Building Greater Self-Reliance: Day 07

31 Journaling Prompts for Building Greater Self-Reliance:  Day 07

Ultimately, we come to self-reliance by forgetting ourselves. It’s the kind of self-trust many new parents feel because they finally have this thing outside themselves that matters much more than themselves. We can access it by caring about anything properly (a project, a movement, an idea, a person, etc.).

Milton Mayeroff describes this dynamic in On Caring:

“Direction that comes from the growth of the other should not be confused with being ‘other directed,’ where this refers to the kind of conformity in which I lose touch with both myself and the other. Rather, by following the growth of the other, I am more responsive to myself, just as the musician is more in touch with himself when he is absorbed in the needs of the music.”

Ironically, no matter how physically self-reliant we become, if we never truly care for something outside of ourselves we’ll never become self-reliant.

What do you care most about? As in, what do you give yourself to most freely? How could you care for it a little more perfectly? How does caring for this thing outside yourself actually help you trust yourself more?

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Building Greater Self-Reliance: Day 06

31 Journaling Prompts for Building Greater Self-Reliance:  Day 06

“These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world.”

― Emerson

Self-reliance often means following our quiet, inner voice more faithfully. It means not just listening to what we say, or even to what we think, but paying more attention to what usually lies beneath our consciousness. Picasso himself knew that what he wanted to express wasn’t his own idea.

“To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing. . . . When I find myself facing a blank page, that’s always going through my head. What I capture in spite of myself interests me more than my own ideas.”

― Picasso

Picasso wasn’t aiming to express his ideas but ideas that seemed to be beyond him. He understood that self-reliance wasn’t about absolute control and knowing the answer ahead of time, but diving into the unknown and trusting himself to navigate.

Write about a time you listened to that inner voice, then a time you ignored it. How did each turn out? How did the conversations with your inner voice differ? How can you become better attuned to those subtle nudgings?

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Building Greater Self-Reliance: Day 05

31 Journaling Prompts for Building Greater Self-Reliance:  Day 05

“All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.”

― Peter Thiel

“The dynamic [of competition] is not unlike a popularity contest in which everyone tries to win by being equal parts friendly, happy, active, and fun. Or an election campaign in which all the candidates try to be charming, serious, humble, and strong. Once everyone starts doing it, no one stands out.”

― Youngme Moon

To compete is to choose to play somebody else’s game. This can be a massive source of energy, but it’s also a dangerous game. The billionaire investor and founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, said that the fierce competition in his college career nearly kept him from doing what he actually was meant to do. He later wrote in Zero to One, “All failed companies are the same: they failed to escape competition.”

When we’re locked in competition we tend to obsess on doing the same thing but faster, bigger, or cheaper. Competition can blind us to opportunities to truly distinguish ourselves.

In fact, the fiercer the competition, the more similar things get. Harvard Professor Youngme Moon writes in her book Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd that, “The dynamic [of competition] is not unlike a popularity contest in which everyone tries to win by being equal parts friendly, happy, active, and fun. Or an election campaign in which all the candidates try to be charming, serious, humble, and strong. Once everyone starts doing it, no one stands out.”

Put simply, Moon has found that, “The more diligently firms compete with each other, the less differentiated they can become.”

Even more often than businesses, individual lives are ruined by being too preoccupied with competition to look around. Where are you competing in your life that you don’t actually want to be (e.g., money, audience, position, possessions, looks, awards, travel, experiences etc.)? If you weren’t worried about winning that, what would you focus on?

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“31 Journaling Prompts for Building Greater Self-Reliance”

y’all know me.  I’m always trying to do a proper series of sorts on here.  so here’s another go at it.

below is the intro as written by its creator — so all credit on this post below the cut goes to him.

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“[…] and we are soon forgotten […]”

early

~ Charles F. Raymond ~

because they said it better

“I am very sad and I feel more miserable than I can say, and I do not know how far I’ve come. I do not know what to do or what to think, but vehemently desire to leave this place. I feel so melancholy.”
― Vincent van Gogh, from Letters (1875-1890)

“A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.”
― Emily Dickinson, No. 1333

“I didn’t want to wake up. I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad. It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.”
― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“I talk to God but the sky is empty.”
― Sylvia Plath

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”
― David Foster Wallace

“I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. I’m not doing well in terms of being a functional human, you know?”
― Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.”
― Seneca

“I don’t want any more of this ‘try, try again’ stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“It is not seen as insane when a fighter, under an attack that will inevitable lead to his death, chooses to take his own life first. In fact, this act has been encouraged for centuries, and is accepted even now as an honorable reason to do the deed. How is it any different when you are under attack by your own mind?”
― Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

“Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don’t kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, “He fought so hard.” And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong.”
― Sally Brampton, Shoot The Damn Dog: A Memoir Of Depression

“What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.”
― Sylvia Plath

“And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.”
― Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year

“People pontificate, ‘Suicide is selfishness.’ […] Cowardice is nothing to do with it – suicide takes considerable courage. Japanese have the right idea. No, what’s selfish is to demand another to endure an intolerable existence, just to spare families, friends, and enemies a bit of soul-searching.”
― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

“In a strange way, I had fallen in love with my depression.”
― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation

“I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.”
― Sylvia Plath