Welcome back to the Weekly Hustle Episode 4

Today’s episode 4 of the Weekly Hustle we’re going to talk about quitting coffee, Asian parents saying I love you, and Joyner Lucas in 2020.

If you’re new to the Weekly Hustle, I’m doing two things –

  1. Sharing cool people, processes, tools, and ideas for entrepreneurial hustlers who want to be GREAT
  2. Documenting my process of the long term game of hitting 10 million dollars

This week I’m going to be sharing:

  1. How I quit coffee (and why I did it)
  2. How I’m struggling with staying focused
  3. Why don’t asian parents say I love you
  4. Thought exercises I’m revisiting
  5. A song that everyone needs to listen to you

Also if you want to shoot me a question or even updates updates on your end feel free to directly to this email or email me here.

But before we start, times are changing in this week’s episode of the weekly hustle. First we had the “rona”. And now we have the George Floyd.

I was thinking about what to really say about this, but the truth is sometimes we don’t need to say anything. Why?

It’s more powerful to listen first, then react. Investing the time to understand different perspectives (even if we don’t agree with others) is rare. We need more of that.

And if you want to know how to start listening – I’ll be sharing something at the end.




How to survive quitting coffee & caffeine for 14 days (COLD TURKEY)

Are you addicted to caffeine and coffee?

I recently quit coffee cold turkey… 17 days ago to be exact.

I’ve been a caffeine user for 10+ years. Coffee is integrated into my work and productivity life in my career as a pharmacist and ex-pharmacist.

Whether it was staying up for late night study sessions or counting pills faster while starving off hunger as pharmacist, coffee was always there.

So why did I quit?

Caffeine was killing my productivity.

Sounds counter intuitive right? Let me explain.

When I first started drinking caffeine, it was magical. But over time my caffeine consumption slowly crept up.

One cup of coffee turned into six cups. Well what was once fun, exciting, and energizing, later did absolutely nothing for me. And that’s when I knew I was addicted to caffeine.

Here are three things I noticed after 10 years of using caffeine:

  1. Sleep quality suffered – Despite not drinking coffee after 3 PM, I was having trouble falling and staying asleep. Early morning insomnia is the worst and is the ULTIMATE productivity killer. I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t fall back asleep.
  2. The short productivity window – Coffee was amazing for when I wanted to get shit done in the morning. Every morning I would wake up tired and go on a 4-hour “high” with my cup of coffee. This high was great until 11 AM hit and completely tapped out even with intermittent fasting. I was a zombie, when you’re “tired”, but not tired enough to go to sleep.
  3. Anxiety – My acupuncturist always claimed that my body was under a lot of stress. When I would meet new people or jump on the phone, I would have a hint of anxiety (which never happened before as an extreme extrovert). And even when I would just try to sit down and meditate my mind was constantly racing asking – what’s next?

So I knew I had to quit.

If you want to know how to quit caffeine cold turkey, here’s three tips:

If you want to know how to quit caffeine cold turkey, here’s three tips:

Block out extra time to sleep and rest

When you drink coffee caffeine temporarily prevents or relieves drowsiness, and thus maintains or restores alertness.

If you quit coffee, caffeine is no longer blocking the receptors where adenosine binds to it. And because of it caffeine temporarily prevents or relieves drowsiness.

This basically means you will be even more tired when you quit coffee. And I experienced exactly that. Here’s what happened…

First 24 hours, it wasn’t that bad. Focus was a bit off and I was a bit tired, but the next day it felt like a truck hit me. Some people complain about the headaches.

For myself? I slept for 14+ hours because I was THAT exhausted. I couldn’t even get out of bed. And I didn’t prepare for it. This was the ultimate productivity killer.

If I were to quit coffee again, I’d block out 2-3 days, do it on a weekend, and make sure that you don’t have any crucial deadlines.

But what if you need something that get that extra energy in the morning to get you going? That leads me to my next point.

Substitute your morning with Tulsi Tea

Here’s the honest truth – one of the best productivity highs out there is a caffeine high.

The perfect dose of caffeine is when you’re buzzed enough to focus, but it’s not enough where your thoughts are racing 10,000 miles per hour.

So how do you find a good alternative or replacement? The closest thing I found to coffee is tulsi tea. And I actually stumbled upon it during my herbal medicine rotation in pharmacy school.

Tulsi is an adaptogen so there there’s no huge crash or cortisol spike with tulsi. Tulsi is like that slow controlled campfire that will last throughout the night. Caffeine is like pouring fuel on the fire.

The best part? It tastes pretty damn good. It’s a bit minty and you can prepare it in something like a french press. Sometimes I use hot water, other times I cold brew it for a few minutes.

Try it out. You won’t be disappointed. But what happens if you need that taste of coffee? Is there a way to replace that? You bet. Keep reading!

Curb your coffee cravings with Chicory Root

Have you ever stepped into a Vietnamese restaurant and seen those orange coffee tins, Cafe Du Monde?

I found out about Cafe Du Monde when I wanted to make Vietnamese coffee at home.

Cafe Du Monde is a coffee blend of french roast coffee beans and chicory root. While we can’t drink Cafe Du Monde, chicory is a coffee substitute that has been used for centuries.

While it doesn’t taste “exactly” like coffee, it has that slight bitterness and sweetness to it. It also has a lighter body compared to coffee.

The best part is that there’s no caffeine in it so you can enjoy this at night or day and the inulin is actually great for your gut. Give it a shot!

So am I quitting coffee for good?

At the time of this writing, I haven’t had a single drop of coffee for 2 weeks. The first 72 hours was pretty brutal, but bearable. And honestly I don’t really think about coffee too much.

In addition to the reduced coffee cravings, I feel less anxious, more relaxed, and I wake up with my energy levels more leveled out.

Will I quit forever? Most likely not. I really enjoy the taste and social aspect of coffee, but I’ll limit it to drinking coffee either weekly or monthly, but never integrating it in my productivity.

So who would go on a caffeine detox?

If you feel like can’t go a day without coffee and feel anxious without any reason why, consider giving this a shot and exercise that discipline that muscle.

After all you can always go back to drinking coffee ☕️

Dopamine Toxication – The WARNING Signs Of “Dopamine Toxication”

Let’s face it dopamine detox is hard. And if you’ve failed, you’re not alone.

If you haven’t caught my recent videos about dopamine detoxing, I’ll leave links in the cards. But essentially it’s essentially living like a monk and minimizing your life into it’s basic necessities.

The thought behind dopamine detoxing is that in modern day we’re overstimulated and overloaded with information – especially when you can pretty much do everything with your cell phone.

With dopamine detoxing, it gives your mind the space, time, and stimulant-free environment to come up with insights, solutions for problems, and hit the reset button on your brain.

It’s a great time to exercise your discipline and to refocus on the main goals of your life.

If you want a more practical explanation – you’re isolating yourself and boring yourself to death. That way when you do go back to normal life, anything makes you excited.

Now that you know what it is… how do you do it?

How to do it

Like I mentioned earlier you’re basically living like a monk so it’s perfect if you’re in quarantine. You can choose to go on a 24-48 hour fast or do a daily fast.

I prefer to focus on a daily fast where I cut out the “hub”, non-work related media, social media, and coffee. And I also practice intermittent fasting as well.

Some people focus on a 24 hour fast where they focus on cutting out:

  • Social media
  • Reading of books or magazines
  • Sex or masturbation
  • Food
  • Talking
  • Any form of media (music, videos, podcasts, or video games)
  • Coffee or other stimulants

Pretty much there isn’t much that you’re allowed to do other than:

  • Write
  • Meditate
  • Walk/hike
  • Deep think
  • Drink water

Believe it or not – it felt effortless. And the results was amazing.

I outlined my new marketing strategy with YouTube and Refugee Hustle, helped my clients make more money through high ticket sales, and shot new content for my Kickass Investing Academy (my investing course).

I was on cloud nine… all until dopamine toxication hit.

What dopamine toxication looks like (dopamine detox relapsing)

One of the reasons why I started a dopamine detox was that I was losing complete control of my life. And since there wasn’t that much to do, it made more sense to start it in quarantine.

While the dopamine detox worked at first, I found myself relapsing after day 14. Here is what it looked like:

  • I would have a “hard” day and decide to watch “one” YouTube video
  • One video turned into an all night YouTube binge
  • During my YouTube binges, I would have an irresitable craving for junk non-keto food, like pizza, banh mi, or fries
  • After eating the junk food, I’d cave in and binge on the hub at night
  • The next morning, I’d wake up so lethargic that I wouldn’t want to get out of bed.
  • The cycle would repeat over again waking up later each day with the urges progressively getting worse

Whenever I slipped, I felt like the most undisciplined person in the world. And I felt this overwhelming guilt knowing that this was a form of self sabotage.

Things slowly started creeping back into my life and started revisiting those habits. This was a killer to my productivity and long term goals.

So it wasn’t until I stumbled upon this until I cracked the code of dopamine detox relapse.

What to do if you relapse during dopamine detox

So I did what any millenial would do – look on Google and YouTube for the answer. And I stumbled upon Alex Becker’s video about Dopamine Toxication.

Here are three main takeaways and steps to bounce back from dopamine detox.

You need to revisit your vision before the urges.

Sometimes you forget – why are you doing this in the first place? While answers like “be a better person” or “being my best self” might be true, you need to be more specific. What goals are you trying to hit?

For myself – it came down to focus on relaunching Kickass Investing to help more millennials how to invest, relaunching a new series for my YouTube channel, and raising more working capital for a cashflow business.

These things all require time. And watching the “hub” wasn’t going to get me to my goals. So what is your why? And what are the consequences if you don’t hit those goals?

Short term goals – disconnect of what you really want and associating it’s a benefit.

You need to identify your temptation triggers

It’s rare to spontaneously binge on a porn and fast food binge. The fact is normally there is a temptation trigger that starts the spiral.

Alex recommends writing down what exactly happens when you spiral and identify the point of origin.

For myself, it started with watching that “one” YouTube video. By identifying that one temptation trigger, you can build systems around it to prevent that.

Build momentum again through fasting

Just like how temptation triggers can build negative momentum, you can hit the reset button with fasting and build positive momentum.

Why fasting?

First there’s a psychological sense of clarity with fasting. It’s an indescribable feeling. Second it’s a specific goal that is difficult, but not impossible.

When I finished my 48 hour fast, the first thing I wanted to do is get back into business – not eat a pizza.

Fasting allows you to take back power and control back of your body and mind. And trust me – nothing beats the mental clarity of a 48 hours fast.

…but want to know the truth about dopamine detox?

Dopamine detox is supposed to be hard

Think about it. It’s a lot to ask of someone to quit everything at once.

One of the reasons why I think I broke was because I was quitting too many things at once. One of those things?

Caffeine. That in itself is hard enough. If you add in quarantine, social isolation, and reducing fitness activities like the gym, THAT will drive you crazy.

Discipline is built with time. Part of the human experience is failing and continuously trying. So are you currently doing dopamine detox? I’d love to hear from you.

Why don’t asian parents say I love you

The other day I was organizing some of my favorite articles on Refugee Hustle and I found an older post – “A letter to my dad on his first birthday without him.

As I look back at my relationship with my dad, it’s amazing to see how much can change in 15 years. Let me explain.

Growing up, like a lot of Asian fathers, my dad wasn’t supportive. He wasn’t the type to say I love you. And he didn’t show up to my high school graduation.

In fact – all I can remember was my dad yelling at me and how trapped I felt. No matter what I did, I always felt like I was a disappointment for him and my family and never enough.

And as I grew up I just had to accept the fact that I had to go through life without depending on my father.

It got so bad to the point where I questioned my own self worth telling myself every night – the world would be so much better without me.

Now looking back almost 15 years later so much has changed. Obviously dad isn’t here anymore, but people change with time and a bit of TLC – tender loving care.

Back then I didn’t understand why my dad wasn’t disappointed in me. It was only later I found out that he was dealing with severe issues that he never talked about.

For example – some of the things my dad went through:

  • Growing up without his father. My grandfather died from thyroid cancer after exposure to mustard gas during WWII serving in the US Army
  • He grew up poor and working under the table construction jobs since 11 years old
  • PTSD from the Vietnam War serving in the Air Force

My main point is that sometimes parents, especially Asian parents, don’t really communicate that well. They aren’t always dealt with the best of cards and try to do their best with what they know. The best thing we can do is understand, accepting for where they are, and leading by example.

Finally I want to end with this voicemail from my dad from my birthday right before I was about to leave for California. It sums up how Asian parents show their love for their children.

Even though he didn’t say it, I knew deep down inside he cared. Thanks for everything dad. Thank you for your service. And I miss and love you.

Morning pages – How to write morning pages to battle resistance

Recently I’ve been running into writers block… or resistance as mentioned in the Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art.

What is resistance?

Resistance is an invisible force. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing work.

For most normal people – it procrastination… that feeling when you know you should be doing something, but don’t feel like doing it.

For me – it’s happening right now as I’m writing this episode of the Weekly Hustle and working on my business.

It shows up when I block out time to write and have the sudden urge to grab In-N-Out. Hell sometimes I want to watch the P-Hub as well.

When does this happen?

I can’t speak for everyone, but it happens when I start neglecting my own personal needs.

Being in quarantine, I’m not as active as before. I’m not practicing yoga, jiujitsu, or even seeing any of my friends.

And as a business owner, I’m working more hours because there’s less barriers to time. And because of this I’m burning out.

I start neglecting my morning checklist. And my routines along with my willpower start slipping as well. Plus I feel emotionally I haven’t checked in for awhile.

How I stumbled across the morning pages again

I was burnt out, frustrated, and went from $2000 in weekly revenue down to $75 over the course of two weeks.

And keep in mind I was putting in double the amount of fulfillment hours. So I was like “fuck it”, blocked off my schedule, and took a week break to clear my mind.

As I was sitting in my office in my own self pity, I started asking myself – when was the last time I felt like I had my shit together?

When I was doing my daily morning pages and sticking to my routine.

So I grabbed my TUL notebook, yoga mat, and my copy of the Artist Way to escape from everything give back to myself and went out on a local hike to practice yoga and write the morning pages.

How to do the morning pages

I wrote an article about how to do the morning pages on my article on Refugee Hustle. But the concept is simple.

Block out 30 minutes and write three pages by hand (or 750 words) first thing in the morning. The single purpose? To move the hand across the page and write down whatever comes to mind.

There’s no way to mess it up other than not doing it all together.

In the past, I used to write it on the computer because it would be faster – but that’s not the point.

It’s to get in the habit of letting your mind wander, connect odd ideas together, and give yourself the space to create without censoring yourself.

It’s a meditation that reduces stress and to discover creative insights.

Should you do the morning pages?

If you’re looking to get in a creative mindset and can’t get the ball rolling, then consider doing this.

This is one of my core cornerstone habits that helps fill my cup with creative juices. All you need is a piece of paper and a pen. And no one needs to see this.

If you want to invest in a few things, here’s what I’d pickup:

Give it a shot. And if you find that it helps you, let me know.

What I’m listening to recently –

Joyner Lucas – I’m Not Racist

In a time where things are so chaotic, Joyner Lucas paints the number one thing that society needs on both sides – empathy.

So rare is it to just sit back and listen to opposing perspectives without reacting or attacking others.

And Joyner does a great job doing it. It’s ok to think different. That’s something we all can agree on. We all need this right now.

“But there’s two sides to every story, I wish that I knew yours”

That’s it for the weekly hustle. Do you have any questions?

Let me know in the comments!