Episode #6: “Put a Label on It” – How Names Provide Clarity

"Put a Label on It" – How Names Help Provide Clarity Renaisearch – Andrew Lueth

Put a Label on It

Lets talk about labels and names. The difficulty of talking about something that has no name, the clarity that names provide and the powerful negative and positive effects of labeling yourself a certain way.

Have you ever felt like something was bothering you, something you could not really describe? Do you feel a kind of anxiety or grasp? And have you ever felt relieved once
that certain something was defined and clear for you to see? Or do you struggle with keeping your commitments or resolutions?

In those cases it might be helpful to find a label for yourself or give a name to that certain something.

Without names you can not talk or really think about something, because you can not relate to something. Without a name or label it lacks context and has no real distinction from everything else.

A name gives you a certain kind of power and control over something. because you can point your finger at it and clearly put it in relation to everything else. It gains certain definitions and characteristics by descriing it and can be refered to.

There is a great example in J.K Rowlings famous bookseries “Harry Potter”: Voldemort, who everyone just calls “he who shall not be named” or the “Dark Lord”.

In a way this is actually very symbolic: Everyone is afraid to name Voldemort and really talk about him, afraid to face the unknown in a way. This gives him on the other hand tremendous power, because he can not be grasped. The only two people who call Voldemort by his name (and even his real name “tom riddle”) are also the only people Voldemort himself is afraid of: Harry and Dumbledore.

There is a passage in the books where Dumbledore says to harry:

“Call him Voldemort, Harry. Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.”

Albus Dumbledore

Fear or uncertainty of a certain thing often causes you to shy away from facing it, from looking at it. Naming something by its proper name requires you to really take a good look at it and define it. By doing this you face the issue and gain clarity.

Labeling yourself a certain way or giving yourself a chosen name, also carries a great power.

Take certain political views or a chosen lifestyle for example:

Vegans or vegetarians as well as convinced carnivores or paleo-people clearly label themselves that way. They truly believe in the lifestyle they have chosen and identify with it. They take that label or name to clearly distinguish themselves from others and to signal their choice. Carrying a label also gives them a feeling of belonging to a group, to other people carrying the same label. It also creates a kind of commitment where acting against the related convictions becomes a quite personal issue that would create a kind of identity problem – so you stick to your chosen label and act accordingly, which can benefit you in that case.

Another, rather negative way of self-labeling are old, outdated and destructive views of yourself that you still carry around with you and that create a similar kind of identity problem if you act against them, but in this case, acting against them would actually benefit you.

What you can certainly do, is to use the power of your identification with your consciously chosen label to guide your subconscious in the way that you consciously find meaningful for you.

Let me give you some questions to reflect upon before ending todays episode:

Think about the examples I gave you earlier:

“Is there something that seems to bother you, but somehow you can not describe or name?”

“What name or label could you give that certain something, just to be able to relate to it?”

“Is there a positive, self-chosen label that you could carry to help you stick to your decisions, convictions or resolutions? What label could that be?”

“Is there any unconsciously chosen, negative or destructive self-image that keeps you from acting in a way that would benefit you? What label could that be?”

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper names

Confucius

Episode #5: “Commitment is Key” – How to Stick to Your Intentions

"Commitment is Key" – How to Stick to Your Intentions Renaisearch – Andrew Lueth

Commitment is Key

Todays Episode is about Commitment. Why it is crucial, what it takes to develop it and how commiting yourself to something will keep you going, no matter what.

I know how it feels… you intented to do something, to start a project, to learn something new, to do something for a loved one or to start a business on the side.

You start out just fine, the idea about doing it feels amazing and in your moment of absolute
motivation you promise to do it.

but are you really committed?

When the time to really start and stick to your “promise” comes around or the first challenge arises is when your level of commitment really shows.

Is what you promised yourself or someone else to do, really that important to you, that you are ready to make sacrifices for it, to keep going through thick and thin so to say?

Sooner or later you will come to a point where you feel like not doing it, like procrastinating and doing it later, tommorow, next week, next month or… never.

Well, as mentioned earlier, I know that feeling myself.

I actually feel quite unmotivated and would like to do something else as I am preparing this
episode right now… its kind of hard to stay focused and I even start thinking to myself, that it would not be that bad to do it tommorow or to “JUST ONCE” not release an episode on monday evening, that ONE EXCEPTION would not be too fatal… but NO.
I commited myself to releasing one episode every week on monday evening. And here I go.

Commitment is what turns a nice idea or good intention into real action. until you are not committed, you will keep entertaining this nice ide or great vision inside your head, enjoying it mentally but never putting it into real action.

As a famous and very wise saying goes:

“Intent reveals desire; Action reveals commitment.”

famous and very wise saying

So, what do I mean when I talk about Commitment?

Committing yourself to something means that you keep going, no matter the outside circumstances or your mood at the moment.
A Commitment is always a decision. You make a kind of meta-decision, you decide once and for all from a higher and broader perspective, which makes every following small decision in the moment unnecessary, because you already made all of those decisions upfront when making that meta-decision.

Making a real Commitment requires you to know why you are really doing something, what the vision and deeper meaning behind it are, why it is fundamentally important to you or somebody else.

Here are some examples of commiting yourself to something:

Lets say you decide to go vegetarian. You really feel that this is important, and you know why you do it – because you believe it to be fundamentally wrong to kill animals to eat them and you stand up for that. you commit yourself to that cause, and make a meta-decision:
from now on, you will no longer eat meat. thats it. You made one decision upfront for every decision to come… from now on, when someone offers you meat or you have to decide what to eat at the restaurant, you dont need to think about your answer anymore, because that decision was already made earlier.

A wedding is also a very common kind of commitment. You and your partner make a commitment to each other and decide, that you will stay together “till death dos you part” and be loyal to each other, and spirit and flesh.
From there on, ideally at least, when each one of you is faced with the temptation of sleeping with somebody else, you would not have to think about how to act – you are already commited and made that decision upfront. You would also know how to act in harder
times that may make you want to leave because that would be easier – you stick through that and keep going, because you committed yourself to something that you know is worth the effort and you see the deeper meaning behind it.

Once you are really committed, no outside circumstances will stop you from pursuing that which you are committed to. If one particluar approach fails, it will not keep you from pursuing. It may require you to change your approach, to go about it in a different way – maybe you have to change the approach quite often, but being committed to the outcome or the cause, that is not really important.

As Tony Robbins says:

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”

Tony Robbins

One who is not committed to his decisions may try one approach and if it fails, gives up and doesnt stick to his decision.
The uncommited one you could say, may be “committed” to his approach and flexbible in his decisions, changing his mind as often as the approach may fail.

To conclude todays episode, i will leave you with something to reflect upon:

Is there an area in your life where you always seem to fall off track? Where you can really move something as long as you are motivated, but when you dont feel like it or a challenge arises… you procrastinate so long that you eventually forget about it?

Think about it, and ask yourself:

“Am I really committed to doing it?”

“Do I know why I really do that, is it really meaningful to me, do I know the deeper meaning
of doing it?”

“If not, am I ready to really commit myself to it?”

“What Commitment am i ready to make?”

“What decisions would be made upfront by that commitment?”

“If i am not ready to commit myself to it, am i better off not doing it at all?”

When confronted with a challenge, the committed heart will search for a solution. The undecided heart searches for an escape.

Andy Andrews

Episode #4: “Learn the Rules and Break Them” – Why It Is Important to Know What You Ignore

"Learn the Rules and Break Them" – Why It Is Important to Know What You Ignore Renaisearch – Andrew Lueth

Learn the Rules and Break Them

Today we will talk about breaking rules. That you should learn them before you break them and why you should strive to actually do so to a certain degree once you know them.

Can you relate to this? You learn something new or start out on a complex challenge. You dont really see the results you wish to see and can not be bothered to learn the basic rules of the craft, because you think “I want to do it my own way, and not copy somebody else!” or “I dont care about the rules, great people break the rules!”.
And I would say, you are not particularly wrong in thinking that, but before you go and
break the rules, you need to know what rules you are actually breaking and what advice you are not sticking to. Ignoring the rules can be great, but only if you know you are ignoring them.

Lets say you wanted to learn photography. well, there are certain basic rules and guidelines to making good photos, like having the right proportions, using
the rule of thirds, having a good focal point, keeping the horizon straight, keeping an eye on the lighting and sharpness of the foto etc.
Now, you could just say “I dont care about all these rules, I want to be creative and just do what inspires me right now, I am an artist, I dont stick to rules.”

Well there are great artists who do not stick to classic rules and are highly succesfull in doing so. But the difference here is, that they learned them so thouroughly that using them is more like “default mode” to them then not using them.
If they stray from using conventional rules it is intentional and there is probably so much still “right” that purposefully ignoring some of the rules creates just enough tension that the artwork becomes more interesting or excentric in a way because of it.
If you on the other hand never internalised the rules and guidelines of making good photos,
and just do what you like, you probably unconsciously break more rules than you are by chance getting right and your art would probably suck in a way, looking kind of strange and unharmonious… and unless you know the rules you are breaking, you dont know where this effect comes from and why your art looks the way it does, making it harder for you to realistically evaluate yor skill and improve it.

Rules are there for a reason:

People discover that something works reliably in a particular way quite effectively. And to replicate the results they are getting, they set up rules to guide future action or the efforts of other people in a way which brings similar results. Thats basically what a rule breaks down to.

Now, of course going by this definition, rules are never set in stone and may change over time. Some rules get outdated and need to be discarded all together, others stay relevant in some way but no longer apply to the particular context they were set up in. Some rules stand the test of time and are almost like fundamental principles.

Breaking the rules can be really effective and reap great benefits. But only if you know the rules you are breaking.
Most rules have a reason for being there and provide clear guidance, if you steer to far away from that you will most likely get lost, not knowing what to do.
Now, to a certain degree that is beneficial. Firstly to explore the boundaries of certain rules, to test where and in which context they still apply and if they need to be updated. Secondly, because most rules can only be general guidelines, not individualised plans of action. In many cases it will be necessary to bend certain rules to fit your own individual way of thinking,
acting and being to really use them effectively.

To conclude todays episode, i will leave you with something to reflect upon:

Think of something you are learning right now or a craft you are trying to master:

Do you know the basics rules?

Are you confident in the use of them?

Or have you ignored them until now?

Do you maybe stick to rules too rigirously and could benefit from breaking them to a degree?

In which way could you imagine breaking them?

Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.

Dalai Lama XIV

Episode #3: “Getting the Basics Right” – What to Focus on And Why

"Getting the Basics Right" – What to Focus on And Why Renaisearch – Andrew Lueth

Getting the Basics Right

Have you ever wondered which parts to focus on when starting a new project? Have you felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information about the topic and felt like you had to get all of it “right”?

Today we will talk about the importance of getting just the right things right, how to know which those are, and why, in most cases, you can ignore everything else.

Whenever you are dealing with something new and unknown, you are faced with the challenge of deciding where to start. If you try to find out about it on the internet, you are most likely bombarded with tons of confusing and contradicting information from people who are convinced that their view on the topic is the only valid one and everyone else is a fraud.

At this point, you most likely either get lost in the chaos of it all or you give up on the topic because you decide it is just too complicated.
OR you take a completely different approach and try to figure out, what the most basic principles of the topic are, and then execute those really well.

Why is it so essential to get the basics right?

I believe there are 2 main reasons:

1. Without the right basics, a really solid basis, everything build upon that will not be successfull

Think of a pyramide:

If you set out to build a high pyramid you would need to start with a broad and firm foundation, that would take the most stones to set up. each layer build upon the foundation would take less and less stones (meaning less effort invested) till you reach the top with just one stone.
Witouth the firm foundation, the progress towards the top would be unthinkable and, the higher you want your pyramid to be, the broader your foundation need to be and the more effort you would need to put into setting it up.

2. In most cases, getting the basics right, is just enough. Finding out what basics are essential and executing them well, will get you 80% of the way.

Take nutrition and diet for example:

Lets say you try to work out what the best and most healthy diet for you may be, and you go to search for it on the internet. You google “most healthy diet” or something like that and… welcome to the chaos of a never ending discussion!

On the one side you will find the most extreme vegans and raw food enthusiasts.
While on the other side you will hear people preach about the Paleo, Carnivore or Ketogenic diet. And between them everything you could imagine!

Who of them is right? Well, depending on which site you are arguing for, you will definitely be able to convince yourself that either one is right or wrong.
The topic is just so complex and deep as well as highly subjective and personal.

Now, instead of getting lost in the fine details of which exact foods to eat, what to combine, which macro- and micro-nutrients to take, which supplements are the best and whether you should cook everything or not cook your food at all – Just look at the underlying principles and basics, common amoung all of them. And then stick to them and get them right!

Most people would get the most out of it, if they just focused on cutting out highly processed foods, sugary beverages and sweets, stopped eating while under stress and started to incorparate more fresh and organic fruits, greens and vegetables while making sure they take their time while eating to chew thoroughly and drink enough fresh water throughout the day.

Sounds simple, too simple actually – but these are basic principles that no one can ignore and sticking to them will get most people 80% of the way. If you still wanted the extra 20% you could get into the fine details and join the long discussions about the right diet, but this would take a great amount more of your time.

Everything can be reduced to some basic principles or rules – find them and stick to them!

Have you ever heard of the pareto principle? It is often reffered to the 80/20 rule.

The 80/20 rule observes that most things have an unequal distribution and that most things are not 1:1, the amount of “input” (effort, time, labor) results
in exactly the same amount of output…

The Pareto Principle states that the majority of results come from a minority of inputs.

Some useful examples of the Pareto Principle:

20% of workers contribute to 80% of results: Focus on rewarding these employees.

20% of customers bring 80% of the revenue: Focus on satisfying these customers even more.

20% of problems cause 80% of the rouble: Focus on fixing these problems first.

The point to realize here is that most of the time you can focus your effort on the 20% that makes 80% of the difference, instead of the 80% that only adds 20% to the result.

You can spend hours and hours perfecting something or working out the details. In most cases and for most people, this is not necessary and even a waste of time.
It would be better to spend some time finding out which 20% bring 80% of the results and get those exactly right. In most cases the additional 20% of results achieved by 80% of the effort is for professionals or people who are really passionate about the the topic.

To conclude todays episode, i will leave you with a question to reflect upon:

Think of a project you are working on or some area of your life, that you are trying to move forward:

“What are the essential 20% of effort that I need to put in to achieve 80% of the results in a short amount of time?”

You can’t build a great building on a weak foundation. You must have a solid foundation if you’re going to have a strong superstructure.

Gordon B. Hinckley

Episode #2: “Slow And Steady Wins The Race” – In Praise of Incremental Progress

"Slow And Steady Wins The Race" – In Praise of Incremental Progress Renaisearch – Andrew Lueth

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Have you ever made the experience of being totally motivated and inspired to do something you know you really want to see finished? And after being on fire about it for 1 or 2 days you suddenly stop the whole thing because you feel its just too much effort? You feel like you still want to see the project finished, but in spite of your good will and knowing what you need to do… you simply can not get yourself to start working on it again or lose motivation.

This is not an uncommon problem and something that everyone will probably be able to relate to in some form. And it is also were todays theme will come into play:

“Slow and steady wins the race”

You can see it all the time:

Somebody gets really excited about a new hobby or project and wants to give it everything and really be successfull and big about it. Maybe they really want to learn french and decided to study for 3 hours straight everyday… then after a week they suddenly “forget” about it and
never open the textbook again.
Or they decide to start a small business on the side and to, from now on, devote every evening after work to hustling and giving it everything… just to realize shortly after that they can not keep up the pace for long and then start to procrastinate.

The problem with this over the top all-in approach is not a lack in motivation, willpower, discipline or knowing what needs to be done. The problem is that they are starting out on a pace that they can not sustain. The extreme motivation and inspiration felt at the beginning of a project or while fantasizing about it lets them start out with extreme speed and gives them the false impression that they will keep feeling the same way they do now about it 1, 2 or 3 weeks down the road.
When in reality, inspiration and motivation will fluctuate quite a bit along the way. Then, when motivation is low – 3 hours doing something new and challenging will feel like a chore and they will naturally begin to procrastinate.

There is one of Aesops famous fables, which illustrates this very dynamic quite figuratively… let me share it with you:

The Hare & the Tortoise

A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow.

“Do you ever get anywhere?” he asked with a mocking laugh.

“Yes,” replied the Tortoise, “and I get there sooner than you think. I’ll run you a race and prove it.”

The Hare was much amused at the idea of running a race with the Tortoise, but for the fun of the thing he agreed. So the Fox, who had consented to act as judge, marked the distance and started the runners off.

The Hare was soon far out of sight, and to make the Tortoise feel very deeply how ridiculous it was for him to try a race with a Hare, he lay down beside the course to take a nap until the Tortoise should catch up.

The Tortoise meanwhile kept going slowly but steadily, and, after a time, passed the place where the Hare was sleeping. But the Hare slept on very peacefully; and when at last he did wake up, the Tortoise was near the goal. The Hare now ran his swiftest, but he could not overtake the Tortoise in time.

The race is not always to the swift.

Although every sensible person would expect a hare to win a race against a tortoise just by comparing their natural potential for speed, the way both of them approached the race was what determined the outcome, not their natural potential.

While the hare made a massive one-time leap forward and from then on no progress at all (or at least not until it was already much too late), the tortoise with slow and steady incremental steps towards the finish line, did win the race – even withouth stressing itself or much hassle at all.

It is exactly that difference in approach which makes it either hard and stressfull or easy and enjoyable to progress towards your desired goal.

There is no such thing as an overnight-success!

When you take a look at great achievements or amazing success, it often seems as if they are chieved over night, in one big herculean powerful act of greatness that came out of nowhere. When in reality, what seems like one single act of success, is merely the tip of the iceberg or the inevitable climax of years full of unseen, continous effort.

In China there are certain types of bamboo plants with an interesting growth pattern:

When you plant the bamboo from scratch, water and fertilize it everyday and hope for it to grow – you will be disappointed. It takes some of these plants up to 5 years of underground growth and rootbuilding until they start to visibly grow at all.
But after these 5 years they start to grow at rates of up to 1 meter a day and reach heights of 30 meters in about 5 weeks. Now, if during these 5 years of preparation you stopped taking care of the bamboo, to water and to fertilize it, it will never be able to reach these massive rates of daily growth!

It is just the same with your life! There are phases where it seems as if all you are doing is putting in the effort while not seeing any results at all! You may feel like you wasted time and effort or that the project is not worth undertaking, while in reality your efforts were
used for the most important part: building a solid foundation. A solid foundation on which rapid growth can even be supported.

Remember: The bamboo did not reach 30 meters in 5 weeks but in 5 years!

To make faster progress afterwards it is often necessary to build a great foundation upfront. And building a great foundation requiers consistent and steady progress, especially if your efforts do not reap immediate benefits as in in the example with the bamboo. You need to be able to trust that your efforts will bring about the desired outcome in the end, even if you may not see it now. This is were the compound effect comes into play.

The COMPOUND EFFECT

The Compound effect, as described by Darren Hardy in his Book “The Compound Effect”, is the “principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices.”

Darren Hardy says the most interesting thing about this process is that even though the end-results are massive, the steps, in the moment, dont feel significant.

This is because these small choices or actions, by themselves, do not offer any big immediate payoff, they can not stand alone. But many of these small choices, made consistently over a long period of time, add up to radical results.

A great metaphor hardy uses to show the power of the compound effect, is that of the “Magic Penny”:

If you had the choice between taking 3$ million in cash instantly or receiving 1 Penny that doubles in value every day for the next 31 days, which would you choose?

Imagine you chose the 3 $ million and I take the penny.

On day five, I have 16 cents. you.. have 3$ million.

Day Ten: I have 5.12$. you have 3$ million.

After 20 days, it is still only 5,243$ versus your 3$ million.


Only now does the effect of the compound effect really show:

On Day 31, my Penny is now worth 10,737,418.24$.

Can you imagine how the compound effect could play out in your own life? what radical results you can achieve through slow and steady progress?

To end this episode I want to leave you with a small challenge:

Ask yourself:

“Which small, seemingly insignificants actions, behaviors or decisions, done consistenly on a regular basis would really change my life to the better in the long run?”

or me, meditation is one such behavior. By itself, 15-20 minutes of meditation in the evening
do not seem very life changing. but done every evening, they keep my mind calm and focused, improve my sleep and by doing so my overall health and
capability for decision making, my overall mood etc… you see were this is going.

Now, what action, behavior or decision could be worth incorporating slowly and steadily?

Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow… even if that someone is yourself!

Plato

Episode #1: “Done Is Better Than Perfect” – On The Importance of Just Starting

"Done Is Better Than Perfect" – On The Importance of Just Starting Renaisearch – Andrew Lueth

Summary

Whatever it may be that you are waiting for to just magically “happen” out of nowhere for you to just be where you want to be or to finally feel ready to do whatever it is that you want to do… its not gonna happen. unless you make it happen. And you are not gonna make it happen unless you just start.

Unfortunately, as you will know, this is the hardest part. Starting always feels kind of weird and clumsy. But thats totally normal. It even makes sense if you think about it. Its like a wheel or a big rock, that you are trying to roll around. At first you will have to put some effort into getting it from just standing still to moving slightly. At this point the rock will not be moving smoothly or elegantly, it will likely bump around a bit. But once you get the rock moving just a
bit, its way easier and almost naturally to get it to move fast and smoothly.

Its just the same with your everyday habits or the goals you are trying to accomplish. Bringing up the effort to move from the resting phase of your old habits or your comfort zone to the part where things are just beginning to move will definitely suck and feel akward or clumsy. But just as in the metaphor of the rock, once things are actually in motion, staying in motion and moving forward will feel the most natural and be quite easy.

So, what am I trying to get across here?

Once you actually realize that its really quite natural and normal for the starting-part to be the hardest and most akward phase of every process, it will be much easier for you to just accept it as a normal and necessary part of the whole process, that is inevitable for you to move forward to the easier phase of rolling and building momentum. The fact that getting started is hard, has nothing to do with your own inability or with you “not being ready” – it is a natural and normal part of the process, that everyone goes through, no matter how talented or gifted they are!

Well, it is not by accident that the first episode of this podcast begins with the topic of just starting. For a matter of fact, I am taking a word out of my book here and just starting this podcast, which I have been waiting to feel “ready” for for the last year or more probably, just waiting for the perfect moment to start. It turns out, the perfect moment to start, is the moment you decide to start.

It is a decision! A decision to turn whatever potential or vision thats waiting for YOU, waiting in YOU, to be expressed through YOU. And to bring it into reality!

With this first Episode I will set a positive example and hopefully inpsire you to start your own thing – whatever that may be!

I want to end this episode today with a small challenge for you:

After reading this text, I want you to get yourself something to write, sit down for just a moment and take a few real deep breaths.
Take yourself a minute or two and feel into your gut, into your heart – what it is that you know you should start but have been putting off for some time now. Once you know what that certain thing is, make a committment, a promise to yourself:

A promise that in the next 24 hours you will make the first step towards your goal, however small that step may be.

The first step is the hardest, but also the most important, because without it there are no second or third steps. I also encourage you, after doing that first step, to make it a commitment to yourself that for the next month you will spend 1 Hour a day investing in
the next steps that need to follow. After consistently investing 1 Hour a day for a month you will definitely have come a long way and besides that, you will probably know if whatever you were doing is actually as fullfilling to you as thought it may be… I mean, imagine you fantasize about being a writer for 30 years of your life and after finally starting and beginning to write, you quickly realize that you actually hate writing. Wfhat a waste of your time and energy to
falsely fantasize about something you thought would bring you fulfillment.

Alright I´m starting to drift off here… but the point remains:

Get yourself something to write, site down, take some time and breath deeply.

Then make a promise to yourself to start in the next 24 hours and keep going for a month for 1 hour a day.

Make that a writting commitment, sign it with your name and hang it somewhere for you to frequently remind you!

Now, I hope you enjoyed this first episode!

This was me starting – now is your turn!

To end this episode, I will leave you with one of my favorite poems:

Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute: What you can do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage and then the mind grows heated; Begin and then the work will be completed.

John Anster