Growth is Granular: The Secret to Success


Free flow here.  I’m in the middle of an intense coding session, but wanted to make sure to get this out for Thursday.

It’s a little more raw than normal, but I don’t want to change the vibe and edit it up too much.

Look at it as a random peering into my mind.  Heh.

I’ve been working for the last week or two on this here blog, tweaking headers, changing email opt ins, coding in the background…

Can you tell?!

I didn’t think so.

If there is anything I’ve noticed about success, is that it’s so granular, everything is SMALL.

Over the last 6 months my health has become my number one priority, probably the first time ever.

I’ve been gaining muscle mass pretty nicely, keeping lean while still gaining mass and eating a fairly paleo diet.

But I got to the point where I really want to have a six pack for once in my life, and GOD DAMN IT, this is way harder than I expected.

I’ve gone FULL paleo/primal the last week or so.  No cheat meals, ZERO non-veggie carbs, no snacks whatsoever other than frozen berries, and a nibble of dark chocolate to keep me sane.

That didn’t do it.

I’d already cut my alcohol consumption to a TENTH of what it was the last few years, but realized if I wanted to hit the next ab level I’d have to cut beer out entirely, since it’s estrogen producing side effects aren’t gonna help cut the beer gut.

Still, I can only see small incremental differences, but this is not the ZyZZ abs I want.

So now I’ve started to fast for 16 hours a day to try and stay in fat burning mode as long as possible, we’ll see what happens.  It’s been super weird because the club culture here in Buenos Aires starts at 2AM, and goes til about 7:30 in the morning

So for me to fast properly, I have to stop eating at midnight, and then only drink water for the next 7-8 hours before crashing out and waking up at 4PM.

Shit is cray.

Business

Like I said before, I’m hitting my blog hard with lots of updates as I prepare for a product launch in the next few months.

I’ve been putting it off for so long because I knew the work that was going to go into this, holy shit, it’s never ending.

But I’ve just been taking a granular process to the whole thing.

A few hours a day, tweak the high traffic pages, organize the testimonials, decrease bounce rates, increase time on site, cut the header in half, etc. etc.

It doesn’t FEEL like I’ve done anything, yet it’s been a week or 2 of constant effort to add that 1%.

One percent here, one percent there, it’s all STARTING to come together, and I can’t wait until everything is a fine tuned machine of awesomeness and I can chill back for a while.  (Not that I have much stress here in Buenos Aires anyway, heh)

It’s almost a new version of the old Mastery curve by George Leonard.

He says growth doesn’t happen in a smooth line, you usually develop skills in a stair step like process.

I always used to think this was because of trial and error.  You try something, it doesn’t work.  You try ONE HUNDRED more things, until ultimately there is a breakthrough.

There is another side of this stair step as well, where you just don’t see the growth until some landmark event, or you juxtapose yourself compared to some older situation in your past and see how far you’ve come.

That’s why the ready, FIRE, aim approach works so well.

Just get started, and sculpt it, whether it be your game, your attitude, your business, or your health, as time goes by.

Then one day you look back and realize how far you’ve come.

Heading Home

I’m super excited to get back home next week and see the family for the first time in 4 months.  It’s been a long time away from the US.

It’s always interesting to see how I fit back in with my family and friends after living in the “slippery slope of self development” for so long.

I feel like I age 40 years every 40 days.  My perspective of the world and my place in it changes DAILY, and then I get back, and wonder if anyone notices that I’m different.

I feel totally different, yet no one ever says anything.  Am I?

Maybe it’s because I don’t talk crazy self help shit with my friends and family from home, I’m just excited to be around them for a little while.

Maybe I’m just completely full of myself and think I’m the only one pushing myself, growing, and constantly “leaning into my edge” as David Deida would call it.

But I don’t care about sports, TV, gossip, politics, my neighbors problems, or ANYONE’S problems for that matter.

I’m too busy living.

Too busy creating stories.

One.  Step.  At a time.

Damn I’m hungry.  And fried from staring at a computer screen for the last 8 hours.

Matt and Alex went out again, I’m staying in…

Pass out, windows open, close the blinds, sleep in sheets, summer time in Chicago.

Life is good.

32 replies
  1. Bill Rey
    Bill Rey says:

    I’m sure people see the change. Then again, you’re probably further along where most people can really relate, so it’s far outside of their common day habits..

    it’s lonely at the top ;o)

    Reply
  2. Ash Simmonds
    Ash Simmonds says:

    On the same path brah.

    For fasting, try fat-loading. Basically, eat as much fat as you possibly can in one sitting, almost to the point of nausea. I find it keeps me sated for a day or two, and because it’s almost purely fat the volume is very little – one meal of 300-400g will keep you satisfied for at least 24 hours, if not 48, so it’s not technically “fasting” as you just aren’t hungry so there’s no willpower involved.

    I wrote about it here: http://www.reddit.com/r/keto/comments/rb1j4/fat_loading_and_fasting_self_experiments/

    Reply
    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      Interesting…I’ve had good results from drinking large quantities of water to suppress hunger, but I’ll look into your suggestion.

      Reply
  3. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    Have you tried 4HB abs exercises? (myotatic&cat vomit)
    They worked for me in a matter of weeks (I am naturally very lean, no matter what shit I eat).

    I ve come to the mindset that I am the hero of my story too. (wasted way to much time in school, tv, video games and co before 20yo). You either make your own story, or watch the story of someone else.(sounds like the same distinction between producer and consumer). I love sports, as long as I play.

    Reply
    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      Nice :) I have read the book and enjoyed it. I’ll check out the exercises again, never actually tried those two.

      Reply
  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    Hah, I had the same thing with my own sites this week. I’ve been working all day until I go out at night for the past week and while I don’t have any noteworthy milestones I track what I work on and it’s all the small things.. updating this blog’s theme, changing the plugins.. getting a few fiver gigs for this site.. that site.. Doing an email submit etc.

    As for 6 pack, god damn ya it’s hard. Staying lean with muscle is not hard with a paleo diet even if you drink 5-7 nights a week (like I do). Just no beer but hard alcohol… The problem is for 6 pack abs I think I have to cut ALL alcohol completely (or only 2-3 nights a week which I’m doing atm).

    As for fasting, I do it in the beginning of the day. Instead of at the end. For example, I eat my last meal at 5 am when I come back from the clubs and I do not eat again until 9-10pm. 16 hour fast or so. You could change that from 7-8am to 1am since the clubs start later in your area. The advantage I fine is it’s really easy to fast during the day by just skipping your first meal. I tend to stay super productive and forget about eating after the initial hour after I woke up (I just drink tea or coffee).

    Reply
    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      Good suggestion. Cutting out the alcohol completely is almost essential, even the hard alcohol will take its toll :(

      Reply
  5. luke
    luke says:

    haha props for mentioning zyzz, hes dead now so obviously nothing to totally aspire to ;) Weighted ab exercises brought my abs out more, if your under 10% they will start to show anyway.

    Reply
    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      Nice. I like to hold a 45lb plate at full extension and do sit ups. I also like hitting the lower abs with leg raises. What other exercises do you recommend?

      Reply
  6. Marc
    Marc says:

    If you don’t have a noticeable six pack after about 4 weeks of working out, either you’re doing it wrong or you’re fat and you should be doing different exercise. Even if you only work out once a week properly, within 2 weeks you should be going “holy crap there’s almost 6 pack”.

    http://www.arthurjonesexercise.com/Bulletin1/Bulletin1.html (1970)
    http://www.arthurjonesexercise.com/Bulletin2/Bulletin2.html (1971)

    Must read, the principles of strength training as written by the original founder of high intensity training and trainer of multiple Mr. Universe winners.

    Sometimes things seem to be moving slow because the change is extremely granular. Sometimes things seem to be moving slow because you’re actually not getting anywhere. The problem with “Ready, Fire, Aim” is that you can spend a lot of time going nowhere without realizing it. Your whole life, in fact.

    “A girl’s looks are the value she brings to the table” <- Fail

    @But I don’t care about sports, TV, gossip, politics, my neighbors problems, or ANYONE’S problems for that matter.

    If I could walk 5 fucking feet without some meeting asshole who doesn't know the difference between his business and other people's business, all governments and all wars would end tomorrow. If it were possible, I would beat this lesson into the brain of every person on earth. Unfortunately people never learn it, even after it causes them to lose everything they own. Speaking of which, maybe while you're in BA you should ask around about "Corralito" and "Corralón". Might learn somethin.

    Reply
    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      Sweet man, Just loaded up those articles and will have a look. I’m definitely at the phase of “there’s ALMOST a six pack.” It’s just that last little bit so you don’t have to even tense the muscles and it shows like bomb. Thanks for the articles.

      Reply
  7. Brandon
    Brandon says:

    I agree with your “feel like aging 40 years every 40 days.” I sometimes feel that people don’t notice, but then I juxtapose how they treated me only a few years ago, and how they treat me today. The difference is day and night. Keep ignoring sports, TV, gossip, politics, etc. It’s all noise in the background. Keep living; keep creating stories. You’re grandkids are gonna be stoked on what they’re grandpa has to teach them.

    Brandon

    Reply
  8. markzor
    markzor says:

    While it’s good to base your self-esteem on your actions, ultimately, self-esteem is a feeling. As soon as you need a logical reason, it becomes: “I am not enough, UNLESS [logical reason]”.
    Also, comparing with others is never a good idea, because as soon as you are better than someone else, you can also get worse (which creates (performance) anxiety). Not to mention that you get in some kind of competitive mindset where you have to prove yourself, be the best, and demand that you get treated like that. (Demanding = failing to take responsibility for yourelf = not action based = outcome dependent)

    Reply
  9. Tom
    Tom says:

    Really liked the post, Brad! Really like all your posts to be honest.
    You wrote that you’re excited to see friends and family but not interested in talking about sports, TV, gossip, etc. How do you reconcile your self-development obsession with friends who do spend a lot of their time and thought on less productive, less fun activities? When I’m out at sea for sixty days with the same 110 people I let myself become socially isolated at times because self-development is my main pursuit while everyone else spends more time on distractions. I want to talk about self-development and want to avoid distractions, and everyone else wants to talk about distractions and negativity. How would handle that situation?

    Reply
    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      Yeah man, it’s tough when you are forced to be around those types of people. I consciously choose the friends around me that are going to LIFT me to a higher level. To answer your question, when I’m at home, I enjoy taking a break fronm the neverending self help BS, and just enjoy relaxing with old stories, and stuff like that. But I still need my time out to read, get work done, and the like. So I guess it’s just a mixture of not thinking you are elitist and enjoying anyone’s company, as well as creating periods where you do get what you want. As well as finding ways to more regularly surround yourself with the type of peopel that are on a similar wavelength.

      Reply
      • Tom
        Tom says:

        Thanks Brad, you make a very good point. I can see now that my elitist tendencies sometimes prevented me from socializing or enjoying simple human interaction. That’s definitely something to work on, and I can imagine the benefits as I improve. Thanks for the insight!

        Reply
  10. Thomas
    Thomas says:

    Hey, Brad, it’s not related to this post, but I was thinking (ah, curiosity):
    If the you now were to teach you when you got started( or if you were back to zero). What would you focus on? What would you (experienced) tell to you (newbie)? If you were to write what you would wish you had as a newbie, what would you tell to you to get back to a proficient level asap?

    Reply
  11. Brad Branson
    Brad Branson says:

    That is tough to say. The journey has taught me so many lessons I needed to experience. If I could give myself one piece of advice, it would be to focus on the process not the results. Detaching from the outcome is so important.

    Reply
  12. Rad
    Rad says:

    Yeah, I’ve been taking this approach too. In the past, I was always looking for some magic pill to change my life and fix all my problems. But in reality, change happens through a daily commitment. It’s like tending to a garden, you gotta water it and tend to it every single day.

    And I really identify with you: not being able to talk about the crazy self help talk. It’s like you get so into self-actualization and going after your dreams but everyone else is stuck in their same comfort zone.

    Talking about “being present” and “taking action” to the average Joe Schmoe is like Egyptian hieroglyphics to them.

    Reply
  13. Jacob
    Jacob says:

    lol, if you seriously want improvements in your abs, look into gymnastic rings… practice front levers, back levers, and a couple scapula exercises that introduce body tension… increases your ab muscle mass dramatically in 3 months :P trust me

    Reply
  14. subx
    subx says:

    Yo i see you talked about family a bit. I was just with mine, and i notice i have a hard time being myself around them. Because i was so stifled growing up. Do you have a hard time expressing your true self around your parents, like, you grew so much being away from them but coming back it feels like you need to be your old self? Idk. I think tyler talked about this one time.

    Reply
    • Brad Branson
      Brad Branson says:

      I can relate with that. In certain environments we snap back to an old frame that we are more comfortable and accustomed to. You have many reference experiences backing up that old frame. I don’t have trouble expressing myself freely. I’m in a unique situation where my parents know what I do for a living and accept it. You will have to make the decision to express your true self in that old environment, and your parents will have to accept who you are.

      Reply

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