All About You: Theory vs. Application

Ever wanted to start something but couldn’t focus?

Stupid, Simple
May 7 · 5 min read

There are two parts to becoming good at anything:

  1. Theory aka Understanding it
  2. Application aka Doing it
  • In a video game, you can’t get to Level 2 until you know the basics they teach in Level 1 i.e. How things work, What the rules are, and What your goal is
  • When you get stuck, you have to understand the new rules and what’s changed
  • Being successful at something is just knowing enough to be able to do it, improving yourself, and repeating it
  • That includes being an expert on You

Ever wanted to do something but wasn’t able to focus on getting started? Maybe you’ve been considering starting a blog or Instagram page lately.

You’re not alone.

You think about what you want to do, and what type of things you’d want to post, but when you’re in front of your laptop it’s less than than 3 minutes of planning before your mind drifts to what’s new on Netflix. And then the cycle starts again. You know you want to watch something, but you can’t find exactly what you’re in the mood for, you indulge in 10 more minutes of scrolling. All in all, it’s 13 minutes you could be spending on actually planning and working on something you’d love, but ultimately result in re-watching Season 4 Frasier.

“The rate of change of progress is mind shattering” — Everyone, in their heads

It is easier and faster to do things now than we can really comprehend. Within the past decade the rate of change in our day to day lives has been kind of unreal: feature phones to smart phones; portable TVs to Netflix on mobile; wired headphones to AirPods. Uber. Instacart. Amazon Prime. Activities that we previously spent hours a week doing now just take a few minutes. The decisions required and options available make what to do with your free time a much more difficult decision than it used to be. It’s getting complex, and I realized I just want an easier way to think about myself and how I think and want.

Life’s getting weird

“I’m not looking for self help” — Everyone, at some point

You may think: “I want to do something, but can’t get myself to do it — I don’t have as much self control as I’d like.”

This isn’t a self-help post to tell you how to improve your life in 3 easy steps.

There’s an ample amount and diversity of books, posts and content about that already.

This is to help You build some theory about yourself.

That’s it.

Application vs. Theory

Do you do yoga? Run? Spin class? Why do you do it? Some part of it is to look better and impress people by making them look at you in a better light — but why do you continue to do it? I found that once I achieve something I keep going, and end up adjusting my goals to motivate myself to continue.

Because it feels to achieve your goals.
It helps tremendously to be able to focus your attention.
With exercise it helps to focus and direct your mind on what I want.
With enough self control, I can do what I mean to do when I mean to do it.

We use a lot of different ways to help ourselves and feel good that we find personal connections with. Sometimes it’s to cure boredom, and other times it’s to stop from feeling alone and empty inside. Sometimes it’s to get fit, other times it’s to feel like there’s something to do with your day. Like looking to apply a fix for a problem you have a vague idea about. So you have an idea of what you want to feel, but maybe not the best way to get there.

In normal education we learn before we do. You can’t construct a 3D image pyramid unless you know about the angles and sides required to make one. You can’t mix and create new shades and colors unless you know what the names of the colors are. You can’t play a video on Netflix unless you know what the start, stop, play and search buttons mean.You can’t win a game unless you know the rules and factors.
No one can become an expert in doing something unless they know how to think about it.

But that’s different with learning how to think. With thinking, you learn the application long before you know the rules or theory. From the first moments of your life, you’re a seeing, thinking, feeling person, long before anyone explains how you’re supposed to think or manage yourself.

It’s all learning on the job.

The Expert on You

The only person who can get in your head and understand how you look at reality is You.

Reading, TV, philosophy, therapy, spin class, working out, routine can all help provide tools to help you answer questions: How do you predict how you’ll think? How you’ll react to events? How to best explain yourself to others? These tools can help you think about big ideas. But it usually takes a while before you use that focus on yourself and not just try to understand the theory of life, but also the theory of you.

You think about yourself.

Theory of You

Narcissism or not, it’s appealing to think about yourself. Every self-oriented anxious, depressed, self-obsessed thought is born out of your desire to understand and manage yourself better.

I am the expert on me the same way you’re the expert on you. (And I hope Nic Cage is the expert on himself, because someone has to explain his movie choices lately.)
Thinking about yourself is a natural and enticing thought.
We get frustrated because things surprise us but if you’re prepared then you’re good.
But not just prepared for what’s outside.
But prepared for your self and how you/it would react to things you’re doing.

Step one is always self control — because if You can control your self you can choose what to think and focus on, instead of getting distracted and bored when you don’t need to.

Think about it as a number line — on the right side is more self-control, the left is less.

We’ll talk more about that soon.

For more posts on improving yourself, overcoming boredom and laziness, visit

It should be Stupid, Simple to be yourself

    Stupid, Simple

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    It’s Stupid, Simple to improve yourself. Everything is a story. Opinions are my own, onions are not.

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