A journey of self-actualization.

Tag: Self Actualization

How I Overcome My Fear Of Failure

All fear stems from attachment, and all experience comes with a price. When I experience the fear of failure, I ask myself these two questions: What am I attached to…

All fear stems from attachment, and all experience comes with a price. When I experience the fear of failure, I ask myself these two questions:

  • What am I attached to that’s causing my fear?
  • Am I willing to pay the price for this experience?

Within me, fear always arises in a haze. It’s never clear with its own thinking. It is a mind of its own, whispering to me to back down from a presented challenge.

There are times when I am resistant to fear, and there are times when I’m not so. My mind has finite strength that fluctuates like rubber.

Logic Places Limitations On My Fear

With enough victories in any one given span of time, my confidence rises. With enough failures, my confidence dwindles.

Each one causes consequences of itself.

My confidence never dwindles to nothing, though. No matter what the circumstances are.

This is because I can always rely on an a priori foundation to stabilize me. There are absolute truths I mentally fall back on to satiate my brain’s need for stability.

For instance,

1. If it is an absolute truth that there is no absolute truth, then there is an absolute truth. This is a contradiction. Therefore, there is such a thing as absolute truth.
2. Cogito; ergo, sum. I think; therefore, I am. I exist.
3. I know that I am skillful enough to accomplish x, y, and z pertaining to the challenge that scares me. Therefore, I am not as incompetent as my fear is leading me to believe.

These truths make a finite foundation I use to stabilize my emotions in times of fear. There are more than only these three, but I’m sure you get the point:

When fear contradicts what I know to be true of myself, I am able to put fear in check. Fear is more emotional than logical.

It exists for an evolutionary reason. But, so do other parts of the brain, which I shouldn’t forget to use when fear arises.

What’s also good to note is that following this approach to fear, one cannot be a post-modernist. You can’t be a nihilist who supports the notion of moral relativity.

The reason why is because if there is no absolute truth, then there’s nothing you can be sure of yourself. If there’s nothing you can be sure of yourself, then fear has its doorway through which to overcome you.

Emotions Beget Their Own Consequences

When my confidence falls, I act from a position of negativity. This causes visible negative consequences to occur.

When my confidence rises, I act from a position of positivity. This causes visible positive consequences to occur.

I stress the word “visible,” though. This is because there are actually positive and negative consequences to every action.

Something may seem like a negative outcome to my perception. But, that may knock over positive dominoes of consequence for the future that I can’t see at first.

Those positive consequences may not be in my immediate view.

Thus, I stress the word “visible,” because I’m aware of my own epistemic limitation. The limitation of my own senses.

The ripples of consequence go before and beyond us. The mathematics of chaos theory, the butterfly effect, go beyond our perception.

There are consequences that occurred before our existence. And there are those that we cause that last long after our deaths.

To the ends of time, even. But that is a conversation for another day.

My point is that when I am in a bad state, bad things happen. When I am in a good state, good things happen. This leads me to question the nature of good and bad in my own perception:

  • Either I need to override my own emotions because I’m causing my own misfortunes.
  • Or, I need to understand that neither anything good nor bad is happening to me at any given time, but both.

Therein, the question stops becoming why bad things are happening to me.

The question becomes what my subconscious mind is limiting me to see, and why.

Articulation To Myself Is Key To Mastering My Fear

So, the moment fear arises, I know from foundational a priori that it stems from something that I am attached to.

Thus, all it takes for me to work out my fear is a moment of reflection:

  • What or who am I attached to, and why?
  • When did the fear arise, or what triggered it?
  • Why was it that trigger?
  • What are the action steps I need to take either within or without myself to relinquish my attachment?

Notice the last question: I did not ask what the steps are to overcome my fear.

This is a crucial difference. A critical detail that people miss which inhibits them from mastering their own.

I asked what the action steps are to take for the sake of letting go of my attachment.

And the reason why I ask it this way is because I understand the nature of my own fear. I understand it because of what I can observe about the peculiarity of my own perception.

How Fear Creates Its Own Consequences

If it is one of my foundational a prior that…

Both positive and negative consequences occur with every action.

Then, the right question to ask myself is about my perception. I can deduce that fear is leading me to see the negative, and thus act in a negative manner.

This occurs because of what I am attached to, such as my family.

  • I may feel fear to take on a new and challenging client because if I fail, then it could damage my reputation.
  • If my reputation becomes damaged enough, it’ll be harder to bring in income.
  • If it becomes harder to bring in income, then I cannot provide for my family.
  • If I cannot provide for my family, then my family will suffer.

Seems logical, right? On the surface, sure. But there’s another side to this fearful thought process:

  • If I do not take on a new and challenging client, I won’t grow in skill.
  • If I do not grow in skill, my competitive market will overcome me.
  • If my competitive market overcomes me, I will fail with new clients (or not win any at all).
  • If I fail with new clients (or get none at all), then it could damage my reputation.
  • If my reputation becomes damaged enough, or I fail to get any at all, it’ll be harder to bring in income.
  • If it becomes harder to bring in income, then I cannot provide for my family.
  • If I cannot provide for my family, then my family will suffer.

Both lines of logic are fear-based. Take one, then the other may occur.

No matter what path I take, my family may suffer. I am at the center of the logic. My reasoning derives from my perception, and fear is skewing my perception.

So what’s the solution?

Detaching From Fear

At this point, I know fear is skewing my logic.

Let’s observe another foundational premise that I use to square away my fear:

Suffering is inevitable in life.

So, let’s take this in mind. Even in the best outcome, my family is going to suffer in some way. Even if I have total success, they still arguably suffer in the context of me being away to work for that success, to begin with.

If each line of logic attaches to their suffering, then I am attached to their suffering.

Thus, the way to free myself from my fear to move forward is to detach from their suffering.

It sounds counter-intuitive, right? But this is the nature of how a negative mindset begets negative consequences.

  • If I detach from my fear, I free myself to act from a position devoid of fear.
  • When I act from a position devoid of fear, I am able to do my best work.
  • When I am able to do my best work, I am able to satisfy new and challenging clients.
  • As I satisfy new and challenging clients, I grow in skill and reputation.
  • As I grow in skill and reputation, it becomes easier to bring in income.
  • As it becomes easier to bring in income, my family suffers less.

So the key to mastering my fear of my family’s suffering is to face the inevitability of it happening.

…and then, letting go.

What are your thoughts?

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How To Filter Information For What Is Most Important To You

When you enter a library or log online, you encounter a wealth of knowledge. You know that knowledge is a form of power, and you thirst for it. But you…

When you enter a library or log online, you encounter a wealth of knowledge. You know that knowledge is a form of power, and you thirst for it.

But you have a problem: There is more power in one room than you can absorb in a lifetime.

How do you decide what to invest your time in and what not to?

You log online to check Facebook or Twitter. There are varying articles in your newsfeed. Some are about current events. Some are about business and self-improvement. Others are about science, technology, and futurism.

Yet, you only have so many hours in the day. You can only read but so fast, and you’ve come to terms with your personal limitations.

So, if you know that you can only read so fast and retain but so much…what do you choose to read? Every second you waste reading material that brings little to no value to you is a waste of life.

Some say that time is money. I say that time is life.

Meanwhile, this is not one of those scenarios of simple deductive reasoning.

If A = B and B = C, then A must = C.

Sure. That logic is sound enough in theory, but I wouldn’t say that money is life.

If “life” = “time” and “time” = “money,” then “life” must = “money.”

…yeah…uh…

…no.

Though, saving time does equate to saving life and money at the same time. And having money can help you live a happier life. But I wouldn’t connect them as all one and the same.

 

Clarify Your Intent Before You Do Anything Else

As a marketing strategist, I often juggle many clients at the same time. Sometimes, I’ll need to focus on one task, but receive messages relevant to seven others. All at once.

If I give in to the impulse to answer them all right then and there, my productivity drops. Even though I’m speaking to the clients.

When I begin to sense that this is happening to me, I take a step back. Sometimes, to reset my mind, I’ll even get in the shower. Even if I had already showered that day. On a busy, stressful day, I may actually take up to four showers.

The heat and the water hitting my limbs, neck, and back relax me. The process shifts me from beta brainwave state into alpha.

In alpha state, my subconscious mind puts things into perspective. I start thinking of things that I wouldn’t have before if I had kept straining my focus in the moment prior.

Things become clearer. I begin to focus on what’s important.

Then, I ask myself two questions:

  1. What is it that I need to focus on first?
  2. Why is it that I need to put that first?

The same concept applies to information overload in general. To sort through the buzz and bull, we need to take a step back.

First, we need to clarify two things:

  1. What is it that we’d like to learn? (Start off with a question.)
  2. Why do we want to learn it?

The “what” and the “why.”

  • The “what” synthesizes and organizes.
  • The “why” generates emotion and solidifies willpower. It also sets the mental framework for determining what’s important and what’s not.

 

An Example of Filtering Information By Asking What

What is it that I’d like to learn (today)? The answer to a vital question for accomplishing a business goal:

How can I increase my monthly revenue to $7,000 per month in a scalable way?

Ok. So…now, we’ve established the question. The question will synthesize the framework of what comes in and out of our filter. What we want to learn, and what direction we should go to learn it.

This is a question that has an answer that dives into a few different subjects:

Marketing strategy, and business development.

It involves marketing strategy, because one has to think of how to attract more clients, to begin with.

Then, it also goes into business development. This is because one has to think of how to service those clients in a sustainable manner. This may mean gaining knowledge of how to delegate new staff, or something like that.

So, now we’ve taken a moment to step back and clarify our intent. We know to skip any information not about marketing strategy or business development.

And not every bit of information in those topics is useful, either. So, it’s important that we keep the question clear in our minds. This is to narrow down what information within those two subjects answers it.

 

An Example of Filtering Information By Asking Why

Why do I want to learn it?

I want to learn how to increase my income to $7,000 per month so that I can pay off my student loans faster.

You can go deeper into your own psychology by asking why to the why. Why would I like to pay off my student loans faster?

I would like to pay off my student loans faster because it would increase my credit score.

Then, ask another why to that why. Why would you like to increase your credit score?

I’d like to increase my credit score so that I can be a more reliable man for my family. If I need to pull out an emergency loan, I’ll have the credit score to get approved. If I get approved, I can save the day for my family, if needed.

After that, ask yet another why to that why. Why would you like to be a more reliable man for your family?

I would like to be a more reliable man for my family, because my father was not a reliable man for me. I don’t want my family to suffer the way that I suffered growing up, in poverty.

You can ask an infinite number of whys. To go deeper and deeper into your own psychology. To discover the underlying emotions that drive you. Once you find that emotion through exploring your why, you’ll tap into grand willpower.

This willpower will not only drive you to discover the answer to your question. It will drive you to accomplish the objective that makes the question relevant, to begin with. When you tap into that deep emotion, self-discipline issues take care of themselves as well.

 

Harness Your Mental Filter

Once you decide what it is that you’d like to learn and why, the next steps are to do two things:

  1. Determine the path you’d like to go in to learn what you want
  2. Upon coming across every piece of information, ask yourself if it is vital to your path

But these third and fourth steps take care of themselves once you have the first two squared away.

What are your thoughts on this?

2 Comments on How To Filter Information For What Is Most Important To You

Coming To Terms With Your Limits: Contentment With Your Self-Actualization

Being limitless has been a romantic notion, promoted by legends like Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee’s teachings came from martial arts, but they actually applied to many areas of life. You…

Being limitless has been a romantic notion, promoted by legends like Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee’s teachings came from martial arts, but they actually applied to many areas of life. You could be an artist, or a mathematician. One could translate much of Lee’s philosophy to every conceivable profession.

The idea that there is always another level to reach in your life is attractive and true. Though, whether you will actually reach it is the question.

It’s a sad, but natural, fact: We do have limits. Everyone does. We’re not all the same. We don’t all have the same IQ. We don’t all have the same physical capabilities. We’re not all born in the same environments, to the same parents, with the same finances.

And there’s little to nothing we can do to change that. We’re born with a set hand of cards. Each differing from another’s.

Playing those cards in the best way we can is part of reaching the highest heights we can before we die.

Breaking Through A Counter-Intuitive Mental Limit: Overclocking

When I first started on my journey to achieve my residual self-image, I overclocked myself. “Overclocking” is a reference to computers.

One can achieve higher computer performance if they turn up certain settings. But this shortens the lifespan of your computer, because it’s not actually designed to run as fast as you may set it.

In this context, overclocking is different than burnout. Burnout is a result of something you do; overlocking is a state of being. It’s your personal settings. They go hand-in-hand, but they’re not one and the same.

Overclocking is a mental attachment not to being all that you can be, but more than what you can be. You’ll strive to go outside of the objective bounds of your capabilities. Even if you’re not burned out yet. Burnout is when you overwork, and thus experience drops in emotions and performance.

If you overclock your computer’s settings, and run it for too long, your processor will burnout.

If you go through life with an attachment to being more than what you can be, you will tend to overwork. This causes self-induced stressors that cause burnout.

A live example would be this: Let’s say your reading speed is 500 words per minute. At that speed, let’s say that you can comprehend and retain 90% of what you read. This would be your objective limit.

Your residual self-image may read faster than that. Let’s say your residual self-image reads at 1,000 wpm at 90% (twice as fast). You face two possible limitations:

  • Your genes don’t allow that speed in reality
  • Your genes do allow that speed in reality. But they limit the speed at which you can reach that level. Even with extreme and consistent exercise.

So, if your “psychological settings” are set for “overclocking,” you may do one of two things:

  • Your genes don’t have the potential for you to read at 1,000 wpm with 90% retention. But you try to read at 1,000 wpm anyway, only to retain 45% of what you read. You strain your eyes over time, and lose your eyesight, needing LASIK eye surgery to repair them.
  • Your genes do have the potential for you to read at 1,000 wpm with 90%. But you can only reach certain levels of progression at certain speeds. Overclocking leads you to read at 700 wpm when you’re not actually ready and should be at 600. Or you read at 800 wpm when you’re not actually ready and should be at 700. You may reach your goal in a certain time-frame, but at a long-term cost to your health in an unsustainable manner. Whereas, if you came to terms with the rate at which you can ascend at a comfortable pace, you’d be healthier. You may not achieve it as fast as you’d like. But, when you do achieve it, it will be sustainable.

In either one of the two scenarios, you’ll produce stress, like anxiety. These emotions will burn you out. And progress, or maintenance of your best, stops completely. You defeat the purpose.

The same is true in physical fitness.

Let’s say your residual self-image may be able to benchpress 400 lbs at 4% body fat. But at the moment, you can only benchpress 200 at 4%.

If your “psychological settings” are set for “overclocking,” you may do one of two things:

  • Your genes don’t have the potential to benchpress 400 lbs at 4% body fat. But you try to lift 400 lbs anyway, only to have terrible form. You tear your muscles and ligaments, needing surgery to repair them.
  • Your genes do have the potential for you to benchpress 400 lbs at 4% body fat. But you can only reach certain levels of progression at certain speeds. Overclocking leads you to lift 300 lbs when you should be lifting 250. And 350 when you should be lifting 300. You may reach your goal in a certain time-frame, but at a long-term cost to your health in an unsustainable manner. Whereas, if you came to terms with the rate at which you can ascend at a comfortable pace, you’d be healthier. You may not achieve it as fast as you’d like. But, when you do achieve it, it will be sustainable.

In either one of the two scenarios, you’ll produce stress, like anxiety. These emotions will burn you out. And progress, or maintenance of your best, stops completely. You defeat the purpose.

It’s a pattern that repeats for any given task or skill-set.

Coming To Terms With Your Limits

Now, let’s say that you come to terms with how you may not have the genes to progress in something as fast as someone else. Is there still always another level to achieve?

Yes.

But that doesn’t mean that you’ll get there in your lifetime. It’s like the common adage: Hard work always beats talent, until talent works hard.

You can have two cars. One of them is a souped up sports car. The other is a typical family four-door. Let’s say they both have the same amount of gears: six.

Now, let’s say that they both want to get to the same destination, from the same starting point. Which car is going to make it there faster?

That depends. The simple family car may get there first, if it’s flooring it at sixth gear while the sports car stays in second.

In that case, the engine of the family car is “working hard;” the engine of the sports car isn’t.

But what if both cars are flooring it at sixth gear?

The sports car will win every time. And there’s nothing the family car can do about it. It won’t matter what the driver does. Or, if you change the driver altogether.

The sports car will still win. It’s designed to.

Now, let’s shake things up even further: Give the family car a rough and rocky road, with twists, turns, pitfalls. Meanwhile, give the sports car a smooth straightforward Indy-500 path.

Not fair at all, right? In this case, not only is the sports car engineered from its birth to get there faster (genes/nature). It’s also got a smoother path paved for it to get there (environment/nurture).

And there’s all sorts of different ways we can argue about these kinds of inequality. Whether it’s fair or not. Communism vs. Capitalism. But that’s not the point of this writing.

The point of this writing is this:

If you’re the driver in the family car, inhibited by the rough roads, can you come to terms with that?

I hope you can.

Because if you can’t, you, as the driver, will have your mind set for overclocking. You’re going to downshift for higher acceleration. Red line. And then “burnout” your engine.

And if you burn out your engine, you’re not going to get to your destination at all.

So, what I’ve learned in my own personal journey of self-actualization is this:

Have the humility to admit that there is someone better than you. And if there isn’t, there will be. It may not seem fair. But that’s not for you to judge.

Have the humility to admit that you will never attain all levels in a limitless paradigm. It may take you ten years to reach what it may take someone else only two. And you’re only here for about seventy years. And out of that seventy years, you only have a limited time-window for jumps in improvement.

Your brain and body begin to decline at around thirty years of age. So, though you may still make improvements in many things, there’s a biological limit you must obey. And with each year, each improvement past your peek gets harder and harder to attain.

So, if not anything else, you’re limited by time. And this means that, by default, you won’t achieve everything.

What I’ve found is that when I’ve come to terms with my own limits, I open myself up to achieving my true maximum. Whereas, if I try to pretend that I don’t have any limits at all, I overclock myself and self-destruct. This is why self-knowledge is critical in the journey of self-actualization. You have to first know your limits to meet or exceed them. Which first requires the humility to admit that you have limits, to begin with.

What are your thoughts on this?

3 Comments on Coming To Terms With Your Limits: Contentment With Your Self-Actualization

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