Tag Archive | What if

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?

The Gift of Attention

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Attention is one of our most important resources. It creates our reality.

Attention is a Gift – your Gift to the world (Gift-Giving), and the world’s Gift to you (Gift-Receiving).”

What if you expressed Gratitude every time someone offered you the Gift of their Attention?

“Thank you for your Attention.”

“My pleasure, dear.”

On Meditation and Compounding

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Your breaks after a pomodoro (30 minutes) of deep work are 10-minute long, right?”


What if you did a 5-minute meditation during every break?

All these little meditation rep(etition)s compound [<link; short read].

You start and end the day with a 10-minute meditation. That’s 20 minutes. 8 breaks – 4 hours of deep work – mean 40 more minutes. That’s easily one hour of meditation every day.”

“Beautiful idea.”

Active Recovery

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What do you want to do during breaks?”

“Steven Kotler makes a great distinction between passive and active recovery

Passive recovery means recovering energy by not doing anything.
Active recovery means doing specific activities that better help you recover energy.

Both help you recover energy; the latter is more efficient at it.

In Steven’s system, active recovery has two components, what he calls a ‘mental shift‘, and a ‘physiological shift‘.

Mental shift means state management. In practical terms that may mean one or more micro-moments of positivity [<link; short read], such as smiling and connecting with your highest aspirations.

Physiological shift means breathing and movement. In practical terms that may mean a 5-minute moving meditation, and/or a walk.

To answer your question, during breaks I want to 
Center (mental shift), 
Reflect on the previous time-block (Learning Cycle), and
Move (physiological shift).”

“What if you centered and reflected while moving?


“I like the idea.”

Funny Mantras

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“I collect mantras:

Everything is figureoutable. (Marie Forleo)

I am an Endlessly Evolving Process,
I am Relentless Forward Motion.

No matter what, I will be okay. (Charlie Houpert)

OMMS (Obstacles Make Me Stronger) (Brian Johnson)

Screw it, let’s do it! (Richard Branson)

That’s like me! (Brian Johnson)

This too shall pass. (Tim Ferris)

And many more.”

“They’re all so serious.”

“Their purpose is to help you recover balance once lost.”

What if you used unserious mantras?

There’s one I know from the book The Improv Handbook by Tom Salinsky and Deborah Frances-White.

As a warm-up, to help their students get into the right headspace and silence their inner critic, they instructed them to repeat to themselves:

I suck and I love to fail.

It always makes me smile when I say it.

Humor is a beautiful tool for breaking emotional patterns and changing state.”

“Reminds me of a funny word from the adventure game The Curse of Monkey Island


In the language of the natives of Plunder Island, the word means ‘Ouch!’

It’s a funny reminder not to take myself so seriously.”

The Connections Game: Exploratory-Mapping

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What if mind-mapping had no center?”

“Doesn’t it make it unfocused?”

“Precisely the point. The purpose is to discover your focus.”

“A kind of exploratory mapping?”

“That’s a good name for it.”

Loving Play

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

The Buddhist virtue of Loving Kindness is interesting because it combines what might be thought of as two distinct values into one.

This is an instance of concept-stacking [<link; short read]. Or, to use a different model, integrating two concepts into one.

What if you integrated the two central values of your life – Love and Play – into one?

What a beautiful idea.

Loving Play

It expresses both my love of Play, and both values together as a monad, a twin value.

You can also express it in reverse:

Playful Love

Equally powerful.

The Connections Game: Multi-centered Mind-Mapping

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What if mind-maps had more than one center?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“I’m thinking about connecting mind-maps

For instance you can start with two centers on one page. From each, you start expanding in all directions. Whenever a branch from one mind-map relates to one or more branches from the other mind-map, you connect them.”

Paired mind-maps. I like it. You increase the likelihood of discovering interesting connections.”

“And it doesn’t have to be just two mind-maps. You can play around with more, experiment.”

What if

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What’s the most powerful creative question-template [<link; medium length] you know?”

What if … ?

“What if you started every day with such a question?”