Checking Boxes

The game-of-life has several categories we must attend to. If any are neglected, we’ll feel a lack of satisfaction — as if we’re not living a “full life”. But the way in which we attend to each category is highly subjective — only our personal character can determine the specifics. In other words, activities performed must be meaningful to the individual.

Body. You must engage in activity that utilizes the body in a way that feels significant to you. This activity does not have to be strenuous in any way, it’s simply taking your body out for a spin and enjoying it. To some, that might be running a marathon, but to others it might be a walk in the park — or it could be more artistic endeavors such as playing the piano or folding some paper (origami).

Busywork. You must engage in activity that fills-up time and accomplishes something you’re proud of. It could be an actual career or it could be a hobby like woodworking. It could be cooking or daily fitness training. Whatever it is, at the end of the day you should feel as though you accomplished something.

Relationship. You must engage in a relationship with some other entity. Whether it be romantic or parental or fraternal or friendship or a partnership — you have to significantly bond with another being. It should be a connection that makes you feel like you’re not alone OR that you’re a vital part of their existence.

Diet. You must find a way of eating that works for you. This is a personal selection of food that fits only your palate. It should make you feel well-nourished and never lacking. Diets change throughout time and culture, there’s nothing set in stone — so you’ll need to discover and experiment, finding the foods that leave you feeling satisfied.

Impact. You must feel as though you’ve influenced your world in some way. Whether it’s simply your immediate surroundings, your family, or even society itself — you’ll need to feel like you left some footprints. This might include having children, or passing on a legacy of some sort, or simply winning “Yard of the Month” and helping your neighborhood look nice.

Appreciation. You must develop an appreciation for life. You must constantly strive to find the good in the gifts you’ve been given. This is the very opposite of complaining about everything. Instead of picking out what’s wrong in the world, you must pick out what’s right.

Home. You must feel as though you’ve found a place in the world, a home. Somewhere, somehow, you fit like a puzzle piece into this world. Find that spot. For some this means a move, but for others it means recognizing the home they’ve already got. Hint: you might be in the correct physical location, but require an attitude adjustment.

Understanding. You must develop a comforting understanding of existence. You don’t have to figure everything out, you just need to develop a perspective that allows you to feel comfortable in the world. This could take the form of a religious or spiritual belief or some other form of philosophical interpretation. At the end of the day, you have to feel good about what’s going on here.

Role. You must feel as though you’re performing your role. You have a particular character with a certain set of preferences and abilities. Experiment, see what your strengths are and what activities you enjoy. This role might tie into your relationships, or how you influence your surroundings, or even your physical activity.

Adventure. You must feel as though you’re wandering through an exciting realm of wonder. Some aspect of life should cause you to feel like you’re discovering a whole new world. If your attention isn’t captured by something, you’re likely barking up the wrong tree — try another path.

Depending on one’s age, many of these items will be incomplete. THAT’S THE POINT. These boxes start out unchecked and you have an entire lifetime to work on them. And it’s not likely you’ll do them all at once — that’s ludicrous.

Also specific to the individual, is the priority we place on each category. For example, some people might spend hours everyday training their body whereas others barely use theirs. Or one person might spend years cultivating a deep personal relationship with a life-partner whereas another person might have a guinea-pig he cares for — both perfectly satisfied.

These categories simply serve as a guideline to the question: What am I supposed to do here on Earth? If you’re not sure, there you go. Work on fulfilling these categories — they’re the roadmap to what’s going on here — you’ll want to visit each of them in some way. Good luck, Earthling!

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Compelling Purpose

If you’re spending a significant portion of your time simply reconciling with life, perhaps you’re barking up the wrong tree? In other words, maybe you’re out-of-step with life because you’re trying to do the wrong thing — like a dog jumping from tree branches trying to be a bird instead of chasing, biting, and barking.

Of course, that puts you right into the “finding your purpose” dilemma. But perhaps that’s the problem — maybe you really have to take that step more seriously?

The thing about that though, is that I see so many people compelled into a certain path by internal or external forces — they have no choice, they’re simply directed down a path and they readily follow it. I’ve been around for several decades already and I’m not sensing any push one way or another.

And the inklings I do get, just kinda fizzle-out over time. For instance, when I was a teen I was an avid weight-lifter, so much so that I went to college and studied Exercise Science. But as it turned out, I stopped growing taller and could only get mildly muscular — in other words, I wasn’t going to look like a heavyweight pro-bodybuilder. I wanted to be big and strong but it seemed like genetics wouldn’t let me.

I guess I picked the wrong path on that one. Oops. Okay so then I got into computers. I even started programming and went into software development. But oh boy, was that a struggle all throughout. I quit that stuff several times for various reasons. I go back once in awhile but eventually I get so frustrated over something that I quit again. It seems like another dead-end.

After all that, I started writing — it’s been about seven years of tippity-typing away and posting entries on this blog. But it never manifested into a career, not even close. Can you imagine doing something for seven years with ZERO return on investment? No money, no praise, no nothing — I just write for the heck of it. And whenever I try to quit, I come right back to it. Oh. Hm, so I guess I am compelled to write. My bad.

Well there you go, I suppose internal and external forces are actually forcing me down a particular path. Huh, well go figure. No offense though, but this blog is just a collection of thoughts that no one but me cares about. Shouldn’t writing be a career in which I make significant amounts of money and receive lots of praise? Something that makes my family proud to be related to me and a means for me to shower them with lavish gifts?

Yes that’s right, now having realized my purpose, I’m going to complain about it! I enjoy writing too. I like sitting in my office, occasionally glancing out the window while typing on my Apple keyboard as it wirelessly transmits characters onto my iPad. I have no complaints about the writing process — and I always feel like I’ve accomplished something for the day when I press “Publish”. But why so sparse when it comes to external gratification?

You’ve forced me down a path that I’m okay with — got it, that’s fine. But I’m still on the outside looking in — I’m not integrated into the career aspect of life. And that lack-of-career thing has been vexing me my entire life. “So what do you do, Rich?” Uhh…. But whatever, I guess I’ll keep writing and posting since that’s what I’m compelled to do. But just know that my shopping-budget is severely limited and I don’t appreciate it!

I’m sick of getting my friend “virtual presents” in which I pick out something nice, and send her a picture of it. Yes this post is actually about Mother’s Day, which is today. I have to sit there as she prepares breakfast-as-usual with no significant gift to brighten her day. Pitiful. At the very least I had wanted to get her some potted Gardena flowers and a latest generation iPad-mini — but nooo… she just gets a picture and an idiot for a husband. Psh.

At least she had a nice walk around town with her son. They also went over to buy some local honey at the farmer’s market. And like usual, she found what she was looking for — her ability to manifest the mundane is uncanny. Well that’s all for now dear diary, thanks for listening as usual. Signing-off… Rich.

Upgrading Narratives

By its nature, invincibility doesn’t need to be tested, there’s nothing to prove. For the invincible, the outcome is certain: I win every time. Therefore, invincibility doesn’t result in a desire for conquest — if anything, invincibility breeds patience and compassion. “These poor little people, what hope can they have against my might, I could squash them as insects — yet I won’t, I will show them my benevolent nature instead, for I am a kindhearted god amongst mere mortals.”

Perhaps invincibility isn’t for everyone, but for those that are always anxious, it’s simply a different story you can tell yourself. Is it any less of a lie than telling yourself: “I’m a worthless wretch that’s subject to the whims and ways of an uncaring world”? No, and in fact it’s a better story, a story in which you feel good about yourself instead of like a fragile creature struggling for survival amidst a harsh and brutal landscape.

If you sit in fear, afraid to venture out, now sit in superiority with no need to prove what you already know. The outcome’s the same, yet in the second scenario you feel like a magnanimous ruler. But I’ll tell you this: with the feeling of invincibility flowing through your thoughts, you’ll become energized — oh yes! You’ll start moving around. And wandering through the world won’t feel dangerous anymore, it’ll seem as a mild stroll through a comfortably familiar place.

This superpower already exists within you, you simply need to release it. All you have to do is trade the scary stories you keep telling yourself for stories of invincibility. You’ve already proven that you’re an effective storyteller: you’re scared shitless — that’s all the proof you need. Now let the narrative of an invincible-you begin. See yourself as the indomitable-being that NOTHING can overcome. Feel the power surging, the pure energy flowing, witness yourself emerging, reborn to a new narrative in which YOU are the very definition of supremacy. Repeat after me: “I am invincible.”

Inevitably Invincible

I keep seeing the theme of latent-ability released through adversity. In other words, a character has a power that he doesn’t know he possesses until he faces a challenge tough enough to force its release.

In one sense, he’s finally sick of losing. He’s tired of deriving pleasure from pain, done with his masochistic ways. He’s ready to handle invincibility.

So let me ask you this: are you ready to win? Ready to wield the hammer that constructs victory conditions? Willing to climb the hill to become king?

Illness and ache? Negativity and lack? Adversity and bad-luck? Are you done with these concepts yet? Forged from these fires you will awaken as steel, shined and sharpened. You will know only invincibility.

Dirigo. I lead. I am the North Star by which ships sail.

I’m conscious, therefore I tell my tale.

For me, in order to get into the mindset of invincibility, I picture myself as Wolverine, adamantium claws extending, and posturing to strike. Wolverine is invincible, an unstoppable force of pure fury. Similar to the Honey Badger: Honey badger don’t care. Honey badger don’t give a shit.

One of my new mental-training exercises is to bathe in the imagery and sensation of invincibility for five minutes. It’s very invigorating.

Fond Remembrance

If you were at the end of your life, perhaps in your 80s or so, what would you like to look back at, and fondly remember? In other words, design an ideal life from that perspective — what do you want your experience of existence to have been?

I think first and foremost, my best-friend has always played a primary role in my life. Even before I met her, I could palpably sense her absence. For the first two decades, it felt like something was missing — and when she finally showed up, I felt relief. So I’d like to fondly look back at that friendship: the laughs and adventures, the places we went, our comical “struggles” to navigate life, our marriage, and our role as parents — all that stuff. I’d look back and smile at our silly antics.

I enjoy seeing my son succeed, so I’d like to look back and see him as a hyper-successful entrepreneur. With his competitive nature and intelligence, he’d enter a field in which he’d innovate and improve. Ever resourceful, he’d build up a business to the very heights of worldly achievement. And of course I’d like to see him have a loving family of his own — people his mom and I would have a great time with and delight in.

A bit indulgent perhaps, but I’d be amused to look back and see myself living in my childhood happy place. I always wanted to live in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. I imagined living in a camper, maybe switching campsites every once in awhile, riding my bike all-around, and visiting the theme-parks. Well, Disney actually built houses right down the street from the campground — it’s called Golden Oak and it feels like it was made just for me. But instead of a camper, I’d be living in a multi-million dollar house (sometimes compromises have to be made I suppose).

More indulgence: I’d like to look back and see myself with access to unlimited funds. For instance, I’d like to be an early-adopter of self-driving car technology. I might even like being an early-adopter of personal flying machines — who knows. Basically I’d like the option of becoming an early-adopter of any new technology that comes around. I don’t like being out of the loop on technology trends. To me, the most exciting things on Earth are technological innovations and I want to experience many of them firsthand. I’d have a robot-dog for sure — and yes, I would probably become a cyborg eventually.

And finally, I would like a small workshop for my tools. I’m slightly sentimental about them and think they deserve a home of their own. I’d like to look back and see that they were well-used and cared-for. I don’t think the actual projects are as important as putting the tools to good-use, and for that I need a space to readily store and access them.

I think that pretty much sums it up. Part of it, is that I want to look back and laugh at how I skated through life with relative ease. Yet internally, I’ve always made a big deal about everything — constantly blowing stuff out of proportion. The primary conflict of my life’s narrative is “Man versus Self”. I’m always struggling against my pessimistic nature — attempting to appreciate the goodness that surrounds. So I want to look back and see that I was able to do just that: appreciate and enjoy life.

Living As If

This is something I’ve been told, dunno if it’s real: if you put everything in place as if it’s true, life will simply follow through. In other words, “if you build it, they will come”.

A quick illustration: if you assemble a lemonade stand, put out signs, mix up some drink, stack the cups, and sit behind the counter, people will actually show up and patronize your business. In a natural world, there’s no reason anybody should ever show up. But in this world, the one we’re living in, customers come when you expect them.

Whereas if you do something half-assed and don’t expect much of it, you’ll see a return on that investment too i.e. nada mucho. If you don’t want customers or profits, don’t worry, they won’t come. That’s just how it is in this world: you find what you seek.

After decades of living here I suppose I can corroborate this theory. Although, I’d add that fulfillment oftentimes sneaks up when I least expect it. But because of my desire for delightful surprises, I guess life is correctly fulfilling my wishes by catching me off guard.

A word of warning: establishing a particular situation by whim-fully buying-on-credit can be a bit dicey. I’d reckon that borrowing is workable if there’s real collateral behind it, but it shouldn’t feel like gambling. Gambling is basically an expectation of loss — remember, you find what you seek.

I’ve been living as-if for the past eight months or so. For the most part, I’ve successfully eschewed thoughts of lack and worry. I’ve been earnestly enjoying myself. I find comfort and joy in my current surroundings. It hasn’t been perfect, but I wonder if I would’ve accepted it if it was.

In a natural world, I should’ve been using my time to establish a viable income to support my new lifestyle. But that’s not what I did. For whatever reason, I’ve been dedicated to establishing the best attitude I can muster. Now THAT hasn’t been easy and it certainly highlights how bad my attitude was.

But my feeling right now is that I can handle the next step. I also recognize that my old attitude could not have supported the lifestyle I want to live. When you have great things for example, sometimes you’re afraid of losing them or sometimes you feel unworthy of having them or sometimes you realize that “things” don’t satisfy like you thought they would.

I came into this world with a messed-up attitude, expecting the worst experience ever. I ignorantly perceived a nefarious nature underlying everything, disparaging all I saw. I was a straight-up hater and sower of negativity. I appreciate that fact now and apologize for it. I further recognize that this world is a paradise providing all that I need, it’s simply up to me to accept the gift I’ve been given. Thank you — and I, for one, welcome our new benevolent overlords.

Limits of Logic

One of my biggest mistakes was attempting to live a logical life. Basically: if I can’t prove it, it doesn’t exist. Which sounds stupid when I say it, but seemed to make sense at the time. As a kid growing up, you really can’t prove much at all, you’re basing so much of your information on what people are telling you — hearsay evidence at best, which kind of defeats the point.

From my perspective, if I couldn’t see a logical path then the endpoint was unattainable. Therefore, I could only attempt what was simple and obvious. Oh boy does that limit your options in life. In one sense it worked, I really did live the very limited life I imagined. But in another sense, it was so constrained and lackluster that it was kind of meaningless.

But the thing is, you’re not supposed to know how to achieve your goals and dreams — that’s what makes them special and exciting. Duh! If you can directly perceive the way in which to attain something, then you’re not thinking big enough. For example: based on the resources available to me at the time, living in a single-wide mobile-home at a trailer-park seemed the most logical path — and I took it. Whereas when I stopped being a slave to logic, I traveled across the country to move into a two-story top-floor condo with not one, but two balconies. How did that happen? I HAVE NO IDEA. It doesn’t make sense, at least logically.

For several decades mind you, I thought logic was the ideal way in which to live a sensible life. I was wrong. It is in fact the WORST way to live. If you’re unhappy with your life right now, I’m going to guess that you too have attempted to live with a logical outlook. My advice: quit now and never look back. If you pay attention, this is what successful people are always saying: follow your dreams, just do it, don’t take no for an answer, make your own luck, etc, etc. Logic and success are on opposite sides of the coin.

Life is very good at fulfilling expectations. If you expect nothing, you get nothing. Whereas if you expect a zany outcome in which your wildest dreams come true, you can get that too. There are people today that are paid millions of dollars to record themselves playing video games, to mumble into a microphone alongside a beat, to simply talk about their lives on camera, to draw cartoons, to sell ugly Christmas sweaters — the list goes on and on. But the common denominator is this: logic is for losers.

Logic, no and never.
#JustSayNoToLogic