How to Adapt to New and Difficult Environments

‘Make my mind adaptable to any circumstances.’
In a continually changing world, people need to become more adaptive, yet most are becoming less so.

Just like in a video game, you don’t advance to the next level until you beat the level you’re currently on. In a game, you may have to start over several times until you learn the lessons, overcome the obstacles, and beat the level. So, too, in life, lessons are repeated until they are learned. If you haven’t successfully adapted to your current environment, you’ll have a hard time adapting to more challenging ones.

adaptive learner:

  1. Having faith that you can adapt and change, or what psychologist Carol Dweck calls the “growth mind-set.”
  2. you’re willing to change who you are to uphold or achieve your commitment.
  3. Learning how to develop tolerances to the things you fear most.
  4. directly expose yourself to your fears and resistances.

Becoming a Flexible Learner

you need to have faith in something that is currently intangible to you.
a conviction and belief that you can achieve your goals.

Learning styles:

If you don’t like writing, you probably believe you can’t get better at it.

You learn new things by putting yourself in difficult and new situations that force you to become a flexible learner. This is the essence and foundation of being adaptive.

Committing 100 Percent to the Changes You Seek

Once you become dead set on something, all of the mental fog goes away. You become clear on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You stop thinking about the other options available to you.

“Knowing that you’ve made a choice that you will not reverse allows you to pour your energy into improving the relationship that you have rather than constantly second-guessing it.”

-- Dr. Barry Schwartz

“the Point of No Return,” which is the moment it becomes easier to move toward your goals than to avoid them.
Actually, your point of no return is the instant that pursuing your highest ambitions becomes your only option.

Either you are proactively approaching something, or you are trying to prevent something from happening. Offense or defense.

Most people have an avoidance orientation toward life. They aren’t acting according to their deepest desires. Instead, they’re playing it safe. They’re calculating their moves to ensure they don’t look stupid.
creating several backup plans in case their dreams don’t quite work out. Ironically, they end up dedicating the majority to their backup plans, and that becomes their life.

to shift yourself from playing life on defense to playing life on offense?
Primarily, a point of no return experience is initiated in the form of a financial investment.
The moment significant amounts of money are spent on the idea, the investor can no longer return to their prior life.
Knowing that high investment will produce enormous inner commitment, you can produce your own point of no return.
When someone invests in themselves or their dream, their commitment becomes solidified. Once invested, the person’s identity and complete orientation toward their objective changes.

they now must go forward, they’re no longer confused about what they need to do.
there are several psychological reasons why they need to make good on that action:

Entrepreneurs had experienced some form of “Point of No Return” experience, whereas wannabe entrepreneurs hadn’t created such experiences.

Becoming Very Comfortable in New and Uncertain Situations

People can develop a tolerance and adapt to anything, even their fears.

slowly getting into a swimming pool one step at a time.

Stop obsessing about the pain and instead focus on the result of what you’re trying to do.

the anticipation of an event is almost always a more charged emotional experience than the event itself.
If you would just act, the pain would be far less severe and over before you know it.

You need to reset the environment, rather than continually trying to manage a broken system.

What have you been avoiding taking action on?
What swimming pools are you tiptoeing your way into?
Are you compounding the pain by overly focusing on your fears?
When are you going to fully jump in?

The moment you jump in with full commitment, you will realize it was much easier than you formulated in your mind. You will begin to adapt.

Dealing with and Even Embracing Difficult and Unpleasant Emotions

good emotions lead to good outcomes and negative emotions lead to negative outcomes. The result of this premise is that people have come to believe they must always feel good, or something is wrong.

“Happiness leaves no bad after-taste, it is followed by no depressing reaction; it brings no regret, entails no remorse. True happiness is lived over and over again in memory, always with a renewal of the original good; a moment of pleasure may leave a barbed sting, [as] an ever-present source of anguish.”

-- James Talmage

living a full and complete life:

unpleasant emotional experiences often produce incredible outcomes.
It is only by going through difficult and challenging experiences that you can evolve. If you constantly avoid pain and mask your emotions, you’ll never grow.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
Pain, discomfort, shock, boredom, impostor syndrome, awkwardness, fear, being wrong, failing, ignorance, looking stupid.
They are avoided because people have developed an extreme avoidance orientation toward life.

how you feel about what you need to do. Most people aren’t willing to feel difficult emotions on a regular basis.
rough emotions are the very speed bumps that will stop most people.


The fastest path to this level of commitment is investing in yourself and your decision.


Outsource Your Motivation to High-Pressure Environments

When he composed the music for “Earth Breaker,” he couldn’t actually play the piece.
He wrote a song he couldn’t play and then practiced over and over and over until he could do it.

When writing a new album, he immediately decides when it will be completed and released.
Once the release date is determined, he works backward, mapping out all the key milestones along the way.
He pays up front as a forcing function to actually create the album and be in a position to record it on the scheduled date.
Burke jumps on his social media accounts and begins telling his fans about his upcoming album.
All of this happens the same day he decides he’s going to start a project.

He wants the creation of each album to break him down—to humble him—so he can rise higher than he’s ever risen before.

How can you create conditions that increase the pressure in your life?

Compete Above Your Skill Level

from having nearly the same structure, constitution, and habits, generally come into the severest competition with each other.

-- Charles Darwin

Waitzkin observed that most others in his tai chi class would naturally practice with those at their same skill level or slightly worse. This was done in many ways out of ego, because who wants to lose?
Who proactively makes their life difficult? Not very many people. But Waitzkin did. He lives by a rule he calls “investing in failure.” While at practice, he would purposefully train with people far more skilled than he was.

Rather than “competing,” with people at your perceived skill level, compete with those who are where you want to be.
always punch above your weight.

Your talent doesn’t exist in a bubble. What you can accomplish is the product of the situation in which you find yourself. Hence, who you decide to compete with is incredibly important.

Compete in Public

Competition was powerful. But racing to the moon in front of the whole world was even more powerful.

Another example:
Each person had a personal avatar connected to their bike that was then displayed on the projector, showing their name and a picture of their face.
the projector showed in order who had gone the farthest/hardest on the bike in bold red letters.
Hardy said he’s never worked so hard in a cycling class. The rules of this particular situation made high performance inevitable.

Context-Based Learning: Why Mentorship Is More Effective than Formal Education

a learner engages in a real-life task, not a theoretical task.
It generally involves individual coaching and immediate feedback on performance.

Context-based learning:

  1. You learn a concept at surface level.
  2. You practice and use that concept in a real-world scenario to solidify and contextualize your understanding.
  3. You get immediate coaching and feedback to smooth out your rough edges.
  4. You repeat over and over with greater intensity and shorter timelines to produce automaticity.
  5. You get more coaching and feedback to assess your knowledge and skills.

How to Apply Context-Based Learning

The accumulation of information isn’t learning. Lots of people have heads full of information they don’t know what to do with.
If you want to learn something quickly, you need to immerse yourself in that thing and immediately implement what you’re learning.

Hire a Mentor Who Is Brilliant at What You Want to Do

How much do you invest in yourself?
How much of yourself have you invested?
How committed are you to yourself?

High-level goals require high-quality mentoring. If you suck at something, it’s because you haven’t received quality mentoring in that thing.

You’ll be invested, and as such, you’ll listen more carefully. You’ll care more. You’ll be more thoughtful and engaged. There will be higher consequences for not succeeding.

Repetition until Your Learning Becomes Unconscious (Outsourced to Environment)

While I implemented what I learned, my teacher would watch me from a distance. He let me struggle as I tried to remember what he had just shown me.

Make your training progressively more difficult.
Add time constraints.

Embed Several Layers of Tracking (Outsource Accountability to Environment)

When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.

-- Thomas S. Monson

Only those who could provide clear evidence that they’d been tracking their morning and evening routine were given that week’s content.
Several people emailed me and said it was a turning point for them. It challenged them to actually print out the homework assignment from the week before and mark off their calendars.

“I told you when you purchased this course that it was set up different from other courses. Rather than giving you all the information up front, I’ve made this an experiential learning process. What you’re dealing with right now, these emotions and frustrations, that is the content of this course. It’s not just videos and PDF printouts. It’s meant to challenge your actual behavior. So, no, you can’t have the content unless you are accountable.”

it immediately separated those who were committed to growth from those who were information consumers.

How have you changed your learning environment?
How are you making yourself accountable?
What are you outsourcing to your environment?
What forcing functions have you put in place?
Have you increased the pressure to succeed?

Join a Mastermind Group (Outsource Success to Environment)

We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.

-- Robert Brault

If you want to achieve big things, your path will be unclear and hazy. The emotional need for clarity and fear of the unknown leads people to abandon their dreams for more straightforward pursuits in less demanding environments. Having goal clarity is essential to high motivation. Consequently, in order to increase your motivation, you’ll need to embrace uncertainty until you’ve gotten enough clarity to move forward.

However, “clarity” does not mean you have it all figured out. It means you’re clear on the next step or two.

This entire approach to learning and growth is experiential, not theoretical. Rather than having all the answers, you want just enough information to move forward. The fastest way to get relevant information is through failure and real-world experience.

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready, the teacher will disappear.”

Another Reason Willpower Is a Fallacy

Attending a Genius Network event is like drinking out of a fire hose. You literally cannot consume or synthesize everything you’re being taught. It’s like ten hours straight of very high-level marketing and personal development training.

your willpower is basically your energy stores. Once you run out, you’re out.
Yet the very act of changing environments can dramatically increase your energy.



Change It Up Based on the Work You’re Doing

The Myth of the Eight-Hour Workday

The best creative work requires a blend of intensely tight focus for one to four hours, followed by a relaxed mind wandering in a different environment from where you were doing intensely focused work.
“The most creative ideas aren’t going to come while sitting in front of your monitor,”

When you’re working directly on a task, your mind is tightly focused on the problem at hand (i.e., direct reflection). Conversely, when you’re not working, your mind loosely wanders (i.e., indirect reflection).

Creativity, after all, is making connections between different parts of the brain. Ideation and inspiration are processes you can perfect.

A solid practice for capturing the subconscious breakthroughs you experienced while sleeping is to immediately begin journaling when you wake up.
it’s important to not be too tightly focused during this journal session, as you want to allow your mind to somewhat wander wherever it goes. This wandering may lead to the very breakthroughs you had while sleeping.

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious.”

-- Thomas Edison

Never Work in the Same Place Two Days in a Row

Focused work is often easier on an empty stomach.

“Eat less food and you’ll get more done.”

-- Robin Sharma

Most people work in the same environment and are constantly switching from task to task. Thus, they aren’t optimizing their environment and they’re never getting into flow.