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"Your story should not be your fortress but rather your fuel." - Lisa Nichols
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." -Walt Disney
"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on." -Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant." -Robert Louis Stevenson
Dreams grow if you grow. Zig Ziglar
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Nelson Mandela
"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln
"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The only impossible journey is the one you never begin." -Tony Robbins
"Love the life you live. Live the life you love." -Bob Marley
"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." -Helen Keller
If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Mother Teresa
All that we are is the result of what we have thought. Buddha
Stay hungry, stay foolish. Steve Jobs
The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. Malcolm X
Some people do really find fault like there's a reward for it. Zig Ziglar
It always seems impossible until it’s done. Nelson Mandela
Turn your wounds into wisdom. Oprah Winfrey
Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt
Little by little, one travels far. J.R.R. Tolkien
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times. Bruce Lee
A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything. Malcolm X
You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Benjamin Franklin
I think, therefore I am. René Descartes
To be, or not to be, that is the question. William Shakespeare
A lot of people quit looking for work as soon as they find a job. Zig Ziglar
Live life like your the hero in the story.

Andy Frisella (75 Hard Book & App)

Are You Going 75 Hard?

A good friend sent me this video link the other day and now I own the app and book.  Are you going 75 Hard in 2021?

JP: Becoming Mentally Stronger!


the major advantage i think to to to making a case very strongly that one of the fundamental realities of life is it suffering is that it's actually a relief to people to hear that because they suspect it well they know it but no one's forthright about it's like yeah life is suffering okay fine so where does that leave us well here's where it leaves us it turns out that even though life is suffering if you're sufficiently courageous and forthright and honest let's say in your approach and you don't shy away what you'll find is that there's something within you that will respond to the challenge of suffering with the development of ability that will transcend the suffering so the pessimism is yeah well life is rife with problems at every level but the upside is if you turn and confront that voluntarily that you'll find something in yourself that can develop and master that and so the the optimism is nested in the pessimism and that's extremely helpful to people especially people who are struggling because they think oh my god life is so difficult i don't know if i can stand this there must be something wrong with me does anybody else feel this way and you can say yes everyone feels that way at some time but that's and and it is as bad as you think but you're more than you think you are you're more than you think you are and what i really like about this too is it's very much in keeping with the clinical data so for example what you do as a clinician as a clinical psychologist as a psychiatrist as any mel mental health professional who's well trained is if if people are afraid of something afraid of something that's standing in their way as an obstacle like maybe you're trying to develop your career and you're afraid of public speaking well i could try to calm you down about your fear and and protect you from the challenge that would be associated with public speaking you say well you never have to do that or i could say no no look you have to learn to present yourself more effectively in public if you're going to develop your career and you're afraid of it so let's break down what you're afraid of in into 10 steps or 20 steps until we can find a step that's small enough so that you can actually master it let's assume that with three years of diligent practice that you could become a competent public speaker at least one that isn't terrified with five years you could become an expert and let's decide how relevant that is to your future prosperity and thriving and then let's assume that if you break it down properly and take it on step by step in this incremental way that we discussed that you'll actually master every single bit of it and the thing that's cool about that is all the clinical evidence shows it works and not only that that's actually how you learn in life like when you're when you're when you bring a child to the playground and the child is apprehensive about making new friends you say okay well look kiddo stick around me for a minute or two and just watch what's going on it's like and the child will calm down and say okay now go five feet away just go out there a little bit and just see how it goes and stay out there as long as you can and if you need to come back for a hug then no problem it's like so then the child can go out ten feet they come back and say okay well now you know maybe just go over there and and watch those kids and the child will go out and then come back and so that's it it's their the child's going out to where they're afraid seeing that they can master it and then coming back it's exactly why i think that what i'm talking about is falling on receptive ears is because you actually cannot have a prolonged discussion of rights without having an equally prolonged discussion of responsibilities for a variety of reasons first of all the actual reason that you have rights is so that you can discharge your responsibilities it's not the other way around it's like you're granted rights by everyone around you or or no it's not granted exactly it's part of the part of the the purpose of your rights in some sense is so that you can be given an autonomous space that's protected in which you can manifest what's necessary about you in the world that's a contribution to it so i have to leave a space for you so that you can make your contribution for yourself so you can take care of yourself so that you can shoulder responsibility for your family and so that you can serve the community the best way that you can and i don't i don't want to set up a society that will interfere with that but then and then there's the association that we already talked about between risk responsibility and meaning which is absolutely crucial and so it's the responsibility element is more important than the right settlements as far as i'm concerned it certainly is at this point in time so people know this they instinctively know it and yet the the role of the victim seems which is a painful role to have because something bad happened to you to be a victim but it's something that society struggles with so what about people who feel like they're a victim they're right they're victimizers too like everybody is a strange mixture of victim and victimizer lots of terrible things happen to people that aren't justifiable in some sense you know well illness strikes people randomly i mean not entirely randomly obviously but there's a very there's a large random element in it where you're thrown into existence as a consequence of your birth that's existentialist especially the 1950s talked about all that all the time they talked about it as throneness that you're sort of thrown into reality with your particular set of predispositions and weaknesses and and then there's going to be times in your life where things twist in a manner that's unfair to you that you're not getting your just desserts but that goes along with all sorts of unequally distributed privileges as well and so that's the arbitrary nature of existence and but but you can't allow those sorts of things to define you because it's not it's not that useful strategically you're when you're playing a card game you're dealt you're dealt a hand of cards well what do you do you play that hand the best you can why because all the all the hands are equal no because you don't have a better strategy than playing the hand that you're dealt the best you can and that doesn't even mean it'll be a winning strategy but because people don't always win sometimes we lose and sometimes we lose painfully and sometimes we lose painfully and unjustly that's not the point the point is you don't have a better strategy and neither does anyone else and then it's also not so obvious how privilege and victimization are distributed you know if you take someone who's doing quite well in life and you scratch underneath the surface you generally don't have to scratch very far until you find one or more profound tragedies of the past or perhaps of the present you know no matter how well protected you are in the world you're still subject to illness you're still subject to aging you're still subject to the dissolution of your relationships the death of your dreams death itself so vulnerability is built into the structure of existence now if you start to regard yourself as a hapless victim or even worse an unfairly victimized victim well then things go very badly sideways for you it's not a good strategy you end up resentful you end up angry you end up vengeful you end up hostile and and that's just the beginning things can get far more out of hand than that so strategically it's a bad game it's better to take responsibility for the hand that you've been dealt [Music] those who have swords and know how to use them but choose to keep them sheathed will inherit the earth and that's a very that's a much better idea as far as i'm concerned because it means that you have a moral obligation to be strong and dangerous both of those but to harness that and to use it in the service of good so it's it's it's associated with a complex set of ideas [Music] but that but that principle right there is a is a stark differentiator review from much of the material that i read generally it's truly about compassion you use the word victimhood but a lot of folks do feel as a virtue to feel story for others because usually behind that is not that easy no that's the problem is that we wouldn't have to think if empathy guided us properly but it doesn't it guides us properly in some very specific conditions can also make us very dangerous because and there's good there's good experimental literature on this if you're very sensitive to and in groups claims whatever they might be that makes you very hostile to perceived out group members in groups people within your tribe well within whatever group it is that you're identifying with at that moment you know so empathy drives that in-group identification it's like okay well what about the out group oh those are predatory those are predators we'd better be hard on them you know it's it's a mother bears compassion that gets you eaten so we can't be thinking that empathy is an untrammeled virtue there's no there's no evidence for that whatsoever the psychoanalysts knew this perfectly well as well when we were still wise enough to to attend to their more profound realizations and that's the motif of the devouring parent the devouring mother is the is a more general trope and that's someone who will do absolutely everything for you all the time so that you never have to rely on yourself for anything that's not good no there's rules for example if you're dealing with the elderly in an old folks home here's a rule never do anything for one of your clients they can do themselves why because they're already struggling with the loss of their independence and you want to help them maintain that independence as long as possible and that might mean sitting by while someone struggles to do up their buttons for example when you can and this is the same if you're maybe helping your three-year-old dress themselves it's like yeah yeah you can put on the buttons a lot faster let me help you with that it's like no you struggle with that you master it and i'll keep my empathy to myself thank you very much so that i can help you maintain your independence [Music] every single person who sets out to put themselves together ethically is a net positive to everyone around them there's no downside to that you know my book has been criticized by people who've read it very poorly especially chapter one when i talk about hierarchies that i'm somehow supporting the idea that power in a hierarchy is the right way to be and that's there's absolutely nothing and what i've written that suggests that at all like i'm suggesting that human hierarchies are very complex and that the way that you win in a human hierarchy is by being competent and reciprocal and so and so i mean for example even if you're selfish let's say you got to think very carefully about what that would mean if you were selfish and awake because you have to work to take care of yourself and what you want say in this moment but then there's you tomorrow and there's you next week and there's you next month the next year and 10 years from now and when you're old so because you're self-conscious and because you're aware of the future you're actually a community unto yourself and if you're selfish and impulsive all that means is that you're serving the person you are right now you know in that impulsive way but not the person you're going to be and so that's not a good grounds for any sort of ethical behavior and i see that if you serve yourself properly there's no difference between that serving your family properly and serving your community properly those things all mesh in a kind of a harmonious manner and one of the things that's really been effective in the lecture tour is a discussion about that idea and its relationship between the relationship between that and meaning and responsibility because one of the things that strikes the audience is silent constantly because i'm always listening to them to see you know when when the attention is maximally focused is whenever i point out to people that the antidote to the meaninglessness of their life and the suffering and the malevolence that they might be displaying because they're resentful and bitter about how things have turned out the antidote to that is to take on more responsibility for themselves and for other people and that that's aspirational which is kind of cool you know the conservative types the duty types and i'm not complaining about them you know they're always basically saying well this is how you should act because in some sense that's your duty right that's how a good citizen would act and that's a reasonable argument but the case that i've been making is more that well there is a there is value distinctions between things some things are worth doing and some things aren't and you can kind of discover what that is for yourself and then you should aim at the things that are most worth doing and what you'll find if you watch carefully is that the things that you find worth doing are almost always associated with an increase in responsibility because if you think about the people you admire for example you spontaneously admire people and that's a manifestation of the instinct to imitate and people are very imitative you don't admire people who don't take care of themselves like unless there's something wrong with you you at least want an admirable person to be accountable for themselves and then if they've got something left over so they can be accountable for their family well then that's a net plus obviously that's someone you think is solid and then maybe they take care of some more people they have a business or they're involved in the community in some positive way you see well that's a person whose pattern of being is worth imitating and so and that's all associated with responsibility and it's so interesting because it's as if it's as if everybody kind of knows this but that it hasn't crystallized it's like well you should be responsible because that's what a good citizen is it's not no no you should be responsible because you need to have a deep meaning in your life to offset the suffering so you don't get bitter and the way you do that is to bear a heavy load you know to get yourself in in check for you now and for you in the future and then to do the same for your family and your community and that there's real nobility in that and there's real meaning and more the other thing that i've been suggesting to people and i also believe this is that and i think that the guys that have come to talk to me especially the ones that have had real life real rough lives they really understand this if you don't get your act together and you let yourself slide then what kind of moves in to take the place of what you could have been is something that's really not good at all so it's not only that if you're living a like a dissolute life that you're not aiming at anything positive and so you don't have any real meaning and you're subsumed by anxiety and all of that hopelessness but something kind of hellish moves in there too to to occupy that place and so then you end up making things worse and when you know one of the things i learned about studying totalitarian systems whether they were on the right or the left was that part of the reason that the totalitarian horrors of the 20th century manifested themselves was because average people didn't take on the proper responsibility they shut their eyes when their eyes should have been open even though they knew it and they didn't said things they knew they shouldn't have done and said and that was what supported those horrible systems so you know if you don't get your act together then you leave a little space for hell and i really believe that so i figured something out that i thought i'd tell you about this took me like 30 years to figure out and i figured it out on this tour so there's this old idea you know that you have to rescue your father from the belly of the whale right from some monster that's deep in the abyss you see that pinocchio for example but it's a very common idea and i figured out why that is i think so imagine that we already know from a clinical perspective that you know if you set out a path towards a goal which you want to do because you need a goal and you need a path because that provides you with positive emotion right so you set up something as valuable so that implies a hierarchy you set up something as valuable you decide that you're going to do that instead of other things so that's kind of a sacrifice because you're sacrificing everything else to pursue that and then you experience a fair bit of positive emotion and meaning as you watch yourself move towards the goal and so the implication of that is the the better the goal the the more full and rich your experience is going to be when you pursue it so that's one of the reasons of that's one of the reasons for developing a vision and for fleshing yourself out philosophically because you want to aim at the highest goal that you can manage okay so you do that and then what you'll find is that as you move towards the goal there are certain things that that that you have to accomplish that frighten you you know maybe you have to learn to be a better speaker a better writer a better thinker you have to be better to people around you or you have to learn some new skills and you're afraid of that whatever because it's going to stretch you if you if you pursue a goal and it's and so that'll put you up against challenges okay so all the clinical data indicates well the opposite of safe spaces as jonathan height has been pointing out that what you want to do when you identify something that someone is avoiding that they need to do because they're afraid you have them voluntary con voluntarily confronted and so you break it down what you try to do if you're a behavior therapist is you break down the thing they're avoiding into smaller and smaller pieces until you find a piece that's small enough so they'll do it and it doesn't really matter as long as they start it you know then they can put the next piece on in the next piece and what happens is they don't get less afraid exactly they get braver they get it's like there's more of them you can and here's why so imagine you do something new and that's informative right there's information in the action and then you can incorporate that information and turn it into a skill and turn it into a transformation of your perceptions so there's more to you because you've tried something new so that's one thing but the second thing is and there's good biological evidence for this now that if you put yourself in a new situation then new genes code for new proteins and build new neural structures and new nervous system structures same thing happens to some degree when you work out right because your your muscles are responding to the load but your nervous system does that too so you imagine that there's a lot of potential you locked in your genetic code and then if you put yourself in a new situation then then the stress that's the situational stress that's produced by that particular situation unlocks those genes and then builds new parts of you and so that's very cool because who knows how much there is locked inside of you okay so now here's the idea so let's assume that that scales as you take on heavier and heavier loads that more and more of you you get more and more informed because you're doing more and more difficult things but more and more of you gets unlocked and so then what that would imply is that if you got to the point where you could look at the darkest things so that would be the abyss right that would be the deepest abyss if you could look at the harshest things like the most brutal parts of the suffering of the world and the malevolence of people and society if you could look that look at that straight and and directly that that would turn you on maximally and so that's the idea of rescuing your father because imagine that you're like the potential composite of of all your all the ancestral wisdom that's locked inside of you biologically but that's not going to come out at all unless you stress yourself unless you unless you challenge yourself and the bigger the challenge you take on the more that's going to turn on and so that as you take on a broader and broader range of challenges and you push yourself harder then more and more of what you could be turns on and that's equivalent to transforming yourself into the ancestral father into all because you're you're like the what would you call it you're the consequence of all these living beings that have come before you and that's all part of your biological potentiality and then if you can push yourself then all that clicks on and that turns you into who you could be that's and that's the re-representation of that positive ancestral father so that's why you rescue your father from the belly of the beast the two major problems that people face obviously are suffering tragedy and malevolence and so that's the other thing that you're responsible for is that you're supposed to look at the capacity for human evil as clearly as you possibly can it's a very terrifying thing you know that causes post-traumatic stress disorder in people that aren't accustomed to it and in the mythology that's associated with the encounter with evil it's almost always the case that the entity that does the encountering even if it does it voluntarily is is is hurt by it so the egyptian god horus for example who's the eye and the falcon the thing that can see and pay attention when he encounters his evil uncle seth who's the precursor of satan he loses an eye because it's no joke to encounter malevolence you know it can really shake you but the idea would be that if you can face the malevolence and you can face the suffering then that maximally that opens the door to your maximal potential and then the option the optimistic part of that is and then this is this is why it's so useful to peer into the darkness let's say the optimistic part of that is is that although the suffering is great and the malevolence is is deep your capacity to transcend it is stronger another thing i've always often asked my undergraduate classes is you know there's this idea that that people have that people have a conscience and you know what the conscience is it's it's this feeling or voice you have in your head just before you do something that you know is stupid telling you that probably you shouldn't do that stupid thing you don't have to listen to it strangely enough but you go ahead and do it anyways and then of course exactly what the conscience told you was going to happen inevitably happen so that you feel even stupider about it than you would if it happened by accident because you you know i knew this was going to happen i got a warning it was going to happen and i went and did it anyways and the funny thing too is that that conscience operates within people and we really don't understand what the hell that is so you might say well what would happen if you abided by your conscience for five years or for ten years what sort of position might you be in what sort of family might you have what sort of relationship might you be able to forge and you can be bloody sure that a relationship that's forged on the basis of who you actually are is going to be a lot stronger and more welcome than one that's forged on the basis of who you aren't now of course that means that the person you're with has to deal with the full force of you in all your ability and your catastrophe and that's a very very difficult thing to negotiate but if you do negotiate it well at least you you have something you have somewhere solid to stand and you have somewhere to live you have a real life and it's a great basis upon which to bring children into the world for example because you can have an actual relationship with them instead of torturing them half to death which is what happens in a tremendous a tremendously large minority of cases well it's more than that too because and this is what i'll close with and this is why i wanted to introduce social nissan's writings to you you see because it isn't merely that your fate depends on whether or not you get your act together and to what degree you decide that you're going to live out your own genuine being it isn't only your fate it's the fate of everyone that you're networked with and so you know you think well there's nine billion seven billion people in the world we're going to peak at about nine billion by the way and then it'll decline rapidly but seven billion people in the world and who are you you're just one little dust mote among that seven billion and so it really doesn't matter what you do or don't do but that's simply not the case it's the wrong model because you're at the center of a network you're a node in a network of course that's even more true now that we have social media you'll you'll know a thousand people at least over the course of your life and they'll know a thousand people each and that puts you one person away from a million and two persons away from a billion and so that's how you're connected and the things you do they're like dropping a stone in a pond the ripples move outward and they affect things in ways that you can't fully comprehend and it means that the things that you do and that you don't do are far more important than you think if you can teach people to stand up in the face of the things they're afraid of they get stronger and you don't know what the upper limits to that are because you might ask yourself like if for 10 years if you didn't avoid doing what you knew you needed to do by the deaf by your own definitions right within the value structure that you've created to the degree that you've done that what would you be like well you know there are remarkable people who come into the world from time to time and there are people who do find out over decades long periods what they could be like if they were who they were if they said if they spoke their being forward and they get stronger and stronger and stronger and we don't know the limits to that we do not know the limits to that and so you could say well in part perhaps the reason that you're suffering unbearably can be left at your feet because you're not everything you could be and you know it and of course that's a terrible thing to admit and it's a terrible thing to consider but there's real promise in it right because it means that perhaps there's another way that you could look at the world and the number another way that you could act in the world so what it would reflect back to you would be much better than what it reflects back to you now and then the second part of that is well imagine that many people did that because we've done a lot as human beings we've done a lot of remarkable things and i've told you already i think before that today for example about 250 000 people will be lifted out of abject poverty and about 300 000 people attached to the electrical power grid we're making people we're lifting people out of poverty collectively at a faster rate that's ever occurred in the history of humankind by a huge margin and that's been going on unbelievably quickly since the year 2000 the u.n had planned to have poverty between 2000 and 2015 and it was accomplished by 2013. so there's inequality developing in many places and you hear lots of political agitation about that but overall the the tide is lifting everyone up and that's a great thing and we have no idea how fast we could multiply that if people got their act together and really aimed at it because you know my my experience is with people that we're probably running at about 51 of our capacity something i mean you can think about this yourselves i often ask undergraduates how many hours a day you waste or how many hours a week you waste and the classic answer is something like four to six hours a day you know inefficient studying watching things on youtube that not only do you not want to watch that you don't even care about that make you feel horrible about watching after you're done that's probably four hours right there you know you think well that's 20 25 hours a week it's 100 hours a month that's two and a half full work weeks it's half a year of work weeks per year and if your time is worth twenty dollars an hour which is a radical underestimate it's probably more like 50 if you think about it in terms of deferred wages if you're wasting 20 hours a week you're wasting fifty thousand dollars a year and you are doing that right now and it's because you're young wasting fifty thousand dollars a year is a way bigger catastrophe than it would be for me to waste it because i'm not gonna last nearly as long and so if your life isn't everything it could be you could ask yourself well what would happen if you just stopped wasting the opportunities that are in front of you you'd be who knows how much more efficient 10 times more efficient 20 times more efficient that's the pareto distribution you have no idea how efficient efficient people get it's completely it's off the charts well and if we all got our act together collectively and stop making things worse because that's another thing people do all the time not only do they not do what they should to make things better they actively attempt to make things worse because they're spiteful or resentful or arrogant or deceitful or or homicidal or genocidal or all of those things all bundled together in an absolutely pathological package if people stopped really really trying just to make things worse we have no idea how much better they would get just because of that so there's this weird dynamic that's part of the existential system of ideas between human vulnerability social judgment both of which are are are are major causes of suffering and the failure of individuals to adopt the responsibility that they know they should adopt [Music] and so if you act that way of course the terror of realizing that is that it actually starts to matter what you do and you might say well that's better than living a meaningless existence it's better for it to matter but i mean if you really asked yourself would you be so sure if you had the choice i can live with no responsibility whatsoever the price i pay is that nothing matters or i can reverse it and everything matters but i have to take the responsibility that's associated with that it's not so obvious to me that people would take the meaningful path you know when you say well nihilists suffer dreadfully because there's no meaning in their life and they still suffer yeah but the advantage is they have no responsibility so that's the payoff and i actually think that's the motivation say well i can't help being nihilistic all my belief systems have collapsed it's like yeah maybe maybe you've just allowed them to collapse because it's a hell of a lot easier than acting them out and the price you pay is some meaningless suffering but you can always whine about that and people will feel sorry for you and you have the option of taking the pathway of the martyr so that's a pretty good deal all things considered especially when they are when the alternative is to bear your burden properly and to live forthrightly in the world well what solzhenitsyn figured out and so many people in the 20th century it's not just him even though he's the best example is that if you live a pathological life you pathologize your society and if enough people do that then it's hell really really and you can read the gulag archipelago if you have the fortitude to do that and you'll see exactly what hell is like and then you can decide if that's a place you'd like to visit or even more importantly if it's a light if it's a place you'd like to visit and take all your family and friends because that's what happened in the 20th century you know we don't live that long right and and we're really complicated and it's not easy to learn how to be a person you know i mean it takes you like 40 years before you can learn to be a person enough so that you can get out of your mother's basement so it's hard that's half your life before well maybe not 40 but but certainly sometimes um it takes a long time to learn how to be a human being and and we're very very complicated we're we're way more complicated than we can understand you know and we've been watching each other for a long time watching ourselves telling stories about ourselves trying to draw some wisdom from our self observations to teach to our children and to our grandchildren and so forth and we've codified them in all sorts of strange ways in these memorable stories fairy tales and myths and religious stories all of those things and what are they there for [Music] they're there to remind us who we are because we need to know who we are i i believe the most important idea that's ever been generated is the the idea that men and women are made in the image of god i think that a culture that doesn't that isn't predicated on that belief knowingly or unknowingly and better knowingly is doomed to absolute catastrophe because there's no reason to assume that there isn't something about us that's of transcendent value i mean if if for no other reason than the fact of our consciousness you know like here we are we're aware of of what there is and it isn't even obvious that there could be what there is if there wasn't something that's aware of it and so our very awareness is plays an integral role in the fact of being itself you know and metaphysics aside it's hard to see that anything could be more vital than that more important than that and then it isn't only that we apprehend reality you know and and therefore give it give it shape merely by our perceptions it's also clearly the case that we partake in its shaping and and we call ourselves on that you know you you you know you know that you feel guilty and ashamed when you're not doing what you could be doing when you're not living up to your potential when you're not making the most of what's offered to you you understand at a very deep level that you're that you're that you're what would you you're you're breaking there's no other way of saying it you're breaking a divine commandment you're offered this unbelievably rich possibility and it's there for you to grapple with and and you say well i don't believe in such things that in the divinity of humanity or in divinity itself or in the divine for that matter but you you can't fool yourself with that kind of argumentation it doesn't stop you from feeling guilty and ashamed and worthless and disappointed and frustrated and angry and vengeful at the fact that you're wasting your life and you're noticing it and that you're making yourself much less than you could be and that you're making things around you worse for everyone else and like perhaps there's a psychopath or two in the audience who just doesn't give a damn and who is focused only on instantaneous gratification for their most primordial impulses this moment right but it's not a sustainable mode of being and it's very rare and so the purpose of religious ideas is to wake us up it's to remind us who we are right it's to remind us that we're imbued with with a spirit that can be best described in some sense as a mortal it's it's the spirit that allows all of us to be conscious that we all participate in simultaneously that gives rise to the world and shapes it [Music] in order to have any positive meaning in your life you have to have identified a goal and you have to be working towards it and there is a technical reason for that and the technical reason as far as i can tell is that the circuitry that produces the kind of positive emotion that people really like is only activated when you notice that you're when you're proceeding towards a goal that you value and so that means that if you don't have a goal that you value you can't have any positive emotion so technically that's the incentive reward system and it's the underlying circuitry is dopaminergic and when that circuitry is activated then it's part of the exploratory circuit it makes you it gives you the sense of being actively engaged in something worthwhile and that's you know you tend to think of positive emotion as something produced by reward but there's two kinds of positive emotion one is the reward that's associated with satiation and that's consumatory reward and that's the reward you get when you're hungry and you eat but the thing about eating when you're hungry is that it destroys the framework within which you were operating right it's time to eat while you eat and then that framework's no longer relevant so the consumatory reward eliminates the value framework and then you're stuck with well what are you going to do next and so the consumatory reward has with its own problems but the incentive reward is constantly what keeps you moving forward and incentive reward because it's dopaminergic also is analgesic literally analgesic so if you're in pain you take opiates and that that will cut the pain but so will psychomotor stimulants like cocaine or amphetamines and so it's literally the case that if you're engaged in something that's engaging and you're working towards a goal that you're going to feel less pain and you can see this happening with athletes who you know they'll break their thumb or something or maybe sometimes even their ankle and they'll keep playing the game of course afterwards they're suffering like mad but the fact that they're so filled with goal directed enthusiasm means that well the pain systems are in some sense shut off so that's an interesting thing because what it suggests i mean then you could imagine i might say well how happy you are you that you've made a certain amount of progress and if you think about it what you'd say is well it depends on how much progress and in relationship to what so hypothetically you're going to be happier if you've made quite a bit of progress towards a really important goal and then you have to think through what it means for a goal to be really important because that's not obvious now you could say you're in this class and you're listening to some information and maybe there's two reasons for that you might find the information interesting per se but let's forget about that for a minute you need to listen to the information so that you can do well on the assignment so that you can do well in the class you need to do well in your classes so that you can finish up your degree you need to finish up your degree so that you can find your place in the world you need to do that so that you're financially stable and maybe you can start a family and have a life and that's all part of being a good person something like that and so that's a hierarchy of goals and you might say that being a good person would be the thing however vaguely thought through that's at the top of that hierarchy and then when you're doing things that serve the that ultimate purpose then you're going to find those more meaningful and that meaning is actually produced as a consequence of the engagement of this exploratory circuit that's nested right down in your hypothalamus it's really really old it's as old as thirst and it's as old as hunger it's really an old system and so you want to have that thing activated you speak frequently in your lectures about i guess the war between good and evil or the struggle of life really is a struggle between good and evil being at the core of a conscious lived existence and i guess on that note if you were 100 certain that there was no afterlife would you still be able to preach that there's a positive meaning in life if you were 100 certain some atheists seem to be 100 certain and yet they still preach that there's some positive meaning to life would you be one of those or would you turn into cain you know so cynical i think that well as far as i'm concerned one of the things i learned from studying 20th century history is that like even if the idea that even if you take the most cynical of ideas let's say that life is irredeemable suffering and and perhaps isn't even justified because of that it still seems to me that you have an ethical duty let's say to live in a manner that reduces that to the degree that that's possible and so and i think that that can be experienced as meaningful in some sense independently of the transcendent context now i don't exactly know how to strip off the transcendent context because one of the things i would say that's happened to me is because i've spent so much time looking at the horrible things that people have done is that it's like jung said that he when this is one of his famous quotes he said no tree can reach up to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell and so as i've dug deeper into the depravity of human beings my sense of the possibility of human beings has also grown what would you say in proportion and until i've become convinced actually that good is a more powerful force than evil even though evil is an unbelievably powerful force and so i can't really strip the transcendent away now whether what bearing that has on eternity say on an afterlife i mean i i i can't say anything about that the only thing i guess i can say is that there are many things about being that we don't understand in the least and we don't understand the nature of consciousness or the nature of time so i i'm not i wouldn't despair about that but yes i think that life can still be meaningful without without there being a necessity of an afterlife so i might say well why are you going to university or i might say what are you doing right now and then the answer would be while i'm sitting in class and then the question would be well why are you sitting in class and the answer that would be well because i i want to take this course and why well it's because i want to get my degree so why well because i want to be prepared for a career and a you know a productive and high quality life when i get out well why well you know you can keep saying why pretty much indefinitely and as you answer you go farther and farther out in time scales now it's a tricky thing because one of the things i might tell you this is a very complex cognitive problem is well where should you stop so for example um i could say to you do you want a hundred dollars an hour do you want 50 000 years in 75 years you're gonna think well i'll probably take the hundred dollars now well how about 200 years it's like well i'm not gonna be there i'll take 100 bucks now well so obviously thinking out 200 years is not that helpful now you might think well no you should calculate the effects of your actions on it the fastest time span possible and include the largest number of people if you're really going to equilibrate it but the problem is you can't do the compute computations because you get you get this thing called combinatorial explosion happening which is that it's like a chess board you make one move okay fine but then you could make four and then with each of those you could make four more and then with each of those you could make four more and soon if you're looking 20 moves ahead it's like there's so many moves that the other person could possibly make that looking that far ahead is pointless you can't do the computations and so we don't know how far you should look into the future it depends on how stable your environment is but one month seems okay a year yeah three to five years that's what i'll have you do when you do the future authoring program 20 years hmm probably not and the reason for that is the margin of error in your prediction grows so large that your prediction isn't worth anything and you can really see how that's the case now because like what's going to be like in 20 years when i was a kid i used to read science fiction it's like plausible accounts of the potential future it's like now who knows anything could happen anything could happen you know you could be three-quarters robot in 20 years you could have a lifespan of 10 000 years i mean we just do not know we could be living in caves again with everything in runes we don't have a clue what's going to happen so 20-year span i would say you know get friendly with computers so 20 years spans too long so okay anyways what i'm what i'm pointing out is that you have to calculate you have to calculate what you're doing across multiple spans of time and in that combination you know in combination with many many people and that makes things very complex but that's how that's how you're building the structures that you live there's this thing that exists this this multi-headed snake and it's got this infinity problem it's everywhere that's that little circle down there and the problem is well what do you do with it you cut off one head seven more grow that's the eternal problem of life and the problem is there there is the category of problems in life and it ain't going anywhere and so the question is can you deal with the whole category at the same time that's the thing that's how to be in the world is to deal with that category all at the same time and so how did how did human beings what did they come up with as a solution and that's so cool too because the solution they come up with not only was the heroism that allows you to approach what you're terrified by and what you find offensive and to learn from it but also the idea of sacrifice and that was played out by cultures everywhere including human sacrifice and you think what the hell was up with those crazy bastards so long ago they were sacrificing to gods all the time what kind of clueless behavior was that burn something and please god burn something valuable and please god it's like what was with them what were they thinking well they weren't stupid those people if they were stupid we wouldn't be here they were not stupid and believe me they lived under a lot harsher conditions than we do so those were some tough people man you know back then you'd last about 15 minutes and so you don't want to be thinking of your ancestors as stupid like there's no real evidence that we're much different cognitively than we were 150 000 years ago so anyways sacrifice what does that mean sacrifice well it's a discovery man it's the discovery of the future it's like the future is actually the place where there is threat and it's always going to be there so what do you do you make sacrifices in the present so that the future is better right everyone does that that's what you're doing right now that's what you're doing here that's what your parents are doing when they pay money to send you to university they think you can bargain with reality it's amazing you can bargain with reality you can forestall gratification now and it'll pay off at a place in time that doesn't even exist yet it's like who would have believed that it's like that's a miracle that that occurs and it's not like people just figured that overnight you know we were chimps for christ's sake like how are we going to come up with an idea like that well it's like well we thought about it for seven million years and you know we got to the point where we could kind of act it out but we didn't know what we were doing but it was a it merged like a dream it was so the terror of the future is a dream and the solution to the terror the dream of the terror of the future is another dream and and it comes out in mythology and in fantasy and in drama where you act out the sacrifice and then it's a step on the way to full understanding so we can say sacrifice now instead of doing it you know although we still do it it's just not concretized like it used to be we do it abstractly and we all have faith that it will work you know and we also set up our society so that it'll work and one thing about you know i'm not a fan of moral relativism for a variety of reasons partly because i think it's an it's an extreme form of cowardice but anyways apart from that no no no no there's minimal ways that you can set up a society that will work and so one of them is is that the society has to be set up so that your sacrifices will pay off or you won't work and then the society will die and so it has to make promises people have to make promises to one another that's what money is money is a promise that your sacrifice will pay off in the future that's what money is and so if the society is stable you can store up your work right now you can sacrifice your impulses and you can work and you can store up credit for the future and then you can make the future a better place but society has to be stable enough to allow for that hyperinflation will do you in so the promise that's implicit in the currency is the promise that what you're doing now will pay off in the future and if people don't have that promise then well we know what they do because in in gangs for example in say gangs in north america the time horizon of the gang members shrinks rapidly because they don't really expect to be alive that much past 21 and so they get really impulsive and violent and like why the hell not that's that's what you do when when the future doesn't matter when it's not real you you default back to living in the moment and you take what you can get right now and no wonder because you don't know if you're going to be around you know in a year and you get whatever you can well you can bloody well get it and that's like anarchy that state and so you don't want to live in some people like to live in that state because they're really wired for that you know and so they're they're much more comfortable in those conditions they're they're kind of like warrior types i would say in some sense but you know for most people that's just wet that stress will just do you in you know the stress of a life like that how hard should you work well that's a really difficult question if you're going to die tomorrow and then you probably shouldn't work very hard today at all so one thing you might say is that the degree to which you should work hard is dependent on your assumptions about the stability of the future we actually know this to be true because if you put people in wildly uncertain circumstances they discount the future which is exactly what you should do right it only makes sense to store up goods for future consumption if the future is likely to be very similar to the past and the present you need a stable society for that and conscientiousness only works in in a stable society because all you do otherwise if you're piling up goods which is kind of what conscientious people do is leaving them there for the criminals to take or waiting for the next chaotic upheaval to wipe out everything that you've stored and so even conscientiousness is a kind of guess hard-working people say well you know uh sacrifice the present for the future that's great as long as the future is going to be there and you can predict it but if it's not going to be there and it's unpredictable then the right response is take what you can take right now well the getting's good now you know obviously there are troubles with that too and i'm speaking you know i'm i'm offering rough rules of thumb but i'm trying to provide you with some indication of how and why these difference in value structures exist because they're applicable in different environments you know sometimes in a dangerous social environment it's not obvious that being an extroverted person is a good idea because extroverted people they stand out especially if they're extroverted and creative right because not only are they noisy and and dominant and assertive they're also colorful and and flamboyant and provocative well that's great if you're in a society that rewards that sort of thing but if you have you know if you're ruled by an authoritarian king who wants absolutely no threat whatsoever to his stability ever then dressing in gray and shutting the hell up is a really good survival tactic you

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carl jung talked about this phenomena he cried phenomenon he described as retrogressive restoration of the persona it's a complicated idea but basically what it means is that sometimes you take a leap forward and you learn some things but you can't catalyze a new identity so you try to go back and hide in your old identity and that actually doesn't work because well things have changed and you've learned something and that isn't who you are anymore and so it's like you have to cut part parts of yourself off in a destructive manner to fit back into the person that you were now what happens here is that pinocchio escapes from this tyrannical situation and undergoes this descendant of chaos but he tries to go back home he tries to go back to what he was and he can't do that anymore his father isn't at home anymore and so so when he goes home he finds that there's no home there now this happens to people sometimes it's often a shock to them so they'll often stay under the thumb of their father and you think well why would someone do that because it means they're subject to the tyrannical judgment of their father they're always concerned about what their father would think or whether their father approves of him of them and so forth and you think well that's got to be an unpleasant place to be why would you do that freud said for example that no no no one could be a man unless his father had died and jung said yes but that death can take place symbolically okay so there's that part of the idea and then another part of the idea is one of the times in your life when you actually realize that you're an individual is when you'll go and ask your parents something and you'll realize they actually don't know any more about what you should do than you do and that sucks and that's partly why people are often willing to maintain a tyrant slave relationship with their fathers like on the one hand you have to be inferior in a relationship like that you know you've always got the judge watching you but on the other hand there's always someone who knows what to do there's always someone standing between you and the unknown that you can go ask what should i do well at some point you'll realize that the reason you can't ask that anymore is because they actually don't know any more than you do and then that's a pain like that that is a symbolic death that's also when you establish a more individual relationship with your parents it's at that point that you could conceivably start taking care of them instead of the reverse and that's a time that should come but you have to let that image of perfection go and that exposes you well that's what happens here you know pinocchio goes home and he wants things to be the way they were and he wants to stay under the careful care of the benevolent father but that's no longer possible he's past that point and that's why the father has disappeared and so geppetto has gone off to look for pinocchio because he also needs his son but but in any case the house is abandoned and so then we see inside the house that everything's covered with cobwebs and everything's gone and pinocchio and the crickets sit on the steps and they're very concerned first of all they wonder where he went so they're actually concerned that he's gone but they also don't know what to do because there's just no going home and so you know that's also the case that once you hit a certain point in your development well it's the same thing we already talked about the answers that you're looking for are not going to be found in your parents house it's as simple as that now you could artificially maintain your dependency but you know if you do that for too long things get pretty ugly peter pan is this magical boy pan means pan is the god of everything roughly speaking right and so it's not an accident that he has the name pan and he's the boy that won't grow up and he's magical well that's because children are magical they can be anything they're nothing but potential and peter pan doesn't want to give that up why well he's got some adults around him but the main adult is captain hook well who the hell wants to grow up to be captain hook first of all you've got a hook second you're a tyrant and third you're chased by the dragon of chaos with the clock in its stomach right the crocodile it's already got a piece of you well that's what happens when you get older time has already got a piece of you and eventually it's got a taste for you and eventually it's going to eat you and so hook is so traumatized by that that he can't help but be a tyrant and then peter pan looks at traumatized hook and says well no i'm not sacrificing my childhood for that so that's fine except he ends up king of lost boys in neverland well neverland doesn't exist and who the hell wants to be king of the lost boys and he also sacrifices the possibility to have a real relationship with a woman because that's wendy right and she's kind of conservative middle class london dwelling girl she wants to grow up and have kids and have a life she accepts her mortality she accepts her maturity peter pan has to content himself with tinkerbell she doesn't even exist she's like she's like the fairy of porn she doesn't exist she's the substitute for the real thing and so but the dichotomy that you're talking about it's very tricky because there's a sacrificial element in maturation right you have to sacrifice the plural potentiality of childhood for the actuality of a frame and the question is well why would you do that well one reason is it happens to you whether you do it or not you can either choose your damn limitation or you can let it take you unaware when you're 30 or even worse when you're 40 and then that is not a happy day you see i see people like this and i think it's more and more common in our culture because people can put off maturity without suffering an immediate penalty but all that happens is the penalty accrues and then when it finally hits it just wallops you because when you're 25 you can be an idiot it's no problem even when you're out in a job search it's like well you don't have any experience and you're kind of clueless yeah yeah you're young you know it's no problem we can that's what young people are like but they're full of potential okay well now you're the same person at 30. it's like people aren't so thrilled about you at that point it's like what the hell have you been doing for the last 10 years well i'm just as clueless as i was when i was 22. yeah but you're not 22. you're an old infant right and that's an ugly thing an old infant so the the part of the reason you choose your damn sacrifice because the sacrifice is inevitable but at least you get to choose it and then there's something that's that's even more complex than that in some sense is that the problem with being a child is that all you are is potential and it's really low resolution you could be anything but you're not anything so then you go and you adopt an apprenticeship roughly speaking and then you become at least you become something and when you're something that makes the world open up to you again you know like if you're a really good plumber then you end up being far more than a plumber right you end up being a good employer not not that plumbers i'm not putting plumbers down it's like more power to plumbers they've saved more lives than doctors so hygiene right so you know if you're a really good plumber well then you have some employees you run a business you you you make you you train some other people you enlarge their lives you're kind of a pillar of the community you you have your family it's you can once you pass through that narrow training period which narrows you and constricts you and develops you at the same time then you can come out the other end with a bunch of new possibility at hell at half and the lord said unto abram and this is this is the this is the opening of the story get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father's house unto a land that i will show thee and this is one of those phrases where every clause is significant go somewhere you don't understand that's the first thing get the out of the country you know back in the 1920s there was a whole slew of american writers who ended up as expatriates in paris hemingway among them and a variety of others it was very inexpensive in paris at the time and part of their transformation into great literary figures was the fact that they were out of their country and now they could see what their country was because you can't see what your country is until you leave it so you have to go into the unknown and that's that's god's first command go into the unknown because you already know what you know and so and that's not enough unless you think you're enough and if you're not enough and you don't think you're enough then you have to go where you haven't been and so that's the first commandment to abraham it's like okay that that's a good one that makes perfect sense go to where you don't know yes and from my kindred well what does that mean it means grow up right that's what it means it means get away from your family enough so that you can establish your independence and that isn't because there's something wrong with your family although perhaps there is you know as there is perhaps wrong with you but it means get away you know i talk to people very frequently whose families have provided them with too much protection and they know it themselves and that means they're deprived of necessity you know one of the things that you see in in the united states for example is that um the children of first generation immigrants often do better than the children that than their children and the reason for that is that the children of first generation immigrants have necessity driving them and you don't know how much you need necessity to drive you because maybe you're not very disciplined and if at a catastrophe doesn't immediately befall you if you don't act forthrightly today then maybe you never act forthrightly right because the the gap between your foolishness and the punishment is is lengthened by your unearned wealth and so you never grow up and learn and you have to get yourself away from your dependency in order to allow necessity to drive you forward and that's to become independent and to become mature and i think part of what's happening in our culture is that the the the force that's attacking the forthright movement forward of young men in particular is afraid of the power of men because it's confused about the distinction between power and authority and competence like a man who's who has authority and competence has power as a byproduct but the authority incompetence is everything and and and people who can't understand that fail to make the distinction between power and authority of competence and they're afraid of power and so they destroy authority and competence and that's a terrible thing because we need authority and competence what else is going to what else is going to allow us to prevail in the long run and so you get away from your country and you get away from your kin and from your father's house right and you go out there and you establish yourself in the world it's a call to adventure that's what this the first lines in the abrahamic story is a call to adventure let's say there's something going on at your workplace and that and you need to object to it because it's driving you crazy and you talk it over with your wife so that you've got your head screwed on straight say oh i've got to say something and you go there and you say something and you know you're stumbling and awkward and all of that but but you watch the response and maybe you get what you're aiming at maybe you don't but you've learned a bunch you've learned well i'm not as coherent as i could be i'm not as good at putting my arguments together my boss is more of a son of a [ __ ] than i that he thought he was this is a worse problem than i knew about it's like differentiated differentiated so now the landscape is higher resolution and so are you well so good so maybe you're a little bit next better prepared the next time you have to do that and so the issue here to some degree is don't lose an opportunity to grapple with something that objects to you especially when the object objection is rather small because that's something you can you say well i can put up with it it's like fair enough like you don't want to make everything into a war i usually use a rule of three if we're interacting and you do something that i find disruptive i'll note it it's like potential dragon gone and i leave it be and then if you do it again i think oh yeah that probably wasn't merely situational but i'll leave it be because that's still not enough evidence but if you do it a third time then i'll say hey i just noticed this and you'll say nah that didn't happen and i'll say yeah not only did it happen but it happened here and it happened here and i'm not making this up so there's something going on here like i'm not ignoring it and we can get to the bottom of it and then they'll come up with a bunch of objections about why that isn't necessary and you push those aside they'll come up with a few more objections and they'll push those aside and then usually they'll get mad or burst into tears and if you push that aside then you get to have a conversation right and then you can solve the problem but man it's you got to be a monster because first of all you need six arguments about why their objections aren't gonna stop you and then you have to not be intimidated by the anger and you have to not be swamped by compassion about the tears and then you can have a conversation and people don't do that they won't do that and so they don't solve the problems and so then the problems accrue right and if they accrue over 15 years of a relationship then that then they end up fat ugly and in divorce court let's say that you've been in the long-term relationship and it collapses let's say you were you know he had a tendency towards alcoholism you weren't so great with regards to your drug use you don't have that conscientious and you had like four or five kind of low rent affairs and you know it your marriage collapses bang well who do you first meet when you fall into chaos you meet king of the monsters and he's you it's like why did my marriage fall apart what did i do wrong bang bang bang bang bang i did all these things wrong why because that thing inhabits me what is it well that's the most horrifying question right well that's why so down there in the archetypal space all these things lurk the hero and the adversary you've just met the adversary right well maybe you were tyrant that's certainly possible maybe everything around you was chaotic so what do you encounter when things fall apart you encounter the adversary you encounter the tyrant you encounter the catastrophe of nature and you encounter the dragon of the chaos and they're all intermingled you have to sort that out that's what happens to ellis when she goes down the rabbit hole right she meets the red queen the red queen is always running around off with their heads off with their heads and she says in my kingdom you have to run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place right down the rabbit hole you meet the archetypes if you're in a workplace and pathological things are happening this is easy i can tell you how you know if pathological things are happening at your workplace or they're happening with you one of the two but you can straighten that out if you're being required to do things that make you weak and ashamed then stop don't do them like one of the things i learned from solzhenitsyn and frankel was that systems go terribly under out of control when people don't stop them when they're going mildly out of control you know and you might say i should just keep my goddamn head down and shut up it's like maybe you should like that's not bad advice you know you don't want to make unnecessary enemies and you don't need any more trouble than you need but you got to ask yourself on a day-to-day basis what makes you think you're not selling your soul you know and there's so much foolishness going on in the mid-level bureaucratic world now that's where all the tyranny seems to be focused and the reason that it multiplies is because sensible people say nothing when they should say something and what's so strange about that is that there are way more sensible people than people who aren't sensible they're just not as noisy so what you'll turn out if like you know so let's say something's bugging the hell out of you at work well then you have to prepare to find another job that's the first thing you have to do i don't think that you should find another job but you should prepare to find another job and if possible you should prepare to find a better job because if you can't tell someone to go to hell then you can't negotiate with them and if and if they've got you over a barrel then you can't say anything so you gotta you gotta set yourself up so you've got some mobility and actually that's a really good principle in your life period you should set yourself up so that you have a lateral move at hand and then you should find out well are there things that work that are disturbing my soul you know and you find that out first of all you ask yourself okay i'm disturbed at work okay i'm probably weak and deceitful and useless and lazy you might as well start with that and then you talk to some people like your your wife your friends your co-workers and find out are you stupid deceitful and lazy or is there something not so good going on at work and maybe you should say something about it before the whole goddamn thing collapses because that can happen it can happen in companies a lot faster than people ever think you know and you may find that well first of all you may find if you say something well first of all that's an adventure that's for sure that's a bloody adventure and you have to do it carefully and and you have to be prepared for it but it might be the best thing that ever happened to you and the other thing is if you're careful about it you get your words right like and this is a this is strategic battle right it's not something you wander into carelessly then you may find that there's lots of people who feel exactly the same way you do and that you've actually cottoned on to something you're a canary in a coal mine and not just some like psychopathic mouthpiece so you've got to ask yourself when you go and do what you do like is this making you stronger is this making you weaker and if it's making you weaker then you got to ask yourself do you really want to be weaker because the weaker you get the more you're tyrannized and then worse than that like the weaker you get the more bitter you get and the more you work towards terrible things the more you'll snap at your wife the more you'll kick your kids you know like it's no joke to be tyranized at work and so i would say you have an ethical responsibility as a citizen to forthrightly confront creeping tyranny no matter where it occurs if you're aimed at the good which is a question you really got to ask yourself you know if you're genuinely aimed at the good then take heart because you're a lot stronger than you think but the other thing you got to tell people is pick your poison you don't you may be in a situation where you don't have uh you don't have a cake walk to the garden of paradise you got tyranny or famine those are your choices but you get to pick which one you have and i would say if if you're being oppressed and i mean in your soul by what you're required to swallow at work well you think you're not paying a price for that you've got no self-respect and and and rightly so but worse than that you're an agent of your own destruction you're destroying your own ideal and you're letting people who are weak and corrupt win and if you stood up and and stood up properly but you have to put yourself in order to do this at least to some degree right you can't do it casually you have to do it from some position of preparedness and strength then what makes you think you couldn't scare them back into the corners and that would be a good thing and you know the alternative personally is bad because there's a psychological degeneration that goes along with it i've seen this with many many of the people that i've worked with who have been tyrannized in the workplace to the absolute detriment of their psychological and physical health right to the point of collapse confronting these crazy crazy things when they were sensible people um that's a terrible price to pay man like it's it's a bad price and then if the foolishness isn't dealt with at the local level when it's still relatively trivial then it will multiply until it's dealt with at the social level and we're seeing signs of that already antifa is a good sign of that you know and problems that aren't solved multiply and soon people fight and you know better to argue than to fight unless you want to fight and some people want to fight and i can understand why but i wouldn't recommend it because that doesn't lead good places it really doesn't leave good places i say you have a duty maybe that's that's why you stand up it's because you have a goddamn duty to stand up and say just say what you have to say well it shouldn't be our life goal um because there are times in your life when you're not going to be happy and then what are you going to do your goal is demolished and there are going to be plenty of times in your life when you're not happy there might be years and so it's a shallow boat in a very rough ocean and how and it's it's it's based upon a misconceptualization happiness is something that descends upon you everyone knows that you know it it it it comes upon you suddenly and then you should be grateful for it because there's there's plenty of suffering and if you happen to be happy well wonderful enjoy it be grateful for it and maybe try to meditate on the reasons that it manifested itself right because it can come as a mystery you know you don't necessarily know when you're going to be happy something surprising happens and delights you and you can analyze that you can think well i'm doing something right i'm in the right place right now i've done something right maybe i can hang on to that maybe i can learn from that what you should be pursuing instead is well there's two things this you should be pursuing who you could be that'd be the first thing it's like because you're not who you could be and you know it you have guilt and shame and and regret and and you berate yourself for your lack of discipline and your procrastination and all your bad habits you know perfectly well that you're not who you could be and god only knows who you could be and so that's how you should be strive that's what you should be striving for and associated with that you should be attempting to formulate some conception of the highest good that you can conceive of that you can articulate because why not aim for that it's like your life is short and and it's troublesome and perhaps you need to do something worthwhile with it and if so then you should do the most worthwhile thing and you should figure out what that is for you and part of that's definitely going to be to develop your character as much as possible to dispense with those parts of you that are unworthy and then maybe if you're fortunate and you do that carefully then happiness will descend upon you from time to time and that's the best you've got and then also perhaps during sorrowful times or worse evil times the fact that you've strengthened your character and that you're aiming at the highest that you can conceptualize that'll give you the moral fortitude to endure without becoming corrupted during those times and to be someone who can be relied upon in a crisis there's there's a there's a [Music] name well the mission is the mission is the improvement of your character the constant improvement of your character and i think a lot of that's done in dialogue with your conscience it's like your conscience is always telling you socrates said this thousands of years ago your conscience is always telling you what you shouldn't be doing and one of the things socrates said was what discriminated him from the run-of-the-mill person and why perhaps we still know of him so many thousands of years later was that when his conscious conscience told him not to do something he didn't do it he stopped saying the things that he shouldn't have been saying and he stopped doing the things he shouldn't have been doing and that's a start you know that that's a discipline i would say that's the ability to follow a certain kind of intrinsic discipline and and maybe that's merely the cessation of evil that's not exactly the same as the pursuit of positive good let's say you haven't got there yet but that's a start you you clear away the obstacles from your vision by ceasing to engage in those activities you know to be wrong are your personal goals always going to be aligned with the needs of society the needs of humanity well that's that's a trick you know it's optimally the answer is yes and you can think about it like a musical score you know how there's levels in a musical score each instrument is doing its own thing each section is doing its own thing but it's all united into a single vision and that's the right this is another reason why critics of of the hierarchical structure are wrong because the proper way to set up a hierarchy is so that your interests are aligned with those of your family that's hard that requires a lot of negotiation and then you and your family have your interests aligned with those of your local community right so that all of those levels are reinforcing each other and then those are united at the higher level the higher political structure and that that's an equilibrated state to use a phrase from the developmental psychologist sean piaget it's a game that everyone wants to play and it's working for everyone at the same time and so it isn't based on oppression or dominance from the top down and so i think that if if you formulate your character properly and you put yourself together you start also to realize that you're not look if you get married to someone the idea is that you become one right and so it isn't just your interest anymore or maybe it's that your interest isn't your interest without it also being someone else's interest right it's insufficiently formulated and you need that conflict with that other person to tap you into proper shape so what you're aiming at is you and the development of your character but more than that and then you do the same when you introduce children into that you expand out that that that characterological capacity and then you can continue to expand that and so optimally yes the what serves you should be serving at every level people often have accused me of of an individualistic bias in my moral reasoning you know that well you should get yourself together it's like i'm rand it's like no that's not it you get yourself together so that you can get your family together so you can get your community together so that you can get the world together all of that at the same time there's nothing selfish about that except the responsibility which is on you to start that and to bear that and to lift that and to act it out so it has nothing to do with chasing your short term impulsive pleasure seeking goals you know i think of people as beasts of burden in some sense like we're built for a burden and we're not happy without that burden and we want to find the one that suits us and that's difficult it's it's part of the adventure of life to seek out the burden that suits you but when you have that then yes then hopefully you're operating in harmony with with the requirements of those around you and the what the thing to me is that everything else pales in comparison to that that's why it says in the new testament that you should stack up riches in heaven it's like there isn't anything better than that you know you're functioning well your family's functioning well you're contributing to your your community what you're doing is worthwhile you know you're not tormented by your conscience you're aiming at something that the sacrifices that you have to make are that clearly justify the sacrifices you have to make maybe even the sacrifice of your life because you're in this like this is a mortal game you're in this with your whole life and you'd think that what that would mean at least in part is that you need to find a game to play that's of sufficient grandeur and nobility so that perhaps even the fact that mortality is built into the structure now becomes justifiable i mean it's a hell of a it's a hell of an ambition but but i don't it doesn't seem to me to be something that's impossible i think you can live your life enough so that it justifies itself despite its limitation that's the real question can you do that [Music] and and i believe that you can and i believe that what that means is that the human spirit fundamentally triumphs over death and so that's that's optimism you know in the midst of the the sorrow [Music] and and the malevolence we have the capacity we have the capacity sorry i'll be sorry we have the capacity to transcend that and there isn't anything more optimistic than that and and there's nothing there's nothing in it that isn't good right it's good for you it's good for the people you love it's good for the broader society it's like it's good and that'll take you through your times of travail there isn't anything else that will and then maybe on your deathbed you can think i justified my privilege the terrible privilege of my existence and maybe that's good enough it's possible that that's good enough you certainly don't have you certainly don't have anything better to do than that as far as i can tell i talked to one of the people that i was working with who had a like a vision for retirement i said well what's your vision for retirement well i see myself in the beach you know some tropical country drinking margaritas and i thought first that's not a plan that's a travel poster it's like okay let's let's walk through this all right so you go down to this tropical country and you go sit on the beach and you have a margarita it's like okay well how many margaritas like 10. okay is it gonna do that but you're gonna do that for six months you'll be dead yeah well you'll be this like pathetic sunburned like fat yeah unhappy hungover serotonin yeah yeah it's like that's graduated so how long can you have a margarita on a beach like maybe you can do that once every six months for like 10 minutes something like that it's not a vision it's like this 16 year old fantasy of paradise it's like well yes and it just doesn't work out so yeah and and the thing that the thing is is that the thing that sustains people through life really is the lifting of a worthwhile burden it's something like that and it's partly because we're social animals right it's like we're evolved to be useful to the people around us because they're much more likely to let us live if we're like that yeah so and and it's been very fun talking to especially talking to young men about this it's like well and that's the other thing too is i think the world the world is full of darkness let's say and we could say each of us have a little bit of light and if we release that light if we let it shine properly christ it's too cliche to go on with in some sense but the world is a lesser place if you do not reveal from within yourself what you have to reveal and the fact that the world is a lesser place actually turns out not to be trivial like if you aren't everything you could be more people will die more people will suffer more evil will be unconstrained more tyranny will reign more chaos will remain chaotic and dangerous all of that do you mean this by this in the sense of like the old proverb of the wings of a butterfly fluttering become a hurricane it's it's it's something similar to that but it can even be more local it's like your family is more messed up than it could be if you were less messed up than you are right so if you just got your act together like 10 percent more your family would be one percent better right it's like well do it and that would ripple off in different people that they interact yes yes and ripple and it ripples fast yes that's the other thing that's so cool is that like people think well there's seven billion of us and each of us is just this separate dust moat like floating in the cosmos and what the hell difference does it make what you do anyways it's like that is not how we're connected it's like you're the center of a network and you know well you know way more people than this but let's say typically you know without you're gonna know a thousand people in your life well enough to have an impact on them okay and each of those thousand people is gonna know a thousand people so you're one step from a million and two steps from a billion and we are networked technically that that's how human interactions work and so when you do something that you shouldn't do it's worse than you think and when you do something that you should do it's better than you think and so you think well this is why i've been telling people clean up your room it's like well your room is actually network too it's not that easy to clean up your room to set it so you want your room to be set up so that when you walk in there it tells you to be better than you generally are it's organized it's got direction everything's in its place you try to do that in a chaotic household you know i've watched people do this because i had students do these sorts of things as assignments i'd say look pick a small moral goal clean up your room and just write down what happens as a consequence so maybe these are students in a chaotic household the whole place is a bloody mess no one's taking any responsibility for anything and so they decide they're going to start to clean up their room and then the people in the household notice well the first thing they do is get pissed off it's like who do you think you are like you think you're better than us you like why do you think this is worthwhile who made who died made you god all of that so just by trying to organize this little part of their life they immediately run into the people whose actions they're casting in a dim light by trying to improve themselves to some degree they might have to have like a thorough war in their household to be allowed to do something as simple as keep the room orderly they find out very rapidly that a that's way more difficult than it sounds and b that the consequences of it are far more far-reaching than people think maybe part of it is is that like everything around you is full of potential everything maybe more potential than you could ever possibly utilize and so maybe all you have is this little rat hole of a room in some run-down place in the world it's like fix it up there's more there than you think see what happens if you fix it up and you'll fix yourself up simultaneously because you have to get disciplined in order to fix up the room then you have a fixed-up room and you'll be a more fixed-up person it's like you think that nothing will happen as a consequence of that another client i worked with was having a hard time putting his kid to bed at night and so we we did the arithmetic it's like well i'm fighting with my kid for 45 minutes a night trying to get him to go to bed okay so let's analyze that all right so what does that mean well it means that both of you end the day upset that's not so good because why would you want that it means that you're spending 45 minutes fighting when you could spend 20 minutes doing something positive like reading to them say means that you don't get to spend that time with your wife so she's not very happy with you plus you're annoyed because you don't see her plus you blame it on the kid because he's the proximal cause it's like that's pretty damn ugly and then and then let's do the arithmetic it's like seven days a week 45 minutes a day let's call that five hours 20 hours a week 240 hours in a year six you're spending a month and a half of work weeks fighting with your four-year-old son you think you're gonna like him you don't like anyone you spend a month and a half a year fighting with it's a bad idea fix it it's important get them to bed make it peaceful you do it like these things that repeat every single day that's a motif in this book too your life isn't margaritas on a beach in in jamaica that happens now and then those are exceptions your life is how your wife greets you at the door when you come home every day because that's like 10 minutes a day your life is how you treat each other over the breakfast table because that's an hour and a half or an hour every single day you get those mundane things right those things you do every day you concentrate on them and you make them pristine it's like you got 80 of your life put together these little things that are right in front of us they're not little that's the first thing they are not little and they're hard to set right and if you set them right it has a rippling effect and and fast too way faster than people think one of the things i've been suggesting to people is that they pick something difficult to do i read this this funny little paragraph by kierkegaard it was written about 1840 and he was thinking about his role as a student and writer and he was a student and writer forever you know he never really had a career apart from that and he said that he wasn't one of these people who was capable of inventing something wonderful to make life easier for everyone like so many people were doing you know during the industrial revolution he said well maybe i'm one of these people whose benefit to society will be that i will make things more difficult for everyone because there will come a time when what people want not they don't want ease they want difficulty instead and i think well that is what people want that is what they want you think well i want an easy happy life it's like no actually that isn't what you want i think what people want is things that are difficult that they can overcome yeah right that's right they want an optimal challenge well there's a whole different thing when you overcome something when you do something difficult whether it's i mean i've never written a book but i assume when you write a book when you're done writing that book there's a great feeling of accomplishment because it's very difficult to do that feeling of accomplish for me it's like when i put together a comedy special or when i you know just anything that's difficult there's a feeling like i did it yeah yeah well one of the mysteries is why that feeling exists you know it's a genuine it's not a trivial thing that it's to say i did something difficult and that was worthwhile basically what you're saying to yourself is well there was a lot of suffering attendant on that along with the just general suffering of life but it turned out that was worth it that's what you want it's like you want that sense that you're engaged in something that's worth it i'm not a like a casual optimist about these sorts of things i mean one of the things i do in 12 rules for life is lay out the rationale that drives people like the columbine high school killers because i understand that rationale i've studied it for a long time i know why they did what they did and they have a powerful argument but it's wrong but you don't there's no sense in showing how it's wrong before showing that it's a powerful argument like life is suffering there is lots of malevolence it's no wonder that people want to bring being itself to a halt they want to take revenge on it it's not surprising it's the wrong way of going about it the right way is it's akin to the sorts of things that you were just observing is you take on a difficult task that pushes you past where you are already and you you succeed in it you get this sense that yes that was worthwhile it's like that's what you want you want to live in that place where things are worthwhile that's paradise on earth that's what that is and it isn't some happy little place where you know someone's feeding you peeled grapes that isn't what it is it's it's more like it's more like victory on the honorable battlefield or something like that [Music] there's a city and the city is full of people who are sinful what does that mean well to sin is an archery term it means to miss the mark so these are people who aren't oriented properly and so the city is in a chaotic state and god tells jonah that he's going to go to that city and tell them just exactly what's up with them and jonah thinks no i'm not going to do that and why well that doesn't require much explanation it's like how popular are you going to be if you go to a city full of chaotic people and tell them why they're stupid and wrong it's jonah thinks no i'm not going to do that i don't care if god's telling me to do it so his conscience is telling him to do it or his destiny is telling him to do it or or his orientation with higher morality is telling him to do it you can read it any way you want and so he thinks no i'm hopping on this boat and i'm getting as far away from that city as i possibly can and so he does that and then the storm comes up because god thinks no you're not getting away if i told you to do something you're not getting away from it a storm comes up well what does that mean well it's easy betray your destiny and see how long it takes you to be drowning in a storm it'll happen immediately and of course it will because what what's calling you to be your best is exactly the thing that's pushing you forward to manifest yourself most fully in the world it's what you need you run away from that the boat's going to start to rock very very quickly well you all know that you per you know that perfectly well it it's hell all you have to do is not study for an exam that you know that's coming up to see everything start to the storm waters start to rise and everything start to rock it's pretty bloody obvious so anyways he's on this boat and there's a storm and all of the people on the boat who who can't quite discriminate chaos from weather because they haven't differentiated the world to that degree think oh the boat wouldn't be about to be swamped if we hadn't some of us hadn't done something stupid and wrong and there's logic in that you know you might think well god has nothing personal against you because of the storm so you're confusing levels of analysis but you've got to give these people some credit it's like maybe they did do something stupid maybe they didn't caulk the damn boat properly maybe the ropes aren't in as good as shape as they might be maybe they weren't paying attention to the weather when they went out on the ocean you know or maybe they haven't made peace with their brother and so their hearts are bent twisted out of shape so they don't make particularly good sailors it's like the idea that you encounter a storm because you're stupid and wrong is a really good idea even though it's not of infinite applicability anyways they draw lots it's a primitive thing to do it's like well it's one it's someone's fault we don't know who we're gonna throw someone overboard the worst sinner obviously that's what god wants some kind of sacrifice so they all draw lots and someone loses and then jonah stands up and says well sorry guys like i know that i've got a problem with god at the moment so it's probably me you better throw me over and they don't really want to but he finally convinces them over he goes and the storm settles well you know [Music] sometimes if you're in a group of people in an organization there is someone in the organization whose head isn't screwed on exactly straight and they know exactly why it is and what they've done wrong and what puts them in that position and they are poisoning the entire enterprise and if you throw them overboard or better if they agree voluntarily to leave then the storm will abate and everything will be okay so anyways they throw joe job over or jonah overboard and a whale comes up and swallows them and takes them down to the bottom of the ocean well we already know what that means because we watched pinocchio it's like when god abandons you because you've abandoned your destiny and the storms come up the probability that you're going to be taken down to the to the depths is extraordinarily high and that happens in people's lives all the time also down there jonah repents well what do you do when you're in the underworld well you've been there before when things fall apart on your friends have abandoned you you're not as popular as you could be you can't stand to look at yourself in the mirror into the underworld you go and you think geez i've done a lot of things wrong you know maybe i should reconcile myself with the world and i could get out of this well so that's what jonah does he thinks all right i've got this destiny i better go do what god says so the whale spits them out onto the beach and off he goes to the city to tell them what's wrong well that's what that represents that's these symbols you know it's so cool this second one i really i really like it's so interesting because you see jonah reemerging from the whale and he's got a halo around his head you say well what's a halo well have you ever looked at a quarter well think about a quarter a quarter's the moon and who's on the quarter the queen the queen is surrounded by the halo of the moon the queen's queen of the queen of the night gold coin that's the king's head on the sun that's the halo well what comes out of the belly of the of the fish it's the illuminated human being it's the spirit of the illuminated human being that's what that means well what does that mean well what else would come out of chaos you know if you if you fall apart and then you put yourself back together what is it that comes back out at least you're in better shape than you were before you know and and then maybe you do that 20 times in your life or 50 times and you do it voluntarily every time you do it you're more like the thing with the halo and less like the thing that's you know being thrown overboard by your friends and the midianites sold joseph into egypt unto potiphar an officer of pharaohs and captain of the guard and joseph was brought down to egypt and potiphar an officer of pharaoh captain of the guard an egyptian bought him of the hands of the ishmaelites which had brought him down thither so now he's a slave so now you'd think well that would be this is a man who has a lot of reason to be irritated at the structure of reality right he's gone from being the favorite to being betrayed by all of his brothers that's pretty rough and then he's being transformed into a slave and now he's being he's being sold to work as a slave so you'd think that that would corrupt his character because you know one of the things i think this is the case anyways i think people are always looking for an excuse to have their character corrupted because if your character is corrupted then you get to lie and you get to cheat you get to steal and you get to betray and you get to act resentfully and you get to do nothing and that's all easy it's easier to lie than to tell the truth it's easier to do nothing than to do something so there's always part of you thinking well i need a justification for being useless and horrible because that'd be a lot less work and so then if something terrible comes along you think aha that's just exactly the excuse that i was waiting for and then out all that comes you know solzhenitsyn when he was in the concentration camps in russia watching how people behaved you know he said that there were people that were put in the camps who immediately became trustees or guards and they were even more vicious than the people who had been hired as guards his idea was that they had collected all that he called it foulness if i remember correctly around them in normal life but they didn't have the opportunity to express it but as soon as you gave them the opportunity it was like there it was right away and so so one of the messages that seems to echo through these old testament stories is that just because something terrible happens to you doesn't mean that you get to be that you get to wander off the path and make things worse and maybe it doesn't matter how terrible it is that what happens to you that's a tough call you know because you see people now and then in life who they've really got it rough man like 50 bad things are happening to them at the same time and you think oh it's no wonder if you were bitter and resentful and hostile i'd be like yeah no wonder but then you meet people and sergeants and again talked about this in the gulu like archipelago he said he met lots of people in the not lots he met enough people to impress him in the concentration camp system who didn't allow their misfortunes to corrupt them and that's something yeah because maybe the only real misfortune is to become corrupted that's a really useful thing to think you know maybe the rest of it maybe the rest of it is trivial in comparison i know that's a rough thing because you can be in very harsh circumstances but i do think there's something to that and the lord was with joseph and he was a prosperous man and he was in the house of his master the egyptian and his master saw that the lord was with him and the lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand so that's an echo of the idea that we encountered earlier about walking with god right so adam walked with god before he ate the fruit with eve and then he wouldn't walk with god and then noah walked with god and abraham walked with god and so the idea is well that's that alignment with the highest ideal i think it's something like that and you know we can think about that as a metaphysical claim as well but i don't think it is i mean i've got thousands of letters now in the last year from people who have told me that they were in a pit that's exactly right and that they decided that they were going to try to put their lives together and that it worked and so that's really something you know and they write surprised it's like well i decided that i was gonna work hard at what i was doing and i wasn't gonna lie any more than absolutely necessary i thought i'd give it a try for a few months you know and all sorts of good things started to happen to me it's like maybe that's how the world works now obviously it doesn't work like that all the time right because you can get sliced off at the knees i mean there's an arbitrary element to existence that that you can't wish away but that doesn't mean that there are it doesn't mean that there aren't bad strategies and good strategies so i do think that one of the most fundamental existential questions is like if things aren't going well for you in your life is are you absolutely certain that you're doing absolutely everything you can to put things in order because if you're not then you shouldn't complain because you don't know to what degree you're actually contributing or even causing the circumstance now that's a very annoying thing to think and i'm not trying to blame the victim you know i know that people end up with lung cancer because they were exposed to asbestos you know i'm not trying to although i also know too that if you have lung cancer because you've been exposed to asbestos that can be a tragedy or it can be hell and to some degree that depends on how you conduct yourself well i think the capacity for evil is something that is not easily distinguishable from strength you know and and i mean my my knowledge runs out at this level of analysis in some sense the world seems to be structured so that we have that we can act for the good and we can act for evil and i think that's associated with self-consciousness and i think that's illustrated in the story of adam and eve when adam and eve become self-conscious the scales from fall from their eyes they realize that they're naked and to realize that you're naked is to understand your vulnerability that's why adam and eve clothed themselves right away oh no i'm naked i can be hurt okay i can be hurt i have to clothe myself i have to protect myself in the future you actually become aware of that in a way that animals aren't well what does it mean that you're naked means that everyone else is too what does it mean that you can be hurt means that everyone else can be hurt too means that you could hurt them and that's why the knowledge of good and evil goes along with the knowledge of nakedness that took me a long time to figure out it took me about 30 years to figure that out why are those two things conjoined oh yes when you understand that you're vulnerable you understand that everyone else is vulnerable and then you have the option of exploiting that and so that that's what transforms human beings to some degree from animals because a predator just eats you but a human being a human being can play with you and will for all sorts of reasons now the capacity to do that though why is the capacity to do that let's say useful well it's useful to be strong and not to have to use it because it makes you formidable and i think that you have to be formidable in order to move forward properly in the world even to get through obstacles that aren't just to get through obstacles you have to have some strength of character you have to have some commitment and some of that is there will be a cost if you interfere with me [Music] it'll be the minimal cost necessary let's say if you're if you've got yourself under control it will be the minimal cost necessary but do not be thinking there won't be a cost and i don't think i don't believe that if that's not built into your character then you have you have no strength and you certainly have no strength when you're pushed by someone who's malevolent a bully if you're like that if the bully pushes you and your response is there will be a cost for pushing me and you will pay it then the bully will go elsewhere and we know that too from studies of bullies you know like even childhood bullies they push around kids and then they find the ones that retreat and withdraw and they bully them [Music] so and you know you might think well usually children are bullied because of some abnormality that's a very common idea it's like there's a guy named dan always a very smart norwegian psychologist and he studied bullying for a long time as a precursor to fascism by the way so that was his interest he said his analysis indicated that at least three-quarters of children have some obvious abnormality that could be the focus of bullying attention might even be your name it doesn't take much of a genius bully to come up with a good way of making fun of your name or you're too tall or you're too short or you know or or your brother's too tall or too short or there's something it isn't the abnormality that is the cause of the bullying it's the abnormality might become the focus of the bullying but part of the cause is the withdrawal in the face of the bullies because the bully thinks he can get away with it well if you're and it's also the case with children who are preyed upon by adult predators like adult predators of children look for children who are easily cowed and who won't put up a fight so for example if you're teaching your children to be terrified of strangers that's really not a very good strategy you want kids who are confident and who will make a noise if someone messes about with them and who are who are who are and so that that that characterological strength has to be built in this is how i think reality lays itself out i think we all know this [Music] you're not driven by your past like clock you're not deterministic you are to some degree because you're limited you're a limited creature you've got rules that you run by and all of that you know you're not omniscient but you don't you're not driven by the past what you do instead is confront the potential of the future that's what's in front of you so it's a it's a it's a domain with multiple pathways and that's what's always in front of you could go there you could go there you could go there there's there's an array of choices that confront you you confront that as soon as you wake up and become conscious in the morning and then there's all this potential that's there in front of you and you use your ethical choice to determine which of those possibilities will become actual and it's it's through that mechanism that you participate in the creation of reality and that's the making of you in the image of god because that's what god did at the beginning of time according to our old stories spoke and transformed potential into into the being that was good and that was dependent on using truthful speech so that's what you do if you act properly because you confront potential and you translate it into reality and it's your soul that does that [Music] well do you follow the story that's a fundamental religious question you know when people go to see a movie like pinocchio which is a movie i've taken apart online in some detail it's like they suspend disbelief no one thinks that a wooden puppet has become alive no one questions why the wooden puppet should rescue his father from the chaos of the whale it all just makes sense it's like well yeah but why does it make sense exactly and and isn't it interesting to notice that it makes sense and these stories have a pattern in the and the pattern has a function and that's a religious function you say well i don't know whether i believe it's like well you follow the story the harry potter books are a good example of that because they have a deeply deeply religious substructure and that's why they were so insanely popular you know they have to speak for a book to become that popular it has to speak to something that's in everyone because otherwise why would they become that popular you know in in the second volume harry confronts the the basilisks the thing that turns you to stone that lurks underneath the magic castle it's like well that's life that's jaws it's the same story it's like we have a structure it's kind of magical we live inside it it's a hierarchy but underneath there's chaos and terror and that can come up at any time and paralyze you with its gaze right turn you to stone because it's so awful and every building is like that and so what do you have to do is you have to go down into the depths and confront that thing voluntarily and then you find and that's what that's you'll find what's of great value in that pursuit and be reborn it's like well that's the harry potter story that's the second volume it's like well everyone knows that story do you believe it well do you act it out that's the that's the question do you act it out it's the right pattern i think and maybe you know maybe it's not even the right pattern maybe the human race is a hopeless race and there's and there's no destination for us but for better or worse that's our pattern our pattern is the snakes are after us well we can cower in our dens or we can go out and we can find the source of the snakes and we can contend with it and that's what we decided to do and god only knows how long ago millions of years we decided we weren't going to cower in our dance we were going to go out and root out the snakes it's like saint patrick or saint george and then we found well there was the snakes that will eat you and then there were the snakes that were in other people's hearts and then there were the snakes that were in your hearts and all those had to be contended with and rooted out and that's part of the that's part of the even deeper mythology is that like there's an association in christianity between the snake and the garden of evil in eat of eden and satan it's like where did that come from what kind of crazy idea is that well i just laid out the idea it's like there's always a snake what's the worst possible snake well it isn't an actual snake it's a metaphorical snake that's the snake that's in the heart of your enemy when it comes to burn down your city well what if you get rid of your enemies well the snake's still there well then it's in your heart so what's the ultimate battle the ultimate battle is with the snake in your heart i had this kid talk to me at a barbecue i was at this weekend and he's working with delinquent kids 13 and 14 years old and he said they were pulled out of other delinquent camps and brought to his camp which was for the worst delinquents and he started talking to them about my lectures and so they've been watching him and now they have a little fan club that's based around my lectures and they're doing things like talking to each other about making their beds and cleaning up their rooms it's like it's it's unbelievable how little genuine encouragement many people need and how and how they had none no one ever said to them and meant it it's not okay for you to be a weak loser it's not okay and the reason it's not okay is because you could be way more than that and it's a crime an ethical crime for you to allow all that necessary potential to go to waste it hurts you it hurts your family it hurts the world really really it does you write in the book there is no faith and no courage and no sacrifice in doing what is expedient what do you say to those viewers that don't pursue their dreams and are locked into their careers because they are too afraid to take risks and pursue something meaningful well the first thing i would say is well you should be afraid of taking risks and pursuing something meaningful but you should be more afraid of staying where you are if it's making you miserable it's like the first thing you want to do is dispense with the idea that you get to have any any permanent security outside of your ability to contend and adapt it's the same issue with children it's like you're paying a price by sitting there being miserable you might say well the devil i know is better than the one i don't it's like don't be so sure of that the clock is ticking and if you're miserable in your job now and you change nothing in five years you'll be much more miserable and you'll be a lot older but isn't it the luxury to pursue what is meaningful our viewers have mortgages they have children yeah they have payments and loans it's a luxury to pursue because we lack the resources well i don't think i don't remember now i'm not talking about what makes you happy it's a luxury to pursue what makes you happy it's a moral obligation to pursue what you find meaningful and that doesn't mean it's easy it might require sacrifice if you need to change your job too let's say you have a family and and children and a mortgage you have responsibilities you've already picked up those responsibilities you don't just get to walk away scot-free say well i don't like my job i quit that's no strategy but what you might have to do is you think well this job is killing my soul all right so what do i have to do about that well i have to look for another job well no one wants to hire me it's like okay maybe you need to educate yourself more maybe you need to update your your curriculum vita your resume maybe you need to overcome your fear of being interviewed maybe you need to sharpen your social skills like you you have to think about these things strategically if you're going to switch careers you have to do it like an intelligent responsible person that might take you a couple of years of of effort to do properly when you say pursue something meaningful is it important to have a vocation i i think it's more important to to have a an ethos an ethic so i have a program for example called the future authoring program which is a writing program that enables people to develop a vision for their life and then to develop a strategy and so it's based on the idea imagine that and it's an extension of the ideas in the book or at least something along the same lines the first thing that you want to do is figure out imagine you were taking care of yourself like you were someone you cared for which is rule number two by the way essentially then you should figure out well if you could have what you needed and wanted what would it be what sort of friends would you have what would your family relationships look like how would you conduct yourself with your children how would you educate yourself you need to think through how it is that your life could be properly arranged if you had that ability and then you can aim at that and the funny thing is is that if you do posit a goal of that sort and work towards it you will move towards it the goal will change because you'll learn things along the way but i mean i've i've dealt with hundreds of people in my clinical and consulting practice and we set a goal we develop a vision and work towards it and it things inevitably get better for people so it's not a luxury it's it's difficult it's a moral responsibility and it isn't happiness it's not the pursuit isn't for happiness [Music] that meaning is what you have to to buttress yourself against the tragedy of life it's like engagement we're having an engaging conversation you know we'll walk away from this and hopefully the people who are watching they'll walk when they'll think that was worthwhile it's like okay think about what that means it means that despite the fact that you're a fragile damaged mortal creature you found something to do that announced itself as worthwhile that's meaning it's an instinct like it it's not it's a deep deep instinct it's it's maybe the deepest instinct it's like a form of vision except it's not a it's not like an embodied set it's not a a specified sense meaning tells you when you're in the right place and the right place is between chaos and order and those are real places your hemispheres like your right hemisphere is roughly evolved let's say to deal with things you don't understand that's chaos and your left is there to deal with things you do understand it you can't just stay with the things you do understand because you already understand them and you can't just stay with what you don't understand because then you're lost yeah well you need to be in the middle of those two and you can tell when you're in the middle because everything lines up and you you feel engaged and that what you're doing is meaningful it's like that's what you pursue expedience is you do the thing that gets you off the hook the fastest right now well that you play that game across time it doesn't work it sends you down because you're sacrificing the future for the present meaning doesn't do that meaning says i'm here where i should be and you can't tell why it's just that everything is right and you you get this physiological sense right place right time right conversation you know and that's usually a conversation where you're both trying to expand the way that you look at the world well so you follow this meaningful path that's your buttress against the tragedy that produces resentment and malevolence his meaning is the antidote to that and that's the fundamental religious truth and it's really true that's the thing that so life is suffering that's true there's malevolence that's true meaning is the antidote to that yes and it's not it's not some kind of fragile epiphenomena it's the deepest thing so people need to know that it's so important to know that people say well meaning isn't real it's like no that's wrong it's actually the most real thing it might even be more real than suffering and evil it's possible and like i think about this technically you know this isn't a metaphysical assumption that i'm making and you do feel it it's you feel it in your body it's not just a a mental thing it's not an idea it's a place it's a place because we're in time and space right and a place is a is a place you know three dimensions of space but it's also a time and when the place and the time are set up properly you're in the right place and your brain is telling you that your being is telling you that yeah you got it right right you know it's going to fall apart because you're not going to be there all the time right you forget that pretty quick often right like that's just part of life yeah well you say you know you go see a great movie it's like hey you're in the right place at the right time and it you're engaged you're completely engaged in it it's because it's because it's there's no other way to put it you're in the right place at the right time and the meaning is the signal of that and so the purpose of profound religious contemplation in some sense in the deepest sense profound philosophical contemplation is to learn how to be in the right place at the right time all the time now you can't because you're not perfect but you can be there a lot more than you are and you can actually practice it you practice it by paying attention you think you watch yourself during the day like you don't know who you are right or what you're doing and you notice oh yeah right there i was listening to that piece of music i was having that conversation or i was doing this piece of work then i was there for like 10 minutes okay why i was doing something right i don't know what it is i want to or i wasn't doing something wrong you know and so i got this little illuminated moment it's like okay i need to figure out how to be there more often so there's this line from the gospel of thomas which was discovered in like 1957 and it says the kingdom of god is spread out before the eyes of man but men do not see it that's basically it and that's kind of what it's referring to it's like there are times when you're in the right place at the right time and then you're where you should be and you you don't notice that you don't say oh look wow there's something about this this is right i got to figure out how to do this more right because that sucks you out of it immediately even even if you could do that right right well that's also partly why it's hard and and you're not really trained to notice that because it isn't something we ever talk about it's like you're in the right place at the right time okay why what did i do right what did i do i need to do more of that so maybe it's only half an hour a week when you first start noticing and then maybe with three months of practice you can get it up to like an hour a day and then maybe you can get it up to four hours a day and god only knows where you could get it if you if you keep practicing you know you you can you can be there we don't know what the upper limit of that is this is what when players talk about being in the zone when you're definitely you're just throwing it up and and you're not even thinking and it's going in and you don't even realize it yeah and often when they talk about it after that you know they won't even realize that wow that was a seven minute stretch they think of it as a 30-second little thing that's right time goes away yes well that's the dao that the taoists talk about that's the zone that's the line between chaos and order and to be there is to be in the right place that's why people watch sports like part of it's the competition in the victory and that's all fine but this the serious thing is those moments when you're in the zone with the players because they're acting out being in the zone and everyone loves that in the quidditch game in harry potter there's two games going on at the same time there's the ordinary game which is just a game and there's the seeker game and the seeker is going after this golden thing that flickers in front of them and if they get that thing then no they win and the team wins well she got it exactly right i that little thing the snitch that everyone is chasing is actually an ancient alchemical symbol for the union of chaos in order i don't know how in the world she figured that out it's called the round chaos it's unbelievably obscure if you look it up on google i think the only reference to the round chaos is from my website i learned it from reading young i don't know how she figured it out wow but so the seeker is seeking this thing that glimmers in front of him right it moves everywhere right that's mercury the winged messenger of the gods right and so you're chasing that and now and then you get it and everyone wins so yeah that's that's meaning you

Jordan Peterson Success Chasers Tweet

SS: Life Advice To Change your Future


so here's a little issue we have in America today there are currently about 250,000 people a year who were dying in our hospitals due to due to preventable deaths and I'm not talking about negligence I'm talking about little accidents right I'm talking about the doctor in the morning not properly briefing the doctor for the evening you know I'm talking about things that you know we can't sue anybody there's nothing there's nothing that we can see that's wrong but there's 250,000 preventable deaths every year that's about 20 747s going down every single week that's what's the equivalent to and the confusing thing is that we have the best doctors in the world we have the most advanced technology in the world some of the medical equipment we have is the best in the world the medicines we have are the best in the world so you start asking yourselves why are these things happening and the reason is not because of any of those things the reasons are actually something vastly more simple and something very very human five percent of hospital administrators are doctors most of them are number crunchers hospitals are run like businesses hospitals are run by the numbers and the problem isn't the people who are giving the care they're very highly trained the problem is the way those people are cared for because what we've done is we've created cultures and hospitals where the people who are doing the caring aren't cared for and so all of these little preventable deaths are happening because they don't feel like they're a part of anything they're just doing their jobs and they don't get along that well and there's not a lot of camaraderie and the impact is death right now I use this example because it's exaggerated because the impact is so powerful but the problem is the same in our own companies right which is we come to work and we're told you must care for your clients you must care for your customers you must make than the focus of all you do and yet why aren't the people who are managing us from the top caring about us so yes in a hospital the impact is worse but the impact that we're having on the outside world is just as bad in other words we're not working at our best we don't care for the things we're doing we're not helping each other is the most important part and the residual impact is that we are unfulfilled by the work that we do and when we run fulfilled by the work that we do we focus on the details and when we focus on the details we retract from each other when we track from each other we feel lonely and when we feel lonely cancer goes up heart disease goes up diabetes goes up in other words by going to work we're killing ourselves literally there's another study that was released not that long ago that says that parents who work late the negative impact that it has on their children is little to none they may feel guilty as parents but the negative impact that it has on the raising of their children is little to none however parents who come home from jobs they hate or don't love their kids are more likely to be bullies at school and now you think about the bullying epidemic we have in America right where there's this disturbing number of young children who are killing themselves suicides because of bullies the problem is not the schools and the problem isn't even the parenting the problem is the jobs the parents have this is the importance and this is the power of the work that we do in the places we go to work right most of us mean like we listen to the the the unemployment statistics they say you know we're all-time high record high nine to ten percent unemployment right and people go Mike oh that's terrible and I hear that number and I go well that means ninety-one percent still have a job right now granted we want to get that employment number up but that means ninety-one percent are still going to work the question is how many of them coming home fulfilled by the work that they do and how many of them are waking up inspired to go back to work the next day if we don't love our works we don't look out for each other if we don't look out for each other we feel lonely if we don't feel lonely all these negative things happen so what example can I share with a creative audience about how to change this the United States Marine Corps I had the great honor last week of spending a week with the Marines I spent a couple days at Camp Lejeune and then I went for a few days to Parris Island to watch them go through boot camp and this isn't a room it's a remarkable remarkable human experiment that they're doing and even though they know what works they don't know why it works but they don't need to know why because they know that it works right but what's happening is they're taking a group of strangers people who don't know each other who were showing up and within a very very short period of time learn to trust each other so much that they would give their lives for each other right and we know everyone sort of anyone who's ever worn a human reform knows that no one runs into battle for God and country it doesn't happen it's for the guy to the left of me and the guy to the right of me that's the reason they do what they do right and these sort of remarkable stories of heroism where people rush into very very dangerous situations to save others and they always ask the question why did you do it why would you risk your life why would you put yourself at risk for them and the answer is always the same because they would do it for me in other words what gives them the confidence to put themselves at great risk is the knowledge that someone would do the same for them we would put ourselves a great risk for our companies if we knew that our companies would put themselves a great risk for us but they don't so we don't now one of the things that's remarkable about the Marines and if you go read and you know this is the most I asked these young and they're 21 22 years old some of these of these lance corporals the grunts you know the guys the infantry I mean this is the lowest of the low the ones we actually send in to battle the frontlines and I asked them are you misunderstood in America and they said yes unanimously they all nodded I said what what do people think of you and one stood up and says they think we're baby killers I said how does it feel he says it hurts and when I say we'll tell me a story then that captures to you what it means to be a Marine the feeling you have of being a Marine tell me a story that captures it and I expected to hear stories of I took a hit and somebody save me or I ran into a firefight and pulled something I expected these stories of heroism not a single story like came out and I'm sure those stories exist but those aren't that all the stories they told me that capture what it means to be a Marine one of the stories they told me was a young boy in Afghanistan who would come around every morning and sell kebabs to the Marines and then one day he showed up and he was all beaten up and he didn't go to his parents for help and he didn't go to his friends to help he came to the Marines for help because he trusted them more than anyone else they told me a story that captured how they feel of a sevilla CH that had been overrun by the Taliban and the residents of the village could couldn't go home because they would be killed by the Taliban and so they were just living by the river the problem was winter was coming and one of the the elders came to the Marines knocked on the door and said I need you to come down to the river and kill us and the Marine said what are you talking about he says if we go back home we'll be killed by the Taliban and if we stay out there we're gonna die slow deaths this winter it's easier if you just come and kill us please the Marines overran the Taliban village pushed the Taliban out a year later they went back to this village and people were playing volleyball these were the stories they told me that capture what it means to be a Marine they believed in doing good for others and the fulfillment they get when they put themselves at risk so that others may prevail is overwhelming this is not unique to the Marine Corps this is all human beings the feeling of fulfillment comes from doing something for another the feeling from fulfillment comes from the exertion of time and energy for someone else if you are walking to work and you throw a few pennies in a cup and you come to work and you say to your friends hey guys I gave a dollar to somebody homeless this morning what are your friends going to say yeah good right I gave 20 bucks to somebody homeless they'd be like yeah good for you right what have you come in in the morning you say hey I gave up my Saturday and I went and paid missus painted a school in the inner city people go whoa cool wow cool and all of a sudden not only are they inspired to do something good themselves but the feeling that that you have persists the amazing thing is when we do good for others it actually inspires others to do good for others this is provided for us prymatt illogically anthropologically it's a all part of the survival of the species you know sex feels good so that will do it so we can procreate and perpetuate the species but we're social animals and so we have to provide for the fact that we'll maintain strong bonds and build cultures right because that's what humans do were cultural animals and so when we do good for others and we look out for those in our tribe we look out for those in our group it actually feels good biologically releases oxytocin this chemical that's released when you do good for others is released and it makes you feel good the amazing thing is the more oxytocin and you have in your body the more you want to do good for others the problem is we've replaced this feeling the exertion of time and energy with digital communications we've replaced it with headphones we've replaced it with money right think about the invention of money right it used to be money you know used to be like you go to someone's house you cook them dinner and the deal was they'll do the dishes time and energy exchange for time and energy and someone said I'll give you an IOU right someone says I don't feel like doing the dishes so I'm gonna give you an IOU that I promised to do them another day right and that's what money is it is the promise for future goods or services the promise of future goods and services in other words we've replaced our own time and energy with promises for someone else to do it another day right in other words there's no exertion of time and energy and so the feeling people get is that I did something for you and you did nothing for me you replaced it with a piece of paper with an eye are you with a promise for future goods and services the way we find fulfillment is by doing good for others so how do the Marines or how do you get people to do good for others we all know this intellectually we know that it's good to do good for others but why don't we do it then why don't we do it and what the Marines learned is something that I completely did not expect they can't just yell at these guys to help each other that's not what happens there's a few things that they have to do first so we all heard of the obstacle course right the Marines have a thing called the obstacle course and this is where they they build an aerobic strength and aerobic strength muscle strength and it's timed and all of this good stuff they have another course called the confidence course and it's never timed and most of the obstacles on this course cannot be completed by yourself they must be completed in teams you have no choice that's just how it's designed and what they say is the first two weeks of boot camp everybody is there to outdo each other and prove that they're strong just kind of like when we start in a job with proof we want to show how great we are we'll work a little hard it will do good work look how good my design is right it's all about us and how good we are right but they keep putting them in situations where they can't do things by themselves and what starts to happen very slowly they said after about two weeks they start cheering for each other now they get in trouble when they do but they start cheering for each other and then before too long you see them organically start helping each other and what happens is if there's one person who's weak and refuses to help each other the others or even if there's one person who's strong who's you know I was the star college athlete and they get to every the end of every obstacle they just stand there and wait for everybody to finish and they don't help each other what starts to happen as organically the group starts to ostracize that person organically they get ostracized until they learn that the only way that they will get through this thing the only way they will survive boot camp is if they ask for help because they have no option the problem is no one will help them until they're willing to help another it's the deal we have to make it's called vulnerability and risk we have to take the risk to make ourselves vulnerable yes you might do something for someone else and they may not do something back for you that's the risk you run that's the risk you run it's not about it's not about giving everything to them and and sort of huge big overwhelming risk it's about little things and little things it's like going on a date right it's like if I went on a date with somebody I came home and I said after one date I said I'm marrying her people like what are you nuts I'll be like I'm in love they're like what your this is crazy I'm like I know I'm in love she feels the same way we both know it's nuts right now you know that you're gonna be like go on a couple more dates right we know instinctively that the strong bond that's create that that needs to be created first takes more than a week right we know that right but if I've been dating somebody for seven years and we haven't you know married you'll be like dude what is wrong right in other words we know that it takes more than seven days and we know that it takes less than seven years the problem is we don't know how long it takes somewhere in the middle all human buns are the same like when you show up at work when you show for the first time when you're new don't expect that people will look out for you and they won't expect you to look out for them in seven days it won't happen but if you've been working at a job for a few years and you don't have the UH identity that the sort of the absolute confidence that if you turn your back you will not get stabbed you can rely on somebody who can give them something nothing will go wrong you will share the credit no one will throw you under the bus if you don't have that in a few years something's wrong something's wrong I don't know how long it takes but I know that's more than a week and I know it's less than seven years and the Marines fundamentally understand that before anyone is willing to put themselves out for another they have to have self-confidence real self confidence you have to be confident in yourself and your own ability before you're willing to help another if you're insecure at all about your own ability it's an oxy it's sort of a paradox right how am I can I overcome my confidence you know my self-confidence and we all have ego issues at all times you know we all do right but if I'm not confident myself I won't help another it's a paradox because then we need someone to look out for us before we're willing to help our peers right this is what management is supposed to do the drill instructors the school they are they're our parents they are there for one reason and one reason only to help us feel strong and good about ourselves but look at the way we talk to each other they look at look look a budgets been cut and so what do you get told I need you guys to do more with less right that's what we're told hey guys I need you guys to do more with less that's we're told by our clients by our bosses by our parents this is what we're told right that's like your parents telling you when you're young I know you're stupid figure it out right you're not as smart as the other kids what do you want me to do right it's the exact same thing I need you to do more with less right what we need to be telling people is I need you I need you to do more with what you have right you have capacity you have strength you have talent you have compatibility I need you to do more with what you have we don't celebrate what we've got we criticize for what we don't have this is the responsibility of management to take us under their wing and help us understand our own value to ourselves close your eyes and think back to high school and think of that one teacher who took you under their wing and cared for you and looked after you and helped you realize that you are capable of more than you thought you were and you and you you probably are the person you are today in some part because of that person right do you have that name what's the name tell me the name tell me the name of the teacher okay give me the name okay I can point to anybody and you can tell me that name now tell me the names of all the other teachers you had that day can't remember them can you this is the power of those who teaches confidence we will literally carry their names around with us for the rest of our lives wouldn't you want to be that person wouldn't you want to be the person that 20 years from now 30 years from now 40 years from now I can do this exercise with somebody and they will tell me your name this is the power of helping others realize their own strengths this is what management and leadership is supposed to be doing they're supposed to be caring for us and helping us realize our own value and by the way if you have anybody who reports to your works for you your responsibility is not to make them meet the deadline your responsibility is not to make sure that they do as you say your responsibility is to make sure that they understand their own strengths their own value and that they are way way more talented than they think they are and the only way they will learn that is if you put them in situations in which they can fail and you hold them and you support them and you give them talent and you give them skills and you give them education and you watch their backs and if they fall over you encourage them to get back up and if they follow the you carriage them to get back up and if they fall over you encourage them to get back up until they figure it out themselves it's called confidence it's your responsibility to help others find it into others responsibility to help you find yours and the amazing thing is as soon as you start feeling confident in your own ability you naturally help each other that's what happens it's called trust in the military they give medals to people who are willing to sacrifice themselves so that others may gain in business we are willing to give bonuses to people who will sacrifice others so that we may gain we have it backwards and then we complain about how we don't love our jobs and we complain about how the work is suffering and we complain about how budgets are being cut and we can complain and complain and complain and the first thing we do is blame each other and become more selfish and worried about my pay and my benefits in my this and this is what happens when we are unfulfilled we look at the metrics and we say they're not good enough when we are fulfilled we don't care about the metrics this is why when you have a job you love and you get a call that says I'll offer you tons more money and great benefits you like I'm not interested I'm not interested I I'm not interested I'm very happy here but we'll give you more that's not the reason I'm here I'm here because I love it I'm here because I care for the people I work with and I'm here because the people I work with care for me this is the world I imagine this is the world I imagine and here's the great thing if you take little risks I'm not talking about big things little things if you start doing little things for each other the amazing anthropological response is other people will start doing little things for others - I was walking down the street two days ago and a guy's backpack was open and a whole bunch of paper fell out as he was walking down the street and I happened to be behind him and so my friend and I just sort of we were in mid conversation and in mid conversation we never even stopped talking we just bent down sort of helped him gather his papers and them back to him sort of pointed out that his bet book bag was his you know pack was unzipped and he said thanks and we walked on it was like no big deal right we get to the end of the the street we stand at that we're waiting it to cross the street we still talking we haven't stopped talking and the guy in front of us turns to us and says I saw you help that guy that was really cool but here's what's great about that the guy will go do something for someone else simply because he saw us bend down and pick up paper for someone else he will actually go do something for someone else because of it right he he won't give to charity because he sees me put a dollar in a cup but he will actually help someone because he saw someone also helps someone little things hold a door open for someone say thank you to the person hold the door open for you smile to the barista little little things you know put your foot in the subway when the door is closing so someone who's running will make it hit the open at the elevator don't go or pretend you didn't see that's the best one you know I saw sorry all right do it a little time and a little energy and you'll find around work that people give a little time and a little energy back to you and you'll give a little more time and a little more energy you go for a coffee with someone then you go for a two-hour coffee and you go for a coffee and a lunch then you go for a lunch and a dinner then you go for a dinner in a movie and then you sleep over and then you sleep over two nights and then you go on holiday together and eventually you get married right it's slow it takes time and we can't rush it you know if when we rush it it's all fake do things for others and watch watch how much others do for you but you know go you go get yourself a cup of coffee from the coffee sheet machine in the morning make one for someone else it takes a little extra time it takes a little extra energy that's the point that's the point and here's the best part you will feel so good at the end of the day so good thank you very much thank you it's a great question how do you convince someone how do you know sort of the metrics how do you convince a skeptical audience of this trust metric you don't you don't write you can't twist anybody's arm to do something that they don't want to do and you know the law of diffusion which I obey you know as hard as as much as I can which is you don't need the majority you need those people who believe what you believe in other words if you buy if you you know when you go sort of when you do some nice things for people they may not do something nice back because they may be you know we live in a world in which you do something for somebody they think you want something from them right that's unfortunately the society we've created but but that's the risk that we keep taking I'm not saying you should keep doing it for somebody who keeps doing nothing and keeps sort of you know crapping on you because of it then at some point you have to be like all right my bad my bad right and you back off you know I don't believe in helping everyone I do not believe in it right this is not you know let's do good for everyone in the planet that's not what I'm talking about mother Teresa who's the poster child for giving selflessly to all who need at the end of her life started question the existence of God and by the way hated her life serious okay in other words giving to others unabashedly is actually self-destructive it doesn't help right and it's just like going on dates with people you don't like doesn't mean you'll eventually click in math right there's there's only one machine that I found that really accurately measures trust better than any other sort of metric it's called a human being it's really good at it right and so those feelings you get trust them and one way or the other you know it's it's the little risks it's the butterflies it's the unsure you know it's the it's the backwards it's the dance it's dating it's the dance it's the nerves like I you know it's that so if there if there are cynical bastards at your office who or who don't get it you cannot ignore him don't worry about it because eventually you'll get enough and those people either come along or leave or be pushed out you know ostracized remember when the group starts helping each other they sighs the ones who refuse to help whether they're stronger whether they're weak they get ostracized until they learn until they learn that they cannot survive without the help of others and they learn that the only way others will help them is if they if they help the others right the order matters the order matters I'll just I just thought of something that that's sort of we which is pervasive in our sort of you know digital world the order matters you know so to speak honestly about what you want right if you are doing don't do things for people when you want something from them just ask them what you want from them and I'll give you one little example it's a funny little example we've all received emails that go like this dear Simon well you wouldn't get an email to your assignment but I dear insert your name right dear Simon haven't seen you in years hope you're well congratulations on all you've been doing it's really amazing we should get coffee sometime if you could do me a favor I'm if you could vote for me on this website I'm hoping to win you know some thousand dollar prize for my design blah blah blah hope you're well talk to you soon Kenny right we've all received an email like that and how do we respond to it right now what happens if you get the same email that goes like this dear Simon I'm hoping you could vote for me on this website I'm trying to win some thousand dollar prize for my design I haven't seen you in years I hope you're really well congratulations on all that you've been doing we should get a coffee sometime thanks Kenny totally different in other words when we know why you're emailing and it comes first it has a remarkable impact we know that all those pleasantries are just buttering us up to get to what they want right but if you come right out with what you want we're actually very grateful for the pleasantries right it's the same thing in human interaction don't give someone a cup of coffee if you need a favor back just ask them for the favor it builds trust I can't trust you every time you do something nice for me I think you just something what you want something from me I won't trust you and this is what companies do to us right well we did this for you why won't you do this for us that's not how it works generosity bending down to pick up the papers holding the door open for someone is expecting nothing in return ever you do not give you know this is what happens in new business right we new business is built on relationships and so we build the relationship build the relationship build a relationship until we're comfortable to ask for the business in other words you were only befriending me till the point you felt that I would let down my guard and you could ask me for something the whole time you were just waiting for that time it doesn't work that way if you actually want to build relationships you build relationships without wanting anything and that's how you build trust you want to know why the Marines gave me this incredible access I mean literally they said Simon anything you want to see you got it anything you want to do you got it you can go ahead we went past sign that said no observers no civilians beyond this point I'm like can I take pictures like go ahead you should see some of the pictures they're unbelievable right I'm like right in there Marines coming at me we went out to the crucible and roll like you know they're like rolling in the dirt and like you know going onto barbed wire and I'm like I'm not joking either they're like you know unprecedented access access that journalists would be jealous of do you know why they gave it to me because in all the time that I've been visiting with Marines and having meetings with them I've never asked for anything I don't want anything and I don't have anything to sell I just keep showing up and say what do you need how can I help and at some point they said when I called and said I need a little favor because they know I haven't been waiting for the favor it's the time now that I have a little favor they go absolutely whatever you need it's called human relationships companies don't do business with companies people do business with people you know your company didn't win IBM as a client somebody who likes somebody said will hire you and if they didn't like you they're just you know they're doing they're playing roulette while we're betting that you know this will work out those are the weak relationships yes [Music] the more we give the more it inspires others to give but the more selfish we are the more others become selfish around us and so those are organizations in which selfish behavior perfect prevails and so we see the residual effect which is they make decisions that ultimately screw us they destroy our economy because of their selfish behavior right we know this is what what what happens same in politics right and the answer is don't worry about it I know it sounds silly I need you out you mean your first question is do I talk about these things to them I will talk to anyone who will listen you know but I don't talk to people who don't want to listen the good news is there are some good eggs and there are some of them who've had conversions where they were the bastards who believed in firing people and screwing people to advance their careers and something happens I just met a guy recently he was a very senior executive at very very large company and something happened and he like he got like hit in the head or something and he realized holy cow I have to look after people right and they become obsessed with it and they start sticking their necks out and and we just need those champions scattered around and this is what I do the more I spread this message the more it's sort of it's it's kind of like um you know in the cartoons is sort of the whole of justice you know the the message goes out they all sort of like you know wherever they are like you know that they poke their heads up it's that kind of thing the more we talk about it the more we put it in our work you know because don't forget you're gonna help someone who goes home feeling good and their husband or their wife works in the bank and they're gonna talk how much about they'd love to and that might inspire that person you know it's it has all of these residual impacts that we don't really know this is the funny thing about the internet which is we're so proud of the internet that we can measure everything no you can't you can only measure one layer right so for example you say Simon what's the impact you're having I don't know is the answer right I know it's it's I know that it'll take more than a week and I will take seven years but I don't know when it's gonna happen and I don't know how it's gonna get there right all I can do is is do it right but I have no clue how we'll win and so for example I can measure book sales and I can measure how many hits and I can measure how many people watched a TED talk and all of this but I can't measure you know that TED talk being shown to a room of 50 people and one of those 50 people doesn't buy a book doesn't watch a TED talk doesn't do anything but goes out and does something good for somebody else I have no way of measuring that and so we're so proud of the internet and its ability to measure everything but we're measuring one layer where we used to measure no layers it's like you know this is how people work it's it's it's gossamer you know it's networked and so the answer is don't worry about them don't worry about them worry about the people who you can care for who you can give to and when we reach a critical mass in society it will tip right and if you don't believe me the reason it is the way it is now is because it tipped the wrong way there was no such thing as massive layoffs as business strategy prior to night in the 1980s it just wasn't done it was done here and there but it wasn't strategy the idea of using layoffs to balance the books is a relatively new phenomenon that came for the increase of selfishness in the Gordon Gekko greta's good 1980s boom right and this was also the same exact period the 1980s where the theory the theory of shareholder value was put forwards right because they had all these people buying large companies and installing professional managers to run the companies that they bought that they invested in and they had a problem which is those professional managers were paid for by the company and those professional managers cared for the employees and the customers and so the investor said how do we protect our we've got an idea we're gonna give them equity in the company and bonus them based on the performance right and so the shift happened where the CEOs started caring more about the investors and stopped caring about the customers and employees those were theories introduced by some Harvard professor in the 1980s we can push it back the other way right we can push it back the other way but we just have to and there's just there's a there was a just the other day which company was it one of the large banks where the shareholders citibank citibank yeah citibank the shareholders voted majority shareholders voted against a fat pay package that's unprecedented it has never happened even in hard times even when the company's doing this the shareholders just it's just sort of a cursory thing where they approve the fifteen million dollar bonus for the CEO they voted against it it's non-binding but it sends a shot across the bow saying shareholders now want you to be bonused if you do something good for others even if the others is us all right the point is is that it's it's starting to crack and so let's just stick our finger in the crack you know make sure that it keeps cracking it's one one way we can swing it back the question was can I talk about celebrating accomplishment while still asking for more right tutu so so they did a study on kids who are really really smart like an older gifted classes why is it when you smart you're gifted when you're stupid you're special why is that I was told my whole life I was special I never gifted they took the gifted kids who were constantly told you're so good oh thanks but I knew you'd do well oh you're the you're our best employee you know you're our best student you're awesome right and what happens is later in life they actually suffer because they're very afraid of taking risk because they're very afraid of losing their position on the mantle okay kids who are sort of more average who constantly are rewarded not for their accomplishment but for their effort great effort really proud of the improvement you made what they find is they do very well in life because there's no shelf there's always more there's more effort right and so you want to reward and acknowledge effort even if they don't hit the goal it's that the Delta but at the same time if it goes backwards you'd be like dude what's going on it's like we don't get we shouldn't be giving ribbons for everyone who competes right because what we're teaching people is if you do nothing you get a medal right and the funny thing is is we start with creating a generation that's feeling very Hollow and feeling you know this sense of entitlement that people complain about gen-y the entitlement is I don't feel like I've accomplished anything and the funny thing is about human beings is we we the way we feel accomplished is when we exert energy and time and reach a destination right and the more energy and time that we have to suffer through especially if we suffer together and we get somewhere it is overwhelming think about the best jobs you've ever worked on was it the best design was it the best results that the company because of your your project or was it an absolute hell project that you work together and you came out on the other end and that you got it done at the deadline and you're like that was amazing it was the hell projects it was the things that we had to go out of our ways more do things for each other right things we weren't thinking of doing I was wrapping packages I was doing stuff that aren't designers aren't supposed to do going you know this is what produces that right and so the the the the the thing is about measurement and destination reward imagine we're standing in a big empty room right and we're standing in one corner and I give you a simple instruction I want you to go to that corner in a straight line right I figure out no big deal right without telling you I slip a chair in front of you what do you do you go around the chair now you just disobeyed what I told you to do I told you to go to that corner straight line but this is the amazing things about human beings which is when we're given a clear destination we use our own creativity and our own sense of innovation and our own problem-solving abilities to overcome obstacles to get to the destination in other words the destination is more important than the route right we are flexible about the route we're obsessed with the destination reset we're standing in the corner together and I give you a simple instruction go somewhere in this room in a straight line and you say to me well where do you owe me to go I'm like I don't know you smart figure it out go in a straight line and so you pick a point and you start walking and without telling you I put a chair in front of you and what do you do you come to a grinding halt I say what did you stop for you go will you put a chair in front of me or you'll make a sudden turn and go in another direction right and this is the problem it's the same obstacle the difference is when you have a clear set a clear destination the obstacles become easy to overcome when you don't have a clear destination you keep coming to a grinding halt and what we do in our companies is we're counting the steps we're taking along the route but we're never looking at the destination right so company says made in million dollars this year we were only planning on making eight hundred thousand like we took ten steps were only planning on taking eight where are you going no clue right we count the steps and so the point is is that people want to feel that the effort that they're exerting actually are moving somewhere and so successful measurement successful recognition is not just for the steps you take it's not just for the effort it's that the effort you exerted moved us closer to where we're trying to get to and that get to should be some crazy ideal my ideal is to live in a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning you know inspire to go to work and fulfilled by the work that they do and the the couple of measurements that I use are if the book is selling and I by the way people ask me how many have you sold I have no clue I've never asked the publisher because they don't care I really don't care how many I've sold what I care about is the Amazon rankings and that those are going steady or up and not plummeting because that means other people right because I don't have a publicist I don't have a marketing strategy on purpose I didn't hire one of those companies to sell the book for me and the reason is is because I'm not interested in book sales I'm interested in spreading an idea and so I just use that as a metric to help me understand am I sort of marching in that because the more I preach is it resonating you know and so you have a couple of these imperfect measurements that help you understand are you going along the way so it's not just great effort look what you achieved because that's what we're doing now right our goal is to increase top-line revenues by 50 million dollars for what reason right which is we have to know the destination and then we say amazing you took us that much closer and if we go to the right it's because we were overcoming an obstacle if we hadn't gone to the right we would have been stuck forever thank you you know it's not always straight lines it's not always straight lines but it's it's in one direction she's pulling the cane out thank you very very much

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This morning after YouTubing the word “compassion” I ended up discovering Simon Sinek.  Take a minute and add this guy to your favorites!

Admiral McRaven: Advice From A Navy Seal Who Became An Admiral


What starts here changes the world
I have a few suggestions that may help you on your way to a better world
and while these lessons were learned during my time in the military,
I can assure you that it matters not, whether you ever served a day in uniform, it matters
not your gender your ethnic or religious background, your orientation or your social status.
Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward
Changing ourselves and changing the world around us will apply equally to all
So here are the ten lessons I learned from basic Seal training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life
Every morning in seal training my instructors who at the time were all Vietnam veterans
Would show up in my barracks room. And the first thing they’d do is inspect my bed if you did it right,
the corners would be square, the covers would be pulled tight,
the pillows centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack.
It was a simple task
mundane at best but every morning we were required to
Make our bed to perfection
It seemed a little ridiculous at the time particularly light of the fact that we were aspiring to be real warriors tough battle-hardened seals
But the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.
If you make your bed every morning
You will have accomplished the first task of the day
it will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and
Another and another and by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many task completed
Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter
If you can’t do the little things, right
You’ll never be able to do the big things right and if by chance you have a miserable day
You will come home to a bed that is made
That you made
And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better
So if you want to change the world
Start off by making your bed
During seal training the students
During training the students are all broken down into boat crews
Each crew is seven students three on each side of a small rubber boat and one Coxon to help guide the dinghy
every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and
Is instructed to get through the surf zone and paddle several miles down the coast in the winter
The surf off San Diego can get to be eight to ten feet high and it is exceedingly difficult
The paddle hook through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in
Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the Coxon
Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously dumped back on the beach
For the boat to make it to its destination
Everyone must paddle
You can’t change the world alone
You will need some help and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends colleagues
The good will of strangers and a strong Coxen to guide you if you want to change the world
Find someone to help you paddle over
A few weeks of difficult training my seal class which started with 150 men
Was down to just 42 there were now six boat crews of seven men each. I
Was in the boat with the tall guys
but the best boat crew we had
Was made up of little guys the Munchkin crew. We called them. No one was over five foot five
The Munchkin boat crew had one american-indian
One african-american one Polish American one Greek American one Italian American and two tough kids from the Midwest
They out paddled out ran and out swam all the other boat crews the big men and the other boat crews
will always make good-natured fun of
The tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim
But somehow these little guys from every corner of the nation in the world always had the last laugh
Swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us
SEAL training was a great equalizer
Nothing mattered, but your will to succeed not your color. Not your ethnic background, not your education, not your social status
If you want to change the world
measure a person by the size of their heart
not by the size of their flippers
Several times a week
The instructors would line up the class and do a uniform inspection
It was exceptionally thorough
Your hat had to be perfectly starched your uniform immaculately pressed your belt buckle shiny and void of any smudges
But it seemed that no matter how much effort you put into starching your hat or pressing your uniform or polishing your belt buckle
It just wasn’t good enough
The instructors would find something wrong
For failing the uniform inspection the student had to run fully clothed into the surf zone
Then wet from head to toe roll around on the beach until every part of your body was covered with sand
the effect was known as
You stayed in the uniform the rest of the day cold wet and Sandy
There were many a student who just couldn’t accept the fact that
All their efforts were in vain that no matter how hard they tried to get the uniform right,
It went unappreciated those students didn’t make it through training those students didn’t understand the purpose of the drill
You were never going to succeed you were never going to have a perfect uniform the instructors weren’t going to allow it
Sometimes no matter how well you prepare
Or how well you perform you still end up as a sugar cookie
It’s just the way life is sometimes
If you want to change the world
Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward
Every day during training you were challenged with multiple physical events long runs long swims obstacle courses hours of calisthenics
Something designed to test your mettle every event had standards times you had to meet if you fail to meet those times
Those standards your name was posted on a list and at the end of the day
Those on the list
were invited to a circus a
Circus was two hours of additional calisthenics designed to wear you down to break your spirit to force you to quit
No one wanted a circus a circus meant that for that day
You didn’t measure up a circus meant more fatigue and more fatigue
Meant that the following day would be more difficult and more circuses were likely
But at some time during seal training everyone
Everyone made the circus list
But an interesting thing happened to those who were constantly on the list
Over time those students who did two hours of extra calisthenics got stronger and stronger
The pain of the circuses built inner strength and physical resiliency
Life is filled with circuses
You will fail
You will likely fail often it will be painful. It will be discouraging at times. It will test you to your very core
but if you want to change the world
Don’t be afraid of the circuses
At least twice a week, the trainees were required to run the obstacle course
the obstacle course contained 25 obstacles including the 10-foot wall a
30-foot cargo net a barbed wire crawl to name a few but the most challenging obstacle
Was the slide for life
It had a three level 30-foot tower at one end and a one level Tower at the other in between was a 200-foot long rope
You had to climb the three tiered Tower and once at the top you grabbed the Rope
swung underneath the rope and
Pulled yourself hand over hand until you got to the other end
The record for the obstacle course had stood for years when my class began in 1977. The record seemed unbeatable
Until one day a student decided to go down the slide for life
Instead of swinging his body underneath the rope and inching his way down. He bravely mounted the top of the rope and
Thrust himself forward it was a dangerous move
Seemingly foolish and fraught with risk
Failure could be an injury and being dropped from the course without hesitation
the students slid down the Rope perilously fast
Instead of several minutes. It only took him half that time and by the end of the course
He had broken the record
If you want to change the world
Sometimes you have to slide down the obstacles headfirst
During the land warfare phase of training the students are flown out to San Clemente Island which lies off the coast of San Diego
the waters off San Clemente are a breeding ground for the great white sharks to
Pass seal training. They’re a series of long swims that must be completed
One is the night swim
Before the swim the instructors. Joyfully brief the students on all the species of sharks
That inhabit the waters off, San Clemente
They assure you however that no student has
Ever been eaten by a shark at least not that they can remember
But you are also taught that if a shark begins to circle your position
Stand your ground
Do not swim away
Do not act afraid
and if the shark hungry for a midnight snack darts towards you then summons up all your strength and
Punch him in the snout and he will turn and swim away
There are a lot of sharks in the world
If you hope to complete the swim you will have to deal with them
So if you want to change the world
Don’t back down from the sharpest
As Navy SEALS, one of our jobs is to conduct underwater attacks against the enemy’s shipping
we practice this technique extensively during training the
Ship attack mission is where a pair of SEAL divers is dropped off outside an enemy harbor and then swims well over two miles
Underwater using nothing, but a depth gauge and a compass to get to the target
During the entire swim even well below the surface. There is some light
That comes through
It is comforting to know that there is open water above you
But as you approach the ship which is tied to appear the light begins to fade
The steel structure of the ship blocks the moonlight. It blocks the surrounding streetlamps. It blocks all
ambient light
to be successful in your mission
You have to swim under the ship and find the keel the centerline and the deepest part of the ship. This is your objective
But the keel is also the darkest part of the show
where you cannot see your hand in front of your face where the noise from the ship’s machinery is deafening and
Where it gets to be easily disoriented and you can fail
every SEAL knows
that under the keel at that darkest moment of the mission is a time when you need to be calm when
You must be called when you must be composed when all your tactical skills your physical power and your inner strength
Must be brought to bear
If you want to change the world
You must be your very best in the darkest moments
The ninth week of training is referred to as hell week
It is six days of no sleep
Constant physical and mental harassment and one special day at the mud flats
the mud flats are an area between San Diego and Tijuana where the rough water runs off and creates the Tijuana sloughs a
Swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you
It is on Wednesday of hell week
that you paddle down in the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive this freezing cold the
Howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors
As the Sun began to set that Wednesday evening
My training class having committed some egregious infraction of the rules
Was ordered into the mud
The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads
The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit
Only five minutes just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold
Looking around the mud flat it was apparent that some students were about to give up
it was still over eight hours till the Sun came up eight more hours of
Bone-chilling cold a chattering teeth and the shivering moans of the trainees were so loud
it was hard to hear anything and
Then one voice began to echo through the night
one voice raised in song
The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm
One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing
the instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing but the singing persisted and
Somehow the mud seemed a little warmer and the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away
if I have learned anything in my time traveling the world it is the power of
the power of one person
The Washington a Lincoln King Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan Malala one person can change the world
By giving people hope so if you want to change the world
Start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud
Finally a SEAL training there’s a bell a
brass bell that hangs in the center of the compound for all the students to see
All you have to do quit. All you have to do to quit is ring the bell
ring the bell and you no longer have to wake up at 5 o’clock ring the bell and you
No longer have to be in the freezing cold swims
Ring the bell and you no longer have to do the runs the obstacle course the PT and you no longer have to endure
the hardships of training
All you have to do is ring the bell to get out
If you want to change the world don’t ever ever
Ring the bell
It will not be easy
Start each day with a task completed
Find someone to help you through life
Respect everyone know the life is not fair that you will fail often
but if you take some risks
Step up on the time through the toughest
Face down the bullies lift up the downtrodden and never ever give up. If you do these things the next generation and the
Generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today
And what started here will indeed have changed the world for the better?
Thank you very much

CK: Journaling Playlist