Being separated from your loved ones, extreme weather and monotonous work routines can put quite the damper on your spirit some times. After a few days ravashing in my own pity party, I decided to turn my mentality around a bit, be more proactive in my lifetyle and positive in my thinking. I read a book once called The Happiness Project, and one of the authors main points were that most people are happiest when they are growing. I know this for a fact to be true to myself (read: years of aimless wonder through foreign countires, 7 years in community college). There’s been an uprising of Massive Online Open Courses, or MOOCs, which are taught my Stanford, Harvard and Berkeley professors, offered online for free. Seeing as though I haven’t been mentally stimulated for some time and need a little pick me up of personal/academic growth , I decided to give one a try.
The course I am taking is called Every Day Mind Mastery. It describes this 13X4 algorithm of how to master your thought and action, that is- do the things that you know you want to do. It’s based off of an old idea of Benjamin Franklin, of focusing on 13 virtues or qualities that you want to master or grow in. You focus on one quality a week for 13 weeks, then repeat the cycle 4 times (adding up to a whole year). Unlike many programs or diets, absolute completion is not the goal. It’s about your continuous journey, about directing your attention towards areas of your life and raising your personal growth bar.
Some people accuse me of being self centered and only caring about myself. While this breaks my heart and bruises my ego, its a fair criticism. And honestly, it’s one I am willing to defend. One of the professors in this lecture said a great quote today about this topic, he said “I am as great as the greatest but no better than anyone else” He says ” I am a god among gods”.
and i think that is so honest and beautiful and true.
Ayn Rand wrote extensively about the idea of ethical egoism and this concept that if everyone did what was best for themselves, that society as a whole would be better because of it. And while I ashamedly admit I never did finish Atlas Shrugged ( I maxed out 3/4 of the way in) I surprisingly aligned myself with this virtue. The lecturer touches on her concept, relating it to a sausage machine. That life, like a sausage machine, gives you whatever you put into it. You put in pork, you get pork. You put in success, you get success. So in reality, it’s not as much about the tangible qualities, but the mental script we read ourselves (or is read to us through culture). When we start looking at what we are putting in (weather its our diets and bodies or relationships and attitudes) we are able to see the truth behind such an idea. And as much as society, Obama (JOKING), and others in your life will have you believe that it is not so,
at the end of the day it is all about you.
It’s about your focus, your story, your attitude and actions. It’s about the law of attraction and quantum physics, how we attract whatever it is that we put out. The lecturer describes the science behind this, the reticular activating system. A function of our brains that looks for whatever you tell it to. The RAS is like a filmmaker and we are the directors. You tell your brain what to look for, and it will recognize it with sensory measures. Think about when you buy a new car, say a toaster looking Scion. And only after you buy the Scion, do you start to notice them everywhere! It’s like you have a new, special Scion seeking antenna that you did not possess before. That’s the RAS. It’s about awareness, noticing your thoughts and choosing what your focus is. And its a powerful ability because we are able to focus on those areas of our lives that matter most. When we use our RAS to visualize and achieve a goal, it can be life changing.