by DW Green — August 12, 2020The anxious father, worried about his children. What does he want? A world that is always safe. A frenzied traveler—what does she want? For weather to hold and for traffic to part so she can make her flight. A nervous investor? That the market will turn around and an investment will pay off.All of these scenarios hold the same thing in common. It’s wanting something out of our control. Getting worked up, getting excited, nervously pacing—these intense, pained, and anxious moments show us at our most futile and servile. Staring at the clock, at the ticker, at the next checkout lane over, at the sky—it’s as if we all belong to a religious cult that believes the gods of fate will only give us what we want if we sacrifice our peace of mind.Today, when you find yourself getting anxious, ask yourself: Why are my insides twisted into knots? Am I in control here or is my anxiety? And most important: Is my anxiety doing me any good?read more
by DW Green — August 5, 2020The most important quality necessary for true growth and evolution is the practice and principle of humility. It is far less painful to voluntarily adopt a fundamental attitude of humility than to have it thrust upon oneself as the painful consequence of ineptitude. Despite its negative public and social image in some quarters of society, humility is indicative of expertise, wisdom and maturity. Because truth is the very bedrock and ultimate reality upon which humility is based, it is not a vulnerability in and of itself. Rather, humility reveals that the mind can only “know about,” and that it cannot differentiate between appearance and essence.read more
by DW Green — July 29, 2020“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on—it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage, and endurance—unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”—Marcus AureliusWhy do athletes talk trash to each other? Why do they deliberately say offensive and nasty things to their competitors when the refs aren’t looking? To provoke a reaction. Distracting and angering opponents is an easy way to knock them off their game.Try to remember that when you find yourself getting mad. Anger is not impressive or tough—it’s a mistake. It’s weakness. Depending on what you’re doing, it might even be a trap that someone laid for you.Fans and opponents called boxer Joe Lewis the “Ring Robot” because he was utterly unemotional—his cold, calm demeanor was far more terrifying that any crazed look or emotional outburst would have been.Strength is the ability to maintain a hold of oneself. It’s being the person who never gets mad, who cannot be r...read more
by DW Green — July 22, 2020One of the most powerful things you can do as a human being in our hyperconnected, 24/7 media world is say: “I don’t know.” Or, more provocatively: “I don’t care.” Most of society seems to have taken it as a commandment that one must know about every single current event, watch every episode of every critically acclaimed television series, follow the news religiously, and present themselves to others as an informed and worldly individual.But where is the evidence that this is actually necessary? Is the obligation enforced by the police? Or is it that you’re just afraid of seeming silly at a dinner party? Yes you owe it to your country and your family to know generally about events that may directly affect them, but that’s about all.How much more time, energy, and pure brainpower would you have available if you drastically cut your media consumption? How much more rested and present would you feel if you were no longer excited and outraged by every scandal, breaking story, and potential crisis (many of which never come to pass anyway)?read more
by DW Green — July 15, 2020A worker asked: “Why did you do it this way?” The answer, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done things.” The answer frustrates every good boss and sets the mouth of every entrepreneur watering. The worker has stopped thinking and is mindlessly operating out of habit. The business is ripe for disruption by a competitor, and the worker will probably get fired by any thinking boss.We should apply the same ruthlessness to our own habits. In fact, we are studying philosophy precisely to break ourselves of rote behavior. Find what you do out of rote memory or routine. Ask yourself: Is this really the best way to do it? Know why you do what you do—do it for the right reasons.read more
by DW Green — July 8, 2020Think of all the interests vying for a share of your wallet or for a second of your attention. Food scientists are engineering products to exploit your taste buds. Silicon Valley engineers are designing applications as addictive as gambling. The media is manufacturing stories to provoke outrage and anger.These are just a small slice of the temptations and forces acting on us—distracting us and pulling us away from the things that truly matter. There are other distracting sinkholes like gossip, the endless call of work, as well as fear, suspicion, lust. Every human being is pulled by these internal and external forces that are increasingly more powerful and harder to resist.Philosophy is simply asking us to pay careful attention and to strive to be more than a pawn. As Viktor Frankl puts it in The Will to Meaning, “Man is pushed by drives but pulled by values.” These values and inner awareness prevent us from becoming puppets. Sure, paying attention requires work and awareness, but isn’t that better than being jerked about on a string?read more
by DW Green — June 30, 2020
This morning, remind yourself of what is in your control and what’s not in your control. Remind yourself to focus on the former and not the latter.
Before lunch, remind yourself that the only thing you truly possess is your ability to make choices (and to use reason, intuition, and judgment when doing so). This is the only thing that can never be taken from you completely.