A List of Practices I Wish I Knew Decades Ago

I just started subscribing to the website Medium. It’s part of my program to offset my alarming habit of going to Facebook (no link here you’ll notice) whenever I get bored. When it happens I crave not just distraction, but also shiny new ideas, variety with substance, and not just another commercial push to make us all unthinking consumers. I think I’ve found that with Medium, and I think it is worth paying for that content, all of $50 per year or $5 per month.

This afternoon I headed over there not expecting anything, but holey smokes, I’ve found another article that I want to share with everyone!!! Thank goodness I have a blog because otherwise I’d want to post this to Facebook, and you can see where I’d put myself in a conundrum if I did, at least I have an outlet here.

This article is titled “7 Psychological Superpowers Few People Have (That You Can Use to Set Yourself Apart)“. It’s all about restraint. It’s just as important to NOT do things as to do things. I should choose my battles. These “superpowers” rely on restraint. Here’s a list of them, paraphrased:

  1. “Hide Your Intelligence” – I love learning stuff and then sharing it. Problem was, I had no restraint with it. It took decades to figure out how that came across to most other people. Sure, I have a serviceable brain and can bring good things to the conversation, but the costs for showing off my smarts too much has been high…AND I’m not really all that smart anyway. I still have trouble getting this right.
  2. “Resist Group Think” – The author cited a great quote, “Madness is rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.” — Friedrich Nietzsche. I got most of this right long ago, but I still managed to glom onto certain group thoughts that did nothing to help me, my family, friends or loved ones. In this age of social networks I’m grateful for the early training, and still have much to learn.
  3. “Stop Caring What People Think About You” – Paraphrasing the article here; When I think of my place in the universe, why should I be so preoccupied about ‘what will happen’ or ‘what others’ will think when I’m already essentially dead? Since finding out about my cancer this has become particularly meaningful for me.
  4. “Stop Placing Blame Altogether” – Another great quote cited by the author, “If it’s in your control, why do you do it? If it’s in someone else’s control, then who are you blaming? Atoms? The gods? Stupid either way. Blame no one.” — Marcus Aurelius. Sure I can blame where there’s a causal relationship, but I’m trying to be careful about spreading blame and instead focus on spreading solutions. I’m actually pretty good at this.
  5. “Stop “Waiting to Talk”” – Similar to the problems I’ve had hiding hat I think of as my intelligence, a couple of decades back I realized that if I let other people talk and actually listened to them, I would be a lot more effective at making change in the world, or at least helping people. People love to talk. Again, I just wish it didn’t take me so long to figure this out. I struggle but have developed some habits to remember to do this.
  6. “Stop Letting Your Desires Pull You in Every Direction” – Ooo look! Bright and shiny!! Fight the urge, focus, focus, focus. Once this was a big problem. I think age and setting good goals has been pretty effective at knocking this out of me.
  7. “Stop Taking Everything So Seriously” – This article just keeps putting up great quotes, “Outrage is like a lot of other things that feel good but over time devour us from the inside out. And it’s even more insidious than most vices because we don’t even consciously acknowledge that it’s a pleasure.” — Tim Kreider. Like I noted above, I try to choose my battles now.

I think this might have been the best fifty bucks I’ve spent in a while!