Tag Archive | Contrast(ing)

Epitaph Mantra

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How do you want to be remembered?

If you were to write your epitaph, what would it look like?”

Dani the Ever-Playful

Loved to play with ideas.

Playfully sought to master Thinking and understand Understanding,
to make life a Work of Art and inspire others to do the same.

“What if you thought of it as a mantra – an epitaph mantra?”

“A mantra that’s also a Memento Mori reminder. Powerful.”

The Art of Anchoring 5

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the best Memento Mori reminder?”

Your breath, because it’s always with you. Imagine the last breath you’ll ever take, and savor this breath as if it was your last.”

“What is the second-best reminder?”

People. Acknowledge your common humanity. Imagine the last breath they’ll ever take, and revel in the shared moment as if it was their last.”

The most important daily practice

Lost time is never found again. (Benjamin Franklin)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the most important daily practice?”

Memento Mori. 

Contemplating death.”

“Isn’t that a bit grim?

Why not contemplate life?”

“In contemplating death you are contemplating life. They’re two sides of the same coin.

There’s also value in their contrasting [<link; short read] effect. No better way to appreciate the immeasurable value of your time.”

“I keep forgetting it.”

“That’s why it’s a daily practice.”

Contrasting 6

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is contrasting?”

“The process of creating contrast between two entities, in the moment, for practical effect.

The fundamental mental operation is comparison.

A compared to B

The contrast effect is produced by the choice of what you compare.

You can compare something with its opposite.

With Memento Mori for instance, you contrast life with death, as a means to appreciate life more and create a sense of urgency.

You can (metaphorically) compare two things in terms of scale.

With the universal perspective, you can contrast the perceived size of your problems with the size of the universe, thus reminding yourself of your insignificance in the grand scheme of things.

With the circle of knowledge, you can contrast what you know with what you don’t know, as a means to practice Humility.

You can compare something with its opportunity cost.

Time is limited. Everything we do has an opportunity cost. In doing one thing, you’re not doing something else. With opportunity cost, you contrast what you’re choosing to spend time on with what you’re giving up.”


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I don’t like the sound of the church bells. It reminds me of death.”

“I’m grateful for everything that reminds me of death. It makes me appreciate life more.”

Measuring Progress

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I measure progress?”

“There are many metrics you can use. One of them is time.

Robert Greene makes a wonderful distinction between dead time and alive time. I find it a useful dichotomy. 

How much time are you killing every day?

You can use the two as a measuring – and contrasting – tool by thinking of them as a daily ratio (dead-time/alive-time ratio).

As concerns alive time, the Pareto Principle (80/20) is another useful dichotomy. A small number of things disproportionately contribute to your overall well-being and sense of Meaning.

How much time are you dedicating to your 20% every day?

You can use 80/20 as a measuring tool as well by turning it into a daily ratio (80-time/20-time ratio).”

“What about the time that is not in your control?”

“Turn all the time you can control, however little, into 20-time.

Turn all the time you can’t control into alive time.”

Contrasting 5

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I keep this impulse in check?”

“You’re faced with a choice. The choice between doing (action) and not-doing (non-action). 

Ask yourself:

What Value does not-doing represent?
What Identity does not-doing represent?

Make it perfectly clear in your mind.

Then contrast doing and not-doing against one another, and ask yourself:

Which do I value more?

“Hard to do it in the moment.”

“You need to create space [<link; medium read] for it by slowing down, or pausing.

And you need to first do it backwards – reflecting at your choice after the fact. Once clarity is gained, this makes it easier to do it forwards at the next choice-point.”

Gratitude Optimization

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I optimize my Gratitude practice?”

Through Contrasting you can amplify its effect.

Whenever you express gratitude for something, you can bring to mind its opposite. For instance, whenever you express gratitude for life, you can bring to mind death. Memento mori.

Another thing you can do is place every object of Gratitude in your life in relation to three fundamental categories:

Be / Be not
Can / Can not
Have / Have not

You can make a list of them. Something like:

– Life
– BodyMind
– Health

– Breathe
– Think
– Feel
– See
– Hear
– Smell
– Taste
– Move
– Create
– Learn
– Appreciate Beauty

– Experiences
– Relationships
– Resources

– Ideas
– Tools
– Teachers

Reading the list can have a powerful effect because it shows an overview of everything you can be grateful for in your life.”

“You placed your BodyMind in the Being not the Having category.”

“It’s one of my axioms of being [<link; medium length]. As I see it, I don’t have a BodyMind; I AM a BodyMind.

The things in the Being category are the most powerful because they enable everything else.

The things in the Being Able To category come second because they enable everything in the third category.

Which is not to say that items in the third category are not important. All of them are.

It’s just a reminder that, whenever you express Gratitude for having something, to also express Gratitude for the things that make you able to enjoy them. To always have in view how they integrate in the Whole.

And, last but not least, you can conceptually connect Gratitude with Love, you can merge the two systems of meaning. You can see expressing Gratitude as an expression of Love.

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.”

Contrasting 4

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I keep this impulse in check?”

See the Macro in the Micro [<link; medium read].

Bring to mind your desired future, the Macro.
See your Self in that future.
See who you need to become to bring that future into being.
See your Self reflected in all these micro-decisions.
See how all these micro-decisions move you one little step closer to that future. 
See how all these micro-decisions compound.
See how all these micro-decisions grow you into that future.

Then ask yourself:

What do I value more, yielding to this impulse, or growing?