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January 14, 2024 | Max Jenkinson

Expand Your Time Frame: Success Will Come

What do warriors, archers and the king have in common?

Imagine your life is a conquest of domination. You are the king and all you do is fight to expand your kingdom. You expand your skills, your knowledge and your wisdom.

At the very beginning, your kingdom is small. You have a king, some warriors and a couple of archers. You slowly increase the size of your dominion.

One battle at a time the kingdom grows. But, as it grows you face a problem.

How do you make sure you are successful in battle while carrying out battles on multiple fronts?

If your warriors and archers are not on the same page your kingdom won’t expand. It might even fall.

In this post, you’ll learn that, in your kingdom, you are the King, the Archer and the Warrior.


Success And Time

After years of self-development, I faced what felt like a plateau. I had consumed an incredible amount of information without taking much action.

I knew I had enough information to create action in a direction of value. But, despite knowing what to do I found it difficult to do the things I knew I should to get what I said I wanted.

I had all the time in the world, all the knowledge in the world, yet I wasted a lot of it on things I knew wouldn’t get me anywhere.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of things I could do. But, I also knew that not doing anything was worse than doing the non-optimal action.

At one point I decided to stop procrastinating and ruminating on what option was optimal and just try.

I started a podcast and another. I wrote a blog in Swedish for a while. And then eventually, I started the newsletter that you are currently reading.

These are creative endeavours, but I had other areas where I wanted to change. I changed up my training often. I did CrossFit, swimrun, powerlifting, calestenics, natural movement, and bodybuilding.

By this point, I had accepted the fact that success comes down to sticking with one thing for an unreasonable amount of time.

If I created a podcast and recorded 2000 episodes there is no chance I won’t succeed (however we define success).

If I spent 3 years doing power-lifting there is no chance I won’t become incredibly strong.

If I spent 5000 hours building a business there is no chance I won’t have a somewhat successful business.

This is what every successful person forgets. They try to after the fact rationalize their success with specific steps. But, it wasn’t the specific things that made them succeed in the end. It was their unwillingness to quit in the face of adversity.

The idea that things should come easy and fast destroys your chance of success in whatever indevours you value.

You want to be healthy, richer and happier. The only thing standing in your way is a consistent effort in one direction over long periods of time.

The only thing we need to figure out is how we do things over an unreasonable amount of time so that we can reap the benefits.

If we figure this out it does not matter what you want in life, you will get there sooner or later. The only thing standing in your way will be time. And remember time has to pass anyway.


The Alignment Problem

As a young man, I was idealistic. I philosophized with my best friends about what it means to be a good person, how to construct a better society and how to end the suffering of humanity.

As one does, I slowly developed a philosophy of good vs evil. All my actions and decisions were put into either category to the best of my ability while aiming at what is good.

I thought these abstract ideals were enough to motivate me to do the things I assumed to be good. Like being healthy, not lying and staying disciplined.

Over the years I have come to face the reality that my motivational structure is both far more complex and far simpler than I imagined.

Humans are still animals. We have not transcended our evolutionary past. We are indistinguishable from the humans that hunted mammoths during the last Ice Age. How we live has changed dramatically but who we live in has not.

We have the same psychology and physiology. If we understand and accept this fact we can use it to our advantage. If we neglect and deny this fact it will work against us.

We like to put ourselves and others into neat categories. I’m an extrovert. I have an INTP personality. I am more neurotic.

We do this when it comes to motivation as well. We either do it consciously or subconsciously. Because of this, I have created three archetypal motivational types.

  1. The Warrior – action driven

  2. The Archer – resource driven

  3. The King – ideal driven

We tend to think we are only one but we are all a split between them.

The three are separated by the proximity to the things that motivate action. In war, it is the proximity to their enemies, but in motivation, it is the proximity in both time and abstraction.

Let’s say I want to be healthy so I start going to the gym. A year later I’ve hit the gym four times per week without fail. What kept me motivated to keep going?

The Warrior is motivated by the idea of increasing capacity short term. “I do X so that I can Y”.

I go to the gym so that I can keep becoming stronger. I go to the gym so that I can keep playing the sport I love.

You can also think of the Warrior as process-oriented motivation. He gets motivation from the incremental progress within a given domain.

The Warrior enjoys the things he does. He fights so that he can keep fighting. He is intrinsically motivated by the things he does.

The Archer is instead motivated by what he can extract from doing something. “I do X so that I can get Y”.

It has a longer time frame because it takes some time to gain the benefits of doing something. He is extrinsically motivated by the things he does.

I go to the gym so that I can look better. I go to the gym so that I can get more girls.

The King is not out on the battlefield. He sees the battle as one move on a chessboard. He takes on a bird’s eye view and analyzes if the battle is worth it and why.

The King has an end goal of where he wants to take his kingdom. He determines what the best course of action is by looking at it not in days or weeks but in decades.

As a young man, I was inhabiting the King archetype. I was idealistic and thought that the idea of becoming a better person was motivating enough. Motivating enough to do anything I thought was good.

I go to the gym so that I have more energy, more motivation, better brain function, less anxiety and low mood, all in service of becoming a better person.

Over the years I’ve come to realize that we are all constantly inhabiting all three archetypes. Some people are more like the warrior, while others are more like the king.

The alignment between the three is what determines the probability that we will continue doing what it is we do long enough to reap the promised benefits (or the downside).

What determines our success in any domain is directional effort over time. We fail because we quit too early to reap what we sow.


The Alignment Solution

You want things. You want to become something. You want a certain lifestyle. But, are you sure that you want the things you say you want?

If what you say you want is what you want why do you have a hard time doing what is required to get what you want?

Actions speak louder than words, right?

We need to align our actions with what we want so that our motivational structure attaches itself to the actions required to get us there.

Step 1 – Define Your Ideal

I recommend inhabiting the King first. Ask yourself what kind of man/woman you want to become.

  1. How does he hold himself?

  2. What values does he have?

  3. What is his purpose in life?

You can make this as elaborate as you want.

Step 2 – What do you want to want?

As soon as this is somewhat defined we can move on to the Archer. What do you want to get? What excites you when you see others have what you don’t?

At this step, you need to be careful not to let your primal brain take over. You might think you want to be as rich as Elon Musk or have a supercar, but, really think about it.

I’m sure you want a bunch of things. But, inhabit the person you want to become, your ideal, and ask yourself:

What would he want?

Step 3 – Lifestyle Alignment

Now to the difficult part. It’s time to fight. To get up each day, inhabit the Warrior, and fight for who you know you could be.

You could do literally anything with your time. There are an endless amount of options out there. We need to narrow it down.

You have defined who you want to become, you have also defined what he would want. Now all you have to do is write a list of things you could do that aligns with your King and Archer.

Here it is all about finding processes (things to do) that are intrinsically motivating for you. Not only do you need to enjoy them but they need to move you toward the things you want and the person you want to become.


The beauty of this is that there are an unlimited amount of paths that will take you to your ideal. This allows you to be free in what you choose to do on a daily basis.

As long as what you do aligns with who you want to become you could do anything. If that alignment is all you care about you won’t stay on a path long enough to get to the destination.

You need to find something you enjoy doing that also has short-term payoffs you find desirable.

You are a King. If you do not take care of your warriors and archers they will stop fighting for you. If you have no men on the battlefield you will lose the battle and eventually your kingdom.

Until next Sunday, do what makes your kingdom flourish.

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Shatter Your Entire View Of Health

Join others getting their entire idea of what health is shattered every Sunday while reading Health Decoded.