A book and its cover

I’ve struggled with this notion for sometime. I know people and have people around me who do this most of the time. Heck, there are times when I fall into the trap of doing the same. I do not want to be the same. I want to improve my thinking. Why? Because I have been a victim of misunderstanding. I have also been misunderstood. No one likes that. It is not optimal.

What does it mean?

Whenever we look at someone our mind makes up its own mind. Yes, that sounded funny but that’s what happens. At least, loosely speaking. We have largely two sections inside our brain. The first one, evolved through the ages yet contains remnants of the animal brain. It is quick to get excited and quick to draw conclusions. There are several examples of this, some familiar, others not. There is a predator in the bush. One in hand is also better than two in the bush. My friend’s enemy is my enemy. I see the lightening, don’t understand it, hence, God. The second section within the brain, which is more careful, slow and appreciates tedious calculations. Yes, indeed it does, despite the popular notion of slow is easy, easy is good. Turning the examples above on their head… The predator in the bush can be my meal and perhaps a delicious one if I can subdue it. Do I have any tools handy? How do I invent tools? Oh, physics and math! The enemy of my friend can push my friend to do better things in life because no-one wants to suffer and hard work needs motivation. Maybe my friend’s enemy can motivate him to do better. Hence, social psychology. Indeed, the second brain is scheming, manipulation, understanding yet slow to process outcomes.

So when we look at someone, something or are thrown into a situation, our animal mind (the cerebellum) already has cast its judgment. We arrive at a conclusion and are more confident than not. This is usually the case if you don’t flight the immediate impulse to draw conclusions. The more (sic) evolved part of our brain (the cerebrum) has yet to even evaluate the situation. The more time we spend in the situation, with the person, engaged with something, the more complicated the situation begins to look. We are conscious creatures but there is more evaluation taking place subconsciously than current science has managed to record.

Alternatives and a semi-conclusion

The best way to think about things is mechanically. Time-box everything. Even a thought process to think about things. Time-box it. You have to plan a trip half way around the world? Time-box it. The plan to make the plan? Time-box it. Anything that needs thought and action needs to be time boxed. That will more times than not lead thought to forced into a structure. So when you are in an unfamiliar situation or facing an unfamiliar audience the best way to evaluate it is to time box the thought process to evaluate the situation. More than restricting the time to evaluate the situation this will force you to use a framework to evaluate the situation. Ironically, the choice of the structure and framework will take time. One needs to lend their mind to reading about reading, writing, understanding culture, looking for results, using goals and objectives. This should be guidance to an end goal. Knowing about things helps to avoid being blindsided by unfamiliar situations and people. Blindsided by people, occurrences, science, and sometimes facts that have already discovered among other things. Awareness about things helps build good frameworks. Awareness comes from reading about things and sometimes being in the situation. Unfortunately the latter which is sometimes called experience needs failure for things to be understood entirely.

The run after the dream made me think about things. Sunrise, Sunrise!

More about this in another blog post. Despite a fantastic dream today that made me think about things and a bit emotional and when I woke up I decided two things. One, that this post will never be finished and two I should go out for a long run like old times. So I decided to time-box the drafting of this post and that now is just as good a time to finish it up and post it. At the end I just have one thing to say. Read Mental Models by Shane Parrish and listen to The Knowledge Project. Don’t judge the book and the podcast by either of their covers. In all honesty I have listened to him in a while. But that wasn’t always the case. I did, very frequently in the past. Alright that’s all for now. Mental models. Don’t forget.

The Frequency Decreases… Yet Again!

No, I’ve been meditating for 66 days continuously now. If anything I can say that it has been having some or maybe no difference at all in my daily life. However, the one change I can definitely tell is that I don’t have any expectations from the practice. In fact, this post is written for the very purpose that I am not going to unravel some great mystery about the universe by this practice. However, I am going to continue to practice every day. I think the expectations one has from life, relationships within that life, and then the outcomes from those expectations are serious detractors in life. The frequency of posting here definitely has decreased and I will attribute that to work getting started all over again.

This post does however mark the merger of my own personal notes and the blog that I am now maintaining as my physical journal. My body of work which will remain after me. Hopefully, someone going through the same trials and tribulations will be able to use this as a reference and not make the same mistakes or perhaps use the steps I took to make it a wonderful life. For me, it was a poem that shaped many of my ideologies since I was young. Not all but some.

“A moment there my buoyant heart hung slack,

And then the glad, barbaric blood came back

Singing a livelier tune; and in my pulse

Beat the great wave that surges and exults …

Why I was there and whither I must go I did not care.

Enough for me to know

The same unresting struggle and the glowing

Beauty of spendthrift-hours, bravely showing

Life, an adventure perilous and gay;

And Death, a long and vivid holiday.”

‘Swimmers’ by Louis Untermeyer

In other news, I have a few drafts that are pending publication here on this blog but I am encouraged to write and write more often. I think I will now write with a sense of urgency because I know that all this privilege I have been afforded should not be wasted. In a related story about making life better each day, I am now almost back to regular running. I did feel something funny in my ankle today but hopefully, the little kinks will unravel as I get more time stamping the tender grounds. Aerobic in Zone 2 is the fad of the day. Perhaps I can get 8 kilometers in each day.