Welcome to the jungle [fname]…
Have you ever cursed out a turtle?
I’ve cursed out many.
Not live turtles, mind you, whom I have no particular qualms with.
But digital turtles existing inside the Mario Bros. universe…
Those jerks had it coming.
Here I am trying to be a hero and save the princess… and you have the audacity to grow wings and ambush my mission.
The funny thing about playing Mario Bros. or any game for that matter is that there are two “yous”.
There’s “you” the controller, sitting Indian-style in your mom’s basement sipping on a Hi-C juice box and snacking on a Hot Pocket.
And then there’s “you” Mario.
You are Mario. Mario is you.
If you have any doubt about this, consider that nobody’s ever celebrated a defeat over Bowser by exclaiming,
“Mario saved the Princess!”
No, no, no… with victory finally at hand you let the whole neighborhood know,
“I saved the Princess!”
After all, why should a digital plumber get the credit for all of your hard work?
Mario after all is just representative of the inputs you’re feeding him.
Press A, Mario jumps.
Press B, Mario runs.
Press Start, and you can pause Mario for as long as you like to go reheat that Hot Pocket that is still ice cold in the center, despite having given you 3rd degree burns on the first bite.
Mario will be waiting right where you left him when you get back. (Assuming your brother doesn’t steal your game while your away.)
Similarly, in life, there are two you’s.
“You” that gives commands.
And “you” that takes commands…
At least… that’s what you’re supposed to do. Right??
In real life, you’re not Mario. You’re a person with free will, opinions, rationalizations, justifications, emotions, fears, and concerns.
So when command center “you” says “order the salad”… the command receiver you says, “Really?… Kinda feels like an Arby’s night.”
Command center you: “Go say hi to that cute girl.”
Command receiver you: “Naaaaahhhh… she doesn’t want to talk to me… plus I’m not feeling too confident after that Arby’s feast last night.”
Command center you: “Go listen to that inspirational Joe Rogan podcast with Jocko Willink.”
Command receiver you: “Jocko?… That’s a funny name… Jocko… sounds like taco… Mmmmm… Taco… Good idea brain!”
You know what to do… but free will (and apparently tacos) are getting in the way.
Can you imagine if this was the case when you played Mario?
You: “Hop, Mario!”
Mario (raising an eyebrow, looking over the ledge and sizing things up): “I don’t know bro… that’s a pretty big gap… I’m thinking the Princess is probably fine… plus this place is crawling with Goombas and man-eating plants… Luigi just texted me that he’s ordering pizza, so I’m just gonna chill with him and call it a night.”
What. Just. Happened?
A Mario with free will kind of ruins the game.
Similarly, when command receiver “you” questions every input from your higher brain that’s trying to get you to optimize your life, you’re sabotaging your own game… you’re sabotaging yourself.
Stephen King has written 65 books.
He doesn’t get there by having an inner debate every day.
He has a specific time block set aside every day where he sits in front of the computer and writes.
He’s made this decision well in advance. So there’s no choice to be made when the time comes. His feelings and mood that day don’t factor in.
Stephen King command center says: “Write.”
Stephen King command receiver says: “Aye, aye Captain.”
It makes no difference that everything he writes will not be gold.
He puts in his reps. He does his work. He moves on with his day.
He’s an obedient little plumber.
As you should be if you have any intent of getting sh*t done in this world.
Recognize the two you’s.
Goal setter you says: “I’m working out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week.”
So when you get to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday… you don’t debate, you don’t rationalize, you don’t make a choice… the choice has already been made.
You view yourself as Mario and you hop you little plumber, hop, hop, hop!
Your ability to obey self-directed commands and keep promises to yourself is the essence of what builds self-confidence.
Continue on this path, and, like Mario, you’ll grow into a bigger person, collect more coin, overcome evil forces, and wield fire in every facet of your life.
For many, the idea of “taking commands” will sound oppressive.
But in reality, it’s indecision that’s keeping you oppressed.
And it’s execution that will set you free.
Most plumbers spend their entire lives mired in toilet water and human feces.
But every now and again, one will rise out of a pipe, overcome all the obstacles, and become heroic.
Here’s to being your own hero.
Now hop you little plumber… hop, hop, hop! 😉
CJ’s Book of the Week:
“Learning to Breathe Fire” by J.C. Herz
This Week’s Podcast:
Episode 003: “Delayed Gratification”
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