This dude goes to his rabbi to find out the secret of living long.
The rabbi says: simple. In the morning get up, do your ablutions, have breakfast, kiss your wife, go to work, after work go home, kiss your wife, eat dinner, watch TV and go to sleep. Do this every day. That is the secret.
Oh, the dude says. And if I do this I will live long?
I don’t know, says the rabbi, but it will feel long.
This is where the laughter of recognition should come in.
The overwhelming experience of a lot of us of loooong days and short weeks is what I am going to look into in today’s article.
Life is empty and meaningless… says Werner Erhard. What he doesn’t say: it doesn’t need to FEEL empty and meaningless… It is up to you. That it IS empty and meaningless is independent of you. But the feelings are up to you.
What do I mean? What do you mean, Sophie? lol
OK, confession time: After the pulling back into my ‘shell’ and voluntarily social distance, this long days/short week phenomenon began.
At short notice I started to feel that I am running on empty. Still clueless…
But I started to look what would nourish me, what would fill me up, so I don’t run on empty.
And I made a few observations.
When your cone of vision narrows, and you can only see what is in its focus, be it fear, or duty, or desire, your experience of life is the same as the dude’s in the joke above: I’d rather live short and exciting… than this long drawn out slowly dying life.
My cone of vision got both narrow and fixated. It happens naturally, the art is to notice it and manage it.
I started to enrich my experience ‘diet’. Read different things than what is normally on my ‘foodlist’, watch different videos, listen to different music, walk a different route, talk to different people…
Teach things I normally don’t teach. Get involved things that I normally don’t get involved in. Experiment with different articles, different things to say and watch how they land.
So last Monday I taught two workshop participants, both ‘freelance’ type of people, secrets of selling, secrets of finding their niche, secrets of finding what people would buy. Priceless.
An impromptu saleable product. I gifted it to some of my similarly positioned students…
Last Wednesday I made my ‘Talk to me’ webinar an impromptu workshop where I taught something, individualized, to the 10 people who were there… and the breakthroughs and insights from participants are popping up.
I made life, my life, more meaningful and less empty.
I have a lot more work to do on that.
Finding opportunities for more experience. This morning I muscle tested if climbing the stairs again would qualify… and yes, it does. Would cleaning my deck qualify? No. Would setting up the new computer I bought 3-4 months ago qualify? Yes… lol. Talk about spending money and not implementing… ugh.
Would studying up on more sales and business related things that I could teach qualify? Yes.
So, you see, newness qualifies.
You see somehow redirecting my eyes qualifies.
Effort in a new direction, or on something you’ve been slacking off qualifies.
Yesterday I had a ‘partner call’ with a student… and noticed that his focus hasn’t changed, it is fixated… and he is not moving and his life is not moving. Dutiful, self-righteous, and stuck.
Anything you do dutifully, because you have to, will make life feel empty and meaningless.
And judging how fast a fledgling participant turned the 67 steps into dutiful and an obligation, boring, dull, this is a big issue across the board.
You need to learn to get a new ‘lease on life’ at will.
Werner Erhard who was my model for life for decades, wasn’t immune from this sickness (dutiful) either. So he had a poster designed that said ‘you don’t have to’ and positioned it at the foot of his bed, so he would see that every morning.
What he didn’t say is that after a week it loses its newness.
Leaving it to something outside of you to provide you with inspiration is a fool’s game… If it is to be, it is up to you…
Emergency rooms, hospitals are empty, and I bet employees there are praying that some ill people come in… because having no work to do makes life feel empty and meaningless.
You are the only people, ultimately, who can provide yourself what you need to feel life full and meaningful.
Hillel’s first line applies here too:
If I am not for me, who is for me?
We live in a culture where we expect life to give us what we want, other people, society, the weather, the stock market, the government.
But unless you learn how to give yourself what you want, you won’t get it.
On Wednesday Talk to me webinar I’ll teach on the PhD level where my students are… (If you are on my mailing list, I’ll send you a direct link)
But after the teaching, anyone on the call can ask questions, and I’ll answer, even if the question is not on the PhD level, not even graduate school… whatever is your concern or question… If one person has that question, probably hundreds do.
Some people are great at asking questions, others are lousy. It all depends on your soul correction.
Just one more thing:
I am Jewish… this should be no secret to anyone who reads my articles.
I grew up an a Holocaust survivor family. So my family wasn’t a good example of what I want to share… and yet.
OK, asking questions.
All children ask questions, and all parents think that their job is to answer… except Jewish parents. Jewish parents suggest to their brood to puzzle it out themselves.
This trains Jewish children to think. To connect the dots. To find the answers…
Googling a question is akin to getting an answer: makes you intellectually slothful, unable to think.
Think before you google a question. Unless it is a piece of the puzzle that is missing… and then yes, google for the missing piece. But by all means, no matter how old or how young you are, start using your thinking faculties: in the new world we seem to be entering, the world will be divided to sheep and not-sheep more sharply than before. Those who can think will be the not-sheep.
It is never too late to start…
The first person who got to the verge of a breakthrough in the Playground is an engineer by education. No accidents there… to become an engineer you need to learn thinking at least on a rudimentary level. Puzzle things out.
Go and get busy… it’s hard. Hard is good.
PS: I found two videos on youtube that are very supportive to what I am saying. I downloaded them and uploaded to my server…
Here is a soppy but valid argument for when you help others your life feels fuller
And here is an amazing video (I say) that teaches you to get off the dopamine ‘mouse-wheel’ and find pleasure in simple and find pleasure in hard. You’ll find it enlightening.