Using My Own Advice

By Jarrett Retz -June 2nd, 2018

I wrote a report on how I tried using my own advice from a recent post called Need Help Finding Out What You Want?. In my own life, finding out where I can better satisfy my own wants (even if things are going well) became relevant. I figured it would be a cool idea to see if the progression I talked about was useful to myself again.


I am not a person who particularly content, or pleased, with their current lifestyle. Most of this, I predict, is based on my own choice of career. The other night, my girlfriend asked me what I would do if I wasn’t an aspiring golf professional. I had a difficult time answering the question (again), and remarked that I asked myself that question (usually lost in a day dream) frequently.

I quickly remembered that I had actually written about this, and I should revisit my own advice on the subject. Here we go.

Identify that we have certain needs in life (Tony Robbins example)

This was the first part in the process. The needs that I am referring to are

  • Certainty/Comfort
  • Uncertainty/Variety
  • Significance
  • Love & Connection
  • Growth
  • Contribution

Certainty/Comfort helps guide my choice by taking into the account that I will need to comfort and reliability of a consistent wage. Something that will not stress me out all the time because I feel that I am on the edge.

Uncertainty/Variety helps me choose my decision because a big part of the satisfaction may come from the chances to stretch my abilities or learn new limits.

Significance has to be the most important factor for my employment choice. The long hours behind the golf shop desk don’t bring about a whole lot of significance.

Love & Connection, I see, as relating to my relationships at work and how work affects my relationships elsewhere. Time and team environment come to mind when reflecting on this need.

Growth is right up there next to significance. The ability to improve and explore in the profession. Growth not just for myself but the chosen field that I want to affect

Contribution. I may be contributing to the lives of members in the profession. I may also be contributing to “golf’’ more abstractly. However, the thought of pursuing other kinds of contribution are too much to ignore.

In practice

Using these factors I can see where my current life has fallen short, and I can connect the dots fairly easily when looking at what I want to do more of and what categories of needs those activities fall into.

Be cognizant of the availability bias and WYSIATI (Daniel Gilbert & Daniel Kahneman)

Round two of deciding out what I want involves some more recognition. I will define again the availability heuristic. It is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person's mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision.

When I decided to become a golf pro I was working at a golf facility as an outside service worker. This path could have become easy for me to accept because of how available it was. Possibly what may be easy to think of, or is easier in difficulty to your current situation has more pull.

The second part is What You See Is All There Is. Which is very closely related. It’s easy to see a life that you already may have compared to one that is totally different than you are living.

I think what I can do here is look at the aspects of the life that I don’t like, imagine ways that would fix those aspects and really try to get away from “ways that would work” and focus more on just “ways that work”.

In practice

Using this in practice will be important in the brainstorming and design section. It will help to filter many of the quick easy-access ideas.

Identify the positives and negatives in your life now (Tim Ferriss exercise)

Using this method you can identify the aspects of your life that cause a disproportionate amount of negative emotion, and the actions that provide the disproportionate amount of positive emotions. This is done by using the an 80/20 analysis.

On the positive side, find the 20% of activities/people that contributed 80% of your positive life experiences. On the negative side, find the 20% of activities that produced 80% of the negative emotional states or outcomes. Here recommends making a + and - list while you flip through your calendar.

“What do you think I should do more of?”

“What do you think I should do less of?”

In practice

Negatives (-)

  • Missing a flight that cost me a lot of money
  • Being embarrassed at work
  • Not being as revered at my work as I hoped
  • Not getting along with coworkers to the point of avoiding speaking
  • Working six days a week
  • Not making the time to hike Mt. Jacinto
  • Not playing golf as well as I think I should be, or not hitting the ball well
  • Losing money the two weeks I took off in between jobs


  • Knowing I have a beautiful girlfriend that cares about me
  • Reaching my goal of swimming a mile
  • Successfully saving money month-to-month
  • Flying home to see family for Christmas
  • Going to see my siblings on the coast
  • Hiking Eisenhower
  • Hiking the West Fork Trail
  • Working towards and completing my Level 1 Portfolio
  • Day-to-day meditating, journaling, doing my physical exercises (swimming, GST)
  • Becoming better friends with the outside services workers
  • Hitting the ball well, or feeling proficient in hitting a ball and playing golf
  • Writing the blog posts for my website while in Florida
  • Having dinner at Meagan’s
  • Listening to Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee as I moved North
  • Seeing family and friends when I got back in WA, and down in Cali as I drove up
  • Organizing my book notes, reading a few important books

That wraps up the list looking back at the calendar of positives and negatives. There really isn’t that many crazy things on there, and I’m sure I have trouble recalling some very simple positives. Now it is time to find the 20% that cause the 80%.

Starting with the negative;

  • Not getting along with coworkers to the point of avoiding speaking
  • Working six days a week

Now the positive, which has been way more difficult, mostly because the reciprocal of the negative (i.e. becoming friends with coworkers, or hitting the ball well instead of poorly) didn’t always cause major positive emotion. They were what I expect, so the negative is very negative but the positive seems less so;

  • Knowing I have a beautiful girlfriend that cares about me
  • Successfully saving money month-to-month
  • Writing the blog posts for my website while in Florida
  • Seeing family and friends when I got back in WA, and down in Cali as I drove up

As I began to analyze the positives for the most positive I saw some serious overlap with the classification of activities.

I seriously have enjoyed the articulation of my thoughts and life in personal journal entries and on my website.

I really liked the traveling I did to see family or friends.

I got a lot of positives from progress; financial (savings), physical (GST, swimming, playing golf), and occupational (positives relationships at work, completing my Level 1).

Describe the undesirable life by identifying where bad habits, resentment, and bitterness lead (Jordan Peterson)

This activity is from Jordan Peterson’s Future Authoring Program, which he talks about on many occasions.

This activity you are to write about what your living hell would be if you let your bitterness, resentment, and self-pity take control of your life.

I won’t share the whole version, because it is a bit personal, but I can describe the road it took.

I wasted my time. I developed bad and destructive habits. I am ignorant to my own self-destruction. I am isolated and alone. It’s my fault that I am the way I am. I have not progressed, and show no hope of progression. My life is stagnant with little hope, and a lot of self-pity. I need to put another emphasis on the fact that I have wasted my time.

In practice

It is difficult to image ever getting to this place. I think I do a fairly good job of guarding against it. However, the thought of just ending up halfway to this place would be terrible. The thought of wasting time (or more accurately—life) is more a fear that seems to be on my mind daily.


This type of stuff gets me going. Once the ball gets rolling on life design, and the chance to improve, I get excited. After doing these activities I was able to better look at the life I want, and I feel fairly confident in evaluating the result of my brainstorming and design session to follow. The best activity for generating an idea of a life worth designing was the Tim Ferriss activity. The motivation to get started now, came from the Jordan Peterson exercise. The other two sections will become more important when I am working through the following section, but for now did not require that much energy. They allowed me to view my past in a different light. If getting started, or doing the activities in this order is trivial, I hope this example can be helpful.

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