The best way to improve your ability to think is to spend time thinking. Most of us are too busy to think. We have too many meetings. Too many calls. Too many priorities. Too many demands on our time. With no time to think and make good decisions we rush and make bad ones.
And because we made bad decisions, our precious time is further strained as we correct our previous decisions.
If you choose not to react because you value your inner peace a lot more than winning an argument,
it’s called wisdom and not lack of confidence.
Not everyone who tells you that you are wrong, are people you should avoid.
There are people who tell you that you are wrong. There are people that help you see where you are wrong.
The latter are precious. Hunt for them. Embrace them. They are the ones we all need.
Reach out to someone who has played that role in your life.
A huge step in life is when you start questioning things. We are taught so many things that are untrue. The next step is becoming able to reject lies and live in a more honest way. The hardest part is when you do that well, you find yourself very alone because so few people challenge the illusion. It’s not easy to walk that path, but evolution requires hard work.
All you can do is live the best you know how. Maybe that can help other people… Either way, I believe everyone has to find the next step forward in their own way. I don’t think anyone can do it for you. But it does help to have examples.
“You can’t outrun your pain. You are strong enough to face whatever is in front of you. Medicating your pain will only bring more pain. The only genuine shortcut life offers is facing your feelings. They won’t kill you. Feelings are your soul’s way of communicating. Pain is trying to teach you something, and if you don’t listen now, it will speak louder and louder until it is heard.” — Jewel in Never Broken
The cost of making decisions to please others instead of yourself is misery.
Vegetarian Lion: “Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you’re a good person is like expecting a lion not to attack you because you’re a vegetarian.”
Mighty Mosquito: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” — the Dalai Lama
Checkmate Pigeons: “Don’t play chess with a pigeon. It’ll just knock over the pieces, shit all over the board and then strut around like it won the game.”
Apple Exchange: “If I have an apple and you have an apple and we exchange them, we both still have one apple. However, if I have an idea and you also have an idea and we exchange them, we both have two ideas.”
“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. So, switch off the pulsating TV/radio/online news, you will feel better.”
“If someone tried to take control of your body and make you a slave, you would fight for freedom. Yet, how easily you hand over your mind to anyone who insults you. When you dwell on their words and let them dominate your thoughts, you make them your master.” -Epictetus.
Pans and Pots: the mind is not an earthen pot to be filled, it’s a fire to be kindled — kindle it with kindness for yourself first.
Backpack: A backpack is more than enough for your most important belongings. Everything else is excess baggage.
Smart Children: If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.
Yourself: When you decide that you look great the way you are, the world has lost 90% of its power over you.
“Many people spend their whole lives struggling to escape from a dream prison, rather than simply waking up.” —Sam Harris
Meditation can radically transform your sense of what life is all about—and can lead to a greater sense of freedom and well-being in every moment.
But no one can make these discoveries for you. Instead, you must experience them for yourself.
Accumulating knowledge doesn’t always lead to independent thought. We all can point to instances of groupthink, where the more people discuss, the more they form a consensus that turns out to be wrong.
Schooling is often just as much about obedience as it is about learning. We teach the scientific method, but mostly in the same way as religious scriptures—facts brought to us by authority, rather than truths discovered through experience.
In both cases, the problems of conformity and false consensus are solved by more learning. As you encounter more ideas and arguments, you start to spot the holes in foundations that previously felt unassailable. Reading a single book makes you feel that the author has it all figured out. Reading a dozen quickly shows that he doesn’t.
If you want to think for yourself, the only path forward is to learn more. Not just from those who have the same opinions you do, but from everyone who disagrees. And not just the average person who disagrees, but the smartest people who object.
Whether it is food or other comforts, the human body needs only so much. In the name of living better and luxury, we keep wanting and buying more – it doesn’t work; we only lose our health and peace of mind.
Beyond a point, consuming more only makes us unhappier and die sooner.
Try consuming less.
“Now that your worry has proved such an unlucrative business/ Why not find a better job?” ― Hafiz
Ironically, aversion to failure results in life’s biggest failure – you don’t learn.
Much better to keep failing and learning, even if it creates a messy resume.
Life is bigger than a resume.
“The risk of becoming too steeped in any one framework is you start to be “subject” to that framework, you can only look through its lens, not at the lens. I recommend trying to hold a handful of frameworks in your mind simultaneously in order to maintain flexibility.”
“An ignorant mind is precisely not a spotless, empty vessel, but one that’s filled with the clutter of irrelevant or misleading life experiences, theories, facts, intuitions, strategies, algorithms, heuristics, metaphors, and hunches that regrettably have the look and feel of useful and accurate knowledge. This clutter is an unfortunate by-product of one of our greatest strengths as a species. We are unbridled pattern recognizers and profligate theorizers. Often, our theories are good enough to get us through the day, or at least to an age when we can procreate. But our genius for creative storytelling, combined with our inability to detect our own ignorance, can sometimes lead to situations that are embarrassing, unfortunate, or downright dangerous—especially in a technologically advanced, complex democratic society that occasionally invests mistaken popular beliefs with immense destructive power.”
— David Dunning
Do we accept the pain or reject it?
The first choice is accepting the pain because I know in the long run it’s going to help me learn. I’m going to go in and I’m going to examine my decisions. I’m going to see where maybe I could’ve improved, where I could’ve made a better decision that would’ve increased the likelihood that I had a better outcome. The short term is going to take a hit but in the long run, I’m going to feel better about myself and I’ll obviously have a more positive narrative of my life story over the long run if I’m willing to do that.
The second choice is avoiding the pain. People make this choice when they don’t want to face reality… when they want to preserve their self-narrative. They don’t want to take the hit so I’m going to blame it on luck. In the short run, that feels good, because you don’t need to do any kind of identity update. You don’t need to admit you were wrong. You don’t need to update your beliefs in any kind of way or say that those beliefs were wrong, or that you made poor choices, or that you caused these things to happen, but it’s devastating to learning. It’s devastating to long term results.
What seems like a difference in talent often comes down to a difference in focus.
Focus turns good performers into great performers.
Two keys to focus are saying no to distractions and working on the same problem for an uncommonly long time.
Both are simple but not easy.
The following quote from Epictetus is around 2000 years old. But it seems like it’s about today’s world: “Most of what passes for legitimate entertainment is inferior or foolish and only caters to or exploits people’s weakness.”
I want to control my attention as much as I can. Why? Because If I don’t, millions of people and organizations are eager to control it for me. And what happens when others control your attention? You become a mindless drone.
Most people acquire a lot of information but not a lot of knowledge. That’s because it’s easy to obtain information. But acquiring knowledge takes time.
For example, reading a book or taking a course is a serious time investment that requires an actual decision. You actually think to yourself, “Is this worth my time?” Or at least, that’s something I think everyone needs to ask themselves.
But you don’t ask that when you grab your phone to consume random information. You’re thinking, “It’s just a social media post, a short video, an article,” and so forth. But the problem is that you go down a rabbit hole. And you end up consuming a lot of information. But most of it serves no purpose.
When you acquire knowledge, you do it with intention and a specific focus.
I think the future belongs to people who are what I call meta-rational. That is, people who realize their own limitations. So not all the skills that you think are so valuable actually will matter in the future. Don’t just feel good about yourself, but think critically, what am I actually good at that will complement emerging sectors and emerging technologies.
The world of the future, even the present will be a world of algorithms. … People who think they can beat the algorithms will make a lot more mistakes. … So know when you should defer. It’s easier than ever before to get advice from other people, including on podcasts, right? Or, you know, go to Yelp. When can you trust the advice of others? Having good judgment there is becoming more important than just being the smartest person or having the highest IQ.
Why walk when you can still run?
I’m all for accepting yourself — and the life stage you’re at — but I believe the secret of youth is in the stretch, physically and mentally. Spiritually too, if you like. In growing and learning, and in making life slightly hard for yourself.
You can’t arrest time and you (often) can’t control circumstance, but you can leave your comfort zone. You can set hard(ish) goals and do different things. You can keep trying. You can, at the very least, not close down your spirit/mind too soon.
It’s important that strive to do ALL we are capable of — not necessarily all at once — but that we continue to do what we can do until we can’t. Because that day will come, too.
So what are you making too easy for yourself?
Because: Why sit when you can still walk?
There are two types of talent: natural and chosen.
Natural talent needs no explanation. Some people are just born better at certain things than others. While natural talent may win in the short term, it rarely wins in the long term. A lot of people who are naturally talented don’t develop work at getting better.
Eventually, naturally talented people are passed by people who choose talent.
How can you choose talent?
When you focus all of your energy in one direction for an uncommonly long period of time, you develop talent.
Results follow obsession.
Drink water from the spring where horse drink. The horse will never drink bad water. Lay your bed where the cat sleeps. Eat the fruit touched by a worm.boldly pick the mushrooms on which the insect sit.plant the tree where the mole digs. Build your house where the snakes sits to warm itself. Dig your fountain where the birds hide from heat. Goto sleep and wake up at the same time with the birds. - you will reap all of the golden days grains. Eat more green - you will have strong legs and strong resistance heart,like the beings of the forest. Swim often and you will feel on earth like fish in the water. Look at the sky as often as possible and your thoughts will become light and clear. Be quite a lot, speak little and the silence will come in your heart, and your spirit will be calm and full of peace ✌️.
Saint Seraphim of Sarov
The recipe for doing hard things:
- Get started
- Don’t quit
Whether trying to build a habit, run a marathon, or master a skill, we keep reading quintals of books and binge-watch self-improvement videos like a Netflix series. Not needed.
Reading one book or watching 2-3 videos was probably ok. But after that, it was just procrastination.
Get started. Once you start, it will get done.
Sometimes, knowledge is not power, action is power.
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” — Mary Anne Radmacher
In life, you don’t need to know the answers to all the questions. But don’t try to lie that you do.
Anyone worth partnering with can spot an amateur liar.
Professional liars have a tell. They always need to find a new person to fool because the people they’ve duped in the past don’t want to work with them again. This is why a professional liar almost never succeeds on a large scale.
If you don’t know, just say you don’t know and you’ll figure it out. Don’t fake it till you make it. Work until you get it.