Age of the Introvert

I’m an extreme introvert and a former long-time germaphobe. Suddenly, the world seems to be conforming to my expectations. If I’m not by myself or with my tiny 3-person family, I prefer small concentrations of people. I prefer doing anything and everything online as opposed to in-person. I prefer keeping my hands to myself as opposed to physically greeting others or handling shared objects. I prefer relatively quiet streets and being at home. I prefer kids having free-time and spending more time with their parents.

From my perspective, the world seems normal now. It’s suddenly cool to be like me. But funny enough, I stopped being a germaphobe a few years ago, so now I’m the reckless one! And I only use a small amount of toilet paper since I prefer a more bidet-like experience. But of course, fashions come and go and I might become “anti-social” once again. But for now I’ll relish the fact that I’m basically a “hero” doing my part in the effort against our current enemy.

Though I must say, I wouldn’t mind seeing the streaming traffic and the large warehouses of people it fills become a relic of the past — an end to the rat-race and an easing on the environment. Perhaps it will become an age in which artists and writers flourish — a renaissance no less. And in these more technological times, maybe we’ll enter an age of engineering excellence, with flying cars or new settlements in remote areas — and yes, even space-travel.

Nay friends, I live not in troubling times, but at a point of progression in which old ways are gone for good. How long have we lamented the backward nature of society? So I say relish this opportunity for change and use it to advance ever-forward once again. It is through unexpected upheaval that we enter new epochs of unimagined innovation and prosperity. Not fear, but appreciation should fill our hearts each day. So dear friends, onward and upward!

Upcoming 2020

It’s not about luck or external alignment, a happy new year begins within. Can I maintain my focus on that which is delightful and OFF that which is dour? THAT is the ONLY question that determines the happiness of this upcoming year. The game to be played is this: to keep my attitude and attention on a lighthearted path — to laugh instead of wince.

And so this year I will maintain focus. Watching for when my mind drifts towards the unpleasant, directing it back to what’s pleasing. As I look out the window this morning and experience the dawning of a new day, seeing darkness gradually become light, I witness golden hues atop the trees against a light-blue sky.

In contrast, I also notice a mild headache, a slight pain — perhaps I should focus on that instead? But why would I follow the invitation of pain, a sensation that captivates my attention by making me believe that the body is a mechanical structure subject to wear & tear. By playing that stupid game, I win the prize of discomfort.

Pain is an antidote for boredom — that’s the trade-off. Even though it’s mild, I’m transfixed by the sensation. It provides an activity to pursue: dissipate the pain. Poke it, attempt to ignore it, try and talk myself out of it, take some medicine. Hm, I’m already failing at my new year’s focusing. Ha. Not so easy is it?

So that’s my starting point. Out-gunned by years of practice in pessimism. A negative attitude so honed, it draws blood instantly. Wretched thoughts will come, hordes of them, but I will not succumb. This is the apocalyptic battle between good and evil that determines the fate of the world I live within.

And all it takes is an easy choice: reject the negativity and embrace the lighthearted life. Heaven is at hand, but to the undisciplined mind it becomes hell. A disciplined mind is one that is supervised and steered, ever kept on the merry path. With a firm resolve, I grab the reins. “Onward! To VICTORY!!”

Imperfect Experience

Existence is the experience of imperfection. Imperfection provides reason for action. Whereas if something is in a state of perfection, nothing needs to be done. Therefore, we are constantly striving towards a perfection we hope we never achieve. Imperfection makes things fun.

If you’re not good at something, great! That’s the point! Games, for example, get boring the moment you master them. Excitement emerges when things don’t go as planned. Variety springs forth from imperfect implementations. Sameness is tediousness.

To extract enjoyment, we must accept and appreciate a playful approach towards perfection. We can’t allow ourselves to feel frustrated by a lack of perfection because we truly don’t want to get there. We WANT the condition of imperfection to inspire our efforts.

It’s a game like any other: we should be sincere in our pursuit but not solemnly so. We should genuinely engage in an activity, but not too seriously. We shouldn’t feel disdain for imperfection, but embrace it on an impossible path towards perfection.

Earth Tips

Dear Rich, I’m having a tough time here on Earth, any tips?

Sure thing dear reader. But keep in mind that I’m not very good at this game, I’ve just been around for awhile, intently observing, trying to figure this stuff out.

First, things are much easier to understand when you think of Earth as a simulation or even a dream. You’re in control here and the control-mechanism is your mental focus. But the controls aren’t very responsive, there’s some lag involved. Essentially though, the thoughts you focus on are the ones that’ll tend to render before your eyes. In short: focus on crap and you’ll have a crappy life — focus on good things and you’ll have a delightful life.

Relatedly: unless you WANT to increase your difficulty, do NOT think of yourself as a fragile creature struggling for survival amidst a harsh & brutal landscape. “Survival” isn’t necessary here — if you leave well enough alone, the body and its circumstances are self-sustaining. You don’t need to “protect” or “defend” yourself. If life really wanted you dead, you’d be dead — no amount of “vigilance” is going to help.

Think of yourself as an invited guest at a party. Be gracious and appreciative of your surroundings — give thanks to the host perhaps. See others as fellow invited guests, they’re here to enjoy themselves same as you. Some folks get rowdy, but that’s fine, it’s all in good fun. Find some folks you can relate to and hang with them instead. This party has a buffet, simply pass-by the things you don’t prefer and select the things you DO prefer.

The trick to acclimating here, is to appreciate the interaction between your focus and your experience. DO NOT disregard this concept, don’t think that external events shape your life — the OPPOSITE is true. Your attitude and attention DIRECTLY influence your external experience. This is what every noob gets wrong (including me). Develop a good attitude FIRST, then a great life follows.

If you start with a pissy attitude and expect an awesome adventure, you’re in for a world of hurt. Believe me, I tried that approach — it doesn’t work. Remember: by your attitude and focus, you control the life you live. A great time begins with a great attitude. Stop with the complaints, the pessimism, the mockery, and the worry. As soon as you adjust your focus away from negativity, things will sort themselves out. Honestly, you only need a little effort to keep your focus on the delightful aspects of life.

Again, don’t concern yourself with struggling through life, you’ll only get in your own way. Your body is like an avatar that’s programmed to take your consciousness on an adventure around Earth — it knows what to do. You don’t consciously place one foot in front of the other while walking do you? YOUR primary job as the conscious observer, is to be a respectful audience-member — simply watch the story unfold and refrain from hurling insults or acting unappreciative.

There you go dear reader, follow these tips and your situation is sure to improve. It certainly worked for me — I’m having a much better time nowadays. I had previously believed life sucked, but it turned out that I had a bad attitude — I was so intensely negative, that it soured my experience. When I finally cut out the negativity, the world changed before my eyes. Yes, it’s really that easy and it’s fully within your power — try it, what do you have to lose?

Experimental Update

A few years ago, I began an experiment in perspective. I stopped thinking of the world as a physical object upon which I was a creature struggling to survive, and began thinking of the world as a virtual experience — like a computer-simulation or a dream. I can now say without a doubt, that the experiment was a success.

Just as an example: within that time, I moved from a single-wide mobile-home in a trailer-park to a two-story top-floor condo in the heart of a beautiful downtown overlooking a park. I invested zero-effort within the external world to achieve that change, it was 100% internal. But keep in mind, it was an intense effort to completely flip my perspective — I spent months and now years dedicated to the idea of “virtuality”.

And guess what? I’m still here! This proves to me that life is NOT about struggling for survival atop a harsh & brutal world that’s hellbent on destroying its inhabitants. It turns out that the experience of existence is actually pretty nice — it was a harsh & brutal perspective that made everything unpleasant.

Is my life currently perfect? No. But is it significantly better? YES, by a long-shot. I no longer bathe in worry, I don’t have existential dread, I more often look for what’s good rather than what’s bad, my frustration with life has lessened, and I believe existence is a benign experience meant to entertain.

When something does suck, I recognize that it’s caused by the turbulence formed from a bad attitude and negative thinking. After a few years of experimental observation, this theory has only proved more true. Life doesn’t suck, I suck at managing my mind. And whenever I mismanage it, bad things are sure to follow. But the reverse is also true, when I DO manage my focus, I have a much better time.

So there you go: by maintaining the illusionary nature of existence in my mind, I’ve been able to vastly improve my experience on Earth. The more I’ve accepted the idea of a virtual reality, the better things have gotten. A lifetime of angst simply vanished — it was all an illusion. I’m no longer lost in a sea of negative thoughts, I’m able to focus on right now.

If you’re looking to improve YOUR experience of existence, I highly recommend a virtual approach to reality.

Good Games

If I should avoid playing stupid games, what are some good games to play instead?

T.E.A.C.H.

Teamwork. Build and strengthen relationships with others.

Exploration. Wander through the wondrous world.

Appreciation. Focus on things you enjoy, engage with them, recognize the delight they provide you.

Creativity. When inspiration strikes, do it.

Hopefulness. Imagine the best possible outcomes.

Accomplish Mints

If you examine games for instance, the things you accomplish in-game aren’t that awesome, yet you still have a drive to do them. The point being: you don’t need something epic in order to feel entertained. In Tetris for example, you’re simply stacking bricks — you merely accepted the artificial goal of completing rows.

Do you need prizes for motivation? Clearly not, or else video-games wouldn’t be a thing. Time and energy are invested for arbitrary awards that mean nothing outside the game. It’s like a coloring book: you accept the goal of filling in the blanks and you’re rewarded with the feeling of accomplishment when it’s done.

Even a “to-do list” is a simple means to create the circumstance of accomplishment. In other words, accomplishment is easy. But if you’re a masochist, you’ll use the process as a means of frustrating yourself. For example: you’ll select goals you don’t believe you can reach, or you’ll design criteria that’s nebulous and ever-changing.

So if you’re not feeling accomplished, guess what? You’re a masochist using the mechanism of achievement as a means to torture yourself. STOP THAT! Relax and pick easy, well-defined goals for now. Practice winning for once. Stop teasing yourself with feelings of lack and limitation. Get out there and win!