Shying away from “hard” work is an allergy.
It’s not an illness. It’s not unnatural. It’s just a by-product of evolutionary wiring.
Let’s say that the fear of hard work is a special kind of allergy. You’re allergic to what most benefits you. And when you feel the symptoms of the allergy, it’s the most incredible thing. It means that you have an opportunity to weaken the allergy’s effect on you.
Now, when you feel resistance to some task/project (such as the resistance I’m feeling right now as I write this post), you will see it as a simple immune response: nothing less, nothing more.
How do you deal with it, though?
How do you use this allergy to your advantage?
1. Replace your Language
In spiritual circles, “effortless” is word that is often thrown around. Especially in courses like “The Sedona Method” (which is my favorite emotional healing technique). How do you reconcile this “effortless” ideal of reality, with the nature of brutal hard work?
For one, you replace the word “hard.” Don’t use it in your vocabulary to describe the nature of work.
Instead, you replace it with the word, “diligent.” Every time you hear someone say, “hard work,” replace it with “diligent work” in your mind. I have a lot of positive associations in my mind linked to the word “diligent.” I have no such associations linked to “hard.”
2. See Self-Discipline as a Great Virtue
Discipline is the ability to do what you know is right in your mind and heart, despite internal resistance.
It can never be attained, similar to happiness. Discipline is a dance of sorts.
And if your mind starts reading books and looking at youtube videos of Indian Guru’s sitting in the shade, another thought may come up:
They’re just sitting there giving a public speech, and it looks pretty effortless.
In response to that: Effortless is not a lack of diligent work. It’s a lack of suffering while you’re doing the work. If you look at their life story and daily routine, you will truly see how disciplined those “gurus” sitting in the shade really are.
You will see how much work they put in every day in writing and refining their material.
It’s similar to the song, “Price Tag” by Jessie J. If you watch the music video, you will see her wearing expensive clothes/jewelry. It’s not about the “bling-bling,” but she’s wearing it while singing those lyrics.
The primary philosophy:
Do as I do, not as I say (or sing).
As I move on in this game of life, I’m constantly getting affirmative guidance in this direction:
Life isn’t particularly about WHAT you do, but HOW you do it, and the thoughts/physical posture you embody while in the process of work.
Effortless refers to the thoughts/physical posture; not about WHAT you’re doing.
I hope this clears up some associations you have in your mind with the terms “effortless work” and “hard work.” As always, ask any question in the comments and I will do my best to clarify.
You don’t have to use “diligent.” That’s my word. Choose yours. As long as you don’t emotionally suffer while you’re working, you’re on the right track. And even if you are suffering, for the time being, be okay with it. It’s better than no work at all.
Don’t use emotional resistance as an excuse not to do what you know you should do.
You are being tested right now.
Video Will Be Posted by the end of Sunday, January 20th. I apologize for the inconvenience. In truth, I had a horrible plunge into inertia on Saturday, caused by looking at “one youtube video.”
There is a fallacy in atheistic reasoning:
If we eliminate religion from the world, we will help people become more rational and peaceful.
This could not be further from the truth. We are all irrational, and our “peaceful” nature doesn’t necessarily come from religion.
Let’s look at the example of the suicide bomber. He is doing it to please the idea of God that he has manufactured in his mind. A God that happens to dislike the same people that he dislikes. How convenient.
If this idea of God did not exist in his head, it wouldn’t change his values. He still grew up in a violent culture, and his parent(s) still encouraged him to kill. If not for religion, maybe there would be some other reason. A different hair color. A different nationality. PC over Mac. Anything.
People who have a violent nature have a violent nature. Whether God exists in their minds or not is irrelevant. People generally warp religion to promote their values.
We project our own values and morality onto our conception of God.
I highly value the virtues of Love and Courage, so my conception of God encourages me to commit loving and courageous acts. “Love” and “Courage” as defined by me are probably different than your idea of love and courage. We can never match up 100%, because we’ve gone through different experiences.
If I valued war and discord, my idea of God would be more of a violent one.
Organized religion, for the most part, is a wonderful thing. I love it when people are stirred up to do good things for the world because of their religion.
The main point:
Barring strict orthodox adherence to religious principles (as in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam, for example), we mold ideas to suit our own needs.
I’m a prime example. By a textbook, I guess you could call me a Reform JewBu. Jewish, with some Buddhist elements and a nice dollop of New-Age Spirituality.
What I can say with certainty is that there is a divine force. There is a supernatural element of reality that goes beyond ordinary perception. What this is, I cannot tell you. But I will continuously work on molding my beliefs, thoughts, and actions to align with that force.
Religion is great, insofar as it breeds Love and Compassion. MY values
To say that life is counter-intuitive would be the equivalent of saying that a hippopotamus landing on you would hurt. It’s an understatement.
This post is going to be brief. I’m going to list some of the biggest discoveries I’ve made in the past few years about how counter-intuitive life is:
It’s intuitive to think that it’s greedy and selfish and malevolent to get rich and make a lot of money and gain power and climb to higher levels of society, while there are SO MANY PEOPLE suffering as a result of our social system. On the contrary, the BEST way you can help people is to raise your energy, wealth, and personal power to a level where you can heavily influence societal systems with your money, time, knowledge, and charisma.
It’s intuitive to think that putting in a lot of effort and mental strain is the best way to get things done. On the contrary, letting go of mental strain is one of the best ways to be more productive and efficient in life.
It’s intuitive to want to punish yourself with guilt and shame for any of your perceived wrongdoings. On the contrary, guilt and shame are addictive qualities to your ego, and they make you want to do the activity that you’re feeling guilt/shame about AGAIN.
It’s intuitive to think that removing your daily meditation/exercise routine would free up 1-2 hours for more “productive” work. On the contrary, it causes time to contract, and your mental state doing the work won’t be as efficient.
It’s intuitive to think that working out in the gym 7 days a week with strength training will build up your muscles quickly. On the contrary, all you need is an 8-12 minute INTENSE weightlifting or body weight session once a week.
It’s intuitive to believe that watching the news and going out into the “land of suffering,” the real world, will turn you into a depressed, miserable person. On the contrary, if you properly manage your emotions, the emotional hardship you experience can take you to greater levels of health, energy, power, and achievement.
It’s intuitive to believe that working long hours can help you get a lot more done in the day. On the contrary, you want to mix catabolic states (high intense periods of exertion) with anabolic states (complete periods of rest) in your working life. Then, what used to take you two hours will only take you 45-60 minutes, or even less. Then, a 5-hour-workday will become what used to be a 10-hour-workday for you.
It’s intuitive to believe that all “chronic” illnesses are incurable. On the contrary, if you really dedicate yourself to health and a more holistic lifestyle, you may not completely “cure” the illness, but you can heal to an unbelievable extent.
What are some of your greatest counter-intuitive discoveries about life? Share them in the comments below.
Plutarch – The Lives of The Noble Greeks and Romans – Lycurgus
Plutarch – The Lives of The Noble Greeks and Romans – Numa Pompilius
Plutarch – The Lives of The Noble Greeks and Romans – The Comparison of Numa with Lycurgus
Book In Progress (as of January 5, 2013):
Plutarch – The Lives of The Noble Greeks and Romans – Alexander The Great
This entire month has been solely dedicated to reading about Alexander The Great, as written by Plutarch. Why one whole month? A few reasons: One being that Plutarch is somewhat complex, and I understand more fully when I take notes on most of the happenings/details throughout. It takes a lot of time, but I’m not in a rush. I know that my reading comprehension skills will improve as time goes on, and as the quest goes on.
Alexander The Great is quite a character. Courageous is the word that comes to mind. He never expected others to do in battle what he didn’t do himself. The quest included some Wikipedia readings, a little bit of movie watching; “Alexander”. One night I left my great books quest to 10 PM. I was falling asleep while watching a documentary on Alexander. Didn’t retain much at all, but I fulfilled my promised quota!
Next month, look out for the video on Alexander the Great. It will likely be long, but I’ll do my best to make it as excellent as my mental capacity allows.
Minimum of 6 days a week? Yes.
Minimum of 2 videos posted? Yes. 2 exactly, on New Year’s Eve.
Plutarch’s Lives – Lycurgus
The Main Idea
I enjoyed reading about Lycurgus very much. I connected with a lot of the life lessons, and I wrote a whole blog post on this website about it.
Main ideas: We are always shaped by our culture and our lawgivers. Even though this shaping is not evident when we live our daily lives, it is there.
Oh, and another idea: Spartans were tough muthas. But I’m making a blatant understatement.
These people threw male babies off of cliffs if they weren’t deemed to be in good physical condition. Don’t mess with the Spartans.
The city is well fortified which hath a wall of men instead of brick.
…they were the only people in the world to whom war gave repose.
(Regarding the way they marched boldly into battle) Men, in this temper, were not likely to be possessed with fear or any transport of fury, but with the deliberate valour of hope and assurance, as if some divinity were attending and conducting them.
The Lacedaemonians inspired men not with a mere willingness, but with an absolute desire to be their subjects.
Plutarch’s Lives – Numa Pompilius
The Main Idea
Numa Pompilius was the second king of the Roman Empire, WAY BACK around 700 BC! You have him to thank for adding the 2 months January and February to the calendar. That’s right; if it weren’t for Numa, you wouldn’t have these months!
Numa, when he inherited the empire from Romulus (the first king), the people were vicious and bloodthirsty. Numa used religion to instill fear of divine punishment, and love of religious worship. People became more obedient, and their tempers didn’t flare up.
Numa created the Vestal Virgins, a very small group of women who were in charge of various divine rights. They had amazing privileges (great seats at the colosseum, right to vote, own land, etc.) and terrible punishment for breaking their 30 year vow of chastity (being buried alive).
He was loved by his people in a BIG way. When he died a natural death in his 80′s, the people mourned for him as if he had died in the prime of his reign.
February is my favorite month. Thanks, Numa!
True bravery, in his judgment, was regarded as consisting in the subjugation of our passions by reason.
The love of virtue and justice flowed from Numa’s wisdom as from a fountain, and the serenity of his spirit diffused itself like a calm, on all sides; so that the hyperboles of poets were flat and tame to express what then existed.
Over the iron shield the spiders hang their threads.
I loved this year. Filled with great moments, and amazing growth. Every year of my life continues to get better and better. As Louise Hay says, “each decade is better than the last.”
Now, on to the lessons!
1. Connection Must Be Habitualized
In the beginning of the year, inspired by Keith Ferrazzi’s “Never Eat Alone,” I set up an action plan. I would reach out to a new person every day, and ask about a Skype chat. I did this for about 3 months, not missing a single day. It was absolutely glorious, I learned how to overcome a lot of social fears, such as fear of rejection, and fear of authentic expression. I became more courageous and loving as a result, and my connections have become incredibly deep. As a side effect, I have become less attached. Whether it’s a good thing or not, the less attached I am, the deeper and kinder and more loving my connections are. Buddhism had it right!
2. Sedona Method ROCKS
I cannot speak enough kind words about the impact that the Sedona Method Supercourse has had on my life. I don’t like to endorse paid products very much, but this is a huge exception. Doing this course every day for about 40-60 minutes, usually 1 CD daily, has helped me overcome a lot of blocks in Health, Relationships, and Success. It has set me up on a good road, and the best part is that the course is always relevant. It’s a bunch of meditation processes aimed at helping you let go of resistance. It’s amazing to see how much stronger my psyche has become since starting the Sedona Method. The things that used to get to me don’t bother me anymore. I have upgraded my problems.
3. Challenges May Be Annoying, but They are a Necessity
I saved an onslaught of assignments/research papers for the last few days of the college semester, and I have never felt more alive in those few days. It is fantastic to have high pressure challenges, because they give you an opportunity to apply your skills. What could be better? We tend to avoid these challenges though, because they are potentially painful to the ego. Ironic that it’s usually the ego that procrastinates and causes these situations in the first place.
4. Your Thoughts are Hugely Impacted by Physiology
I found a pattern in my thought patterns: No matter what is going on in my life, I’m usually optimistic the first few hours of the morning. However, when the afternoon comes, I used to drop into lower frequencies of thought. I noticed the pattern, and realized that the thoughts were coming from a place of fatigue. When you’re tired, it’s easier to think negatively. How do you prevent this? Besides the obvious drink water, eat healthy, take an afternoon nap, there’s another tip: Don’t fight it. When you feel tired, just rest in a feeling of light contentment, instead of wishing for full engagement. The engagement will come in due time.
5. Love is The Ultimate Nature of Reality
All throughout the year, I have constantly been brushing up against signs, and they all point in the same direction: Love. I don’t know why that is, but it seems that every time I open my heart and let life and love flow, EVERYTHING starts working out in my favor. Even the frustrating and annoying things. It’s a freaking miracle, and I suggest you look into this. If you haven’t seen it already, I highly recommend the 90 minute movie from Louise Hay, called “You Can Heal Your Life.” If you’ve seen it already, then I still recommend watching it again. It’s fantastic, and you can see it free HERE.
As I look forward to 2013, I can’t help but feel optimism. With the Sedona Method on my side, with my kinder and more loving mindset, I feel that I can continue making contributions. Hopefully one day they will become great contributions, and I feel that I am heading on that path.
My focus for 2012 was connections, and I flourished in that regard.
In 2013, my focus will be on Money. I will work on contributing valuable things to society, and in turn making a solid income. My ultimate goal is $3,000 per month by the end of 2013. I will update this blog with my progress at the end of the year. I’m basically starting from scratch.
And I’m excited!
Every day, we have many opportunities to practice self-love, compassion, and general cultivation of good feelings.
A lot of these opportunities, however, we let slip through our fingertips.
One of which is the bathroom mirror.
After you go to the bathroom, you probably wash your hands and then leave the room.
For the past 4 months or so, I have added a new dimension to that routine. It’s something Louise Hay calls “Mirror Work” and it’s fantastic.
I look at myself in the mirror, and say something really kind to myself. Something like: “I love you, Josh, you awesome human being. You’re doing amazing today.” If I’m in a bad mood, I say something kind that is relevant to my situation.
That is the constant. I always say something kind to myself. Then, I add in some affirmations that I determined that morning. I may even say something like, “I think the right thoughts, feel the right feelings, breathe the right breath, and take the right actions in order to fully embody love for myself and the world.” Powerful stuff.
Then, I might ask myself, “What’s my next 1 or 2 action steps right now?” This gives me a clear roadmap of where I’m going.
Always look as deeply into your eyes as possible. It might seem creepy or scary at first, but it will become like second nature. And you will benefit greatly from this routine.
One more note:
There will be a time that you forget to do these affirmations. If you do, forgive yourself and get right back on track. However, if you remember 30 minutes later that you forgot to do the mirror work, then go back just for that purpose to make up for the forgotten words.
This will happen to you. When it does, you will be tested: Give in to inertia, or tell your mind where your priorities really are. Your wellbeing is worth the frustration and annoyance and extra time. It always is.
I have never regretted one second spent on working toward my wellbeing.
This is one such way to spend those seconds.
One more thing: Drink more water. You’ll go to the bathroom more, and you’ll get to do more mirror work! What’s not to love?
The city lights are dark
his arms are getting tired
Johnny waits until the morning light
to live his life uninspired.
Johnny doesn’t know what to do
he can’t tell his head from his chest
He stumbles and falls all the time
at the end of the day, he can’t wait to rest.
Johnny is a good man
just like you and I
He’s got a long way to go
before he reaches the sky.
But Johnny has just suffered a tragedy
his heart has been broken open wide
Will it ever close again?
and would that be good? His spirit lays inside.
Jenny is a good woman
just like you and I
She drinks her morning coffee
then she starts her daily grind.
On the outside, Jenny looks good
a smile on her face, calm and collected
But on the inside she is dying
her soul is famished; her heart, rejected.
Every day, you see Johnny and Jenny on the street
their eyes are dim, their heads are down
They wait for life to deliver them
a pleasant note, a pleasant sound.
Johnny and Jenny don’t know what they’re in for
they are about to meet
Like a bolt of lightning, or a blade of grass
after this point, there is no retreat.
Whatever happened to Jenny? Whatever happened to Johnny?
this is not my story to tell
Last I heard they were singing songs
oh Johnny, Oh Jenny, your life has become swell.
When you come across either of them,
send them all your best
They need you now and for always
you will determine the rest.
I’m making a new educational commitment.
I’m going to be taking Physics 101 from Udacity, an open education site with great courses in technology/science.
The only problem? To this day, I’ve never completed a single course from start to finish.
I see one course, and think to myself: “Wow! I really want to take that! I’m gonna do it.”
*1 hour later*
“Wow, this course is hard! I’m gonna take a break for a while, and see what other open courses are available. WOW! There are hundreds!”
Cycle repeats continuously, and I’m distracted by all the amazing courses that are out there.
I’ve had enough of this.
I’m going to keep doing what works for achieving success in my life. As Leo Babuata told Maneesh Sethi, “If it worked, why stop doing it?”
I highly suspect that it will work for a more short term commitment like a 3 month online Physics class.
I started this course on November 27, and I’m going to finish it by February 27, 2013. 3 month commitment.
I spread out each of the 7 units into deadlines. They are not required; they are a guide to keep me on track.
My commitment is to finish the course, rain or shine, on February 27. No ifs, ands, or buts. If I haven’t finished ALL 7 UNITS AND THE FINAL EXAM by this date, I will have failed you.
Here’s my semester outline:
Finish by Sunday, December 9th
Finish by Friday, December 21
Finish by Wednesday, January 1
Finish by Saturday, January 12
Finish by Thursday, January 24
Finish by Tuesday, February 5
Finish by Sunday, February 17
Finish Course by February 27 (10 days of leeway)
It is never a good thing to get too comfortable in a field. The world is expanding, and your knowledge must expand with it.
At the moment, I am not very bright when it comes to the sciences. I couldn’t bear high school chemistry, and I’ve never taken a physics course in my life.
This is how I’m going to remedy my situation.
Allow me to share a quote from the Biography “Steve Jobs” that inspired me to take this plunge:
Those people who can stand at the intersection of the humanities and science, the liberal arts and technology, that intersection, are the people who can change the world.
I encourage you to check out the sciences more seriously, if you haven’t already. It will feel uncomfortable. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
Look out for a special blog post on February 27th with the verdict.
Ideas to Help You Achieve Your Goals with Accountability
I make no secret of the fact that accountability and deadlines have been my ticket to success in life thus far.
It just flat out works for me.
If you want to achieve some goal in life, just set a deadline, and sign up for Stickk.com. Or post it on your blog. Or tell a good friend that you’ll give them $100 if you don’t have the project completed by such and such date. Or perhaps that you will post an embarrassing and sexual Facebook status if you don’t achieve the goal by the deadline.
Figure out your biggest pain, and then use it to build accountability toward your goals.
If the punishment for not following through antagonizes your core values, you will not procrastinate.
For me, the worst pain is not living up to my word. That is such an excruciating pain that I will do whatever it takes to succeed.
Who said the fear of pain wasn’t a good thing?
Aristotle – Ethics (Book II)
Aristotle – Politics (Book I)
Plutarch – The Lives of The Noble Greeks and Romans (Lycurgus and Numa Pompilius)
Book In Progress (as of December 1, 2012):
Plutarch – The Comparison of Numa with Lycurgus
Still working on a video for both Lycurgus and Numa Pompilius. I’m really enjoying reading Plutarch!
I had a pretty good month on the Great Books Quest! I particularly enjoyed reading about Lycurgus, the Spartan lawgiver. I enjoyed it so much that I created a separate blog post about it!
I spent some time browsing Wikipedia on topics like The Roman Empire during my quest hours. I even watched a lecture about the Spartans!
I’m savoring the moments of exploration; those tangents that I take during the quest when I read about a topic that strikes my fancy. The Great Books are the framework, but I’m not limited to simply reading the content and writing + recording videos about it. That is my main focus, but I oftentimes explore related material online to get greater understanding. It’s actually FUN. This month was a success on the quest!
Minimum of 6 days a week? Yes.
Minimum of 2 videos posted? Yes.
Aristotle: Ethics – Book II
The Main Idea
How do we embody the highest virtues in our daily life?
The key is to dis-attach from emotions, and use logic. Let’s take a virtue like courage. We need to find the perfect mean. Too little courage, and you’re a coward. Too much, and you’re reckless. The perfect middle is very hard and rigorous to practice in daily life.
Virtue likes to play keep-away. The moment we think we have her, she seems to slip from our grasp. This is just the way that life is set up; if we want virtue, we must let it chase us as a byproduct of the way we live our lives.
…men will be good or bad builders as a result of building well or badly. For if this were not so, there would have been no need of a teacher, but all men would have been born good or bad at their craft.
For moral excellence is concerned with pleasures and pains; it is on account of the pleasure that we do bad things, and on account of the pain that we abstain from noble ones.
Aristotle: Politics – Book I
The Main Idea
We need to inquire into the nature of people in order to find the best political system.
In Politics, Aristotle makes all types of inquiries; a lot of which I disagree with.
Animals exist for the sake of man?
Some people are born to be slaves?
THe purpose of a family is to meet a man’s daily wants?
I understand that this was written over 2300 years ago, and our society (thankfully) is very different today. However…
I must stand up for my society.
Man is by nature a political animal.
He who is by nature not his own but another’s man, is by nature a slave.
All tame animals are better off when they are ruled by man; for then they are preserved..
I don’t want world peace.
First, take a look at this picture:
Chances are, a bunch of feelings came up.
If you’re the average man, admiration mixed with sexual attraction.
If you’re the average woman, admiration mixed with inadequacy.
Why do these feelings come up?
This image represents an ideal concept, such as world peace.
Let’s imagine for a second that the perfect woman exists.
She’s loving and kind all of the time, you have amazing and deep conversations with her. You have no conflicts with her, she cooks the most amazing food, and she’s a sexual Goddess. Awesome, right? This is what the image represents in the Male mind, and that’s why it’s so arousing.
But see what happens after 10 days of perfection. You get bored. You want to move on to the next challenge. No conflicts and constant perfection lead to severe and chronic boredom.
Women: This works vice-versa in the case of the perfect man.
If you feel inadequate about not being able to achieve an absolutely artificial and impossible image of perfection, keep this in mind:
Life loses its purpose when everything is perfect.
I want a woman that I have conflicts with. I want a woman that isn’t perfect. I want a woman that shows me my darkest side, so that I can learn to love on a deeper level.
That being said; props to the woman, the company, the photographers, the photoshoppers for the image above. It gives me something to strive for. It gives me sexual motivation. It makes me appreciate those moments of perfection that do happen amidst the chaos.
But when “perfection” stays for too long, restlessness sets in.
This is why I don’t want world peace.
Can you imagine if we all just got along, held hands, and sang songs? What would fuel us to do anything? Why would we need to go to school if we’re in a permanent state of peace and bliss? Why would we need to do anything good for the world if we’re already in a state of perfection?
What the HELL is there left to do, then?
Say goodbye to self improvement. Say goodbye to innovation. Say goodbye to all of the suffering that makes success taste so sweet.
If you’re in a constant state of bliss, you’re not in heaven. You’re in hell.
This doesn’t mean that I will ever stop working on the cause of spreading peace and love in the world. Keep in mind: If perfection is impossible, there is always room for improvement.
Perfect Men/Women and World Peace are not bad ideas to strive for. They’re a great ideal to aim at. Realize, though, that you will never get there, and you don’t want to.