One of the invaluable benefits I gained from the 67 steps is the idea to consider getting tired in the noonish hours a signal that it is time to lie down and read.
This midday break disrupts the societal pull to do the useful, the purposeful, the goal-oriented stuff… that makes us dull, dutiful, and lopsided… boring.
I have a timer that turns on the light in my bedroom at 5:30 am and then turns it off at 7 am. I wake up and get up during that time. Why such range? Why don’t I use a sound alarm that scares the light out of me?
It is best to wake up between sleep cycles, then you never wake up tired. This has been true for me. I have tried both, and getting up with a sound alarm is horrible… for me.
Around 1 pm, after about 6-7 hours of intense work I feel tired, listless, and then it is time for me to go and take a break.
I lie down and read. When I get sleepy, after about an hour, I get up. It is not good for someone with bipolar tendencies, like me, to take naps. Occasionally I slip into sleep, and I always pay the price.
The price: lack of energy, lack of drive, lack of motivation… for days. Too big a price to be willing to pay.
Now you know why on some days I don’t write any articles… I fell asleep the day before… in the afternoon. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, everyone knows it.
Every action has an opposite and equally strong reaction…
This is Newton’s third law paraphrased… and it may or may not be true, but if you consider that it is at least cursorily true, then you’ll do what you are taught as a child when crossing the street: look left and look right… in the order that it makes sense in your country.
Which means: look before you leap. Consider the repercussions. Don’t take an action you are unwilling to take its reaction…
But, and here comes the big BUT… no one has time to teach you every rule… You have to glean your own information, and make your own judgments from what you see… based on KNOWING THE LAW!
And the big but is this:
You have to have a large body of knowledge, interconnected pieces, so you can make sense of the world. Of information. Of what you see.
- Empathy/social/psychological/emotional: what other people think, intend to do, desire to do
- scientific/epistemic/knowledge: what happens when you…
Without a large body of knowledge you are clueless… trying to make it in a world where making the right judgment calls is more important nowadays than ever before.
The sum total of this ability, making accurate decisions based on knowledge and rightly seeing problems, is called astuteness.
I can turn on the DNA capacity of seeing things right for you, but if you have no knowledge base, you’ll still make the wrong judgment calls, will do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, ask a question when it is bad, and not ask a question when it can save the day.
The capacity to make the right call, do the right thing, etc… is what people consider intelligence, and it is a lot more than just cognitive ability, memory, and comprehension… capacities the IQ tests measure. It is an overall knowledge based intelligence that needs you to know what you were supposed to learn in school… all of it, and a lot more.
In today’s world people think that information by radio, TV, newspapers, articles, internet and other people will gel into knowledge, but it won’t.
Information is like rain: doesn’t make your cells hydrate. So inside you are dead, dry, like a desert.
You most likely snubbed school knowledge… did the minimum you had to do to get the grades your parents wanted… or to pass.
That soil is like knowledge. It is on which information falls and sets root for it to be of value to you.
So what can you do? How do you turn your Sahara into an oasis given that you can’t haul knowledge into your brain?
Get interested. Not only the end result, a goal, although it may help. But get interested in the process, in the subject matter… Whatever you do, give it your full attention. 1
I make scrambled eggs twice a day. Every time it is fascinating to me, and every time I give it 100% of my attention, enjoying how eggs look and behave differently at different temperatures, at different parts of the pan, when I scramble them differently.
I cannot get tired of it.
Is it really fascinating? No, it is not intrinsic and innate to eggs… it is something my attention and my attitude creates.
It is the way I live my life. Curiously. I do everything like that. With my full attention. I don’t have music in the background, TV, or talk on the phone… I don’t think about other things. I do everything fully, giving 100% of my attention.
You need to start somewhere.
The best tool I know to practice this is reading quality books. Reading may start out as a struggle to direct your attention, it will feel boring, it will feel like a chore. But eventually, if you have ANY LIFE LEFT IN YOU, it can start to pull you in… and start fanning a tiny flame of curiosity.
Without curiosity you are the Sahara, and there is nothing I can, or anyone can do for you.
The word “curiosity” comes from the Latin, and means careful, diligent, curious, care enough to know. To look. To experiment. To ask questions. To read…
Without curiosity, without the Certain way, you’ll never build a knowledge base… and you’ll never be astute.
Sorry to break it to you…