Wedges and Webs

Tananarive boggles me, really. She just does what she does, and it can often look like nothing is happening, and then BANG, everyone from Entertainment Weekly and TMZ and BET are talking about her UCLA class, and opportunities are coming from unexpected directions.   Powerful.    Unpredictable.   It fits into the M.A.G.I.C. formula, but because its coming from my peripheral vision, it just stuns me.  I think there is a primary difference between “male” and “female” energies in this sense, and I talked to her about “wedges” and “webs” this morning.  I need to think about this more, but there may be something important.


The “RPM” “Rapid Planning Method” also calls itself a “Results focused, Purpose driven, Massive Action plan”.    And it is in the “Five Minute Life Hacks” system because I think we can produce an adult version of the “Five Minute Achievement Plan” for students.


What can I see happening in that program for Jason?



This morning, he woke up early, took his shower,and got dressed. All perfection. Then…he “crashed” just before we were starting our Five Minute ritual at 8:00.  Why? I don’t know, but it is reasonable to assume that he is dealing with massive fear, inertia, doubt.   And this isn’t even factoring the reality that some days you just regress.


It is simply impossible to progress toward a life-changing goal in a straight line.  There are ALWAYS set-backs.


But what I had to do was keep my own fear (for his future, for his “flaunting my authority”) and keep my voice mild, my expression pleasant, my words loving even as he curled up on the couch and refused to come to the table.    Fear. Fatigue.  Confusion.


If he had defined himself partially as someone with behaviors and capacities “X” (bad student, independent and blasé), and I am asking him to be “Y” (open, honest, good student, trusting) there will be chaos. Fear.   He KNOWS who he is now. But…who is this other person? And if he starts to care, and fails, won’t that hurt more?


I see the precise same thing with any number of other human issues: poverty, ignorance, obesity, loneliness, personal safety, and more.   “If I take personal responsibility, won’t it just hurt more if I fail?”


Yeah, it will. But if you DON’T  care you are 100% certain to fail.  Your only hope is to take action, and for that, you have to have more POSITVE emotions associated with action than NEGATIVE emotions.  Otherwise you won’t act.


You have to have…faith.


CHALLENGE: To be a good student.

CONFLICT: He looks at his past, and it says he is not.

ACCEPTANCE:  He is presented with a challenge: for five minutes a day, to have hope. To trust.

THE ROAD OF TRIALS: Five days a week, he spends this five minutes.

ALLIES AND POWERS: His own intelligence and energy. His parents. Teachers.  Any co-students with ambition and clarity.

CONFRONT EVIL-FAIL: Bad test results reinforce the negative self-image.  He falls back on “I need to do it my way!” even if “my way” doesn’t work, because anything else is mysterious and dangerous.

DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL: Curling up on the couch.  Not wanting to face the negative test.

LEAP OF FAITH: Loving parents gently encourage him to spend just five minutes looking at the test.

CONFRONT EVIL-SUCCEED: He needed to split his attention between an Iphone  game and the morning work, but came to see that he had made a consistent mistake, and once identified, he could solve any of the problems.

STUDENT BECOMES THE TEACHER:  He MUST become his own teacher.  One day, he will be able to teach others. But right now, the development of “executive function”, things like syntax, and emotional control, and realistic expectations.


This will take many, many repetitions of the basic program.    I’d say that he shouldn’t expect any visible change for 6 weeks, any real change for 100 days, or any lasting imprinted results for a year.   So WE have to be the “Executive Function” for him. We have to have the faith that he don’t have.


And that, of course, is assuming that we’re on the right track. If not, we’ll try something else, and then something else, and then something else…until we succeed.


His greatest danger, then, is EXCESSIVE OPTIMISM.  Such that when something goes wrong (bad test results) he then crashes into despair.  This is EXACTLY like the obese, or poor, or lonely person who tries a “quick fix” for a lifelong problem.  “I TRIED a diet.  It didn’t work!”  “I TRIED to get a job/save money.  It didn’t work.”  “I TRIED a date.  It didn’t work!”


All of these issues yield to slow, careful movement over time. But the part of you that doesn’t want to change will trick you: you can lose because you have NO faith, or because you are OVERLY OPTIMISTIC, setting yourself up for failure, which then “proves” that you can’t do it…


Man, our egos are sneaky.


The point of the “101 Five Minute Life Hacks” is to take very simple steps like the “Five Minute Achievement Check”, and “The Five Minute Miracle” and “A sentence a day” and “The Ancient Child” and say…wait a #$%% minute.  Can it really be boiled down that far?  What if it can?


What is the shortest period that might actually help?    I say…a week.  6-7 days.  Thirty minutes minimum.    If I’m right (and I’m betting I am, based on ten years of research) then anyone who is willing to trust me for just 30 minutes CAN LEARN FOR THEMSELVES if I’m bluffing.


And if I’m not…if the hundreds of people who have tried this approach are correct…then all that has happened is that fifty years of research has finally opened a new door.  I can’t push you through it.


With Jason, I need to take all the love, all the trust, all the faith that he has and get him to give me just five minutes every morning.  He WILL backslide. It is inevitable. But I believe in him.


As I believe in you.  In US. That there really are small secrets and investments of time that can make massive differences.


Can you spend just thirty minutes to find out if I’m for real?  Pretty please?   I’ve made the first step as easy as I can: A free seven-day version of the 101 day program.   Free, guys.



The next step is yours.






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