This post was inspired by two different conversations I had this week. The first conversation happened with my boxer friend at the club. After our training together he said he felt exhausted. Obviously the training was taxing, but he’s not the kind of guy to utter such words so easily. He talked about how he rode his bike to the club in the heavy rain and that it had been harder than he had anticipated. I didn’t give it too much though, after all that was a plausible cause. It had been a very packed day for me, I just hustled along to my next errand, I had to be at three different places back to back and I also felt somewhat heavy, but I pushed through like I usually do, again not giving too much though as to why everything I did felt like a hard-earned touch down on a rainy day.
Esoteric knowledge is attractive because it helps you understand the world. The concepts are commonly more abstract, but they cover more cases. They provoke powerful paradigm shifts in us. That being said, I like to go back to the basics, when I feel like I’ve gone too far down a path, it’s time to smile and rekindle with what got us going in the first place. A common example that I like to think of comes from professional athletes. When it gets too serious and complex, the coach will often talk about going back to the fundamentals. It’s not always about thinking five steps ahead, but really just to get back to our center. The following list are some habits that have helped me a lot in the past five years. Very simple, very effective.
I am fond of using plain, physical examples to describe certain aspects of human psychology. The human psyche is fascinating, but also abstract and intangible. Consider yourself as a city. The structures such as the palisades, the castle, the gates and the market are your body. These structures represent the environment that brings life into existence. That is to say, it supports the city dwellers. Which in our metaphor represent our thoughts. The citizens as a collective produce a culture. If the citizens get wasted or enjoy numerous brawls we could say that the community showcases an outside image that is raw and mongrel-like. If, on the other hand, the citizens are avid book readers who believe in freedom of expression we could say that they display an artistic or liberal image.
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about a principle-oriented approach. This approach is said to be the fundamental compass that determines our choices to lead an effective life. What I find interesting is his argument as to why we would want to choose such an approach :
One way to quickly grasp the self-evident nature of principles is to simply consider the absurdity of attempting to live an effective life based on their opposites. I doubt that anyone would seriously consider unfairness, deceit, baseness, uselessness, mediocrity, or degeneration to be a solid foundation for lasting happiness and success. Although people may argue about how these principles are defined or manifested or achieved, there seems to be an innate consciousness and awareness that they exist.