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How to Use Cold Water as a Productivity Tool

Here's how I got my job at BNET. Paul Sloan asked me if I write for other publications. I said no. I said I love my blog so much. (In fact, I love it so much I'm going to link to it right now. Where else could I write a post about what it's like to have sex with me?)

Then Paul said that he would be my editor. So I said yes. I love Paul. He is fun and smart and he (almost) always answers his phone when I want to talk about my marital problems. (Although he will not publish my marital problems, which, again, is why I love my blog.)

So I tried to negotiate really hard to get a lot of money from BNET. I had Paul get his boss Eric on the phone. I worked with Eric when we were both at Business 2.0. When that magazine went under, Paul, Eric and I all got fired together. Or, wait. Maybe Paul or Eric fired me. Or was Eric even there? I'm not sure.

Anyway, I did not get a lot of money from them. But I did get something else. I got them to agree to a steady stream of money that could support my family so I could tell my startup, which I am still a majority shareholder in, that I can't cope with being CEO anymore. The job is too much about execution, and I'm not an execution person. I'm an idea person. I need to quit my startup and do a new startup. I have too many ideas. Yeah. That's what I said. And I told myself I don't need the salary I was drawing from my startup because I will have the money I get from BNET.

But here's the problem. My kids are going to starve or something. Not that this hasn't happened before. Where I ran out of money. But it was for a decent reason. Like, my company ran out of funding and our electricity got turned off and I nearly went blind, and things got very bad, but I could not totally control the financing. I mean, look, I kept my company going through one of the worst financial crises in U.S. history. So a few nights without electricity is sort of explainable.

But why is it that now, when I could have a stable income, I am not writing columns for BNET? Am I retarded? Paul investigates this question each time he calls me. He says things like, "Are you okay?" and "What are you doing? What do you do all day?"

These are fair questions. I tell Paul some reasons why I am not writing.

I say, "You guys pay 90 days out. It's too long to wait."

He says, "That's not an excuse. If you wrote regularly you wouldn't even notice the delay. You'd get money regularly."

He is right.

I say, "I don't like how you guys handle comments. It's not interactive enough."

He says, "We changed all that in the redesign. Months ago. If you'd pay more attention to your comments, you'd notice."

He is probably right.

I say, "You never let me write about good stuff. Remember the post I wrote about your stupid invoicing system? You said no."

He says, "Try me again. If you bitch about me, I'll publish it."


I think I am not writing because I have never had financial stability before. I am always running startups. I just finished my third. It takes about four years to run the startup and a year to recuperate financially from the damage that a startup does. (Note: Don't tell me about exits. The first time I exited I put all the money into the next company. Don't ever do that.)

So, am I scared of financial stability? I am certainly sabotaging myself. I spent my last therapy session talking about why I am not earning money when I have a way of getting paid to do something I love.

My therapist told me to splash my face with cold water. Not kidding. I have been in therapy for 40 years because my parents were incompetent except for knowing enough to send me to therapy as a five-year-old to deal with it. So, I've been in therapy forever and I need something new. And DBT is new. So I'm doing it. All behaviorally focused.

My therapist sent this email to me:

I am writing to remind you of some exercises you can do when your anxiety is very high. These exercises are designed to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This system is designed to do the OPPOSITE of fight or flight. It's sometimes termed "rest and digest"

Temperature Regulation - If you submerge your face in cold water, it will induce the mammalian diving reflex, which is built in by evolution to help mammals stay alive in cold water. Among other things, this reflex results in a slowing of your heart rate down to 25%. This is a very effective, highly recommended strategy for reducing anxiety immediately. Many people use it for panic attacks.
So, do you know how I got myself to write this post? Splashed water on my face. Seriously. Well, first I went to make myself lunch and realized that I was going to be eating a lot of pasta this month. My therapist says that sometimes we need to hit rock bottom before we take action. Look out: There are going to be a lot of posts this Spring.
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