By Pranav Mutatkar

Note from Tiago: these are the “5 stages” a recent student went through as part of my online course Building a Second Brain, in which I teach people how to create a system of personal knowledge management (known as a “Second Brain”) for themselves.

1. Holy crap, this could change everything. I’m going to become an organization GOD

You read up on the course and dig into what Tiago talks about. You read his blogs. You follow him on Twitter. You get super excited. This is gonna be it. This will change my life forever.

Eventually you realize: This course is different from other online courses you’ve taken. This is the real deal. You buy the course and expectantly wait for it to start.

2. Tiago is the lord of productivity

Wow, so this is Tiago. He’s cool. He actually replies to questions I ask? Damn, he’s really cool. And clearly a smart dude. I’m a huge fan already.

I know the best way to kill it in this class: I’m going to pause any video where he shows his second brain and screenshot it. Because I’m going to copy his second brain to the frickin’ T.

Eventually you realize: Tiago is smart, but so are you. Tiago’s system isn’t going to be 100% perfect for you. You’re trying to build your second brain. Not Tiago’s.

3. What’s the perfect tool and second brain system for me?

Roam, Notion, Evernote, Workflowy, Dynalist, OneNote, DevonThink. I’m gonna research them all. It doesn’t matter that I also have a full-time job, kids, and residual crisis stress. Once I have the perfect app, I will reach note-taking nirvana.

Eventually you realize: There is no such thing as the perfect app. All you need is a good enough app. Perfection isn’t the goal. Being done is. You have a feeling you’re going to be continually re-learning this lesson in many other aspects of your life.

4. I’ve given up on my perfect app search, but this is still soooo hard and overwhelming.

There are so many videos to watch and so many things to learn. I have a weird feeling where I logically agree with what Tiago is teaching, but there is still emotional resistance. What is that?

Eventually you realize: The things you are proudest of in life weren’t always easy. Struggling was essential for your first brain to learn. The emotional resistance is a sign you are onto something big. You realize the secret goal of the course is not only to change your second brain, but create radical paradigm shifts in your first brain as well.

5. I get it now and realize it’s an ongoing process.

Weirdly enough after all that struggle and overwhelm, you finally understand the high-level overview.

You’ve learned to incorporate what you need in your system. You have a second brain that you slowly iterate on. It frees up time and makes everything in your life a little easier. You have more time to do the human stuff. Like meditating, spending time with loved ones, and achieving a full-blown galaxy brain.

Eventually you realize: Building a brain isn’t the end goal. After you build one, you don’t get to rest and watch the sunset like Thanos. It’s a tool to help you do everything else. It’s a tool that you refine on a needs basis.

You realize this course is a Trojan Horse. In learning how to Build a Second Brain, you ended up learning so much more. You learned about yourself. And even though it sounds a bit grandiose, about life. Your life has changed, and the journey was so worth it. 

You can’t wait to take another cohort and do it all over again.

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