What is this for?

My efforts here are about the testing of ideas. Taking concepts and refining them through the writing and editing practice. The end goal is making use of the concepts through my experiences. I don’t expect them all to be fruitful. I expect there to be contradictions and variability among the ideas. I expect them to be outdated, replaced, ignored, and sometimes wrong. It’s all a progress report, not an end point.

Telling a real story

What we be without wishful thinking

Regardless of the stage and relative wellbeing of life at the moment, we all face challenges. We experience things we don’t ask for. We are placed in circumstances that are outside of our control. We try and we sometimes fail. All of these circumstances can bring about uncomfortable emotions. How we deal with those emotions is up to us. The easiest option often is to apply some motivated reasoning in the form of denial, wishful thinking, or rationalization to spin a story about how it is all ok. This negates some of those negative emotions and we feel better. It allows us to return to our status quo emotional state and move on. It feels like a positive thing. Yet the process is contorting out view of reality. We’re engaged in a more imaginary world because we don’t have the intuition or processes on hand to allow us to face those negative emotions without self deception.

Doing so is possible, but not easy. Simple but hard. An apt description of most personal development work. Knowing the best thing to do and actually doing the thing seem worlds apart. In the chapter “Coping With Reality” of Scout Mindset, author Julia Galef describes four specific tools that can help reduce self deception in decision making.

Telling yourself a real story.

Make a plan: If you’re struggling with how to react to a given circumstance, take the time to write out how you would expect that it would go. What conversations would need to be had. What actions can be taken. This structure gives you something tangible to lean into when action is required. It removes the need of instantaneous decisions, which is where emotional responses are the most powerful.

Notice silver lining : Bad things happen. It’s never worth denying that. Yet absolutes are so rare that it’s much better to assume there is at the very least something that can be learned from the bad thing. Positive changes are often the result of one or many direct challenge to presently held beliefs. The negative things, because of the discomfort they bring, can become the incentive to step in a new direction.

Focus on a different goal : A shift in your framing of the circumstance can make all the difference in what you get out of it.

These meetings are a waste of my time (possibly true).


These meetings are less about work and about more about social relationships which are valuable element of my profession.

Either way you are in the meeting but you are choosing to focus on a positive element of it.

Things could be worse : We function largely on relative scales of good and bad. Our quality of life today to so much better than nearly everyone 100 years ago, yet we still find troubles. It’s hard not to feel like that unsatisfactoriness we feel is simply an embedded part of human nature. Still, whatever the case, there is an odd comfort that can come from knowing that things can be worst. Wisdom passed down through generations of folk artist

> Now there stands a blind man. 
So blind he can’t see. 
Do you think he’s complaining? 
Why should you or me? 
Don’t tell me your troubles. 
I got enough of my own. 
Be thankful you’re living. 
Drinking up and go home. 

Hard part

This advice doesn’t detract from the real challenge of facing the negative emotions. They are just tools to help soften the blows and redirect your intentions. If applied well, it’s conceivable that challenges become a respected part of the growth process. Something that can’t be sidestepped. They are a requirement. It’s an ambitious thought, but why not aim for it? Ignorance is bliss, until you find out the truth. Self deception is the same.


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