Over-involvement in the future must be our most maladaptive trait. Back in the 1970’s in Ojai, when Jiddu Krishnamurti drew enormous crowds to his extemporaneous talks, he touched on the liberation that comes from releasing the pointless hold on the future.1 Do you want to know what my secret is? You see, I don’t mind what happens. Jiddu Krishnamurti Lecture, Ojai,California, USA; late 1970's That’s it. Of all the teachings from the broad wisdom traditions, his one secret was not minding what happens.
Reading Oliver Burkeman’s last advice column in decade-long series in The Guardian, I was struck by his advice on the imposter syndrome: The solution to imposter syndrome is to see that you are one…Humanity is divided into two: on the one hand, those who are improvising their way through life, patching solutions together and putting out fires as they go, but deluding themselves otherwise; and on the other, those doing exactly the same, except that they know it.
I’m a big fan of David Cain’s raptitude.com. A post from 2017 entitled Wise people have rules for themselves is one that a come back to frequently. In short, he makes the point that productive and consistent people don’t leave important (or even some trivial) aspects of their lives to chance. They create rules for themselves around certain behaviours and tasks. He also makes the point that others often attempt to undermine or discredit those who create rules for their own self-governance by labelling them as joyless, rigid, or overly competitive.
2018 is my year of experiments (Why? TL;DR: New Year’s resolutions are over-rated and have a high failure rate. Anyone can run an experiment for a month.) My first experiment (No news for a month) is nearly done and I’ll declare it a success. Background The round-the-clock sensational news cycle exists in large part to create wealth for the already-too-wealthy. Little of it is actionable, leaving us at the same time both outraged and impotent.
New Year’s resolution time is at hand. But not for me; at least not in a traditional sense. I was inspired by David Cain’s experiments. In short, he conducts monthly experiments in self-improvement. The idea of an experiment is appealing in ways that a resolution is not. A resolution presumes an outcome and relies only on the long application of will to see it through. An experiment on the other hand, makes only a conjecture about the outcome and can be conducted for a shorter period.