3 Minute Monday – Programming, Status & Van Gogh

3 Minute Monday

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This week I got thinking about one of the core principles I’ve learned over the last few years.

“Ultimately happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions, or the discomfort of becoming ruled by them.”

The default desires you have are pretty terrible.

They’re shaped by your local culture, past traumas, paths of least resistance, unconsciously habituated patterns, cognitive biases, status seeking and other useless things.

You are not all that you could be.

And neither am I.

And we know it.

You have been thrown into a body you didn’t choose, with genes you didn’t choose, in a world you didn’t choose.

Your body and genes are not adapted to make you happy.

And are mismatched with the modern world that they find themselves in.

You are a rider atop an elephant.

Except it’s not the elephant, it’s YOU who is wearing blinkers and can only see a tiny amount of your steed’s motivations & the world around him.

You’re permitted surface-level control, and a tiny sliver of awareness into what’s truly going on down below.

It’s just enough to give your post-hoc rationalisations sufficient insight that they might appear believable, or at least not totally insane/detached/deceptive to yourself and the people around you.

You have evolved to be the Press Secretary of your elephant, not the President.

Your insights are so blocked that you don’t even understand your own motivations.

You make gut-instinct (elephant) decisions and then rationalise them into a believable story (rider).

For some people, they go through life never knowing there is an elephant.

Or never caring.

And to be fair, this is fine for those people. Ignorance can be bliss.

Deeper consciousness does comes with associated deeper suffering.

But ignorance is not the richest existence possible.

And once you’ve left Plato’s cave, you’re never going back into blissful, ignorant darkness.

Stepping into your own programming is necessary to curb the elements of your nature which you don’t want and to enhance the parts you do.

This is the foundation of a Consciously Designed Life.

Not existing at the mercy of your programming, but becoming the ruler of it.

“In order to transcend your programming, you first must become aware of it.”


I do a podcast which has had 80 million+ downloads. You should subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This week’s upcoming episodes:

Kristina Durante – can women have a career and a family? What are the sacrifices the modern world demands? Why do women buy expensive bags and shoes if not to attract men? Fascinating insight into the Evolutionary Psychology of women.

Life Hacks – Jonny & Yusef return for a monster episode as we discuss my new bike desk, how to get free same-day delivery from Amazon, Spotify hacks and exploits to avoid delays in airports.

Shawn Ryan – Navy SEAL turned CIA Contractor on a career of fighting bad guys, training Keanu Reeves for John Wick, modern culture, dad life, sobriety and more.


Status seeking individuals use faux-rationality as a smokescreen.

“Many assume that if citizens became more inclined to moralise the values of evidence-based and logical thinking, political hostility would be less widespread.

Yet, attention to the discourse of individuals who pass along politically hostile and conspiratorial claims suggests that they often sincerely believe to be free “critical thinkers”, and to care more about “facts” than the “unthinking sheep” to which they assimilate most of the population.

Across two large surveys (N = 3675), one preregistered, evidence was found that the moralisation of rationality can actually stimulate the spread of news hostile to political opponents.

We provide further evidence that this counter-intuitive finding reflects that status seeking individuals moralise rationality as a form of grandstanding and use it to spread hostile information, in order to sound relevant.

We find robust evidence that intellectual humility may protect people from both sharing and believing hostile news.” — Rolf Degen

Freedom for modern women doesn’t sound very free.

“Today women, especially, are sincerely frightened by the idea of becoming “just a wife and mother.”

American women willingly run from the home, from the spectre of becoming a “prisoner” or a “parasite,” or even worse, a “glorified prostitute,” into the open arms of the corporate employer.

Laughably, we call this process ‘freedom.’”— Helen Roy

Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime.

The Red Vineyard is among Van Gogh’s most dramatically coloured Provençal landscapes, but it is also famed for being the only painting that the artist is certain to have sold.

It went for 400 francs (then £16) at a Brussels exhibition in March 1890, four months before his suicide.


Enhance Liked Songs on Spotify.

On Spotify there is new button at the top of your Liked Songs to “Enhance” the playlist.

This will add in a bunch of songs you regularly listen to but haven’t yet liked.

Most of the ones it adds I’ve ended up realising I meant to like in any case.

Really really good feature.

Big love,
Chris x

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Ciao from Rome. It’s just as beautiful as always.


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