How Science Keeps You Stuck In Life
By Leo Gura - August 18, 2014 | 18 Comments
Exposing how people use science as an ego defense mechanism.
Hey, this is Leo for Actualized.org. In this video I want to cover an interesting topic. I want to talk about how to stop using science as an ego defense mechanism.
Using Science As An Excuse To Remain Stuck
You know, there is an interesting thing that I’ve noticed as I’ve been publishing more and more of my videos and interacting with more and more of you guys out there, my audience. One of these things that I noticed is that what sometimes what people will do to keep themselves stuck in life and not really getting the results they want in whatever area in life that they want it whether it’s career, relationships or health, or their own personal inner development, is that they will use this idea of science and the lack of proof that I’m providing as a reason not to listen to the advice, as a reason to stay obstinate and to stay stuck in their current paradigm.
What I want to do in this video is go into some detail about how this really works and what’s really going on. Nowadays we are very scientifically minded. Anything that gets the label of ‘science’ attached to it is automatically perceived as being true, as being accurate, as being superior to anything that gets the label attached as religious, or woo woo, or hippy, or positive thinking and these kind of labels that imply that somehow these ideas or concepts are not as important, not as significant, not as accurate as the ones that are scientific.
This is an interesting thing because there’s a lot of nuance here between what is scientific and what’s not scientific. I think a lot of well-intentioned scientific thinking people will get themselves stuck because what they do is they follow science in a dogmatic sort of way. This is preventing them from going out there and taking the more practical type of steps they need to take in order to change their life. There is a difference between clearly proving something on the one hand and then actually doing something that works and generates results in your life on the other hand. These are two very, very different things.
One common assumption that I see people making especially people that are really into science and think of themselves as honoring truth and being very intellectually rigorous – don’t get me wrong, I love that. I think it’s very important to be intellectually rigorous. Honestly there is a lot of bullshit out there in society. We’ve come from a tradition for the last couple of thousand years when there was lots of bullshit and slowly we’re weeding that out of our system, out of our social maturates as it were. We’re slowly weeding more and more of that out which is great.
With the internet we have better resources, better sources of information, also we have worse sources of information, so you have to be more careful about what kind of information you do believe and don’t believe. In general I think we are getting better and overall it’s getting more and more accurate. Just because our theory and scientific models are getting more and more accurate that doesn’t necessarily translate into getting you the kind of results you want in your life. There’s a very big distinction that we need to make here.
You Can’t Blindly What’s Labelled ‘Scientific’
Just because we have some sort of mathematical proof or a scientific study, or an experiment, or something was written in a textbook, or some college professor told you something, just because you have that kind of scientific academic rigor behind an idea or concept doesn’t mean that you can go blindly apply that concept and get good results in your life. This is actually why IQ doesn’t correlate with life success that much. Studies have actually been done on this, and what they find is after you get to about over a hundred and twenty, a hundred and thirty IQ, any extra IQ beyond that tends to actually start to hurt you and diminish your results in life and your success because what’s more important in life is having emotional intelligence rather than just having pure intellectual logical intelligence.
Your logic, even though it has a lot of good things to it and you can use it to do a lot of powerful stuff in life, it can also become a trap for you. You start to think down this very narrow alley and you miss everything else that’s around you. You basically become too narrow focus. Really, to be successful at life, one of the things that I’m doing with Actualized.org is I’m trying to paint a big model, a holistic model of how life works and how you can get the results that you want in your life.
Sometimes I’ll hear people leaving me these kinds of comments. For example if I’m talking about topics like depression, or positive thinking, or attracting women, or even nutritional type topics about nutrition and health, or if I’m talking about enlightenment… any of these kinds of topics, someone will come in there and say, “Leo, where’s the proof? Where is that double-blind study that we need to show us that what you’re saying is accurate and that it will work? Leo, show me a double-blind study rigorously performed, peer reviewed study and then I’ll believe you and I’ll start to follow your advice”.
I hear this kind of objection being made. Now, this is very dangerous. When I hear this it shows me that there’s too much of a narrow focus in that person’s mind on this kind of criteria of studies and scientific backing and proof. What’s actually going on there is very deceptive. It’s actually an ego game that you’re playing with yourself when you’re saying that.
Blind Spots That Keep You Stuck
What that’s doing is that’s creating blind spots within you and those blind spots actually are very cleverly designed to keep you stuck where you’re at in life. It’s not really about science, it’s not really about proof. It’s more about justifications which your mind is extremely good at coming up with for keeping you in your current situation in life, whether that’s your current financial situation, or your current relationship situation, or your current lack of results and success in your business or career, or health and fitness, or anything else like that. It’s tricky. You’ve got to really watch out for yourself because in a lot of ways your own mind is your own greatest enemy.
This idea of the double-blind study, the peer reviewed study. Almost everything I talk about, first of all, I talk about it and I don’t really go out of my way to prove this stuff to you guys. Why? I used to be kind of obsessed with that in the past. In my youth I was really focused on what is the truth? How can we prove the truth? How can we justify and make sure the truth is proved conclusively, indubitably?
Actually, life is so complex that this kind of criteria of always needing proof and knowing the truth all the time, that’s going to come back to bite you. What that’s doing is if you set that kind of criteria for yourself in life, you might be telling yourself that you’re being intellectually rigorous, but actually what you’re doing is you’re binding your hands. You kind of tying your hands behind your back and then you’re going and trying to live life that way. I find that to really understand life you have to just get in there and start to experiment around and tinker.
Don’t think that this is somehow anti scientific, this is very scientific. This is kind of the heart of science is to tinker around with stuff. The problem is though that a lot of the science that’s being perpetuated, the typical science that we assume that oh, this is science, nowadays that means it has to be in a journal, it has to be peer reviewed, it has to be coming from some PhD, it has to be coming from a university, it has to be backed by some sort of credentialed institution and although, nothing against that, that’s great, there’s a lot of scientists ding a lot of great work out there especially in the fields of psychology and positive psychology. Nowadays there’s a lot of great work being done there and we can use that stuff, but we don’t want to limit ourselves just to that.
Life Is Very Complex
Academics is a very specific type of game. Make no mistake that academia is a big game. It’s happening within a big bureaucracy and there aren’t limitations within that. Life is a lot more than what is encapsulated by this bureaucracy, by our government, by our school systems, by our college institutions. There’s a lot more to life.
Life is extremely messy. Life is very complex. There’s stuff about life that quite frankly we don’t know yet. There’s also errors that we’ve made in our previous analyses and judgments.
Moreover, the way that science is done a lot of times in universities is dealing with individual variables. A lot of times what a scientist will do is he’ll pick a very specialized problem within the field of physics, chemistry, biology or even social science, political science, whatever kind of science we’re doing. Then he’ll get to work studying that.
You’ve got to understand that this is a very small slice of a much, much bigger pie. This one little cross-section, even if we can get some really good information there by running a study, doing an experiment, running a survey or however we’re going to go about doing our science, that’s just one facet of this much bigger thing. What I’ve always been fascinated by, that I felt was very important was to get a much broader, more holistic picture.
Very few things in life can be shown and demonstrated with a double-blind study. Some things can but a lot of things can’t. The most practical things that you do in your day and in your life, the decisions that you make on a practical basis: the business decisions you make, the relationship decisions you make, the career decisions that you make, the health and fitness decisions you make, the decisions you make about the trajectory of your life… all that kind of stuff, this is a very rich extremely multivariate situation.
There are literally thousands of variables in some of these decisions and some of these strategies. To say that you need a double-blind study to prove, for example, that one particular technique might work and help you with your depression, or to show you that positive thinking is something that you should be doing in your life, or to show you all the benefits and the effects of meditation, or to show you for example how to attract a woman in your life, or to show you exactly what kind of food you should be eating and what kind of exercise you should be doing, that’s just a standard that we can’t meet right now. Maybe in the future. Maybe five hundred years from now, a thousand years from now we would have analyzed this to such a degree that we’ll know exactly, very scientifically, demonstrably how some of this stuff works.
Right now we’re very, very, very far from that. Science is very good at working with things that contain few variables. Science starts to break down working with stuff that contains many, many variables, because you can’t track all of them at the same time. We don’t have the instruments, we don’t have the time, the resources to do all that.
The Easy Science And the Hard Science
I sometimes hear that scientific minded people will make fun of the social scientists. They’ll make fun of the social scientists and they’ll say stuff like, “That’s not real science. Real science is math. Real science is physics, chemistry and maybe biology. Something that’s very tangible. Something that has laws behind it. Political science, social science, psychology, that’s not a real science”, they’ll say, “because there’s a lot of room for fudging there”.
It’s interesting because that’s one way you could look at it. Another way you could look at it is this way that I’m about to tell you. Actually math, physics, chemistry and biology, these are the easy sciences. They are the easy ones.
Why are they easy? Even though studying math might be difficult, and studying physics, biology and chemistry might be difficult compared let’s say, to studying psychology in a college classroom, actually psychology is a lot more complex. There’s so many variables within psychology that are so difficult to grasp, to track because they’re very nebulous.
You’re dealing with human beings who are really systems comprised of billions of cells. Your brain is comprised of billions of neurons, all interconnected in interesting ways and you’re dealing with so much input that’s going into your brain getting analyzed and molded and remolded. It’s hard to track a system like that, whereas with a math equation, or with a physics equation, or understanding the laws of motion or understanding some sort of chemical reaction or some sort of biological system, that’s a lot easier.
The more fundamental you get in life, for example when you’re studying cells or you’re even studying molecules, or even individual atoms or within the atoms you’re studying the sub-atomic particles, it gets simpler and simpler and simpler. But, as you go up levels in life, you start to study actual living organisms. Even more advanced than that is social interactions.
The emotions that these organisms are having in the social interactions they’re having with one another, there are so many variables at play that you can’t have a simple formula or equation. Maybe there is a formula behind it but it would have hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of variables in it. It’s very hard for the human mind to grasp that.
Scientific models, because what they’re doing is they’re simplifying life, they work really well for stuff that’s really simple and only have a few variables. Once you get into many variables then it’s harder and harder to get demonstrable provable results and there’s less and less situations where a simple one line formula or equation will tell you what is right, what you should be doing, or how things will play out.
What’s interesting is where do we live life? As human beings your practical everyday life, where is that lived? Is that lived at the level of subatomic particles, or atoms, or cells, or the individual, let’s say mammalian organism as a mammal, or does it go even beyond that and you’re living in a very, very rich social matrix?
Results At The High Level
We live in a society. We live in a government. We live in a district. We live in a state. We live in a city.
We live with our family. We live in a social circle. We live in a marriage. We live with kids.
All this stuff is very high level. We live at a very high level in life. If you want to actually get good results on this high level then you have to start thinking and working on this high level rather than trying to take principles from the low level and thinking that they’re going to apply in the high level. That you’re going to get good results at the high level just because they’re true at the low level. This is the fundamental mistake that I see people making here who are very scientific minded.
Sure, there’s great science being done and we know a lot of stuff about the fundamentals of our reality and we can use that stuff to build amazing things. We can build airplanes, rockets, computers, cell phones, we’ve got the internet, we’ve got all this amazing technology, but in a sense that’s the easy stuff. That’s why we have that stuff is because it was easy to make. The stuff that’s easy to make, that comes first in human evolution. The stuff that’s harder to make comes later.
The stuff that’s harder to make is to get people to create the kind of lives that they want. Why is it that we have internet and we have this amazing technology and we can send a man to the moon, but yet there’s record depression numbers. A record number of people are depressed.
People can’t get a business going. People are stuck in co-dependent relationships. Record numbers of overweight people, like half the country is obese. Why do we have all these psychological problems? Life problems you might say. Just very practical ordinary everyday problems yet we have such a deep understanding of quantum mechanics.
We understand quantum mechanics so well, that literally we can produce computer chips that can do billions if not trillions of calculations per second, but yet we can solve the problem of obesity. We can’t solve the problem of neurotic negative thinking. We can’t get people meditating properly.
We can’t get people exercising properly. We can’t get people having relationships well. We have about a forty percent divorce rate. We have all these practical everyday problems, yet we’re very advanced on the technical, geeky technological level.
My answer to that is that that’s the easy stuff. The hard stuff is actually dealing with your mind here because there’s so many variables. There’s no simple formula for how this works.
Don’t Be So Dependent On Double-Blind Studies
I think one thing that you have to do is you have to start to drop your expectations for these rigorous, double-blind studies. Sometimes you can get them. When we can get one of those, that’s great.
For example with meditation, there’s been a lot of studies done over the last fifty years about the benefits of meditation and I don’t think they even go far enough. Even though so many benefits have been studied, I think that still there’s a lot that we haven’t found. People are working on that every day. I’m sure there’s research being done right now about even more benefits to meditation. We can track that stuff and that’s great.
I love introducing scientific proofs and backing when it’s available, but generally I don’t care about that. Here’s the approach that I take to get good results in my life. I’m actually very scientifically oriented but I kind of take the heart and the spirit of science which to me is really tinkering and being able to produce the results that you want in life.
One way to understand science is to say, science is trying to get us an understanding of life, to find out what truth is. Another way to understand science is to say that science is about recreating predictable results. Why do we care about science? It allows us to have a better way to architect and manipulate life in the way that is conducive to us. If you want something in your life, science can help you get it.
That’s kind of what technology is so great at, is helping you to get stuff. If we take this idea and we apply it to our own personal life, then we can see that really we can be scientists of our own lives. This doesn’t mean that you have to study math, or that you have to wear a lab coat and do vigorous studies, you have to be in university you have to be an academic. It simply means that you take an empirical approach to life. That means that you’re eager to go out there and try stuff.
The scientific process is very simple. You come up with a possible hypothesis about how something works then you go out there, you try it, you work with it, you tinker with it, you see does it work does it not work. If it does work then you start to suspect that maybe your hypothesis was correct and you could do a little bit more testing to refine it. If it doesn’t work then you’ll say, “Okay, my hypothesis was wrong. Let me rework my hypothesis and then go back and try it again”.
You keep doing that again, and again, and again, and as you iterate and keep going, you start to get a better and deeper understanding of what actually works. Over time you can actually build up these models that will help you to create whatever kind of results you want in your life. This is kind of the approach that I take with my own personal development.
How Do I Feel?
I’m not too concerned about reading a book that proves conclusively to me that meditation is good for me. I’m not too concerned about reading a book about what is the ultimate food that I should be eating that’s the healthiest. I’m not too concerned about reading a book that will tell me whether positive thinking is good or bad for me. What I’m more interested in is my feelings.
How do I feel from the stuff that I’m doing in my life? If I’m advancing in my career, am I seeing the results that I want there? Is it making me feel the way that I want? If I’m doing fitness work and I’m doing nutrition work, is it making me feel the way that I want? Is it making me look the way that I want, and that look, is it making me feel good too?
Ultimately it boils and comes back down to feelings. Your personal life, what do you really care about in your life? Do you honestly care about some sort of theory or what you’re really after is an emotion? We might give it the umbrella term of happiness, what you’re really after is happiness.
Maybe you’re after other types of emotions. You’re after love, you’re after excitement, those kinds of good emotions and you’re also trying to avoid the bad emotions. Anger, sadness, frustration, loneliness, depression… these kinds of emotions. Everything that you’re doing in your life, all your actions are ultimately aimed at increasing your happiness. Sometimes these actions are successful, sometimes not.
A lot of people don’t even realize that this is what they’re doing in their life. That every action they’re taking, no matter how small or how big, is aimed at increasing their happiness. A lot of times that doesn’t work simply because the actions that you take, they have the opposite effect.
What science to me is in my own life is to try this stuff out and see what works for me, what doesn’t work for me. Another thing you have to realize about these double-blind studies is that a lot of times these studies they are designed to help scientists understand general trends among large numbers of people. In the end, you don’t care about that because you might be different than the average crowd. What’s good for you, what’s appropriate for you, what’s going to produce the best results for you, might not be at all what’s right and appropriate for the general population.
You Have To Do A Personal Science
Even if there is a study out there that says the average person should be doing this, or for the average person it works this way, that’s all well and good, that might give me a hint of what maybe I want to try out next to my life, but ultimately you have to do a very personal science here. This is a science that no PhD, no doctor, no student can do for you. You have to go do this for yourself. You have to go try it for yourself and see how it fits in with everything else that’s in your life.
Holistic thinking. This is a really big concept. I want to cover it more in other videos. This idea of holistic thinking where you’re not just thinking about one little piece of your life, but you’re thinking about how all the pieces fit together.
I find this is one of the problems with studies and with traditional science, is what they’ll do is, let’s say you’ve got this giant jigsaw puzzle of a thousand pieces, what they’ll do is they’ll take four of those pieces and they’ll fit them all together and say, “Look, we’ve got a tiny piece of the picture right here. Look it’s nice and pristine, it’s very clear, it’s very well documented. Here it is”.
That’s well and good and when a scientist does that he might win a Nobel Prize for putting those four pieces together. He might win a lot of recognition that might get published in a journal. That might go on and create some sort of new business, some sort of new technology might spring up from that. That’s great, but in my own life, what I’m concerned about is the very, very big picture, the ten thousand foot perspective of all these pieces fitting together.
How does this piece fit together with the other nine hundred and ninety six pieces in my thousand piece puzzle? Even though this little four piece configuration might be well on its own, when I add it to everything else here it might not make any sense, it might fit in in a different way, or I might have to rearrange these pieces somehow to make it fit with everything else. That’s kind of the thing with studies is that a lot of times what studies will do is that they will tell you that something is true is in a very narrowly defined context.
A lot of times this context is a laboratory setting. It’s not a real life setting. It’s not the kind of setting that you have sitting in your home, sitting in your office, running your business, in your family and your relationship.
You Have To Custom Tailor It
Don’t get me wrong, some studies actually do go out there and try to get more of those practical situations. Positive psychology is great at doing that kind of work. I think even there a scientist still has to narrow stuff down, still has to put his or her conclusions and discoveries into this little box and say, okay, under these conditions, in these situations, this is what works. This is maybe what produces general happiness, this is what maybe causes your depression, etcetera.
That doesn’t mean that it’s going to really apply to you. You have to go figure out does this apply to you. How well does it apply to you? How do you have to custom tailor this thing? That’s how I want to go about really doing personal development.
I think that the most valuable advice that you’ll get in life is never going to be something that you get in a lab study. It’s not something that’s going to be easily observed in a laboratory. That’s because, like I said, these laboratory studies are not holistic enough. They give you little technical points and you can use them to fine tune what you’re doing in your life, that’s great, but they’re not good for general life strategies.
No lab study for example is going to tell you who you should marry. No lab study is going to tell you how much you should meditate. For some of you, you should meditate more than others. For some of you, should you want to have a meditation, you should do another type of meditation. So even though there is a study that tells you meditation is good, that’s not enough for you. You have to go out there and custom tailor it and apply it in your life, try to integrate it into you.
No study is going to tell you how to become a millionaire. No study is going to tell you how to succeed in your career. Your specific career. Sure, you might get general advice, but how to succeed in your career specifically, no study is going to tell you that. This is where wisdom comes in. Wisdom is required for this.
That’s why I love to read and study and listen to people from a wide variety of different sources. What happens is when you look and study all these different sources they come together in your mind. You get a very big picture. You develop wisdom. You can then use this wisdom to make decisions, to create strategies for your life so that you can create priorities, you can set different values.
Science is not going to help you with this kind of stuff and quite honestly when you expect and demand from me or from anybody else to prove to you that you should be doing something, that’s a pretty silly expectation to put out there. Honestly ninety-nine point nine percent of the stuff that you do every single day very practically has no studies behind it, has no science behind it. You just do it. You do it out of habit, you do it out of social convention, you do it because your parents told you to do it, you do it because of peer pressure, you do it because of your wisdom, you do it because of your intuition, you do it because of your emotions, so you’re guided by all these Lucy Goosey type contexts. They’re not very scientific.
The reason they’re not scientific is not that they’re not actually scientific, you could do science on them, the problem is that there’s so many variables in there that science can’t cope with that. Science works with very simple truths, not complex truths. That’s something you’ve got to keep in mind.
A Flawed System
You’ve also got to keep in mind that the university system, the system of doing traditional academic research, PhDs and all that kind of stuff, it’s a flawed system. I see this as a dangerous thing that a lot of people do. They’ll say, “Where’s your PhD Leo? Did you go get a degree? Are you a licensed therapist? Have you done the research? Do you have a Harvard diploma? Who has peer-reviewed your work?”
To me this is kind of laughable. I don’t want to be in that whole game. There’s great stuff that’s coming out of that system, but there’s also big constraints in that system, that school academic system because that’s a giant bureaucracy.
A lot of those studies are great. A lot of those studies are complete garbage. A lot of those studies are scientists who don’t have any real-world experience with starting a business or attracting a woman, or creating a great relationships, going out there doing some research, interviewing some college kids on campus, coming up with some sort of theories then proving them under extremely narrow circumstances in extremely artificial situations, and then throwing that study out there as though it applies to everybody in the world, as though I can now use those results to really make something of my life.
Sometimes that might work, but a lot of times that might not work. Frankly, I’ve seen a lot of studies that are completely ridiculous. They’re not real world. They can’t apply.
One of the best examples of this that I can think of is with attraction and dating. This is one thing that has really made me skeptical about the scientific academic system. If you read text books on male female attraction, they’re going to tell you something very different than what you’re actually going to experience in real life.
If for example like me a few years ago you were really concerned about how do I get a great girlfriend? How do I build sexual abundance? How do I attract a really hot girl that I really want in my own life? How do I practically do that?
Science will tell me something like, “We’ve done some research and one of the things we found is that females are very attracted to a symmetrical face so the more symmetrical your face is, the more a female is likely to choose you. We’ve also done some studies that females are attracted by male pheromones. If you have more testosterone, or a certain type of pheromone that’s a little more potent, that will make a female a little more attracted to you” and stuff along these lines.
All those might actually be true – maybe there are pheromones that females are attracted to, and maybe a female does prefer a slightly more symmetrical face, maybe it is true that females will prefer one type of face over another type of face and one type of body over another type of body, and maybe the waist to hip ratio on a guy is a certain number then slightly more appealing to a woman, when she’s sitting in a laboratory environment looking at photographs and is asked to rate them under extremely artificial conditions. Except the thing that I’ve discovered is that you go out to a night club, you go out to a bar and all of a sudden all that stuff flies out the window because you’ve got a totally different situation.
You’ve got a real-life situation which has so many variables, the variables are so different that any truth there was in those scientific studies is completely eclipsed and completely blown out of importance. There’s no importance to it at all. What I’ve discovered is if I go out there and I work on, for example, my personality, my charisma, my confidence, my body language, I work on my assertiveness, I simply work on very simple stuff like knowing when to pull a girl out of the nightclub, if I study that kind of stuff and I go out there and practice it and I interact with thousands of women, I talk to guys who have had sex with hundreds of women, I pick their brains, I see what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, I see their own growth curve, I apply it to my own life, I go out there and tinker with this stuff, if I do that what I’ve discovered is I can literally attract any kind of woman that I want.
The hottest woman you can imagine, I can attract. It doesn’t matter how symmetrical or asymmetrical my face is or how little or how much hair I have, or my waist-to-hip ratio. This stuff is absurd. When you go into the real world and you actually go into a night club or into a bar and go try to attract a woman, or even with online dating or anything like that. This is just one little example. You could find a lot more examples like this.
You could find examples like this with nutrition. I find that science right now about nutrition is very, very poor. One of the challenges of nutrition is that there’s so many factors with nutrition and the nutrition research that’s being done now is, again, very focused on just isolating individual variables.
For example you might read a study that says omega 3’s are good for you. How do they find that out? They take some omega 3, maybe they feed it to rats, maybe they take omega 3 and they feed it to humans and they track those results and they see that certain markers in the blood are improved. Maybe cardiovascular risk goes down, stuff like that. In the end they’re only tracking a couple of factors and they’re not looking at how that omega 3, for example, is interacting with other stuff that you’re eating, other supplements that you’re taking, other things that you’re doing in your life. It’s very hard to say that this stuff is good or bad for you.
Certain studies are better than others, but what I find is that a lot of the nutrition advice that’s out there is just individual little islands within this giant sea of what’s potentially right and good. You kind of see little flashes of what’s right and good, or what’s wrong and bad. Right now the state of nutritional research I feel is very inadequate so it’s really hard to make proper nutrition decisions based on science.
Some studies will tell you that coffee is great. Some studies will tell you coffee is bad and it’s great for one thing, but it’s bad for another thing. Maybe coffee is good in isolation, or maybe it’s not good in isolation. Maybe it’s good if you take it with other things, but when you mix it with something else, some other type of food, all of a sudden it becomes bad.
How do you judge the quantity of it that you need? Also, you have to ask yourself, they’re doing this study on a large number of people, people are different. People process coffee in different ways. One person might process coffee and it might be healthy for them. Maybe another person processes that coffee differently because he has slightly different genetics and it might have a different effect.
Same thing with fats, same thing with meat, same thing with all the different potential vitamins and supplements you could be taking. It’s really a very grey area and right now I feel like we’re woefully inadequately informed about this kind of stuff just because it’s very hard to track thousands of variables that are going on in your system. You might be drinking coffee, maybe it’s improving some aspect of your performance, maybe it’s hurting other aspects of your performance that you can’t even track.
Maybe it’s going to give you cancer in twenty years. No study has been done to show whether it does or doesn’t because it’s really hard to run a study like that. Even if you do run a study like that, there’s so many different components and variables in that, so many different individual body types and genetic factors, environmental factors very difficult to track.
Go Out There And Experiment
The point here is that if you want results in your real everyday life, then what you’ve got to do is you’ve got to go out there and tinker and experiment around with this stuff. Don’t be too bought into one study. Just because a study proved something doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you in your life, doesn’t mean it is right. Once you take it out of the laboratory setting and you apply it to you, once you take it out of the general population setting, let’s say a study was done on ten thousand people and you apply it just to you you’re mileage may vary very significantly.
One thing I’ve been struggling with the last few years is acne. I’ll go to a dermatologist and I’ll pay this dermatologist a lot of money to help me figure out what’s going on with the acne, why am I having acne? One of the things I would ask the dermatologist is, “Could it be my diet? Could it be something that I’m eating that’s giving me this acne?”
If you go to a dermatologist the standard line is, “No. Studies have shown that there’s absolutely no correlation between diet and acne”. That’s what a dermatologist will tell you and then he’ll give you some medication. “Here, put this on. This might work for you.”
What I discovered through my own self-experimentation, by practicing elimination diet, which means I literally cut out everything but one or two types of food from my whole diet for a while and I see how it affects my performance and my acne, what I found for example is that dairy, cheese, milk, other dairy products have a huge impact on acne for me. I don’t know about other people. When you do a general study, I don’t know how they did this study, but if you do a general population study on a hundred thousand people let’s say or ten thousand people, then it might all come out as a wash.
If you do a big study like that, maybe diet doesn’t affect acne for every one of those people. Maybe it only does for a few but I only care about my acne. I honestly don’t care about other people’s acne. If I need a solution for my acne, what do I need, I need to experiment on myself to figure it out. Quite frankly I’m pretty pissed at these dermatologists for telling me these stupid ideas because it really threw me off track.
Now I’m very skeptical about these stupid rules of thumb that your doctor will give you, or that your therapist or psychologist will give you. A lot of them what they’re doing is they’re just swallowing whatever kind of information is being fed to them from I don’t know who. Universities or study or their doctors’ associations or even companies that have a vested interest in selling medication or a vested interest in selling certain types of products.
It’s really something you have to keep your eye on. Be skeptical about that kind of stuff. Don’t just swallow it wholesale because your doctor told you or because your therapist told you, or because your professor told you, or because it was published in this journal. That means very little.
What actually matters, does it work for you? Does it get you the results you want? Does it get you the money you want? Does it get you the health you want? Does it get you the relationship you want? Does it get you the feelings that you want?
You’ve got to remember that these doctors, these scientists, these researchers, they are human beings. They are under a lot of pressure. They are working in a bureaucracy, they’re working in companies so a lot of times they are doing studies that might be influenced by all sorts of stuff. Who knows what it’s influenced by?
Just because it comes out as a study, a year later there might be a study that shows the exact opposite effect. That also happens. You read about that kind of stuff. Don’t take a study as being some sort of conclusive proof and then telling yourself, if there is no study then it must not be worthwhile to try.
I’m willing to try anything that makes reasonable sense to me. I go out there, I want to try it and then I’ll see what kind of results it generates. That’s the kind of approach I want you to take. Don’t use this science stuff as an excuse, as an ego defense mechanism.
What I see really happening and this is the core of it, is that people will cling to science and to studies because either they have pet belief of theirs they want to entrench even deeper, that they want to protect, they have a habit that they’ve been running in their life that they want to protect, that hold near and dear. They can’t be objective with themselves. Really they don’t want to do the hard work to test themselves.
What About Bias?
I’ll tell a person, “Do you believe that affirmations work? Go try it for ninety days”. The person will say, “No, I need a double-blind study first.” Okay so you’re going to sit around and you’re going to waste your whole life not trying stuff because there are no conclusive, double-blind studies on this stuff? If you just go out there and actually tried in in your life you’ll see the results.
Some scientific person might say, “Leo you can’t be your own scientist. You’re biased because there’s a placebo effect. There’s also confirmation bias. There’s all these different biases we have as human beings so if we’re experimenting on ourselves, how can we trust ourselves?”
The fact is there’s biases in everything. There’s biases in the research system. There’s biases at your company that you’re working for if you’re a researcher. There’s biases at universities. There’s biases in governments.
All those biases still exist. You can’t avoid biases. When you’re experimenting on yourself, being your own scientist, you can certainly be your own scientist. It’s a very valid way to go because in the end who cares about your life? Who cares about how you feel in your life? Who cares about the results that are happening in your life? You do. Only you, nobody else.
If you’re doing this thing and it’s working for you, it’s making you feel good, it’s getting the results that you are happy with then that’s something that’s right for you. Is it a placebo effect? Maybe there is a placebo effect in there. Maybe you won’t know. Maybe you’ll get deceived.
This is a very dirty system. It’s not a clean system. We’re not doing mathematical proofs here. That’s not what life is, a mathematical proof. Mathematical proofs work in a very, very narrow context and life is a lot broader than that.
Think more holistically, more outside the box, more open minded. This is not to say that you should just be swallowing bullshit. I think there’s a lot of bullshit out there. A lot of bullshit with religion, a lot of bullshit with politics, a lot of bullshit out there with some of the new age stuff that’s out there about enlightenment, about meditation, about law of attraction, about positive thinking… there’s a lot of bullshit out there so you have to weed through.
There’s no one simple formula. You have to be wise, you have to be intelligent, you have to be very well read, you also have to be very practical about this stuff. Not just be building some philosophical systems in your mind about is law of attraction this way or is it that way? Go out and try it.
Look For Non-Traditional Sources
Be very pragmatic about the way that you do this stuff. Build your little pet theories if you want but the final arbiter is simply go out, try it and see if it gets you the final result that you want. Also, instead of listening to PhDs and to researchers and to Harvard studies, try learning more from the people who actually got the result that you want.
A lot of times these people are not traditionally credible people. They’re not researchers, they’re not academics, they’re not Nobel Prize winners. They are just everyday people who get amazing results.
For example when I wanted to learn how to attract women, I didn’t go to science books. I went to guys who have fucked lots of hot women. Hundreds of them. I literally tried to find the best guys in the world. I tried to buy their information products, studied from them, I tried to meet them face to face, I paid them to coach me, to teach me in field, I observed them actually picking up girls at the club.
I observed this with my own eyes because I didn’t believe it I had to see it. Sometimes I saw things that were incredible to me. What I did is I went out and tried the opposite of that because in no way does that work. I tried the exact opposite of that and I failed. I tried again and I failed.
I tried again and I failed and I said maybe this works. Maybe what he did is actually true. I can’t believe it but I’ll try it. I tried it and then it works amazing.
You’ll find this with dating advice, you’ll find this with business advice too. If you want to get really good at business one of the things you can do is go out there, find a guy who’s really good at business. Find a guy who’s good at what you want to be good at and then study him. Ask him questions.
See if he can be your mentor. See if he can teach you. You’ll learn so much more and that will advance your career and your business so much more than if you just read even twenty business books, or twenty business studies or even if you get a whole MBA. That one person could teach you more than a whole couple of years of MBA work will teach you. Don’t dismiss that kind of stuff.
Somebody who’s good at business might not even have a college degree. You know why? Because business people are intuitive. To be successful at business you have to be wise. You have to put a lot of pieces of the puzzle into place in your mind.
There are people who are really good at that. They have this intuitive understanding of business but they don’t have that kind of book smarts or they don’t have the kind of proofs or theories or the kind of rigorous research that you might expect from some sort of business school, but that doesn’t mean that their information is any less valuable. In fact it might be a lot more valuable and it will cut a lot of that theoretical bullshit out. In academia there’s is quite frankly a lot of theoretical bullshit that doesn’t translate into the real world and it’s just not important in the real world.
A lot of it might even been true but it’s simply a low priority and it might not need to be on your radar at all because there’s other stuff that’s much more important that you really should be focusing on. In the end what I want to end on here is the fact that you can learn very accurate rules of thumb for how to create amazing results in life but I don’t think you can do that through the traditional scientific model.
We’ll use the scientific model when it helps us, but generally as we’re doing personal development we’re kind of going rogue. That’s what I love about it. It’s very real and you can do it yourself. You can be your own scientist. It’s exciting to do this kind of stuff because you have so much power.
It feels good to be tinkering with this stuff and putting it together because you can get amazing results in business, you can get amazing results in relationships, in health, in meditation, in managing your mood. You can get amazing results there and you can actually learn very accurate, almost scientific-like principles and laws about how to be good and get amazing results in all these different areas, but you’re not going to get them in text books. You’re going to learn them in the real world.
All right, this is Leo, I’m going to be signing off. This is what I have to say about how to not use science as an ego defense mechanism. Go ahead, post me your comments down below. I’d love to hear what you think.
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