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Asking For It, Buteyko Breathing, & Imagined Troubles

By: Michael Blankenship |

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.

– Richard P. Feyman

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we’re discussing why you should ask more often for what you want, how you can use the Buteyko breathing technique to mitigate asthma and anxiety (and improve sleep), and why imagined problems aren’t worth suffering for. 

Enjoy!

Asking

How often do you ask for what you want? 

Maybe it’s a promotion. Maybe it’s advice. Maybe it’s a connection or introduction. Maybe it’s something that would help you achieve your goals. 

Do you ask for it? 

Or do you assume that asking is futile — that it’ll result in rejection and embarrassment? 

In 1994, The Santa Clara Valley Historical Association conducted an interview with Steve Jobs. In it, he explained why he believes that asking other people for help is a big part of success. 

Here’s the full clip

And here’s an excerpt from that clip:

“I’ve never found anybody who didn’t wanna help me if I asked them for help… I’ve never found anyone who said ‘No’ or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked…

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask. And that’s what separates, sometimes, the people that do things from the people that just dream about them. You’ve got to act. And you’ve gotta be willing to fail. You’ve gotta be willing to crash and burn… if you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”

Buteyko Breathing

Have asthma? Struggle with anxiety or insomnia? 

Then you might want to add the Buteyko breathing technique, created by Ukrainian doctor, Konstantin Buteyko, to your daily routine. 

According to Healthline, “The benefits of Buteyko breathing include enhanced breath control, which helps to prevent breathlessness and promote proper breathing patterns. It’s used to manage and improve a variety of conditions, including asthma, anxiety, and sleep concerns.”

Here’s how it works: 

Preparation

  1. Sit on the floor or on a chair.
  2. Elongate your spine to maintain an upright posture.
  3. Relax your respiration muscles.
  4. Breathe normally for a few minutes.

The Control Pause

  1. After a relaxed exhale, hold your breath.
  2. Use your index finger and thumb to plug your nose.
  3. Retain your breath until you feel the urge to breathe, which may include an involuntary movement of your diaphragm, and then inhale.
  4. Breathe normally for at least 10 seconds.
  5. Repeat several times.

The Maximum Pause

  1. After a relaxed exhale, hold your breath.
  2. Use your index finger and thumb to plug your nose.
  3. Retain your breath for as long as possible, which is usually twice the length of time of the Control Pause.
  4. Once you’ve reached the point of moderate discomfort, inhale.
  5. Breathe normally for at least 10 seconds.
  6. Repeat several times.

For maximum benefit, most professionals recommend 15-20 minutes of this breathing technique per day. Check out this Healthline guide for more details.

Imagined Troubles

Seneca once wrote, “We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow. We suffer more from imagination than from reality.”

How many of the troubles you face are a product of your imagination? 

We’re talking about the things that cause you anxiety, stress, depression, or other sorts of mental discomfort. 

If you think about it, you’ll find that many of your troubles don’t exist in reality — they are nothing more than ephemeral possibilities.

You imagine getting fired from your job. But you haven’t actually gotten fired. 

You imagine losing someone you love. But you haven’t actually lost them. 

You imagine things going wrong. But they haven’t actually gone wrong. 

And so you suffer. 

But why suffer things that haven’t happened? Moreover, why suffer things that might never happen?

As Mark Twain famously said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

Hear hear. 

There will be a time to mourn loved ones, a time to handle life’s changes and challenges.

But save the struggle for the challenge. 

Extra Stuff

Here is some other random stuff we found interesting this last week!

Books We’re Reading

Here’s what the tribe is currently reading (let us know books you’re loving and we’ll include them in future emails!)…. 

This Week’s Photo

A performer onstage wearing a large, spiky headpiece made of plastic
Sergione Infuso / Corbis via Getty

“Skin, of Skunk Anansie, performs at Alcatraz in Milan, Italy, on May 14, 2022.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

The more you take, the more you leave behind. What are they?

This Week’s Question

Answer this question — either privately or by replying to this email. If your answer inspires us, then we’ll ask for permission to include it in a future email!

Why are people afraid to ask for what they want? Why is that an important fear to overcome? 

This Week’s Challenge

When was the last time you asked for what you wanted? Asking other people for help is an important skill set. The more we ask and the better we ask, the more positive responses we’re going to get. This week, think about something that you want (or wait for the right opportunity) — then ask for it unapologetically. It’s not rude to ask someone for something. And they can say “No”. So ask. 

Until next week, 

Mike & Alec

Riddle Answer: Footsteps

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