Bending the universe in your favor
Making your life easier, one hard decision at a time
👋 Hello to the 887 readers receiving today's newsletter. I’ve got two things to share with you today—both of which I hope might help you in some small way:
1. A podcast episode on the intersection of sports and NFTs. If you’ve resisted learning about NFTs to-date, this might be a good place to start.
2. I want to share a simple idea that's been helpful for me when it comes to making lasting behavioral change. Let's get started!
NFTs and the Future of Fandom
The latest episode of the Intentional Wisdom podcast is here! My guest is Mac Lackey, a serial entrepreneur who has founded and sold six web-based businesses over the last 25 years.
When Mac walked into the offices of Fortune 500 companies to sell them on the Internet back in 1995, he was laughed at. But it didn't stop him. He could clearly see a future that those Fortune 500 execs could not.
Today, for the first time in 25 years, Mac has that feeling again. He sees something that others don’t. This time it's about web3 and NFTs. It's not that no one is talking about these things. In fact, these buzzwords have become "cocktail party conversations" to use Mac's words. Rather, it’s that very few people actually see the massive business opportunity that is about to unfold.
Given his conviction on the transformative potential of these new technologies, Mac has launched a business to attack this opportunity. He's leveraging his background in soccer to build Digital Seat Ownership, a company that aims to reinvent the "future of fandom."
I've personally known Mac for 13 years and have followed his career closely during that time. I would not bet against him in this latest endeavor. This episode is worth a listen both for those who are already steeped in the terminology of web3 but want to see a real-world application, and for those who are completely new to (and probably still skeptical of) web3 and NFTs.
To hear this episode and all of the podcasts I'm recording, make sure to follow Intentional Wisdom on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And let me know what you think! Seriously, I absolutely love hearing from all of you.
Bending the universe
A few years back, I decided to run an experiment on myself. You already know how I love to use streaks to modify my own behavior. In this instance, I decided to quit drinking alcohol for a year. It wasn't that I had an alcohol "problem" but rather that I was just getting sick of not feeling 100% on weekend mornings after big nights out with friends.
I was about to turn 40 and it was bothering me that I was working so hard in every other part of my life - trying to be great at my job, trying to be a great dad, and trying to get in great shape - but then I was purposefully sabotaging myself on weekends. I was willingly turning myself into a grouchy, tired, unproductive version of myself — sometimes for days.
It seemed contradictory to almost everything else I was trying to do in life. So I decided to do something about it.
I made the decision to quit drinking for one year. Not permanent. But enough to prove that I could indeed exist (and maybe even thrive?) without alcohol. I won't recount that whole story now. You can read about it here if you’d like. But I will revisit one of the biggest takeaways I had from my "dry" 2018, and that is the following:
When you make a firm decision and absolutely commit to it, the universe has a funny way of bending in your favor—and actually making your life easier, not harder.
What do I mean by that? Let me explain.
So when I first announced to my friends and family that I had quit drinking for a year, the initial response was lukewarm at best. There was some mockery. There were some attempts to dissuade me from the pursuit. And there was a lot of asking "why would you do that to yourself?"
Those first few months were difficult and awkward. It occurred to me more clearly than ever before that almost every social event in my life revolved around alcohol. Parties at friends' houses, holidays with family, after-work get-togethers with colleagues, even date nights with my wife. In every situation, alcohol was extremely present—and the strangest behavior, by far, in any of these settings was to NOT drink.
But that's exactly what I did. I said 'no thank you' again and again and again. And people were incredulous. "Wait, what? You're NOT drinking? Why?" So I had that conversation with friends and family and colleagues. Some of them got it, even if they did think I was unnecessarily subjecting myself to a serious lack of fun. Others tried hard to throw me off track. Have you ever had to say no to twenty friends at midnight screaming "Greg, Greg, Greg!!" while trying to get you to take a shot? I'd suppose not (assuming your name isn't Greg) but I will tell you, it's a solid test of willpower.
But honestly, that was just the first month or two. After that, a funny thing happened. The novelty of "Greg isn't drinking" wore off. Friends and family stopped trying to convince me to break my streak and started to actually... enable it.
How so? Before I completely throw my friends under the bus in this article, let me say that I am blessed with a group of extremely kind, generous and thoughtful friends.
What happened was that they started stocking their homes with non-alcoholic beverages before every party and even calling ahead to ask me for my requests. No longer did I have to bring my own Yeti full of La Croix, my friends were totally stocked with seltzers, and sparkling waters and all kinds of bubbly, kind-of-fun-seeming, yet non-alcoholic beverages. Some of them even thought ahead and said "if Greg's not drinking... should we do something else... like play golf?" (Because obviously no drinking happens there).
My point is that in my experience, once you make a decision - in this case, to not drink - the universe starts to adapt around you. And after that initial period of awkwardness, the very people who you thought would make your life difficult because of this decision, begin to conspire in unforeseen ways to actually help you achieve your goal.
I was reminded recently of this idea when interviewing Mac Lackey for the podcast conversation referenced above. One of the things I've always admired about Mac is that despite the fact that he has built and sold so many businesses and achieved so much professional success, he somehow has managed to find an atypically large amount of time to spend with this family. Not only did he attend every soccer game and "donuts with Dads" event but he even pulled his kids out of school and moved to Barcelona for a year just for the incredible experience of it all.
I asked Mac in our conversation how he did it. And to paraphrase him, he basically said that he made a decision really early on, when his kids were babies, that he simply wasn't going to miss out on any of the important events at home. In other words, he drew a non-negotiable line in the sand.
He said it was awkward at first. When he stood up to leave in a meeting at 4:45 pm for the first time, his teammates couldn't believe it. But eventually, they began to plan around it. Mac was going to be home for dinner at 5:00 pm no matter what. He might be back at 8:00 pm to finish working but he was going to be having dinner with his family every night. That was a rule.
His team started to make arrangements to plan for this reality. From rescheduling certain meetings to getting more comfortable running them without him. In other words, they adapted.
In this case, Mac bent the universe in his favor. He did it by committing to something that was of the utmost importance to him: his family. And then building his life and work schedule around that.
Now I recognize that it might not be so cut and dry for all of us to do this. We all have commitments and responsibilities. But I suspect that we have more opportunities in our lives to “bend the universe” in our favor than we commonly recognize.
We have a tendency to get focused on why the thing we desire — more time with family, getting in better shape, etc. — is not possible, and we get intimidated thinking about all the hurdles we'd have to clear to get there.
But what if — even just as a thought exercise — we said “well, I'm going to do it anyway.” What if we said "I'm going to have dinner with my family every night," or "I'm not going to drink for a year" or "I’m not going to miss a day of working out this month." What if we said that? And committed to it. And then told people about it.
I suspect the change — after some awkward transition period — would actually be easier to accomplish than we might expect. And that our friends, our family, and yes, even the universe, might ultimately conspire to help us achieve this goal.
Well, that is it for this week, my friends. If I had two requests of you, they would be the following:
Share this newsletter with someone who you think might enjoy it—or maybe on your social media accounts. I said 1000 subscribers by March 1st and… now I’m getting nervous!
Go listen to an episode of the Intentional Wisdom podcast and let me know what you think. (And leave a rating and review if you want to be my absolute BEST friend).
Okay, that's it but don't forget to check out the nutritious content below before you go...
See you in two weeks. — Greg
Below is the original primer piece I wrote on NFTs back in early-2021. This is referenced in the podcast with Mac. Also, check out the show notes (in the episode description on Apple Podcasts & Spotify) for lots of other great NFT-related resources.
🎙️How Kevin Rose Invests in web3 — Mac & I talked about Kevin Rose in this episode as well. Kevin’s got 1.6M followers on Twitter so, you know, he’s got a few interesting things to say. I listened to this great episode of Bankless to prep for my conversation with Mac. It’s worth your time if you’re diving in on this topic.
🎙️Cal Newport & Tim Ferriss — Finally, I have a feeling I may be referencing this one again in my next newsletter where I plan to discuss “burnout” but this episode is a fantastic listen. Cal, a well-known author and Georgetown University professor, is one of the most thoughtful people on the planet when it comes to topics like digital minimalism and deep work—both of which he’s written extensively on. Hearing Cal’s philosophies on managing his work and (mostly) avoiding social media is absolute gold to me. Maybe you’ll like it, too.
Okay, more to come in two weeks. See you then!! — Greg