Long-term Hedonism

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Hedonism is usually framed as the antithesis of long-term planning and gratification. While this is mostly true, there are also ways to mentally reconcile the two in a productive fashion.

In particular, we’re going to look at an approach that seeks to use an addiction to hedonism to your advantage, by framing long-term planning as a tool to better achieve ultimately hedonistic outcomes. There at least two other valuable approaches to dealing with addictions to hedonism – the first being completely replacing it with long-term thinking (e.g. I mustn’t drink tonight, for I have to study Spanish instead), and the second being merging the two philosophies (e.g. I enjoy my Spanish studies so much, learning is the most enjoyable and hedonistic thing I could do right now!). Keep those in mind when reading this post; the philosophy we discuss certainly isn’t the only way to be productive, but it may be a useful tool in your mental arsenal.

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Break Your Frameworks

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This article will give a brief overview of “analysis paralysis”, its solution, and a more appropriate method for analysis of self-improvement frameworks.

In the context of self-improvement, analysis paralysis refers to a state of overthinking which prevents one from actually acting to improve their life, and serves as a barrier to experiencing positive emotions and self-esteem in general. The bloke sitting at the bar constantly wondering what the best pickup line is might never actually approach a girl to find out, for example. People get caught in analysis paralysis because they correctly realise that introspection and thought are incredibly useful for improving their quality of life, but incorrectly extrapolate that more of these components will always produce a positive effect. Read more

Biomechanical Optimisation Exercises

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Depersonalisation is a useful tool for self-improvement until you eventually “step back into yourself”.

To illustrate what I mean by this, try this exercise from Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now“: Consciously watch what thoughts are passing through your mind. Don’t judge or control them, or attempt to find out from whence they occur – simply observe. You will eventually become aware of the existence of a separate “I” – one part of you is operating on a lower level that experiences most of your thoughts and performs the bulk of your actions, while another is operating on a higher level and almost watching yourself from afar. Read more

22

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Every birthday, I take some personal time out and evaluate my progress over the last year.

I turned 22 today, and figured I may as well post this evaluation on the website. Assuming the site continues until next year, this might help me “standardise” the process so I’m following a more consistent template and can track progress. I’ll include some related thoughts, which hopefully you can get some value from. Most importantly, simply airing my personal evaluation and goals for the future will help me live with a little more honesty, openness, and accountability. Read more

How to Order Pizza Without a Phone

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Around this time last year, I wrote a post about how rationalisation is used to protect your ego while you deviate from a path of right action.

Broadly, the idea was to identify when your mind was operating at a superficial level (making largely irrelevant excuses) instead of a genuine one (addressing your actual priorities).  This puts you in a much stronger position to essentially either overcome your mental barriers to pursue your goals, or acknowledge your real motivations and live with a little more honesty. Depending on how you prioritise self-respect against escapism, eliminating your rationalisations can even be the more comfortable path; even when you intellectually agree with your rationalisations, you’ll often still feel slightly uneasy – some part of you knows that it’s bullshit and steals your confidence from you. Read more

Graceful Failure Modes

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Within this post, we’ll define an “identity failure” as incongruence between your mental image of reality and your actual experiences.

When such an identity failure becomes particularly prominent or visceral, you become aware of this cognitive dissonance and typically suffer emotional harm. A simple example would be arriving home to find your supposedly faithful spouse of two decades cheating on you with your sibling; the pain of the violation of trust is amplified several times over by the sheer shock of the encounter and the resulting uncertainty about your self-worth, family life, and marital status. Read more

Door-to-Door Thoughts

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Having just started a job in door-to-door sales, I’d estimate maybe 20% of the job is actual selling ability; the other 80% is purely mental strength.

Obviously, you need some level of born or trained persuasiveness to sell anything. If you can’t smile, or hold a conversation, or stay relaxed after a hearty “fuck off” bellowed at you through a screen door… you’re simply not going to get a sufficient time slot (before rejection) to deliver a pitch at all. Read more

Be Selfish and Self-Centred

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Asserting the need for your own happiness (verbally or not) is frowned upon by those who secretly want you to sacrifice your happiness for their own.

I want to first draw a distinction between two brands of egocentrism*, which I’ll label selfishness and self-centredness. In this article, ‘selfish’ will refer to an approach prepared to sacrifice the happiness of others for your own, while ‘self-centred’ will refer simply to a focus on generating happiness for yourself but not necessarily in an exclusionary fashion. Read more

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

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Reframe failure as an opportunity and a sign of good character.

It is natural and even justifiable to stigmatise failure. Ceteris paribus, an A student is better educated than a D student, a $15m-per-film actor has demonstrated more value to consumers than a broke actor, and the Olympic gold medallist is more deserving than the last to cross the finish line. Those who fail are cast out of the limelight and often condescended to. Nevertheless, you mustn’t forget the merits of failure, and you mustn’t be afraid to fail. Read more

The Notch System

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“Fake it till you make it” is valuable advice, but difficult to accomplish.

The idea is that by demonstrating useful behaviours (such as pretending to be a confident person), you slowly build a lifestyle that is congruent with that behaviour. This alters your personality and makes it easier for you to exhibit those behaviours naturally, having internalised the persona you once had to act out. It works partially because other people look to you to determine how they should live their life. If you portray yourself as an authority on a matter (e.g. exuding complete confidence like you deserve it), people will often buy into it and give you feedback affirming that persona. Read more