We humans create ourselves. The better we create ourselves according to who we’re meant to be, the better we are at the game of life. Our only test will be this: How at ease will you be in old age when you know that death is coming?
I think it’s funny how there is really no school subject on how to deal with emotions and how to navigate our inner worlds, itis just assumed that we will figure it out as we go. To be fair, many of us do and we all admire these people because they seem happy and to really walk their path. But still, if we would be taught early on what it means to live a full life, we wouldn’t need to re-learn everything that has been learned so many times before in every past generation. I would like to see death, thoughts, emotions, pleasure and addiction discussed in detail in every school on this planet because we will inevitably run into all of them multiple times during the course of our lives. This should be basic alongside math, language and history. I think the trouble with life is that our school teachers, professors and parents haven’t figured it out for themselves yet, so how could the pass on what they’ve learned.
Sometimes I watch an interview of some successful high achievers and am amazed of what their parents taught them. Gary Vaynerchuk for example speaks highly of what he learned from his parents and you can see how this translated in his success. On the other side you have people like Geoff Thompson and Gavin de Becker who have had horrible experiences when they were young and have come out more than ok. The point is that is does not matter what environment you are born into or what experiences you will have, if you have access to information that points you into the right direction, you can live up to your potential. So, here comes the first thing everybody should be aware of:
1. Don’t look too much to the people who seem successful in their twenties, thirties or forties, look to the people who are at the end of their life and are haunted by regret. Here’s the summary of Bronnie Ware’s 5 Regrets of The Dying: Don’t live the life expected by others, don’t work so hard, express your feelings, stay in touch with friends and allow yourself to be happy. This is what most people actually regret, the rich and the poor alike. No one will be the exception.
You don’t see that advice very often, right? “Don’t work so hard” seems like blasphemy even in my ears but if you think about it, it really makes a lot of sense. Hunter gatherer tribes usually are quite happy and tend to reject our lifestyle, for very good reasons. We routinely bring diseases of civilisation and agriculture itself seemed to be a really bad idea in terms of health in general. Why would anyone sacrifice his well-being for some mental achievement, be it Space X, a new research project or marathons? What do we need to prove? This brings me to the next point:
2. In order to be fully yourself you have to undergo some mental and emotional metamorphosis as in a rite of passage. This means realising that no one is responsible for your happiness but you and that trying to live the comfortable life and always choosing the path of least resistance will inevitably lead to pain and suffering. You have to get rid of all emotional, physical and mental addictions in order to become a well-rounded human being.
This point is really huge because it is a never-ending process of peeling the onion and always discovering one more layer underneath. Bein mature is something that is seen in people who have integrity or character and we tend to admire that. These are the rare people and they are usually self-taught. These qualities are not a requirement for teachers or professors, just like IQ test are not required for presidents. We just place the people there who want the job instead of really asking ourselves who we want in those positions.
Our kids will use teachers to model their world to a large degree, they have a big influence. I think this system of the self-elected teachers will change over time and we will find things that work better. If you look at the sheer amount of the online academies or even courses on any subject available today, you can see a trend emerging. As third world countries gain more and more internet access their hunger for knowledge will lead them toward these alternatives to our educational system, and maybe it will change. That’s just speculation., but it brings me to the next point:
3. Educate yourself according to what seems true to you. Your intuition will tell you which teacher is suitable and which to ignore. As Steve Jobs said, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, so learn what your heart’s desire. You don’t need that much money to have an amazing life but you need a lot of freedom to live a whole-hearted one.
I’ve started to trust my gut when in doubt who to listen to and who not to. Its the basic principle of the obese doctor, do you really think his diet advice is valuable? I’ve studied kung-fu for a few years and my main teacher was obese and had back problems. He was an amazing guy and very knowledgeable but still, if I follow his advice I’ll be in his place soon. If you want good exercise tips, pick someone like Steve Maxwell who is over 60 and still trains a lot.
Likewise, don’t take healing-through-diet advice from someone who never had sever problems with nutrition. I’ve never been obese so if you ever read me giving fat-loss advice, be very sceptical. That’s just common sense. Follow your intuition. The next steps for this topic will be goal setting, developing systems around that and learning to communicate clearly but this I will leave for a later post. Hope you enjoyed the read and if you want to share your opinion, just comment below. All the best.