Tag Archive | Anchoring

Reality Painting 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is Reality Painting?”

“As a Life-Artist, you’re painting with Meaning.

You’re painting your inner world, through beautifying interpretations and representations. I call this practice, the Art of Perception.

You’re painting the outer world, through turning things in the environment into reminders for your Values. I call this practice, the Art of Anchoring.”

On Magic and Anchoring 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Magic the Gathering is not one game, but many. In the words of Mark Rosewater, the game’s head designer (and one of my favorite creative people):

Magic is really not one game but a series of different games connected by a shared rule set and game pieces.

The various sub-games that make up Magic are called formats.”

“What’s your favorite Magic the Gathering format?”


“What is Draft?”

“The formats fall into two main categories: Constructed and Limited

In Constructed, you build your deck of cards ahead of time from a large pool of cards.
In Limited, you build your deck on the spot from a small pool of cards.

Draft is a Limited format. 

Magic cards come in randomized 15-card packs called ‘booster packs‘. Draft is normally played with 8 players around a table. The players start with three booster packs in front of them. Each player opens one pack, picks a card from it, and passes the remaining cards to the player on their left. This process repeats around the table until all cards from the first pack are gone. 
Then the players proceed to opening another pack, following the same process, then the third pack, until all cards are gone. 
Finally, the players build a deck from the cards they drafted, and play against one another. It’s like a mini-tournament.

Draft is a very skill-intensive format that requires making the most from a limited set of resources. A bit like life.”

“You want to focus on the process, not the outcome, yet you are keeping track of your Draft games and winning ratio. Why?

My current Draft stats on Magic: Arena for the set Theros Beyond Death

“Unlike Chess, which is a game of perfect information, Magic is a game of imperfect information. In Chess, your skill as a player can be very precisely quantified. In Magic, no matter how good a player you are, you are going to lose many games due to factors outside your control.

The best way to quantify your skill as a player in Magic is as a win/loss ratio. As long as you consistently make good decisions in the face of uncertainty, you’re going to win more than you lose. The larger the sample-space, the more accurate the conclusion. 

As a side note, my current sample-size is not large enough to draw an accurate conclusion.

This is an objective overview of how good you are as a player, which is a strategy for overcoming several cognitive biases.

It’s also a beautiful metaphor for life. We’re all imperfect beings, operating under conditions of uncertainty. We can never achieve a 100% win ratio. Even an 80% win ratio is a stretch. The best we can strive for is consistently maintaining our win ratio above 60%. This serves as a beautiful reminder for embracing Humility.

As another side note, this is just a model. To gain a better understanding you need to employ more than one model. For instance, a too high win ratio can signify that you’re not probing the limits of your comfort zone, hence you may be stagnating.”

On Magic and Anchoring

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I’ve been reading a lot of Magic [the Gathering] strategy articles lately, and I was struck by how much more there is to learn when I thought I knew it all. It reminded me of the cognitive bias called the Dunning-Kruger effect.”

“Remind me what the effect is.”

“Beginners have a tendency to assess their ability as greater than it is. As a beginner, you don’t know what you don’t know.

You’re familiar with the conscious competence learning model:

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence
Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence
Stage 3: Conscious Competence
Stage 4: Unconscious Competence

I was still at stage 1 and I thought I was at stage 3. 

This realization helped me reconnect with the value of Humility – one of my central values.”

What if you actively used Magic as a reminder – a complex anchor?

For instance you could use the iconic Magic color wheel as a reminder of your values.

The Magic color wheel

“I love the idea.

The beauty of it is that I can make use of both the colors and the symbols.”

“What do you have in mind?”

Blue (Water) is a reminder of Balance and Presence.
White is a reminder of Life and Love – which I like to think of as ‘the Sun of my life’.
Black is a reminder of Death, that there is an end.
Red (Fire) is a reminder of Passion and Authenticity.
Green is a reminder of Creativity and Movement and Nature and Interconnectedness.

And all of them combined are a reminder of Wisdom and Virtue and the Macro level.

This is an initial sketch. In time, I’m going to keep refining the model.”

The Memento Game 2

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I stop forgetting what’s essential?”

Have a system for it.

There’s two aspects to it:
little daily rituals, and

Daily rituals might include
getting clear on the macro every day [<link; short length],
a daily morning refresher of your values and your purpose [<link; medium],
having a selection of powerful images that change randomly on the desktop of your computer [<link; medium],
having a selection of short powerful quotes that you can randomize [<link; medium] and consume in small bites throughout the day…”

“Wisdom snacks?”

“Nice way of putting it.

They might include contemplating your antilibrary [<link; medium] every day – a daily reminder of the limits of your knowledge –,
or a selection of inspiring books you read (or reread) from every day.
It might even include having some meaningful tattoos [<link; short] and actually looking at them.”

Applied Inversion

Fragment from imaginary dialogues

“I used to hate commercials.

In a period of my life not that long ago, which I like to call my ‘second adolescence’, when I’d not yet taken responsibility for my own life, I was very interested in propaganda and manipulation. I saw it everywhere, which fueled the anger and revolt seething inside of me at the time. 

I used to look at commercials and deconstruct them, identifying the techniques used: appeal to nationalism, appeal to fear, classical conditioning, ambiguity, etc.

Now that I’ve gotten a little bit wiser, I realize it was just a means to justify the lack of control I felt over my own life, and a radical case of observational selection bias. But back then, that was my reality.

The next stage was to tune them out completely, by not giving them any attention.”

“Were you successful? They’re quite ubiquitous.”

Very successful. Think that it is possible to not notice something right in front of your nose if you’re used to it, or focused on something else. The fact that I was lost in thought most of the time also helped.”

“What about now?”

“In an instance of Inversion [<link], of turning obstacles upside down, I’ve turned commercials into reminders [<link], of my Values, and my Purpose, and who I want to be.

I’ve also turned commercials into gateways for inner exploration. I notice how they make me feel, and ask myself why.”

The Art of Perception 4

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Every obstacle is a Gift.”

“It’s easy to say that in hindsight.

The Art is seeing/feeling it in the moment.”


Make every obstacle an anchor that connects you to the universe of Meaning.

With every obstacle, practice SEEING the Macro in the Micro [<link; medium read].

The Art of Perception 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Why do you listen to sad music? Does it not affect your state?”

“You’re the Creator of your Inner World. You’re a Reality Painter, through the Meaning you assign to everything that’s happening to you. That’s what I call The Art of Perception.

I listen to sad music because it reminds me of Death, that there’s an End, which makes me access the Big-Picture Perspective, regain Balance, and, through Contrasting, appreciate life more. It’s also a reminder of Sameness, that it’s a fate we all share, which reveals the Path of Connection.”

The Connections Game

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“If you were to choose one game that best describes you, what would it be?”

“The Connections Game.”

“What’s it about?”

I love playing with making connections between things. There’s lots of ways you can play with it, and I’m playing with discovering more.

One of my favorites is connecting the seemingly unconnected. Pick any two things, and find connections between them. I like to play it with pencil and paper, mind-mapping style. Write down the two things in the center of the page, connect them with a line, and expand in all directions.

Another of my favorites is another mind-mapping style game. This one I play mentally. Pick any object in the environment. This becomes the center of the mind-map. Now start making connections and bring to mind things that are meaningful to you. They can be anything: memories, ideas, people, quotes, etc.”

“Is the goal to focus only on things directly related to the chosen object?”

“That’s one possible game. But my preferred game is that which ultimately takes you to those things that are most deeply meaningful to you. This way, any object in the environment becomes a magical portal into your Heart.

I call this game Connections-Anchoring.”

The Obstacle is the Way 3

Your mind will be like its habitual thoughts; for the soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts. (Marcus Aurelius)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Why did you have The Obstacle is the Way tattooed on your left forearm?”

“This has become the central idea of my life. I find it unbelievably beautiful, and profound.

I want to have it always foremost on my mind, as a guide for action and thought. Having it tattooed is a strategy for achieving just that. You could call it ‘persistent-priming‘.

It’s a memento, 
a constant reminder that,

without obstacles, there is no game,
without obstacles, there is no growth,
without obstacles, we wither away and die before our time.

It’s a constant reminder

to always move TOWARDS obstacles, 
and use them as FUEL for my Inner Fire,

to APPRECIATE each and every one of them,
for the beautiful opportunities that they are,
for making me STRONGER, in mind and body,
for helping me mobilize my resources,
for opening up creative possibilities,

and, when none are in sight,

to CREATE them.

Using life-algorithms to practice Gratitude

Are you sitting right now as you read? If so, then a chair, sofa, or bed is supporting you. You probably have not paid much attention to this fact until I mentioned it. Nor have you been thinking that someone designed the chair (sofa, bed, etc.); someone manufactured it; someone brought it to where you are sitting; someone paid for it – perhaps it was you. It is likely that many people (mostly unknown to you) had a hand in the chair’s creation and journey to where it is now. It is fair to say that you are receiving a service from the chair and from all of those people whose efforts were part of the story. Whether you notice it or not, whether you thank it or not, the chair offers you support, comfort. The chair is a silent gift. (Patricia Madson, Improv Wisdom)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I practice Gratitude more effectively?”

“There’s two aspects to it: 
remembering to practice; the more often, the better
how to practice

In both cases you can use life-algorithms [<link; medium].

Concerning the remembering aspect, the strategy I use is Anchoring [<link; medium], setting reminders. You can anchor reminders to existing structures (eg things in the environment), or you can create your own structures (eg setting a timer).

Expressed as life-algorithms, they have the following form (anchoring-algorithms):

IF you NOTICE x in the environment THEN THINK Gratitude
IF timer alarm sounds THEN THINK Gratitude

Concerning the how to aspect, the strategies I use are spreading activation and idea-stacking [<link; medium].”

“What is spreading activation?”

“We can think of the Information stored in our mind as a network. When an information node is accessed, nodes directly connected to it are accessed as well (first-order nodes), as well as nodes indirectly connected to it (second-order nodes, and higher).

One aspect of higher order thinking is deliberately creating connections between information nodes. I call this process connection-mapping. To that end, mind-mapping is beautiful tool.

To use Gratitude as an example, write down ‘Gratitude’ in the middle of an empty page, and see what thoughts come to your mind. Whenever a thought arises, write it down as one word and connect it to the center.

Like a sun, Gratitude will come to radiate in all directions. This is a generative process. The next stage is a selective process: selecting only the most powerful connections, thus creating a ‘custom sun’. By focusing on these connections and accessing them frequently, whenever you think ‘Gratitude’, they will be the most prevalent.”

“So it’s like a controlled activation.”


As concerns idea-stacking, this means accessing multiple ideas as one unit. Expressed as an algorithm, it looks like this:

IF you THINK Gratitude THEN THINK idea-stack”

“Can you give an example of an idea-stack you use most frequently?”

“EVERYTHING is a Gift.
Take NOTHING for granted.
Appreciate how far you’ve come.

Silent Gifts
What are you taking for granted?”