Lightly

Aldous Huxley, Island:

It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. So throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling…

See also: A State of Balance

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Long-Term Thinking

Jeff Bezos:

Long-term thinking is a lever. It lets you do things that you could not do or couldn’t even conceive of doing if you were thinking short-term.

If everything has to work in two to three years, then that limits what you can do. If you can give yourself the breathing room to say, “Okay. I’m okay if it takes seven years.” All of a sudden you have way more opportunities.

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You are dreaming with the brain awake

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements:

What you are seeing and hearing right now is nothing but a dream. You are dreaming right now in this moment. You are dreaming with the brain awake.

Dreaming is the main function of the mind, and the mind dreams twenty-four hours a day. It dreams when the brain is awake, and it also dreams when the brain is asleep. The difference is that when the brain is awake, there is a material frame that makes us perceive things in a linear way. When we go to sleep we do not have the frame, and the dream has the tendency to change constantly.

Humans are dreaming all the time. Before we were born the humans before us created a big outside dream that we will call society’s dream or the dream of the planet. The dream of the planet is the collective dream of billions of smaller, personal dreams, which together create a dream of a family, a dream of a community, a dream of a city, a dream of a country, and finally a dream of the whole humanity. The dream of the planet includes all of society’s rules, its beliefs, its laws, its religions, its different cultures and ways to be, its governments, schools, social events, and holidays.

We are born with the capacity to learn how to dream, and the humans who live before us teach us how to dream the way society dreams. The outside dream has so many rules that when a new human is born, we hook the child’s attention and introduce these rules into his or her mind. The outside dream uses Mom and Dad, the schools, and religion to teach us how to dream.

Attention is the ability we have to discriminate and to focus only on that which we want to perceive. We can perceive millions of things simultaneously, but using our attention, we can hold whatever we want to perceive in the foreground of our mind. The adults around us hooked our attention and put information into our minds through repetition. That is the way we learned everything we know.

By using our attention we learned a whole reality, a whole dream. We learned how to behave in society: what to believe and what not to believe; what is acceptable and what is not acceptable; what is good and what is bad; what is beautiful and what is ugly; what is right and what is wrong. It was all there already — all that knowledge, all those rules and concepts about how to behave in the world.

When you were in school, you sat in a little chair and put your attention on what the teacher was teaching you. When you went to church, you put your attention on what the priest or minister was telling you. It is the same dynamic with Mom and Dad, brothers and sisters: They were all trying to hook your attention. We also learn to hook the attention of other humans, and we develop a need for attention which can become very competitive. Children compete for the attention of their parents, their teachers, their friends. “Look at me! Look at what I’m doing! Hey, I’m here.” The need for attention becomes very strong and continues into adulthood.

The outside dream hooks our attention and teaches us what to believe, beginning with the language that we speak. Language is the code for understanding and communication between humans. Every letter, every word in each language is an agreement. We call this a page in a book; the word page is an agreement that we understand. Once we understand the code, our attention is hooked and the energy is transferred from one person to another.

It was not your choice to speak English. You didn’t choose your religion or your moral values — they were already there before you were born. We never had the opportunity to choose what to believe or what not to believe. We never chose even the smallest of these agreements. We didn’t even choose our own name.

As children, we didn’t have the opportunity to choose our beliefs, but we agreed with the information that was passed to us from the dream of the planet via other humans. The only way to store information is by agreement. The outside dream may hook our attention, but if we don’t agree, we don’t store that information. As soon as we agree, we believe it, and this is called faith. To have faith is to believe unconditionally.

Audio from “The Four Agreements – Martin Roth Beats Edit” by Matthew Dekay and Martin Roth.
See also: “The Four Agreements” audiobook, narrated by Peter Coyote

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Keeping Your Distinctiveness Alive

Jeff Bezos:

In what ways does the world pull at you in an attempt to make you normal? How much work does it take to maintain your distinctiveness? To keep alive the thing or things that make you special?

We all know that distinctiveness – originality – is valuable. We are all taught to “be yourself.” What I’m really asking you to do is to embrace and be realistic about how much energy it takes to maintain that distinctiveness. The world wants you to be typical – in a thousand ways, it pulls at you. Don’t let it happen.

You have to pay a price for your distinctiveness, and it’s worth it. The fairy tale version of “be yourself” is that all the pain stops as soon as you allow your distinctiveness to shine. That version is misleading. Being yourself is worth it, but don’t expect it to be easy or free. You’ll have to put energy into it continuously.

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Changing

G.I. Gurdjieff:

It is the greatest mistake to think that man is always one and the same. A man is never the same for long. He is continually changing. He seldom remains the same even for half an hour.

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New Patterns

Stuart Wilde:

Once you realize that you are a timeless immortal within a body, try the following exercise. For the next thirty days totally change the pattern of your life. Get up at a different time. Go to bed later or earlier. Do not do any of the things you normally do. Talk to none of your friends. Avoid newspapers, radio and television. Dress differently and change your eating habits. Spend time on your own in silent meditation. Try to be out in nature away from people. Do at least one three-day fast if that is appropriate to your state of health.

As you pull away from all that you hold dear, your personality will change. You will be able to dedicate your life anew and create a stronger congruence to the infinite Life Force within you. Your mission or life quest will become clear and many of your cherished beliefs will fall away. You will become a freer individual and you will enjoy your new freedom.

By consciously changing your way of life and choosing simplicity, you will be free from confusion. The thought affirmations you create will begin to have power. They will not be cluttered by your old allegiances. They will arise instead from your clarity and sense of purpose.

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Clear the Slate

Stuart Wilde:

If you do not know what you want in life, you express that uncertainty into the Universal Law. And it — being impartial — expresses back to you the same feeling. The result is that nothing flows and all your attempts to materialize your dreams fade or break up.

If you do not know what you truly want, then the best move is to begin to clear out all of those things that you know you definitely no longer want — debilitating relationships, unhelpful habits, lack of action, imbalance of one kind or another. Sooner or later what you want will become clear and then you can head toward it.

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Stop Seeking Permission

Sarah Elkhaldy:

Many times, we unconsciously seek consent from others to allow us to grow. What we are innocently asking for is a mirror in the external world to validate what is taking place in our internal world. This isn’t so horrible once it’s demystified.

(…)

Humans are interdependent, it’s a natural instinct for us to want and seek support from our peers. The difference between wanting support and wanting permission, however, is that with permission we are asking someone to give us the green light to do or be whatever it is we believe we need permission for.

This creates a sticky dilemma since needing permission makes us entirely dependent on the feedback we are getting from whomever we’ve bestowed the role of authority figure to. Consider the weight of that position for someone to hold. We may be seeking consent from people undeserving of that role with their own constraints and programming to abide by simply because we need that mirror.

(…)

Up to a certain point we can’t continue our growth through someone else’s authority, so we are going to get placed in circumstances where we are denied permission all so that we can become aware that we were asking for permission.

(…)

Friction is a huge catalyst for growth and part of becoming sovereign beings is the ability to allow ourselves to be misperceived by others without it spiraling us into an existential crisis.

People can spend their entire life unfulfilled by the course of their life choices all because of fears relative to accessing their own power. This doesn’t mean we have to compensate for our insecurities by fully immersing ourselves into the ego, it just means we stop avoiding judgment and become conscious of where we placed limitations on ourselves. Forgive yourself for allowing the judgment of others to hold you back.

(…)

The underlying fear is that if we lose the approval of those that we rely on for connection, we will be all alone. While this fear is not unwarranted, in reality, we are only denying ourselves our own totality by allowing our expression to be limited by the judgments of others.

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Window of Opportunity

Sean Stephenson:

Recently, at the airport, I overheard two friends talking. One of the guys said that he really liked this girl who worked at his office, but he never let her know. Years went by, but he never reached out to her, never made any effort to connect with her on a personal level. Then one day she showed up at work with a huge rock on the fourth finger of her left hand. When she showed him, he said, “That’s great” in a somewhat sarcastic tone. Then he walked away.

His reaction upset her so much that she asked around the office, trying to understand why he wasn’t happy for her. Surprised, her colleagues told her that it was obvious that he had always had a crush on her. She collapsed in her chair, crying. “I’ve always had a crush on him too,” she sobbed, “but I thought he didn’t like me because he never talked to me . . . and now it’s too late!” The man telling the story was crushed. At this point his friend reached over and patted him on the back.

We can’t procrastinate when it comes to making connections. When we see the window of opportunity, we have to reach out and connect—no BUTS about it. In fact, I believe we put ourselves in real danger when we refuse to connect with others. Like this man and woman, we can not only lose positive opportunities but also incur negative consequences.

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Level Up

Tom Bilyeu:

Don’t obsess over your current standing in life. Even if you’re a total failure today, so what? What does that have to do with what you’re capable of becoming? Insist on delivering value to yourself. Only focus on that which drives you to improve.

Everyone has 86,400 seconds a day to spend however they see fit. The only thing that separates the successful from the “also rans” is how effectively time is used in pursuit of their goals. Like money, time must deliver a return. Focus on what is true and effective. There is something in the rhythmic passage of time that blinds people to the opportunities that exist even in the most mundane of moments. As long as you have time, you have time to progress. And progress is so fundamental to happiness, that simply leveling up any element of your skill set will make you feel more alive.

Humans have an innate drive to master their environment, but we also have a competing desire to sit around and do nothing. You have to push through your lesser impulses. Invention is an active pursuit. Value doesn’t drop from the sky, it comes from serving others better than anyone else. But you can only do that if you focus on leveling up – of becoming capable of more. If you focus on results, on what is true and effective, on what delivers value, you can transcend opinion and arrive at a place defined entirely by your accomplishments.

If you want to feel good about yourself today, fall in love with your potential. Don’t be satisfied with what is already done. Emotional comfort is the enemy of future progress. Thankfully, you’ll always be a fraction of who you can become. No matter how much you’ve accomplished. And that’s a wonderful thing, for it is progress that will make you feel most fulfilled. That’s why the cliche that it’s the journey that matters and not the destination has persisted for so long. It’s the progress inherent in the journey that we crave.

You can’t hide from the passage of time, but you can fail to make use of your time. Become what you’ve always envisioned. Use your 86,400 seconds well. Level up.

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