WORK IN PROGRESS - Remaining chapters will be added soon

5. You Are Always Choosing

We individually are responsible for everything in our lives

Often the only difference between a problem being painful or being powerful is a sense that we chose it, and that we are responsible for it.

We don’t always control what happens to us but we always control how we interpret what happens to us as well as how we respond.

With great responsibility comes great power. The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise in our lives.

Accepting responsibility for our problems is the first step to solving them.

People often don’t take responsibility for the problems because they feel that they’re also at fault for them. Fault is past tense, responsibility is present tense.

Many people may be to blame for your unhappiness, but only you are responsible for it. This is because you always get to choose how you see things, how you react to things, how you value things.

You always get to choose the metrics by which you measure your experiences.

It’s likely that if the people in your relationships are doing selfish and harmful things, it’s likely that you are too - you just don’t realize it.

Taking responsibility for your problems is more important than taking responsibility for your successes because that’s where the real life improvement comes from.

In life, just like in poker, the best players are the ones who make the best choices given the cards they been dealt, regardless if they are good cards or not.

The media perpetuating “outrage porn”: highlighting some out rage, then covering the reaction to the out rage, then spreading that out further and out raging another portion of the population. This creates an echo of bullshit between two imaginary sides, meanwhile distracting everyone from real societal problems.

We should prioritize values of being honest, fostering transparency, and welcoming doubt over the values of being right, feeling good, and getting revenge.

You are already choosing in every moment of every day when you give a fuck about. So change is as simple as choosing to give a fuck about something else.

6. You Are Wrong About Everything, But So Am I

Certainty is the enemy of growth

Growth is in endlessly iterative process. We don’t go from wrong to right, rather we go from wrong to slightly less wrong

Nothing is certain until it already happens, and even then it is still debatable. That’s why accepting the inevitable imperfections of our values is necessary for any growth to take place.

We don’t actually know what a positive or negative experience really is. Some of the most difficult and stressful moments in our lives can be the most formative and motivating. Some of the best and most gratifying experiences are also the most distracting and demotivating.

Don’t trust your conception a positive or negative experiences. All that we know for certain is what hurts in the moment and what doesn’t

Our brains are meaning machines. What we understand as meaning is generated by the association our brain makes between two or more experiences.

Two problems:

  1. Our brain isn’t perfect and we can easily forget or mistake things we see and hear. We can misinterpret events quite easily.

  2. Once we create meaning for ourselves our brains are designed to hold onto that meaning. We are biased towards the meaning our mind has made and we don’t want to let go of it.

No matter how honest and well-intentioned we are, we are in a perpetual state of misleading ourselves and others for no other reason then that our brain is designed to be efficient, not accurate.

Every new piece of information is measured against the values and conclusions we already have. As a result, our brain is always biased towards what we feel to be true in that moment.

Our beliefs are malleable and our memory is horribly unreliable.

For individuals to feel justified in doing horrible things to other people, they must feel and unwavering certainty in their own righteousness, beliefs, and deservedness.

The Backwards Law: The more you try to be certain about something, The more uncertain and insecure he will feel. The converse is true as well, the more you embrace being uncertain and not knowing, the more comfortable you will feel in knowing what you don’t know

The man who believes he knows everything learns nothing

We cannot learn anything without first not knowing something. The more we admit we do not know, the more opportunities we gain to learn.

Manson’s law of avoidance: The more something threatens your identity, the more you will avoid it. This is why people are often afraid of success for the exact same reason they are afraid of failure. It’s threatens who they believe themselves to be.

When we let go of the stories we tell about ourselves to ourselves, we free ourselves up to actually act and fail, and grow.

The narrower and rarer identity you choose for yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten you. For that reason, define yourself in the simplest and ordinary ways possible.

Questions to breed uncertainty:

  1. What if I’m wrong? - For any change to happen in your life, you have to be wrong about something

  2. What would it mean if I were wrong? - Being able to look at and evaluate different values without necessarily adopting them is perhaps the central skill required in changing one’s own life in a meaningful way.

  3. Would being wrong create a better or worse problems than my current problem, for both myself and others?