- September 07, 2011 -- Written by: Tim Johnson
Our greatest instrument for understanding the world—introspection . . . . The best way of knowing the inwardness of our neighbor is to know ourselves. Walter Lippmann (1889-1974)
So you go about your daily life and might not think too much about your every action. In martial arts we say that "He who conquers others is strong, but he who conquers himself is mighty." In order to really understand the world around you and make it work for you, you must first understand - and conquer - yourself. Conquer your fears, answer your own questions, find truths that are critical to your existence and understand them.
Easier said than done? Indubitably.
In my last post I suggested that you "question everything". And didn't really explain it. Sorry about that. What I mean is:
- Question the answers you're given even if it is from a "reputable source". No one is perfect and if the world is to be your oyster, you must be the one to understand the answers. If that requires that you create your own answers then that is the best way.
- Question your own capabilities. At first this will lead to doubt --> then understanding --> then confidence.
- Question your own solutions to problems. How did you come up with that solution? How were you influenced?
- Question your own subconscious actions. Why do you sit in a certain place at your dinner table?
- Get out of your routine. Take a different route to work. Read something that you would normally be put out by.
- Keep an objective attitude. Don't be put out by anything. Don't fall back on reactions you would normally use. Treat each moment as if it is entirely new and create responses to situations as if you had never experienced them before.
- Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Erase all of your notions of someone you interact with and create entirely new notions as if you were THEM observing YOURSELF. Watch yourself objectively as you proceed to live your life. Notice the details of your movements, your thoughts, your reactions.
Question yourself like you question others. Forgive others like you forgive youself.
It's only when you understand why you do the things you do that you will start to see better ways. Be open minded and take influences for problem solutions from anywhere you can. Don't let pride get in your way - immediately admit when you are wrong, or when you start to question yourself. No one is perfect, so learn from your surroundings.