Things I have learned

I’m not old, a mere 27 years in fact, but there are a few things I’ve come to discover. Things that it’d be nice to have been taught in school, but that instead I’ve discovered haphazardly:

  1. The first step to doing anything is believing you can – One thing that I’ve noticed, is that some people sabotage themselves before they even try. They just believe that they can’t do something, or it’s too hard. Some people have told me I’m smart, whereas mostly I think I’m pretty average. What I do however, is have an absence of restriction. If I want to do something, the only restriction is time. This is important when you’re doing something like working on a thinking machine.
  2. You can’t do everything – You’ll notice the caveat above about time being the only restriction. When I was a kid, I wanted to read the entirety of Encyclopaedia Britannica… I got to about “Aardvark” before I realised it was mostly dull (no offense to the long-nosed beasts!). I’m still struggling with this one, I have so many things I’d like to do, that I frequently wonder if I’m overcommitted and if the more optimal path would be to obsessively focus on one thing and one thing only… but then I realised that if I tried that I’d get bored. I’m too curious and have grown up in the age of variegated knowledge at our finger tips.
  3. Emotions are cues – they give you an indication of something going on internally. Something that might not be able to be immediately expressed verbally, and if it’s a negative emotion it probably indicates something isn’t right. And by “isn’t right” I don’t mean it’s necessarily to do with the external world, it could be an indication that there’s something inside that hasn’t been resolved. However, don’t make them the focus.. since everyone likes analogies, and I’m particularly good at straining my analogies: think of emotions like the gauges on your car for temperature, fuel, etc. They are important, so that the engine doesn’t explode, or so that you don’t run out of fuel, but if you spend the whole time focusing on the gauges, you’ll miss the scenary. Anger specifically, I feel can be boiled down to “when something or someone doesn’t act the way you expect/want them to” – every time I’ve been angry, it’s because my expectations don’t match reality… so mostly it’s about having a world view that doesn’t quite match reality (or the consensus of reality, as described below).
  4. Nothing is objective – you can argue whatever view you like, but most of us reach consensus about a specific interpretation of physical reality because of shared modalities and the wet-ware for interpreting them. That doesn’t mean you’re right if you subscribe to the current scientific consensus. Humanity collectively believed silly things like the world being flat, or the Earth being the centre of the universe. Knowledge and truth are dynamic, and they’ll continue to be so. Keep an open mind. And because I like loops, link back to point 1 about believing you can… since nothing is objective, you can believe you can do anything you like[1].
  5. I’m sure there are others, but those are the ones that came to me just now. What do you wish they’d mentioned to you when in school?

    [1] If you believe you can fly, you can (buy a plane ticket, or go sky-diving). But jumping off a building is just dumb, so don’t do that ok?

1 comment so far ↓

#1   Z. on 11.14.09 at 10:08 am

This was interesting to read, I’m glad to find it; I think I understand some parts of it thinking of my personal life.

I think emotions are cues as well; for instance, if something doesn’t feel “right”, I have to be out of there, like immediately. I have to say I probably don’t know almost anytime to where (and that is perhaps what keeps me lingering) but I have to be out of there. This is what just have gotten to me at the moment by reading this but it is something very important for me because I know for many times I waited for too long in the wrong feeling, it just was damaging in all. And now I won’t be going on regretting for each one either, that also would be very wrong. So I would say I wish they mentioned something about this to me in school that I can have options and at least I should try doing different things, following my emotions about things instead of what is consensus. Who knows what can come out and it might really be surprisingly good.

I think in the end life takes me to just somewhere and it is quite enough, I’m happy with it. As long as I feel things will be right and not that I am waiting in the wrong feelings, I’m doing the right things going towards them.

Yep, things are dynamic. You might have had a different context, though I just felt like writing how it sounded to me.

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