3 Minute Monday
I’m off to LA this Friday for another huge episode.
A bucket list guest who I’ve wanted on the show ever since it started.
Can’t wait to record this one.
Anyway, this week I’ve been thinking about The Dark Side Of Monk Mode.
Monk Mode has grown to huge popularity over the last few years as a self-improvement strategy, especially for men.
It’s a retreat from the world to focus on the 3 I’s – Introspection, Isolation and Improvement.
Despite its recent ascendence, it is nothing new, Illimitable Man was writing about this back in 2014:
“Monk mode is a temporary form of MGTOW, by cutting yourself off from the rest of the world for a while you can fine-tune your focus, calibrate your direction and confront yourself.
You’ll be acknowledging your weaknesses and then formulating a plan of action to deal with them.”
The focus is on “minimising your time contribution to social obligations and junk activities because these consume much of your time whilst yielding little to negligible increase towards your social market value.
Monk mode is a serious commitment that is not to be half-assed.
You’re either doing it, or you’re not.
It’ll be a struggle in the beginning, but once you’re fully engaged it becomes a beneficial, productive and dare I say even addictive lifestyle.”
I have gone full Monk Mode a number of times in my life, with great success.
2016, 2017, 2018, then mid-2019 basically straight through Covid until 2021.
I’ve cut out alcohol for over 2000 days in the last 8 years. Gone 500 days without caffeine. 1500+ sessions of meditation. 5+ years of daily journals filled, 300+ sessions of yin yoga, probably 200+ hours of Stu McGill’s Big 3.
All done in a bedroom in Newcastle Upon Tyne UK, sat, on my own, usually first thing in the morning.
Almost all of the most important progress I have ever made was facilitated by a concentrated period like this.
However, Monk Mode’s reliable effectiveness creates a problem.
The dark side is the final two words from IM’s breakdown above…
The problem is that Monk Mode justifies a retreat from life, risk taking and adventure as self development.
It makes you feel noble in isolation.
So much so that it can become hard to bring yourself back out.
This means that if you already have a tendency to live a sheltered, unsocial life, you’re encouraging yourself to abscond even further away from ever building a real-life support network – the thing which you actually need most in the long run.
I saw this in a friend over a decade ago who was on a fitness journey.
He was already introverted and socially shy, then his upcoming fitness competition justified 8pm bedtimes, militant routines and the rejection of all social invites.
The competition came and went, but the routine didn’t change.
It took years for him to re-venture out into some sense of normality.
This is largely a personal reflection too.
The allure of perpetually working on yourself is high.
Improvement is rewarding.
But if you’re not careful, you can spend the rest of your life focussed on the 3 I’s at the expense of the actual reason you did Monk Mode in the first place – to be able to show up in the world in a better way.
Bill Perkins says that “delayed gratification in the extreme results in no gratification”.
With Monk Mode, you practise in private so you can perform in public.
But private practise in the extreme results in no public performance.
TLDR: Don’t obsess for too long in solitude for personal growth or you’ll struggle to reintegrate.
Solution: Periodise. Set a deadline for your Monk Mode to end. 3-6 months is a sweet spot in my experience. Do longer if you’ve not done it before, shorter if you’re further along your journey.
This week’s upcoming episodes:
Polina Pompliano – what are the 10 habits of the most successful people in history? How can you build resilience without losing touch with your emotions? What is the most common impediment of greatness?
Mike Glover – how to be prepared for anything. What should you do in a car accident? How about a home invasion? What are the biggest unseen risks of gun-ownership? Really fascinating.
Erik Angner – what can economics teach us about the truth of how to be happy? What do most conceptions of happiness totally miss? What is the relationship between money and happiness?
THINGS I’VE LEARNED
Men trying to approach women is a minefield.
“55% of single 18-30 men say they haven’t approached a woman in the last year.
77% of 18-30 women say they wished they were approached more.
At 41+ the trend flips and 55% of women said they didn’t want to be approached.”
86% of women say they want the man to make the first move.
However, 50% of men report not wanting to approach women for fear of being seen as creepy or predatory.
17% of Americans aged 18 to 29 believe that a man inviting a woman out for a drink “always” or “usually” constitutes sexual harassment.
And 82% of women reported experiencing creepy behaviour “sometimes,” “often,” or “constantly”.
This is a difficult circle to square.
Women face a dilemma – they are scared for their safety but also have a preference for men making the first move.
Men face a dilemma – they are terrified of being seen as creepy but also know that if they don’t approach a woman, the conversation is unlikely to start.
Why then, do online columns push such a vehement anti-approach ideology?
My hypothesis is: 1 – it’s too dangerous to encourage it in case a reader gets attacked.
And 2 – it’s mostly 41 yo+ women who are in charge of publishing in female-led media, they promote a narrative discouraging men from approaching women because that’s not what they desire, without realising that younger women want it to happen more. — h/t Alex DatePsych
Cohabitation & polyamory are risky for children.
“Children residing in households with unrelated adults were nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries than children residing with 2 biological parents.
A study identified 149 inflicted-injury deaths in our population during an 8-year study period.
Children residing in households with unrelated adults were nearly 50 times as likely to die of inflicted injuries than children residing with 2 biological parents.
Children in households with a single parent and no other adults in residence had no increased risk of inflicted-injury death.
Perpetrators were identified in 132 (88.6%) of the cases.
The majority of known perpetrators were male (71.2%), and most were the child’s father (34.9%) or the boyfriend of the child’s mother (24.2%).
In households with unrelated adults, most perpetrators (83.9%) were the unrelated adult household member, and only 2 (6.5%) perpetrators were the biological parent of the child.
Conclusions: Young children who reside in households with unrelated adults are at exceptionally high risk for inflicted-injury death.
Most perpetrators are male, and most are residents of the decedent child’s household at the time of injury.” — h/t Rob Henderson
Confirmation bias is addicting.
“Better to get your dopamine from improving your ideas than having them validated.“ — Nat Friedman
Vans Oldschool Comfy Cush trainers.
My go-to shoes.
I’ve been training, running and going out in these for years.
Look fantastic, insanely comfortable, great grip.
Pay the extra £15 for the Comfy Cush sole, they’re unbeatable.
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