Meditation’s Paradox

Try not to think of anything, and thoughts race wildly. Allow the mind to do whatever it wants, and thoughts slow down effortlessly.

This is the power in giving your mind space to express itself.

Force people to think a certain way, try hard for certain outcomes: these make our goals more distant.

We’re always more effective when we’re not trying to be right. We’re more likely to win if winning isn’t the preoccupation. We’re calmer when we don’t forcing ourselves to be serene. We do more when we try less.

Perfection

Write once and that writing is the best writing.

But perfection is overrated.

By definition, half of my writing posts will be below average.

One of my posts will be the best post.

One post will be the worst post I’ve posted.

The aim is not perfection but quality and consistency.

Life Principles

Even if our principles are not written down, we live them out in what we do each day. We may have never thought about what our principles and values are, but even so, they unconsciously manifest in our decisions.

So why not codify our life principles by writing them down?

Make your principles easily to reference so you can access them during difficult times. Be specific so you can compare what you believe in to what you do. That difference is painful but steadying. Writing down your principles keeps you honest and centered.

The Best Time

The best time to meditate is when you least want to.

The best time to observe yourself is when you least want to.

The best time to plan out the day is when you least want to.

The best time to exercise is when you least want to.

Compassion and Directness

We can work on having more compassion for others and being more direct with them. They are not opposite things, even if we may feel like they conflict.

Wealth

The only way to flaunt your wealth is to diminish it. Buying designer clothes or extravagant cars decreases your riches.

Wealth is accumulated by minimizing the times you show it off.

Accidents and Criticism

When someone drops a dish or spills a drink, people often yell in response: “Why did you need that!!?” Or they gasp with anger: “I can’t believe you did that!!”

How shortsighted.

There is no reason to criticize an accident because it’s not a mistake to be corrected. If criticism is meant to improve people, it doesn’t work with accidents. How are they to learn from something they didn’t consciously do?

Criticism is effective when given to intentional acts. People can take feedback from what they decided previously and adjust for the future.

Criticizing accidents, outcomes that the actors did not want to happen, is unhelpful and makes people feel small. This criticism isn’t helpful, it’s egotistical. Be wary of the effect your remarks have, both in the feelings in the moment and the actions in the future. It’s often far more about the former, but the latter is what matters more. Feedback and criticism are meant to help people, not make them feel belittled.

Admiration

I heard a great line from a documentary today: “Love is given, but respect and trust are earned.”

It’s easy to think that admiration is just love. But it’s also respect and trust, which are not guaranteed and cannot be achieved through shortcuts. Just because love is the biggest variable doesn’t mean it’s the only part of the equation. Love on its own is incomplete. So don’t think you can rely only on its power. True admiration requires more.

Restorations

There are many categories for the things we do: hobbies, jobs, side hustles, sports, activities. But I think there should be another category: restorations.

We should take time to develop the things that we know restore us. We should have tools ready and available for when times are difficult, for situations when we may only have a minute or two to reset.

And just as the great athlete draws upon years of practice in an important game, we must draw upon our restoration to reset at critical moments. A breath or meditation practice is all for the moment of mindfulness or presence of one full breath. The practice needs to be every day for the single moment of difficulty.

Cultivate your restorations.