Successful Failure

If you wanted to program an android to act like a human, you’d have to introduce erratic behavior into its actions. The android should perform haphazardly, having one mishap after another. Instead of a quick and precise path, the android would need to take a slow and sloppy route. The completion of objectives would become uncertain and prolonged.

But with this change, the android’s actions suddenly become a lot more exciting to observers. “Can he do it!!?? He was so close last time!!” Fast and efficient action that’s always successful is boring. Sports, games, gambling — these events are only fun when the outcome isn’t certain AND we invest some time into them.

Because we’re always traversing a slow and sloppy path toward our selected objectives, we can deduce that existence is a manufactured experience. We’re obliged to take the slow and sloppy route — it’s by design. And it’s this very condition that entertains the consciousness, the observer within watching it all go down.

In other words, you’re not supposed to instantaneously have everything you want. You’re supposed to take a winding route fraught with uncertainty — that’s where the fun comes from. A successful life is not one in which you achieve arbitrary goals — it’s one in which you enjoy the epic adventure you’re experiencing, the slow and sloppy route to nowhere in particular.

At the Top

Sometimes I sit and stare at successful people. You know, like watch interviews and such. Some do just fine at the top whereas others stumble and fall, even to their death. Is life at the top THAT precarious? But of course, people die at the bottom too, probably much more so. And isn’t it better to die in a mansion than a cardboard box? If you gotta go, might as well go in style.

From those that survived falling from the top, they said their success was ultimately unfulfilling i.e. it didn’t solve their problems, so they had no place to go but down. And down they went. In other words, they had their wish granted but they didn’t feel satisfied — and with nothing left to attain, their lives felt empty. It seems that if you get what you want without an ability to appreciate it, you’re going to have a really bad time.

Typically these people are young, and rocket to success while lacking practice in appreciation. If you’re going to have fun at the top, you need an ability to appreciate it. You can’t be paranoid that you’ll lose it, you can’t be suspicious of everyone around you, and you have to embrace the lifestyle and trust that life wants you well. Otherwise, you might freak-out and literally jump off.

And I admit, it wasn’t that long ago that I imagined walling myself away from the world. In Minecraft for example, I used to build underground bunkers to protect myself from the harsh and brutal mobs. I would have full food supplies and whatever else I needed alongside extensive tunnels and air-lock style door systems. Zombies weren’t gonna catch me slippin. So if I had early success, I would’ve likely done something similar.

But nowadays I see the futility in “protecting” yourself from life. If life wants you dead, ain’t nuthin you can do. What determines your fate is a good attitude, that’s it. Believe in the goodness of life and you’ll receive it. Whereas if you believe in the bad, you’ll get exactly what you asked for. That’s the conclusion I reached after watching all those successful people. That’s the common thread that determines whether you enjoy your time at the top, and whether you remain there.

Today’s lesson: learn to appreciate. If you can’t do that, there’s no sense in getting to the top.

Hocus Focus

If we’re captivated by life and our primary form of control is our focus, then practicing the ability to direct our focus should be a high priority. BUT life is so good at capturing our attention, that the act of redirecting our attention is a difficult thing to do.

And we certainly do want to control our focus because it improves our experience here. Why waste time engaging with unpleasant things, when we can engage with the best of what life has to offer instead. In other words: the answer to all our problems is proper focus BUT controlling our focus is like trying to rein-in a raging bull.

For example, imagine focusing on joyful thoughts that evoke delight instead of dour complaints. Imagine focusing on the sensation of comfort in one part of the body instead of an ache in another part. So in essence, imagine focusing on everything right and wonderful instead of what’s wrong and unpleasant — how great an experience would you have if you did? But no, that seems to be a hard thing to accomplish.

I know this, because I’ve read about this concept and written about it for YEARS and I’m only a little better at. Whenever I have the realization that I need to direct my attention, my mind wanders somewhere else in the very next moment and I forget about redirecting my focus.

I suppose my question for the universe is this: how can I better control my focus in order to have the best experience possible?

For example, I have a slight headache right now. If I distract myself with something, I forget it’s there. YET, for whatever reason, my mind keeps wandering back to the discomfort. WHY?! Am I simply a masochist that enjoys the sensation of pain? Proper focus literally cures my affliction yet I seemingly refuse to apply it.

That strange routine surfaces in every area of my life. Anxious thought? Just don’t focus on it, and you’ll no longer be anxious. Focus on it anyway!!! Something annoying you? Focus on something else instead. No, double-down and doubly-focus on that annoying thing!!! Hm. I guess I’m just a masochist, or an idiot.

But just imagine the super-power of selective focus. Something bothering you? Simply alter and maintain focus on something better. Are you being eaten by an alligator? Simply look at the lovely sky above and appreciate the tweeting birds singing their lovely songs. With selective focus, everything is awesome. No longer would you be subject to the whims and ways of an unruly mind, YOU would be in control and you’d obviously select the best of what life has to offer to focus on.

So what have we learned here today? Proper focus fixes problems BUT it’s difficult to do. Also: if focus affects our lives to the degree that it does, this demonstrates the non-physical nature of reality. Proper focus is essentially lucid-dreaming, an awareness and control of our experiences. If you want the best life possible, proper focus is the path you must master.

Musical Fantasy

Haven’t you ever listened to music? You know, like songs on the radio? The words are sparse, rambling, and repetitive? And just look at the music-videos that accompany them, they’re utterly dreamlike and often absurd. Plus, those projects cost millions of dollars and take months to produce and subsequently rake-in millions of dollars from fans.

You’re telling me that such a circumstance is the culmination of millions of years of evolution? NOPE. This is a fantasyland, a dreamworld, a place where imagination takes shape. Why would a civilization dedicate so much time, energy, and resources to people singing abstract songs that merely entertain fans for a few weeks until the next song comes along? That’s the height of absurdity and therefore PROOF that this world is not “real”.

Name any musical performer you want, they’re not THAT good, and you can find a thousand people that think they absolutely SUCK. Talent isn’t a thing, there’s no cream rising to the top, it’s simply people wishing to be stars and fans forming around them. This is Westworld, the movie from 1973 where patrons get to live out fantasies amongst robots. But in this amusement-park, patrons are made to forget their origins.

Some of us apparently forget too much, and believe ourselves to be living as fragile creatures struggling for survival amidst a harsh and brutal hellscape DESPITE the fact that pop-stars exist. WHAT!!?? No offense, but how dumb do you gotta be to not realize that this is a fantasy world? Okay, okay, I’ll admit it — I am that dumb — it took me several decades to understand this facet of existence.

Now that I do understand, I’m trying to go from gritty nightmare-realm to lighthearted fairy-tale land. I’d say for the most part it’s working. A couple years ago I lived in a single-wide mobile-home in a trailer-park and now I live in a top-floor two-story condo in the heart of downtown overlooking a nicely manicured park. And I literally did nothing to achieve this dramatic change except wish for it. I simply packed the car and sat in the passenger seat as we traveled to our new residence.

My biggest obstacle of last year was trying to appreciate my surroundings despite my inherent pessimism and anxious tendencies. And my biggest obstacle this year is my attempt to suppress any remaining suspicions that life is out to get me. I’m still working on it, which is why I’m pointing out how contrived everything is. If circumstances are created specifically for my amusement, there’s no reason to worry. The point of this world couldn’t be clearer: have fun.

Frustration Station

Dear Rich, an idea popped into my head and now I feel frustrated because it’s not something I can readily pursue.

Dear reader, it’s good that you noticed that stormy situation forming in your thoughts. That’s step one. Step two, is to NOT pursue the idea. Pump the brakes. It’s only an idea worth pursing if it fills you with delight and inspires hopefulness for the future. If, as in this case, it makes you feel frustrated, DUMP IT.

It might even be an idea that comes true later on, but right now is not the time to think about it. You’ll know this by the way it makes you feel. Pursuing those feelings of frustration will only hinder your life, it won’t improve anything, nor will it hasten fulfillment of the goal.

You might be tempted to believe that you NEED frustration as a form of motivation. It’s not true. Frustration is the feeling of annoyance, and being pushed around by irritation is a low-quality way to navigate this world. You’ll want to do things because they seem fun and interesting, NOT because you’re upset.

Instead of wandering wherever frustration leads you, take some breaths and clear your mind. Then allow the stream of endless thoughts to flow once again. This time, ignore the frustrating ones and select something pleasant instead. You’re the doorman/bouncer at the hottest club in town, and your job is to let in the coolest thoughts around.

Ideas are just fanciful visions floating around in your head — figments of your imagination. If you ignore one, another takes its place. Even if an idea truly needs to come in, yet shows-up with an unruly attitude, deny it entry until it returns in the form of something pleasant. Don’t worry, it’ll come back — your mind is the only opportunity for these ideas to express themselves. You have the power, not them.

Finish Line

So how’d you like it!?
Uhh, not so much.
Oh. What didn’t you like about it?
I dunno, it was kinda blah.
Oh. What’d you do there?
Uh, stayed indoors mainly, kept to myself, tried to stay outta trouble.
Oh. You know you could’ve done anything you wanted right?
Hm, not really, there weren’t any instructions.

Oh. Do you remember before you went in, as I started explaining the instructions, you said “Instructions are for dweebs – I got this”?

Hm, no.

And you know how every successful in-game character would repeat the mantra “follow your dreams”?

Hm, yeah but I didn’t think it applied to my situation.

Oh. So let me get this straight. You entered a dream world in which you could live a life of endless adventure and boundless delights — yet instead of enjoying yourself, you essentially sat in a corner the entire time.

Well when you put it that way….

Rich and Famous

Are you rich and famous? If not, why not? No offense, but you’re in a freakin’ simulation designed to bring dreams to life!! If you’re not doing something amazing, you’re being an absolute tool.

Imagine playing Minecraft for the first time. You enter the world, lost in the middle of the woods — so you seek out the nearest village. You reckon that your only course of action is to rent a room from one of the villagers while helping to pick crops from the local farm. You go to bed every night for fear of monsters and never stray too far. What a stupid way to play, right?

You should be out exploring and building grand monuments as testament to your creative power and saving villages from pillagers. You should be building portals to other realms or collecting treasures or mining to parts unknown. Your name should be known far and wide in that world — your mark should be made everywhere you go. THAT is how you play!

Imagine living out that mundane life in Minecraft and meeting up with other players at the end of it all. You might ask one: so what did you do while in the world? “Well I sought the End Portal and defeated the Ender Dragon. What about you?” Oh, well I lived in a small room in a village and picked carrots mostly. “WTF bro!?!”

But that’s a game, blah, blah, blah! Yet, in interview after interview of rich and famous people, you’ll hear them talk about how they once wished to be where they currently are. Then one day, they suddenly found themselves surrounded by the physical manifestation of their dreams. It happens again and again — it can’t be a coincidence!

In addition, they always add: and you too can fulfill YOUR dreams. Are they lying? Are they simply the “lucky ones”? OR maybe you’re a moron that’s been playing this game wrong. Which is more likely to be true: that rich and famous people are lying to you OR you’re clueless? Spoiler Alert! You’re a chump.

Have you not seen untalented people rise to the rank of rich and famous!? How is that possible? Because this is a world where dreams come true. Whereas you’re focused on thoughts of lack and limitation, they go through the world unencumbered by such nonsense. It doesn’t take luck or hard-work or talent or any in-world stuff at all — it takes focus.

Filter out the lack and limitation and focus only on the life you want to live. This is a dream-world and your path is selected through focus. Believe in a mundane world and you shall have it. Believe in a scary world and it’s yours. Believe in a grand world of fanciful delights and you’ll have that. Become rich and famous, there’s no reason not to.