re: honesty redux

When you are tempted to lie about a personal fact, you are likely carrying shame about that fact.

Said differently: if you are lying about your net worth, your sexual conquests, your bench press max, your etc., true self-confidence is lacking.

re: honesty

The less likely honesty is to be expressed in a situation, the more valuable it becomes.

Said differently: the more nervous you are about speaking honestly, the more you should.

Two Thoughts

You have already been what you want to be.

It’s easier to be angry than sad.

Compared to self-therapy. You can always check out one of the thousand therapy books, read it, and meticulously follow the exercises. But that’s hard. That requires real effort. You know what doesn’t? Showing up and talking to a stranger for an hour. Yet this is still “doing something,” so you can feel like you’re progressing. 1Just be wary of “progress” that comes a little too easily for a sustained period of time.

Doing something new often yields easy gains at first (i.e., low-hanging fruit). If the gains don’t become harder over time you are either a prodigy or not actually progressing due to insufficient willingness to challenge oneself.

Be Patient

In the increasingly transactional dating world, there is a temptation to see and be seen as quickly as possible. This is especially true when you like yourself. I really want her to see how great I am! We are all always getting older and running out of time, but these pressures, I think, must be resisted a bit. For it is true that if you are true in who you are, it will necessarily be revealed in time. Same for her. There is real beauty in this revelation, a beauty that can transcend knee-jerk reactions we may have had when rushing to know and be known.

There’s this cute George Bernard Shaw quote:

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

If defeating age is really that easy, why would anyone stop playing? Injuries for one. Lack of time and general fatigue for another. Those two elements will be hard to hard to overcome, especially the first one.

A more malleable variable is the simple fact that we tend to turn less excitable in age. And it is excitement that undergirds playing – you play because you are excited to play.

The easiest path to excitement is novelty. In youth, experience is limited, which means there are many more firsts, which means there is a greater capacity for novelty, which all means you are less likely to fall into a jaded state of “been there, done that.” Still, the world is very large, so there’s always more to see. But BTDT tends to move beyond the literal – I’ve actually seen that movie and it’s bad – into a general dismissal of exploration – I’ve seen enough to know there’s nothing to see in that thing I’ve never actually seen.

Youth also equals innocence, an innocence defined by not having realized the downsides of risks. Once you have been burned enough times – an inevitable part of aging – BTBT is but one of many defensive moves used to remain safe. The status quo, however bad it may be, feels preferrable to change, since change can bring lower floors of negativity; the potential for higher positive floors is obscured by the possibility of loss.

It’s not that any of this is unreasonable. In fact, it’s the outright reasonableness that makes the logic so appealing to a mature person. But when rationality leads you to undesirable place, it’s worth considering alternatives, for rationality is often less a single thing than it is post hoc explanations proffered to make one’s decisions palatable. In this case, you now know that you are now biased to focus on downsides. This focus both makes the bad outcomes less likely and, if they do occur, more tolerable. You are indeed better prepared than you were in youth! So use this preparation to your advantage and let your mind wander toward enthusiasm and excitement. 

EV Positive Rules

Unless you buy face value, don’t buy any ticket to anything until a minimum of 36 hours before the show.

when there isn’t anger tied to the thing. Aggrievement, perhaps more than any other emotion, keeps thoughts endlessly circling. Like, it’s believing you’ve been wronged that makes “heartbreak” so devastating. How could she do this to me? TO ME? Similarly with contentious ends to jobs, friendships, events, etc.

What about regret? Wishing to have done differently certainly serves as a driver of many sleepless nights. But the solution is self-forgiveness, which is a bit easier than forgiving others, especially when those others should be apologizing and aren’t. Yet like self-forgiveness, the choice to forgive others can be made without any outside participation: free yourself from the frustration not because the other person is right, but because you sensibly desire mental tranquility.

Personal Fearlessness

Try playing with not being immediately identified as the thing you most like being identified as. If your identity is true – you like being seen as smart and you are indeed smart – it will be revealed in time. By getting there RIGHT NOW, you (a) close off the possibility of being other things and (b) pay less attention to your surroundings.

(a) Again, you still are what you are, but by aggressively leaning into your favored identity, other parts of your self are left underdeveloped. Those underdeveloped parts will induce some fear and discomfort. You’ll want to run back to the sanctuary of what has worked well for you. Hence the bravery of this experiment. The upside is a world expansion that comes from uncustomary perspectives and positions.

(b) When you are comfortable, you don’t have to pay much attention. You can hum along smoothly hitting the same beats you always hit. Your mind can wander. You’ve done this before. No big deal. When you jump out of a plane for the first time, your attention is razor-sharp.

  1. Lie
  2. Be laughably hypocritical
  3. Pretend you can read minds and generally project a level of certainty you don’t deserve, especially considering there are some fairly obvious questions you are ignoring.