Tag Archive | Self-Actualization

Extraordinary Life

If you want to live an extraordinary life, you have to give up many of the things that make up an ordinary one. (Srinivas Rao)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I want to live an extraordinary life.”

“What do you mean by extraordinary life?”

An extraordinary life is a Creative life.

An extraordinary life is a life of Meaning.

An extraordinary life is a continuous and never-ending process of BECOMING.

An extraordinary life is a Heroic life, 
a life dedicated to Perfecting and Transcending the Self,
to becoming ALL you can be, in Service to the World.

To live an extraordinary life you must BECOME EXTRAORDINARY.”

Project Ultralearning: The Why

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Why do you want to become an Ultralearner?”

“I like to think of it as a Soul Quest, which is an affectionate reference to my gaming past [<link; medium read]. This is part of a much larger Macro-Quest, the Quest for Wisdom, Self-Actualization/Transcendence and Self-Mastery.

I call it my Hero Quest.

My Hero Quest has many facets. One of them is an Identity-Quest I like to express thus:

Super Thinker / Writer
– Super Learner / Teacher (The Art of Learning)
– Super Athlete / Mover (Parkour)

“You used to express it as ‘World-class’. Why the change to ‘Super’?”

“Both ‘World-class’ and ‘Super’ are representational-models [<link; medium read]. I felt the latter is more expressive, as a reference to the Super-Heroes of my childhood, and more mysterious. My goal is nothing short of exploring the limits of my potential. What are those limits? I don’t know, and I have no way of knowing until I get there.”

“Why is Super Thinker / Writer the main focus? And why the pairings?”

“I’ve come to realize my Zone of Genius is my capacity to Think [<link; long read], so that’s become the central Macro-Focus of my life. Learner / Teacher and Athlete / Mover, are subordinate to and integral components of this goal. They are like different kinds of fuel for my thinking. The former provides the materials, the latter provides the energy, and both deeply stimulate my thinking.

Writer and Teacher are both a means and an end.

I find writing an essential component of thinking. I write in order to think.
I find teaching an essential component of learning. I teach in order to learn.

Also, writing and teaching are my chosen ways of giving back to the world, and I’m going to keep developing them over the coming years, until I can earn a living from them.

And ALL of them – Thinking, Writing, Learning, Teaching and Moving – are a beautiful means of self-expression.”

On Self-Actualization and Mastery

The study of forms leave forms (Josh Waitzkin, The Art of Learning)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What does Mastery look like in the context of Self-Actualization?”

“One way to think of it is by analogy with Chess.

Over the years, the Chess-Master accumulates a vast amount of chess-related knowledge and integrates it so profoundly, that it allows him to intuitively find the best move in any situation in an instant.

In the same way, over the years, the Sage accumulates a vast amount of practical knowledge and integrates it so profoundly, that it allows him to intuitively make the best decision in any situation in an instant.”

On Growth and Learning

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I better myself?”

“Learn from your mistakes.

Realize that mistakes are an integral part of the process. Without mistakes there is no process.

“How about learning from the mistakes of others?”

“That can only be a supplement. There’s no substitute for making your own mistakes.

Growth means learning from mistakes and constantly making new mistakes.

It’s an incremental open-ended iterative process, an infinite upward spiral. Every mistake a potential growth cycle.”

Essentialist 3

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How do you want to feel consistently?”

“I love Brian Johnson‘s way of phrasing it:

Radiantly alive and in love with life

Does doing x help you achieve that?

“If I’m to be honest with myself, not really. It’s just highly pleasurable.”

“Tell me, would you consider eating sweets pleasurable?”

“Yes, I would.”

“Yet you choose not to eat sweets.”

“That’s different.”

“Is it?

My point is, you’re willing to forego something pleasurable for a higher end.”

“But doing x does not detract anything from my higher end.”

There’s an opportunity cost to everything we do.

Something that does not directly detract from your goal may still detract by distracting you from pursuing your goal, so by diverting away precious resources (time, energy, mental space, willpower).”

“Reminds me of the core tenet of Essentialism:

Whatever decision or challenge or crossroads you face in your life, simply ask yourself, ‘What is essential?’ ELIMINATE everything else.

That’s so hard.”

Self-Actualization is all about making the hard choices.

The Obstacle is the Way 4

Life happens FOR me not to me. (Tony Robbins)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I remember the first time I read this quote. It didn’t make sense. All I could think of were counter-examples.”

“Did it start making sense?”

“I’ve since realized that man is a Creator of Meaning.

There’s a concept I like a lot from Alan Watts, what he called ‘axioms of living‘, an implicit set of rules and assumptions that guide our life. As a side note, I’ve expanded the concept to include what I called ‘axioms of being‘, implicit metaphysical assumptions about the nature of reality.

Even if the quote did not make sense back then, I realized there’s a huge potential in it. I realized how powerful it would be if integrated as an axiom of living.”

“Did you manage to realize that potential?”

“To a large extent, yes.”


“EVERY challenge we face in life can be metaphorically viewed as an obstacle.

EVERY obstacle is an opportunity to learn and grow.

We NEED obstacles in order to grow and realize our potential. Obstacles are ESSENTIAL.

In Ryan Holiday’s words, ‘The Obstacle is the Way‘. This has become one of my central axioms of living, which I now have tattooed on my left forearm.

Obstacles are essential to our growth, and life constantly presents us with obstacles. I choose to believe that life presents us with obstacles SO THAT we may grow. This has become another of my central axioms of living.

With this axiom in place, EVERY obstacle becomes a Gift, something to be profoundly grateful for.

Can you see how powerful this can be?”


I’m committed to studying, embodying and teaching the fundamentals of optimal living. (Brian Johnson)

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I am an Optimizer.”

“Wat do you mean?”

“‘Optimize‘ comes from the Latin ‘Optimus‘, which means ‘best’.

In one sense, it’s another name for Self-Actualization. I’m Optimizing myself and my life, with the purpose of discovering and living my highest potential.

In another sense, I regard it as an Art and a Game. I’m designing, refining and beautifying the systems of my life for the sheer joy of it.”

“Can you share one practical tool or insight, something that you regularly use?”

“Ask about any and all the systems of your life, while keeping in view the big picture at all times:

How can I optimize/beautify this?

You’re thus initiating a creative process.

Embrace and appreciate this process, and let it guide your steps.”

The Philosophy of the Obstacle

The Obstacle is the Way
(Ryan Holiday)

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. (Marcus Aurelius)

For me, Parkour is the Philosophy of the Obstacle, which is grounded in ancient Stoic wisdom.

I see the Obstacle as fundamental for Self-Actualization. Not just as something to overcome. But as something to joyfully and playfully embrace, and endlessly seek out.

I see the Obstacle as a Gift, as something to be profoundly grateful for.

Not just the Outer Obstacle, but, more importantly, the Inner Obstacle.
Not just the Macro Obstacle, but, more importantly, the Micro Obstacle.

Your relationship with the Obstacle shapes your destiny.

Default Priming

Wisdom is all about application. (Darius Foroux)

Live the words.

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you notice of the myriad things that surround you? What are the details that color your little corner of the universe?”

“I’d say that, since there’s so many stimuli, by necessity, we have to be selective, we have to filter out most of them.”

“This is a kind of priming. I call it default priming.”

“What do you mean?”

“Think of a color, or a shape, and take a look around you. Notice how things of that shape or color magically start popping into view, things that were all but invisible a moment ago.

I call this process perceptual priming.
I call the color, or shape chosen to initiate the process, perceptual filters.

Default priming is essentially a collection of perceptual filters. I like to think of it as a priming map.”

“So a kind of perceptual map of the world.”

“Yes. The same process applies to the mental world. I call it mental priming.

In the same way, we’re primed by default to think of certain things, we have certain recurring thought patterns, based on the experiential/conceptual/ideatic mental models we have in place.”

“So we have a perceptual priming map, and mental priming map.”

“Indeed. These priming maps are mostly habitual. I call this, habitual priming.”

“You like creating concepts, don’t you?”

“It’s a way of thinking. You can think of them metaphorically as the functions in programming. They’re reusable blocks of mental code.

Back to our sheep, the practical implication of habitual priming is that it can be changed through repetition. Repeat something enough times, and it will become part of your priming map.”

“Makes me think of Deliberate Practice.”

“That’s exactly what it is. Only it’s mental, not physical.

For me, rewriting one’s default priming is an essential component of Self-Actualization. I view this process in strategic and aesthetic terms.”

“Another instance of Life-Artistry?”

“Yes. Take the initial quotes as an example. The idea they express is for me foundational. A measure of success in ‘installing’ this idea is how present it is in your mind.

Another distinction I like to make is between passive and active knowledge. Success in the implementation of the idea means, every time you encounter a piece of wisdom, having the idea active in your mind.

How can I live this wisdom?
How can I implement it in my life?Ӡ