Social conditioning

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/03/what-lies-beyond-the-haze-of-social-conditioning/

If we support a foreign war or oppose it, it’s because of what effect it’s having on us, either individually or collectively. Our soldiers are dying. Our President is making us look bad. Our corporations are manipulating us. Our national debt is out of control. My taxes might go up. My budget might be stretched. My family member might be killed. We aren’t encouraged to consider such situations from the viewpoint of planet earth as a whole, or how our actions today might affect future generations. We perceive each other as separate and distinct individuals as opposed to cells in the same body.

~ Steve Pavlina

This isn’t about “us” versus “them. It’s about “I”. How do I see my world? How do I see myself? Have I been conditioned? (duh. Of course I have.) Now that I’ve discovered I have a brain, do I like how I’ve been conditioned?

…oh sorry, got to talking to myself there.

Arrogance

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/02/the-three-bears-arrogance-timidity-honesty/

If you want to accelerate your rate of personal growth, work on becoming as honest as possible, both with yourself and others. The more honest you become, the more accurate will be your model of reality. And this will dramatically improve the success rate of your decisions and actions. Overconfidence and underconfidence are equally problematic, so strive for accuracy instead.

~ Steve Pavlina

Certainly there is a time and place for emotions. (Appropriate emotions of course.) But my experience is that any time my emotions, or my beliefs get a hold of the steering wheel things veer badly. I do much better when I use my brain to think things through, sort wheat from the chaff, and make plans. I’m not sure where I’m going, but I sure know where I came from.

Origin story

(Part 2 of 2 in ~ Weight to Waist Ratio)

“I should lose weight. Specifically, I should lose some of this fat. …actually, a lot of this fat.”

Since I began my health tracking grids I had been regularly tracking my weight, building the habit of stepping on the scale every day. I’ve read several opinions that this is a bad idea. Because one’s weight can fluctuate significantly day-to-day, daily weighing can lead to “fear of the scale” and stress. I disagree. After stepping on the scale every day for about 10 years, it is now simply something I do. The scale shows me a number and I write it down.

One day I started reading more about physiology. How your body composition changes. How a strength building session increases muscle mass (duh) and that can make your weight increase in the short term. Suddenly, the scale going up can be a good thing.

…and then I wondered, “how much should I optimally weigh?” At the time I began this “waist/weight ratio project,” I weighed about 230 pounds and the “male, 5 feet 11 inches tall” medical guideline is . . . 175 pounds. What?! I would be ecstatic if I weighted 220. I’m not sure what I would do if I weighed even 215— I’d probably fall down in a stiff breeze.

So how exactly should one “optimize” weight? Why should I select any specific weight target? Why 175 (as medically recommended,) or 220 (college body!). What if my weight isn’t changing as I make healthy improvements– how do I track that? I began to think perhaps I should optimize health markers: Blood sugar regulation, inflammation markers, and triglycerides, and that is far more complicated than “step on the scale.”

Waist-to-weight ratio

One day, I read the following article. It’s deceptively short, but quite complicated and subtle. You should go read this very carefully before continuing.

http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/search/label/waist-to-weight%20ratio

A terrible mistake

http://julieangel.com/be-brave/

Suddenly, a decision I hadn’t even been aware I had made – giving up the thrill of movement for movement’s sake – seemed like a terrible mistake. I felt the same as if I had thrown out my entire music collection by accident.

~ Julie Angel

I completely agree with this sentiment. By the time I realized how much I had given up, it was far too late for me to recover what I had lost. These days everyone says complementary things about how much I’ve changed, or how well I’m doing. All I’m thinking is, “if only I hadn’t . . .”

Vast willpower is, well, not one of my powers

http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/01/31/the-parable-of-the-talents/

I dunno. But I don’t think of myself as working hard at any of the things I am good at, in the sense of “exerting vast willpower to force myself kicking and screaming to do them”. It’s possible I do work hard, and that an outside observer would accuse me of eliding how hard I work, but it’s not a conscious elision and I don’t feel that way from the inside.

~ Scott Alexander

True story:

Long ago, I worked with a boy who was dating a girl. Boy goes to girl’s house for a dinner with her parents. Turns out that the girl’s father is a professor at College. The boy mentions he has a co-worker who went to that College, and mentions my name. Girl’s father says, “Oh! Craig was one of my students… He could have done well if he had applied himself.” Turns out father was one of the professors in my major. I had many classes with him, and he went on to be Department Head for a while. So he did, in fact, know me well.

I didn’t do the bare minimum. But to be fair to that professor, I didn’t really work super-hard either.

It was all, more or less, easy.

What would have been hard, would have been being in the Arts college and trying to do art-type-things. Hell, I would NEVER have even gotten accepted into the Arts college at that same university.

What was hard for me? I took a literature survey class once — ONCE. I took a journalism course… that was so hard I think I hallucinated most of it(*). I spent years trying to learn to play the piano, and the guitar– fail. And, I’m out of superlatives, but losing fat is really hard for me. And, controlling my disfunctional relationship with food is really REALLY hard. Also, languages are hard — I’ve been trying to stuff French into my head for 5 years now…

So:

That thing you’re doing that you find easy? …I’m — or someone else, you get the point — thinking, “HOW DO YOU DO THAT?!”

(*) On the other hand, it was the only course my now-wife and I were ever in together, so while I worked very hard, I was probably a little distracted.

What to do with your life?

https://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/02/deciding-what-to-do-with-your-life/

If you’ve read this much without turning away, then your awareness is already too high for you to be happy living like the sleeping masses. It’s time to wake up. The bright light will hurt your eyes at first, even make your eyes water, but you’ll get used to it. And then you’ll receive your own high-powered awareness flashlight. And I have to tell you that it’s oodles of fun shining that thing in people’s eyes when they least suspect it…

~ Steve Pavlina

If you are seeking entertainment instead of education… wake up!
If you frequently say, “I have to…” … wake up!
If you can no longer read… wake up!
If you can no longer write… wake up!
If you can no longer move… wake up!

( …remember that comment I made a few days ago about the line? )

How much harder is it?

https://www.librarything.com/work/17943661/book/137049348

How much harder is it to do the right thing when you’re surrounded by people with low standards? How much harder is it to be positive and empathetic inside the negativity bubble of television chatter? How much harder is it to focus on your own issues when you’re distracted with other people’s drama and conflict?

~ Ryan Holiday

I consider myself lucky that I’m surrounded by such a terrific group of people: loving, supporting, listening, encouraging– just so many ‘ings.

Also, I’ve built upon my intial luck (parents, gender, skin color, country of birth, the century, etc) by working hard to seek out people who require me to improve. I don’t particularly like the old adage, “you are the average of your five closest friends,” because it’s so trivial as to be of little help. I prefer…

People are like goals in that they pull (or push, this is a choose-your-own metaphor) you in some direction. Sometimes, one person pulls you in several directions at once. Each person pulls you in “lurches” and “yanks”; The more time you spend with them, the more of a concerted effect they’ll have. Some people you cannot choose (to add or remove them from your life, to change their behavior or innate qualities). So you best think very carefully, and act very intentionally, to choose those whom you can.

People who are able to make an impact on the world

https://tim.blog/2016/08/03/seth-godin-on-how-to-think-small-to-go-big/

The self-limiting beliefs infect all of us because all of us like being competent, we like being respected, we like being successful. When something shows up that threatens to undo all of those things, well then it’s really easy to avoid it. What goes hand-in-hand with that is the sour mindset. The mindset of, “We are not getting what we deserve.” The mindset of, “The world is not fair.” The mindset of, “Why should I even bother, it’s probably not going to work.”

One thing those of us who are lucky enough to live in the world where we have enough — we have a roof and we have food — is we find ourselves caught in this cycle of keeping track of the wrong things. Keeping track of how many time we’ve been rejected. Keeping track of how many times it didn’t work. Keeping track of all the times someone has broken our heart, or double-crossed us, or let us down. Of course we can keep track of those things, but why, why keep track of them? Are they making us better?

Wouldn’t it make more sense to keep track of the other suttf? To keep track of all the times it worked? All the times we took a risk? All the times we were able to brighten someone else’s day? That when we start doing that we can redefine ourselves as people who are able to make an impact on the world.

~ Seth Godin

Seth Godin has a lot of unusual (as in, high-fidelity, clear, insightful, meaningful, useful) things to say. This bit of insight made stop in my tracks — literally made me stop walking and fumble for my podcast player controls to capture the time code so I could dig this out.

“We can redefine ourselves as people who are able to make an impact on the world.”

10 questions for myself

https://hbr.org/2013/06/becoming-a-better-judge-of-peo.html

Over the years, I have been collecting and reflecting upon questions that have helped me improve my people judgment, especially around personality and attitude. Here are ten key questions to help you better understand the intrinsic “why” and “how” behind a person:

~ A. Tjan

I read this simple (super simple) article with a list of ten questions… and I all I could think was:

Forget about asking this about OTHER PEOPLE… I’m going to start regularly asking these ABOUT MYSELF!