Volume 3, Issue 30
Whether we realize it or not, we are always managing our Selves. I’m capitalizing the word “Self” (and variants) for emphasis — to draw attention to the concept of Self, which may be of greater significance than any other concept in any language. To meditate on the Self and to penetrate to a deep understanding of our own Self confers the highest level of consciousness, the greatest happiness, the Zone/Flow state, creativity and peak effectiveness.
Our skill at Self-management varies. Sometimes we are in the Zone, though mostly not. Sometimes we are in a living hell. Whichever way it is, we are always doing it to ourselves. As the ancient Greek Stoic philosophers and Buddhists knew, whatever happens to us is not what makes us unhappy, it is our attitude toward it that makes us unhappy, and the latter can be controlled. Managed. It is a skill, one that can be learned.
As one studies and trains oneself and grows up to become a mensch (“stand-up guy”, “grownup”), it becomes apparent that:
- The most important thing to the Self is to know one’s purpose in life, and this gives meaning to life. One’s purpose is closely tied to one’s true work, which one must love or it is not one’s true work, one’s calling. One will not experience much Flow state if one is working at something else. However, I knew a truck driver who experienced Flow by his enjoyment of the travel adventure and camaraderie of the job, so as always in life there are no hard and fast rules.
- Distraction is the main barrier to Self-realization. Distraction is exacerbated by the Acceleritis-ridden culture we live in, and by attachment to outcomes driven into our psyches by conditioning, fear, and other-directedness. In a distracted state, little things having no bearing on our purpose in life become a big dramatic deal and we cannot think clearly because we keep obsessing over this peripheral stuff. It brings us down, making us weak, dependent, and fearful. We project failure, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We attract to us all the things we are fearful of.
In one of the methods described in our book Mind Magic, one does not “believe” anything, but instead takes an empirical approach to testing different strategies and carefully observing results to prove to oneself what works and what doesn’t. Lenses are used as trial strategies, that is, one temporarily adopts a lens or way of looking at things to see if this way gets one into the Zone more often, or not.
Here’s a lens for today: look at your life as if right now, today, it is your last day on Earth. This lens keeps you focused on what you are here to accomplish in this life — on meaning and purpose, and not on the little dramas that usually take all our attention.
In one’s last day on Earth, how you do things becomes the most important thing. Every little thing you do is done with quality. You are in the moment, present, with every person you interact with. You let out the hero inside. You exemplify grace under pressure, Hemingway’s and Churchill’s definition of courage. Churchill said that courage is the key virtue because all the others stem from it.
You find that the usual distracting dramas melt down in perspective to what they are, no big tzimmis.
By this lens one stays focused on the true priorities.
Best to all,
Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: In Terms of ROI. It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.