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Isie Mckee

@isiemckee

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Martial arts is not just about fighting

A common misunderstanding about martial arts: Many people think martial arts is about fighting, but it is really about improving your wisdom and intelligence.

Any ability resulting from practice and improvement could embody kung fu for example. There is a kung fu of dancing, painting, cooking, writing, dealing with people, and even governing. The broad understanding of kung fu is one key to understanding traditional Chinese philosophy.

@isiemckee

Kung Fu for Philosophers

opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

The chief orientation of traditional Chinese philosophy is about how to live one's life instead of finding out the truth about reality.

The well-known question posed by Zhuangzi in the 4th century B.C. - was he Zhuangzi who had dreamt of being a butterfly, or was he a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi? - was an epistemological question. Zhuangzi realised that he had perceived the "transformation of things", meaning one should go along with this transformation, not search for what is real.

Confucius's call for "rectification of names" - using words appropriately - is a kung fu method for securing sociopolitical order, as "names" are placeholders for expectations of how the bearer of the names should behave and be treated.

Mencius and Xunzi's views about human nature are recommendations of how one should view oneself to become a better person, not metaphysical assertions about whether humans are by nature good or bad.

According to the Buddhist doctrine, the no-self doctrine aims to free one from suffering since suffering comes from attachment to the self.

Buddhist meditations are kung fu practices to leave one's attachment behind.

Western philosophers such as Socrates, the Stoics and the Epicurians mainly were concerned with virtue to live a good life. Similarly, classic Chinese philosophy calls our attention to a dimension that transcends the obsession with searching for eternal, universal truth and practising it through rational arguments.

The kung fu perspective adds a clear emphasis on the cultivation and transformation of the person. A good action must be rooted in the entire person, and goodness is shown through its consequences and artistic style.

Aristotelian virtue ethics focuses on the cultivation of the agent instead of the making of rules of conduct. The kung fu approach shares this view, but the process of ethics does not rely on any metaphysics for justification.

The person who follows the Aristotelian metaphysics will put more effort into cultivating her intelligence, where a person who follows the Confucian relational metaphysics will focus on learning rituals that harmonize with interpersonal relations. This view allows for multiple competing visions of excellence.

Anchoring: Drawing Our Mental Maps

Simply talking about making a change doesn’t do any good. One has to combine positive experiences along with the learning and create better understanding using associations.

NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), a technique that syncs our linguistic abilities with our mind has a concept called anchoring, where specific life situations are associated with certain psychological outcomes.

How To Anchor Our Performance Psychology

forbes.com

Anchoring can be observed in the following ways:

  • Wrong posture, when combined with a negative mindset can become an unconscious negative anchor affecting the person for a lifetime.
  • A standing desk, where a person works out on a treadmill while actively rehearsing and thinking about investing opportunities creates a positive anchor where his mindset is energized.

Most of us work with our energy in a random way, where our mood and mindset are anchored to life situations that are not explicitly programmed by us. One can hack one’s mindset by anchoring specific life situations to our mood and energy in a deliberate manner.

Creating positive anchors helps our ‘mental maps’ where we start to mint happiness, eventually energizing other areas of our lives.

Overthinking

It  means overanalyzing something that happened, regretting an action, or worrying about the future of something. 

It's when you can't think about anything else, and it's affecting your life in a negative way.

How to Stop Overthinking Everything and Find Peace of Mind

lifehacker.com

Overthinking and action

If you're overthinking an idea you can actually do something about, the best thing you can do is take action now.

This doesn't mean you have to suddenly run off to make something, it just means you start taking a step forward. We tend to overthink because we fear failure, but if we just start working, that dissipates quickly

Break the circle of overthinking:
  • Relabel the ideas you're overthinking ("self-doubt," "anxiety," etc)
  • Reframe your experience and identify your thinking errors
  • Refocus your attention on the part that matters
  • Revalue your brain's messages with the new information
A Common Pitfall in a Connected World

Our world today is more connected than ever. And one pitfall in our hyper-connected world as it intersects with our business relationships and networking is a state of continuous partial attention. It is a state where people give half attention to what they do - all the time.

The Danger of Continuous Partial Attention

entrepreneur.com

When attending a function of any type, it is increasingly common to find people paying attention to their mobile devices instead of effectively connecting with others.

While our desire to connect and be connected is a strength, we can lose the connection with the person in front of us when we simultaneously pay attention to our phone.

Most of us work at our computers with notifications switched on: email, social media and different streaming services.

It is very easy to lose track of what you were last doing. Continuous partial attention keeps you from being alert, attentive, and focused. Social media is great to stay in touch, but we need to know when to focus on face-to-face interactions and put notifications on Do Not Disturb.

4 useful truths for your personal growth journey

There are four things that are very useful for people who have big expectations of themselves and life that will help you stop pressuring yourself.

  1. You don't need to have big goals to be successful.
  2. You don't need to have many thriving relationships or community to be happy.
  3. You don't have to know your purpose to live a happy life.
  4. You cannot be happy in every situation because you choose to be.

Stop pressuring yourself - 4 truths you probably won't hear in the self-help industry

thedailypositive.com

Goals are great as they clarify your direction and inspire you. But there are lots of successful people that don't deliberately set and achieve big goals.

Goals elevate your life to higher levels, but it is not clear what success means. Success could mean being a good human being and doing things that make you happy. Define what success means to you, then follow that.

Relationships are core to our life journey. But you don't need lots of amazing friends and a big community of like-minded people to be happy.

You can have a small handful of people who are meaningful to you and with whom you feel connected.

Many human beings don't really know their life purpose, but they have a fulfilling life.

Instead of getting stressed out because you're not sure what your purpose is, focus on what inspires you, what life puts right in front of you. Lean into what feels joyful and intuitively aligned for you, and you will have a fulfilling life.

Happiness is a choice. But happiness in some situations is not possible nor appropriate - for example, the diagnosis of a serious health condition, losing a loved one, relationship breakdown, grief, injury, job loss, or a financial problem.

However, you can have inner PEACE in any situation, no matter what is happening.

6 Life Lessons From Video Games
  1. Sometimes games tempt us to cheat, but winning while cheating is an empty victory.
  2. Many games have secret bonuses and features not explained. To extract the most out of things you have to be meticulous.
  3. Repeated failure is built into the learning curve of any well-designed game. Failure is a part of success in real life and you have to learn to embrace it.
  4.  Experiment with strategies, even if it leads to an occasional loss.
  5. Most gamers are willing to spend copious amounts of time mastering games but can’t say the same about their careers. Enthusiasm propels you to success, try to bring some of that to life.
  6. Most people are engaged by games but not by their jobs. Try to gamefy your work and challenge yourself at the office.

5 Lessons Video Games Taught Me About Success

entrepreneur.com

Just get the work done

In a constant pursuit to get work done, much of our work is focused on output and measured in terms of quantity. 

In our endeavor to maximize our output, we turn everything into a joyless activity to be finished as soon as possible. Everything seems rushed, mediocre and uninspired.

Forget success, pursue excellence instead

medium.com

The world is success-oriented

With the whole world focused on success, instead of excellence, or happiness or personal growth, one has no choice but to strive to be successful.

Defining excellence

While success is easy to define, as it has set metrics that are measurable, excellence is much harder to define because it is rare, difficult to scale, and ambiguous.


Excellence is intangible

Excellence does not measure the size of your ego, your income or your fan following.

It means defining one's self-worth pursuing an activity for its own sake, deriving happiness and satisfaction from the work itself.

The Visual Cortex: Processing Visual Information

The visual cortex region of the brain, which is responsible for processing visual information came millions of years before reading and writing was invented.

  • Recent research has provided new insights on how the brain is able to make sense of letters studied the ancient engraved patterns produced by early humans and their ancestors like Neanderthals and Homo Erectus.
  • The findings suggest that many repetitive lines, grids and angles make up the early visual markings that seem to evolve into complex writing and reading.

How did reading and writing evolve? Neuroscience gives us some clues

weforum.org

Our brain has the ability to respond to certain patterns and try to make sense of them, using the visual perceptions known as Gestalt Principles, helping early scribblers to construct basic formations that stimulated the higher-order visual cortex regions of the brain.

Our brain's response to geometry and patterns started taking shape in creation of symmetrical tools known as Acheulean Tools, about 700,000 years ago.

  • The geometric patterns that denoted information using symmetry, evolved from crude lines into engraved designs and eventually into modern writing.
  • Writing text involves an area of the brain known as premotor cortex, which is also responsible for driving manual skills.
  • Various neurological processes involving identification, pattern recognition and replication to create meaning furthered the evolution of the skills of writing and reading, which have stood the test of time.
Sudoku

Sudoku has been identified as a classic meme - a mental virus that spreads from person to person across national boundaries. The puzzle is using our brains to multiply across the world.

Sudoku consists of 81 squares, divided into nine blocks of nine squares each. Some squares contain a number. The goal is to fill in the empty squares so that the figures 1 to 9 appear just once in every row, column, and individual block. The puzzle does not require general knowledge or mathematical skill.

So you thought Sudoku came from the Land of the Rising Sun ...

theguardian.com

  • In 1783, a Swiss mathematician made 'Latin Squares,' which was described as magic squares.
  • The Dell Puzzle Magazine published the puzzle Number Place in the late 1970s.
  • As Dell continued to publish the puzzle through the Eighties quietly, it was imitated and embraced in Japan. Publisher Nikoli made two small improvements and renamed it Sudoku. 'Su' means a number, and 'doku' translates as singular.

In 1997, Wayne Gould, a man from New Zealand, was visiting Tokyo. While he was browsing a bookstore, he saw the squares and felt tempted to fill them in. Over the next six years, he developed a computer program that instantly makes up Sudoku puzzles.

Gould's wife published one of his puzzles in the local newspaper. It spread to Britain and was published in the Times, where it took off.

The Gift Of Our Unique Abilities

We all have unique abilities and skills that are unlike others. Instead of ignoring our strengths and pursuing stuff which may not be right for us but is what others are doing, we do injustice to our key skill or gift.

We need to find a purpose that aligns with our skills.

Don't Change Your Tool—Change Your Purpose

dariusforoux.com

Focusing on our strengths, understanding them and finding true purpose is a two-step exercise:

  1. Ask yourself what you are good at.
  2. Ask yourself if you enjoy that activity.

Write down what insights come to you in a journal. With time, introspection and humility you will find your true purpose by this self-assessment.

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