What do I want to do for the rest of my life?
What do I want to be known for?
Why am I here?
Whatever the answer, do it.
This is the truth.
This is the mission.
This is the highest aim.
This is the purpose.
Every little encounter, act, and moment feeds into the highest aim; the highest ideal.
Everything is practice.
Questions are prayers to our subconscious. Asking questions is sustenance to the sub-conscious. It feeds on our questions and in return gives us the answers in the form of opportunities. It works in concert with life.
Curiosity is our best friend. Play and exploration are the actions involved to the bigger theme of curiosity and within these moments we are afforded endless opportunities awaiting discovery.
The illusions of the world blind us to the truth. Chaos is ever-involved and is the natural state of the world. When we assume the truth is what we see, we suffer.
These illusions trickle down into our individual psyche’s. We build up our own masks and forget we have done so.
One of the most difficult, painful, and universal struggles in the world is breaking this ceramic mask on the floor. The habit forming tasks it took to create this mask and keep it “pretty” for the world to see over countless years deeply engrains in our brains’ super-highway system.
Connections have been formed through the myelin thickening with each passing day. The more we practice the more myelin lays down in the brain. This thickening creates faster and faster connections.
When we translate this to our disguise and mask it is easy to imagine the difficulty in breaking this mask. We are physiologically and psychologically connected to this mask. Although we are not this mask, with each passing day we become more attached to the mask. The plaster is drying and we can feel it sticking to our skin. Our family and friends know us as this person who wears this mask and have accepted that this is who we are; further engraining the mask into our being.
The discomfort felt with becoming aware of the masks we’ve put on and wore for so many years is anxiety inducing.
It can cause panic, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
This is normal. These are signals to the organism of the direction to go towards. It is not to be avoided. This is the struggle outlined previously. To avoid it is to put the mask back on and continue the unnecessary suffering associated with the disguise; the mask we have chosen to wear. And we can stop this cycle by beginning; starting now and acting.
The hardest part is starting.
How can we break a mask we believed was us?
How do we remove something that has been with us for our whole lives?
Step forward into the darkness. What was forgotten is that we are light. The mask covered this truth for so long that we have forgotten; the mask fed us the pill of amnesia and we gladly accepted it.
Where would be the best place to start?
There is no best place but starting with what we already contain within us is a safe bet.
Movement practice, deep breathing, walking, writing, and reading are all available to us.
Developing a daily practice of each of these in small amounts can open a world of opportunities.
Starting extremely small such as five push ups, ten deep breaths, walk around the block, writing the day that excites us, and reading 5 minutes are examples of starting small.
We can all feel good about saying “I’m going to do 100 push ups, read 30 minutes every day, do 30 minutes of meditation” but how consistent will we be if we haven’t practiced any of these things consistently?
“If it’s important do it every day.”
The habit of daily practice engrains into our physiology; literal myelination of the brain making a super-highway of neural connections. Life is stress but stress isn’t all negative.
Stress + Rest = Growth
We all do well on the stress side of the equation but rest is often relegated to a nicety. However, rest is just as important. Creativity works during the rest period; incubation. Walking and deep breathing serve as great tools to become more creative and allow the mind to organize.
Creating a daily practice of all the things we are capable of (Movement practice, deep breathing, walking, writing, and reading) creates the environment for optimal living and performance.
“I’m so busy the way it is, I would have no time to do all these thing.”
This is why we start small. Five push ups and bodyweight squats, walk around the block, write down every night the practices you are going to do the next day, reading 5 minutes before bed, and doing 10 deep belly breathes per day will take you less time than the time it takes to procrastinate it.
And you will procrastinate it. This is normal. This is resistance the mask uses to keep itself plastered on your skin. But it is a simple ploy.
The daily practices and the discipline (defined as doing things whether you feel like it or not) are stronger than the ploy’s and tactics the mask utilizes in its effort to stay connected to you. None of this will be “easy.”
Our dreams are not as simple as people sell you on; work is required. The thinking positive and vision boards will not bring you closer to your dream life. It is going to take actual action. Those things are the mask’s way of tricking you into thinking actual work is being accomplished. It is mental masturbation; it feels good but we haven’t done anything.
This isn’t to poo-poo having a grand vision. It is calling things as they are; living in truth and not in illusions.
Define your highest aim and then work on the micro. The micro is defined by the daily practices.
Everything matters. EVERYTHING.
Everything is practice. EVERYTHING.
You want to do great things but great things are attained through small things.
The Self-Reliance Manifesto is a guide to those willing to break the mask. Many will read this; few will apply. This is expected. But for those who apply the lessons and teachings of the guide, the world is theirs.
Let us begin.
Science is important for many. The rebellions among us need to know why something works before being able to go all in. Others simply are on the edge and are willing to go all in regardless of having all the information. There is merit to both which is why learning about the science of habit, practice, flow, and learning will be covered. All of these contribute to an optimal experience and living the life of your highest aim. Notice there is nothing about thinking positive and other things associated with feeling good without doing anything. Positivity is a byproduct of action as is motivation, inspiration, and all other related feelings. Without action, none of these serve the human experience.
Discipline is the root of all good qualities.
Discipline defined is doing the thing whether you feel like it or not. Notice it says “doing.” Doing implies action.
Allow positivity, neutrality, and negativity to flow in and out of you without judgment. The slow and steady approach of daily practice requires patience and discipline.
Patience not to get ahead of ourselves and setting the daily habits too high at the outset and the discipline to stick to the plan regardless of what is going on in the day to day.
The negative teaches us more than the positive. It defines what we won’t allow from ourselves and others. It sets the end of the spectrum of where we don’t want to go. This is essential to set our highest aim; setting our lowest aim as a place to avoid. It may seem counter-intuitive but we are aimed at the highest ideal and the highest truth for optimal experience. To do this we must be honest with ourselves (remember Feynman’s first principle).
Jordan Peterson created the “Self-Authoring Suite” and part of the program is to define the highest outcome and the worst outcome of our experience. I highly recommend it but we don’t need to be finished with his program to start. Starting now with defining this (and it can change) to start the wheels of change. This cannot be understated.
Where do we go from here?
Daily practice and habits. Nothing fancy. Nothing out of this world. So basic and foundational that it will remove most of you from participation. We want instant gratification as humans because we are inherently weak. Given so much with the lives we are afforded to live in the 21st century, it is easy to understand how instant gratification becomes what we crave. Delayed gratification, however, gives us what we need.
It gives us practice. It hones in focus. When we define our highest aim and understand the importance of delaying gratification, (see starting out with too high of expectations, i.e. 100 push ups every day, etc) we have taken the necessary steps towards optimal experience. It is vitally important to understand to play the long game; to have patience and discipline. This cannot be understated.
Little and often over the long haul.
What is your highest aim?
Is it to change the world?
Is it to add value to everyone you come in contact with?
What is it?
If it has any ties to being a better person so that everyone around you becomes better it is honorable. Taking a page out of legendary coach Frank Dick, we can glean wisdom to apply to ourselves and the rest of the world.
If you short change yourself in training you are also short changing the Team. You know the cost of winning, so pay the price in full.
Replace team with fellow human beings and we can see the importance of the maxim, “everything matters and everything is practice.”
Adding more wisdom to this is the following:
Treat everybody like they are a somebody.
A human being going towards their highest aim acting on these to maxims alone will achieve great heights. Combining this with continually living in truth and avoiding deceit and this is what legends are made of.
All of the information needed is available to live optimally and perform at our peak and beyond. The application eludes the 99%.
Self-reliance application doesn’t promise all the world’s riches, never-ending happiness, and similar utopia’s; it invites us into the world of following life’s universal laws and truths.
Where it takes the courageous warrior’s among us willing to take the call to adventure is unknown.
However, we do know where the road we’ve been on takes us.
If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.
The choice is ours. The invitation is to be curious about life and allow it to lead. We must trust life and the countless adventures and opportunities it leads us to; we must not fool ourselves into thinking we know everything and the correct path. In short, we must surrender and submit to life.
“Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss,
doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”
Life will lead you. We must follow.
When you are on the right path, invisible hands will come to your aid.