Something I've struggled with for a long time is the fact that there are so many options available to us in our modern lives that it feels impossible to accomplish them all. How can we have it all? Be in awesome shape, have amazing relationships, do well financially, be of service to others...the list goes on.
If you're starting from a position of 'have not' in one, most, or all of the core areas of life (intellectual, spiritual, psychological, social, professional, recreational), then figuring out how to get to god mode can look a little bit like this:
If you're not familiar with this imagery, it's Sisyphus, the Greek dude who was doomed to roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down. He then started the process all over again. Sounds pretty miserable, right?
Trying to become a god in all areas of your life can feel a lot like endlessly pushing a boulder up a hill...if you keep failing. Because the truth is, you're always pushing a boulder up a hill. There is always something else to accomplish, more room to grow, and more potential to be explored.
So the question is not so much if you'll ever stop pushing the boulder, but what boulder you'll stop pushing.
Mark Manson, an awesome writer that I absolutely love, wrote this about our innate desire to have it all:
But what if the answer isn’t to do more? What if the answer is to want less? What if the solution is simply accepting our bounded potential, our unfortunate tendency as humans to inhabit only one place in space and time. What if we recognize our life’s inevitable limitations and then prioritize what we care about based on those limitations?
I think he hits the nail half on the head here. I don't agree that we need to want less, but I do agree that most of us have this belief that we'll somehow be able to accomplish all of our goals and aspirations without a problem, all at the same time.
Maybe you haven't ever thought of it that way, but there's a good chance that you haven't examined the way you're approaching your quest to become a god in all areas of your life.
"But what about the people who seem to have it all? Their business is booming, they're in great shape, their social circle is huge...how is it even possible?"
Yes, these people exist. Yes, you can get there too.
The thing about people that seem to have it all, or have entered god mode, is that you see the end product, the diamond after it's been mined, cut, and polished. You don't see the struggle, nor do you see exactly how they got there.
If you had a question to ask them, you might come up with something like:
"How do you find the time to fit it all in?"
"How did you get to where you are today?"
These are OK questions, but if you ask an OK question you're going to get an OK answer. And an OK answer isn't going to help you become a god at everything, is it?
In observing people I look up to and being fortunate enough to be friends with a few amazing people, I've studied this quite a bit. There are so many things that the gods of life have in common, but one thing in particular seems to go unnoticed by many people.
People who have it didn't improve their position in all areas of their lives at the same time.
What they did is figure out what area of their lives would provide the best leverage overall if it was improved, and relentlessly focus on that. You can think of this as shoring up the weak legs of your life to the point where they at least match the other areas of your life.
After you've achieved great growth in ONE area, the returns on further improvement start to diminish. Achieve that six pack and you may stop caring so much about how much fitter you can get, for example.
At this point you can put fitness into into maintenance mode.
Then you move on to the next high-leverage area until it returns start to diminish, and the cycle continues.
Keep doing this and eventually you become the type of person you once looked up to.
When I think of immersion mode, my mind immediately jumps to my experience playing poker. As a kid that grew up playing video games, sports, and skateboarding, poker was the distillation of what made all of those activities fun injected into my veins at 800 hands an hour. It was incredibly addictive and had a high skill cap. And if you were good...it paid you money. Lots of money.
I entered immersion mode in poker without being aware of the concept. It was that engrossing, that captivating to me. I would sit in coffee shops figuring out the equity calculations for certain hand ranges, or quite literally dream of different scenarios and what the best play was for each of them.
As a result, I got pretty damn good at poker. No I wasn't quite at god-tier level like some of my friends earning millions, but I did a lot better than any job I could have gotten out of college.
What Immersion Mode Looks Like
Let's imagine you've decided that health and fitness is your highest leverage area. You've decided you want to reach god-tier at fitness.
What does this actually look like on a day to day basis?
It means you make your primary focus your health from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to sleep. That might mean that you are bulk-cooking your meals in pre-planned amounts that perfectly fit the macronutrient ratios you're trying to hit, going to the gym every day and doing some supplemental exercise outside of the gym as well.
You're reading books about health, educating yourself on proper weightlifting form, and maybe grabbing a mentor to help you get to the next level physically and mentally.
Does this sound like a lot? It is. And that's the way it's supposed to be in immersion mode.
You're supposed to have friends comment that you're getting a 'little too crazy' about fitness. You're supposed to have to say no to going out for drinks a few extra times, or make 'weird' orders when out to eat.
Immersion mode puts one thing at the forefront and relentlessly focuses on it. Other areas of your life are put into maintenance mode, which is covered next.
In my poker career I got to a point where my drive for the game started to wane and I was more interested in making steady money while focusing on other areas of my life.
I started to shift my hours from studying, talking about, and playing poker to just playing poker. My earnings suffered a little bit, but that's the nature of putting something into maintenance mode. It's going to degrade a little bit, but not so much that you lose all progress.
This is where most people go wrong. They get to a certain level then completely drop their effort level, causing them to see saw from mastery in one area of their life to another, never able to keep more than 1-2 things at peak levels at a time.
What Maintenance Mode Looks Like
In keeping with the fitness analogy, once you've decided to immerse yourself in another area of life, how do you not lose your gains in health?
You might drop your diet down to 70-80% adherence instead of 100% perfection in maintenance mode. You could drop your workouts to a few times a week instead of going as hard as your body will allow.
Hopefully this piece helps shine some light on how people we view the gods of life manage to do what they do when so many other people struggle.