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Introduction

Welcome to Anabolic Optimism: Rules for an Invincible Mind. This text is designed to be
a field guide for anyone wishing to develop an anti-fragile mindset that will not only
allow you to deal with any difficult situation that comes your way, but actually enable
you to thrive and evolve in the face of challenge.

We’ll start things off by introducing you to a new framework for looking at life where
we'll cover the concepts of omnigame, resonance, and psychomagnetics. These ideas will
help you tap into the incredible power of your mind and open the door to generating
productive flow states at will.

From there, we will look at what sorts of thoughts create the biggest impact when
plugged into this framework. I call these mindbombs the “anabolic axioms,” and as you
internalize them they will open you up to an entire universe of power and possibility.

The axioms are as follows:

1. Everything that happens to you is the best possible thing that could ever happen
to you.
2. If you don’t get what you want, you're getting something better.
3. Pain is just power wrapped in a puzzle.
4. Every game is winnable if you play big enough.
5. Every action is easy if you make it small enough.
6. Evolution is as smooth as you are humble.
7. Joy is as accessible as you are faithful.

Just reading that list, many of you might want to dismiss it as some soft hippy dippy
kindergarten B.S.

This would be a mistake.

Normal optimism works great for normal struggles, but gets crushed under significant
suffering and hardship. When faced with such challenge, many people have made the
understandable, yet ultimately weak and ineffective mistake to turn toward cynicism,
nihilism, or unabashed escapism. These approaches don’t work and only make your life
worse.
The only true answer to intense negative circumstances is to inject your positivity
with steroids and equip it with a rocket launcher. It is this fiercely radiant posture
that you will come to know as Anabolic Optimism and it will make you an
invincible and infinitely evolving force of good should you have the bravery to
practice it.

-—Part I: Omnigame Fundamentals

The Game of Life


There’s a game that everybody is playing all of the time. It’s the game of trying to get
what you want, or if you prefer, trying to want what you already have (in reality, you
need both). In other words, it’s the game of trying to move away from suffering and
achieve satisfaction.

I call this attempt to achieve satisfaction the omnigame of life. The prefix "omni" means
"of all things", which seems appropriate since this pursuit of satisfaction seems to
encompass pretty much every interaction in life.

The idea is this: In every moment, you have either a conscious or unconscious
desire. Your mental and emotional state is predominantly a result of how those
desires are mapped and ultimately fulfilled. The problem is that most of us lack
skill in playing this game and subsequently end up dissatisfied with our results.

When your omnigame is weak, you constantly feel like you are losing, missing out, are
not good enough, and frustrated. If you can improve your omnigame, then you can
increase the frequency of success and satisfaction you feel and achieve in all areas of
life.

I believe that you’re meant to be a winner. Meaning, I believe you’re meant to feel like
you’re winning almost constantly. I’m not talking about a win here or there - I’m talking
about a near-permanent state of being. This means spending the majority of your time
feeling like you’re getting what you want, or wanting what you already have.

Does mastery of the omnigame mean you become omniPOTENT (becoming all
powerful)? Not at all. You can certainly become more effective, but true mastery of the
omnigame is found in the way you handle the scenarios of NOT getting what you want
and still ending up feeling like you're getting ahead.
Sound paradoxical? It's not, but it takes a bit of explaining, hence this guide.

If you can develop mastery over the core mechanics of the omnigame that I'll be
showing you, you’ll be able to cultivate anabolic optimism and start exponentially
increasing your level of progress and satisfaction in any domain you wish.

Resonance

The first mechanic we’ll need to examine for improving our omnigame is the concept I’ll
be calling resonance.

Resonance is an alignment between head and heart. It is when your rational and
emotional mind are either a state of conscious or unconscious "agreement."

So when someone asks if something "resonates" with you, they are asking if something
both feels right and sounds rationally acceptable as well.

This can be contrasted with a state of dissonance where your head and heart disagree.
We'll be talking more about how to heal such states in a bit.

Resonance can be either positive or negative.

Positive resonance is when the feelings are pleasant. This is an "attractive" motivational
force that draws you toward something that is both rationally and emotionally deemed
"good."

Negative resonance is when feelings are unpleasant. This is a "repellant" motivational


force that drives you away from something deemed rationally and emotionally "bad."

Resonance can exist in an active or passive state.

A passive resonance is when you think and feel something, but are not currently acting
on it. So for example, perhaps your opinion of a particular politician is held passively
inside you the majority of the time. It only becomes a state of active resonance when
you engage in political discussion about that politician or vote for/against them at the
ballot box.

Passive resonance, especially when strong, rarely stays passive for long unless it is
shifted.
Conversely, an active state is when your body enters into the resonance as well and you
ACT according to the resonant impulse. So if you feel like eating, think it is a good idea
TO eat, and then go about the act of eating, then you are in a state of active resonance.

Active resonance is the “effortless action” that flows through our mental,
emotional, and physical activity as a result of synergistic alignment in our psyche.
Autopilot, flow, being in the zone, trance, reactivity, entrainment, hyperfocus etc.
are all forms of resonance.

Psychomagnetics
The most important characteristic of resonance is what I’m
calling psychomagnetism, which refers to the principle that whatever you resonate
with, YOU GET MORE OF.

It’s like your consciousness is a special magnet, depending upon how you tune your
psychomagnetic field determines what sorts of experiences and results you ultimately
attract.

We all intuitively understand this. If you resonate with hate, conflict, and resentment,
you’ll get MORE hate conflict and resentment in your life, not less. If you resonate with
love, cooperation, and gratitude, you’ll get MORE love, cooperation, and gratitude.

This idea has been around for thousands of years and spoken of in almost every
religious tradition in some form or another. Today it is commonly referred to as the “law
of attraction” (though that's not it's only name). However, every tradition comes with it’s
own baggage and assumptions (for better or worse) and I’d like to start this
conversation fresh, hence, 'psychomagnetics'.

The core of psychomagnetic theory is this:

• Your thoughts are instructions for what you WANT MORE OF (the configuration
of the psychomagnetic circuit).
• Your emotions are like electricity that AMPLIFY and CHARGE those instructions
with power.
• Your actions are when you connect your charged instructions to the physical
world to create a mutually affective feedback loop (the circuit) between you and
reality.
So basically the thoughts you think are instructions for what you want, your emotions
are the battery to power those instructions, and your actions are the way you plug those
instructions into omnigame of life.

When practiced effectively, psychomagnetic skill allows you to consciously SHIFT


your active resonance. This lets you go from unproductive states of reacting
poorly, to productive states where you fall into a flow of beneficial behavior.

In other words, you gain control over your own psychological "playlist" that controls the
rhythm and flow of your thoughts, emotions and actions. So if the “song” you’re
currently resonating at causes you to dance to a beat that leads to undesirable results,
then you can change the track to a better tune and get better results.

The core challenge here is that many people are completely unaware of their own
psychomagnetic ability and use it to their detriment rather than their benefit.

Catabolic vs Anabolic Resonance


If our goal is to shift from less desirable states of resonance to more desirable states,
then the first thing we need to do is figure out which states are the ones to be avoided
and which ones are to be pursued.

It would be great if things were so simple as "pursue the good feelings of positive
resonance" and "avoid the unpleasant feelings of negative resonance" but our world is
not so black and white.

We cannot simply pursue immediate gratification and expect to get favorable results in
our life (as any addict can attest). So if quick pleasure isn't the goal of our
psychomagnetic model, what is?

To this end, we’ll be looking at the two poles of psychomagnetism: catabolic and
anabolic resonance.

Catabolic Resonance: Pattern of activity which leads to a net breakdown of things,


devolution or withering.

Anabolic Resonance: Pattern of activity which leads to a net build up of things,


evolution or thriving.

Now there’s a bit of a yin-yang like relationship between these two states - each has a
bit of the other in them. So for example, a state of catabolic resonance might actually
build something up (like an addiction, or cancerous growth) that ultimately leads to a
greater breakdown.

Likewise, an anabolic process might require a smaller breakdown for a greater gain like
how you must tear down muscle fibers if you wish ultimately to build them up and make
them stronger, or destruction of old and dysfunctional ways of doing things in order to
adopt better methods.

Our goal here is to abolish all net catabolic patterns and learn how to function purely in
the realm of net anabolic resonance. This is not to say that there is no power to be
gained on an overtly catabolic path, but I do NOT recommend walking this path (you
can hear more about this in this video I did).

The big issue is that many people habitually fall into states of catabolic resonance
that break them down and hold them back from thriving in life in a sustainable
and authentic manner.

Let’s now take a deeper look at how that happens.

Catabolic Resonance
We have all been in states of catabolic resonance before. Any time you have been “stuck
in a rut,” caught in a “negative spiral,” or just caught acting out undesirably, you were in
a state of catabolic resonance.

Unless a shift is made to counter this state, the psychomagnetic law of "you will get
more of what you put out" demands that one catabolic response to a negative event will
attract MORE catabolic activity and MORE negative events.

A catabolic resonance usually starts with some kind of ‘bad’ event. This perception
of ‘badness’ is the frequency that begins resonating in the mind, the emotions and
ultimately the actions. As this resonance goes unchecked, it creates a
psychomagnetic charge that attracts more experiences of the same frequency.

So for example, let’s say you showed up in a way that was less than ideal – maybe you
unintentionally made a social gaffe at work and drew some criticism from those around
you. This sort of event is usually followed by a negative emotion such as shame,
embarrassment or stress.

Remember how the psychomagnetic formula works: the thought (instruction) in your
mind is “I screwed up and I’ve lost status” and the negative feelings associated with that
thought charge it with power. If that charged thought gets plugged into the omnigame
via action to complete the circuit, then there’s an extremely high chance it will lead to a
feedback loop of MORE screw ups and status loss.

This doesn’t happen instantaneously or magically - it’s just plain old cause and effect: If
you do not adjust your thinking around the ‘bad’ event, then your consciousness will do
what it does best: expand out into a network of associated thinking and feeling which
will ultimately affect your actions and experiences.

So if you are holding the emotion of shame and embarrassment, then your thoughts will
follow that psychomagnetic frequency. This might look like replaying the situation over
and over again from worse and worse angles or perhaps bringing up all the other times
you’ve made similar mistakes. This just making that core negative emotion stronger and
stronger.

As the negative emotion burns stronger, the thoughts will spiral darker and before you
know it, you can end up feeling like the biggest loser in the world, with all of your life’s
mistakes playing through your mind as evidence of your buffoonery.

Instead of just being concerned with the little gaffe, you now are worried that you’re the
biggest joke of a person and no one takes you seriously. As these thoughts and feelings
bounce around in your head and heart, they will eventually find a way out through your
body in the form of an action.

If you think you’re a fool and also feel like a fool, how do you think you’ll act?

When you have a highly emotionally charged thought, it takes a massive amount of
willpower to prevent that from being acted out and ultimately plugged into the
omnigame as an instruction for what you want.

So for example, if you worked yourself up internally as we’ve described, then the next
time you’re in a social situation all you’ll be focused on is avoiding making another
mistake. You’ll be nervous, tense, and more likely to hold back and unable to be present
and focused.

The net result is that this will lead to a higher probability that you MAKE another gaffe
or come across as less likable than if your thoughts and feelings were resonating on a
different frequency. By resonating with the thought of “I’ve screwed up and lost status,”
you’ve psychomagnetically attracted MORE of that very thing.

This is a simple example of how social anxiety and poor social skills manifest for people
worldwide. Of course, it can get much more complex as people adopt different coping
mechanisms, but the fundamental principle is that your thoughts and feelings determine
your actions and experiences, and these actions and experiences feed into your future
actions and experiences.

This is just one example but it can show up in a bunch of other ways:

• If you are worried about being rejected by women, you're more likely to show up
as needy/insecure etc. and end up getting rejected more
• If you are constantly worried about not having enough money, your mind will
filter the world through the perception of scarcity and you will be blind to
opportunities to tap into financial abundance.
• If you are angry with yourself for being unproductive (with no supplemental &
corrective thinking) then you'll just want to escape the "slave driver" experience
of yourself which just leads to more escapism and lost productivity.

EVERYBODY has a way in which they spiral downward, OR, at the very least, have
an area where they FAIL to spiral UPWARD as well as they would like.

These are just small examples, but the forms of catabolic resonance cover all areas of
life, ranging from sexuality, career, relationships, health, to self-discipline and beyond.

To summarize:

Catabolic resonance refers to states of automatic activity where you use your
psychomagnetic power to attract the experiences which break you down and limit
you.

If you start with negative thoughts and negative feelings, you will ultimately take
negative actions and experience negative results.

If left unchecked, these results create a negative feedback loop that will simply
create more and more negative results that break you down further.

So the big trends from this are:

• If you resonate lack and desire, you just get more lack and desire: If you never
feel like you have enough or have what you want, then getting more things won’t
change that. You’ll just need more and more, never feeling satisfied.
• If you resonate with victimhood and resentment, you will get more victimhood
and resentment: If you view yourself as a helpless victim and your negative state
as someone else’s fault, then you’ll ALWAYS feel that way and find someone to
blame for your unsatisfying life and live perpetually in a state of powerlessness.
• If you resonate with conflict and discord, you will get more conflict and discord. If
you go around looking for fights, you’ll find them, and very quickly these fights
will come around trying to find YOU.

Anabolic Resonance
Instead of catabolic resonance, we want to be in a state of anabolic resonance where we
are thinking good thoughts, feeling good things, and getting good results.

Perhaps you know some people like this - they are almost always in a good mood, they
seem to flow through life and everything seems to work out for them. These are people
who have learned how to put good energy out so that they get good things back.

Bad things don’t seem happen to these people because these people don’t let
themselves SEE their experiences as bad. They just see opportunities and wins.

Looking at the list of examples we outlined in the previous section, we can flip them for
the person resonating anabolically:

• If you are happy with yourself regardless of what women think, you're more likely
to show up as confident, interesting, and strong and ultimately have more
romantic success.
• If you hold yourself as someone who is already wealthy, then you'll think and act
like a wealthy person. Guess how wealthy people act? In the ways that generate
more money.
• If you run off the thoughts of as someone who is already a productive person,
then your emotions and actions will follow suite.

When applied as global principles you get:

• If you resonate with abundance and fulfillment, you get more abundance and
fulfillment: If you learn how to cultivate gratitude and satisfaction, then you’ll get
more and more things to be grateful and fulfilled by. The people who embrace
what they have as an awesome gift use it as such, and therefore get the best
results they possibly can.
• If you resonate with ownership and opportunity then you get more ownership
and opportunity: If you embrace the fact that you always have the ability to
choose your RESPONSE to your situation then you can make sure that you use
that response to the best of your ability. The people who consistently honor this
power successively unlock MORE power.
• If you resonate with peace and cooperation then you get more peace and
cooperation: When you try to work with people rather than against them, you will
tend to find people automatically flocking to your side. And even if you can’t find
alignment on a particular issue, the disagreement tends to be far more amicable
and perhaps even lead to greater respect and connection down the line on other
matters.

You might be thinking “That all sounds nice, but how the heck am I supposed to
resonate positively all the time? Isn’t it inevitable that I’m going to experience negative
emotions and act out catabolically?”

Two points to make about this:

First, catabolic resonance tends to only get truly bad when you don’t address it. One
catabolic action does not usually create a massive breakdown (barring extremely bad
edge cases). Simply developing self-awareness and baseline resonance shifting skills will
be enough to keep a catabolic feedback loop from spiraling out of control.

Second, we need to remember that point we made about the yin-yang earlier. You can
make any negative situation into a smaller catabolic experience that ultimately serves a
larger anabolic aim.

My point here is that you don’t need to have perfect self-control in order to live a
life of predominantly anabolic resonance. Just a basic understanding of the skills
and the will to use those skills.

So, what are those basic skills? Well that’s what the rest of the guide is for!

Shifting State
The core point of control we have in the psychomagnetic model is the narrative we
operate on. The narrative refers to the story we are telling about the facts of a situation.
This narrative forms the "music" of our "emotional magnet".

There’s a glass of water on the table. Will you tell the story that the glass is half full, or
that it’s half empty and probably filled with poison?

As we mentioned previously, you can think of your narrative as the circuit that your
emotional energies flow through and are manipulated by. This flow creates your
psychomagnetic resonance, which is either anabolic or catabolic depending on whether
it builds you up or breaks you down over time.
The tricky thing about your internal narrative is that you have two main players inside of
you vying for control over what story you operate on. I these different aspects of your
psyche your primal and terminal selves.

Your terminal self is the logical and higher-level thinking aspect of your being.
This part can be quite intelligent and directive, but alone, it lacks power.

Your primal self is the emotional aspect of your being. This part can be incredibly
powerful, but it can be very irrational and self-destructive if left to it’s own
devices.

You can compare these aspects to the classic image of the elephant (primal/emotional
self) and the elephant tamer (terminal/rational self) who rides on top the elephant.

Who is really in control, the elephant or the trainer? It kind of depends:

• How well trained is the elephant?


• How much do the desires of the elephant and the trainer align?
• How skilled/educated is the trainer?
• How good is the relationship between the elephant and trainer?

The general issue we run into that leads to catabolic resonance is when our primal
self runs off of unhelpful and emotionally reactive narratives, and our terminal self
is not skilled or present enough to steer the primal self in a better direction.

So for example, let’s say you get into your car to head out to work, but your car won’t
start. Your immediate primal narrative might be something along the lines of:

“This sucks! I’ll be late and that’s bad! Something is probably broken and that will cost
money and THAT’s bad. My boss will be so mad at me and that’s bad too! I probably
won’t get that promotion now too, and that’s SUPER bad!”

This narrative is likely not experienced as a clear voice speaking these words. For primal
narratives, you’ll experience them as emotional sensations - i.e. you’ll just feel pissed off
and anxious. However, if you were to translate those feelings into words (which is a very
powerful skill) you’ll find out the story your primal self is telling.

Now unless your terminal self can step in and offer a better perspective, you’ll resonate
internally with this narrative and it’s only a matter of time before it slips out into your
actions in the form of cursing, yelling, etc.
If this resonance isn’t shifted, you’ll be in a crappy mood and displaying crappy behavior
all day. Later that day you might find yourself in a screaming match with your significant
other, being an anonymous asshole to someone online, or perhaps acting out some
addiction to escape your own miserable experience.

All this is because once you’re in a catabolic resonance, you’ll be more likely to apply
that same filter to everything else you experience as well. It’s kind of like if you were to
wear a pair of green tinted sunglasses, everything you look at would look green. Same
thing can be said of a narrative. If you resonate with a negative narrative, everything you
experience will be affected.

The solution to these reactive, catabolic, emotional narratives is that our terminal
mind must come in and offer a different perspective. We need to be able to tell a
BETTER story about the situation.

If we can do this then we can tap into an anabolic resonance that will lead to the most
productive flow of activity possible given the circumstances.

Beliefs are the Foundation


The heart of a catabolic resonance is a primal narrative of “this situation is bad
because X”. In order to shift to an anabolic resonance, our terminal selves need to
be able to present an alternative narrative of “this situation is good because Y.”

Both the obstacle and key to creating this kind of narrative shift is your BELIEF SYSTEM.
Your beliefs act as the foundation upon which you build your mental stories about the
world. If your beliefs are incompatible with your new narrative, then it will be like trying
to build a brick house on sand - it won't hold up.

If you want to be able to constantly shift into a narrative of anabolic optimism, then
you’ll need to internalize the beliefs that can support such a resonance.

There are a particular set of such beliefs that I believe allow for the GREATEST support of
anabolic optimism. I refer to these beliefs as the anabolic axioms and they are what we
cover in detail in the second half of this guide.

The axioms are a series of layered thought patterns with the first one of *"Everything
that happens to you is the best possible thing that could EVER happen to you"* at the
top of the pyramid and subsequent ones supporting the axioms which came before.
The goal will be to use these thought patterns to construct a new narrative so that you
can shift into an anabolic resonance any time you find yourself struggling with bad
vibes.

Psychomagnetic Activation
The big challenge to utilizing new beliefs to create new narratives about your experience
is the emotional resistance to adopting new patterns of thinking. You probably have a
part of you that looks at that first axiom of “Everything that happens to you is the best
possible thing that could EVER happen to you” and immediately says “yeah right, no way I
buy that!”

You cannot ignore this emotional resistance nor just force your way through it. Well, I
guess you can, but often that just causes more harm than good. Any resistance you just
repress and white knuckle your way through doesn’t disappear. It’s much better to deal
with it as it comes up rather than stuff it in the closet only to have it spill out all over the
floor later in an uncontrolled manner.

Instead of just trying to “force” a new narrative to achieve a better resonance, the better
option is to follow the path of psychomagnetic activation:

1. Shift your self-talk to change your operating narrative


2. ACT on your new narrative by doing SOMETHING in alignment with the new
narrative
3. Adjust talk/action based on inner and outer feedback

So let's break this down:

Step one is for your terminal (rational) self to show up as a strong leader and good
friend to your primal self. It first starts by speaking to your primal self - feeding it the
new perspective. There might be resistance to this way of thinking, but it should at least
open up the emotional self to some change.

So either with a mental voice or actually out loud, you must talk to yourself in a "head to
heart" fashion. To be clear, talking to yourself doesn't mean feeling to yourself. You must
actually create and hear the words of the new story in your head.

In the second step, you’ll want to take some kind of action in alignment with the new
narrative. This action can be either internal or external. The action can be big and
powerful as quitting your job, or asking out a long-time crush - but more often it’s
something small like writing a to-do list, doing a visualization, or perhaps even just
physically relaxing and adjusting your posture to align your physical body with a state of
confidence and ease.

There’s a ton I can say about all the different methodologies and tricks for activating a
narrative to shift your resonance, but we’ll have to save that for another guide. Basically
you just need to ask yourself “what internal or external action can I take that is in
alignment with the narrative I want to shift into?”

In the third step, you simply need to monitor what happens and adjust accordingly.
Once you act, you’ve created a circuit that plugs the new narrative into the omnigame.
This will create a feedback loop. Your job then is to pay attention to and work with what
comes up in your emotions and circumstances as a result of your action.

So for example, say you’re feeling really tired and are trying to shift into a state of
productivity. You might inspire yourself with some good self-talk (step 1) and then go
active by beginning to work on a project (step 2).

Now, maybe after a few minutes you get into the zone and you’re resonating where you
want to be - awesome. For step three you just need to ride that wave.

But what if as you get going you just feel even MORE tired? If you just keep pushing
you'll likely either do poor work or set yourself up for a crash later. If you are paying
attention, your step three might be adjusting your plan by going to take a nap first so
you can get up and kick butt in a little bit.

Three-Piece Machine
Basically you can think of yourself as a three-piece machine: head
(rationality/terminal self), heart (emotional/primal self), and body (circuit
creator/activator). If you can get two out of three of these pieces running on a
new narrative, the third will generally follow.

The sticking point for most guys looking to improve their omnigame will be in shifting
their emotions. Don’t worry about shifting them directly. Shift the thoughts, shift the
actions, and in most cases the emotions will follow. If they don’t then you just need to
try a different set of thoughts and actions and maybe get a bit of targeted guidance.

In this guide we'll be primarily focused on what thoughts to think in order to shift into
maximum anabolic resonance. However, based upon this "three-piece machine" idea,
you cannot just think, you must also put your body in motion and ACT in order to
activate the new circuit.
Figuring out what these actions look like will be on you, but it doesn't need to be too
hard. Once you have the new thoughts you want, all you have to do is:

1. Ask yourself "what internal or external action can I take to support this new
narrative?"

2. Do that thing.

You do those two things, then very quickly your emotions will get on board. It’s very
easy to do good things when you want to. This ability to shift narrative, activate, and
emotionally align is improved with practice and repetition. I can think of no skill more
important or beneficial to practice.

At this point we are almost ready to start diving into the axioms, but I’d be remiss if I did
not add a few important asides first.

Important Caveats
Before we start looking at the first anabolic axiom of "everything that happens to you is
the best possible thing that could EVER happen to you" I need to take a second make a
few important points to properly frame this rather radical notion. First:

The anabolic axiom is something that you can ONLY apply to YOURSELF and you
must recognize that it’s a perspective about MINDSET not a moral judgment of
events.

I believe evil exists. I believe that evil things can happen to you (and probably have). The
anabolic axioms are NOT saying that evil you experience is actually good. However, it IS
saying that you can turn all evil TO SERVE the good through the way that you respond
to it.

The main thing I want to make crystal clear is that I do NOT think it is good that anyone
gets abused, raped, assaulted, killed or suffers any other kind of horrible thing. I
condemn evil as evil, and tragedy as tragic. However, the brave soul who is accosted by
such challenges can choose to use the perspective of anabolic optimism to turn that
hardship into an exponentially greater gain.

Evil only wins when it reigns victorious in our hearts and minds. Tragedy is only
truly a tragedy if that is where the story ends. The hero who perseveres in these
trials can turn any evil or tragedy into growth points that strengthen him on his
journey to victory.
Just think about every good story ever told - there MUST be hardship or else there’s no
meaning. Without challenge, there is nothing for the protagonist to use to fuel growth.
For the person who accepts this principle, life becomes like an epic adventure filled with
amazing characters to meet, puzzles to solve, monsters to defeat, and treasure to collect
(more on this in axiom #2).

With that being said, I need to reiterate that you should focus on only applying this
perspective to YOURSELF. I do not recommend telling someone who is upset over
getting dumped, fired, or being dealt some other challenge that this was the best thing
that could ever happen to them (at least not immediately).

People who do not share this mentality and are suffering should be extended
appropriate levels of pity and compassion. Chances are you’ve been there, and callous
indifference helps no one. You can help hold the space for someone to step into an
more positive way of thinking, which is what I’m trying to do here, but you cannot force
someone to embrace this way of thinking. To try to do so would likely cause more harm
than good.

An additional Note on Pain


The most challenging part of life and practicing anabolic optimism is dealing with pain.
Obviously, we want to remove as much unnecessary pain as we possibly can.

However, I want to be clear that our goal isn’t to remove ALL pain. This is what the
addict attempts to do, which only leads to exponentially MORE pain. Instead, we want to
embrace all necessary pain and it and USE in a helpful manner. When you understand
how to deal with pain it can be incredibly valuable, adding depth, breadth, and intensity
of the omnigame of life.

The issue is that when pain is beyond one's ability to manage, it can literally make
people want to, or actually, kill themselves. I hope it goes without saying, but if
you find yourself contemplating suicide or just feeling too overwhelmed by your
pain to work with it productively, PLEASE GET PROFESSIONAL HELP!

This guide was written for the average person in the developed world with average
problems. There are PLENTY of people though for whom this guide alone will not be
enough for working through their challenges.

There’s nothing wrong with needing more support, the only wrong thing would be to
not get it! Get the help of a therapist, doctor, loved one, etc. so that you can move
toward a more thriving life.
-—Part II: The Anabolic Axioms
The time has come to dive into the meat of this guide and begin discussing the anabolic
axioms. As stated previously, these ideas are designed to help you create a new belief
system that will allow you to tap into anabolic resonance as frequently and as efficiently
as possible.

The seven axioms are laid out in an intentionally progressive order. The first axiom
opens the door, and the following axioms help you continue through that door and
overcome the typical roadblocks to progressing further down the anabolic path.

If you are looking for a methodology on how to practically integrate these patterns of
thought into your life, I recommend combining this guide with my Metascript
Method journaling technique. If you use these axioms as the "source code" for
constructing your journal entries you will very quickly internalize them and
tremendously increase your anabolic power.

1. Everything that happens to you is the


best possible thing that could ever
happen to you.
When the path forward is unclear, often the best place to start is by first deciding where
you absolutely do NOT want to go. Once out figure out the “anti-goal” the actual goal
becomes clear. It was this strategy that ultimately brought me to the first anabolic axiom
(which I refer to as the “master” axiom).

In our situation here, our goal is to identify the mindset that will allow for maximum
anabolic resonance. If we were unclear on how to achieve, that we could follow the
aforementioned strategy and start by identifying the mindset that would move us the
furthest away from our goal.

What's the most negative mindset you could think of? I asked myself this question when
trying to figure myself out in my early 20’s. I came up with "Everything that happens to
you is the WORST possible thing that could EVER happen to you."
There are definitely some people who seem to think this way. They find fault with
everything and everyone they come across. Even if something good happens, it's never
good enough.

While this is clearly provides a strong "anti-goal" for someone looking to live an
anabolic life, when I reversed this notion and came to the idea of "Everything that
happens to you is the BEST possible thing that could EVER happen to you" it initially
seemed like a far too absurd and extreme notion to hold any practical value.

Clearly, bad things happen to us all the time, right? If we were to call these things good
at best we'd be lying to ourselves and at worst we'd create a psychotic disconnect from
reality.

But to my surprise, as I continued to play around with the idea, tremendous


benefit followed. Every "bad" moment became a journey of transformation as I
opened up my mind to try and view it as the best possible thing that could ever
happen to me.

Situations that were previously unbearable and bringing me great anguish became
sources of tremendous inspiration and growth. I quit addictions, improved relationships,
built a successful business and created a body of intellectual work that has helped
thousands of people all around the world. All of this sprung forth from the anabolic
fountain of this axiom.

Heart of the Omnigame


When you start attempting to live according to Anabolic Axiom #1, a strange thing
begins to happen. All of life becomes like a game. This has hit me so profoundly that it
spawned the whole “omnigame” concept and even my “Play a bigger game” tagline.

The fundamental challenge to this game is to figure out a perspective of seeing


"bad" events as actually "good" and working to your benefit.

Seeing your current circumstances as good is the easiest way to tap into an
anabolic resonance and all of the ease, power, pleasure, and cognitive synergy that
comes from seeing yourself as winning.

Note: Since the typically undesirable events prove to be the biggest challenge to
embracing anabolic optimism, this is where we will put our focus. But I hope it goes
without saying that you want to embrace ALREADY desirable events as gratefully as
possible.
A brief consideration of this prospect will inform you that your greatest obstacle to
accomplishing this is the inevitability of pain. Pain, by it’s very nature is undesirable.
How could something so intrinsically undesirable yet so pervasive be embraced as
good?

Perhaps you can think of a few examples where pain is useful, but what about ALL pain?
If we can construct a framework that would allow you to turn ALL pain to your benefit…
what would happen? Answer: You’d become psychologically invincible and be acting at
your anabolic potential.

Now I can’t claim that I’m anywhere close to that level as there is a near infinite skill
ceiling to this game, but even journeyman level ability here unlocks an entire universe of
possibility.

So to get started with this, you must simply begin asking yourself how you could view
every event that comes up as the best possible thing that could ever happen to you.

Don’t work yourself up about this and tie yourself in knots if you can't find the
perspective right away. This is a game of skill and you need to put in the study and
practice. However, I'm not sure I can think of any ability more worth investing in than
this

The Measure of Progress


As you internalize the perspective that every moment is a perfect gift, then you will be
filled with the anabolic resonance of gratitude, peace, joy, and the crown jewel - passion.
You can see the increase of these in your life as signs of progress.

These aren’t just nice things to feel, they are also perfect psychomagnetic tools. What
you resonate with, you attract more of:

When you resonate with gratitude, you get more things to be grateful for.

When you resonate with peace, your peace becomes more comprehensive and
indomitable.

When you resonate with joy, your enjoyment of life becomes brighter, more
radiant, and infectious.

And finally, when you radiate with passion and perpetually attract more of it,
you’ve fully embraced the JOURNEY OF BECOMING which allows you to live a life
of constant growth and embrace every moment to it’s fullest.
In theistic spiritual terms, the person who has mastered anabolic optimism is the person
who has truly internalized the belief that God is all powerful and all good. That even in
the presence of sin/suffering/discord etc, that there is only perfect gift for those who
choose to believe.

I’m a spiritual man myself, but my hope is that I can present things in such a way here
that you can come to this perspective by rationality and experience alone. I’m fully
convinced that the path of anabolic optimism offers you the best life you can live.

In order to supercharge your journey here, the following axioms contain the secrets I’ve
uncovered over the years to help you succeed in embracing Axiom #1 and take your
psychomagnetic power to the next level.

2. If you don’t get what you want, you're


getting something better.
The first challenge with holding the master axiom of “everything that happens to you is
the best possible thing that could ever happen to you” is when you run into an
experience that you frankly did not want.

This is where the second axiom I refer to as the “winner’s rule” comes into play:
"If you don’t get what you want, you’re getting something better."

This is the most optimistic perspective you could take in the face of not getting what
you specifically were hoping for. When embraced as a mindset axiom, it allows you to
stay in the anabolic game when life throws you a curveball.

The big challenge to embracing this perspective is that it’s often not immediately
obvious the WAY in which you’re actually getting something better. At first, all you can
see is that you’re getting something you don’t want and have to wade through the
catabolic emotional reactions that come up automatically.

In order to overcome this challenge, we must utilize humankind’s most potent


superpower: creativity. You must use your creative faculty to imagine the ways that
what you’re experiencing can work phenomenally in your favor.

When you can come up with a believable narrative where you’re actually winning rather
than losing, you can shift into anabolic resonance.
Embracing the Hero’s Journey
One of the most powerful ways to increase your ability to follow the winner’s rule is to
familiarize yourself with the concept of the “hero’s journey”. This is the typical path of
character development that almost all the heroes of our greatest stories go through.
More than that though, it’s the psychological pattern of human evolution.

It would be too much for me to offer a technical breakdown of the hero’s journey here,
but for the interested, there are a huge number of resources on this topic if you do a
little research. However, we CAN boil things down to the bare essentials and offer some
examples.

The basic format for the hero’s journey is this:

Trial —> Growth —> Triumph —> Repeat

The hero faces some kind of trial. This trial IS a trial because the hero is currently not
powerful enough to render the circumstances trivial. This trial creates hardship and
consternation for the hero.

But in the face of this difficulty, the hero leans in (at least eventually) and GROWS from
the struggle and becomes stronger. This strength ultimately enables the hero to
overcome the challenge and win the day.

The process then repeats in the “sequel” with a new challenge and a new kind of growth
(that is, if the sequel wants a chance of being compelling).

The most important thing here is that challenge is a NECESSARY part of the hero’s
journey. If there’s nothing to overcome, the hero doesn’t grow (and never actually
becomes the hero). If there is no obstacle, there is no evolution.

In other words: the deeper the canyon, the higher the peak. If life gives you a canyon,
the anabolic optimist is already looking forward to the peak. The deeper the canyon
goes, the more beautiful the view when you get through it.

If I were to ask you what the most valuable lessons you’ve learned were, there’s a high
probability that those lessons came at a steep price. At the time, you probably viewed
those situations as disasters. If you’ve grown from them as the hero does, then you can
look back on them now from a position of strength and possibly even gratitude
(depending on how anabolic you can go).
So for example, I was a porn and sex addict. Dealing with this at the time was
monstrously difficult. However, in overcoming that challenge I learned an absurd
amount about the inner workings of the human psyche, built a successful business, and
have helped a tremendous number of people who struggled with the same things. All
that would not have been possible without the initial challenge.

Does this mean I view porn and sex addiction as good? No, of course not. Did I want to
deal with the pain of the addiction and eventually the pain of recovery? Hell no. But I do
see that by choosing the anabolic path in that scenario, I could turn all that darkness
into an even greater light and am ultimately much better off by having gone through
that journey.

Ironically, if you’re a nerd like me who has always loved superheroes, comics, movies,
sci-fi/fantasy books, videogames etc. you might actually have a leg up with this axiom.
When you’ve consumed the hero’s journey in a thousand different forms, it becomes
easier to imagine how your current challenge might work as a compelling plot point in
your own personal adventure.

The best stories all demand significant problems. The greatest heroes are made by
overcoming the toughest odds. A life without challenge is a life without zest,
progression, or meaning.

So next time you feel like you’re losing, ask yourself: “How does this plot point
serve to develop me as the hero of my own story?” or, if you’re a gamer, “How
does this challenge offer me the chance to level up?”. You might not be winning
by getting exactly what you want, but you're getting something even better with
the opportunity to evolve.

3. Pain is just power wrapped in a puzzle.


So far we’ve covered the axioms:

1. Everything that happens to you is the BEST possible thing that could EVER
happen to you.

2. If you aren’t getting what you want, you’re getting something EVEN BETTER.

Sounds nice, but how the heck are you supposed to think this way when you are
suffering through something downright painful? It’s one thing to watch your favorite
fictional hero take the hits in a movie, but if you accept you’re the hero of your own life
then YOU will be the one getting hit.
The challenge is that if you want to follow the axioms you’ll need to figure out how to
see any pain you experience as good and useful. This is the exact opposite of the way we
tend to view pain.

So for the anabolic optimist, pain becomes a mindset puzzle - where you must
figure out how the pain you are experiencing can work for you rather than against
you.

This goes against our default conditioning to reflexively reject and avoid pain. While
understandable, reactively running away from pain and toward pleasure does NOT lead
to a good life. Living in this simple pleasure seeking binary often gets you caught
chasing short term pleasures while your life stagnates or outright goes up in flames.

So when you experience pain, the question becomes “how can this pain work for me?”

Pain as Power and Passion


In order to reliably solve this puzzle, you need to begin looking at pain as a source
of POWER. Pain is just energy. Depending on the psychomagnetic circuit (mindset)
you’re resonating with, pain can drive you toward your goals, or break you down.

While it’s ultimately the same mechanisms when you trace it all the way down, there are
three general ways you can see pain functioning as a form of beneficial power. Pain
functions as a currency, as motivation, and as meaning.

When you understand these perspectives, pain is not something to be afraid of, it is
something you can understand as the doorway to passion.

Passion is the process of meaningful sacrifice. When someone lives passionately it


means that they are living in a way where they are sacrificing the lesser in pursuit
of the greater. This can only happen with an anabolic relationship with pain.

Let’s break these three down with examples so you can understand what I mean.

Pain as Currency
We all know that pain is currency, it’s literally how the economy works: You get paid
money for engaging in useful pain (labor). You can then trade that money, which is a
store of that pain, for the fruits of other people’s pain. But pain as a currency goes
beyond mere financial transactions.
Intelligent practice of discipline is the ultimate human superpower. By practicing
discipline in your morals, productivity, self-development, etc, you maximize your
chances of getting what you want out of life.

But what exactly IS discipline? It’s a trade. When practiced intelligently, discipline
is the act of trading some discomfort in the moment for a greater return on
pleasure over time. From this perspective then, you can view pain as a currency
that when spent wisely, unlocks your ability to get most things worth having.

So for example, when you are trying to build a habit, it’s similar to taking out a loan to
buy a car.

• How expensive the car is represents how hard the habit is to build
• The principle amount you’re able to put down on the car represents how much
discipline you’ve already developed as a person
• The monthly payments represent the trade of comfort you need to engage in for
each repetition of the habit
• Paying the car off means that you’ve traded enough comfort (i.e. forced enough
psychological adaptation) to internalize the habit and make it second nature

Looking at pain in this way can help you step out of emotional reactivity around it and
begin taking a more objective and beneficial steps when dealing with struggle. But
furthermore it helps you realize that passionate living is the result of constantly making
meaningful and compelling trades with your comfort.

Pain as Motivation
Pain and pleasure are the two poles of the psychomagnetic circuit. Pain pushes, pleasure
pulls. When you get pain pushing you away from bad things and pleasure pulling you
toward good things, you’ll take off almost effortlessly like a rocket.

Now, when those circuits get crossed and pleasure pulls you to something bad, or pain
scares you from something good, you have a problem (more on that below). But there is
a very straightforward way to use pain to anabolic ends:

When you are afraid/worried/or resistant to something bad happen, embrace that
painful stress as fuel to take productive action.

So for example, let’s say you just got laid off from your job. This will likely fill you with
the pain of financial anxiety. You can view this stress as EXACTLY what you need. Your
brain is basically saying “hey, we need to get a new job, here’s some energy (in the form
of stress) you can use to bang out a new resume and fire off some job applications.”

Taken to a deeper level, I believe the pain of stress actually acts as a prerequisite trigger
to facilitate certain neurological changes. Similar to how a muscle needs stress to grow,
your brain needs either pain or pleasure to drive changes. By learning how to voluntarily
embrace pain as a change agent unlocks whole new levels of self-determination
compared to those who only know how to chase pleasure.

The problem is that you will not be able to use this stress as fuel if you REJECT it. If
you just try to escape the pain with drugs, alcohol, porn, TV, videogames, etc.,
you’ll actually cut yourself off from its motivational power.

Additionally, using stress as fuel requires both skill and strength. The less you’ve done it,
the worse you’ll be at it at first. As you do more reps of converting stress into action, the
more comfortably and efficiently you’ll do it until it can actually start feeling GOOD!

It’s similar to how when you first start lifting weights, your form will be bad, it will be
very uncomfortable, and you won’t be able to lift much weight. But as you get your reps
in, you’ll get stringer, more stable, and likely even come to ENJOY it.

Pain as Meaning
Finally, pain serves a gateway to meaning. There is no feeling of triumph if there
was never challenge. There is no climax if there was no ache of longing. There is
no love if there is no sacrifice.

When you learn how to wield the meaningful power of pain, it allows you to generate
significance where before there was just tragedy.

So for example, let’s say a loved one dies. No doubt this will thrust you into deep
emotional pain. You can however reframe that pain as a method to generate gratitude
and appreciation for that person. You could use that pain to drive you to honor their
memory by living in a way they would respect and admire. You could use that pain to
drive you to appreciate the people you still have around you.

For another example, imagine you have a headache. If that headache is brought on by a
night of drinking, you can use that pain as motivation to avoid doing that again. If there
is no clear reason for that headache (like the migraines I get), you can use that pain to
help you grow in your ability to practice positivity and self-care in the face of discomfort
(a skill of unbelievable value).
No More Suffering
*The practical result of axiom #3 is to find your way out of suffering. Suffering is a state
where you are rejecting your current circumstances (usually painful ones) as bad.

Rejecting your current experiences as bad is not a recommended practice because


this mental negativity effectively adds an EXTRA layer of psychological pain on top
of any other discomfort you're already facing. On top of this, suffering triggers a
catabolic resonance which is likely to just attract MORE suffering.

They say pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. This is true ONLY if you know how
to solve your pain puzzles. If you can find value, meaning, or motivation from your
current pains, then you can stop rejecting those experiences and subsequently shed the
thorny catabolic blanket of suffering.

Do I expect you to be able to do this flawlessly 100% of the time starting from day one?
No of course not - but that IS the goal to aim for! There is nothing that causes more
suffering than pointless pain. So as long as you give your pain a job, you can hold it
close and make it work for you.

All you need to do is to figure out how to mentally redefine the sensation of discomfort
and see it as working for you rather than against you. In other words, will you view your
workout as a trip to a horrible torture facility were your muscles and lungs are set on
fire? Or will you view it as a trip to the human upgrade facility where you trade
discomfort for an infusion of strength, power, and energy?

Not every situation is so straight forward, but if a videogame had only one level it’d get
boring far too quickly!

4. Every game is winnable if you play big


enough.
In the last axiom we talked about how you can turn pain into power if you can solve the
mindset puzzle of figuring out how to see the pain as working for you. As you practice
this, you’ll eventually run into what seem to be unsolvable pain puzzles where you can’t
help but fall into suffering and either rage against your current circumstances or feel
hopelessly defeated.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s likely a result of what I call “playing
small.” When you are playing small, you are entered into the omnigame with a
fixed and rigid mindset. If you are locked into a narrow and limiting perspective
then you will often find progress blocked. If you wish to keep winning then the
omnigame will often ask you to level up and expand your life and view of the
world.

There are four main ways people tend to play small and stay stuck in the face of
challenge:

• Fixed Goals
• Fixed Expectations
• Fixed Beliefs
• Fixed Identity

In order to overcome this pattern of self-limitation you need to play a bigger game. This
concept is so important that I’ve made it the tag line for the entire Universal Man
project. Let’s walk through some examples for how playing bigger can help you
overcome each of these blocks.

As a general theme for these examples, let’s imagine that you’ve got your sights set on
getting a promotion at your job:

Fixed Goals
In the case of fixed goals, it’s pretty straight forward to see how they can get you stuck
with an unsolvable pain puzzle. A fixed goal means that you have your eyes set on one
specific outcome and pursue it without flexibility.

So for instance, let’s say you’re gunning to get a promotion at your next performance
review. Now let’s say that when the review comes, you don’t get the promotion. From a
fixed goal perspective, there's no way to see yourself as "winning". You didn't get the
thing you fixed your sights on so you lost.

If you keep hanging on to the mentality of “I want THIS promotion at THIS time” then
there’s no way to walk away from that failure without FEELING like a failure. Beyond that
bitter pill, you will walk away with an unsolvable pain puzzle of frustration,
disappointment, and maybe some anger and anxiety which can all easily turn into a
catabolic spiral.
However, if we play a bigger game here, we can absolutely find a way in which this
situation serves you. Here are just a few perspectives to illustrate this:

• If you think you deserved the promotion, you can see this as a perfect wake up
call that you are not being properly being valued and take this as an opportunity
to start looking for a better company to work for.
• If you know your work slipped due to lack of discipline, you can use this pain to
fuel you to improve your efforts so that you can have your work reflect the
quality that best represents your dignity.
• Maybe you’ve been working super hard but use this as a realization that there’s
more to your life than making a bit more money. You could use this as a spark to
put less emphasis on your career because there are more important things in
your personal and family life you should be focusing on at this moment.
• Finally, perhaps maybe you take take the upset you feel as a sign that you might
be identifying with your career too much and use this as inspiration to learn how
to focus on living in a way where you generate your own affirmation rather than
relying on external validation to find peace.

Fixed Expectations
Fixed expectations are similar to fixed goals, but rather than getting unhelpfully
attached to the outcome, you become unhelpfully attached to your expectation of
the journey.

Fixed expectations are when you get attached to the idea that the path forward
will look the way you want it to. You get stuck in an unsolvable pain puzzle if you
remain attached to that expectation when reality decides to go a different way.

So for example, let’s say you want to get this promotion and are initially told that you
can do it if you just keep up the work you’ve been doing. You think “okay, yeah that’s
easy enough!” and start getting pumped on the idea of achieving your goal.

However, imagine that part way through the quarter your boss lets you know that the
business landscape has changed and now you are going to have to successfully handle
an additional set of responsibilities if you want that promotion.

If you just keep thinking about “I was only supposed to have to do X amount of work,
but now I have to do so much more! This isn’t fair! Wahh!

I see this with guys in addiction recovery very frequently. They think they will be able to
kick something like porn addiction with only a moderate amount of effort. However,
(usually after a number of failed attempts) they realize that they are going to have to
put WAY more effort into the process.

There can be a temptation to just sort of throw a temper tantrum and refuse to adapt to
the facts. This helps no one and just creates suffering.

The key to these situations is to simply take the truth in and play a bigger game. In
the case of the promotion, the bigger game means either leveling up your efforts
OR finding some better use for your energy than pursuing the promotion in the
way your boss has defined things.

Either way - you can’t just bury your head in the sand, you must adjust according to the
facts in front of you or else you’ll do the opposite of level up in life.

Fixed Beliefs
The things you believe shape your experience of reality. When you hold limiting beliefs
you limit your capacity to progress in the omnigame. Limiting beliefs in the realm of this
example of pursuing a promotion could be something like:

• I can’t be happy unless I get this promotion


• My boss will never recognize my work
• Since I didn’t get the promotion in the past, I’ll NEVER get the promotion
• If I don’t get the promotion, all my efforts will be meaningless - I’d be better off
not even trying then

Almost always, if you want to win bigger you must think bigger. This requires that you
adopt more empowered and expansive beliefs such as:

• I absolutely can get this promotion


• I’ll be totally okay even if I don’t get this promotion, but I’m all in on the game of
pursuing it
• If my boss shows resistance to giving me this promotion, there’s a good chance
I’ll be able to bring him to my side
• I know I’m worth a higher pay rate and work the part, so if these guys won’t
recognize me, I’ll be able to find someone who will

There is a ton I could say about the different categories of beliefs, how they evolve, and
which ones people get stuck on, but that discussion would warrant it’s own guide.
The main thing to take away here though is that if you are feeling stuck in an unsolvable
pain puzzle, then you’ll definitely want to ask yourself if there are any limiting beliefs
that are keeping you from seeing other ways to win.

Fixed Identity
Speaking of your beliefs, there are a specific subset of beliefs that are important enough
to warrant their own discussion. These are the beliefs around your identity. The story
you tell about yourself as a person is the most important narrative circuit in the entire
psychomagnetic system.

If you have a fixed identity, it essentially means that you are not open to change. If you
are unwilling to change, then you will inevitably find yourself in unwinnable situations.

So for example, if you SEE yourself as a low income wage slave, then you will think like a
low income wage slave, feel like a low income wage slave, and ultimately act like a low
income wage slave. Guess what kind of result you’ll get from this? The life of a low-
income wage slave.

If you want to get a promotion then you need to think, and act like the person you
WANT to be. Once you get some inertia, you’ll start feeling like that person too. Before
long, your circumstances will catch up to that identity.

Allowing your identity to level up is one of the most important parts of playing a bigger
game. If you try to stay small and comfortable, then you’ll just keep replaying the same
levels of life over and over again.

Man was meant to grow. If you do not accept growth in yourself then you are fighting
against your own nature and are destined to a life discolored by stagnation and rot.

When to Stand Firm


While most of what we've covered so far in this axiom is about shifting your goals or
perspectives, sometimes the right answer is to stand FIRM in your convictions.

Sometimes playing the bigger game means REFUSING TO GIVE UP YOUR GOAL. In this
kind of scenario, the growth point is in abandoning all limiting beliefs, doubts, and
complaints that would have you abandon your cause.
So when you should shift and when should you stand firm? The best answer I've found
is that you should choose the path that would cause you to admire yourself more. So if
you saw someone else confronted with the same circumstances and situation, which
path would you cheer for most?

Be the hero you want to see.

5. Every action is easy if you make it


small enough.
Once you’ve embraced the reality that you can always win if you’re willing to play a
bigger game, the next challenge you’re likely to run into is overwhelm. Playing a bigger
game doesn’t always feel easy, comfortable, or simple.

The immediate issue is that bigger games introduce new variables to manage and
issues to solve. Your rational brain can only keep track a few different things
before it starts to get overwhelmed and anxious. Unless you know how to properly
handle this challenge, you will end up in a catabolic resonance.

For example: You might decide that in response to not getting the promotion you
wanted, you were going to play a bigger game by searching for a new job. You now
need to figure out where to apply, how to get your resume together, when to give your
notice, how you’re going to talk to your boss, all while confronting your worries that this
might be a big mistake. That can feel like a lot to take on.

Sometimes though it’s not so much the number of the new issues, so much as it is the
intensity of the issues. For instance, maybe you get rejected by a woman you ask on a
date. You could decide to play a bigger game and use this as an opportunity to practice
your own self-affirmation. The challenge might just be extremely intense feelings of
inadequacy and/or resentment.

The solution to this overwhelm is anabolic axiom #5: Every action is easy if you
make it small enough. By breaking tasks down, you reduce the amount of
psychological resistance and discomfort you feel toward an action.

The end result of putting axiom #5 into practice is that you break down big games into
extremely simple, easy, and winnable “mini-games”. In other words, you are focused on
doing the next best thing, one tiny step at a time.
The reality is that we are only ever capable of doing very small and easy things at any
one time. All great and complex things are accomplished as a result of stringing these
small and easy actions together in a coordinated manner. Overwhelm is the result of
looking at the big game all at once rather than seeing the small and simple sub-steps
that would lead you to victory.

Training your brain to think and act based on super simple actions is what I call win
conditioning.

I like this terminology for two reasons: first, a “win condition” is the set of requirements
to win any specific game (which is something you must be constantly defining in your
mini-games). Second, this process is literally about conditioning your brain
to identify AND win these smaller games (which subsequently net you neurochemical
hits of dopamine and serotonin with each small victory).

The core idea then can be boiled down into these two points:

• Only concern yourself with what you can directly control


• Only focus on small and manageable pieces of that control at any given moment

Following these concepts allow you to massively increase your ability and consistency of
falling into anabolic resonance and productive flow states.

Decide then Do
In order to effectively practice win conditioning, you must separate your DECISION
MAKING from your DOING. The reason for this is because your brain is not good at
switching contexts. Every time you switch contexts, your brain needs to file away
everything it WAS thinking about and tune into everything relevant for the task you just
switched to.

When you fail to separate your decision making from your doing, you end up constantly
having to switch between deciding WHAT to do (i.e. “manager mode”), and then actually
DOING it (i.e. “worker mode). This is a bad move because it’s the startup of each of
these states which requires the most effort.

The trick is learning how to batch your activity in each of these states so you don’t
always need to ramp up momentum again. So for example, it’s better to plan your day
and produce a to-do list all at once in the morning or night before (decision making) vs
trying to reactively decide the next thing to do as you go through your day.
The person who practices the former will end up with much greater productive flow and
the person who practices the latter will end up burnt out quickly and surfing the
internet.

Here are few simple guidelines for managing your decision making and doing. They
might sound overly obvious, but are you doing them? Most people don’t. Until you get
this down, more advanced productivity tips are moot.

• If you don’t know what to do, you need to give yourself permission to stop, think,
gather information (if needed), and make a clear and broken down plan.
• If you do know what to do, stop thinking and put your body in motion.
• Try and create separate periods of decision making/planning and doing in your
schedule.

The idea is that you need time and space to create a clear set of instructions for yourself
when you are in decision making mode. These instructions are the small actions that
create the win condition for your game. From there, you just need to shut off your brain
(to the extent possible) and put your body in motion and get on with winning.

I could (and probably will) create a whole course on productivity and planning, but at
the very least you just need to be able to create to-do lists for your day or any chunk of
time you’ll be tempted to use in a self-sabotaging way. See my Man of Action YouTube
series for a much deeper dive into the productivity stuff.

Micro-Actions
Now, most of us are at least somewhat familiar with normal planning where we use a
calendar and a to-do list to map out our days and projects. However, we can take this a
step further to truly super charge our ability to stay anabolic. This is where micro-actions
come in.

The idea is that if you feel like something is “hard” then your brain is focused on
something too big. In that case, you need to break it down further. While this can
sometimes be useful to do on paper or in your to-do list app, the real power is when
you can do it reflexively in your head as needed.

The harder something feels, the more you want to break it down. Or in other
words, make the game you are playing easier and easier to win.

One of the hardest things for me is getting out of bed in the morning (I joke with my
wife it’s because my brain is so big it takes a long time to boot up). The mental
command of “get out of bed” is usually too big of a game for me to win in one move, so
I’ll end up lying there for another 15-30 minutes if I try that approach.

To find victory much more easily, I break things down. First step is to just think of
getting out of bed, and visualizing myself starting the day. Thinking is easy, I can do
that. Next, I take some deep breaths and fill my brain and body with oxygen. Again,
other than just thinking, breathing might be the next easiest thing.

From there, I’ll literally focus on getting my body in motion by pulling back my covers or
even just wiggling my fingers. By this point, it’s taken about a minute tops and I’m be
rolling out of bed with relative ease.

I use this somewhat silly example because in reality, IT’S NOT SILLY. We all struggle with
getting ourselves to do trivial things because we haven’t properly broken them down.

You can always deconstruct anything you do into simple physical actions. If you take the
time to clarify what those actions are, you cannot argue that they are indeed easy. You’ll
be blown away how much this can make a difference with removing resistance.

Mental Actions
Now sometimes, the issue isn’t so much with the physical actions, it’s with what you’re
doing in your brain. The bottom line is that if you think unhelpful thoughts, you’ll get
unhelpful emotions and then take unhelpful actions.

So for example, if you are stuck in some form of limiting thinking that we talked about
in the previous axiom, you’ll have trouble getting your emotions and actions in the right
order.

The key then is to recognize when you need to focus on a simple MENTAL action.
Most mental actions can be summarized by just “pointing your awareness in the
right direction” and then letting your brain work it’s magic. This usually means
tuning into a more anabolic narrative.

So for example, say you are fuming about that promotion you didn’t get. All you need
to do is shift your awareness to thinking about how you’re actually okay and even better
off.

Another example would be that you can get pissed about the fact that you have to do
your commute in the rain again, instead you can focus on listening to that podcast
you’ve been meaning to get to.
Yeah, you might need to flex some willpower to make these mental shifts, but that's no
different from having to use some physical energy to take physical action.

As you practice intentional mental action you’ll get better at it. Creating new thoughts is
always the hardest and might require some journaling, talking, or learning. But but once
you have the good perspectives you just need to focus on remembering them at the
times you need them.

6. Evolution is as smooth as you are


humble
We've now seen the power of playing a bigger game AND the power of breaking those
big games down into extremely small and easy to win "mini-games" in any given
moment. This is a very powerful success machine, especially when applied with the other
axioms we've covered. If you point this machine toward a goal, you'll probably get there.

The problem is that many of us have something that gums up the gears of this machine
causing our success to come to a grinding halt. That thing is dysfunctional pride. I'm not
talking about being "proud of yourself" I'm talking about self-limiting egotism.

When you are 'too proud' in this manner, you behave as if you were so special that you
shouldn't have to adapt effectively to reality and then subsequently act like an
emotionally reactive victim.

For situations like this, we need another axiom - meet number 6: Evolution is as
smooth as you are humble.

Oh, you aren't getting what you want? Oh, you don't want to change and work toward
making things better and instead just want to spiral into catabolic reactivity?

Get over yourself.

The truth is that humility is the lubricant to personal evolution. Humility is what
will allow you to shift and adapt to any given situation in the most effective way
possible.
TRUE Humility
Some people have unhelpful baggage around humility so I want to make a few points
about it. I'll list out the limiting belief (LB) and then share the empowering belief (EB).

LB: Being humble means thinking about how terrible you are.

EB: Being humble means being honest about how you stand, objectively evaluating your
status while also remembering your inherent and inalienable dignity. In other words,
humble people objectively see the truth of their relative status (be it favorable or not),
but honor their dignity unconditionally.

LB: Being humble means you put everybody else's desires before your own.

EB: While humble people do often enjoy serving the good of others, they ultimately
submit themselves to operating according to their hierarchy of values and
responsibilities. Sometimes you should put someone else first, sometimes you must
focus on prioritizing yourself, often you look for a win-win. Humility is doing the work to
circumstantially sort this out and act accordingly.

LB: Humility means playing small and not aiming for any big goals.

EB: Humility means submitting yourself to serving the greatest good in the best way you
are able. Sometimes, that service seems relatively small. Sometimes that service can be
massive and world shaping. The humble person doesn't question it once they have the
clarity, they just do it.

LB: Humility means you never talk about how good you are.

EB: Humble people certainly don't brag pointlessly, but sometimes your responsibilities
or aspirations demand that you let other people know about your value or competence.
It's prideful to think that everyone should already know what you can do. Humble
people put themselves out there so that they can do their good work.

Greasing the Gears


Now that you have a feeling for the brand of humility I promote, let's look at some
examples of how humility can help you break through three of the most common blocks
I see pride creating.
I'm going to slightly exaggerate the role of the ego, but I'm only doing it to better
illustrate how things work, I do it with all appropriate levels of compassion for whatever
your current struggle may be.

Too proud to Play Bigger

When you are too proud to play a bigger game, your ego shows up and says "Wahhh
why can't I just play my little game and win the way I WANT to!? Wahhh it's not fair I
can't get what I wannnnt!"

This is when you are unhelpfully attached to the thing you're not getting and
subsequently fall into victimhood around the circumstances at hand. This prevents you
from seeing another way to win.

So for example, imagine it rains during your trip to the beach. A humble person could
easily shift into thinking of how this is an opportunity to have a different but kind of trip
that could be just as, if not MORE valuable, but the prideful person just keep whining
about how it's raining and that their plans are ruined.

Too Proud to Take Small Steps

When you're too proud to take small steps, your ego basically says "Wahhh I don't want
to be doing THIS stupid little stuff, I want to be at point X way further along and more
special than where I am now! This sucks, I'm not doing it!"

This kind of pride is basically the pride of impatience - the idea that you shouldn't
have to wait and work your way to where you want to go.

This is the guy who could deadlift 315lbs and then got hurt / fell out of shape, but then
won't go back to the gym because he's too embarrassed (proud) to lift smaller weights
and build himself back up.

Likewise, it's the guy who tries to adopt a full-blown complex productivity system when
he hasn't even been able to make a basic daily to-do list.

I see this kind of impatience a TON in my work in helping guys quit porn. They want it
all - quit porn, optimize habits, conquer major projects, find the perfect girl etc.

As I'm fond of saying: You can have it all, just not all at once.

My other go to is a Navy Seal training mantra of "slow is smooth, smooth is fast." When
applied here, the idea is that if you're humble enough to just focus on slowly and
consistently winning the small games in front of you, you'll get to winning the big
games as quickly as possible.

If you just try to rush things because you're too proud to take small steps, you'll just
keep crashing over and over again, never getting anywhere.

Too Proud to Be Wrong

This one is particularly pernicious. If you are unwilling to admit that you were wrong on
something, it's almost impossible to course correct in your life.

Just think about the term - "course correction" if you need to correct something then it
must have been incorrect. In other words, unless you are humble enough to admit that
the direction you chose to go was less than optimal, then you'll just keep going in the
wrong direction to protect your pride.

Maybe you've been living like a slothful and indulgent sack of hammers for the past X
number of years. Unless you're humble enough to call it like it is, you won't be able to
justify getting help or changing course.

"I'm exactly where I want to be!" cried the prideful man as he sinks up to his neck in
quicksand.

Adaptation, Honesty, Affirmation

At it's core, dysfunctional pride is an unwillingness to accept the truth of things. It is the
denial of facts that make you feel lesser. In other words, pride is an attachment to feel
good lies.

The problem with this is that if you create your map of reality using faulty information
due to these lies, you will keep falling off of cliffs, getting stuck in pits, and wandering
into bears nests because your map is inaccurate.

At it's core, humility is submission to the truth that you know while simultaneously
acknowledging that this truth is often incomplete. This balance is what lets you do the
best with what you know, while always being open to evolving and adapting as new
information and experiences come your way.
7. Joy is accessible as you are faithful
Congratulations - you've made it to the seventh and final axiom of this guide! This is the
final boss showdown where we confront the ultimate catabolic challenge: DOUBT

If you do not believe that goodness awaits you, then you will be living life from a
place of fear.

For example, when you doubt:

• That good outcomes can always be obtained


• That bad things can always be turned toward a greater good
• That pain really can be a source of power
• That that there is a greater and more meaningful life to be found outside of your current
perspective

Then how could you NOT live from a place of fear? You will be living in a reality where
you just might get screwed and doomed to a meaningless and hellish existence.

Now to be clear here, I'm not condemning logical thinking by any means. Rational
doubts and worries must of course be considered - but the anabolic axioms are more
existential in nature.

From where I stand, existential doubt is the result of bad storytelling. It's the result of
focusing on negatives and unknowns to weave a narrative that breeds only nihilism,
depression, and angst.

I completely understand why someone might come to such a dark conclusion about the
nature of reality with all of the pain and suffering in the world. But with that being said,
this is a guide for the people who don't want to live this way!

Faith and Joy


If you would like to break free from such a bleak existence, then you will need
FAITH! Faith is the ability to believe in something that is not fully understood or
explicitly proven.

Faith can be either useful or not, depending upon what you put your trust in. In general
we want to hedge our faith based upon our level of rational certainty. I usually act as if
the weather forecast is relatively accurate, but if I'm going on a trip and it calls for
sunshine the whole time, I'll probably still bring an umbrella.

But when it comes to matters of narrative (which encompasses the entire existential
realm), faith can go much further than reason alone. This is because the bigger
questions of life exist outside the realm of verifiable fact: Does God exist? Does your life
matter? etc.

When there is no verifiable fact, all that exists is perspective. And as we've covered, the
perspective you invest in is the one you will ultimately resonate from. So what happens
when you begin to build your faith in the principles of anabolic optimism?

Faith in the axioms grants you access to unconditional JOY. Instead of having to
WAIT for the joy of some win, you can access that joy preemptively because you
know that you're ALREADY WINNING.

The majority of people in the world spend their lives waiting to feel good. They always
have some goal or desire they are waiting to have fulfilled before they can be happy.

They spend their life thinking that only once they get that promotion, romance, new
house, they can be happy. If only that politician was elected/impeached, that bully left
them alone, or they lose those 15 extra pounds they could find joy.

The issue is that if you let yourself think this in one set of circumstances, what prevents
you from CONTINUING thinking this way? Nothing, and this is what will happen. Even if
they get wish XYZ fulfilled, the average person will just immediately set themselves to
locking their happiness away behind some other future event.

Faith allows you to believe that the goodness is already here, and the victorious
outcome is already secured. All you must do is act that faith out by sticking to the
anabolic path and honoring the axioms.

This kind of faith allows you to start experiencing life from a state of PLAY. It's like
life starts to become like a movie or videogame.

You don't get upset when the protagonist faces conflict or drama in a movie - this
tension is what makes the movie interesting. You don't get upset when your videogame
avatar is beset by hundreds of monsters - the joy of defeating them is why you're there
in the first place!

The only block to keeping you from truly embracing the omnigame in this way is a lack
of faith that you will truly ALWAYS be okay. You can enjoy a movie, even if it has a
crummy ending because you know that after the credits roll, you're not affected in any
consequential way. You have complete faith that just because you character dies in an
online shooting game, you know your actual wellbeing (beyond perhaps being
frustrated) is completely unaffected.

In many ways, I believe this return to a playful life via faith is what Jesus famously told us
that we must become like children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Do I expect you to be able to pull this off perfectly? Not at first, of course not. The kind
of faith I'm talking about here is a profound spiritual discipline. However, you can begin
taking steps to build this faith right now.

The First Step


At this point you might be thinking "yeah, that all sounds really nice… but I don't have
enough faith in myself that I could actually stick to a path like this! I'll just end up falling
off the wagon falling into a catabolic spiral like I always do!"

If you don't start having faith in yourself then you'll self-sabotage before you even
get anywhere. If you don't believe that you'll be able to climb the mountain, you'll
come back down ASAP if you even set foot on it in the first place. This means
abandonment of the anabolic path and resuming the same tired old catabolic
patterns.

We'll use our final section in this guide to tackle this foundational issue of self-doubt.
Let's start off with the facts:

You've never been perfect. If you have, then you wouldn't be reading anything written
by me. This means you've got a whole history of poor behavior you could dredge up as
evidence of why you shouldn't trust yourself to follow the anabolic path.

Now hopefully, you haven't always behaved terribly. Hopefully you've got some periods
in your life that you can look at where you are authentically proud of how you overcame
the challenges you faced. If that's the case, awesome, you can use that as evidence that
you're capable of doing hard things and begin building your faith from there.

But what if that's NOT the case? What if you've never really admired the way you've
lived and showed up in the world? Or what if your previous periods of thriving were
distant past or in circumstances far removed from your current situation? How can you
trust yourself under these conditions?
There's only option: start building trust right now. Decide that you matter enough to
care for in this way and begin thinking and acting from an anabolic framework.

You must believe you are worth your own effort. You must believe you are worthy
of the good things this effort will bring. You must believe that you are capable of
taking those actions and you must PROVE it to yourself by starting NOW.

You need to value yourself enough to play big, step small, be humble and have faith.
Don't be afraid of mistakes or hardship because the anabolic path can turn all setback
into gains, and all pain into power.

At its core, faith is about CHOICE. Without faith in anything, we are all deterministic cogs
bouncing between one relativistically trivial task to another. But with faith you
can decide that existence matters, decide that YOUR existence matters.

Once you decide on that, it opens a door. Faith in yourself is one of the only things that
can be earned immediately, even if just in small amounts. Go do something good, even
if it's something seemingly insignificant, and then ACKNOWLEDGE IT AS GOOD. Clean
your room, say something kind to someone, or open a book to better yourself.

If you can do small good things, you can do great and wonderous things. This is what
anabolic optimism is all about - the belief that things are actually far better than they
might initially appear.

The omnigame of life is a massive, sprawling drama. What part do you want to play? If
you don't know, then you at least know what you DON'T want to do and can start by
cutting that stuff out. As you do that you'll be able to level up into bigger and more
compelling things.

I believe you can soar as high as you want if you ride the winds of anabolic faith.

This short guide is just a baseline framework for much bigger ideas to come, but in
many ways it is some of the most precious information I've acquired in my life. I hope it
serves you well.

Play big,
Mark Queppet