Do you still believe in changing the world?

In an article about purpose and resetting life, I wrote that I was going to change the world.

I worked hard and got top grades because I was going to change the world. Change the world by day and love the world by night. Geoff, Nut Fed

A recent question inspired me to write this follow-up.

I want to know if you stopped believing that this was possible, or if you still believe it? Friend

  1. I have not stopped believing in changing the world.
  2. Getting top grades is meaningless.
  3. My work, “change by day and love by night”, are one and the same.

1. I have not stopped believing in changing the world.

A friend messaged me privately to agree with words I wrote in an article about community called why I dream of living in a commune.  They said they feel it so strongly but felt like they were giving up admitting it.

I do not believe even our most dedicated individual efforts for self-improvement and world change have a large enough impact within the structure and against the momentum of the world as we know it. Geoff, We Learn Love

I explained to the friend who asked if I still believed:

Changing “the” world has become very much more about finding the good people and building community. Geoff

  1. Step 1, change starts with you.
  2. Step 2 isn’t changing the world.  Step 2 is with your closest friends and family.  It’s about community.  It’s about depth, not breadth.
  3. Step 3, breadth will follow meaningful change.

My inspiration is not simply to live an arbitrary life as another drop in the dead sea.

A life worth living does not involve 40 hours a week working for money in a world plagued with loneliness, fear and inaction.  A commune is not nearly as extreme as the progress I’d like to see in the world.  Love and joyful experience are fundamentally more important than accumulation of material wealth.  Let us put ourselves to the most fulfilling possible quest of pioneering the work of being alive and relating to ourselves and each other.  Find highest value in relationships as our ultimate means to feeling joyful, alive, and loved. Geoff, We Learn Love

So yes.  So very yes.  I absolutely believe in changing the world.  One life at a time.  Starting with my own.  Becoming a more compassionate and powerful person every day.  Meeting and joining like-minded inspired individuals.  Communing in pursuit and practice of our deepest transpersonal visions.  Modeling living in love for generations to come.

2. Getting top grades is meaningless.

  • Education is important.
  • Action is supreme.

For most of us, our best option was to stay in school and get good grades.  It’s the best we knew.  We’ll see this shift in the next generation.  As we shift into the information generation, tuition to physical attend university becomes absurd in comparison to affordable personalized online educations.  There’s nothing wrong with the old system except that it’s wasteful.

Everyone who ever said “why do we need to learn this” was saying far more than they could have imagined.  The “real world” is so much less about what we learned in grade school than it is about emotional health and interpersonal relationships.  Multiplication and geography are not at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.

We do not need to learn war history or anti-racism if we dive straight into humanness, compassion and universal community.  We cannot simply put down arms all at once, but trust me no matter how much we shout for it, it will be a slow process.  So shout for it, and find your like-minded awakened souls and start exploring your hearts.

Our parents and the generations before us have built this world for us, in war and peace.  Theirs is the collective consciousness from which we are born.  Their hard work and tough lessons are the reason we stand so comfortable and deep.  Take a minute to thank your parents.  We have more to be grateful than we could ever comprehend.

3. “Change by day and love by night” are the same.

The work I do for the world is the change I make for love, each and every day.  I am as human as anyone else and in some ways maybe a bit worse.  The work I do for love starts with myself, managing my sensitivity and expression while continuing to open my mind and heart to new ideas, love and purpose.

I ask that we live in pursuit, grateful for all that we have and always in the action of love and compassion.  Gratitude itself is love and relating to this article is an act of compassion.  Develop awareness of these not simply as concepts but as living experiences.

Recognize our capacity for choice and change, to exercise perspective and action as though life itself was ultimately a journey toward self-actualization.  Recognize your arrogance and the vastness of what you do not know and cannot possibly foresee.  Take relief and inspiration in knowing your importance as an element of change.

Forget the fool’s errand of perfecting appearance and hoarding anything as though it were static or ever yours to keep.  Yours is this moment and the fundamental point of value is in your experience here and now.  You need not the yacht or period at the end of this sentence to feel good now, to reach out and improve someone’s day, and take action towards your highest purpose.

Live deliberately and start now.

You are love.  Namaste.

 

Beating our bias and tendency to use logic and reason to support our preexisting beliefs

I love Mark Manson’s articles.  Mark Manson and Jeff Brown have (very different) rare wisdoms and writing styles.  Jeff Brown talks about love (self help and sacred sexuality) and Mark Manson in an instigator.  In Mark Mansons’ latest article called Why You Can’t Trust Yourself he discusses 8 reasons.  While I can relate to all 8 of the ideas, number 4 caught my attention and I want to discuss it a bit below.

4. YOU GENERALLY ONLY USE LOGIC AND REASON TO SUPPORT YOUR PREEXISTING BELIEFS

I feel inspired to address this immediately.  I ran over to 130words.com to start writing as honestly as I could.  I prepared myself to be disappointed with facts.  I prepared myself to be honest.  But I honestly couldn’t find a sturdy foundation to start from.

Certainty

As a kid, I had a rock.  I was certain of math and science and as a result I excelled in the system we’ve built around our youth – academia – which in return reinforced my certainty.  But math and science don’t give humans a purpose.  I had to find that by opening up to my subjective experience and I’m still searching for anything as remotely sturdy as my childhood rock of math and science.

Purpose

Some of the other points Mark makes further validate my feeling of instability attempting to source purpose from the experience of self.  It is certain that there is no human purpose in math and science, so I’m better off here in the subjective but I’m still not standing on anything reliable.

Mark’s points:

  1. You are biased and selfish without realizing it
  2. You don’t have a clue about what makes you happy
  3. You are easily manipulated into making bad decisions
  4. You generally only use logic and reason to support your preexisting beliefs
  5. Your emotions support your perceptions way more than you realize
  6. Your memory sucks
  7. “You” aren’t who you think you are
  8. Your physical experience of the world isn’t even that real

This list sets off so many trains of thoughts I’m having a hard time sticking to one point.  Fortunately I don’t need a memory to scroll back up and see why I’m writing this article.  Let’s get back to how our personal brands of logic and reason are generally used to support your preexisting beliefs.

Pigeon Hole Self

We pigeon hole ourselves.  In a way, this helps us maintain a stable identity.  On the other hand, it prevents us from making breakthroughs.  And if there was ever a time for breakthrough in my life, it is now.  Actually, it is often, but why not start now.  Avoid tangential thought trains and get back to breakthrough.

Vulnerability

I’m resurrecting a word from the diluted and fading New Cage self-help movement.  And if you disagree that it’s fading, double check how old you are and go checkout what the new generation cares about.  Notice another tangent.  Great, one step to personal growth, but what the heck to do with it?

Own it.  Openly.

Tangential Trains of Thought

I am inspired into tangential trains of thought that derail me from my initial goal.  Antidote?  Focus and notice.  Notice when I get derailed and come back to the initial goal.  Finish the job before moving on.  Recognize that I’m drastically over emoting about the importance of these inspired thoughts.  They are all just thoughts.  I was married to one a moment ago.  Bring the relationship to completion – a concept I heard several times at an introduction to Landmark Forum.  Or was it World Works… I can’t remember.

Meditation and Noticing

Note, this noticing muscle can be most directly trained in mindfulness meditation.  Someday soon I will begin sharing my experiences with meditation at meditationtimenow.com.

Trust Issues

If I trusted that I would edit this article, which I should because a few more appropriate headings would be helpful for everybody, then I would.  But I would rather complete this goal than leave it hanging.  But this brings up another issue.  I have trust issues… with myself.

What’s my point?

What have I done here?  I’m demonstrating how a rambling writing process can help you expose yourself to yourself.  I’ve openly admitted to us all here that I get (1) derailed by tangential trains of thought and (2) can’t trust myself.  We’ve come to some helpful conclusions including (1) use noticing to bring myself back to my original path (2) train noticing with meditation and (3) this kind of self discovery can be practiced with writing.

Beating Our Bias

This is all an effort to fight back against our use of logic and reason to support preexisting beliefs.  They may be small steps outside of my box but it’s a start.  A daily practice like writing at 130words.com can be beneficial to growing our self awareness, fighting through ruts and making breakthroughs.

Replace blame with personal responsibility.

Replace blame…

X is why my life isn’t Y.

Success begins in the mind.  If you don’t believe you can do something, you won’t try.  Blame assumes something else is in control.  When you blame – you lose the power to rewrite the story.  If you choose blame, you conclude your tragedy.

…with personal responsibility.

This is how I will make my life…

Shift from “This is why my life isn’t…” to “This is how I will make my life…”

When you choose personal responsibility, you empower yourself.

Decide that now is the perfect moment to change your life.

Do:

Start paying attention to the way you think and speak.  Can you rewrite your stories to empower yourself?  Catch yourself in blame and share the empowered version with us below.

Inspired by:

This article was inspired by an article about Mindset for a Successful, Fulfilling Life written by Alexander Heyne at Milk The Pigeon.

I quit my job and broke up with my girlfriend.

What a week…

Loss Aversion and the Sunk Cost Fallacy

We hate to lose something we’re invested in.  It’s even harder to choose to walk away from a significant, complex aspect of our lives into which we’ve poured our hearts and souls.

We’ve stayed longer than we should in dead-end jobs and unhealthy relationships.  I’m not opposed to perseverance but when you know it’s time to move on you need to make the tough call and cut your losses.

Pain Avoidance

My girlfriend and I gave it our all.  We learned a lot.  We grew by leaps and bounds.  I don’t regret a minute of our time together.

But after a while I realized that I was choosing the small downsides of staying in the relationship because I was afraid to face the monster of leaving the woman I loved.

Rewind…

reach-for-the-stars-silhouette-man

I was going to change the world

A passion for learning helps but that’s not why I did so well in school.  I worked hard and got top grades because I was going to change the world.  Change the world by day and love the world by night.

Reality set in

But after college reality started to settle in.  I was crushed under the useless bore of corporate pseudo-work.  After a few measly well-paid years, I crawled home to live with my parents like the rest of my hopeless generation.

New destiny

I needed to rediscover myself and redefine my destiny.  This wasn’t your average goal-setting exercise.  This was a desperate guess-and-check of total life-perspective overhauls by a deeply wounded soul.

I started my own company and considered becoming the world’s best doctor super-dad.  I took pre-med courses at Harvard and dated a pretty pre-med student with an impressive resume.

stethoscope-book-doctor-med-school-study

At least I tried

In the end my business-partner screwed me and I realized that medicine was no different than engineering.  It was just another path of challenging classes rewarded by a life-long career of monotony and under-appreciation.

Clarity

After trying a few new dreams on for size it finally hit me.  The tiny voice of personal truth spoke up inside me.  It wasn’t loud but it was clear.

I want to live in Southern California.

santa-monica-roller-coaster-volleyball

I knew I wasn’t going to stay in my homeland ripe with massholes and horrid weather.  I missed the sunshine, beautiful fruits and wild nuts of my birthplace and destiny – Southern California.  But it took years for that quiet honest voice of clarity and certainty to whisper to a tired ear – it’s time to go.

Caulk your wagon and manifest destiny…

open-road-desert-mountains

I need a job

So there I was in Long Beach with a Camry and half a dream.  I was burning money and accruing massive debt.  I needed a job.

I’m the first to tell you why you should never get a job, but I’m also a realist.  We aren’t all starting our journey with no bills, debt-free and a trust fund from our late Uncle Moneybags.

Does anyone actually want to work?

It’s not that we don’t want to work.  We don’t want to be useless lazy dropouts.  We want to do what we want to do.  We want to do the work we want to do.

You have heard this before in many different ways.  What are you supposed to do?  Do the work you were put here to do and you align your life for success.

How to choose a career?

  1. Play – What do you enjoy?
  2. Skills – What are you good at?
  3. Bills – What pays the bills?

I enjoy

I enjoy working out, chess and web development.  That’s the short G-rated list.

I’m a great personal trainer and private sessions pay pretty well.  I beat most of the guys at the local chess club but that’s not saying much.  I’m a decent web developer and I love learning but I didn’t have any professional experience.

personal-training-barbell-hand-foot-droplets

Personal Training

I got certified as a personal trainer and started training clients at LA Fitness in Long Beach.  I loved the job and my clients loved me but it barely covered my protein shakes – even after the employee discount.  I needed more money.

Engineering in the Desert

I got an offer for am engineering job with a big corporation in the desert.  It couldn’t have been more similar to the job that crushed my soul just a few years earlier.

…I took the job.

This time would be different

I was careful to identify the key reasons this would be better than my last experience.  At the top of that list was knowing that I wasn’t going to stay, but I would give it a fair chance.  I could stay for a few years and get a free master’s degree.  It couldn’t hurt.

…It hurt.

I spent months waiting for a clearance that never came.  On the bright side, I’m the best thumb twiddler you ever did see.  Just like after my last corporate gig.

Passions don’t quit

During that time I never quit my passions.  I stayed in shape, played chess on my phone, studied and worked on web development projects like 130words.

After a few months of fair chance and crazy boredom at my job, I updated my web development resume and started responding to recruiters.

Fast forward…

I’m happy to announce

Today was my last day as an engineer at corporate.

Next week I begin my career as a professional web developer.

And I’m moving back to the beach.  ;)

santa-monica-pier-sunset

What are you happy for?

I didn’t feel like getting out of bed this morning.  I was having a hard day before it even started.  But after each successive snooze I found more concerned text messages from my girlfriend.  I finally got up and called her.  She was glad that I was okay but even more excited to share an article she’d found.

I called her on my way to work so she could read it to me.  I asked who wrote the article but she wouldn’t tell me.  She started reading and I loved it from the start.

It was friendly, personable, and gave a fresh perspective on a familiar idea.  It fits the Nut Fed tagline – fresh ideas timeless wisdom.

Daily Writing

I built a website for daily writing but the front page was empty.  I wanted something that would encourage new users to register and use the website.  I needed a summary of the many benefits of writing every day.  I added quotes from around the web but the article my girlfriend found was much better.

Gratitude Journal

One of the reasons I wanted to build 130words.com was to keep a daily gratitude journal.  My sister has been writing a daily gratitude journal for years now and she swears by it.  I’ve wanted to start the habit but could never settle on a place to write.

I finally solved the problem by building my own daily writing website.  Just register, create a custom category like “gratitude journal” and write in it every day.  Try it now!

Happiness Journal

The article was about gratitude journaling but with a twist.  It’s a happiness journal. You don’t need to write about things that “warm your soul or make you feel whole.  Write anything that makes you smile.  That’s enough.”

As my girlfriend finished reading the article she slowed down and read the last example… “I am happy for my brother’s laughter over the phone.”  Then she paused and said… your sister wrote this article.

—  I was flattered and proud all at once.  —

My sister’s been building a blog to support her dream career.  I heard an article for the first time and was genuinely impressed.  The closing warmed my heart and made me feel genuinely valued.

What am I happy for?

I’m happy for my sister.  She is a great source of inspiration.  She writes well, loves well and lives with confidence.  I admire her courage and wish her well as she quits her job to build her dream career.

Read her article Happiness Counts and track her progress at juliahalefitness.com.

What are you happy for?

Write now at 130words.com or leave a comment below.  If it’s about someone you love let them know.  They may not know how much something they do means to you.  They’ll be happy to know they’re appreciated and the love will be returned.  I’ll be sure to laugh next time I’m on the phone with my sister.  😉

Unhappiness as motivation for change

The response to last week’s article was flattering.  We had several shares on Facebook and a small army discussing it on Reddit.  I’m getting positive feedback from old friends and complete strangers.  An old friend and mentor wrote:

Love the new blog!!!  Your writing will make a world of difference.  Spread your message to the world and the tribe will follow.

He also addressed the problem of the hour, which I face yet again this evening.  I’m tired and bored at my day job.  It’s easy to get discouraged and forget the good things a job provides.  A job may not be the best way of making money but it’s a good place to start.

Your job is an opportunity.  It’s an achievement that you’ve attained.  It alleviates the money concern.  Now you’re concerned about your health, your friends and family, your time and your life’s purpose.  Your concerns are elevated to a new level.

Don’t view your work as taking away from your mission.  It’s setting you up and will make you enjoy your journey that much more.  Be thankful for every day behind that desk.  It gets you closer to success every single day!

Another wise friend wrote a supporting message to our readers about confidence and noticing change in this process of personal development.

The changes inside of you will be noticed while you’re continuing onto your life’s work. It may come in the form of a subtle reaction that surprises you. Or a decision you make that you know you wouldn’t have made in the past.

I learned a lot last week.  I learned that great good and growth can come from opening up and being a bit vulnerable.  I was afraid to complain about my situation, recognizing how fortunate I am.  I also recognize that there’s a clear difference between whining and productive reflection on a problem I’m having.  And most of all, those ideas for solving a problem or approaching a difficult situation can inspire and be helpful to others.

So what’s eating you today?  Is there something you’d like to improve?  How are you going to approach the problem?  Could someone else learn from your approach?  How will you know until you share?

In the comments below, share your perspective or approach to solving a personal problem.  Ask yourself what you’d like to improve and use the first thing that comes to mind.  What’s the most important thing you can do in the next 24 hours?  Share with us below.

I’d like to improve how I feel about my job.

I catch myself behaving as though letting my job feel worse will help me get a new job thus solving my problem.  This is a terrible approach to improving my situation.  Letting my job feel worse will mean that I feel worse in the short term.  And crushing my spirits will not inspire me in the long run.  This behavior accomplishes nothing!

Relying on unhappiness as stimulus for positive change is unacceptable.

Make the most of where you are.  Keep a list of upsides and take advantage of them.  When you’re faced with a task you don’t want to do, be gentle.  Break it up, take baby steps and reward yourself.  Don’t stress if it’s not up to someone else’s standards – you’re not going to be stuck there much longer.  Do what you feel is right.  Don’t worry about others.  Do what makes you proud.

Your situation will improve instantly.  But don’t forget the greener pastures.  First be fair – is your job so terrible or is your perspective to blame?  If you’re job’s not so bad, coast and get to work on your dream.  If there’s something better for you out there, get to work.  Build the bridge and enjoy every step of your epic journey to a better situation.

Clarify that vision.  Set goals for improvement.  Focus your goals on self, not circumstance.  Have a plan.  Focus on high-return tasks – those are usually the ones you avoid doing.  Do one every day – put in the effort, take the risk, then you’re off the hook for the day.  Make progress every day.

No matter what you do, you are fortunate.  Take time to recognize the upsides of your situation and maximize them.  This will not prevent you from making positive change.  In fact it will boost your self-esteem and inspire you towards bigger goals than you dared dream.  Clarify the vision, set personal goals and make real progress everyday.

What situation would you like to improve?  What does improvement look like?  What are you going to do about it?  Share with us in the comments below!