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Category: Philosophy (page 1 of 4)

2017 Year in Review

It’s already that time of the year again where we look back on the last year of our lives and look forward to the next.  It is useful because it allows us to review what we did right, and what we can improve on in the future. You can see my previous years here: 201020112012201320142015, 2016 . Here’s a look back in what I did in 2017.

Summary

  • I rang in the new year in Pai in northern Thailand at a music festival.  After Pai I visited by friend Vy in Chiang Rai for a few days. Later in January attended a small Art Festival on Onnut road.
  • In February I completed a 10 day water fast.
  • In March drove to Cambodia, flew my drone, and attended a wedding in Sa Kaeo.   Also celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Bangkok with some friends.
  • In April celebrated Song Kran Water Festival in Bangkok.  A few days later I flew to Nepal for a month to hike the Himalayas, climbing the Dhaulagiri Circuit, bungee pumping, and paragliding which were all firsts for me.
  • I arrived back into Bangkok from Nepal on May 17th, had a goodbye party for a friend, and a going away party for Kemji and I at Y Spa.
  • In June I headed to Colorado to visit family and friends, went camping near Gunnison at the Kelly campout, attended the Renaissance Festival, and relaxed with family and friends.  In the later part of June my girlfriend Kemji flew to the US to meetup with me.
  • We celebrated July 4th in Lakewood at a relatives house.  On July 6th we drove up to Mt. Evans with my uncle, which is the highest paved road in North America.  In early July we went to a Colorado Rapids game, and a Colorado Rockies game, as well as up to a friends cabin in the mountains for the night.  On July 14th, we flew to Medellin, Colombia to begin our 5 month trip around South America.  We visited Medellin and Cartagena in July (future trip writeup coming).
  • In August we went to Bogota, Colombia and spent several days there exploring, working, and relaxing.  We met a lot of interesting people and had many interesting AirBNB experiences.  In mid-August we flew to Lima, Peru to begin exploring Peru, and to meet with a Peruvian friend Luis who was also there. In the later part of Peru we took a bus south to Ica, explored the sand dunes, then went to Nazca for a night, then took an overnight 18 hour bus ride to Cusco, Peru, arriving at the end of August.
  • In September we did a day trip and climbed Rainbow Mountain at 16,000ft, and visited Machu Picchu via a night in Ollantaytambo.  We ended up spending over 2 weeks in the Cusco area and loved it. In the later half of September we flew north to Iquitos, Peru, the largest city in the world without roads to it, along the Amazon River and Amazon jungle.  It was a fascinating experience spending 2 weeks there and in the jungle.  I did 2 ayuhasca ceremonies.
  • In early October we flew back to Lima and bussed north to Trujuilo, then to Piura, and into Ecuador to Cuenca over the course of several days. We spent several days in Cuenca, and from Cuenca we took a bus to Banos for the hot springs.  From there we bussed to Latacunga for a couple nights to visit the infamous Quilotoa volcano and lake.  It was a fascinating experience. We continued north to Quito, the capital of Ecuador where we explored until the end of October when we flew to Zihuatanejo, Mexico.
  • Early November we spent in Zihuatanejo, and then to Ixtapa nearby for a friends wedding, which was a lot of fun and beautiful.  From there we headed back to Zihuatanejo for another week, then flew east to Cancun.  We immediately headed south to Playa Del Carmen with the idea that we’d explore Cancun later before we fly out of there.  We spent a week in Playa Del Carmen, and did a trip west to Piste to explore Chichen Itza, the famous Mayan archeological sight. We then headed back to Playa Del Carmen in late November.
  • Early December we went to Cancun for a few days, relaxing on the beach and in the pool, getting some work done throughout.  We flew out December 9th to Tampa Bay, Florida to meet my mom and brother to embark on a 7 day cruise back south to Key West, FL > Cozumel, MX> Belize City, Belize > Costa Maya, MX > Tampa Bay, FL.  It was a fun and interesting experience seeing such a massive object moving around the ocean.  We got back to Colorado late on Dec 17th, and celebrated Christmas and New Years with my family in Colorado.

WHAT WENT WELL THIS YEAR?

It was an adventurous year.  About 7 months of the year were spent on the road, starting with a month in Nepal in April/May, a month in the US, and 5 months in South America.  This made routine tough to follow, though I was able to keep my 5 tasks each day for most of it: meditate, read, study Spanish, work, and exercise.  Work-wise, I made a lot of progress and setup quite a few processes, learning a lot along the way.  I spent a lot of time and money learning the modern FB Advertising game, and several sites I’ve had setup for years were expanded.  Health-wise, it was a neutral year.  I feel I’m in better shape than I was a year ago but definitely have a lot of room for improvement here.  Knowledge-wise, I read around 30 books, and have learned a lot this year.  A few of the top books that stick out are: Sapiens, The Beginning of Infinity, Tribes, and Homo Deus.

WHAT DIDN’T GO SO WELL THIS YEAR?

I don’t have a lot of complaints this year.  I felt like this year was overall a huge step forward in my life in all the aspects that I’ve been working on. I can definitely improve my health and routines, but I’m quite satisfied with that considering how sporadic my schedule was in 2017.

WHAT AM I WORKING TOWARD?

Next year I have a few goals: read more pages than I did this year, spend a lot more time working on flexibility and mobility and simply spend more time working on my health. Travel wise, not sure yet, but Australia and Japan are on the radar, as well as perhaps hiking the Colorado Trail. I signed up for a 10 day meditation retreat in late March, 2018 in Thailand which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  I also want to do a few more 30 day challenges, firstly being a 30 day vegetarian diet.

ALL TOGETHER

As stated every year, 2017 was the fastest year of my life, and perhaps one of the best.  In all the aspects of my life that I’ve focused on: health, business, knowledge, connection, I’ve made progress.

You can see all of my posts from 2017 herehttp://www.patjk.com/posts/2017/

Thanks for reading. Happy New year, see you in 2018!

Note: You can follow what I’m reading and things I find interesting daily on my G+Twitter and/or Facebook page.

Lost in Thought

In “The Power of Now“, Eckhart Tolle discusses how the present moment is all there is.  And how, fundamentally, time is an illusion.  The past and the present exist only through our thought happening in the present moment.

What is the present moment, the now? It’s often hard to see.  Let’s say you’re sitting at a table having a conversation with your friend, but as your friend is talking you’re gazing off into the distance thinking of something unrelated.  Sure, your present moment is just that, but in a sense it is completely distracted by thought.  Instead of paying full attention and being fully mindful of your friend talking, you’re mind is adrift elsewhere, most likely unaware of it.  As soon as you become aware that you’re drifting off, that is mindfulness, bringing you to the present moment – observing your thoughts as they arise out of consciousness.

The example above is how our minds, more often than not, function – we’re often lost in thought without knowing it.  The idea of mindfulness meditation is 2 fold:

  1.  It gives you a point to focus on, a reference point – the breath for example – so that when your mind is distracted, you actually notice it.  See my post on Mindfulness here.
  2. With practice, you naturally become more mindful of the moment, more present, more in the now. You truly begin to see thoughts as exactly what they are, simply thoughts, nothing else.

So why is being in the now important? Why does it matter? Well, that is all there is.  Like the Stoics came to conclude 2,000 years ago, all there is to being is the now.  Studies also show that being in the now is also the place with the highest wellbeing (Source).  A wandering mind is not a happy mind.

So when one says that most people spend their entire lives lost in thought, it is true.  A thought is just a thought.  It is so obvious that most people don’t know it.  But with mindfulness practice, it becomes obvious.  And when you’re angry, sad, stressed, or anxious, you can stop, become present, and recognize it is simply a temporary sensation (or thought) that will pass, and not react to it.  Or at the very least, if you do react to it, know that you’re reacting to it and ensure you’re mindful of your reaction.  If thoughts get out of control, they cause unnecessary emotions and reactions that cause unnecessary suffering. It happens all the time to most people, unnecessarily.

You can become the observer of thoughts rather than simply laying victim to them which causes unnecessary suffering.  This is the idea behind meditation – simply observing thoughts as they arise out of consciousness, seeing them for exactly what they are, thoughts.

I’d highly recommend reading “The Power of Now” or listening to the audiobook, it is useful to truly becoming a more aware, useful, and joyous person.

Conflicting Ideals

One of my goals in life is to avoid living conflicting philosophies.  This means thinking one way of living is best for me, yet contradicts other held beliefs without knowing it.  It is very easy to conflict yourself, and the more you learn, the stronger the realization.  It goes along with the lines of “the more you know, the more you can know” and you often “don’t know what you don’t know”. This is shown by the Dunning-Kruger Effect:

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude.

Without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence

Source

Mark Mason recently published a great short read on The Value of Money (stop here and read the article now).  His posts sums up my beliefs on money and wealth quite well, and how people wrongfully misinterpret their goals.  Money isn’t the goal, it is what the money gives you that you *think* you want.  But humans are also very bad at predicting what they want, what will make them happy, etc:

How great would it be to win a brand new car? How horrible would it be to get laid off from your job? Research by psychologist Dan Gilbert at Harvard University suggests, not that great and not that horrible (respectively). Among the many things Gilbert studies is how people make predictions about future events—specifically, how we make predictions about how we’ll feel about future events. One of the most important questions we ask when making any decision is “how will this make me feel?” But no matter how much time we spend thinking about the future, we don’t get any better at predicting it. That’s why, as Gilbert writes in his book Stumbling on Happiness, divorce lawyers and people who remove tattoos continue to have a steady stream of customers.

Source: Stumbling Upon Happiness book

One of the fundamental conflicting ideals plaguing modern society is simply put as this: in a capitalistic society where the incentive is money, it doesn’t align with the what humans really want – wellbeing. The vast majority of modern day humans have conflicting ideals here.

It’s easy to get caught in the stir of this mixing machine.  While people around the world are vastly different in culture, beliefs, ways of life, habits, and appearance, humans all universally want a good wellbeing, to be happy, and to not suffer.  This is universal, and this should therefore be our goal in collective society.  All good comes from wellbeing, so we should maximize this.  It becomes a philosophical discussion in itself, but some pieces of it have quite straightforward answers.  For example, there are 1 billion people suffering *unnecessarily* from extreme poverty (read The Life You Can Save).  This is a situation where suffering  is definitely occurring unnecessary, is solvable right now, and the barrier is simply human connection and communication.

Now with this said, in a capitalistic society the goal and incentive isn’t human wellbeing, it is money.  People can create companies that destroy villages, families, cities, countries, and lives.  Yet they make money, their goal and incentive.  Politicians can make agreements and work together to increase their GDP, not necessarily increase wellbeing or reduce suffering. Most peoples lives in modern society are taken up by work that is entirely incentivized by money.  In fact, 70-80% of Americans don’t like their jobs or otherwise hate what they do (Source). They’re caught in the machine where every bit of society tells you to make money, buy a house, buy stuff you don’t need, and then finally retire at the end of life when you hopefully have money.  In fact, we spend most of our time in effort to simply earn money – how crazy is that.  It is entirely backwards and contradicts what we really want.  People don’t want or necessarily need more money, they need a new perspective that changes how they live their lives.  They need freedom – freedom to choose, freedom of time, freedom to think.  Consumerism has plagued us to spend all our money on stuff we don’t need, or to spend all our time making money so we can buy time later (a vacation or early retirement), or so we can buy all the abundance of consumerism that we don’t need.

Our motivational systems are off.  While the vast majority of modern western society is motivated by money, what people really want is to be happy.  And money and happiness aren’t directly coordinated (Source). We should instead be motivated by helping others, learning more so we can better help others and ourselves, using our creativity to create things we think should exist, traveling to broaden our perspectives – all things which are proven to increase wellbeing – again something that universally humans want.  In short, society is living with conflicting ideals.

The bottom line here is that we should really be questioning our incentives and goals in society.  I don’t have a good alternative to capitalism, but money is certainly not our goal as humans.  And while it may increase the collective human wellbeing on some levels, it also causes a grand amount of unnecessary suffering.

Philosophy of boundaries

Intuitively, open borders sound good.  Living in Southeast Asia and seeing the massive restrictions on the peoples ability to travel outside their countries is sobering.  You can’t choose where you’re born, and simply being born from a country with an unfavorable passport sucks.  With that said, these barriers do serve a role.

Thais have a hard time getting a visa into South Korea, for example, because many Thais go there, overstay their visa, and never return to Thailand, therefore causing South Korea to block Thais in the future for obtaining a visa.  This reaction totally makes sense.

In the past, boundaries made a lot of sense.  As people settled throughout the world, people formed their own local communities, and coordinated together for the better of the group. We were naturally territorial due to threats from outsiders – it’s in our DNA.  One of the awkward feelings of traveling is overcoming that innate feeling of distrust of foreigners and trusting people of different beliefs, experiences, and outlooks on life.  Some people hate this feeling, other people love it. It is the feeling of walking into the unknown.

Today is a starkly different world where these “local communities” are now nations, and we no longer just work together, we interact almost as if our own tribe.  I live in Thailand, live a life nearly as a Thai person would, yet I’m not a Thai citizen, have a US passport, and view the world through the lens of my experience.  Our communities are merging, aka globalization.

So with this change, an important question to ask is: does managing the world through individual nation states make sense? One policy change America makes can influence all of Europe, does it make sense for only Americans to have this sort of influence?  It’s worth thinking about.

I’m not sure of a solution to the issue of nation states, but I do think politically and as communities we should be looking at the bigger picture.  When a president, mayor, or other politician gets elected, his goal shouldn’t be to just better the nation or community they’re from, but should be to better the world.  When we make decisions, we shouldn’t just think of ourselves and the our community, but instead our entire world, which is really our community.  We all share the world, and it is becoming ever smaller.

We can communicate in seconds via the internet, we can fly cheaper and cheaper and faster and faster.  By nearly all means, it does feel smaller.  We live in a time where these issues of boundaries and borders are most important.  How we cope with it will decide how our future world looks.  Will we fight and destroy ourselves? Will we be able to resolve the differing value systems between the west and the Middle East? Time will tell.

Because we’re all individuals, the best we can do is lead by example.  Are you living a life that you think is good for the whole? In other words, if everyone lived like you, would the world be what you want it to be? Are you living a sustainable life?  If not, it’s worth noting.  You can’t be another person, but you can do your part to make the world what you want it to be.

I just finished reading “A Strange Death of Europe” which shows how immigration into Europe will radically change Europe. It already has, however subtle it may seem. Is it for the better? The place the Europeans call home is now likely to become a majority-foreign land.  This means if you’re a British born Caucasian, you’ll soon be a minority in England.  This speaks somewhat of the true trends of other countries as well.  Mass immigration radically changes the makeup, culture, belief system, and economic structure of a country. Uncontrolled immigration leads to countless other issues.  Europe isn’t even sure how many immigrants has come in as the control system has been flooded.

On one end of the spectrum we have all open borders where humans can freely roam the earth.  On the other end we have completely closed borders where you are born dictates the space on earth where you can roam. The optimal solution is likely somewhere in between. With entirely open borders I’m not certain we can function effectively as economically everyone would exploit the wealthiest spots, therefore destroying their structure and contributions to the greater good of humanity.  Places like the US wouldn’t exist with entirely open borders, and the scientific contributions the US has made to the greater whole exist, in part, through collaboration of groups of people – such as a university being within a community, but enabling groups of people to work together in seclusion. However, if immigration wasn’t possible, the US would be severely missing out on many of the people that have contributed to make the US what it is.  The same is true for the UK and many other western and eastern societies that have contributed to the greater good of humanity.

I’m unsure of where on the spectrum we should be.  If Murray in right in his book, we need to make changes in how we integrate.  When a new immigrant goes to a new place and culture, how should he or she integrate? If we allow it to naturally happen without defined systems of integration, we end up like London where people don’t necessarily integrate, and form their own communities.  Is this really constructive to the greater good? Probably not.  We’d be better off integrating people into our culture and society, working *with* each other to accomplish the things in life we want to accomplish, not as a city or country, but as a world.  We should be discussing what these things are.  Is it the pursuit of scientific understanding of the world to cure disease, solve carbon pollution, build maps of the world for better navigation, or is it something else? It’s worth criticizing bad ideas, openly talk about problems and solutions, and be open minded in discovering simply better ways to live.

Beyond Our Default State

Our default state is the state which we default to subconsciously.  It’s what we do with our instinct, if we aren’t aware of what’s actually going on.  It influences the majority of the actions, decisions, movements, and thoughts in our lives.

Our default state is explained by how we’ve evolved, what we’ve evolved to, and the reasons we evolved to those states.  For example, we’ve evolved to be social creatures, utilizing family and social connections to build relationships, which help us grow and raise a family together.  Studies show that relationships play a key role in how we live our lives, and how satisfied we are with them. As a result, relationships hold a lot of emotions within them (love, lust, trust, etc.).

Default states can often be found by looking at societies or populations of people and seeing how they behave.  As a whole, different actions and decisions will describe default states.  Psychology is such a study.  When we’re making moment to moment decisions and actions, the vast majority happen subconsciously, resorting to our default state to make such decisions.  This is why building good habits and removing bad ones is so important.

The only way to influence our default state is to be aware of it.  For example, if our default state is the path of least resistance, consciously knowing that we will default to that state will enable us to then go beyond the path of least resistance and perhaps take a path that is more difficult, but more beneficial to our lives.  Without being aware of our default state, we don’t change it, and will stay in the default.  This is why it is called the default state.

Beyond Our Default State

Going beyond our default state happens whenever we consciously think about why or how we’re doing something, and then change our behavior.  For example, if we decide to pass up a chocolate bar even when our minds crave it, we’re overriding our instinct with our conscious thoughts, which then changes our actions – instead of eating the chocolate, we don’t eat it or eat something else.

Because our actions always go to the default state unless overridden by our conscious mind, going beyond our default state to understand more about our actions can help us prevent harm and help us produce things in life that make us happier, more satisfied, healthier, more useful people.

Our instinctual default state isn’t meant to make us happy, it simply tells us how we’ve evolved.  But since we’re now in a world which is significantly different than our evolved brain and body, it’s important to question more about our default state, our instinct, and our subconscious – and go beyond our default state.  By doing so, we can become conscious of many of the actions which are potentially not helping us, but otherwise may be hurting us and those around us.

Why is it important to be aware of our default states?

For one, it makes us more aware and mindful of what we’re doing.  Because actions in our lives are made up mostly of things we do without thinking about it , being aware of it makes us more mindful of what we’re doing.  Secondly, the default state isn’t necessarily a good state for us to be in – in fact more often then not it may not be.  For example, our instincts tell us to binge on sugar and watch TV.  As we’ve evolved, sugar was often limited to when we came across a fruit tree, and because of its scarcity whenever we came across a fruit tree, we’d binge.  Our default state is to binge on sugar – it create a craving/reward mechanism in our brain which is by definition addictive.

Fast forward to modern day, and our instincts are still the same, but our environment is completely different – sugar is abundant everywhere.  If we simply follow our default state, we’ll die a young death from over-consuming sugar, which is actually what most of the world is trending towards (obesity rates are increasing across the world mostly due to overconsumption – following our default state).  By questioning whether we should eat too much sugar, we’re going beyond our default state and becoming conscious of what we’re doing, which allows us to become healthier.  Our instincts don’t tell us what’s good for us, our instinct simply tells us our default state. This is why it is so incredibly important to go beyond our default state as often as possible – to better understand ourselves, our actions, and our decisions. Without doing so, we’re at the mercy of our instincts.

Whenever we follow our curiosity, we are going beyond our default state and attempting to understand more about a subject, using the resources available to us to enlighten us on a subject.

Whenever we decide to consciously exercise, we are going beyond our default state to become healthier, recognizing that our default state will lead us to sit on the couch or in an office.

Whenever we read a book, we’re going beyond our default state to learn, be entertained, become more creative.

The default state of humans can be summarized by how we’ve evolved, here are a few examples:
Health – We’ve evolved to be physically active, using our bodies for the purpose of survival – hunting, building, moving, etc. Our diets were restricted to what we could find in nature due to scarcity.  Most people were physically active by default, and therefore were mentally so. Today, with abundance of everything (including food), this is not the case.  We must go beyond on our default state to overcome it.
Happiness – While difficult to measure, modern day is full of “what makes us happy?” questions, and in part this is due to the unique world we’re living in – potentially causing more unhappiness than people had in the past. Asking these questions goes beyond our default state where we may not be satisfied, fulfilled, and happy with our lives.  By studying happiness, we can begin to understand the science of what makes people happy and satisfied with their lives, which we can then use to apply to our own.  After all, we’re all human.
Wealth –  Because money is an object which dictates our freedom and how we can spend our time, people can go beyond the default state to strategize how to best manage time to create wealth.  This, in my mind, is what entrepreneurship is – consciously recognizing that wealth is a barrier in life and figuring out how to best overcome it without sacrificing your life doing so.
Spirituality – The vast majority of people who believe in an organized religion learn it from their family, primarily their parents. Our default state is to believe what our parents say, because that is how we’ve evolved.  By overcoming our default state of belief, we can follow our curiosity and discover the other potential belief systems that influence how we view the world and therefore how we live our lives.

Going beyond the default state is about becoming aware of the actions we take and decisions we make, and correcting them to better fit the life we want to live, not solely relying on instinct to do such.

Inspiration for writing this came from the realization that I’m always trying to question my actions, which is really me questioning my default state.  Being curious about why things happen and how they happen led me to realize that this “default state” is often the wrong the state to be in.  We live in a world that evolution hasn’t caught up, so it’s ever more important to become conscious of our actions such that our instinct don’t lead us down the the wrong path.

The Path of Least Resistance

Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of Rome nearly 2,000 years ago from 161-180, wrote many personal notes about his life and how he saw it in the moment – how to live, what to live for, and why to live.  These notes acted as a reminder to him about how to live in times of stress, weakness, joy, sadness, and hardship, all of which he certainly endured as emperor.  These questions have answers relative to who is answering, and are questions that countless people have pondered before and since his time.  Aurelius was a practitioner of Stoicism, which certainly influenced how he answered such questions:

the Stoics taught that emotions resulted in errors of judgment which were destructive, due to the active relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, and the belief that it is virtuous to maintain a will (called prohairesis) that is in accord with nature. Because of this, the Stoics presented their philosophy as a way of life (lex devina), and they thought that the best indication of an individual’s philosophy was not what a person said but how that person behaved. To live a good life, one had to understand the rules of the natural order since they taught that everything was rooted in nature.
Source

In the book “Meditations”, which is a collection of his notes, Aurelius says:

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.

Impediments to action, or anything, is called resistance.  More resistance is the way, Aurelius wrote, though the natural order is to take the path of least resistance.

In his book “The Obstacle is the Way”, Ryan Holiday argues that facing obstacles and leaning into resistance (obstacles themselves for example) is the “way” in which people improve, persevere, and accomplish meaningful things in life.   Without obstacles, we remain stagnant, lose progress and desire, and have nothing to show. Holiday suggests that often people with the most obstacles are the ones who make the greatest impact.

Holiday argues that obstacles don’t inhibit success, they create success and that readers should see “through the negative, past its underside, and into its corollary: the positive.”

In his book “Deep Work”, Cal Newport argues that deep work, work that requires intense cognitive focus, is what leads to living a meaningful life.  “A deep life is a good life”.  Doing deepwork isn’t easy, it’s resistance. But it’s what allows knowledge work to become valuable, and is required to accomplish meaningful work in the modern age of unlimited distraction.

In “The War of Art”, Steve Pressfield argues that resistance is universal, everyone has it, and it is from within.

When an electron flows through a circuit, it takes the path of least resistance. When we as humans go for walk, we walk in a way to preserve energy, the path of least resistance.  When there is a higher barrier of entry into a market to start a business (high resistance), there is less competition because most business don’t go into high barrier markets.

Everything in life is about making a path in a way from point A to B, and our default instinct is to always take the path of least resistance – preserve our energy, preserve our willpower, stop when it hurts, and avoid facing obstacles.  However, where real progress gets made and where we become better is when we’re pushing against that resistance.  The more consistently we push, the easier it becomes and the next barrier is then faced which requires further pushing.  The harder we push, the more we improve and the easier it gets. Things that once were barriers are looked at as stepping stones that make you who you are.

To demonstrate this clearly, I’ll use a personal example. When I used to actively compete in speedsolving puzzle competitions, one of the events was solving the Rubik’s Cube blindfolded.  It would consist of memorizing a scrambled cube, putting on a blindfold, and solving cube without looking at it.  When first faced with this challenge, it seemed impossible. Even after I knew the process of solving it, I was faced with resistance.  My first solve took me over 30 minutes to memorize after reading about various techniques.

Within a week of attempting several more solves and trying to push my memory limits, I was able to memorize in under 7 minutes – by facing the resistance, I became better, and without facing the challenge I wouldn’t have improved.  From there I pressed on the resistance and could memorize in under 45 seconds relatively easily.  Others have pressed the resistance even further and can go much faster.  When it becomes easy it means we’re not pressing hard enough into the resistance, and resistance is where real change happens.

In modern day where much of our lives are spent staring at computers and sitting in chairs, exercising is talked about by everyone.  It is a way to offset our sedentary lives.  Going to the gym is resistance.  Running when you’re already tired it resistance.  Lifting weights when your arms are fatigued is resistance.  But resistance is good, it means you’re improving.  Improvements don’t come without resistance.  And improvements (or seeing progress in life) is what fulfills people.

Tiny daily improvements lead to enormous progress. “We overestimate what we can do in a day but underestimate what we can do in a year.” Managing time is resistance.  Letting things flow as they come and go is the easy way, but not the way you improve, not the way you make progress, not the way you become fulfilled, not the way you do more with your time.

So, next time faced with a challenge or obstacle, know that resistance is the way.

Victory will never be found in the path of least resistance.
– Winston Churchill

If you’re interested more in this topic, these books are worth reading: