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Made You Think

Dec 22, 2022

Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode we discuss The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter, and how our modern lifestyle and pursuit of ease might be making us miserable, stressed, and anxious. 

We cover a wide range of topics including:

  • The connection between boredom and creativity
  • Misogis and how to discover what you're truly capable of
  • Why you don't necessarily want "less phone"
  • How rucking could be a massive exercise hack
  • The proper "dose" of outdoor, tech-free time

And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow NatNeil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.

Links from the Episode:

Mentioned in the Show:

Books Mentioned:

People Mentioned:

  • Michael Easter
  • Nassim Taleb (14:13)
  • Josh Waitzkin (54:08)
  • Sogyal Rinpoche (1:11:48)

Show Topics:

(0:00) Rucking as a way to make you fit overall and where on your body you should be carrying the weight when you walk.

(4:32) How your eyes and body adjust to virtual reality. In general, your eyes dilate differently when you’re using a screen vs. not using a screen. 

(8:25) In today’s episode, we’re diving into The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter. The book is centered around the author’s caribou hunt in Alaska to challenge the idea of what comfort means to him.

(12:51) Good writing is more about helping explain a concept you’re beginning to think about in a way that you haven’t been able to conceptualize on your own yet rather than teaching you something brand new.

(15:19) Boredom is another theme talked about in the book. We tend to favor a highly comfortable life full of entertainment, and we get uncomfortable when we’re bored. However, making your life more comfortable isn’t necessarily going to improve it in the long term.

(17:59) We live in a world where there is always something you can do so you never have to sit in boredom when you’re waiting. Because of this constant need to entertain ourselves, we’re losing time that we could be spending processing and crafting new ideas. The more that we can train ourselves to be comfortable in boredom, the more we regain our ability to not be so hyper-anxious and reactive all the time. 

(20:56) The connection between boredom and creativity is similar to the idea of rest recovery for working out. You wouldn’t work out the same muscle every day without a rest day. We’re essentially contracting the attention muscle all day long when we’re on our phones all the time and not giving it the recovery time it desperately needs.

(23:00) So what’s the solution? Let yourself get bored. Rather than thinking “less phone” think “more boredom”. Making space for your thoughts and resetting the baseline.

(30:58) What’s a sustainable way to get your brain rested regularly and how much outdoors time is recommended each month?

(33:13) Misogis are challenges that allow you to reframe your perception of what you’re capable of achieving. Each year, it’s encouraged that you take on a challenge, one that’s really hard and one that is unique where you can’t compare yourself to others. 

(39:42) From Spartan Races, to pushup challenges, to training in the heat of a Texas summer, Nat, Neil, and Adil reflect on some of the harder things that they’ve experienced. As a species, we’re very capable of doing hard things that we often don’t push ourselves hard enough for.

(49:00) The author’s struggle with alcoholism. Everyone self-medicates differently, whether it’s alcohol, conflict, or something more positive. It’s a matter of what you choose to fill the space with.

(54:01) The language we use to approach things is critical. You can always find a way to enjoy a situation that most people would label as “bad”.

(1:02:08) How do you reset from a bad mood or from feeling anxiety? Nat, Neil, and Adil talk about the ways they stay active. 

(1:04:54) How much exercise should you do and what’s the right amount? The more you can do, the better (of course, without injury and overtraining yourself).

(1:09:24) Training yourself for long runs and building up your endurance.

(1:11:34) “Western laziness is quite different. It consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so there is no time at all to confront the real issues. This form of laziness lies in our failure to choose worthwhile applications for our energy.” 

Filling up our time with things that may or may not be meaningful, but we often don’t realize that we’re doing it.

(1:14:36) When you look back over a long period of time, the days where you’re outside of your normal routine is what tends to stick out to you.  

(1:19:47) Finding the right amount of novelty to live a happy life. Is it possible to go too far into routine or too far into novelty?

(1:23:36) Nat, Neil, and Adil share some of their key takeaways and lessons learned from the book. This includes finding more ways to be uncomfortable, embracing that discomfort, and prioritizing physical activity.

(1:31:24) That concludes this episode! We hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned for our first episode of 2023 as we cover the Analects of Confucious.

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS, @adilmajid, @nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.

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Thanks for listening. See you next time!