Month: July 2019

Conquering Fears, Modern problems

Learning Faster


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“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” 
― Seneca

Have you ever thought: ‘Damn, I was such an idiot back then’?

I just did this morning, it made me laugh.

So, I suppose I’m smart and experienced now that I’m older right? Of course not. I’m sure I’m going to find myself saying the same thing in a couple of years. But being an idiot is not the issue here, the issue would be not learning in the way. Perfection is a myth, I’m sure you know that. What actually can be achieved at any moment is the striving for perfection. Always trying to be better but never actually reaching perfection.That is a good thing, cause we can keep playing the game, endlessly.

And how does one get good at this game? Who wins?

The fastest learner, you win by learning fast. This is hard because learning requires us to go into uncharted waters. We like the comfortableness of our identity and current knowledge and shun ‘rocking the boat’. But there is nothing more exiting and life-enhancing than expanding your knowledge, nothing better than growing. It seems that when it comes to learning, especially personal stuff, learning requires us to take a good look at our values, there is a lot of friction in doing that.

Here are two mindsets you have to get your hands on if you want to eliminate that friction and learn faster.

Embrace failure

You will never know what something feels like if you don’t put yourself out there. There will always be a kind of ‘jump’ you have to make, a kind of ‘fuck it, let’s do it’ decision.

Like jumping from an airplane (with a professional), a bungee, or from a cliff into the water, there is no thinking about it, you just have to jump.

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.” 
― Epictetus

One thing that helps is faith. But, faith as in Alan Watts description. The kind of faith were you ‘let go’. You can prepare yourself so much, but when it comes the time to jump, you have to let go and have faith.

Knowing this, know that.

Many, many times, you will fail. And this is a good thing, because you will have learned something. At least now you know how not to do something the next time, but without failure, you cannot really learn anything. Embrace failure.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 
― Theodore Roosevelt

Search for believable advice

We like to talk our problems with everyone. Mom, dad, close friends and so on, but when it comes to actually learning something, you have to be more careful.

“Opinions are a dime a dozen and nearly everyone will share theirs with you. Many will state them as if they are facts. Don’t mistake opinions for facts.” – Ray Dalio

It’s important to ask yourself first, what it is that I need to learn? And second, who can I ask that is believable, that I know for certain is right?

By doing this you’ll go not for the comfort that your mom or friend give you but for the truth. If something hurts, it is probably good medicine, and you know you have to take your medicine.

Learning how to learn is possibly the greatest skill you can get in life. So don’t hesitate! Grab a book, subscribe to a course or take the initiative and make that reading group with your friends. You can start with Marcus Aurelius.

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If you want to learn more, I recommend Ray Dalio’s book <a href="http://<a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com.mx/gp/product/1501124021/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1501124021&linkCode=as2&tag=stoicanswer0d-20&linkId=f0ee68edf4d25c36855575aef71b1d67">Principles: Life and WorkPrinciples.

a great complement to this read: Start

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I’m always open to suggestions and am happy to answer any questions. stoicanswers@gmail.com

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The Unlimited Power At Hand


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You are not unique. Your aspirations are not unique, your desires are not unique, neither your challenges or problems are unique.

Feeling too normal? Too ordinary? Typical? Do you find this to be a bad thing?

Bollocks, this is great! This is the best possible scenario for your life.

Why?

Because for all of your aspirations, challenges, and desires, there is, mandatory, one person that has already gone through what you are going through at any given moment in your life and will happily tell you how he managed it and found a solution. Plus, he or she is highly intelligent and experienced and has the best possible answers you are looking for.

I’m talking about books, of course, about reading. Books are your unlimited power at hand.

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” 
― Charles W. Eliot

It might seem obvious, everyone knows that books teach anything you need or want to know.

But why?! Why! Why! Do people read so little?!

Infographic: Which countries read the most? | Statista

This chart shows the highest reading countries in the world. Can’t find your country? Well, you are not in the first 30 so you need to read more!

According to the World CultureScore, people read on average 4 books per year. The number is inflated by people who read a lot, the truth is that people read less than a book a year or no books at all.

Everyone has problems, everyone has desires, everyone has aspirations. And most importantly, everyone is going to die. This alone should be a reason to, as Seneca said, get busy living.

The highest earning population has the highest ratio of books per year as well. Reading books, is good, is just good, is too good in fact. There isn’t one single point that contradicts this fact.

“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” 
― Seneca

One thing is to read a quote from Seneca or one of my articles about him, another completely, utterly different is to read The Letters to Lucilious from Seneca. Reading that book opens your mind and eyes to a world that has always been there but that you were blind to see. The same is true for all the great books.

Books enrich our lives and make it not just easier but grandiose.

“You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire” 
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Your life will not last forever. You are not immortal.

But You Do Are Unique

I was just kidding. People may have the same problems, aspirations and challenges that you have. But you have a unique combination of them. No one in the world experiences the life that you are experiencing right now, so in that sense, you are truly unique.

With this uniqueness, you are in for a ride no one else will have, why not make it as interesting and rich as can be?

Achieve this through reading.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this great video from Max Joseph so you can learn how to read more, enjoy books more and read faster as well.

a  great complement to this read: Of Progress

Subscribe and receive for free the Askesis ebook to further develop your practice of stoicism.

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