Inner Space

To the most trivial actions, attach the devotion and mindfulness of a hundred monks. To matters of life and death, attach a sense of humor. (Zhuangzi)

Paying attention to how we relate to our goals and aspirations can reveal our frame of mind we bring to them.

When we want to do something that holds a lot of value for us, instinctively, we tend to treat it as an important and serious matter. Finishing a degree, getting a certain kind of job, completing a personal project - these goals can accumulate a lot of baggage. We bring a sense of gravity to them. And that creates anxiety and expectations.

"What if I can't live up to my standards?"
"What if I screw up?"
These feelings can generate internal resistance and dread.

The more weight we attach to an activity, the more it can backfire. I call this the paradox of importance. When the possibility of failure or of deviating from the plan is seen like the worst thing that can happen, no wonder we experience so much pressure.

However, if we relax our attitude and approach our project with more lightheartedness, we can tame the beast. The dragon becomes a puppy. We may even get better results, because we're relaxed, playful and calm. It doesn't mean that we don't consider our project significant anymore, but it lets us soften and change our mindset: instead of viewing it as a big scary thing that demands perfection, we treat it as just another endeavor.

This is of course easier said than done, especially when the "stakes" are high, but it's worth being aware of how our attitude and rigid expectations may sabotage our experience.

Timeless Content

What Can We Do About Bias?
by Buster Benson | 18 minute read

Our thinking is flawed, incomplete and fragmented.
Too much information, not enough meaning and not enough time. These are the ingredients for a perfect storm, an avalanche of biased thinking and over-reliance on heuristics, constructed from our own incomplete knowledge and limited experiences.
You may be familiar with all the biases we can fall prey to: illusory truth, availability bias, out-group effect, survivorship bias and countless others.
Examining our thought process, especially when we're attached to the outcome, is as enjoyable as a toothache, but it's essential to living truthfully.
This article is a great primer for anyone interested in the biases and blind spots of our thinking process. The most important takeaway I got from this read is that fighting against bias is an ongoing process, not a one-time fix, so we just need to always be ready to tackle our preconceived beliefs and fight against the voice in our head that wants to jump to conclusions way too soon.

Tools for Thinking

If you enjoyed the article above, and would like to dive deeper the into strategies and frameworks for better thinking, Untools is a great resource aimed at helping you make hard decisions easier, solve problems and get to the bottom of why things happen, by applying systems thinking.

Picture of the Week

The expectations of others were the bars I used for my own cage.

Quote I'm reflecting on

I have frequently seen people become neurotic when they content themselves with inadequate or wrong answers to the questions of life. They seek position, marriage, reputation, outward success of money, and remain unhappy and neurotic even when they have attained what they were seeking. Such people are usually confined within too narrow a spiritual horizon. Their life has not sufficient content, sufficient meaning. If they are enabled to develop into more spacious personalities, the neurosis generally disappears. (Carl G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

Question for you to ponder

Recall 3 events that have captured your mind today. Is there a mismatch between their importance and the attention you gave them?

Thank you for reading.

Until next time,
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