I’m a terrible blogger… primarily because I don’t know what constitutes a great one, other than brevity.
But here’s what I do know, it appears to be impossible for me to communicate nearly anything on this subject matter with brevity.
To be honest, I have been accused in the past of believing that I got paid by-the-word. I’m certainly not conscious of that inclination, but the evidence is clear: the end result of my blog writing is horrifically longer than the typical blog post.
Case in point: yesterday I completed a post on the subject of the human tendency to discredit inconvenient information—including our own innate wisdom, and how that was impacting the Quality of Life we were able to create. There… that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Yet, for some reason (and after agonizing over edits for 2 days), it required almost 2,500 words to get that point across. And that was after I tortured myself by eliminating stuff I desperately wanted to say but cut in the interest of length. Yikes!!
I’m going to include that writing in full below this post if you dare, but I’m realistic enough to know that your eyes will probably glaze over after the first couple of paragraphs. And it’s not the point of this post.
What is the point of this post is that blogging is mostly a forum for new information, and new information is not the solution for the generally low Quality of Life many of us are experiencing. In fact, new information is the cause.
The solution is to unlearn the clutter of information that is blocking access to our pre-existing innate wisdom on the subject, and the most direct path to the fantastic life we were meant to live.
This effects my writing in the context of blogging because new information is remarkably easy to communicate compared to the unlearning of old information. Most old information is stuff that you had forgotten you knew, but were acting on in your daily life anyway; stuff that doesn’t work. The process for digging down to these beliefs, explaining how they are showing up in your life, providing an alternate basis for choice-making that is innate rather than new, and weaning you off of the human inclination to defacto trust future new information requires the communication of many additional concepts in every step of creating that maximum life. Whew!!
But you begin to see that if I just tossed out the new “information nuggets” that most bloggers do, I’d actually be adding to the problem rather than showing the way back home.
New information gets all the headlines and the attention of the “remarkably busy” people in the world, but it is not the answer to living the only life you will ever have to its fullest. I hope you get my dilemma.
It’s not for the faint of heart in the reading, or the writing. And probably not the stuff of blog posts; at least in the classic sense. So, you and I have 2 choices that I can see: one, we just suck it up and put in the time on both our respective ends or, two, I devote greater time to the book that I’ve been writing rather than these posts. If you’ve stuck with me this far you’ll probably vote for number one. New readers will probably be inclined to believe I’m just an hopeless blowhard. Either way we’ll get the job done, but option one will mean you’ll be seeing fewer posts from me for a while. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, you can either stop reading here knowing you’ve already gotten the gist of this post (and maybe the original one also), or please “enjoy” the impossibly long-winded version inserted below. I hope the sheer weight of it doesn’t detract from the message, and that you can laugh at that part of it along with me. Please let me know in the Comments if you actually “suffered the slings and arrows” (shameless Shakespeare reference there) and read the article below.
def.: wisdom and judgment born primarily of innate awareness and experience
The above definition is there to remind you why this blog is titled “Sage Street Living”. The reason is the great importance in the distinction between “wisdom born of experience” vs. “knowledge born of information” when it comes to creating a high Quality Of Life, and it is the back-story of this post.
The importance is this: strategies that come naturally to someone who embraces their Sage-ness inevitably lead to an uncommonly good Quality Of Life; the degree of which is rarely exhibited in modern times. But because this artificial world we have created has separated us from that goal, it will still be a journey for most. I thought it would be helpful then to make you aware of some of the pitfalls you’re likely to encounter on the way there; just so there are no upsetting surprises.
Quality Of Life is the name we give to the target goal of all self-directed and preventative health and mindful strategies. Sage-ness only reveals strategies that can be employed by the individual him/herself with no outside assistance, and consisting of things that are available to each and every one of us. That sound limiting at first, until you realize that these were the only strategies available to us through most of human history. From that we know that this is all that is actually required for the most powerful Quality Of Life strategies known to humans. Since the earliest days of the species they have never been matched in their effectiveness by any developments of science or innovation.
Isn’t it amazing that this simple concept provides the most effective guidance known for things like nutritional choices, physical activity, stress management, sleep, relationships, and the environment in which a person spends the majority of their time, and more. These items are often referred to as “preventative health” strategies, but are in fact the essential foundation for anything worthy of the title Quality Of Life.
In early times our lifestyle was dictated by survival in a natural environment; and we were the better for it. Modern times has given us a vast array of choices for managing our Quality Of Life; the gamut from acceptable to fatal. You’re expected to know the difference.
In the absence of Sage-ness, some of these choices might sound pretty good, and you may not know what road you’re actually headed down for many years to come. Sage-ness not only removes you from the fray of innovative lifestyle choices, but also eliminates the tendency of humans to seek information rather than to rely on our innate wisdom, and to discredit as unreliable any conclusion doesn’t provide the answer we want to hear.
When it comes to the beliefs that govern your current lifestyle choices, what people generally want is to improve some aspect of their life with a minimum change in their behavior. That is not a character flaw; it is just a universal human inclination. When it comes to the quality of your life, the problem with this tendency is in the poor results it produces relative to what’s possible. So, by getting the strategy you want rather than the one you need, you also become get to be stagnant, uninspired, and inevitably less robust physically. Generally speaking, less alive.
But there’s another choice: one that is dictated first by results rather than convenience. Among the requirements for achieving those results—if they are to support personal growth and high achievement—is the need to put yourself in the position of being challenged and occasionally uncomfortable, and to be in a constant state of change. This is all bad news for convenience-seeking people.
To elaborate on the innateness referred to in the definition: this intrinsic quality is the sum total of value derived from survival strategies employed by humans from the origins of the species up to today. That value builds upon itself through evolutionary physical adaptation of the species and the imprint of the experience on our DNA. There is nothing theoretical about that; it is with us today as a reminder of that survival, and precisely because it has an extensive history of creating the best possible results for that which we all need. The end result is that Innate wisdom doesn’t offer anything but the most effective strategy among all the choices—strategies that you already knew about, and it doesn’t care if that it might require a significant shift in your behavior, or whether it’s the one you want to hear it or not.
Information, on the other hand, will always, ultimately, tell you what you want to hear (a.k.a., what you wish was true) because you will have previously—consciously or unconsciously—passed on both wisdom and initial information that leads to any similarly-inconvenient conclusion.
Remember that you have to first pass on wisdom before your ever seek out any information for an answer because accessing any information still requires a certain amount of effort, while wisdom requires none. It is always with you; a constant presence tugging at your sleeve and inviting you to reap its many lofty benefits. Contrary to requiring effort to obtain, wisdom requires a certain effort to ignore.
Humans are designed for constant change as a natural response to our growing body of experience. After all, of what value is experience if it doesn’t somehow change us. Change is what allows for personal growth and high achievement, yet challenged and uncomfortable is never high on the list of experiences humans are likely to choose if given a plausible alternative. Enter: the convenient choice.
The convenient choice can only be justified by information—or more accurately, the conclusions drawn from information—because the only conclusions left to consider are purely theoretical. In other words, the conclusions we settle on will typically match the way we think things should work, not how they actually do. Convenient information can, of course, have some evidence in practice to support it, but that evidence is rarely if ever first-hand, and will never rise to the standard of thousands of years of actual cause and effect that historical patterns offer.
Besides the desire to hear what we want to hear, there is another understandable reason that humans treat wisdom as unreliable—or worse, and why it takes a back seat to new information as a basis for living our lives: we are usually able to convince ourselves that the results provided by the both strategies are equal. The truth of this will often not be fully realized for many years, but it is clearly not safe to assume that is the case. In fact, it is never the case.
As a simple rule of thumb, people are more willing to listen to advice on maximizing their Quality Of Life if the advice fits the description of “complex, but easy”, wherein the complex part is the understanding of it, and the “easy” part is the doing of it.
People are generally impressed by complexity. The way most people see it is: how could something so sophisticated be wrong. We are quick to accept that whatever is exceptionally complex automatically has more merit than something simple. And bonus points if it requires little in the way of actual doing, change or discomfort. When it comes to taking action, we’re far happier to do something that’s “easy” because it’s… well…. easy. Understandable on the face of it, but the problem once again is that it produces tragically poor results.
What people need to maximize their quality of life is just the opposite: the strategy that always produces superior results is one that is characterized by being “simple, and hard.” Wisdom’s advice can always be characterized as the simplest conceptually (Ockham’s Razor), and the hardest among the options for action. And wisdom cannot be easily disputed, only discredited by suggestion. Hence, the suggestion of “unreliable”. Simple is so uncomplicated that there’s nothing to debate, and since you have to do something, you’re left with the hard part, which is still going to be…wait for it… hard. Bad news to most, and generally not what we want to hear.
So be on the lookout for facts around creating a more vital life that are “simple, and hard”; that’s wisdom whispering in your ear. While we can’t dispute innate wisdom based on results, we cna and do often treat it as unreliable, and instead turn to information for a different strategy that promises equal or superior results. When new information presents us with an equally “simple, and hard” strategy that we also don’t want to hear, we have learned that we can similarly pass on it by discrediting the source of that information. That gives us a convenient “out” from something that we just didn’t want to do.
We really don’t care much about the mental part, except to the extent that we can justify our choice to ourselves and others. A combination of simple and easy is not only extremely rare in the world of effective life strategies, it also doesn’t provide much in the way of a justification, and is likely to be viewed as the easy way out.
Once we have convinced ourselves that we are justified in ignoring information that points to an inconvenient conclusion—having deemed it “unreliability” or lacking in credibility—we can simply continue the search for different information until we ultimately find some that leads to a more palatable “complicated, and easy” conclusion. This is most often a science-based conclusion that suggests we can remain unchallenged and comfortable, and still enjoy the desired results. Ask yourself if you’ve ever found that to be true. This is the process for getting information to tell us what we want to hear.
Another reason we opt for the convenient choice because on something that has been lost to us in modern times: a clear image of the results that are possible for each of us throughout our lives when we seek out the best strategy. Without that image, our expectations are limited to the Quality Of Life norms that we can readily observe around us, which, as you are no doubt aware, has become a tragically low benchmark. Given that, it’s easy to see how we can be satisfied with just about any results, no matter how much they fall short of our true potential.
This brings me back to the notion of the Sage defined at the beginning of this article. The concept of the Sage embodies the principle of “need” over “want” and, as a practice, will serve the realization of your true potential for Quality Of Life, not a theoretical substitute.
A Sage has no new information to offer, because s/he’s too busy dealing with the information s/he was born with. Or at least dealing with it before pursuing any other strategies. The reason that is important is because innate wisdom doesn’t care what you want; innate wisdom presents you with strategies and solutions that are what you need to live life to your fullest. Quality Of Life doesn’t preclude getting some or most of what you want, but it does demand that you address what you need first and as the absolute foundation for your Quality Of Life, then pursue what you want with whatever time, energy, and other resources remain.
So what about the title of this post? Why don’t I like my own advice? Because I’m human too. Like most of you, I would have vastly preferred the “complicated, and easy” answer to every question I have ever asked about maximizing my Quality Of Life. Perhaps the only difference is that my experience has taught me what’s possible in terms of results, and I chosen to not settle for anything less. I’d love for you to join in that pursuit and experience how great the results can actually be.
So the work we have to do next is to provide that crystal clear image of what’s possible for you in the experience of your life, and how to get there by simply making that the new benchmark for Your Quality Of Life. That’s all coming up in the next couple of posts. Make sure you’re here for it by signing on to the mailing list on the homepage of Sage Street Living.
It’s a brave new world, and you are a brave new citizen of it.