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The Pause

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. (Viktor Frankl)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space only if you create it. This is a practice. Brian Johnson calls it Response-ability. I call it Creating Space.”

“How do you create space?”

“There’s a quote I love by Josh Waitzkin:

The small things are the big things.

It’s such a beautiful and critical principle, and most people think they can wait around for the big moments to turn it on. But if you don’t cultivate “turning it on” as a way of life in the little moments – and there are hundreds of times more little moments than big – then there’s no chance in the big moments.

This quote expresses a key aspect of the practice – and of Mastery more generally:

Practice in the little moments of life. Practice when you don’t need it so that you are prepared when you do need it.

You create space by pausing. I call this aspect of the practice, The Pause. What this means is creating brief micro-pauses throughout the day. Think of them as metaphoric ‘break-points’.

To practice is to remember to practice. The more often you do it, the more often you’ll remember to do it. It’s a positive feedback loop.

Surround yourself with reminders.

Put written reminders in various places in your environment.

Turn things in the environment and experiences into reminders. (Anchoring)

For instance, a great thing to anchor pausing to is the transitional space/time between activities.”

“What do you fill the pauses with?”

“Start by practicing only The Pause.

Pause, breathe, and smile.

Stay with it as long as you need until you deeply internalize it. Think of it as the seed. Once the seed has been planted, you can grow it into the next stage of the practice.”

Inspirational Materials as Resource 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How do you organize your bookmarks in the browser?”

“I have two folders: 20 and 80 (Pareto Principle). When I consider saving a bookmark, I ask myself:

Is this a 20 or an 80?

If it’s a 20, I save it in the 20 folder. If not, I save it in 80 folder.”

“Do you ever check the 80 folder?”

“No.”

“Then what’s the point having it?”

“The point is having a filter when I consider saving stuff for later. The 80/20 question is the filter. The folders are a persistent reminder to ask the question.

Within the 20 folder, I have a folder called Inspirational. As you know, I use inspirational materials as a resource [<link; short read].

When I want to read/watch something, I extract something at random from the 20 folder.
When I want to read/watch something and get inspired, I extract something at random from the Inspirational folder.”

“How do you randomize them?”

“I use a Firefox add-on called Random Bookmark From Folder [<link]. It’s also available for Chrome.”

Life-Games

Two things in life make you feel alive: Growing and Giving. (Tony Robbins)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What are life-games?”

“I think of my life as a game. I call it The Beautiful Game [<link; short read]. It’s a modular game made up of a myriad interlocking pieces – each piece a game. 

I call the Beautiful Game and the games that make it up, life-games.”

“What are the most important life-games?”

Growing and Giving.

The Beautiful Game is made up of two big games: The Inner Game and The Outer Game. The Inner Game is the Game of Growing; The Outer Game is the Game of Giving.

The Game of Growing is the game of becoming the best you can possibly be. It is made up of two games: The Game of Wisdom and The Game of Mastery.

The Game of Giving is the game of using your Gifts in greatest service to the world, of being an exceptional value provider – the highest expression of Love. Another name for it is The Game of Contribution.

All these are daily games. In their compounded effect, they shape the well-lived life.”


The Art of Perception 13

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the essence of the Art of Perception?”

Attention and Meaning. 

By Attention I mean two processes: Directing Attention and Pattern-Recognition. These are two fundamental operations of the human mind.

By Meaning I mean three processes: Decoding Meaning (which is essentially a kind of pattern-recognition), Encoding Meaning (imbuing things with meaning), and Creating Meaning (Sense-Making).

Attention and Meaning form the heart of Perception. Together they create your subjective reality. The Art of Perception is the art of optimizing Attention and Meaning to shape your subjective reality.

The Art of Perception is the Art of Reality Design.”

Befriending discomfort

Mentally and physically train yourself to live on the other side of pain. (Josh Waitzkin)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I befriend discomfort?”

“Practice in the little moments of life.

Practice in the small things.

The small things are the big things. (Josh Waitzkin)

The small things compound [<link; short read].
The small things prepare you for the big things.

Take itching, for instance.

Make it a habit to never scratch.

Whenever you’re feeling an itch, pause, breathe, inhibit the impulse, and smile.

Bring to mind the idea of impermanence.

This too shall pass.”

“Such a small thing.” 

“The small things are common.
The big things are rare.

Life is mostly made up of small things.

To live artfully is to beautify and make the most of the small things moment to moment.”

On remembering what’s essential

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“There are moments when I can’t remember what’s essential.”

“Temporary forgetting is inevitable. You can hold nothing in mind indefinitely. So be prepared for it.

Have a ritual for reminding yourself of what’s essential.

“What do you have in mind?”

“I’m thinking journaling/questioning

Take a piece of paper and ask yourself questions:

What’s essential?

What’s important?
What’s important now?
What’s the most important thing?

What’s the priority?

I’m also thinking reading

Read from a selection [<link] of the most powerful ideas you know that remind you of what’s essential. As you know, reading a couple of them one after another has an emotional flooding [<link; short read] effect.”

On pleasure 4

The art of living is the art of cultivating the right pleasures.


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Take any of your pleasures.

Will you remember it tomorrow? In a week? Ever?

Does it persistently change something about you for the better?

What if you had never done it? Would you have missed anything?
What if you never did it again? What would you miss?”

“Do all pleasures need to be useful?”

“They don’t, of course.

What I’m saying is, unlike the rest, useful pleasures compound [<link; short read].

Pleasures are not fate. They’re merely habits – persistent patterns of being. Habits can be cultivated and changed.

What if you only cultivated useful pleasures?
What if you changed all pleasures for useful pleasures?

Who could you become?

My quotes collection

I’m happy to be able to share my quotes collection [<link] with the world (actually it’s not just quotes but also questions and my own short writings, but I’ll call it ‘quotes collection’ for convenience). This is the latest feature of the CommonBook, the digital tool I created with my brother. 

If you have any questions or feedback, I’d love to hear them.

What the link does:

– It takes you to my public notes.

– You have access to my tag structure (as a kind of table of contents and a little glimpse into my mind).

– You can filter my notes (by searching and/or selecting tags in the side menu).

– You can randomize my notes using several randomization options:

shuffle notes (display notes in random order)
one random note
two random notes
1-6 random notes (as if rolling a six-sided die)
random tag (use by hovering over any folder in the side menu)

Most randomization options can be found at the top of the screen.

The randomization is controlled, that is, relative to how the notes are filtered. If you select a tag, you’ll generate random notes only from the notes that have the respective tag.

I use my notes as a resource (and keep only those notes that are useful in this way).

Some are inspirational – they inspire me and help me change state when I’m feeling low.
Some are reflectional – they stimulate my mind.
Some are mementos – they remind me of what’s important.
Some are practical – they have some kind of practical application.
… 

I’ll be sharing many more notes in the future.

On subtraction and resistance

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day. (Lao Tzu)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Adding things is easy.
Removing things is hard.

Removing things triggers resistance.”

“How can I overcome resistance?”

“One way is temporary removal. In being temporary, it lowers resistance. If at any point you discover you miss it, you bring it back. After a set period passes, you reflect on whether you really need it. Most likely, you’ll forget about it soon after you remove it.

Another way is hiding / archiving. You don’t remove it; you simply place it out of sight. The difference is subtle but powerful. This eliminates resistance because if at any point you want to bring it back, you can. Most likely, you never will.”

“So the second one is better?”

“What you’re building toward is removing things without needing any of the two. What you’re working on is non-attachment and letting go. You don’t want to eliminate resistance; you want to learn to overcome it at will.

You can think of it as a progression. You start with hiding / archiving, which is easiest, progress to temporary removal, then to removing things directly.”

Meta-Beliefs

‘Everything is Figureoutable’ is like the master-key belief.

You don’t have to play Sherlock Holmes and go searching in every corner of your consciousness for every limiting small belief you have. I’m sure I still have tons of limiting beliefs. But they don’t stop me because of that one master meta-belief that envelops my whole existence.

(Marie Forleo)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“That is a huge idea. Instead of rooting out limiting beliefs, focusing on overriding them with a few powerful meta-beliefs.”

“How would you implement it?”

Think of beliefs as a system, and of meta-beliefs as a sub-system.
Think of your identity as a system, which is part of the meta-beliefs system.

Think of yourself as a Designer.

This is the (meta-)framework.

Become a creator and collector of meta-beliefs. 

Reflect on those meta-beliefs often until they become your reality.”

“Can you give some examples of meta-beliefs you’ve created or collected?”

“Here’s a few:

Every moment is a fresh beginning. (T. S. Eliot)

Happiness is your very nature. It lies at the heart of yourself, in all conditions and under all circumstances. It cannot be acquired; it can only be revealed. (Rupert Spira)

I am Love.
I am Play.

It can only ruin your life if it ruins your character, otherwise it cannot harm you, inside or out. (Marcus Aurelius)

Life happens for me, not to me. (Tony Robbins)

Everything is a Gift.
Everything is a Miracle.

Success is inevitable. (Thibaut Meurisse)

The best is yet to come.

The past lives within.

There is something inside you that’s never been lost: your childhood. (Fred Rogers)

There is no age.

I am renewing every day.
I am renewing with every breath.

Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart. (Victor Hugo)

…”