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MetaShortcuts, Self-Improvement, the Present, and You (self.TheRedPill)

submitted by Glacierdust

I will begin my post with a true story that carries a powerful lesson so that if you don't have time to read this entire post, you can walk away having absorbed the most important part of it.

The African doctor: About 20 years ago, in a poor African country, a student enrolled in med school. For this student, med school was not a way out of poverty because he was one of the lucky few who had phenomenally rich parents. In a material sense, the student wanted for nothing. Anything he yearned for that money could buy, his father would purchase. However, his father had one wish and that was for the son to become a doctor. Now the son was never passionate about medicine - in fact, he wasn't passionate about anything. He got decent grades in school to please his father and when the courses got too difficult, his father would of course hire a tutor in order that his son may move past any academic obstacle. Ultimately, the son ended up in med school where, after so many years of trying to please his father, he was all burnt out. Due to his lack of drive, the student did not study for his exams, but, lucky for him, he had the same teacher for most of his courses due to his area of specialization in the medicine field. When it came time to write the exams, the student wrote naught but his name on the exam booklet, and stuffed wads of cash in between the pages as a "gift" to the teacher. Obviously the money came from the student's father, but money is money. The teacher accepted the gift and gave the student a passing grade. This went on every semester until the end of med school. The student graduated, got a job at a big hospital in the country (because he $hook the right hand$) and worked as a surgeon. About 5 years ago, the teacher's wife had an emergency and she was rushed to the ER, the teacher by her side. Once there, the surgeon who needed to operate was none other than the student who had never written a single word on his exams. It probably won't come as a shock to know that the teacher's wife died right then and there because the surgeon failed to save her. In one fell swoop, karma dealt with both the surgeon and the former teacher.

Do not take shortcuts in life, gentlemen. They will only lead you to your doom. The surgeon may have been born into the elite class, his turds may have been worth more than my house, but he still had to work on himself as a man. You can be born rich, you can be born privileged, you can be born genetically gifted, but you cannot be born a man. Because men are made. And they are made by walking the long and arduous and thorny path of hard work and sacrifice. No matter what circumstances you were born in, you still have to strive for self-improvement. No man is ever born at the finish line. As Nietzsche said, "What is great in a man is that he is a bridge and not an end."

That being said, do not waste your mindpower on the end. Focus on the present and tackle the obstacle directly in front of you. Don't worry about looking like Arnold - just finish your set. Don't let your mind wander to the moment you receive the Nobel Prize - just finish publishing your science experiment.

So what can you do from now on? Embrace the pain. The reason we attempt to take shortcuts in the first place is to avoid pain. But pain is an amazing teacher. It's a sharpening stone and you are the blade. So from now on, expose yourself to it. Make a conscious effort to move towards it. Push past your comfort zone and understand that it's a horizon that compels you rather than a frontier that contains you.


[–][deleted] 233 points234 points  (5 children)

Great reminder - a helpful concept here is that of kaizen. Always be edging a bit closer, getting a little better in every passing moment. There is no such thing as a minute “off” (as even rest should be seen as a tool for getting better).

Counterintuitively, I find what most helps me anchor myself in the present moment is reverse-engineering my goals and using meticulous planning of my tasks daily. I plan what I will do tomorrow, today. That way I never forget what I can and must do right now to advance (Field Notes slogan comes to mind: “I'm not writing it down to remember it later, I'm writing it down to remember it now.”). And then I fucking do it.

This is often painful. But true growth (the kind born of pain and discomfort) is intoxicating and so much more pleasurable than being tossed about like a leaf in the wind.

And if I were to sit down with myself of five years from now for coffee, look into his eyes, see what he was wearing and how fit he looked, observe his skin, hair and aura: what would that say about the choices I am making now? What will me in five years say to me now if I took the frictionless route? What if I do everything in my power to get better every minute of every day? What would would I be in one year, let alone five? Will he thank me? Or will he take me outside and kick my ass for being a lazy fucking bum and ruining his (my) life?

The shortest path is the straightest. The degree to which you sacrifice plus sustained, massive action determine how short (or long) the pain will last. It’s a matter of intensity. And even then, fully in service to your mission, it can take longer than you might expect. You must be willing to wait. Patience is sacrifice.

Thankfully, there is no pleasure higher than carrying out your self-actualization, than “realizing your potentialities.”

One day you will look up to find you are among the elite. Even then, the habit of pushing further will be deeply ingrained, and you will accomplish more than what you thought possible.

One day, you will have pushed the human race forward.

It starts with falling in love with your best allies — pain and discomfort — right here, right now.

[–]unicornihave 44 points45 points  (0 children)

You sir have summed up all of the best concepts of theredpill into the most motivating and inspiring comment I have ever seen come across these pages.

[–]Psychocist 2 points3 points  (0 children)

What if I do everything in my power to get better every minute of every day? What would would I be in one year, let alone five? Will he thank me? Or will he take me outside and kick my ass for being a lazy fucking bum and ruining his (my) life?

By the same token, can you today thank yourself for where you are right now? If we are constantly improving ourselves and our conditions, then we should be able to thank ourselves for even the progress we've made in the last 3 months.

I thank myself daily for teaching myself programming. Without a doubt one of the best decisions I ever made. And in 5 years I'll thank myself for going through the agony of building a software business.

I think a lot of this also comes down to knowing yourself and being 100% honest with yourself. I can reel off within seconds every facet of my life that needs improvement. I know I should improve my diet, I should get better sleep, I should meditate a couple times a day, I should learn to swim (might save my life one day), I should cold approach just to get over rejection if nothing else, I should go make more friends, I should make sure I hit gym twice a week, I should put in the hours into freelancing and my software business, I should drink more water, I should religiously follow a morning and night routine, I should put myself in more discomforting situations, I should try improv again, I should overcome fear of public speaking and improve my skills, I should network with other entrepreneurs, I should ensure I'm doing things for the right reasons, and, above all else, I should allow myself to relax, etc, etc,.. that's just off the top of my head.

The reason I know all of this is because I am constantly watching my progress like a hawk. I am my mission, everything else is secondary. I look at life through an improvement lens - "how can this help me/them improve?" to every person, situation and activity. I'm 30 now and have been like this for probably 10 years. I'm incredibly excited about what I might achieve over the next 10 years, and by fuck I thank myself all the time for the lifestyle I've managed to build.

I started doing something recently, too, which has helped even more - talking to myself in the mirror. You really do have to be able to look yourself in the face and talk to yourself like a friend, a father, a guide, a supporter, whatever. Become all of those people and build an unbreakable bond with yourself. Once you've done that, nothing, no woman, no man, no circumstance, can break that down.

[–]1Godzimir1 11 points12 points  (1 child)

A wise man once said, "What comes fast leaves fast." Some people here may know who this wise man is.

[–]1clon3man 6 points7 points  (1 child)

However, I would add that looking for "shortcuts" on how to learn things faster (speed reading, gratitude, not burning out, etc.) is very valuable indeed, if not essential.

[–]raphael_delasuburbs 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I agree. But those are tools not shortcuts. They make the work easier or faster, but all of the work still gets done.

[–]Reformed65 2 points3 points  (5 children)

And that student's name?

Albert Einstein

[–]An_All-Beef_Engineer 5 points6 points  (4 children)

Take your jokes and SHUT IT.

[–]Reformed65 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Sir I'll have you know that this same story is in the official biography of Albert Einstein, this is no joke this is fact.

[–]An_All-Beef_Engineer 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Well parried. Full points to you.

[–]Reformed65 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Thank you.

blows away gun smoke

and that, boys, is how you solve a shit-test.

[–]Simonee12_12 0 points1 point  (0 children)