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Volume 03
Issue 02
It’s Thanh here and I want to get really personal with this newsletter. Let me ask
you this: have you ever experienced a bad breakup? Can you remember those days
where all you could think about was your ex and how much you missed that person?
Recently I’ve experienced this myself. I was dating this wonderful girl for a while and
everything was great…till one day where everything suddenly ended. I couldn’t sleep
for days. I tried to bury my bad emotions under my pillow. Whenever I was writing a
blog post, I had to stop every five minutes and think about “what if this happened or
that happened…then it would have never happened”.
I’m sure you’ve experienced something very similar. When you go through such a
period, it’s hard to focus and get things done. Your quality of work sufers. Your mind
is always wandering. All you can think is “what if…”. You’re not being completely
yourself…and the list goes on and on.
During that period, I couldn’t get stuf done. The simplest things seemed impossible
to me. Procrastination became my best friend and the writing I did wasn’t as good I
as I know it could be.
Eventually I got over it once I realized that this was just another open loop I needed
to address. I’m not trying to turn this newsletter into a monologue about bad
breakups. The point I want to illustrate is that open loops - the unresolved thoughts
that are pre-occupy our mind and prevent us from focusing on what we need to do
- rob us from our focus and energy to get stuf done. Do you have any open loops
right now that are preventing you from getting stuf done?
The bad breakup is an extreme example, but
open loops come in many shapes and forms.
It’s really anything that makes you constantly
think about other things that prevent you
from being fully engaged at work. Here are
some other examples of open loops:
• That thought whether you locked the door
or not on the way out.
• The guilt you’re feeling about that junk food you ate earlier.

Open loops come in many
shapes and forms. It’s really
anything that makes you
constantly think about other
things that prevent you from
being fully engaged at work.

• A question you’ve been pondering for days but haven’t answered yet.
• A promise you made to someone but haven’t fulfilled yet.
• That appointment you vaguely remember for next week.
• That hunger you’re feeling but trying to ignore.
• A conflict in your relationship that might jeopardize everything.
And the list goes on. All these little monsters keep pulling your focus away from you
really need to do. It robs your energy and distracts you, and oftentimes you don’t
consciously realize it.
No matter how big or small the open loop - you want to close them as soon as
possible. There are quick fixes like meditation or drinking 14 glasses of whiskey (not
recommended), but it doesn’t fix the root cause. You want to bring closure to them
so you can move forward and be fully engaged at work. When the mind is pre-
occupied, there is no chance that you’ll get “in the zone” and that you can deliver
the highest quality of work.
Closing open loops is not always easy. Some loops are harder to close than others.
Addressing your hunger is easy. Addressing a bad breakup… much harder. But if all
you can think about is your ex, then deep down inside you know that you need to
get closure before you can move on and be productive again.
Just remember this - the harder it is to address the open loop, the more important
it is for you to close it and to move on.
For the little open loops, capturing will usually address it. With capturing I mean
writing down somewhere what you’re thinking so you can revisit it at some other
time. When you externalize your thoughts you free up your mind so it can do more
important things (thinking, decision making, analyzing, etc).
For example, if I’m constantly thinking about how I need to buy concert tickets
before tomorrow, I’ll make a calendar appointment for myself to remind me. Or if
I’m always thinking about how much that Ferrari is, I’ll add a task to my to do list so
I can research it later.
Now these are relatively easy, but how do you handle something more extreme like
a bad breakup or a family incident?
One word: journaling.
Grab a journal somewhere and start writing down what you’re feeling. Write down all
the things you want to express and get of your chest. Address all the issues in your
journal before you actually take action on them. This therapeutic process will help
you get all those thoughts out of your head and bring closure.
Once you have journaled your way out of that open loop, sometimes you need to
face the issue head-on with a person. This can be tough sometimes, but you have to
do it. You want to have that closure so you can move on.
If that means talking to your ex and resolving things (whether or not you get back
together is another issue) or having a talk with your co-worker about an incident -
do it. You’ll be glad you did and then you can happily move on and be productive
again. That’s what I did and I recommend you do the same.
Before we part ways, I want to ask you: do you have any open loops in your life? I
really want to make sure that you’re aware of them and that you resolve them as
soon as possible.
Here are some action steps to help you get started:
1. Take out 10 minutes and think about your top 5 open loops in your life. What’s
constantly pre-occupying your mind and focus right now? Write it down.
2. For each open loop, write down action steps on how you’re going to resolve
them. Plan it out. Journal if you want to.
3. Now go out and actually do it. Remember, the more painful it is to do it, the
more important it is that you bring closure.
Thanks for reading. I don’t usually like to make our newsletters this personal, so I
really appreciate it that you read this far. I’ll see you in our next newsletter.

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- Aaron Lynn
Bangkok, Thailand
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