suffering can be transformed

#59 – no mud, no lotus: the art of transforming suffering by thich nhat hanh

two thoughts inform my mind on suffering.

The Murakami: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

The Stoics: “you don’t control what happens to you in life, you only control how you respond”.

and through this week’s book, i have a third one:

Suffering can be transformed.

to live well, we must suffer well.

what does it mean to suffer well? suffering can be transformed

a death countdown clock and other useful tools

#58 – Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss

ferriss is a human guinea pig who tries different things to find shortcuts to success.

this book collects the wisdom of the guests on his podcasts which include some of my favourite people on this planet: derek sivers, seth godin, brene brown, cheryl strayed, alain de botton. a death countdown clock and other useful tools

this is my training. this is my practice.

#57 – Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss

so.

i have been thinking about the word “practice”.

it started off with me watching oprah interview thich naht hanh. when asked about his “peaceful aura”, thich replied, “this is my training. this is my practice.”

i believe this practice takes a lifetime.

what is my training? what is my practice?

what is yours?

for the last year, my practice was reading regularly, thinking and writing about what i read. this is the first time i had a year-long project and it’s been immense.

for 2017, i will have 2 annual projects, one of which i will share publicly.

this is my training. this is my practice.

give fewer f*cks

#55 – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

dear kafka,

this is one of those books i wish i read when i was younger, which is perfect for you – the toughest 15 year old boy in the world.

some great words here:

“This book will not teach you how to gain or achieve, but rather how to lose and let go. It will teach you to take inventory of your life and scrub out all but the most important items. It will teach you to close your eyes and trust that you can fall backwards and still be okay. It will teach you to give fewer fucks. It will teach you to not try.” give fewer f*cks

this is an important book that must be read (part 4)

#54 – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

500 million humans in 1500 vs. 7 billion now.

“But the single most remarkable and defining moment of the past 500 years came at 05:29:45 on 16 July 1945. At that precise second, American scientists detonated the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo, New Mexico. From that point onward, humankind had the capability not only to change the course of history, but to end it.”

“modern science differs from all previous traditions of knowledge in three critical ways:

a. The willingness to admit ignorance. Modern science is based on the Latin injunction ignoramus – ‘we do not know’. It assumes that we don’t know everything. Even more critically, it accepts that the things that we think we know could be proven wrong as we gain more knowledge. No concept, idea or theory is sacred and beyond challenge.”

b. The centrality of observation and mathematics. Having admitted ignorance, modern science aims to obtain new knowledge. It does so by gathering observations and then using mathematical tools to connect these observations into comprehensive theories.”

c. The acquisition of new powers. Modern science is not content with creating theories. It uses these theories in order to acquire new powers, and in particular to develop new technologies.” this is an important book that must be read (part 4)

this is an important book that must be read (part 3)

#53 – Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

i love how culture is described as “artificial instincts” – “Myths and fictions accustomed people, nearly from the moment of birth, to think in certain ways, to behave in accordance with certain standards, to want certain things, and to observe certain rules. They thereby created artificial instincts that enabled millions of strangers to cooperate effectively. This network of artificial instincts is called culture’.”

culture is not permanent. it changes.

“Unlike the laws of physics, which are free of inconsistencies, every man-made order is packed with internal contradictions. Cultures are constantly trying to reconcile these contradictions, and this process fuels change.”

example of this contradiction – equality and individual freedom as fundamental values. if a society wants to guarantee equality, it will have to take away the freedoms of the rich.

“Such contradictions are an inseparable part of every human culture. In fact, they are culture’s engines, responsible for the creativity and dynamism of our species.” this is an important book that must be read (part 3)