Category: Blog

Kant Had it Backwards

“‎The ‘I think’ which Kant said must be able to accompany all my objects, is the ‘I breathe’ which actually does accompany them.” – William James

I have long thought that Kant had it wrong when he said “I think, therefore I am.” Sometime not long after my Intro to Philosophy course at Hobart College I started think that it was the other way ’round – that we are, therefore we think.

I much prefer the implications of our beingness coming from something other than thought, like a timeless, effortless Source:

I am, therefore I think.

Model and Emulate Trailblazers & Experts

“No one lives long enough to learn everything they need to learn starting from scratch. To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.” – Brian Tracy

(Just about) Anything you want to do has been done, in some form, by someone else. And for everything you want to learn how to do, there’s a book, video, audio, course or some sort of instructional aid, the only challenge is finding it (and generally that’s not even that challenging… ).

The above quote generated two questions I want you to ask yourself:

What are you not doing because you don’t know how (and are avoiding learning)?

What are you doing only adequately, that you could be doing exceptionally if you have a better approach and method?

What stops you from trying something new, even though it means learning? Perhaps you really don’t want to do it? Or, if it’s just fear that stops you, how can you either connect with the pay-off that lies at the accomplishment or the benefit of learning a skill or activity?

In terms of the second question, what stops you from improving something you do already? Would it be better to no longer do that thing? A provocative question, but if you’re not improving at something why are you doing it?

I love to consider the concept of mastery and how it doesn’t matter how poorly you do something at first as long as you’re willing to try; the key in the doing of something is to always look for ways to improve. Mastery is not perfection, it’s the journey from novice to ever-improving – and evolving – (Master/) practitioner.

How can you be a Master? What can you start, or make better?

Stop Not Being Awesome

I just read an article by a mentor of mine that got me to thinking. The article talked about why one of his clients was having such a hard time, whether or not his past success was a fluke and if he could create it again going forward. His client conceded that he was, at one time, doing quite well, but a series of setbacks really knocked him off his game. The long and short of it was that he developed a mode of thinking when he was successful that was rooted in fear and struggle. It worked for a time, but no longer – yet he was still mired in fear/struggle-based-thinking and “that” no longer “worked.”

My mentor helped his client see that the only real problem was the way he was thinking. I know what you’re thinking, that’s huge, like saying the only issue with water is that it’s wet. But when we realize that all of our struggles, issues and problems come from our thoughts (and they do… ), then we at least have access to a solution. To extend the water metaphor, it’s like being in water and realizing that rather than flailing about, you can swim.

Yes our thoughts are powerful, and to most of us, mostly operating under the surface of our awareness. The solution is to 1) bring awareness to our thoughts and thinking and 2) choose better, resourceful thoughts. Developing greater awareness is a key enabler of happiness and success.

How does one develop greater awareness? Some form of meditation. Do you need to sit still, with your legs twisted up like a pretzel chanting like a monk for hours? Nope. Just find a quiet place, sit comfortably, close your eyes and notice your breathing. When thoughts come into your mind and you lose focus on your breathing. Notice that and return your focus to your breath. The whole point is not to stop thinking, it’s to slow down and better manage your thinking. Do this for one minute at first. As you can, add minutes.

Do this every day for 21 days; see what happens. You’ll find your awesome coming back.

When To Repair Your Roof (or Anything)

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” – John F. Kennedy

You must be pro-active. Waiting for problems to occur is what many do. The vast majority of difficulties we have are days/weeks/months, or even years, in the making.

When something goes wrong, we feel bad because we know, deep-down, that we’re responsible, and that we could have done things differently – and better. The solution is to realize that things – in the vast majority of cases – are of our own making.

When we realize that, we move from subject to object, from created to creator, from victim to victor. When we know, and not just think, that we create our lives we can – if we choose – create what we truly want.

But as President Kennedy instructs us, the best time to deal with a leaky roof is before it starts leaking, when the sun is shining – to care for and maintain the roof.

Why Throwing Away Ideas Is Necessary

“If you want to have good ideas, you must have many ideas. Most of them will be wrong, and what you have to learn is which ones to throw away.” – Linus Pauling

To learn how to know which ideas to throw away you must take action. Without wondering what will happen if you perform a certain action, performing that action, observing the process and analyzing the results we’re just spectators.

Life is iterative. Meaning: it builds on itself, over time.

What you build on is up to you. Life, in a day-to-day sense, is not huge, grand high-stakes efforts. It’s more a choice between a series of procrastinations and just-getting-by or consistent daily and weekly action/learning experiments. Whichever you choose the effects accumulate.

Choose to act, and learn, and adapt.