Modern problems

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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Modern problems

How To Win Confidence (Real Confidence)


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Be cool, come on be cool.

Have you ever found yourself saying that in your head? Maybe in an interview? Maybe at a party where you don’t know much people? A first date?

You have confidence when you feel that you have things under control. You are confident when you know that you’ll be able to handle anything that life throws at you. People love and admire the confident, of course, as they provide contagious security and ease everyone craves.

Let’s imagine that you are going to throw on a parachute from an airplane for the first time in your life. You and your friends hire a skydiving company near your town, hop on the car and off you go for some adventure.

It’s time, you get on the plane with your friends and the instructors, you feel a thousand butterflies in your stomach. Once you get high enough and the pilot opens the plane gates, you can see that Jerry, the imaginary instructor you are going to throw yourself with, is visibly nervous and shaking. What’s wrong Jerry? You ask him. Is everything is OK? He answers with a broken y ee ss.

Why the hell is he nervous? Is he just a novice at this? You start to freak out. You jump, either way, nothing happens, you land safely, but, the horror with jumping down with “no confidence” Jerry, was not good at all. A matter of confidence. Confidence is contagious. If Jerry’d look cool and in control, you would’ve felt way, way better.

So, confidence is a good thing, obviously, how can you get more of it? Is it possible to master it?

Real Confidence

Confidence can be faked, I’ve done it, I’m sure you’ve done it as well, but it’s highly unlikely that a faked confidence can hold for long or get you through life, confidence is about control remember? Faked confidence will not get you an A if you didn’t study.

Real confidence is earned.

Whenever you have to tell yourself: “be cool”, “calm down”, it’s because confidence is obviously lacking, you don’t feel under control. And this last bit is the key, being under control.

You gain confidence when you feel or know that you can handle stuff. What if I’d ask you to tie your shoelaces, as in challenging you to do it, would you get nervous? I supposed not, you’ve done it so many times that by now you are quite sure of your capacity to do it. You are confident of your abilities, you are in control.

We all hate feeling not being under control. We all would like to feel confident all the time, that’s just natural. But we confuse what we need for what we want. What you need, is having good reasons for feeling under control, actually being capable. To master your abilities, being able to handle what needs to be handled.

But we crave the feeling of security, we crave to feel like James Bond under gunshots, cool as can be. The problem with focusing on the feeling of confidence itself is that you are concentrating your attention on something that you don’t have yet, something that you haven’t earned.

Social interaction is a perfect example of this. When you don’t know people, or when you are at a party where you don’t know anyone, it feels like your confidence drains away. When at a party if you focus just on yourself (me, me, me, me) How do I look? How are others seeing me? Why can’t I act more confident? I think you know what I mean, the never-ending twister of overthinking.

If you fall into this trap, you will not be able to focus on actually starting conversations and showing interest in other people, social interaction can be mastered as well. But, see? Correct focus is in directing attention to the things that are happening, not on your head and why you are not confident at the moment. When you tie your shoelaces, you are not thinking about how do you look while doing so, you just do it. It’s the same for everything else.

This leads me to say, stop trying to be confident, let confidence emerge by itself.

Confidence is earned once you feel that you are in control, just like tying your shoelaces, you don’t even have to think about it, you focus on doing it, once you master something, confidence will come, rest assured. Therefore, focus not on the feeling of confidence itself, but rather in dealing with reality accordingly.

Isn’t it liberating? Stop trying to be confident. Stop. Focus on doing stuff right instead and confidence will come.

Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.- Theodore Roosevelt

a great complement to this read: The Pathway To Psychological Freedom

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

Visit our Patreon page for more stoic, Patreon only content. Thanks.

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