If You Can’t Do The 72 Hour Airplane Mode Challenge, You Won’t Be Successful


Over on my “serious” blog, I wrote about a monthly exercise I do called the 72 Hour Airplane Mode Challenge (72AMC for short). It is something that I am committed to doing every month, knowing that it is going to manage my dopamine levels.

During the 72AMC, you put every device you own in airplane mode for three days straight. This allows you to not rely on a network in order to enjoy life.

I mention doing this to pretty much everyone I know, and then I get all kinds of weird looks. Most say that they couldn’t do it even for a few hours.

Let that sink in. People find it difficult to put all their devices in airplane mode for a few hours.

That is pathetic.

Anyone should be able to put all their electronic devices in airplane mode at least for a few hours.

But of course, there are a host of excuses as to why people “can’t” do this.

Let me go on record and say this: If you “can’t” do the 72AMC, then you won’t be successful. Ever.

It just won’t happen.

The point of the 72AMC

We have a major problem with discipline in our culture nowadays. Instant gratification has become almost a default way of thinking.

Our patience levels are really, really low. People have no idea how to take time to create things, and it’s starting to show a lot.

Motivation is at all time lows, anxiety is at all time highs, and the fact that we’re “plugged in” all the time is a pretty significant reason as to why this is.

Numerous studies have shown connections between being online and dopamine spikes, which are known to hijack the brain’s reward system.

This is why trolling is so satisfying for some. They get just as big a sense of accomplishment making people mad online as anything else.

This kind of thing gets addictive, and defined how I conducted myself in my 20s.

Internet addiction is a thing, and needs to be addressed. The 72AMC is one thing that will address it.

Common objections to the 72AMC

The 72AMC seems like a very good idea…if it is even possible to do it. It does seem like a simple thing to do, but because we are tricked into thinking that we always need to be plugged in, nobody thinks they can do it.

In many cases, this is wrong, and there is a reason why I chose 72 hours for this kind of challenge.

One week would be too long. I’m aware that people have jobs and families, and putting everything in airplane mode isn’t ideal for people who need to be able to communicate with family members and people they work with.

I will return to this later, but keep it in mind, as it does comprise most of the objections that people have to this kind of thing.

That said, here are a few common objections.

Objection #1: I can’t do the 72AMC, Joelsuf! I need to be on social media so that I can keep in touch with my friends and stuff!

I have news for you. Unless you are Dan Bilzerian or something, if you disappear from social media for three days, nothing will happen. Literally.

You need to understand that social media combines all the worst traits of high school as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The meaning of things is compromised in social media and nobody pays attention to any given post for long.

This is why nobody will care if you disappear from it; its because so many things come at the common social media user at once.

Every user of social media does the same thing: They surf through their feed, see if something catches their eye, then they like or comment. Then they go onto the next thing.

Even if you are advertising an online business with social media, staying on it is not an excuse for not doing the 72AMC. Sorry.

Objection #2: I can’t do the 72AMC, Joelsuf! I don’t have any hobbies that don’t involve the internet!

This isn’t an objection; It’s an excuse, and a very pathetic one. If you don’t have any hobbies that you can do offline, then your life is over. You are the walking dead.

There is a very good reason why I never cared for online gaming. Online gaming will pump you full of dopamine in ways that should be criminal.

Online gaming affects you in every way: You can “talk” to people but they aren’t in person, meaning you can literally say whatever you want and get away with it. Winning and losing matches hijacks your brain’s reward system in obscene ways, and also hijacks your emotional stake in these kinds of events.

This is even more the case if the games you play online are co-op. This is even worse because now you are encountering pressure from complete strangers online who literally wouldn’t care if you died tomorrow.

I’m all for playing video games. I will always enjoy them as a hobby. But I play them to relax, not flood my brain with dopamine.

You can (and should) play video games offline. So you have no excuse here either.

Objection #3: I need my phone on this way I can keep in touch with my family and people I work with. I also work online, so I can’t put my PC in airplane mode either.

Okay. This one is kind of legitimate. I work “online” so I understand this. Whether I am doing uber driving or communicating with my freelance writing clients, putting my electronics in airplane mode will directly impede with my ability to make money.

Anyone who has a family needs to also keep in touch with them, especially if they have children.

So I get it. If you work online or have a family, it will seem impossible to completely cut yourself off for three days straight.

However, it is not only doable, but not too difficult if you are willing to do some planning.

Let’s address people who work online first.

I do two things for money that require that I communicate with people electronically: Uber driving and freelance writing. With Uber driving, the longer I am online, the more rides I will do, and the more I will get paid.

So yes, if I were to keep my phone in airplane mode for three days, I will be giving up an income for three days. It would be like taking three days off of work, even though I choose my own hours.

Freelance writing requires that I stay in touch with clients when it comes to the assignments I get. So yes, if I have an assignment that is due, it would be very foolish for me to put my PC in airplane mode in that case.

However, what is stopping me from taking three days off of Uber driving or freelance writing if I don’t need to make any money from the former and have no assignments due in the latter? Nothing!

This is where the planning comes in, and it is why unless you do have a family, anybody can do the 72AMC.

If I told all my clients tonight that I will be going on “vacation” for three days and I am not currently doing any assignments for them, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t mind. Or they would assign me stuff if they really needed something done.

The problem is that people do not plan, nor do they have multiple forms of income. So to them, cutting off all communication for three days is not ideal. But this can be solved with planning.

This leaves people with families, and yes, it is probably impossible to do a 72AMC if you have a family.


The members of your family also want to do the 72AMC. This is something that should be a goal of yours if you have a family, even if this family consists of kids who are pretty much instructed to be constantly plugged in these days.

People complain about family dinners not being common anymore. While this is true, we don’t hear much about family vacations anymore either. This is what happens when people are plugged in too much. It becomes a massive distraction and it will ruin a lot of things.

If you have a family and they have a lot of value in your life, you should make it a goal to do two things no matter what “role” you play in this family.

These goals are to make enough money to where the entire family can take three nights off of life and not worry about anything at all.

This leads into the second goal, which is to get everyone in the family to do the 72AMC with you. Yes, even the children. Yes, even (and especially) if they are young children.

If you cannot do this, then it is highly questionable that you are worthy of raising a family. If I were raising a family I would plan on doing this kind of stuff no matter what.

But maybe, after all this, you still can’t do a full-blown 72AMC. That is acceptable, as I have created a modified version that literally anyone can do.

The modified 72 Hour Airplane Mode Challenge

If there is absolutely no way that you can do a total 72AMC, it is possible to do a modified one. While I do prefer that you do the 72AMC that I detail on my other blog, it is possible to do something similar if you possess enough discipline.

For example, if you do work online, limit yourself to websites or youtube videos that only relate to your business and nothing else. If you can limit yourself to specific websites or videos, that is even better.

The problem with this is that you are still plugged into a network and the distraction of going on other websites or watching other youtube videos still exists.

A “standard” 72AMC entails putting every electronic device you own in airplane mode for three nights in a row. This means that you cannot do anything online or use your phone for anything.

A good example of a “modified” 72AMC would be to keep your devices online, but with your phone, you are to only use apps or communicate with people that are business related.

When it comes to your PC, you are only allowed to go on websites or watch youtube videos that are also business related.

To provide a clear-cut example of a modified 72AMC, here is what I would do specifically:

On my phone, I would only text or call people who need me to drive them places and nobody else. I would only use two apps: My upwork app (to look for and check in on freelance jobs), and my Lyft app (to make money by driving people places). I can also use my phone to play music or watch youtube videos that are designed to get me better at business and money. Other than that, no apps will be used.

For my PC, the only websites I can go to are my online banking websites to check up on how much money I have, my blogging websites to update my blogs, and any given freelance writing platform so I can check on freelance writing jobs. If I want to watch youtube videos, they can only be business and money related.

Now this is not a *perfect* 72AMC. It is not as effective as a “real” 72AMC, but if that is all you can do at the moment, then that is acceptable.

The final word

Yes, if you plan to do a legitimate 72AMC, you will need to take three days off of life per month. Everyone should be able to do this no matter what their life situation is.

In most cases, the objections are pathetic.

“But I have to work!”
“But I have a family!”
“But I need social media for _____!” (No one NEEDS social media for any reason, even “promoting your business,” sorry.)
“But I need the internet for work!” (Nope. Your goal is to have at least three forms of passive income, sorry buddy)

None of these objections are acceptable when it comes to the 72AMC. To me, they are all excuses.

If you are too “scared” of doing a legitimate 72AMC, do a modified one. But at least back off all the dopamine pumping crap in your life that you encounter on the internet for three days per month in some aspect.

You deserve it.


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