How to Escape Six-Out-of-Ten-Life.
I’m not in the habit of collecting enemies but if I did want to torture someone I wouldn’t trick them into a one, two or three-out-of-ten lifestyle.
I’d trick them into a Six-Out-of-Ten-Life
When life is rated one or two, it’s so painful or horrible that you will not put up with it for long. You’ll make a change, move into another lane, another job, and avoid.
But what do you do when the needle hovers somewhere near, or just above the middle? It’s that awkward spot where you ask, is this it? Is it worth aiming higher? Is it possible to be better, or is this what life is?
It’s where you don’t love life, you don’t hate it, but you just put up with it.
My Experience with Six-Out-of-Ten-Life
The concept of ‘six-out-of-ten-life’ comes from Doohat Labs’ Project One, and the book I co-authored on advice for our eighteen-year-old-selves.
In it I described my lifestyle at the time I went to university. When I was caught spending my time doing things I was far from passionate about.
A day in a Six-Out-of-Ten-Life
Wake-up. Check Train Times. Biggest decision of the day, take the long train and get a seat, or the short train and stand?
Walk to class. Weave around all the other zombies. Sit in lethargic lecture, watching the clock, wishing it would run faster. Why won’t it run faster?
Sit in the next class. Watch the clock even more. Pretend to care about the discussion.
Train home. Bored. Look forward to doing an even more boring assignment when I get home.
It’s that life when all you want is more free time, but you don’t know what you want to do with the free time when it comes.
It’s that bare minimum approach – what’s the least amount of work I can do to pay for drinking? What’s the least amount of time I can be at uni so I can have more free time?
But when it was me, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my free time. I think the activity I did most often was delay my dream.
I’m going to start becoming a world-class filmmaker tomorrow… today I can play another five hours of FIFA.
Still unsure if you’re in six-out-of-ten-life or not? Viktor Frankl, who wrote the very famous book Man’s Search For Meaning has something useful for you called ‘Sunday Neurosis’. If you feel Sunday Neurosis, I’m sure you’re caught in six-out-of-ten-life.
It’s that feeling you get on Sunday of angst, of irritation, of emptiness, of dreading the week ahead.
TGIF – Thank God It’s Friday
The same people are incredibly excited for Friday and the knock-off from work, the release of the weekend. In the West ‘Friday drinks’ are an over-compensation for six-out-of-ten-life. If this is the highlight of your week, it might be a sign.
The over-excitement for Friday knock-off and confusing lull and low of Sunday Neurosis is a sign of what’s in between being very disappointing.
Is seven, eight, nine or ten even possible?
That’s the question isn’t it? The short answer is, yes it is. Because not everyone is super excited on Friday evening and low on Sunday evening. Fortunately or unfortunately.
Fortunately because, yes it can get better.
Unfortunately because ah-ha, now we’ve got work to do. And people so often choose unhappiness over the unknown, and resist change. They don’t want to do the work.
I escaped Six-Out-of-Ten-Life through the Thousand Doors
Credit goes to the Thousand Doors System for rescuing me from six-out-of-ten-life.
One moment I was at war with my university over Honours admission, the next I was co-running a little startup nonprofit. That set me on a different path where new and exciting journeys and learning opened up.
As I’ve written about that journey in detail I won’t need to unpack it here. But the premise is, to get more clarity on how I should be spending my time, I had to go through the most random experiences, through a series of very random ‘doors’.
I randomly became involved in a nonprofit working in Nepal.
That helped me get into my first purely business project which was a real estate company, and next I made more time to fit in writing, blogging, podcasting and Doohat Labs.
The things I’ve learnt through the past years could only have come accidentally. I could not have planned to discover these things, because I did not know they existed.
There are no courses on campus or online that teach Joe’s self-discovery journey.
These lessons were hidden in the unknown, behind closed doors, and I had to open those doors not knowing what I would find on the other side.
But as is the case with the Thousand Doors System, one door is never just one door. It is the First Door of a Thousand. Because if you play the Thousand Doors game right, each time you open a door you will enter a room with more doors, and so on and so on until you have unlocked your Thousand Doors Journey.
What have I learned by opening doors?
I’ve learned that I need to constantly feel connected to new people. That I need newness and variety constantly in my life. I’ve learnt that connection, not money, status, or a high profile, is my priority.
I’ve also learnt that I need to trust and listen to myself before anyone else. Anyone else. The idea of trusting and listening to yourself seems cliche doesn’t it? But the phrase carries meaning when you’ve made real mistakes.
I’ve learnt that the most important thing is having the people.
Socially and romantically, in business and in pleasure. So no matter what project or new interest I’m exploring, connecting with and having the people always has to be built into the design.
I’ve also discovered many of the frameworks I’ve written about on this site, frameworks that make life better without life having to change in any material way. (For an example, refer to the Minimum Viable Lifestyle.)
Enough about me, what about you?
Every tool on this site is intended to enable your Thousand Doors Journey, to catapult you into the nine or ten life that is possible. But for now we’ll kick things off with two different five-year questions.
Question 1 – What is your five year plan?
Asking this question doesn’t mean that it is good or bad to have a five year plan. My five year plan is dominated by intangible goals, things like feeling a sense of connection, having made an impact with business and writing by opening doors for others, by taking strides towards Gillage.
Asking this question gets you thinking about where you’re headed, where you want to head, and how clear your idea of the life you want is. Without clarity on where you want to go, it is hard to open doors.
If my goal were to take a trip to America, that would not be clear. Do I want to go to South America or North America? New York or Buenos Aires? They are so different that getting to America is not a clear or useful goal. If I hold an unclear goal, I will likely head nowhere!
Question 2 – If you found out you had five years to live, how would you live differently?
Not five weeks or five months, as that would be too short-term to think about your life more intentionally. But what about five years, when you have time to make a serious mark or contribution, as well as prioritise what’s important?
The Problem With Six-Out-of-Ten-Life Is OPPORTUNITY COST
Opportunity Costs are the doors you pass up, the pain you don’t tangibly feel. No prick of a nail or stubbing of a toe. The only pain that comes from opportunity cost is regret, of thinking about what could have been.
This pain only comes from looking back. But it’s the only pain that’s real enough to push you out of Six-Out-of-Ten-Life apart from a ‘car-crash moment’. And let’s face it, the last thing you want to do is jump in front of a car.
Rather, thinking about your death and hypothetically moving it forward sounds negative but has advantages. If you only have five years to live, you won’t settle for a six-out-of-ten. And, you’ll have a healthier five-year plan.
The best part of plans is when you break them!
It is better to know where you want to head, but take interesting turns off the route as you go. When you have a clear destination in mind, it gives you something worthwhile to beat and compete with when you make a decision.
For example, if you’re headed to McDonalds for a burger, it makes sense to stop and change plans if you see a better restaurant on your way!
Maybe your plans are six-out-of-ten plans right now. So hold your plans loosely.
The power of the Thousand Doors System is that you will not even be able to see or understand your potential when you set out. Think of that. You can’t even imagine your potential because you haven’t learnt it yet.
Do you think Mark Zuckerberg truly understood what Facebook would become when he set out? Do you think Christopher Columbus realised he would discover a whole continent, when no one truly knew it existed yet?
So you can’t make amazing linear plans.
That is, you can’t plan out each step so specifically, just like I couldn’t plan to go from studying psychology to working in nonprofits and real estate.
So have your six-out-of-ten plans, but hold them loosely. Now look up and figure out how you can protect the downside and risk whilst opening the doors that compete with those plans, that will eventually give you a reason to change them.
At Doohat Labs, we try to fit the First Door in people’s already busy lifestyles. How are you going to do that for yourself or others?