Here is Part 2 of my review/commentary for the great Alexander Den Heijer and his book — “Nothing You Don’t Already Know.” I hope you enjoyed Part 1 which I managed to finish a few days back. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest reading it before moving on with this post. I had fun writing it and I can’t wait to share my ideas, commentary, highlights and insights I found from the book.
“Your World Is a Mirror”
These two excerpts were from different parts of the book if I remember correctly but I decided to stick them together here. I feel they are connected. If there’s one thing I have made sure to always be working on in the past 24 months is the development of my self. Through articles, videos, podcasts, and reading (more recently). One of my personal philosophies for life is “To not worry about things that are out of my control or things that will not directly affect me”. What is going to happen is going to happen. If you find yourself always comparing yourself to others instead of a older version of yourself, you will find yourself fighting a losing battle each time.
Back in 2013, I was interested in joining the Royal Marines after leaving high-school. I was in great shape both physically and mentally and I felt pretty good in preparation. After realising I was actually underweight (I was 60kg and the entry requirement was 65kg) and struggling to gain the weight necessary to at least attempt the recruitment process, I decided to postpone the process and maybe try again in the future. You can imagine I was pretty bummed out about it all but there wasn’t much I could do. The years that followed were a slight void, I tried to run a successful clothing website which didn’t work out either; I was sure this would be the new direction I would take as I have always had an interest in business and the creative industry and I learned a lot from this process. What happened after the failed recruitment process and failed business? I didn’t have a solid goal to work towards and I was left stumped as to why. After 3–4 years of a very spotty work history and working mundane, boring jobs and lack of motivation to even begin working on anything vaguely creative again, I finally found new inspiration. During those 3–4 years of working mundane jobs I realised I was constantly judging my own life against my friends and other peers around me —In term of Monetary, relationships, status and materialistic value. The things I didn’t judge? The development of character, experience and knowledge gained through solitude and failure. I was externalising my comparisons and not judging my growth and/or decline by internal/personal standards but by how other people were doing in their own life. This is all becoming more apparent as I look back now, it certainly wasn’t as clear back then and I’m certainly not saying I am better than anybody else or that I have gained immeasurable knowledge and experience in life. What I am saying is that I realised that the single thing I have 100% control over on this planet, no matter who is president/prime minister, what the weather is like, how many family members I have left alive, what my income circumstances are or how many meaningful relationships I have, the things that I have complete control over are: my own actions, reactions, thoughts, attitude, mindset, feelings and general health.
In 2018 I was feeling reflective in regards to the kind of mindset and fitness I had cultivated when attempting to join the Marines back in 2013/2014 — I then set a goal to get back into this same mind-space, to re-ignite the power of my own thoughts and direct them towards something worthwhile. This has turned out to be exercise once again. I used a past version of myself to compare my then current-self (2018) and I used that as motivation. Now I am feeling the best I ever have. There are literally millions of other people you can compete with if you so wish to choose; Or, take inspiration from an old version of yourself you were once happy to be, use the embarrassment or distaste of your current self to propel you to a better future you.
I have been lucky to have been introduced to more mentors online through Instagram, Facebook and podcasts to take inspiration from (Jordan being one of them) and this has helped me shape a more convenient and flexible mindset that I can operate in the world with. I am now finding that it feels good to provide, share and curate valuable information that others can find comfort in and use to better themselves. Over the past 12 months, I have spoken with hundreds of people through Direct Message on Instagram and learned a lot by creating the Jordan Peterson Archive page. It forces me to engage, read and watch content that is benefitting me. I mentioned earlier my personal philosophy, “To not worry about things that are out of my control or things that will not directly affect me”. I think this this ties in with the concept of only comparing yourself to an older version of yourself quite nicely. By improving ourselves, no matter how small, we open up the possibility of opportunity in the world around us. We allow other people to explore who we really are. We allow ourselves to explore who we really are. Finally, we cultivate an unshakable character.
If we limit the external factors that contribute to our judgement and happiness, we will find it easier to live with our shortcomings and our ability to improve these will come more freely and naturally.
“We constantly see what we believe to be true”
I was recently listening to the Joe Rogan Experience with Naval Ravikant and although I can’t find the exact part where he is talking about politics and why he doesn’t subscribe to one side, I will try my best to ad-lib and then explore my reasoning on the idea. The idea is basically that he doesn’t want to be put inside a box and to subscribe to only one way of thinking. The problem with politics in modern times is that most of what is happening is an echo-chamber. We often see group-think. It’s easy to get sucked into it but to be truly open and able to think, Naval says that you must avoid all politics. I agree with this and my current position on politics, as it has been even through the whole Brexit ordeal and longer than that, is not even existent. Both sides have positives and the people involved truly think and believe their ideas are what is best — What is wrong with considering both and working together? The idea that one person or group can even run a whole country to begin with is flawed. The point here, at least in my perspective, is that if we are strictly for-or-against an idea and we are surrounded by others who don’t challenge the way we think and agree with the way we see the world, we become numb and unresponsive to potential change. We must always be open to the other side and their perspective because it limits our reality if we’re not. If we become numb to alternative perspectives then we project into the world, like mentioned above, what we want to see, which is not an objective view. This can sometimes work in our favour and also against us.
“If we learn to listen to our inner voice and become our own authority, we can realise ourselves”
This is a nice piece to follow on from the previous two highlights.
During the period mentioned above where I had spent a lot of time between jobs and trying to build a business, I spent a lot of time hanging around people who I liked but had no real drive or ambition and no positive influence in my life. However, I also spent a lot of time alone. I think this was such an important time for me to at least begin to attempt to figure out who I was and what my interests were, what I could offer to the people around me and the wider world. How are you meant to figure out your place in the world if you have not even small idea about what you’re interested in, good at or who you are? It isn’t easy.
The great thing about solitude is that you begin to recognise and listen to your thoughts. You begin to separate your own thoughts from outside influences, although, I will admit I think this is nearly impossible. It becomes slightly easier to spot this the more time you are alone with your thoughts. I still recognise the false parts of my personality and I am always questioning where each statement or thought comes from and it’s scary sometimes. I would say I have barely scratched the surface personally but it’s a centimetre deeper than most are willing to go.
Many people are scared to be alone but there’s a big difference between being alone and being lonely.
This is Part 2 of my review of this book. I have Part 3 planned which I hope to finish in the next 7 days!
Podcast Page: JordanPetersonArchive
The book can be bought by clicking here: Amazon
Find the author here: https://www.alexanderdenheijer.com/