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Alchemy For Life

Author Mark Bradford

Welcome to the Time, Energy, and Resources Coaching and Podcast! Our coaching style and podcast are all about helping you make the most of your time, energy, and resources so you can achieve your goals and live a more fulfilling life. Whether you’re looking to improve your productivity, reduce stress, or simply make better use of your time, we have the tools and strategies you need to get started. Join us on this journey and discover how to take control of your time, energy, and resources and unlock your full potential.

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Scott Adams

Alchemy For Life


12/01/19 • 59 min

Scott Adams is often introduced as “the creator of Dilbert.” Indeed he is, however he has done so much more. His latest creation is the best-selling book, LoserThink: How Untrained Brains are Ruining America. Like his other books, it focuses on persuasion, success and strategies about success.

Join us for a great, cordial, in-depth discussion on elements in the book as well as his daily Periscope, his dynamic twitter and his other books too.

Scott offers that anyone who owns the book has his permission to take a photo of one of the pages and send it to someone who is having a disagreement. It carries more weight and is not a personal attack, he explains. I have been following Scott Adams for some time, and have also read most of his books.


We talk about not only his newest book, but previous books such as the non-fiction How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life, as well as the fiction God’s Debris. Having read both of those and having also written both fiction and non-fiction I was particularly interested in the genesis of both. Writing fiction is decidedly much different than writing non-fiction. The same goes for marketing them.

Our conversation

Just some of the things we talk about:

  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Confirmation bias
  • Mental prisons
  • A/B testing
  • Persuasion
  • Hypnosis
  • Mind Reading – as in, people think they can do that but they can’t
  • His books
  • The talent stack
  • The persuasion aspect of politics

Periscope and The Simultaneous Sip

Scott hosts a daily Periscope in which he talks about the day’s news and interacts with his audience. Each is started with having a sip from whatever beverage you have—he likes coffee. The action is tongue-in-cheek and demonstrates elements of both hypnosis and persuasion (he gives us insider info on this in the podcast). It has really caught on as an a group activity, and has resulted in him recently meeting a number of sippers who introduced themselves as such. I’ll admit that I participate as well. It’s fun, and having him sort through the news with a very scientific method of discovery is fascinating. I liken it to a college professor conducting a class. I mean that in a good way.

If you want to break out of a mental prison you may have placed yourself into it’s a great listen. If you follow politics but wish someone would just clearly sift through it, you’ll want to listen to the podcast and then follow Scott.

I’m grateful for the time he spent with me, and it was wonderful to has such in-depth discussions on so many interesting topics.

What he said at the end, in closing, made me smile. No this is not a “listen till the end” trick.

Find him on the web at: and

Twitter: scottadamssays

The post Scott Adams first appeared on Alchemy For Life.

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I have much reverence for Tesla – not the car company or the car (although I appreciate them) but instead the man they are named after – Nikola Tesla. In fact I have a picture of him (along with three other people) in my office.

Tesla is responsible for creating alternating current, the AC motor, a one way valve with no moving parts, the tesla coil, radio, and many many others.

Why do I mention him?

One of the things that he came up with was the concept of a remote-controlled vehicle. There are probably millions of nine year olds that have at least one remote-controlled vehicle in their toybox, leaking battery acid because it has been ignored in lieu of the newest thing. From racing drones, to little helicopters to RC cars to weaponized drones the size of your car remotely piloted by the air force – it’s a ubiquitous concept.

We get it, now

To understand the concept of a remote controlled drone you have to understand that the remote control sends out a radio signal which controls the drone. You have to understand that these signals can’t go through large bits of metal, that your frequency has to be different than someone else’s frequency lest you get interference. You get that it has a finite range.

You might even understand that there is going to be a little lag, and that you don’t fly your drone over a moving train because the train on the metal tracks generates interference and you just might lose your expensive drone.

But it wasn’t always like that.

When Tesla talked to others about his idea for a remote-controlled device they didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. They couldn’t envision it. They couldn’t because there are a lot of concepts to grasp to get the idea as a whole, like we just went through above. Tesla, immersed in electricity (sometimes literally), radio, and technology found it very easy to understand it because he already knew the supporting concepts.

Why do I tell you this? Because there are concepts that we encounter that you might not get immediately. Sometimes you have to explore and embrace the foundational concepts. In fact some of the most meaningful things in your life started out by first understanding the supporting concepts and building up to this very important thing in your life.

Enter Alchemy for LifeTM. Yeah, shameless plug. I realize that the concept of Alchemy and Alchemy for Life sits very comfortably in my heart and mind, because I understand all of the supporting concepts. Just like when you think of a remote-controlled drone, you get all the supporting concepts.

So I realized I have to keep that in mind when I talk to people about “having balance” and “Alchemy” that they may not get that life is made of Time, Energy and Resources, and those elements are spent of the five facts of life.

My experience has been that when people get the foundational concepts, one by one they really are amazed. The challenge is getting them there. Like anything complex but not complicated, you have to make sure people are understanding the basic foundational concepts first.

How you do the above makes all the difference in the world, but the fact that you do it is what sets you on the path.

The post Tesla and the whole first appeared on Alchemy For Life.
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I took an early walk, and thought about my day. Being a fairly decisive person I wondered why I was having so much trouble deciding if I was going to hang out by the lake and write something?

It seemed like a simple decision – either I am going to do it or not? Is there something more pressing – something more important that I needed to do instead?

That’s it, right? Yet I went back and forth on it as I walked. Neither decision felt “right.” One of them has to be right, or at least one of them has to “more right.” Right?

The problem wasn’t that one of the options didn’t feel more correct, it was something else. Perhaps the root of indecision for that moment, and maybe for moments in your life, was the something else...

If you’re experiencing indecision on something its probably caused by one of five things:

  • Not enough information.
  • Two (or more) items are in conflict.
  • Two or more items are of equal value to you. Time, energy and resources assessment fixes that
  • Not being honest with yourself – you feel obligated to do one, but really want to do the other
  • Good/better best

PS – This podcast was also produced as a youtube video. Check it out on the Alchemy for Life youtube channel.

The post Five causes of indecision – and how to overcome them first appeared on Alchemy For Life.
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I was recently watching a young man entertain a small group of people with his cello. This set up was simple in that he just had the cello footpedal and some additional music he played through Bluetooth speaker.

After every song and applause he would comment about the music and his process. He was a bit self-defacing.

More often than not he would explain that he wasn’t as good as he wanted to be-that some songs we’re better than others. Then he made an interesting comment that created an exchange between the two of us.

He knew he wasn’t hitting all the notes he needed to and that when that happened this dissonance was supposed to be for flare. So half-jokingly, he said it was “dissonance for flare.” Meaning, the wrong notes were there artistically, not because they were in error. So, if he hit the wrong note, then he meant to do that.

Flipping it around, I immediately yelled back to him “Well, you have a flair for dissonance.” He seemed to like this and so did the person sitting next to me as she literally wrote down “flair for dissonance.”

The wrong notes may be better

We often become very concerned with hitting all the notes in life literally and figuratively. But like the young cellist, is it not just as important that we don’t? Isn’t that lack of hitting every note robotically what uniquely makes us us and actually makes for better music? Aren’t some of the best mistakes the most amazing discoveries?

I’m not saying that if you were a surgeon or a chemist you just wing it. I’m saying the little differences that move us off the beaten path – even just mere moments and choices – allow us to write our own music.

Taking this a step further, the young man, Tieg, was making a half-joke about how his lack of skill was really an intentional missing of notes. Thus the comment “dissonance for flair.”

My comment, however, is something that perhaps is also worth considering. Since we know that we will not hit all the notes, why not get really good at this not-hitting-the-notes? Why not understand yourself better, your strengths and weaknesses? Why not develop a “flair for dissonance.” Perhaps this is the essence of creativity?

Note – Bonus! Enjoy this article and 10 minute podcast in addition to the 40 minute interview with Tieg. I was able to arrange a chat and obtain some of his music with permission. See the next podcast for that interview. it’s fascinating!

The post Flair for dissonance first appeared on Alchemy For Life.
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My interview with Tieg – the cellist mentioned in the previous podcast. Sort of a two-parter for you. We cover what music means to him, creativity, his special brand of music and travelling to Spain. The background music is by Tieg and ranges from classic to modern pop.

The post Dissonance for flair first appeared on Alchemy For Life.
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Does this suck?

If you’re a creative or anyone that produces a project or a work product of some kind that you can take a step back and look at, at some point you may have asked “Does this suck?”

Let’s get this out of the way – I’m not talking about not having the confidence in what you do, nor am I talking about being a bit neurotic about things or second-guessing yourself or constantly needing to have someone else validate your stuff. I’m talking about the other kind of person – the person I assume you are: somebody who gets it. You’re the kind that thinks if you don’t give it your all when you do something... what’s the point?

So let’s assume you’re like me and you’re a person that gives it their all. It’s this giving your all to it that actually creates this moment sometimes.

Sometimes when you’re deep in the middle of giving your hypothetical 100% you stop and think, does this suck? Because you value your effort and you don’t want to put a tremendous amount of effort into something only to have a product that you’re not proud of, people don’t like, and you could’ve done better.

So the first step of this is recognizing that you do have these moments from time to time. You may have this moment every single time you work on a project. And I’m not talking about making course corrections as you work. I’m talking about the oh crap does this suck moment.

If you’re having this moment a lot it means you think your work is important, you possibly doubt your abilities and you’re not using your time machine. What I mean by the last thing is you can simply look back at the other stuff you’ve done. Does all that suck? No? Then why would this?

You have a few answers, you clever person you:

  • Each one is different
  • Some are more challenging than others
  • Sometimes I’m so deep into it that I don’t see the big picture.

It’s that last one that is the most valuable. It is universally valuable to be able to pull yourself out of a project, a conversation, a movement, a relationship and anything that you were deeply involved in to take a look from above and assess it as a whole. The “30,000 foot view” as they say.

I know this is valuable because I was once pursued to develop a product by the president of a development company. After meeting with him and hearing about his vision, I asked him why he didn’t just have his team of developers create the product for him?

His response was that though their development skills were on the whole equal to mine, none of them had the ability to look at the project from the 30,000 foot view. I had the ability to dig deep and also take a step back.

I think if you’re an independent creative, an entrepreneur or someone who is self-driven you have probably developed both skills in parallel:

( Dig Deep + 30,000 foot view )

And those two skills create the perfect environment to once in a while think, “Does it suck?”

So my advice to you is just these three things:

  1. If it sucks it doesn’t mean you suck. Non-sucky people sometimes make sucky things.
  2. Understand that there’s some room between constantly doubting your work and assuming that everything is fantastic. You want to live in the middle there somewhere.
  3. Keep asking yourself if it sucks because that means you were making a good product and ultimately you are the judge of things. And you care.

Keep caring and take care.

PS – This podcast is also a youtube video. Check out the Alchemy for Life channel. Tell me what you think, feel free to connect on LinkedIn, and thanks for subscribing!

The post Does this suck? first appeared on Alchemy For Life.
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In a previous podcast I talked about stolen validation. So let’s back up and talk about the V word first.


As I affirm in The Status Game II I believe that the most important and powerful feeling we can experience as humans is validation. It comes in all forms from all sources – including ourselves. Sometimes we even imagine it. And sometimes we steal it from the future.

So as I said in stolen validation, when you start to work on something or are going to work on something or you intend to work on something and you immediately tell others about it, you get praise and kudos and all the things that go with completing the project. This happens before you even start it. I call that stolen validation. You are stealing the validation you would be getting from your future self

So if you tell everyone you’re going to lose weight and they all pat you on the back because it’s a great idea it has less impact for when you do actually lose the weight or complete the project , etc. It may even remove some motivation.

So as you can imagine I try to avoid stolen validation at all costs. When I start a project I just do it and then when it’s completely done I feel good about it and I pat myself on the back.

If I just suck all the reard out of it before I even start it there may be nothing left to motivate me to do it.

I’m sure taking this to an extreme can cause all sorts of problems with your work ethics, your goals, and even relationships.

I’m not talking about taking this to an extreme, in fact I’m talking about the opposite. But it’s still unreverving for me.

Stolen Validation and writing (fiction)

After for non-fiction books I decided I wanted to get back into fiction. My novel will be out in December of this year. Normally I would simply write the book and focus on it until it is done. Once it was done I would then go through all the steps: marketing, publishing, book signings, all that stuff.

However, that is actually the wrong way to do it. Writing and publishing a book is actually backwards. You are told that you should market your book two years before the book is to be released.

First of all, I look back on the four books I have already written. I published them within a 13 month span. That means in the course of about a year I put out for books, which also means that most if not all of the books did not even exist two years prior to them being published.

Adjusting for this common wisdom way of publishing is difficult. Marketing a book that isn’t even finished is a scary thing for someone who likes to complete a project and then deliver it. Does that sound like you?

I understand that there are things in your life and mine in which we commit to before we do them. Creative or technical projects are typically like that. You give a quote for something before you even start it. However, you don’t post pictures of it or describe it in detail as if it exists; instead you talk about what it is going to be.

That might sound like splitting hairs to you, and if you’ve ever published you may be clicking your tongue at me for even talking about this. But for someone like me (and possibly you), it is an adjustment to promote something that doesn’t exist.

Writing together

As I go through the journey of writing this new book the “right” way, I am going to be mindful that this is the proper way to do things. It will be a wonderful experience of comparing this to actual stolen validation.

For more about stolen validation please check out the podcast of the same name.

If you are thinking about writing a book or are in the middle of writing one check out my podcast about writing a book. There are actually two parts.

If you’re curious about my new novel you can add to my terror by pre-ordering it now. It will be available in paperback and kindle.

The post Stolen Validation and Writing first appeared on
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Hi. How are those New Year’s Resolutions doing?

(pause for gasps, pregnant silence and bad looks)

You made some right? Because you didn’t really listen to me when I said resolutions were a bad idea – that’s understandable because I’m just a disembodied voice and that’s not enough status to prevent you from making yourself feel better.

So since you made them, how are they doing?

“It’s August!” you yell. To which I reply that you’re going to make your 2020 resolutions in five months...

OK, deep breath. If you made resolutions in 2018 for 2019, and didn’t keep them, then one of four things has happened:

  • You’ve either abandoned them because that’s a painful, annoying dead end
  • You had a modicum of success but just slowed then stopped
  • You decided it was just a happy drunken promise without regard for the reality of what it would take to accomplish it
  • You decide that you just aren’t capable, and, oh well, that’s life.

Ok then. That’s everyone! Have a good night. (cue bumper music)

You’re still here? And not happy with me? So now what?

Let’s do one of two things:

  1. Get them done
  2. Decide that they were a bad idea

That’s it. Keep in mind that you have me at a disadvantage – I can’t use all my powerful tools I built from scratch, examine what’s really going on in your life, and work with you one-on-one. So It’s just a read/listen kind of thing but I’ll do my best. So let’s revisit with solutions:

  • You’ve either abandoned them because that’s a painful, annoying dead end

You may have dodged a bullet. This may have been a goal you just arbitrarily set because, hey, why not? Like saying “I’m going to visit the moons of Titan” or “Sure I’ll help you move next year.” If so then just leave it. If this was something you really wanted to do then you hit a wall, and that wall is probably made of Time, Energy and/or Resources.

  • You had a modicum of success but just slowed then stopped

Similar to above, it may simply be that you didn’t make the time for it (going to the gym, working on that hobby, etc) and the rest of your schedule said F.U. and it got pushed out. Making the proper time for it can fix that.

  • You decided it was just a happy drunken promise without regard for the reality of what it would take to accomplish it

All humor is based on some sort of truth or it’s not funny. The same goes for drunken promises – there was a reason you said that, when your inhibitions were diminished. Is this a secret desire? Don’t you beat yourself up over it.

  • You decide that you just aren’t capable, and, oh well, that’s life.

Well, you may not be – see “visiting moons of Titan” above. Or perhaps you are capable and you are being fooled by that thing called reality. Meaning, you need to adjust reality to fit this desire. That reality comes in the form of your time, energy and resources.

Do you see a theme with all of this? You should. It’s those three magic words and they are not “I love you” though I like you an awful lot. Honest.

Time, Energy and Resources – how you adjust them, how you use them, how you let them rule over you.

The post Resolutions revisited first appeared on Alchemy For Life.
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You’ve heard and seen and read motivational speakers, motivational people, thought leaders, influencers, etc. etc. etc. You hear that you should live with passion and that you should reach for the stars and that you should do that thing and that you should go for it right? If you’re lucky they leave you feeling energized and excited about that next step. But then you hear them again or you hear another speaker or you see another motivational post and it’s the same thing.

So now you’re all excited and ready, but ready for what? That next step? That next thing? To live with passion and no regrets? “But what is that?” you think, as you continue to clothe yourself, to feed you and your family, to go to work and earn money... “What is that?”

“What do you want from me?!” you say as their pleas for your excitement and your pushing forward in life start to annoy you. “You keep telling me to press on and be the best I can be and so forth”.

Then you see them again and again and now you see the pattern. You’re supposed to do it – they want you to do it. And finally you yell at the TV or the radio or the podcast or YouTube video or the book...

“What do you want from me?!”

The problem is they’re not in a position to want what you want. They don’t know what they want from you other than to succeed and be successful and perhaps do it in a way that is profitable to them. They can’t answer your question but they can continue to hammer you again and again and again.

See, there comes a time in which you realize all the motivation in the world doesn’t do anything if you don’t know what you want. Want is desire and desire has been demonized. You just want to be happy but what makes you happy? You want to be successful but what is success to you? You just want to be in a better place but where is that place exactly?

Before the first leaf falls, before you hunker down and batten the hatches for winter. Before the weather turns to “back to school weather“ and something deep inside you says I better get serious...

Figure out what it is you want.

There’s a sheet online right now that you can fill out. It’s only got five columns. It’s not an in-depth evaluation. It doesn’t even have any questions, just five columns. Fill out the sheet and you’ll already be a lot clearer on what it is you want. Send this to me and have a phone call with me and you’ll be even closer.

The post What do you want from me?! first appeared on Alchemy For Life.
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Whatever you commit to happens. You’ve heard that before, right?

There really only are three things you need to know about getting something done:

  • Whatever you commit to happens
  • You may already be committed to things you’re not aware of
  • The results of commitment vary

You may already be committed to things and probably are. You were committed to these things because of obligation or fear or pleasure, etc. So that means you only have so much time, energy and resources available for the thing you want to commit to. Which of course brings us back to the balance sheet because everything always does.

The results of your commitment will of course vary. This means that you shouldn’t think that as long as you commit to something it’ll happen 100%. That’s going to vary based on your skill your energy (and your desire). So if you commit to something – truly commit – and it doesn’t happen exactly the way you expected to it doesn’t mean what I’m saying is wrong. It means results will vary.

As a proof of this point you can take a look at what you are committed to. Which again of course is what the balance sheet does.

If you do examine this you’re going to find that certain things get done – even the things you don’t really want to get done. Even the negative things.

Did you ever think that you may be overweight not because you are having trouble losing it but because you were so committed to the thing that causes it? That sounds crazy doesn’t it? But it’s true. Think about your commitment to flavor and flavors and eating and enjoying your meal and just having your own private time of having that awesome dinner or that awesome snack or the fact that you absolutely love ice cream and seek it out.

That’s commitment and a byproduct of that commitment is a lot of extra weight and an inability to lose it.

We can apply this same perspective to dating. If you always seem to end up with the same guys that drive you crazy it’s probably because of your commitment to something which produces the guys. Again, tangibly, I’m talking about an actual commitment not a vibration thing.

I know I use this one to death but a commitment to tall guys will get you tall guys. If a lot of them happen to be jerks because you weren’t committed to finding a nice guy and you may be confused as to why you keep picking a lot of jerks. It’s because they are tall jerks. Not to say that there aren’t any really nice tall guys. But you get the point.

So what do you do? You review your commitments before you make a new one. If there is a bad thing happening in your life review your commitments to see if you’re committed to something that is causing it. If you want a good thing to happen in your life you have to see how much time, energy and resources you have to create that commitment.

And of course there’s a wonderful worksheet that does that for you called the balance sheet. Taking it up a notch and you can have someone review that worksheet with you. 🙂

The post Commitment – Only 3 things you need to know to get something done first appeared on Alchemy For Life.
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