Gardyloo #41

Regarding the post on follow-thru that started this week, I was asked if I have any personal productivity or self-discipline tips. I do, kind of, and I'll maybe share them in the future. But ultimately, everything is just a mind game with yourself. So it's all in how you think about things. And I think the most beneficial mind "state" I've been able to achieve is that once I commit to something, it's no longer up for debate in my mind.

Here's what I mean...Let's say I want to write a novel. I say, "I'm going to write 2 pages a day, and in six months I'll have a novel." 

Now, the younger version of me would question if I was actually going to do that on each given day. "Do I really want to write today? I'm not sure I'm in a writing mood. Plus there is this other thing I'd rather do instead. If I don't write today, then I can come back tomorrow and write twice as many pages and they'll be better because I'll be in a better mindset because I'll be rested." 

And I'd go through that same kind of back-and-forth every day. And because I'm pretty talented at crafting convincing arguments with others, I'm also pretty good at it with myself. So it wouldn't be hard to talk myself out of my long-term goal (of writing every day) with some supposed benefit of my short-term desire (stockpiling supplies from the Taco Bell dollar menu and watching Andy Griffith on Netflix for 12 hours).

One day I realized that the key to getting things done was just to not allow myself to question whether I was or wasn't going to do that thing. I don't need to exercise my willpower because once the decision is made it doesn't need to be readjudicated on a moment by moment basis.

I'm sure this sounds beyond obvious. Or almost meaningless. As if I'm saying, "The way you stick to something is to stick to it." But that's not what I'm saying. I'm saying, the way to stick to something is to not entertain the option that you have any other choice.

And you might say, "Well, I just don't have that self-discipline. Even if I commit myself to something, I still end up bailing on it." 

But I can prove you do have that self-discipline. How many times have you not cleaned your ass after taking a shit? Do you ever find yourself thinking, "I'm not going to wipe my ass this time. But I'll do it twice as good next time." No. You take a dump, you clean yourself up. This was something you had to learn at some point. But now, as an adult, you'd never think of not doing it. You've made it not optional. You can do that with anything you want.

Self-discipline, for me, has been about training myself that not doing what I've set out to do isn't an option.

The point is that once you've made the commitment you don't have to consider it ever again. You just do it. You can certainly reassess and adjust your plans at scheduled points in time. That can be part of the process. But the key word is scheduled. Not just based on your whims or impulses.

You're going to post a magic video once a day for a year? Then you don't wake up and debate with yourself if you're really going to do it, or try to come up with some excuse why you can't. You just post the video. Even if it's a bad trick. Even if it's 5 seconds long. The moment you consider, "Well, maybe I don't have to do this today," then you're sunk. 

It may seem robotic to think this way. But I actually find it helpful to think of myself—in certain respects—as a robot that I myself program. When it comes to relationships and social interaction and a general lust for life, I can be free and flighty and human. But when it comes to accomplishing the objectives I've set out for myself, I like to treat my mind like a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie.


Last week I wrote about endo-trick interests (being caught up with the inner workings of the trick, not the part the audience experiences). For all my Endomags out there, here is a fascinating version of the Magic Age Cards principle that uses an error correcting code called the Hamming Code.

Here is the description of the effect. Those of you familiar with the traditional Magic Age Cards will spot the difference immediately.

The magician walked into the spotlight and faced the audience. He asked for a volunteer. The young lady who raised her hand first was asked to pick [Jerx note: "pick" in this case means "think of"] a number from 1 through 15 and a color from the set {red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink, purple}. She was then shown seven colored cards and asked to report whether or not her chosen number appeared on each card. On the card of her chosen color, however, she was instructed to lie. After giving her responses, the magician reported both her chosen number and her chosen color.

In an endo-trick sense, this is about as good as it gets. It's really pretty interesting. From an audience-centric (exo-trick) sense, it's not better than most tricks I've seen at the dollar store. That's not a value judgment on this trick. I'm and Endomag and Exomag myself. I like both aspects of the hobby (or "art"). The only issue is when you confuse the endo-trick qualities of a trick with its exo-trick qualities. This often leads people to perform tricks with an interesting method in a boring way because they're caught up with their assessment of the trick and not how it comes off to the audience.

Thanks to Joe Mckay for clueing me into this trick.

Jesus H. Christ, guys! We have our first person kicked out of the GLOMM for murder. Yes, the GLOMM has a rule against sexual predators (which is apparently everyone now) but we will also kick out murderers under the second rule: Don't be an asshole.

This guy, Frank Popovich, shot another dude in the head. Then, as this article says:

“In a scene that was captured on surveillance video, the defendant then walked over to the victim’s head area and slapped the victim in the head,”  Deputy District Attorney Larissa Ruescher, who prosecuted the case, said in a statement. “The defendant then walked to the feet of the victim, took the cigarette from his left hand, and continued to smoke it for a full 30 seconds while standing over the victim’s body.”


While Frank is no longer in the GLOMM, I have heard nothing about him being kicked out of the International Brotherhood of Magician of which he was also a member. Keep in mind, you can kill someone and remain in the IBM/SAM. But if you show someone how to float a styrofoam cup by putting your thumb in a hole in the back, you will be kicked out and beaten soundly. That's their concept of right and wrong.


Also, to be clear, while I'm kicking him out of the GLOMM because he's a murderer, had I seen this facebook picture of him earlier, he would have been booted out for this embarrassing steampunk Native American sartorial horseshit he's wearing. Good riddance.

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