Asking for advice

You need to be careful who you ask. There are all sorts of pitfalls. Some people might not understand the question and give a lazy response to what they thought the question was. Some might get emotional if the question threatens their position. Many people are not used to thinking through their answers.

I believe we humans create easy answers to a lot of the more difficult questions thrown at us, even if they are not true or based on facts. We have to, simply to cope with the harsh reality of life. Placebos can work very well but if someone asks an honest question then you owe them a well thought out answer based on fact, not purely on faith.

Next time someone asks me for advice I will first try and really understand where they are coming from before offering my own point of view on the matter. Then I will try and stick to the facts.

Happy Sunday chimps!

Pull it back

Recover from that setback, that fall from grace, that injury.

Given that entropy rules, and the world naturally falls apart, recovery is perhaps the most important thing we can strive for. The only thing to strive for. Recovery from whatever is wearing you down – be it lack of sleep, lack of money, lack of fitness – this is really all we have.

In the road to recovery you are either getting better, or you are getting worse. There is no steady state. Time marches on and age is a bitch. But free will allows you to fight back and recovery time after time. So recover. Do it for yourself and do it every second of every day. If you stop trying, then you lose.

You’ll still lose eventually. But recovery from all the bumps along the way is where potential is met and where the great moments are found.

Pull it back, until the next bump comes along.

Play Games

Playing games is important to me. In my life, Games come up all over the place.

If I find something difficult then it helps me to think of it as a game. This approach makes things less stressful and lowers my anxiety. Elon Musk says we might all just be living in a simulation. Sometimes it helps to think of life in that way. A few examples of play as it manifests in my life:

  • Playing with the kids at whatever game they have going
  • Treating menial parenting tasks as a game
  • Comedy and conversation with friends
  • Computer games
  • Sport and exercise including data on health
  • Social media accounts
  • Music – listening and playing music is a beautiful game
  • Work
  • Podcasts
  • Blogging 😉
  • More and more I see life as one big bunch of games to play.
  • Some people are not good at playing. Doodling, Riffing, Games, Jokes, Humor are seen as a waste of time. I can’t understand this approach to life.
  • Happy Wednesday, chimps.
  • Atrophy

    If you ever want to prove the rule of atrophy, just go on a holiday.

    We left the house in mostly working order. WiFi, phones, alarms, pets, cars all up and running.

    But when we came back last night, the gremlins had struck. The power was out, which had tripped our alarm, which had sent the dogs into a two day frenzy. Phone and WiFi has disconnected. The car was dead. And so on.

    If you throw a bunch of bricks in the air, it’s almost impossible that they will land on top of each other in a nice organised wall. Atrophy is a natural order of things. It means that everything falls apart and bends toward chaos, unless it is maintained.

    Just ask my dogs.

    A day off from dopamine consumption

    When your phone is glued to your hand come rain or shine – there is a problem.

    The constant refreshing of a few apps over and over and over – like a mad man expecting different results but doing the exact same thing. And it’s all for consumption – for keeping up to date and for dopamine. Not for creation.

    This blog is for creation though. These words were not here before i put them on the page. No newsfeed. No reading. Just my own words.

    Take that, social media. Because sometimes you really suck.

     

    Pleasure, sadness and reality

    As an experiment, try and find the habits in your daily life that are driven by pleasure – you know the ones i mean – those things you do when you’re a little bit bored which give you that nice little buzz and dopamine hit.

    It is difficult. It forces you to reflect on your actions and life, and it eventually forces you to recognise that pleasurable things are not the most fulfilling things, precisely because they are temporary and external. In this way, pleasure is different to happiness.

    Pleasure is a momentary feeling that comes from something external — a good meal, a message notification, making love and so on. Pleasurable experiences can give us momentary feelings of satisfaction, but this feeling does not last long because it is dependent upon external events and experiences. Try and locate the pleasurable (not happy, remember) activity in your life and try to stop doing it for a whole day – I’m almost certain you’ll find it hard to do.

    But pleasure is not wrong in and of itself – so why stop? Because we need to know how we feel without the constant pleasure seeking. Are we doing all these things because we are sad without them? And if we are in fact sad about something, shouldn’t we find a more permanent solution?

    The trouble comes when we ascribe the pleasurable activities in our lives more value and power than we should. A drug addict gives heroine priority over everything else – she sees it as the source of her happiness and of her power in life. Similarly a bulimic ascribes power to food and the control thereof. In actual fact, drugs and throwing up give us but a temporary pleasure – not a true satisfaction. They are not the answer to any sadness that is felt.

    Once we see the things we are deriving pleasure from, a useful next step is to reflect on how we feel when we do not have access to these things – are we happy or sad without them? If we are happy without them, then there is no real problem. Carry on living.

    If we are sad without them, and furthermore if we rely on the activity more than we should – then something needs to change for the sadness to lift.

    Reading better

    There is simply too much to read. The internet is endless and ever growing.

    That’s why companies like Facebook and Twitter have done so well. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, if you’re bored or if you’re lonely, these companies will give you something to look at. It will link up with your social life, your browsing history and your location too, if you let it (yes, there is a choice). It will make you feel pleasure and excitement for a fleeting moment.

    Calling the main page on Facebook and Twitter a “feed” is no coincidence. Like a baby screeching for mother’s milk, these companies recognize our thirst for connections and take the thought out of choosing what to read and what to consume.

    But can we do better and can we read better? Any reading for a purpose is better than the default Facebook addiction. Managing what we expose ourselves to is a full time job but it’s worth it. Choose books and newsletters and RSS feeds. Choose active reading over passive consumption. Better yet, read something purely for the purpose of creating something.