We rarely do or say something intentionally that surprises us. That’s because we are in intimate contact with the noise in our heads–we spend our days looking in the mirror, listening to our inner voice and defining our point of view. “That’s not the sort of thing I would say or do…”
If our ideas are equated to our identity, then talking about ideas is very much the act of talking about yourself.
As the media realizes that they can improve profits by narrowcasting ideas to people who embrace them as part of who they are, it gets increasingly difficult to have a constructive conversation about many ideas–because while people are able and sometimes eager to change some of their less personal ideas, we rarely seek to change our identity.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
The most successful problem solvers are people who have embraced this simple method–your current idea isn’t your identity, it’s simply a step closer to a solution to the problem in front of you.
5 Buddhist concepts:
Anatman: Let go of your ego. Stop chasing fame, likes on social media, and other empty things.
Shila: Don’t engage in actions because they are good for you. Do them because they are the right thing to do.
Prajna: Study how the world works, and act according to that knowledge.
Karuna: Feel compassion towards others, help them when they are down, and help them even if they are up.
Mudita: Enjoy the little things. Be happy for others.
“You’re entitled to your own opinion if you keep your opinion to yourself. If you decide to say it out loud, then I think you have a responsibility to be open to changing your mind in the face of better logic or stronger data. I think if you’re willing to voice an opinion, you should also be willing to change that opinion.”
— Adam Grant
“You don’t just reciprocate affection, you reciprocate animosity, and the whole thing can escalate.”
— Charlie Munger
Wealth is having a small ego. Wealth is strong family bonds. Wealth is what you already have. Wealth is helping people get what they want. Wealth is what you put back into the stream of human consciousness.
How you think about wealth, creates wealth.
Buying a Lambo doesn’t make you cool.
Setting up a fund to help struggling small businesses/a non-profit, is the real definition of cool. Using money to solve societal issues bigger than yourself is a way to take the concept of money and change human consciousness.
You’ll teleport out of your own selfish prison into a whole new world. You’ll have a different reason to wake up in the morning. The suffering of others will become part of your suffering.
Using money to transcend yourself is the meaning of money you can take away from financially super smart people.
A cluttered mind cannot focus. Or, rather, such a mind can attend but not be at the height of its focus. I came across research showing that a calmer mind, trained by breathing and other exercises, will allow soldiers to make better decisions in battle, including about when to pull the trigger amid the chaos of urban combat.
If calming down the mind can be a powerful tool for focus in times of both war and peace — in other words, in the full spectrum of the human condition — then surely it can work in your day-to-day.
Not, though, if you’re exhausted.
To virtually everyone who isn’t you, your focus is a commodity. It is being amassed, collected, repackaged and sold en masse. This makes your attention extremely valuable in aggregate. Collectively, audiences are worth a whole lot. But individually, your attention and my attention don’t mean anything to the eyeball aggregators. It’s a drop in their growing ocean. It’s essentially nothing.
To you, though, it is everything. In your own life, it is the difference between achievement and failure, driving and crashing, a romantic dinner and a disastrous date, looking back on a life spent with intention and one spent being pulled apart.
This mismatch, between the way they value your attention and the way you should value your attention, is a disconnect at the core of many of our lives. It’s a commodity to them, and priceless to you. The first step in protecting your focus, it may go without saying, is ridding yourself of the external distraction.
And finally, you have to rid yourself of internal distraction.
We all live in chaos. And our response mostly is, ‘Do more.’
Wrong. Often, the better answer is – ‘Pause and reflect.’
Every day, try writing down your thoughts, worries, and fears on paper. Talk to yourself. This is not some woo-woo idea, it is research-backed, and has helped people a lot.
When in a storm, we need clarity, not random action – don’t be an unguided missile.
“The biggest fear most of us have with learning to say NO is that we will miss an opportunity. An opportunity that would have catapulted us to success, or that will never come again. And most of the time, that simply isn’t true. I’ve found that the first part of learning to say NO is learning to accept that offers and opportunities are merely an indication that you’re on the right path- not that you’ve arrived at a final destination you can never find again.’” — Grace Bonney
“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it.”
— Sherlock Holmes
Waiting for the right time is seductive. Our mind tricks us into thinking that waiting is actually doing something.
It’s easy to land in a state where you’re always waiting … for the right moment, for things to be perfect, for everything to feel just right. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not ready and if you wait for just a little longer then things will be easier.
Waiting rarely makes things easier. Most of the time, waiting makes things harder.
The right time is now.
Just beyond yourself.
It’s where you need to be.
Half a step into self-forgetting and the rest restored by what you’ll meet.
There is a road always beckoning.
–Just Beyond Yourself by David Whyte
“When you blame others for your negative feelings, you are being ignorant. When you blame yourself for your negative feelings, you are making progress. You are being wise when you stop blaming yourself or others.” - Epictetus
Keeping up with the Jones’s has always been a sign of insecurity. But with social media and technology, we have gone off the rails. That episode of Black Mirror where the woman destroys her life trying to get a better ‘rating’ is closer to reality than fiction.
It’s a daunting task, but confident and secure people lack the need to get validation from the digital world. Social media companies play on our need for validation and literally program our behaviour. And it works.
“79 percent of smartphone owners check their device within 15 minutes of waking up every morning.” –Nir Eyal
Again, this is tough. We were once nomadic hunters scared of rejection for fear of being left alone to fend for ourselves. We have that same wiring now, but it drives us to post pictures of our vacations, ‘thirst traps’, our cars and homes, status updates about how cool our lives are, filtered and curated versions of our lives.
You have to strike a balance with this.
Sharing those accomplishments and giving people a window into your life makes you feel good, too. And there’s nothing wrong with it in and of itself. Just be careful. Find balance.
“The game is not about becoming somebody, it’s about becoming nobody.”
“The resistance to the unpleasant situation is the root of suffering.”
“The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion — and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.”
“The quieter you become, the more you can hear.”
– Ram Dass
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” – MARK TWAIN
A lie is defined as an intentionally false statement. Statistics are a special kind of false statement. We’re speaking of a kind of unwitting chicanery: interpreting and promulgating statistics in a manner that often exaggerates associations, making things appear more meaningful than they are. The statistic may be more damaging in this respect.
The statistic allows one to be truthful, but at the risk of fooling other people, and perhaps more importantly, fooling oneself. “Figures often beguile me,” wrote Twain in his autobiography, “particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.’”
Unfortunately, the kind of self-criticism and scepticism necessary to mitigate foolishness (i.e., bending over backwards to communicate all of the ways in which the findings could be wrong) is virtually absent at every level: the “scientists,” peer review, the scientific journals, the media, and “the laymen.” It’s too damn hard to always think critically—and we are not wired to do it as humans—but we must always strive for it.
Whether we like it or not, it’s more helpful to be “difficult” people when judging the merits of an argument or hypothesis—even (especially) when it’s our own. It behoves us to understand the difference between relative risk and absolute risk—and to always report both to provide context.
What am I? Where am I? When am I? What’s going to happen next?
Instead of trying to answer with your rational thinking mind, look underneath your concepts and language, and into the details of your own experience. Resist the urge to stay on the edge of your mind, satisfied with the same old stories and thoughts. Instead, plunge directly into the mystery of your being.
What is an experience made of? Where is my mind? What is this?
Learn to be a living question, and you’ll eventually find the answer you’re looking for.
One of the biggest keys to success at anything hard is believing that you can figure it out as you go along. A lot of people won’t start until they figure it out. And because most hard things can’t be figured out in advance, they never start.
If success is not making your life easier — or at least, providing you more autonomy — what good is it?
Just because someone you don’t respect holds a certain position doesn’t mean that position is incorrect. And vice versa. One of the toughest things to do in this life is to think for yourself, to come up with your own judgments on issues, stripped of bias or preconceived notions.
Opportunities to learn complementary skills are so abundant that we literary have no excuse to improve our minds and become better versions of ourselves.
You can put your digital screen to good use in your free time or downtime by learning something new. You can learn new knowledge on-demand, at any time of the day and anywhere.
Make no mistake, there are also tools that can waste all your downtime. Beware of your digital distractions. Your free or gap time might be the perfect time to learn valuable things, skills, or timeless knowledge.
Whatever your goal, there are tools that can help you build the smartest engine to achieve it without formal education.
If you ONLY read things you totally agree with, you’re reading the wrong stuff.
Wisdom is understanding that you don’t have to hold your happiness for Ransom. Until some future time, when all your problems are solved; when your to-do list is finally empty; when your desires get gratified; when your health is perfect; when all the news is good.
whatever your goals in life the quality of the journey have to become more important in reaching your destination. You have spent your entire life seeking to arrive at someplace.
What if this is it? Well, actually THIS IS IT.
“Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion and this can lead to new ideas. Logic will never change emotion or perception.”
“People prefer their sources of information to be highly correlated. Then all the messages you get are consistent with each other and you’re comfortable.”
— Daniel Kahneman
We obsess about things we don’t have, but take for granted what we do.
What we forget is that someone out there would feel blessed to have the life we take for granted.