It’s only been 6 days, and I think I’ve cracked the code to Project Thinking Out Loud. I’ve discovered the key to creating – which I may or may not have ripped off of Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. I read it a long time ago, so who knows. But even though I’m sure this idea isn’t original, I’ve finally realized how powerful and true it is.
I came out of the school system thinking that there are 4 ways to spread ideas: the expository essay, the persuasive essay, the analytical essay, and the argumentative essay. Or whatever. But it turns out (as with many things school taught me) that’s just not true.
I’ve discovered an interesting way to spread extreme ideas. That is, ideas that are unpalatable or uncommon. There are two things you have to do if you want to make people stop and think about these kinds of things:
- Get rid of the fluff. Get out of the middle of the road. Hop off the fence. And do so without shame or reservation.
- Don’t acknowledge all the counter-arguments against your statement, and don’t even acknowledge all of the points of a particular counter-argument. Extreme ideas should be presented extremely.
Inspired by my reading of Nietzsche and Hermann Hesse over the past few years. Listen to the full recording above to hear me put these “rules” into context with an example from my life.
This post is a part of my Personal Development Project for May 2016.
I can’t believe I’m writing an article about clothes. Really, truly, I’m embarrassed. But bear with me because I have something to say. About clothes.
You are what you eat. Your words reflect your character. The things that we love tell us what we are. Insert more cliches and proverbs about how our essence is reflected in our actions here. But most obviously, our clothes give others an idea of who we are. What’s that old saying about first impressions? Yeah. You are the first thing that people notice, not necessarily your words or works. How you look and what you wear matters.
Keeping good hygiene is important. Maintaining a nice haircut can go a long way. Taking care of your skin is rewarding in both the short term and long term. Stand up straight. Walk with purpose. Not only will you look different, but you’ll feel a lot different if you make the tiniest adjustments. You’ll feel better, stronger, more confident. It’s worth the initial discomfort of breaking bad habits and setting aside time to take care of yourself.
But there’s something there in the clothes themselves too. Something subtle, but important.
The following stream-of-consciousness style essay is inspired by The Charisma Myth by Olivia Cabane. You can read my summary and review of the book on Goodreads.
The point of The Charisma Myth was to help the reader adjust their body language to reflect their interests and desires. And it was interesting for me to read not just as a means of self-development, but also as a means of self-awareness and interpersonal awareness.
Obviously, people don’t always mean what they say. But the opposite is true too. Sometimes people do mean what they say, and if you read too deep into the language used or body language exhibited (even if the assessment is completely subconscious), then you can easily misunderstand people.
To use an example from the book: You scrunch your face after I say how important personal privacy is in the context of government surveillance. I can assume that you reacted that way because you don’t like what I said. But maybe the sun is just in your eyes. Another example: Someone asks you how long you’re going to be “stuck” in your current job. You can assume that they think you’re powerless over your situation, or that they disapprove of the work you’re doing. But maybe they’re just trying to be funny, or maybe they didn’t give their word choice much thought. It’s easy to misunderstand people when we delve too deep into things.
And it can be hard to say exactly what you mean. You don’t think in words or language, so speaking involves several encoding and decoding processes. Things quickly get lost in translation. And everything gets more complicated when you yourself don’t even know what you mean.