between a polymath and the layperson. I also believe this difference is a chasm whose growth is driven by the digital age.

I believe many polymaths don’t know they have a definition. They continue in their work, displaying incredible insight in their fields due to their extensive cross functional knowledge. Many of them baffled by answers that seem so obvious to them and appear ludicrous to others.

Finally, while I believe polymaths are a rare breed. I also believe the habits and abilities are fully trainable to any who have the heart to go after it.

That’s it for today, no pointers on how to get up early, or any guidelines on how to do something. Just a couple of answers as to why I’m here.

The Easiest Method of Waking Up Early, Period

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Entrepreneurs get up early, they take hold of the day early on and get more done before 9 AM than your average desk jockey. We’re told to be like them, to emulate the successful, and for God’s sake get out of bed early!

So that’s what we do. We set our clocks for 5 AM, and steel ourselves for the inevitable blaring alarm. It’s on our minds as we drift off into a fitful sleep. “I have to be up at 5.” You’ve even planned for an early rise and you’re confident that you can get everything done early. So what’s the problem? Perhaps nothing for the first couple of days, then suddenly it gets harder and harder to pull yourself out of bed at that time.

To combat the issue you’ll read a number of blog articles about the steps you need to follow.

  • Do it gradually
  • Rely on coffee
  • Bug a friend to make sure you get up
  • Maintain your early schedule even on weekends AND NEVER SLEEP IN AGAIN!

The list goes on and on and every blogger seems to have his own take on how to do it (wink:wink ;))

So here you go, my take on how to get up early, and my promise is that it will be the easiest method you’ve ever followed.


That’s it! Let’s go through this a little.

If you drag yourself out of bed and fumble for the coffee at an early hour, all the while feeling the weight of your eyelids, then you’re not really an early riser.

If you wake up refreshed at 8 AM, 3 hours after sleeping through your alarm, only to run around and feel behind schedule all day, then you’re not really an early riser.

If you’re awake until 1 AM and fully plan on getting up at 5 AM, then you’re not really an early riser.

You’re an entrepreneur, your work depends on being as productive as possible. That’s why you need to follow your own schedule and not those of popular or successful others. Don’t be a sheepreneur!

How do you define your meaning of early?

  • Take an honest look at your sleeping habits.
  • Take the quiz to determine your chronotype and discover your best sleep cycle and more.
  • Set your bedtime and your wake up to give you at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep.

After these steps it’s all about productivity. Schedule your day to begin no earlier than 2 hours after your wake up time to allow ample time to eat and prep.

Let’s face it though, we all have slip ups. If you still manage to sleep through your alarm despite redefining your early, take a look here for tips on how to get your day back on track.

So what does early mean to you? Do you follow the 5 AM rule, or are you a bear like me? Seriously though, take the chronotype quiz to know why I’m a bear.

3 Easy Steps to Start Your Polymath Journey

This is a strange fork in the road where we find ourselves now. Years are in the past where you have learned much, and possibly forgotten an equal share. Now ahead of us lays an uncertain path that few have tread. No one sets out purposely to find this path, rather they find themselves here after much searching.

So where do we begin? Apart from the life stories of previous polymaths and Renaissance Men(and Women), there are no guides on how to become one. After much searching myself I have settled on three key steps that help prepare you body and mind for the life of the polymath.

  • Work on your habits
  • Control your schedule
  • Upgrade your diet

How do you become a polymath with these three steps? Well, overnight, you won’t. These three key steps though form the basics and the foundation for your polymathic journey.

Step 1: Work on Your Habits

I’ve been looking into self-help and improvement books for the last 15 years, and perhaps the best books I’ve come across concern habit formation. Books like “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, and “Atomic Habits” by James Clear have been a great help and inspiration to me. Between these two books they lay out a comprehensive path towards creating new habits, strengthening existing habits, and deprogramming unhelpful ones.

So, why habits? Well, habits are the background programs that free up your brain to perform higher thinking. If you had to think about flipping a switch to turn on a light every time you walked in a room it would be a problem. Get more mental energy for the work you want to do by automating your behavior through habits.

How do habits work? Both authors outline the habit cycle much better than I can, so I’ll only be giving an overview here. First you are presented with a cue. The cue triggers a craving which elicits a response. The response results in a reward. James Clear uses the example of walking into a dark room. The cue is the dark room, the craving is to have light, the response is to flip the light switch, and the reward is having light.

To set a new habit you need to hit every one of the four areas of the habit cycle. James Clear has set out four laws to create good habits (and bad ones if you’re not careful) and four inverse laws to break unhelpful ones. For a full run down on habits I high suggest “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and “Atomic Habits” by James Clear.

Step 2: Control Your Schedule

Schedules seem to control every aspect of our lives. Building and maintaining good scheduling habits and exercising control are essential to your abilities as a polymath.

The first step in controlling your schedule is avoiding the headache and stress of “schedule and forget”. We all have the best of intentions when we plan out our days or weeks, and before you know it we’re ignoring the phone when the scheduling app dings to let you know that another block of time is about to begin. So, how do you avoid Schedule & Forget?

  • Schedule only important events
  • Don’t overload
  • Turn on alerts only when needed

The only items on your schedule should be the important ones. Do I need a scheduled block for breakfast, lunch, second lunch and dinner? Or a reminder to take my supplements before hand? No, many items on your schedule can be controlled through the disciplined use of good habits.

Your schedule can be a great asset, or a dumping ground for every action you want to take. Overloading your schedule looks messy, buries meetings and tasks, and lacks efficiency.

When you’ve cleaned up your schedule it’s time to decide on alerts. My basic rule is that meetings and sudden task changes after a long period of time require alerts. Neat, simple, and easy to set up.

The next step in controlling your schedule is to find a system that works with your natural tendencies. Do you like google calendar with the integrated Keep Notes and Task List? Perhaps you fall more under the GTD model and like to use your collection bucket to “Do it”, “Delegate it”, or “Defer it”. Maybe you’re more old school and like your analog Franklin Covey planner and dividing your tasks into the four quadrants. The list goes on and on. Don’t like any of them, then make your own to suit your style. Personally I use a combination of google, Toggl, and a computer notepad to get myself through the day.

Full disclosure, I have done all of those plans above and more!

Finally, when exerting control over your schedule I suggest keeping a notepad handy. Throughout the day you will be bombarded with requests, questions, and even stray thoughts that threaten to take you away from the tasks and projects you’re working on. Write down the request or thought on the pad with the knowledge you’ll get back to it later. This small practice can keep you from getting sucked down the rabbit hole of distraction that destroys your schedule. Suggestion: Keep a tiny Moleskine or Field Notes notebook with you at all times. They’re cheap, handsome comfortable in your pocket, and can easily be found at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Step 3: Upgrade Your Diet

What does diet have to do with being a polymath? Everything! It’s no mystery that food has a great effect on us. We can literally eat anything if we go by the definition of chewing as swallowing. The problem is, the nutrition your brain receives (or doesn’t) from eating. Upgrading your diet, moving away from the junk foods, high sugar, high fat Standard American Diet will have a great impact on the way you think. The greatest asset a polymath has is his mind, and his greatest tool his body. How do you ensure a quick mind and a strong body?

  1. Assess your diet
  2. Make a plan to get healthy
  3. Supplement for brain health

Assessing your diet has taken many forms over the years, the most popular of which is the food log. There’s a problem with that approach though; the universe and therefore your actions, change based on observation. If you know you’re tracking your food, then your choices will be more thought out. So, we’re tossing that method. Instead, go to the pantry and take and inventory of what’s there. It can be written down, or mental, or hell, you can even take pictures. The current state of your pantry will give you a good idea as to the health of your diet. Here’s a snapshot of mine.

My Pantry
Maybe I should get some more shopping done…

After assessing your diet it’s time to get healthy. But what does that mean? Well, you want to get your BMI down to a healthy range, your triglycerides should be low, you should be at your optimal weight… blah, blah, blah. Leave all this garbage on the diet websites. Healthy is a personal feeling. If you want to lose weight, then that’s your health goal. You want to be more active, then that’s your goal. The point is to find your plan. It is my personal belief, driven by years of experiments, successes, failures, and strange occurrences, that no one diet works. It will work for a group of believers, and fail for another group. There are so many diets out there with conflicting data it’s small wonder the industry is barely regulated. Your job is to do your research, find a plan that makes you giddy, and go after it with all your heart, mind, and faith. For me, the Four Hour Body slow carb diet and supplementation has always worked wonders.

Finally, supplement for brain health. This step is not for the faint of heart, but promises vast returns when done correctly. The area of nootropics has been personal fascination of mine for the last 6 years, and I’ve built up an impressive library of learning and samples. Nootropics are a class of drugs and natural supplements that work on brain chemistry. Perhaps you’ve heard of NZT-48, the fictional Limitless pill popularized by the movie and tv series of the same name. The idea here is the same, though less pronounced than Hollywood portrays. There are many different supplements that can be combined into stacks that synergistically work to improve memory, recall, and focus. My morning stack for focus, energy, creativity, and motivation consists of Bacopa Monnieri, Vinpocetine, Alpha GPC, Acetyl L-Carnitine, and Aniracetam. For more information I suggest

Putting it All Together

These are only the first steps one can take on the path to becoming a polymath, and together we’ll be exploring many more. After nearly 1500 words I’ll leave you with these three quick thoughts.

  • Your habits will make you or break you. Determine those that serve you, those that can be ditched, and those that you need to build.
  • Your schedule is your daily map on how to expand your knowledge and utilize what you already know. Protect and control it.
  • Your brain and body are the captain and vessel to carry you to your goals. Know how to feed and care for both and your progress will accelerate.

What steps would you work on? Have you already been through these steps in your exploration? Or maybe you’ve found more steps you would like to share. I would love to hear your thoughts below.