Happiness

It is a great day to kick off the series of ideas with one of the most popular concepts, happiness.

Lifestyle 1: Discipline and meaning are what matter; happiness is selfish.

Lifestyle 2:  There is no meaning to life; happiness is the ultimate goal.

Rebuttal:  The first side is closely tied to control, as the person that doesn’t care about happiness often exerts their pessimism and discipline on others – discipline rarely applies only to the host. Therefore, the world becomes a considerably more miserable place than it has to be.

For the second side, any good thing in excess is no longer a good thing.  Self-indulgence as a lifestyle has considerable ramifications: obesity, disease/unplanned pregnancy, loss of autonomy.  Extremism is counterproductive to well-being.

Balance:
Happiness is not something to try to grab onto; it is a side effect of health and an amalgamation of certain moments and feelings.

Growth is uncomfortable.  Happiness should not be a goal.  In the form of fleeting pleasures, happiness is not a sustainable state.  A lot of what we consider pleasure are the things we use to try to allay greater problems.

Health and understanding take the damage out of happiness.  Health isn’t in chasing or in controlling.

CGP Grey’s metaphor: Happiness is a bird that comes and lands on your boat from time to time.  You cannot force a bird to land.  All you can do is make improvements to your ship and sail to warmer waters.  You’re not trying to chase down a destination; rather, improve your boat and move toward the conditions that make happiness possible.

On reducing damage, we have to (1) examine childhood [What feels normal to you? Is it affecting others?  Is it sustainable?], (2) examine the habits you’ve kept in adulthood, and (3) understand your personality. What things do you do or think daily that impede focus and peace?

It is up to you to understand what is good for you and to choose what is sustainable and enjoyable.  It is up to you to delineate between fact and fiction, so as to not harm.  Everyone has to find his own way independently, and every man has to care about his own health for himself and his community.

Statistician’s side: 
In the Harvard Study of Adult Development, researchers found that happiness depends on our relationships with others, especially those we live with.  All other factors matter considerably less.

Philosopher’s side:
Krishnamurti has said, “We believe happiness is something to seek, because we seek everything else.  Happiness cannot be found.  It is a byproduct and occurs in the absence of fear.  Life is in the moments when we are lost in a task or feel part of the environment around us.  To chase happiness is to not be one with its source.

At its root, unhappiness comes from lack of love, or the distance between ourselves and others.  The distance is created by our judgements and criticisms.   The striver will say, love is just a dream, I must get on in the world.  But love is the most practical thing in the world.  Intelligence is in recognizing that ultimately love is the only thing that matters.”

Conclusion:

This philosophy coincides with the data: Our happiness lies in having healthy relationships with others.  So we must be healthy ourselves.   Health affects sustainability and reduces damage.   Happiness visits us most often when we are living in harmony with others and our interests.

 

 

Exciting Changes

I’m going through an evolution in my life, and I’ll be applying some exciting changes to The Simple Brief soon.  On the externality front in my life, I will be adding some highlights to my hair, traveling to Moscow, and I am considering a move to the city.

For the Simple Brief:

(1) Cleaner look.  I’m working on a redesign, with a focus on an easy-to-navigate table of contents and a crisp, clean, minimalist background.  Color will be in the logo and in photos at the top of blog posts.

(2) Regular posts.  I’m going to write a new post after I upload each video, one on Thursday evening and one on Sunday evening.  Every time there is a new video, there will be a new blog post.

(3)  One to save, one to implement.  One post each week will be on a concept that I think is valuable (hierarchy of needs, value neutrality) and the other post will be focused on external visual improvement: organization, minimalism, cleaning, and design.

(4) Minimalistic, balanced. I’m going to focus on minimalism in layout. I will present the most balanced view on each concept.

(5) In-depth.  Any personal or in-depth information, I will share on Patreon for my closest supporters.   I’m setting up a profile on Patreon, and the content I will be setting up will be in the form of short podcasts.

Other things I’m working on:

(1) Five-minute videos once a week on my steno channel on universal topics to help with motivation and clarity.

(2) A digital book covering the 10 most important aspects of a minimalist’s life.

(3) Watercolor painting so I can add more color to blog posts.

I want to follow passion, challenge myself, and see what works best.  I want to maximize the reading experience for you by being consistent, minimalistic, and informative.  Thank you for the support over the years.   I read every comment, and I continue to enjoy getting to know you over Facebook and YouTube.

Three Ideas to Save Decades

1. Change and understand.

Happiness is not the purpose of life.  Understanding and change grant all that we love.  Humans have the advantage because they developed intelligence faster than animals, and so animals are at the mercy of humans.  Whether or not that should be the case is irrelevant to the point:  The reality is that the ability to change and adapt grants resilience and advantage.   The top colleges take the best minds from each country, for instance.   So, in your life too, resistance to change will cost you over time in big and small ways.  For instance, a person who invests at 25 years old will have decades of interest accrued, so that the advantages, over time, are cumulative and effortless.

Stagnation is to die.  Krishnamurti said, in essence, “We tend to build pools of comfort in possessions, religion, politics, accepted thought, and in this pool, we stagnate and die.”  This is not living; this is existing.  There we find the Socratic unexamined life.

Change — questioning, listening — understanding, this is all that give humans life.  The only thing that guarantees happiness is complete ignorance, and to become either an animal or child, we would lose what we take for granted: autonomy, intelligence, capacity.  If you envy wealth, for instance, be honest with the sacrifices asked for: lack of emotion, imbalance with work, maintenance, and more opportunities for mistakes.  

A donkey does not envy me — living by duty and bound by instinct — it is content in this state, more content than I could ever be, and you should not envy what does not belong to you.  Be who you are, and own it.  Be the best of what you are:  improve and understand.

2. Organization is a part of sanity.  

Peterson put it, we walk around in society, and each of us keep each other in line without realizing it.  If a man becomes isolated either in a prison cell or in the forest, sanity comes in and out.  Society sets a standard, and all of us are aware of it without a word said.  This can make sanity effortless, or at least possible.  Loneliness is probably the lead cause to suicide and other mental breaks and great suffering.

So organization is keeping your goals, thoughts, and chores in line, in the same way that random citizens of society do for us without realizing.  People are not exerting themselves onto us with any intensity once we are adults, and yet their existence can encourage sanity naturally.  So let your organization of your time and thoughts follow the same: Do not let it be rigid.  It should be there, but not overbearing.

 If you do not write down thoughts as they come, if you do not keep track of goals or errands, you have forfeited the best part about being human:  The ability to act on life versus life acting upon you, as this privilege is not allowed to children and animals.  Your life can unravel or languish, as a man would in isolation. In an unnatural state, nothing is effortless; thoughts flood and sabotage. Too much of a good thing can no longer be a good thing.

Organization is a part of life: Every part of life has a system in operation, from the ant colony to the solar system.  We rely on the seasons, on youth and old age.   In some semblance of stability, sanity can exist.  When stability is shattered through disaster, humans throughout history have turned to leaders and ideology of all kinds, out of desperation.

As sanity unravels, Tom Hanks draws his face on the volleyball, and humans turn and increase the measure of anything, no matter how bizarre or self-destructive.  We see this currently, with our level of consumption and the opioid epidemic. Without organization at least in the form of a schedule, who knows what disorder, addiction, or setback awaits, as we are all biologically predisposed to certain maladies and behavior in an unhealthy state.

Especially for the artistic or sensitive, it is imperative that invest into some form of stability in life and be honest with emotions.  I don’t care if it is a time to go to bed or reliable people, but if you do not have some form of consistency, your mind is sure to allow you to descend into a hell of your own choosing.

3.  Self-sabotage is to ameliorate the symptoms of pain, not to fix problems. 

There are things we do every day to sabotage our own efforts.  Something small like not showering early enough to get to bed on time or other forms of procrastination or something greater like the premises or habits we’ve accepted to get by, we all have done it.  Some days, more than others, and the longer something persists, the more it becomes part of identity, and therefore, guarded even closer. We keep our old self safe through denial or justification, and yet we die a slow death in our stagnation.  How could there be change when we love our comforts so well?  We don’t do ourselves or others favors when we aren’t honest with ourselves: honesty about our limitations and our desires, but honesty most importantly, with our biases.

How do we know if a habit is detrimental?  If everyone in society were to do what we do, would society descend into some form of a hell?  Imagine if everyone enjoyed dysfunction — the only reason why society has any semblance of order and benefit is because there are enough people that care and enough people that refuse the worst parts of their nature.  We don’t just accept bad habits through justification, but our bias has greater audacity than even that:  We will go so far as to make our own proclivities into virtues, by clinging onto literature or famous people that validate whatever we are or want to be.  We are trying to force virtue and meaning where we already are: There really is no point.

Value-neutrality is keeping our emotions and biases in check when dealing with information and conclusions.  Confirmation bias matters a lot less on the mundane aspects of living, or even in relationships, but for information and advice, perhaps nothing is more important.  If information is given by someone who does not care to know about themselves, the application is limited, even dangerous.  Everything has been filtered through what cannot be broadly applied: subjectivity.  If we try to put aside subjectivity, we have a chance at honesty.

Weakness matters far more than strengths.  Nothing fails for its strengths, but for lack of understanding and continual pain caused by weakness.  Weakness is simply our coping mechanisms, which appear to the untrained eye as only selfishness, but it is what humans have used to get by, usually for many generations.  Many of the most significant weaknesses are as as much a biological — and by extension, environmental — proclivity, as a personality one.  We rely on the most detrimental parts of our nature.  The greater the weakness, the more important it is to us, usually.   But the identification is just as difficult as organization and action, and both phases are ongoing, because identification is easily exchanged for indifference.

Many wealthy people are unhappy because they haven’t dealt with their weaknesses, not because of a lack of strengths.  They usually have it all — beauty, skill, generosity, or money — and there is no guarantee of anything meaningful because their aim on what they need is continuously off, because they do not know themselves.  When you do not know what you need, you are left only then to instinct and emotion; life is acting upon you.

Dysfunction is drawn to dysfunction, even if the dysfunction is of a different brand; this is why childhood matters, because this is where familiarity starts.  

Humans are drawn to what feels familiar, and what is most familiar is you.  You live with yourself every day.  So it is worth all effort and all honesty to make sure that what is familiar to you is healthy.

To be human is to:

1. Examine.  

2. Be honest with yourself.  To love is to understand.  

3. Change.  Intelligence is adaptation to our new environment: the technological age, where brawn has diminished significantly in utility.  What separates us from animals is our ability to think broadly and to change, and autonomy is only for those to claim.

What to Take

Hurricane Irma is about to hit Florida, and it’s a good time to make a list of the things you would take and also to take a picture of your property and possessions for insurance purposes.

Pack in your car:

1. Pat in her kennel, with food and litter

2. necessities – most things on my Travel List, shoes, socks, jackets, blankets

3. first aid kit and some food/water/ice

4. anything irreplaceable – SD cards, hard drive, paperwork, art (photos, if you have them)

5. anything expensive and compact – laptops, cameras, steno machine, Vitamix, favorite clothes, some makeup

 

What not to take:

anything bulky – no furniture

any hobby/outdoor equipment

oddball things like light bulbs, paper clips

anything heavy – bottles of product, liquids that aren’t water, batteries (unless I had a flashlight)

 

Estimated losses for a minimalist:

If I had an hour to clear out and everything else were wiped out in a disaster – fire, hurricane, or earthquake –  this is the cost it would take to replace:
kitchenware – 1K
oddball household things – 1K
furniture – 5K

Most families own more things and also have more people in a house, but this is a rough estimate.  Most minimalists, I would guess, would lose 5K total, unless they owned their house. Some could pack everything in one suitcase if they’re nomadic and don’t own kitchenware or furniture.

This post covers ideas for preparation and also how much it would cost to furnish a house as a minimalist, in the interest of peace of mind.

The Time is Now: The Journey to Minimalism

I rarely talk about why I became a minimalist.  This is because details and specifics rarely interest me in comparison to ideas.  I like concepts, principles, the root cause — jumping between them — and art.  But details are important to many people, whether they’re important to me, and the details give clarity and closeness.  Explaining anything, even yourself, is never a bad idea, and I try to find better ways to.

My motto is to assume nothing; confirm.  What is apparent to me is not apparent to others, and vice-versa.  Small talk interests many people.  People want to hear about the day from their spouse.  Some intuitives will post a meme alluding, I never cared about the specifics, let’s talk about the big things.  But the specifics matter to a lot of people — in fact, to most of the population.  Consideration hold societies together.  So many sensors have put up with my trains of thought, and I can learn to enjoy nuts and bolts and emotion.

Hurricane Harvey:

Hurricane Harvey has swept through Houston.  My family moved to Houston after I graduated college so that my brother and sister could attend court reporting school after me. The damage Harvey has done to homes, possessions, and peace of mind/physical health is being calculated, but it is impossible.  We cannot fathom what is going on unless we’re on the ground where it’s taking place.

Sewage smell from the amalgamation of everything imaginable in Houston, the loss of life, and a what now?  The processing of the event happens slowly.   Water rises quickly.  Some were in their beds sleeping at night.  Some were on their way home from work and could not make it back to their neighborhood.  Everything is lost.

It is a lot of people’s nightmare also to have to depend on others, especially in Texas.  I put off getting my parents photos scanned in by a company for a long time.  I always recommend people to ask for help when decluttering: a spouse to run to Salvation’s Army or a company to scan in albums.  Harvey was a reminder again to do so, listening to people explain all their photos are under water, gone forever.

Disaster brings things into perspective, on what truly matters, kind of like Christmas.  We’ve heard it all many times: community, family.  We know this all the time, but shopping has given us something to do, to keep our mind off of our unhappiness.  The ice cream cone in the mall, the new possession we search for is a little bit of solace for all the work we put in for an unappreciative spouse or boss maybe, to take us away for just a moment from the overwhelm or emptiness.

Happiness:

Our unhappiness is for many reasons.  I don’t know if humans were ever meant to be happy.  I’ve accepted happiness as more or less something that comes and goes, and that the coming and going is a natural part of life.  You can’t hold on to your age or your hair, and you can’t hold on to happiness.  You can take better care of yourself so you could invite happiness around more, but you can’t control it.  Happiness is not even something to think about, really.  Health is a lot more important.  Our difficulties make us into who we are; they make us more whole internally as we age.

Passion is expensive, the passion we have for our careers and for our families.  Think of all the sacrifices you’ve made.  Few notice, you even barely do.  Passion does not equate with happiness because passion is costly, but it gives life meaning and it makes us feel.  We are drawn to passion.  There is a lot of suffering and sacrifice in passion.  You see it every day in court reporting school.  But difficulty is a part of life, just like happiness is.  It’s not something to hold on to, but something to let be.  To learn from.

The Time is Now:

I became a minimalist moving from Hawaii with two FedEx giant boxes.  I became a minimalist before entering college because I was afraid.  I don’t know as I had lived on my own prior, when I left home at 14.   But I was moving to the mainland alone, into a house with two people that I had never met.  I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle the tasks required. All I ever saw was people who didn’t have a retirement in my church; I grew up on welfare.  We had so many things, but we had so little time and money.

I never had that much energy growing up, and because I’ve always been invested in my work, not that much time either.  So I minimized my desires to try to find meaning and to guard energy and time.  I’m no philosopher, but I share with them their low energy and a joy for a mild sense of detachment.

I don’t think we get into most things for the right reasons. We have our own fears and selfishness.  But I stay for the right reasons.

I have been a minimalist now for seven years because I know that it is not limited to nomads and the outskirts of society; it is for all.  You can be a professional, you can be independent, and you can entertain people comfortably, even with few possessions.  Minimalism always has space for priorities and hobbies.

The time is now to examine priorities and to do the things that we have been putting off for some day.  Fear can keep us back from many things, but it also can propel us to the right areas.  Peace of mind comes with action and experience.

 

 

Boundaries

I’ve always struggled with boundaries, but I have been looking at it wrong.  Saying no is protecting who you are.  It’s where you end and someone else begins.  If you always say yes, there is no you.  You are whatever someone else wants.

When I look at saying no as guarding who I am, it is a lot easier to say it. In my childhood, I wasn’t allowed to have my own desires.  It wasn’t proper.  So as I got older, I had to find out what I actually wanted — what I was actually doing that helped me get by in my youth, and differentiate it from what I felt was truly me, what was truly good.  An intentional me.  I wasn’t a shadow in someone else’s dream, none of us are.  We have our own dreams.

There are some books and some parts of society that encourages us to obey or to live a life in service or detachment.  But this is imbalance.  We have to stand up for ourselves while looking out for others.  We have to stand up for our right to feel. I have said yes mainly to please those close to me, those that I cared about.  Now I know that when I say no, it is not because I do not love, but because I have to protect my own energy and dreams.  I help wherever I can be the best use, and I trust myself to know where that is.

 

Weaknesses and Solutions

I don’t know what your weaknesses are, but I know mine.  I’ve identified them from observing my parents’ habits, thinking back to my childhood, studying my personality, and listening to people who know me well especially relatives and exes.  It is hard to identify weakness because the bigger the weakness, generally the closer it is to us.  Therefore, when trying to improve them, it is tempting to continue to justify or defend them as an integral part of us, necessary or our right.  At least it can be this way for me.  Introspection to an extreme is definitely an imbalance, but how can we make more accurate and intentional decisions moving forward if we’re not aware?

I am positive that weakness matters more for others than our strengths.  Our strengths primarily serve us.  They have a side effect of helping others, because when we’re doing well, others benefit.  But diets and relationships do not fail for their strengths, only for their weaknesses.  Ten strengths cannot make up for the things that hurt.

The primary rule is: Do no harm.  So then the ways we’ve dealt with terrible circumstances in childhood and throughout life, these mechanisms need close examination.  Because these habits do not affect just us.

These weaknesses are not my two closest, but rather some that I’ve done fairly well at working through.  The most difficult setbacks will be the ones that we usually find out from others.  We still have that weakness largely because it’s convenient for us.  It has helped us survive a rougher time.

1. Lack of action.  Perfectionism.

I’m an overthinker.  I put things off for some day, and I can stay in my head for days, weeks, years.  As such, I have to overcorrect and push myself to act. Otherwise, ideas do not materialize.  Plans do not lead anywhere.  I force myself to be more like an extrovert: Do first, then evaluate.  This is because it doesn’t come naturally and is a very underdeveloped skill.  I push Send more.  I participate more on boards.  I try to edit videos quickly.  I learn from extroverts when I can.  Their energy and competence is contagious.

2. Lack of emotion. Indifference.

I follow my heart a lot more these days.  I have made a decision that I’d rather be a fool than a coward.  This is because for most of my life, I remained only a coward.  I am ready to learn new things.  I learn from feelers and love being around them.

3. Focus on destinations.  Impatience.

I used to get fixated on an end destination.  Now I let things happen.  I enjoy books just for reading instead of trying to learn, trying to connect material to a practical application.  I take part in art for the sake of it, not to create.  I am learning to find the things that I like the best in life, by (1) taking action.  The more action and experiences I gather, the more I can tell what I enjoy.  Then there is no rush.  There is only the moment.  Some are always in the moment, but that has never been the case for me.  I’ve always saved too much and studied too hard.  Now I am learning to let go a little more.  I am trying to find balance, not fall to a different extreme.  I am looking for balance.

4. Not caring about my appearance.

I wore it as a badge of honor to not care that much about trends, appearance, and politics.  I still get closer to simplicity in appearance and in organizing in my videos, but now I make more of an effort day to day.   I feel more confident when I dress up more, and I notice it makes others feel more pleased and at ease.  That is a nice side effect.

5. Lack of communication.

I have always been an underachiever in communication.  Not because I can’t, but mainly because I didn’t care that much because I lacked the social instinct and because I like privacy.  However, I post more on my blog and keep in touch with my best friends regularly.  Life has improved and stabilized.  I can learn from everyone.  I never realized I lacked communication because the guys I’ve dated are largely passive, and therefore communicate less than me.  But my own communication needed a lot of improvement, and these improvements have allowed me to help my family and friends more and to feel connected even more.  I don’t think twice about asking for advice or for help anymore, and two heads, really truly, are better than one.  Compassion as well, which is suffering together, is comforting and something that brings people closer and makes people feel safe; it is something to give and accept.

Being:

I am still working on taking more time off with work, but now I don’t stress about balance more.  I don’t overthink all the mundane things.  I allow myself passion, and to suffer for that passion, whether it be in love or in career. We all decide the price we want to pay.  Instead of stressing about the price we’ve already agreed to, I follow more my heart.  I know that most things don’t depend on me anyway, so it is easier to let things go.

Clarity: Why Does Man Hurt Man?

My best friend has everything I don’t, and I have everything that she doesn’t.  There is overlap, of course, an overlap especially of ideas. We complement each other extraordinarily well, and I enjoy having someone who is almost an opposite of me in every way, other than our love of ideas, because I want to understand.

I want to understand what it’s like to not be me.  Most of my life, I’ve surrounded myself with people exactly like me: people light on emotions, focused on career, and people intent on keeping the peace more than telling it like it is.

However, when you stretch outside of yourself, when you do the things that don’t feel natural or hang out with people that aren’t like you, you can start to see the thought processes and the patterns, the reasons that drive others.  In this, I can be more balanced and I can connect with, motivate, and comfort others a lot better because I have more experience.  If I look down on others, I have limited myself to only people like me — it is then that I have limited myself to only my strengths.

I am not recommending to hang out with someone you have nothing in common with, as this will not benefit either party.  But to hang out with people who are looking for the center and that have things that you haven’t developed.  We all just want love and respect.  It is really that simple, but there are many differences, and thus, barriers to overcome; but balance diminishes barriers.

We can’t emphasize or focus on differences.  There will always be differences.  This is a part of being human.  We have to focus on improving.

Man’s Top Problem:

For a long time, I mulled over why the world is a chaotic place.  Why do some people rape and kill?  Why do people bully or argue?  Mainly: How do people become extremists?

That is at the bottom of all problems since we are social creatures, and as such, our joy largely rests on our ability to connect with others and their ability to consider us.  Therefore, extremism of any form destabilizes economies and societies.  All of humanity’s problems can be boiled down to: We validate whatever we are.  We repeat patterns that have been repeated many times over, by ourselves and our ancestors.

Mostly, if we are honest with ourselves, there is minimal interest in being balanced or in seeing things differently; we may change our wardrobe or dogma, but the deepest patterns remain from our childhood.   If we were hurt, we hurt.  If we were neglected, we neglect.  If we had expectations and anxiety pushed on us, we push them on others.

We listen, but we do not hear others.  We ask, but not honest questions.  We can delude ourselves with small actions that we are a new person, but usually we are taking similar steps to those we’ve been taking for the last ten years, the steps of familiarity.  Our habits and premises haven’t been examined.

We seek confirmation bias naturally.  I could make almost anything into a virtue.  A person who only lives for himself is selfish; a person who only lives for others is an enabler.  Both a peacemaker and a person who tells it like it is have their virtue.

A person who only lives in the moment is a person who is short-sighted, a person who lives in the past is picking at wounds so that they can’t heal, and a person who lives in the future is destabilizing his own ground.

Every strength has its purpose, and also its natural downside.  To be well-versed in more tools is better.  How can we find balance?   How can we learn from others?

Many felons have the personality typing that has the proclivity to live primarily in the moment.  I do not at all have that tendency, as I enjoy living in the future, and so I talk at length about mindfulness.  This applies to my imbalance.  Others that always live in the moment benefit from structure and pace.  Only you know where you are, your biases and your proclitivities.

To Love Is To Live:

Man is a social creature.  We need relationships, friendships, and societies to thrive.  We have set up religion, politics, and marriage as a way to get a hold on order, and within these, there is a lot of disagreement and pain.  So it is that in our closest relationships, we hurt the most.  So then it is not for distance that has caused man’s hate of himself:  Because the closer people are, the more chance at a life lesson and great pain.

What causes pain?  We have not evaluated where we are and why we are.  If we ignore our imbalances, (1) we cannot connect with many people because we will always be far off from most and (2) our imbalances allow us to look down on or justify hurting others.  However, the more tools we gather, the more common ground we have amassed.

In the case of active extremists, we see society destabilized temporarily.  So in our everyday friendships and relationships, we will destabilize if don’t try to seek the center and play back our patterns.  Listen to people that dislike parts about you that know you best.  Watch your parents’ habits.  Try to find truth.

Solutions:

My dad, like me, he never liked to travel.  He also doesn’t like to socialize.  Minimalism comes easy to people that don’t like to socialize.   But my mom loves traveling, socializing, and she enjoys gossip and fashion.  Often, my parents feel misunderstood, as all of us will feel in life inevitably.

I say: It is not best to cling to being a lone wolf, just as it is not best to cling to living only in the moment.  The center is where friendships thrive.  It is your right to cling to being unhealthy, and no man can save the other; but it is our responsibility as humans to try to understand.  To love is to understand.

For us to say, all I want to do is love or discuss ideas, or all I want to do is tell it like it is and for people to make sense – this is justifying and strengthening what we already are.  Mostly, traits come naturally to each individual.  What we want is balance.  What we want is to learn.

My job in life is to examine. I will always be a Thinker; personality is personality.  But at the same time, for the extending and stretching, I will be a stronger and more well-rounded individual, as my parents are when they see each other’s point of view.

Adding more strengths does not dilute or pull from our top strengths, which will always be our best, but rather, moving toward balance is what we do for society, because we are social and we owe it to ourselves and others.

Identification of our patterns is half the change.  The other half is in the doing, which takes just as much work.  Both are ongoing processes.

Fear and Arrogance:

One of my favorite quotes is, “Fear and arrogance still keep you from the biggest lesson of all: It’s not about you.”  Man’s hatred toward humans, especially himself, is seen when he stagnates.  It is time for me to put aside my worn-out defenses, and to finally live.

We rob ourselves and our families when we find the abundant reasons and examples, to tell ourselves that we don’t need to change.

Letting Life Flow

Life had always seemed difficult.  My mind easily worked against me, but refocusing from the negative, the lacking, or the past to where I was at and how I could develop myself helped tremendously.  No longer a focus on result, but on the passion, the joy of life.  What we are passionate about, we are willing to suffer for.  As someone once said, passion is to suffer.

Magazines, parents, leaders, they have told us what to value.  We’ve seen the seminars and lifestyles.  You need to value work/life balance, experiences, love, or being alone.  There is a prescription of advice for all ailments.

But life is not that hard.  We have made it significantly more difficult by overthought or maybe lack of planning.  I don’t know your weaknesses, but I know mine.  There can come a point where a to-do list and minimalism has gone to an extreme – and then it needs to be brought back into balance again, as all things in life, even you.  Are you living true to your values, not the ones you’ve been told?  Then you are in balance, even if this would seem an imbalance to others.

Social Creatures:

Humans are flawed.  We don’t fit together.  We never have and were never supposed to.  Life doesn’t fit together in general, when we want it, how we want it.  There’s a lot of friction.  We have our beliefs, our fears, our preferences, and we cross over each other’s many times.

We tire ourselves out, trying to prove or defend, trying to find meaning and understanding, instead of resting and being more gentle.  I have so trained myself in efficiency in work, I have learned to design and live for the destination.  Even in books, I have wanted to arrive and to learn, to apply over enjoy.  Food was easier to savor, but even here, a far-off thought is a capable competitor.

We are neither aware, nor focused.  We trend toward productive, scattered, and then disappointed.

Set the Value:

I am not looking for work/life balance.  I love what I do.  I think about it often, the future and what I’m passionate about when I wake up and when I’m staring at the ceiling waiting for melatonin to sink in.  This comes naturally to me, enjoying my work and thinking of possibilities in regards to the future, and I don’t want to change who I am, but rather continue to improve and to enjoy the improvement.

Many people before me have thought about their work late into the night and have given up many things for their passions.  It wasn’t that they wanted to suffer, but rather, that passion takes away the suffering.

So instead of worrying about whether or not you are great or perfect, the dream or even just capable spouse or mother some days, justifying your worth for love and time, take it one day at a time.  Improve in a way that YOU want to improve, not in the way prescribed.   Be happy with who you are, because wherever you’re passionate, you have the most to give.  The giving doesn’t feel so much like giving as it feels like home.  That’s an effortless life to me.

 

 

The Human Experience

It was hard for me and still can be, to keep in mind what I care about.  There are a lot of us, that are on the outskirts of society, because we don’t have a social instinct.  We not only get stuck in our ways, but we all naturally find the reasons to justify our lack of balance.  If I take selfish views or way-out views on things or think life can be controlled, it is difficult to participate in society. Society forces us to think of others, and isolation causes unnecessary suffering.

Confirmation Bias:

In life, we can make whatever comes easiest for us or wherever we were headed into a virtue.  If I am a peacemaker, I could argue its importance very well. If I tell it like it is, I can make that into a virtue.  However, cooperating and being a part of society is virtuous, and being an individual or self-reliant can be also.

It has never been effortless for me to toe the line between being me and caring about others, and I know friends for which it is.  They don’t feel guilt about being who they are, as if it is selfish or unacceptable, and they still improve.

So what I have been seeking is balance.  I never cared that much about what I really want, because I was taught life is never about you – it’s about a cause or about getting knowledge or experiences, so then the ends were what I focused on.   I also never wanted to care about what I really wanted because I didn’t want to feel ordinary or unsafe.

I never valued an emotion, where I could just think.  I didn’t want to burden in similar ways as others.  I also didn’t want to be unprofessional or inadvertently hurt others.

Meandering Preserves the Soul:

I don’t really care about success or travel or fine dining.  I don’t care about living life on a farm, far away from family and activities.  I never cared that much for alternative lifestyles or extremes.  I never cared to control life that much, as most Hawaiians are laid-back, but I took it on myself as a virtue, as what is necessary.  I don’t care much for what has always been, but I do care about respecting the people that do.

Genuinely Enjoy:

What I do value a lot is what I see as a sustainable way to live, toward effortlessness and lightness of being, and some of what I just really like myself: 

  • examining the dynamics of life, understanding the basic components to try to pave a more efficient and intentional way for others
  • authenticity, even where it causes vulnerability or instability
  • bridging gaps between others
  • being in nature
  • having soft hair
  • holding on to my optimism and tenacity
  • visiting family and friends
  • having a peaceful life and home
  • improving my skills, focusing on art and experiences