Myth of Productivity

My work of late has consisted of trying to develop a better attitude. And one thing holding me back is valuing the concept of grueling-work. “Why do that the easy way, when there’s a much harder way to do it!!!” See? That’s stupid. Yet that’s what my attitude boils down to: “Work harder, not smarter! And how dare you enjoy yourself!!!” That’s masochism, plain and simple.

I believed that frivolous activity was worth less than “productive” activity. Yet, I’ve noticed that the less “productive” I am, the easier life gets. It turns out that life is NOT a struggle unless YOU struggle against it. Productivity is a myth because you can’t actually produce anything of value. In other words, if everything’s pixels, ALL activity is frivolous.

In addition: either life gives it to you, or you don’t get it. Effort doesn’t guarantee outcomes i.e. planting seeds won’t always result in bountiful harvests. There’s a certain combination of conditions that must be met or else your fields won’t yield. You could work sun-up to sun-down and still get nothing. In order to receive what life provides, you have to play the game correctly.

In fact, “working hard” displays a fundamental misunderstanding of life. You’re assuming your tiny efforts amount to something significant. Yet you’re completely missing the point of how much life is doing for you while deluding yourself into believing YOU did it. But the most you can do is appreciatively accept what’s already provided.

Imagine you’re at a party. You walk over to the buffet-table and pile tons of food onto your plate. It gets so heavy that you’re starting to break a sweat. You struggle to maintain your balance as you find a seat — plus it’s a bit crowded so it takes a couple minutes. You sit down to eat and proceed to stuff yourself. Then you sit there gloating and boasting about how much effort and work you put-in to obtain and consume all that food. THAT is what patting yourself on the back for “all your hard work” is like. You simply partook of what was already there!! You did NOTHING.

So the better attitude is this: Thank you life for this amazing party. Wow, it really has everything I could want. There’s people to interact with, food to eat, chocolate cake especially, heck there’s even a pool to swim in! There’s tons of activities to keep me busy. I’m actually overwhelmed by the many choices. But don’t worry, I’ll try my hardest to have fun! I understand that my duty as a guest is to enjoy my time here. I also understand that I should focus on the activities I derive the most delight from. Thanks again!

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Seeking Appreciation

I’ve heard it said that “God loves you”. But what does that mean? It seems a bit abstract. Am I supposed to love this being back? How do I love an abstract entity? I can’t hug God or do any favors for him, right? And what if I find this world unpleasant, how do I love a creator of such miserable conditions? Why should I love something that’s only provided me with a piss-poor time?

Okay, some decent questions. Now let me ask you this: is there ANYTHING that you enjoy here on Earth?

Hm, well there are a lot of shows I’ve watched over the years that I’ve really enjoyed. I don’t particularly enjoy living life, but I do like watching it.

Okay, so you’re saying that your status as an embodied-being has at least provided you with an ability to appreciate shows about being human. Otherwise, if you were merely a conscious-cloud-of-gas, you probably couldn’t relate to human comedies or dramas, right? It’d be like watching a fish tank for example, it’d get real-old real-fast — whereas you can watch TV for hours everyday, year after year.

So if some entity created this world just to provide you with a means to enjoy shows about humans, that’s a pretty good gift, right? Maybe some aspects of the world were rushed and are not-so-perfect, but the storytelling-aspect is top-notch. So based on your enjoyment of shows/videos/movies/etc, you’d probably say it’s an impressive gift, correct?

I suppose if you put it that way, with all the shows and movies and stories I’ve enjoyed over the years, this world has been worth the price of admission. It’s like having a life-time pass to a cineplex or Netflix or something. I have to put up with a bunch of inconveniences, but the overall storytelling aspect is pretty great.

So with that in mind, imagine that God is the buddy that put all this together for you. It’s like he built the theater, the movie-projector, put in the seats, stocked the refreshments, wrote all the movies, had the actors do their stuff, and put in the special effects — in other words, he created a planet and everything on it just so you could enjoy an endless supply of entertainment. And all you ever have to do is sit there and enjoy it.

Are you telling me that you can’t find any love in your heart for a buddy like that? Again, maybe the seats are a little uncomfortable, maybe some people talk during the show, and maybe the popcorn could be warmer, but overall this is an impressive setup don’t you think? And correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve done nothing to deserve this gift, it’s simply been given to you.

I mean yeah, I suppose I didn’t do anything to deserve it. But it’s certainly not perfect.

Well if someone gave you a sweater as a gift, would you wear it in the summer? Probably not — but if you did, you’d get too hot and probably hate the sweater after a few hours. So in other words, if you’re not enjoying a gift, it might be because you’re not using it correctly. Is it possible that the world is better than you think, and you’re just using it incorrectly?

Hm, I suppose that could be true because I find the whole thing kinda confusing. I honestly don’t know what I’m doing, so it’s very possible that I could be doing something wrong.

So let’s get back to your original questions. In terms of God loving you: all this was created for your enjoyment — why else is there a world filled with so much orchestrated drama just sitting in the middle of nowhere? God isn’t abstract if you think of him as the buddy that designed and manufactured all this. And in that sense, everything you interact with is just a piece of God — so yeah you hug God whenever you hug anything within this world. And if you find this place unpleasant, it’s likely that you’re doing something wrong, like wearing a sweater in the summer. At the very least, and as the most simplest set of instructions: just focus on the stuff you do like and your experience on Earth will vastly improve.

Being Yourself

As per usual, I was listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. In this one, Oprah herself was talking to an audience. Being that this is a simulated world, I believe people like Oprah are high-level players that come in with an insane skill-level. My friend has a natural ability in games for instance, and it’s frustrating to play against her because she easily wins and achieves all the objectives. Whereas my gameplay-style is dogged determination despite insurmountable odds, along with a clumsy progression.

Hm, I guess that’s how I play in real-life too. But anyway, Oprah’s point was this: Be yourself and be rewarded. That was her formula for success i.e. being herself — and this world rewarded her for it. That sounds right to me. Take War Robots for example: if you use a fast-dash minimally-armored robot as a heavy-hitting bruiser, you’re going to get smashed. Whereas if you use a tank-like bot to snag beacons, you’re going to be too slow. Characters are designed with certain attributes that must match the selected task.

For example, when I imagine myself, I picture “Hulk Hogan” ready to rain-down a leg-drop on my much weaker opponent as the power of Hulkamania surges through my veins. Yet, this is an absurd characterization that isn’t even close to the truth. I clearly didn’t get the dossier that explained my character’s strengths and weaknesses (okay, I ignored it). But that’s dumb because it’s not my character. I’m NOT physically intimidating NOR charismatic NOR do I light-up capacity-crowds with my limitless energy.

It’s like when Oprah tried to be a monotone-sounding news-anchor, it just didn’t work, it wasn’t her. It turns out, I’m not designed to effortlessly steamroll my way through obstacles like a Mack Truck. Oops, my bad. Although maybe my character IS supposed to be so clueless that he doesn’t realize he’s a chihuahua yapping at a pack of Rocky Mountain wolves — perhaps for comedic effect. That’s why it’s hard to “be yourself”, you’re not always sure what aspects are the “real” you.

But I think the “real” you is usually located slightly below the frenetic and easily-frightened ego. Oftentimes it takes quiet reflection and the power of meditation to get there. And luckily, Oprah provided some advice. The tasks you should engage with are those that produce “flow”, they get you “in the zone”, they cause you to lose track of time yet you remain energized, they’re things you could do for hours. And if you do these things, you too will receive the rewards life has to offer. Whereas if you do something unbefitting to your character? Suffering is the only possible result.

So, what are some things I do in which I lose track of time? Hmm. Watching shows/videos. Playing video-games. Talking to my friend. Writing blog posts. Shopping. Toying around with tools/gadgets. Problem-solving. Having discussions/debates. Hm, is that me in a nutshell? Well that doesn’t seem powerful at all, no wonder I chose to think of myself as a “Hulk Hogan” type. But there’s my problem: a distorted definition of power. I didn’t want to be some nerd that got his lunch-money stolen, I wanted to be the biggest baddest dude in the ring.

Yet if I think about power today, it’s Elon Musk I envision, not the Hulkster. Modern heroes are the titans of technology. The coolest things aren’t flying-elbows delivered by muscular-physiques, but handheld computers used in self-driving cars. Though to be fair, when I was a kid in the 80s, the WWF Superstars were the biggest thing around — computers and technology were barely there. It seems like I missed the window. I guess I should’ve studied to be an engineer. I guess… I guess I failed to heed my calling….

“He’s down! Ladies and gentleman, this doesn’t look good! Here comes the ref to lift his arm and check for consciousness — oh no, it’s just flopping back down to the mat. The ref is starting the three-count. One! Two! WAIT! What’s this?! The arm is lifting!! Ladies and gentleman, there it is! He’s up!! This is impossible!! And it’s a throw into the ropes! BOOM! A clothesline and his opponent is down! WHAT!? It’s a flying leg-drop!! ONE! TWO! THREE!! Ding! Ding! Ding! Unbelievable!!!!”

Remember: my gameplay-style is dogged determination despite insurmountable odds, along with a clumsy progression. So this is just par for the course. I don’t take the easy routes. I mean, I try to, but they don’t work — so I keep at it until I wear-down every obstacle in my path. It’s the power of erosion. Sandpaper-Man, with the ability to eventually wear away even the most powerful opponent over a very long period of time through abrasiveness and grit. Rub, rub, and awaaay!

Wonderful Wizard

It was less than two-months ago that I discovered I’m a masochist. I’m still trying to reconcile it. I don’t want to hurt myself, yet I constantly do in terms of insults and aspersions and lots of negativity. Basically I keep trying to bully myself into believing that I’m a weak, ineffectual, and fatally flawed creature that is subject to the whims of a harsh and random world. I can plainly see that the claim is not true, yet I insist on trying to convince myself it is. What’s up with that?

At this point, I am beyond certain that this world is dreamlike or simulated in some way. This is in no-way a natural earth — yet something wants me to believe it is. Why? I think the “why” is obvious: a simulated game wants to be believed, the fun comes from the sensation of full-immersion. But I think the problem I’m having, deals with the mechanism trying to be TOO convincing. “YOU SUCK AND YOU’RE POWERLESS!!! YOU’RE LOST AND YOUR SITUATION IS HOPELESS!!!”

And for the first few decades, the message was completely effective — I believed it whole-heartedly. But now it’s dumb. It’s like Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz: “Uh, I can see you’re just an old man behind the curtain talking into a microphone, your threats are meaningless now”. But there he goes, loud as ever, blaring those negative ideas through my thoughts. Shut-up already. I know you’re full of sh*t and I’m ready to appreciate the good-life now.

But if you recall, Dorthy and the gang had to rebuke the “wizard” to get him to capitulate. So I guess I must rebuke these negative thoughts that are trying to convince me of a falsity. They’re merely the result of an overzealous mechanism whose job is to convince me that this isn’t a fabricated world. “Stop it already! I’ve had enough! The curtain’s drawn, let’s move on! I’ll tell you what I want, and you fulfill it! Do you hear me!!?” Well, I guess we’ll see how that goes.

Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power…”
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

Non-physical Improvement

In a non-physical world, the way to improve your life is through the practice of mental discipline. Given the situation you find yourself in, you need to find the fun and extract whatever enjoyment you can from it. Acceptance of what-is plays a big part in this. But the best part, is that your situation will vastly improve once you accept your current state. When you prove that you can handle a little, you’ll receive a lot more. Whereas if you refuse to play along and reject what-is, you’ll receive even less (having shown yourself incapable of handling things).

Mental discipline is mostly about practice. It’s maintaining an awareness of your thoughts and responding appropriately. Negative thoughts must be dealt with and defused. Negative thoughts are identified by the way you react to them. If you feel bad or behave poorly, then you can bet such negativity was preceded by a negative thought. You must identify and undermine that thought — find a way to make it false. You’ll need a new way of looking at the world in order to do this effectively. If you already had an effective perspective, you wouldn’t be having an issue dealing with negativity in the first place.

The most efficient perspective for this purpose is achieved by dropping any semblance of an absolute physical reality. In other words, you should develop a perspective that explains the world in a dreamlike way. From that standpoint, the world becomes infinitely alterable as well as a direct reflection of your thoughts. Whatever is happening within your mind, becomes the world you experience. If you have a turbulent mind, then you’ll live in a turbulent world. In the same way, a peaceful world begins with a peaceful mind.

Additionally, this dreamlike perspective makes everything your fault (you’re the dreamer after-all). This is good because you can no longer be a victim. Forgiveness becomes unnecessary because your lack-of-discipline is the only thing to blame. The world never attacks you, you attack you. And you will attack yourself — you’re a bit of a masochist. The only thing between you and the best life possible, is your attitude and the acceptance of life as it happens. Despite anything you think you’re experiencing, trust in the world’s benevolence and maintain an appreciative attitude — do this by utilizing discipline. In this way, you travel the path to a better life.

Swiping Thoughts

I’m a loser. There’s just no doubt about it. I’m short, I have bad teeth and terrible social skills, I’m rude and self-centered, pompous and patronizing, I have no career, I have to ask my mom for money, I’ve got nothing going for me, I’m just existing because it’s easier than not existing. I’m such a weak character, it’s so embarrassing to be me. If I compete at something, there’s a better than average chance I’ll lose — I’m clearly a failure.

The above paragraph represents a thought. What do I notice while having the thought? I notice that I feel pretty bad. Based on my reaction, I can tell it’s a negative thought. Negative thoughts MUST be managed. Thoughts are not real, they’re mere mental-suggestions. It’s like a buddy throwing out ideas: “we could split a pizza, we could eat our own feces, we could order some chinese-food, we could insult ourself until we cry, we could go to the movies…”

But this buddy has no filter and is kinda psycho. You have to think of him more like a five-year old just spitballing ideas. He’s not leadership material. His suggestions should never be taken without proper evaluation. Whereas if you take what he says with a grain-of-salt, then he’s kinda fun in a wacky way. Again, the way in which to evaluate his ideas is by noticing how they make you feel. If it feels bad, it is bad — don’t accept the suggestion.

If he’s persistent, then you be persistent. Don’t entertain that nonsense. Whenever you hear “You’re a loser, you suck!”, don’t take the bait, don’t play that game. It’s a trick to engage your attention, a way to thrill you through the feeling of pain. There’s other ways to alleviate boredom, just keep rejecting the unpleasant suggestions until a more pleasant option pops up. The great thing about thoughts is that there’s millions more in the pipeline, you’ll never run out, just keep swiping for the next one.

Hellish Nightmare

Within this world, a devil does exist, a tempter. And the temptation he presents you, is to think negatively about life. And if you follow this temptation, you in effect create a hell-on-earth for yourself. But the good news is this: if you unwittingly succumb to the temptation, salvation exists in this world as well. Salvation comes in the form of a positive belief about life — you must develop and maintain the idea that this is a benevolent world. In other words, heaven is at hand if you simply reach for it.

Every time you think of the world as a dark and scary place, you create it — the vision forms before you. You’ll interpret every scene and situation as an opportunity to suffer abuse. Every random noise is doom stepping closer. Every smell is the stink of decay. Every person is a predator that sees you as prey. In this way, you find the hell you seek and the devil wins another soul.

But this nightmare need not happen. You can resist the temptation to disparage the world. It’s easy to hate and ridicule and cause calamity — it’s an effortless path to take. Imagine showing up at a party and ripping on the host for throwing such a lame soiree, you taste and spit-out every one of the hors d’oeuvres — claiming them not fit for consumption, you taunt the guests for dressing like peasants, you break some vases and urinate in the pool. You definitely create some excitement, but is it worth it?

Or, you can enter the party with an accepting attitude, willing to try new things. No, you won’t like every song or every bite to eat, but there’s no reason to go nuts over it — calm down, it’s a party. Others are there to have fun too, maybe it’s not all about you and what you want. Maybe the host tried as hard as she could — and there you are ready to jump down her throat for every perceived offense. Careful not to look in the mirror or the devil might be staring back.

But listen, you have an opportunity to rectify your earlier roguishness. Redemption is available. Think about this: when you show up to the party every morning, are you feeling timid and dreading what the day has in store? “Great things!!” is the only acceptable answer when wondering what’ll happen today. YOU specifically were invited to the greatest party ever — you’re a welcomed guest. If you’re not feeling loved and valued then you’re being willfully obstinate and downright rude. You should feel nothing but appreciation for this wondrous opportunity.

So if you’re feeling bad, then you know the devil’s got you. This means you’ve got a fight on your hands. But because the devil is your own negativity, this is actually a pretty easy fight to win. The way to win is simply this: STOP BEING NEGATIVE. You’re not denying reality by denying negativity. The world takes whatever form you imagine it to take and you can easily prove this to yourself by stopping your negativity for a few days. Your nightmare will end and you’ll never want to go back.