(#40) Three Practical Systems
This is a newsletter where you get three perception-altering ideas every Saturday that help you become a better person. These insights mostly come from books I read, and my journal. And I share only what I find helpful. So, please share, if you find any of this valuable.
Here are this week’s insights:
1. How to believe
“He may have begun young. . . but that is no reason why he should keep the throne forever.” (Monkey, Wu Cheng’en)
[This, Monkey—the Sage Equal of Heaven, says when told that he cannot replace the Jade Emperor. Etc. And even though this belief does not become reality (?) and is a mere quote from a fictional story, there is something to be learned here.]
We are afraid to challenge authorities.
For instance, if a famous philosopher wrote something, we will usually believe it to be true. Because of the authority of the person.
And some of us also believe that we can never be as good as the masters, and therefore overshadow our abilities and qualities.
But we need to see that everyone starts at the bottom. And everyone is equally capable of greatness. Has someone done it? You can do it too. As always: difficulty and impossibility are two different and separate things.
2. How to resist
“When a future self might act irrationally, a present self can outsmart it.” (Steven Pinker, Rationality)
That is, it’s much easier to decide to resist now, something that you might not be able to resist later.
For example: If you suffer from the universal, bad habit of wasting time on social media, too, then once you’re done wasting time for today, you can uninstall the app. Thus, when you will want to waste some time tomorrow, you will have more resistance on your side—considering that usually, it all starts with a so-called much-needed five-minute break.
More simply, you can do some things now so that you won’t be able to act on bad impulses later, even if you wanted to. To “cut off the option to have the option, or at least make it harder to exercise.” (Ibid.)
3. How to change
Everyone wants to change and wants to become better. But change can be overwhelming and disheartening; the attempt often futile and ineffective.
The reason is this: We want change, but we want it all at once.
Start with one thing, the smallest and easiest thing you want to change about yourself. Work on it and forget about other things. Then, when you have mastered it, move on to the next thing.
Because if you go directly to the core, you will only get scalded. And seeing no success, you will want to give up.
But by working on easier habits and then moving, gradually toward harder ones, you will grow and your confidence will grow. And later you’ll be able to change the worst of your habits.
Until next week,