I quickly decided after I crashed that I wouldn’t sit around all day and consume mindless media. In fact, I developed a goal of improving myself, and the first seemly way to do that was to start reading, so over the past week I have consumed a couple of books. Each one had some interesting tidbits – nuggets of wisdom to glean, and I will do my best to share them here. Without further ado, here is a list of books and the lessons I learned:
The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday
This book sums itself up in the introduction. Rather than hardships and difficulties as a curse, they are in fact gifts from god to turn you into a stronger and better person. I find this advice to be timely, and an extremely useful frame of thought. Past injuries left me wasting absurd amounts of time thinking about time lost, and how I won’t be as good as I was blah blah. What a pathetic frame of mind. Treating obstacles as gifts does wonders for checking your own negative thoughts, and also the perceptions of others that what happened to you is a ‘bad’ thing. Most importantly, it gets your mind working to all the benefits that can and will come out of it, how you can use it to your advantage. For example. Now that I have a broken ankle, I can use the time to learn german, learn the guitar, and acquire other skills which before I had not the time.
By Carly Simon
A scientific way of looking at what is memorable. It goes into detail, but the main nugget I discovered, is that memory is useful to screen current actions and events as a prediction engine for the future. This basically means that when you do an action, lets say going to the gym and working out, it feels ‘good’ because your mind remembers you working out before, and it having positive effects for you at a later date. It then concludes that since you had a positive result in the past, it is likely that you will have a positive result in the future. An interesting way at looking at things in terms of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
The Book of Five Rings By Miyamoto Musashi
Musashi was a legendary Japanese swordsman, who engaged in 60 recorded duels, winning all of them. He pioneered the use of using two swords because “when you sacrifice your life, you would want to make fullest use of your available weaponry. It is unnatural not to do so, and to die with a weapon yet undrawn.” Musashi consistently talks about the ‘way’, which is essentially the way of overall strategy, which is of singular focus: to cut the enemy, period. The book is very vague, but he gives guidelines as to how he achieved his knowledge of the way. Interestingly, he places great value on learning the ‘ten skills’, and learning the occupations of others. He had knowledge of woodworking and house construction, and was later employed as a sort of project manager, but all of this he alludes to the ability to cut your enemy. Musashi also constantly stresses the importance of training.
This is a random book I found on kindle unlimited. This author states that hypnosis is actually a form of deep concentration, and when you are watching tv, or playing on your phone you are actually being hypnotized. This makes a lot of sense to me, and before I read that, I observed some sort of strange power that media had to suck me in and make time as I perceive it disappear. On one recent day, I decided to do a media binge, and allowed myself to read any ridiculous media article I wanted. After a number of hours, I noticed an almost inability to think, and I had none of my own thoughts in my head. I just felt this cloudiness, and fog in my mind, which I assume people who are constantly on their phones must always have. It reiterated the value of taking some time, at least an hour, to think your own thoughts and especially to guard against external influence that does not have your best interest in mind. Be careful what you let in.
Stay tuned for more!