**Introduction and caveats:
Over the years I have made a lot of mistakes or lacked a lot of discipline and the consequences drove me to start writing down things I would want a younger me to have known or done. I don’t practice what I preach, as “The Way” is an ideal and a challenge with assumed benefits and rewards equal to the inputted energy. Think of this as a lose guide to being in an optimized state of mind (how you process, ponder, and decide, which includes spirituality and the like), affect (emotional stability), body (physique, energy and metabolism, strength and endurance, diverse and natural nutrition, and motor ability). This compilation is really just that and not meant to be a complete methodology, process, or system. It may contain what you know from Buddhism or other philosophies or dogmas and I recommend hybridizing and experimenting with strategies if you are seeking a new path of improvement. This was developed with substance abuse, low self-esteem, confusion relief in mind but should be applicable in other ways such as education and mindfulness development. I always will throw more tools and heuristics out there if I can so be patient with and see value in redundancies or incomplete ideas; and feel free to comment with edits or your own. I encourage you to read through them all and compare your behavior then assess which ideas are most important to start and ease your way in. I think it’s best to start with self-talk, telling yourself what you should do better as you go alone rather than trying to be perfect right off. These thoughts are meant to be an impetus for you to develop yourself. Make them your own, take them or leave them, make them a mantra, turn them into meditations, disregard it as lame, put it on your fridge, tell me how it’s wrong, tell me how it helps, feel free to comment. jI want to note this is called “The Way” since it was for me, but what it should be called is “A Way” as no person can tell another how to live their life. This “way” is a road built on hard knocks and hard studies and a bit late in life by someone blind but gaining sight. With that it’s a work in progress as new philosophies or epiphanies are added to the collection and displayed with hopes of helping people change or avoid the need to have to change.
“The Way” as written while walking, by Tom Larson to himself:
I can distinguish four core domains that dictate individuals’ progress and development: View, Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration. The quality of these domains is dynamic and reflexive and predict quality of life. So you must understand the domains, how you can influence them, and build knowledge and practice until you can gain some control of your affect and potential.
View refers to your worldview, habit of interpretation, notions, and conceptions that make your life philosophy and attitudes. This is formed from nature and nurture plus your context and idiosyncrasies. No one has the same View but everyone uses similar foundational mental schemas from which culture and personality will diverge with compartmentalized schemas. A logical place to start is to optimize how you perceive the world such that incoming information is not distorted by preconceived notions or moods, or negative processing, such as ruminating, overthinking, excessive hypotheticals, or recurring negative feelings. I’d even say it applies to good feeling processes; too much of anything is bad.. The more you dwell on one piece of information the more time you’ll lose to redundancy and the more likely valuable information is miss. A powerful first step to clarifying your view is by exercising open-mindedness and non-judgement. It is important to know and note your prejudices or assumptions so you recognize when they are influencing you. With practice your brain will stop it’s defaults and you’ll go straight to processing literally and unfiltered by beliefs and opinions giving you time to use rational thought. One notable benefit is this opens you to think from more perspectives and so more potential for progress as well as more well-defined goals.Inherently an optimized view is a dynamic, emergent, reflexive, and rational-based worldview that can operate at a higher order, constantly increasing your comprehension and efficacy. This is a fundamental tool to develop and it should become your only view and be quiet and automated. With persistent conscious effort the brain will make it second nature leaving your first nature on to the next goal. The ideal view is a logical first since you can’t reach somewhere if you can’t see it or don’t know where to look.
Effort is the motivation for, commitment to, and continuous execution of developmental thoughts and behaviors. Every human has in them surprisingly grand potential but also the urge to take it easy. Motivation must outweigh the easy path enough that the hard route to progress continues. Take the time to observe your effort honestly and find roots of weakness. When you want to give in and slide back, remind yourself your on “The Way” and progress is too valuable to lose or stall.
Mindfulness means the ability to focus on the here and now in a thoughtful and logical way, including the present goal orientation for future developments; be conscious and aware of your sociocultural environmental status as well as your internal, aspirational psychologic status.
Concentration is a fortified or filtered thoughtfulness that is working without interruption Optimally, thought processes begin to know what to focus on and what is irrelevant to the goal.
These four actions are in a reflexively dynamic state, reinforcing or inhibiting each other, them selves and the whole. If you can get a view working the effort will be empowered and soon your patience gives room to mindfulness which naturally leaves concentration To ease the processes, be comprehensive and attentive like a good student and life gets easier. To maintain progress, remind yourself that working hard now is a small cost compared to the far greater cost of giving up. Plus, one you optimize the domains they are self-maintaining leaving you in a relaxing mental state.
Assortment of Tips and Tricks for positive affect.
-Efficiency is optimization of actions to get the most ideal result. From this, beyond just thoughts of time, all other resources from psychological to material are factors of consideration for efficiency. The result should be achieved close to the ideal, so it must be practical as well meaning best use of material, energy, space, labor, while conforming to other applicable factors such as overall time, right level of detail, affect So efficiency should be considered subjectively as well as objectively, and surely not as just speed
-It is best to focus on one thing at a time. “Multi-tasking” and “information overload” yield a scrambled consciousness that does not produce or progress. It may feel counter-intuitive, but slow down and focus on one thing at a time. This way you can at least learn one thing or produce one thing valuable instead of bits and pieces of little or no value. So in this sense, constrain your stimulus, limiting the amount that comes in at once so you have quality over quantity.
-Stack objectives to cover two domains with one task. Keep an eye out for combinations that can get multiple things going at once with one task to do. Also stack things when the tasks are in compatible modes or senses, such as listen to audio when doing a manual task, but also things like combining subjects your studying like a documentary of topic in your language of study. It can make the task seem easier and it’s overlapping in time.
-Emphasize a rational mode over an emotional mode. By order of evolution the emotional brain is instinctive and the rational thinking. When you are as rational as possible, you will know when it is rational to be emotional. This would not mean suppress emotions but rather explain them away. A strong emotion is disabling.
-Be cautious of trying to be efficient but doing too much and losing efficiency. You shouldn’t constantly be trying to double or triple up things. Only do this when you know it will be effective and won’t feel overwhelming. It will vary for everyone. The easy way to go is if you feel excited to do it then your passion will make it effective. If you feel burdened by it then you won’t gain much and may even gain negative feelings, so relax. Sometimes it’s good to take advantage of these times for solemn quiet contemplation as you do your task. With the right view you will be able to see these situations and activate or stand-by strategies as you see fit. Be dynamic and willing to respond as you go.
-Every time you realize that you need to change a behavior to be a better person, do it immediately. If you know what to do, you might as well do it. If you postone it, rationalize it for later, or in other ways futurize it, then it will never incorporate into your present self and thus risk never coming into fruition. As part of being mindful in a logical way, you must know how you think about yourself. Know your biases. For instance, if you have tendencies to separate present and future events, be mindful of this, knowing you may tend to have good plans for development, but not take the prompt, diligent actions. It is helpful to blend future and present states, since time is mostly an illusion in this dichotomy. If you otherise your future self you lose some motivation. Or use the past and future distinctions to your advantage, thinking on the past and future only enough to inform you how to behave ideally in the present.
-Willpower is fickle and it needs help, so use your knowledge to rationalize away hedonic behavior and temptation when your willpower is weak. It can be challenging as these hedonic behaviors are deeply instilled, instinctive constructs and so are harder to rationalize away as there a brain layer away. These deeper constructs need to be re-arranged and controlled with a deeper concept. If you care more about the opposite of what a negative-outcome-causing behavior does, then it becomes harder to do the negative behavior. If you believe a behavior goes against your self-concept you will be more likely to avoid doing it; making it instinctive to not do the behavior. Try to comprehend the degenerativeness of temptations so that you can instinctively be repulsed rather than have to hold yourself back. You have to want progress in your path more than the moment of pleasure for terrible delay.
-Know that pleasure is an independent element from happiness. Pleasure can surely be a component of happiness, but pleasure in itself is risky. In moderation and in appropriateness, pleasure can enhance happiness; but done in excess can diminish happiness or even lead to anguish (as in addiction).
-Actively acknowledge and avoid accepting true what fits your current view until you know its right. Naturally you will maintain a believe which can hinder appropriate change. For or against, seek counterexamples as a priority so as to not waste time trying to prove something true that may not be. Try to prove it wrong first, when that is exhausted, seek your confirming data. Don’t let your certainty or arrogance derail you.
-Never try to impress anyone just as you should never lie or be fake. To impress may lead you to portray what you are not to gain a position you should not ideally be in. Rather, be yourself and portray your optimal skills and abilities. This way, you will be noticed and accepted by the right source whilst maintaining, or even enhancing, your proper self. This also is a lesson in confidence and integrity because you should never alter your nature to embrace something that is not true to you. No reward compensates for having to live a facade.
-Keep in mind that timing is important. In your passion and effort don’t forget delaying can be useful if the order is wrong or the conditions are not acceptable. Remember, efficiency is not speed. Remember, while biding time until the time is right, use the interim to learn about other things, or try to perfect a skill relevant (or not) to your goal.
-Never find yourself idle. Develop ways of keeping active even if it just means thinking. When you are too exhausted you idle by default. The stop signal always comes on before the fuel is out.
-Fear and anxiety often persist unduly or are made worse by freezing up. If you are fearful or anxious instead of hiding away go learn as much as you can about the source. Even just knowing the details helps since you have more certainty. Sometimes the problem is gone or it is solved because you examine it. Fear is crippling only if you embrace it, if you face your fear it will diminish or die. Fear is based uncertainty. The less you can predict about something you are aware of the more fear or anxiety you’ll have. If you try to understand the uncertain thing; at least enough to quell the hypothetical ideas that remind you your uncertain. It’s natural to want to try and ignore anxiety or fear but that worsens the condition. Rationalizing it or directly engaging the source is well worth the initial discomfort. The next level is to stop fear as it starts by immediately addressing the source with an unburdened mind. The mistake is to learn to distract yourself when anxiety arrives because eventually it’ll get in and you’ll be caught ignorant.
-Develop an objectified lens to monitor your thought processes, methods and goals so you can check yourself for human error or bias and learn to avoid false concerns. Notable is you can jump out of human experiences that are bothering you to see animals making sounds, or matter and energy existing and no emotional baggage for a moment. This is useful if you are being embarassed, or there is some akward situation. Ride it out by taking the objective perspective and see literally without the mental baggage that doesn’t appear objectively. It’s like zoning out but you are in attention still, just a alternate attention. To start, objectified means a neutral, literal, blank slate view so I learned the switch by imagining I was an alien first seeing the planet, human, situation so it’s just biochemical reactions instead of a human experience.
-With humility and assurance assume you are biased or wrong before assuming your are right. This will form a contrast that will help put your reality in perspective. You will avoid errors more often, keep humble and rational, and know better your right stats.
-Be observant and thoughtful of other people’s strategies, or lack of. Be open to ideas and try to understand how something applies to you and how it exists in context. A common mistake is seeing something done a way different than you and thinking its wrong. It’s more likely there are multiple ways than only one and it’s worth noting alternate ways so you can be sure of the most appropriate method
-Never put yourself into the position of being rushed.If you are rushed, make sure you are methodical still rather than frantic. Be mindful enough to make room such that you are not in a fluster. A rush begets slop begets more rush. A rushed state is like a fearful sate. It’s overactive and thinking poorly so it needs to be stopped and done right to have a chance. If you are always in a rush in certain situations you’ll likely keep doing it as you are not learning or developing a solution.
-Have strategies for always being progressive. Know what to do during a stall or delay to keep from idle. Jams, stalls, delays are bonus moments that are just wasted if you are idle
-It’s perfectly fine to take a balanced path: The Middle Path is inherently risky but with emperical, rational safegaurds in place risk can be controlled to avoid going to the negative side. A balanced path is 50-50 but a wise balanced path leans to perfectionism With logic, a risk vs reward intuition can allow for defensive or passive behaviors when ideal and aggressive or active behaviors when ideal. This manifests as an equanimitous person. [The extremes are piety or present-minded hedonism.] With no extremes to worry about it has it’s merits.
-Do not occupy your mind with past and future more than necessary to guide you in present actions. Manifest present. Otherwise part of your mind is effectively gone.
-Be willing to accept your reality has no basis in a true, universal reality but is formed in your brain from local information. This helps you avoid or disengage from arguments, which usually are from different realities colliding and stubborn brains holding to their reality as if it is objectively true.
-Like reality, If you can accept everything is innocent, you can better proceed without prejudice or judgement. For instance, a bees sting, a persons harsh words, or an earthquake of death and destruction is simply the world working along innocently as it should. There really is no evil, just things moving along innocently. In this, we can see irrationality in judgments and retaliation and know its just a reaction like a dog barking or a slinky recoiling. For it is all innocent matter in motion, nothing malicious. You can see true danger or impediments rather than be burdened by beliefs only in your mind.
-Know wealth is not money in a bank but valued goods you controll and use. You may find you are rich in ways other than money. I feel rich in mind such that I don’t need much else. I have all I need and more just in the way I perceive and react to the world.
-Don’t just tolerate failure, but embrace it if its already done. Failure is a learning opportunity. To let failure lead you to avoiding things or to leave you depressed or anxious, is to deny the utility hidden in failure. Gain confidence not uncertainty by finding understanding in the failure. A true failure is one let as such and not gleaned of information. Like success, failure is an outcome that you can analyze to guide future decisions. Fear of failure hinders opportunity for success, just as appreciating only success limits our recoup of loss in failure
-Avoid the common error of self-serving bias, crediting yourself for success and blaming others for failure; and excusing your failure and downgrading others success. Recognize this and acknowledge it as it’s poor practice.
-Enhance your chance for discovery and serendipity by leaving your normal or familiar context. Whether physically or mentally. New context yields new connections, and helps the brain open up. The brain is primed and ready to make new connections and form novel ideas, you have to entice this process if you want to unleash more brain networking power.
-Don’t get stuck into thinking you are one way or one identity or should be a certain way. Your brain is far more modal than monotone and we do change personal traits as we go through experiences. There are also multiple selves wrapped up into one person as certain traits are expressed in certain contexts. Humans can’t be static, they are to complicated and are too active and sentient. If someone acts like they know you and its just one simple thing they don’t know you. Only you know you and even you are unsure who you are sometimes.
-Know that reality as you know it is truly as you know it. There is an underlying true reality, you only perceive a fraction of it. If you can accept that you are limited in how you know the world, you will be able to go beyond your inherent biases and feelings about the world. If you know what you can’t sense or comprehend you will likely go towards things you can succeed in. But do note your weaknesses so you can improve on them and avoid them when they are beyond you.
-Work, act, live as if you are being watched by some smart, hardass boss you are desperate to impress. In this sense, take pride in your work and what you do. If you cheat or cut you know it no matter how hard you excuse or distract. If you are square, plumb, and true you will be at ease and have more confidence which is very valuable and beats the opposite. Often a cut saves less time than it is worth. An easy way to achieve this is build knowledge, thoughtfulness, deliberateness, and thus pride and confidence in yourself.
-It is often helpful to prioritize things, especially when in a rush. With haste-makes-waste in mind, taking just a few minutes to logically decide order of events, protocol, and make a plan or template will save more than a few minutes and lead to primarily positive situations inducing injury or damage avoidance as well as efficient use of resources (i.e. time, stress, material, ). This follows the logic that a balance of patience and sense of urgency are key to proper efficiency. And you have to be active in thought instead of defaulting to the mentally easier rush mode.
-Always strive for more while being content and grateful. Strive to be content and grateful. In this way you can be content and grateful.
Thank you for amazing article , enlighting everybody who reads it.
I’d prefer to share to my doctorate students.
Thanks. Share anything you like from my blog. Free education for all is my goal here. So I’d be honored and inspired.
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Great thoughts … it is one thing to think but it takes the thought process to another level to firstly commit them to speech and more importantly put them in writing. Thank you for sharing … and putting your thoughts in the public realm
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Thanks. It started as notes to help myself. Then moved to the realization others may need these thoughts as well to get them thinking about their self-improvement likewise. I appreciate your validation!
Great lessons indeed. Thank you!
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