49 Comments

I hate that I didn’t write this, but I’m incredibly grateful you did. 🙏🏼 Thank you!

Expand full comment

touche!

Expand full comment

““Hmm, I dunno, do you have any solutions that involve me doing everything 100% exactly like I'm doing it right now, and getting better outcomes?””

Most insightful sentence of 2024 right here, and it’s only been 2 days

Expand full comment

I believe it was Einstein who said something like, "foolishness is doing the same things over and expecting different outcomes" 🙂

Expand full comment

Thank you for drawing me a map of my brain. I don’t know how to de-bog myself, but I’m grateful for the new vocabulary. Maybe it will help.

Expand full comment

I have a very irritating and wonderful friend who, if I tell her some problem I'm experiencing, will insist on helping me solve it. It'll be like

Me: I can't get this work done.

Her: Why not?

Me: It's impossible

Her: What's impossible about it?

Me: I don't even know how to use this program

Her: So could you look up how to use it?

Me: You just don't GET IT, it's IMPOSSIBLE

And then I do the stupid thing. What's nice is that I've known this annoying and delightful person for about 10 years now, so I don't even have to have the conversation anymore. I can just think, "What would Christine tell me to do?" In fact I put it (WWCTMTD) on one of those silly plastic bracelets that people used to put things like Livestrong on. (I only wear it very occasionally; I'm not a maniac.)

Expand full comment

The funny thing is when I try this with my wife I get yelled at for trying to solve the problem instead of just listening and empathizing.

Expand full comment

That can be one way people stick themselves in the bog, and maybe your wife is doing that. But also maybe not.

Sometimes people just have to vent a little before they get on with whatever needs doing, and that venting *counts as solving the problem* because the problem was needing to blow off steam for a minute - possibly about an issue that has no better solutions for the moment, or possibly just because that's a sometime human psychological need. The dichotomy between venting and problem-solving is not absolute.

My partner and I had a talk about this and agreed to ask each other, in case of confusion, "Are we venting or solving?" And - this is important - we understand that both of those answers can be valid, depending on the situation, and sometimes it's "either" or "both".

Expand full comment

Oh, I want to yell at my friend too sometimes, I just don't. The barriers are lower with a partner unfortunately!

Expand full comment

I don’t have much to say beyond "I really really like your stuff, Adam", but, hey, that’s still something worth saying, right? You’re an awesome writer, as well as being a very insightful blogger. And this post will go straight to my "very useful mental health resources" folder, along with what you wrote on poisoned skulls (which, incidentally, came out while I was recovering from a depression, and has helped me a lot).

Expand full comment

I wish I could have just hauled around the 3x5 card versions of each of these and handed them out as needed over the course of the New Year's party conversations.

Expand full comment

Other thought -- I often find that people who experience serious tragedy (like Yagamuchi who you refer to) but have solid support systems tend to have a much better outlook on life than those who are very privileged, like the well-off people you mentioned who think cake is impossible.

I was in a near-fatal car accident 3 years ago, and despite the horror of it all and the agonizing recovery, I was fairly bog-free. I was just happy to be alive. Just this past year I’ve slipped back into bog, feeling stuck at work, stuck with body limitations, getting more anxious, etc. I think it’s really easy to forget the lessons of that kind of thing when faced with the drudgery of work, or whatever tries to drag you into the bog.

If anyone has any ideas on how to remember those lessons, lmk I’m all ears. I want out of bog 😤

Expand full comment

Hi Ari-- I was in a very serious accident 2 years ago and I can relate to what you describe: it changed my life in profound and positive ways. Or rather, it motivated me to change my life in those ways. I’m still much less bogged than I was before, though it creeps in. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a reminder of what happened. I imagine it’s similar for you. When I start to feel bogged, I go back to that feeling of being grateful to just be alive and it gives me the energy to do a new thing; one of the things I couldn’t do if I’d died.

Expand full comment

Yes!! I really relate to this, and yes I very much am reminded of it every day. I love your practice of focusing on the idea that doing new things is even possible, that’s the good energy I’ve been having a difficult time tapping into recently ❤️ I’ll try to keep that in mind. It’s such a gift, in a weird way, but a difficult one to hold onto. Much solidarity to you in your recovery, thank you so much for sharing 💕 It’s nice to talk to someone who knows

Expand full comment

I think you are suffering from terribly low self esteem, or you simply haven't caught up to 21st century research, as in:

How do I know that Big Pharma has planted tracking chips in the vaccine? I've done the research.

How do I know that vaccines cause autism? I've done the research.

How do I know that RFK Jr. is right in his claim that all we need to detail with climate change is let the markets take over? I've done the research.

How do I know that a certain group of businessmen have used lasers to create the wildfires out west? I've done the research.

See, it's easy. You can teach pilots to fly if you've done the research.

There's so many things the internet has to teach us. On a slightly different note, consider all the

neurosurgeons who felt genuine relief when surgeon Ben Carson ran his specularly inept presidential campaign. For so many years people had been saying, "You know, it [whatever 'it' might be] is not brain science," putting pressure on these brain scientists to show they knew everything.

Now, when people say, "You're a brain scientist, how can you not understand this?" they just point to Carson!

See. Well, you can thank me for giving you the key to genius. Just do the research, and trust the internet. All of it. Even Adam Mastroianni's blog!

Expand full comment

You absolutely went off on the floor is lava section. When I first started running in the morning, I refused to make oatmeal, despite it being super convenient to make and making me have so much more stamina on runs. I'd say that I was "morally against oatmeal" as a joke, and also that my mother spoiled me with the most delicious breakfasts, and I could never change, and lower my standards to such a mediocre tasting breakfast. Other people didn't have this problem because they were lucky to not have my mother making delicious food, they didn't know what they were missing out on in life.

This literally went on for like half a year before I realized I was just being dramatic and really needed the energy, and started eating oatmeal for breakfast 😭

Expand full comment

Great article

Expand full comment

A great article. I'll hopefully get out this year.

Expand full comment

This was fantastic !!!! I feel myself elevating out of the bog now !!! Sharing

Expand full comment

A lot of the self productivity systems are bog-generators. I recently tried to adopt Getting Things Done, and I feel that it has added stress more than anything else to my life. It forces me into Obsessing over tiny predictors, or into The floor is lava.

But on the other hand, I did adopt GTD because I needed to change my approach to my PhD project, and I managed to solve some problems with GTD, and generate others. Perhaps it is a bog-converter, turning one bog into another.

Expand full comment

Adopting a recipe like Getting things done builds on assumption that somebody else has identified my exact problem and created precise solution for it. Adopting the recipe invites gutterballing.

Expand full comment

This was as hilarious as it was insightful. Great read :)

Expand full comment

I liked this. We're it not for your prior individual insights on how people process advice, I might actually send it to a few people!

Expand full comment

Excellent! I'm forwarding this to a couple of people (and maybe more).

Expand full comment