I talked to the driver of the community van. I asked if it was okay with him that I wanted to go shopping tomorrow because I was low on groceries. And I said my only concern wasn't whether I can get in and out of the van but that I do look like a Frankenstein monster... my face, the visible parts of me. I didn’t know if it would be okay with him because I thought I would look scary to the other old people in the van. He said it didn’t bother him. I said yes but...
I realized where my question came from... from some 50 years ago...
In Hungary in the subway, at the endpoints of the escalator, there is a sign that says, “If you suffer from an ugly skin disease, please do not take the escalator.” I always heard that it was talking to me, that I should not take the escalator.
I never had anything wrong with my face but I heard that I’m disgusting and I make people want to throw up.
Why? I don't know but when I was three and a half, and my mother called me a whore I was like a three and a half! What's wrong with a 3 1/2 ? In a 3 1/2 year old’s world, the word “dirty” is the word that expresses that for me. No one ever told me I was a bad girl, so I was dirty. Not to mention the fact I’m Jewish and was called “dirty Jew.”
My ultimate flaw, in my mind, the word, is dirty... but dirty is outside.
But if you really look, you can be ugly inside. You can have an experience that it is visible, that it has, somehow, transferred to your outside and that’s unbearable... because we all have thoughts that are ugly (some more than others), intentions, impulses, cravings, sexual, anger or any other impulses, like greed. Everybody. No exceptions.
I’m reading book, a series of sci-fi books where the main character has ESP–he can read minds. He experiences being a pariah, like somebody with leprosy. People don’t want to be close to him because they don’t want their minds read. Because they know they are ugly inside. Without making too big a leap, obviously I experienced ugliness inside. Because when I looked in the mirror years ago, there was nothing wrong with me and yet that subway sign about having the disgusting skin disease applied to me, at least in my world. Today when I remembered this, I started to sob.
This was very significant and interesting. I hadn’t remembered this piece about myself. But I have been noticing more and more to what degree people hate themselves. and to what degree people are trying to cover up their inner pimples.
One of the things that I do is bring it out into the open. They call that “being authentic about your inauthenticity”–at least that’s how Werner Erhard says it in his video. I am trying to live like that so that I don’t have see that escalator sign and suddenly not take the escalator... or stay inside... or not go shopping.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Your theme in the coming weeks is the art of attending to details. But wait! I said "the art." That means attending to details with panache, not with overly meticulous fussing. For inspiration, meditate on St. Francis Xavier's advice, "Be great in little things." And let's take his thought a step further with a quote from author Richard Shivers: "Be great in little things, and you will be given opportunity to do big things." Novelist Tom Robbins provides us with one more nuance: "When we accept small wonders, we qualify ourselves to imagine great wonders."
it's really only what happened, small stuff. but the learning is tremendous
Transcript by LeGrande
10 Hours in the Emergency Room
Here I am again. Still in pain but with a cast on my arm.
Yesterday I spent ten hours at the emergency room. They took 30 X-rays. Out of the 10 hours, I waited for six and spent four inside. It was interesting because I had two completely opposing encounters.
One is I experienced myself delightful. That means I was full of delight despite the fact that I had to pee for hours and didn’t know where the bathroom was. And I was hungry because I didn’t have breakfast. I was hurting. They set the bones and gave me a lidocaine injection straight into my wrist. Ai-yi-yi...I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy!
Some of the context that allowed me to be delightful is “This too shall pass.” I didn’t see this miserable, painful or tedious experience as filling my future. It was happening now and I can deal with anything that has a limited duration. That is a very useful attitude to have because I think most of us are more unhappy, miserable, bored, lazy or procrastinating because we cannot see that the nature of the universe is change.
It means nothing is permanent–neither pain nor happiness. If it’s not permanent, you will have thousands of opportunities to have it more, better, different, even strikingly different if you wish.
The main ingredient is this: there is nothing wrong, nothing needs to be fixed–not even the huge hospital bill they are going to give me. I am going to cross that bridge when I get there. I am going to negotiate a payment plan because their alternative plan is not getting paid at all. For a little while, I’m going to work to pay this bill which will probably be thousands of dollars based on the 30 X-rays they took and the six(!) doctors that saw me.
“This too shall pass.” That is the attitude you want to have.
What i don't on the audio: good and bad... it will all pass. really
How this difference renders you ineffective in your life and how to change it
Transcription, again by the amazing legrande...
A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND JUDAISM IS REPENTANCE
One of the things I do is record really short segments with an idea or two. Because I hurt myself and can’t type, I set up this audio system so I can keep a presence on the internet for my audience. The interesting thing is much less people are actually opening the posts…which is weird. But I have a hunch that the people who do listen are getting more out of the audios than they used to get out of the articles.
I want to talk about something that I’ve been beating like a dead horse–and the results are quite similar. And that is attempting to change your mindset about what it takes to get something. Today I’m going to talk about how to benefit from the energies that I sold you. Because this is a principle that I’m going to share: “If it’s true anywhere, it’s true everywhere.” Which means if it’s true for the audios, it’s going to be true for my articles…or for love…or for going to university or going to theatre. Everywhere.
transcription donated by LeGrande, thank you:
It’s 3:30 in the morning. I got up because my arm hurts too bad. This audio blog may be a little sloppy because I don’t have notes or anything. I’m doing it because I can’t really type.
Alright, so I got up and had a cup of coffee. I sat down to prime the pump, to make the thoughts come out more smoothly. Or have something to say. I always read one or two things before I sit down to write, sometimes more. This morning, I read a Tai Lopez email “The One Word Solution to Financial…” or something like that. One word.
Now of course I know marketing well enough to know that it needs to be catchy. If you promise one word, people will read it. If you promise three words, people will read it. If you tell them, that you’re going to teach them to become wealthy, they won’t read it. Everybody knows they are willing to read one word but that is all they are willing.
According to Tai, the one word is “focus.” He says when you don’t make enough money, when you don’t have enough money, the problem is focus. He talks about focus and of course, you have no idea how to focus. What does it mean? When you tell most people to focus, they lean real close to what they are doing. They narrow their cone of vision. They put their nose to the grindstone and that’s what “focus” is for most people. But maybe focus is also a strait and narrow phenomenon where it’s more important what you remove than what it is really.
When you can set up your life where there are less and less distractions, so that you don’t get pulled out of your main intent, your main intention. Most people are distracted and I used to be as well. Not any more. I used to sleep when other people slept. I stayed up late. After 6 or 7 pm, I was already tired so I just watched movies or whatever I did. I got up when everybody got up. The activity whether it was useful or not was all in the air. And I got very little done. Ever. Most of the time… nothing.
It’s not easy to get things done. Actually, it’s not even easy to get the right things done. And It’s not easy to know what is the right thing.
The most frequent question I get from people is “What shall I do?” So if that’s the most important question, then knowing what to do is key. You need to make a choice…otherwise it’s lost in a sea of seemingly equally important or equally urgent things.
Choice requires glycogen, glucose really. And you only have so much. Willpower also requires glycogen/glucose and you have only a short supply of them. So it’s not a good idea to allow life and other people and other people’s concerns and interruptions to enter your life. Ultimately, what focus boils down to is setting up your life in a way that knowing what to do–because that’s the only thing that’s occurring for you–is the most natural thing.
For example, if I put well-cooked food in front of you, you are not going to get up and go stand in front of the refrigerator and lovingly look at everything and smell everything. You’re going to stay at the table and eat, right? But if I take you to a Swedish buffet or an all-you-can-eat buffet, you’re going to have a seeming confusion of riches and you’re going to want to eat this, you’re going to want to eat that etc. In the end, you’re going to be fat and your goal to be healthy and vibrant and energized and happy will go away.
I’m going to start another audio and try to talk about the portability of distinctions and the portability of principles because it’s clear people don’t know about that.
Transcription by legrande... please thank him, even though he isn't doing it for that
I want to talk about principles, distinctions and patterns. They are elements of reality. We could say that the whole universe is made of principles, distinctions and patterns.
We could say the whole visible universe is made up of atoms and molecules. They are the building blocks. The same principle that drives atoms and molecules repeat across the universe. For example, atoms have electrons that are like satellites that go around them. You can see the same pattern repeating with planets. So that’s what I’m talking about.
So when we are doing the 67 Steps or when I teach anything, the only valuable thing to teach is when you can find the pattern or the principle or the distinction–the repeating element–so from that point on, you can recognize and predict. If you don’t have predictable, recognizable elements in your life, your whole life is going to be a big bunch of improvisations and you are going to have to use a thousand or million times more brain power to get from A to B. But if you have principles, repeating elements or patterns, you are going to be able to reduce the amount of brain power needed and your chances for success will go through the roof.
Now what’s the problem with this? Well, there is one.
It’s your laziness, your unwillingness to actually look deeply and long enough to see the patterns, the distinctions, the principles long enough so you can recognize them. So you don’t. This means even the smartest ones of you–and I have some naturally smart, quick-minded students–even they have a real hard time. Why? Because of your tendency to rely on your natural brilliance instead of your assiduity.
What is assiduity?
It’s sitting long enough or sticking with one thing long enough so you can actually see the pattern. Yesterday I was listening to two of my students’ conversation which I do periodically to see what they are not getting. Because if I can remove what they are not getting and turn it into what they are getting, I can remove the misunderstanding. Then I know I can return them to the strait and narrow and they are going to be able to go from A to B.
Now is this easy? No. And most of you have no track record of assiduity.
Here’s a story: I know that I started to apply myself in school only at 16. At that age, I had been going to school for ten years and for those first ten years, I relied on “my natural brilliance” and understanding. I never took anything further–which means I never studied. But at 16, I was in a school where unless you studied you were asked to leave. Now how did they know that you studied? I have no idea. I didn’t know how to study. I didn’t know anybody who studied but I started.
One of the most important things that I did was see something. I saw that one of the main reasons that I didn’t study was my life was set up to live among people who were doing something else. So while it was study time for me, other people just came home from work and they were cooking dinner or having dinner or watching TV and that was a distraction for me. It’s like trying to study on a train or with the television on.
My solution? I set up my life so I went to bed about the time when my parents finished working around 5 pm. I slept until it was time for them to go to bed. I then got up and did the studying until I was done at 4 or 5 am when I took another nap. I kept on doing this pretty much until I moved out of my parents’ home. I only returned to this about two years ago. In between, I tried to live like everyone else and get up at 730 or 8 o’clock and try to work as other people worked. And even the air was full of activity. So even though I naturally get more done than most people, I didn’t get much done then.
But today, I get a lot done. Now when I normally get tired around 6 or 7 pm, sometimes earlier, I do a little bit of entertainment, read or watch Netflix or Prime Video. Then I go to bed. I turn the lights off about 8:30 pm. I get up and wake up, normally around 4:30 or 5:30 am. (This morning I worked up earlier because my arm was hurting).
Now that is not what I really wanted to say but I am satisfied with it.
what i am not saying in part 3 is that creating a new context is, in essence, what we are doing.
I have been working with a student of mine who is creative.
Now what is creative?
Creative is being to do or say or write or to do something that is new. That’s what creativity is. Real creativity requires you to go off the beaten path, to penetrate the invisible. Invisible for you. Everybody has different areas of life that are invisible. In some areas, 90 or so percent of reality is invisible to everyone and very few people can penetrate that.
People who can penetrate that are known even after thousands of years because they are trailblazers. Once they see it, everybody can see it. For instance, Roger Bannister who ran the 4-minute mile for the first time is a trailblazer. He created a new reality where he penetrated the invisible part of the universe where a human could run that fast. And once he broke that record, hundreds of people could break that record. Because once you reveal anything from the invisible, a lot of people can go there with you. Same thing happened with Einstein and some other people–it’s a rare thing. But you can always go off the beaten path to see something new.
How do you get off the beaten path and why? Well, if you think what you have always thought or you think what everybody else thinks, then among 8 billion people you are not going to be able to stand out. Relying just on talent or assiduity is not going to help you to win big or even small in a world where 8 billion people compete for success. If you look at your life, you are just one of 8 billion. You are nothing special. But why are you nothing special?
You think what everybody else thinks. You go where everybody else goes. You read what everybody else thinks and you see what everybody else thinks. So how are you going to see that part of reality that will allow you to stand out? If you really want to be honest with yourself, you want to be able to stand out.
I know people that want to say, “I’m special.” But you’re not. You’re ordinary. But the desire to be special is very strong in humans. The spirit really wants to do things that are special. Not “extraordinary” special. Not the one who invents who knows what. But you want to be special enough that it’s fulfilling.
I am really looking at the question. I’m going to attempt to look at it in a particular way. What I am going to distinguish now is a principle. A principle (if it’s really truly a principle) is true and portable everywhere–which means if it is true, it will be true somewhere else. I’m going to take a business example but if it’s true, it will be true in education. It will be true in writing books or love or health or who knows where.
My starting point: you are a pedestrian walking the sidewalk. Or if you are very adventurous, you jaywalk. (Jaywalking means crossing the road where there is no pedestrian crossing). You clap for yourself and say “I am so adventurous!” but you are still doing what everybody else does and you are still moving the pedestrian path. So what is underneath that?
I say it’s “narrow cone of vision.” Which means you can’t even see anything outside that you haven’t already seen. And worse than that, you don’t even look.
One of the exercises that I have given to a student of mine is to play and come up with ideas of to change what business he’s in just by talking. I didn’t say change what you do. I didn’t say change your education. When you look at him on any given day, he would still be doing the same thing.
I gave him a brilliant example I learned 30 years ago. Some coaches in New York City started a business coaching business where their claim to fame was they changed what business you are in. They gave examples and I remember one of them. There was this dude who was an art dealer. He would take orders to find a certain artwork. He would go buy it and then resale it. Or he would go to exhibitions and art shows and buy up some art and then try to sell it to someone who had money. Art is expensive.
The life of an art dealer is going from plenty to nothing. He would have a lot of money and then he would have no money for a long time. It’s not for the faint of heart. You would need to have a very good ability to not touch the money that came in. This particular art dealer wasn’t very disciplined about that and his life was really suffering when he hired these coaches. So after being interviewed and interviewed and interviewed and looking at the business, the coaches redefined his business.
What they saw was the biggest art buyers are corporations that decorate the walls of their offices and halls with art. They are pretty much not interested in the individual pieces. They are interested in the final appearance of the corporation as rich, prosperous, blah blah blah, right? So the coaches renamed or reconstituted his business as someone who was in the expensive wall covering business. Art goes on the wall. It’s expensive. And suddenly he wasn’t selling pieces, he was selling 5, 10, 20, 200 square yards of art. His income became reliable and it went up hundred-fold. Using that as an example. one could rename the same business to make it more prosperous. Or the same business more enjoyable. Or the same business to appeal to different clientele.
It’s not easy. You cannot do it if you are walking the pedestrian path. If you are on the street and it has two sidewalks with a crosswalk, the idea of jumping or the idea of a helicopter or the ideas of relocation by imagination is unavailable to you. If you are the pedestrian and you have a narrow cone of vision and if you can only see what you have always seen, you’re stuck. You will only see the business as what it already does and has always done. You only see what they called it in school or how it’s listed in the Yellow Pages. You are actually locked out of creativity and you are locked into being the same old and like everybody else.
I looked underneath the pedestrian path, at what’s underneath the uncreativity, what’s underneath the boring, humdrum unrewarding life. What seems to be the root is the narrow cone of vision. (I’ve been testing this and it seems to be a principle but we’re not sure yet).
You cannot see widely and you’re not even willing. You cannot see deeply because you are not even willing. You’re not even trying. You are not open to what’s beyond the already discovered, what’s beyond what you can already see.
Jay Abraham taught the same thing in advertising (a former mentor of mine). One of the things he said is when you want to advertise your business, everybody in that business advertises the same way. They have the same moves. They have the same benefits and standing out is nearly impossible. What you want to do is look at other industries and see what they do and then transfer their methodology to your industry.
I was selling advertising during the period when I was a magazine publisher. I chose to look at the car selling industry. It was very hard because my cone of vision was also narrow.
I’m not saying this is easy.
Not everybody will become brilliant or have brilliant results. But if you never try to get out of your little box where you know everything, you are never going to become that person whose spirit is going to get its due reward and there would be flying. For example, if you are in the bookkeeping or CPA business and all you say is “I’m a CPA” or “I’m a bookkeeper,” you are going to be paid at the bookkeeper rate. And you’re going to have the fun or no fun that a bookkeeper has.
The other day I recommended that a student say to his clients, “I am your Chief Financial Officer without the paycheck.” Now what do I mean by that?
The paycheck of a Chief Financial Officer is sky high. In the millions for a big business. Now at the same time, a CPA gets paid a few thousand, not many. They mostly get paid by the hour. But if you say, “I am your Chief Financial Officer without a paycheck,” your clients are going to look at you differently. You are going to do the same thing–advise them, create financial reports, all the things a CFO does–but your pay is going to be bigger. They are going to ask different questions. You are not going to be like an employee, a schlock, a replaceable, interchangeable guy they hired from the Yellow Pages. You are going to be the Chief Financial Officer who has more to say and more to contribute to the company’s success than almost anyone except the CEO.
In some other article, I’m going to share the stages I went through in different businesses. I have done this and turned a humdrum business into an exciting one.
This is what I wanted to talk about because unless you practice getting off the beaten path somewhere, you are not going to develop the eyes. You are never going to develop the wide cone of vision. You are never going to be that special person you wanted to be.
this has turned out an experiment I didn't plan for: writing with my voice.
I have a teacher who creates whole books this way, even teaches a class on it, but i didn't think i could do it. but necessity forced me to... hm.
Still worried. 🙁 Here's my mitzvah for the day if you want to use it.
(I made slight edits for flow.)
DILETTANTE OR MASTER? 9/29/18
(I’m not used to doing audio blogs. If no one’s listening, it’s hard for the words to come. It’s hard to be silently brilliant but it’s also hard to be brilliant when no one’s listening)
Yesterday I went out to my daily walk. Two doors down from where I live, there is a park where people bring their dogs. I see a dude with two dogs and at some point, the dogs start towards me. One of them–a big one–jumps on me. I lost my balance. I think I tripped on my own leg and started to fall. To break my fall (because I was falling smack towards the curb), I held out my hand which is a no-no for me because I pretty much would rather die than not be able to work.
I broke my hand. I cut my arm and have this huge bruise on my forehead–but no concussion. I will look funny for a couple of weeks but my head is okay. I had some major nausea afterwards (which indicates that it wasn’t that easy on my head).
I couldn’t fall asleep till 4 am or whatever it was. It was so painful. I decided twenty years of not taking headache medication was enough. I took some headache medication for my arm. I then I had the good idea to use a piece of wood to stabilize my arm. I didn’t go to a doctor. The owner of the dogs offered but I don’t have insurance. Going to the emergency room is out of my budget (I don’t know how much it costs but anything is beyond my budget).
So I’m here–it’s the next day. I’m already drinking my second cup of coffee. I am having lots of insights about not having use of my left arm for typing, making coffee, wearing any clothes, going to the bathroom…all very interesting.
One of the insights is "how you do anything is how you do everything." That is pretty much about your attitude.
My attitude is I am 100% responsible for everything that happens to me. I won’t press charges against the dog owner–he may be legally responsible but that is not my problem, that’s his. It’s my life and I’m going to take care of it.
That is my relationship to life, that I am responsible for all of it–which means it is my job to be well, no matter what happens to me.
On the surface, I may not be well. I am in pain. I don’t have use of my left arm blah blah blah. Yet, I pretty much can do anything I need to do. Maybe not anything that I want to do–for example, I can’t touch type because you need two hands for that.
This morning, I used an Italian espresso machine. In order to use it, you need to look and see what part of your biology can replace another hand. Are you going to use your face, your chin, your thighs, your knees…what are you going to do?! How are you going to make life seamless, even though something is taken from you?
The interesting thing is the more skills you have in something–anything, the more skills you have in life. But when I watch people, they are not skilled in anything. They are not good at anything. Honestly.
So why aren’t they good at anything? Because they never considered that taking something to the level of mastery is how they can be responsible for their life. They do things but they never consider practicing it or changing how they do it until they are masterful at it. It could be anything: how you change your bed sheets, how you do your laundry, how you chop onions, how you cook, how you make coffee…anything. Because if something happens, you are shit out of luck because now you are completely unable to live life.
This gist of what I want to say: the attitude of bringing excellence. Unless you take it to mastery, you don’t have anything.
For example, I used to have this workshop–the StrengthsFinder workshop from “What Color is Your Parachute?” It helped people to see what skills they already have so that they can build on that. You find skills through stories of projects that you were successful at and enjoyed doing. I worked with 30, 40 people and I haven’t found not even one person who really mastered any skill.
You are satisfied with so-so and of course, your results are so-so.
Your life is so-so.
You come to me hoping for a better life without changing your relationship to life. You don’t change your “how you anything is how you do everything” attitude.
They call the person who has some sense of how to do something a dilettante, which is a French word for amateur.
Dilettante: a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge.
Dilettante is a state of development where you don’t put enough energy, enough care or enough conscious learning to become an expert. And then you want to live the life of an expert with a dilettante skillset.
That’s what I wanted to say. I’ll be making more of these audio blogs throughout the day.
note: it i skill-finder, not strength finder. fundamental difference
I just finished a Talk-to-me call. It's a call available for people on my mailing list, where they can ask any questions and get answers, coaching, whatever they need. The call was a breakthrough for me, in a lot of ways.
First off, I distinguished for myself, for the second time, that unless I fall in step with the person I coach, they can't get what I am saying as contribution and cannot act on it.
Falling in step with music is obviously fun. Falling in step with a drum circle is fun. But falling in step with another person is a challenge. But unless you do, discord is the result.
So what does it take to fall in step with another person in a conversation? Whether it is a co-worker, a parent, a child, a spouse, a friend, if you learn to fall in step with them, you'll experience influence, intimacy, closeness... all the things that are missing in most relationships. Continue reading "Falling in step, intelligence, tough choices"