A lot of people have expressed an interest in my personal philosophy, what positions I hold on various things and so on, so I decided to write up a pair of posts to go over the topic. This first post will go over my basic philosophy on life and brief explanations of why I hold those positions. I don’t think philosophy is worth anything until you put it into practice though, so the second post will detail how my personal philosophy dictates my actions in trying to lead as good a life as possible. If you don’t care about my rationalizations and just want to get right to the practical stuff, feel free to skip right to that post.
This is in no way an extensive outline on my philosophy, that would take more time and space than I want to give to the topic and is fluid enough that I’d have to revise it too often. Instead, these are just the foundational principles of my personal philosophy – or at least the ones that I can pin down concretely.
There are few things you can say that make me quite as angry as “I’m bored”.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you’re in a relatively modernized country and have access to reliable Internet. That single resource means that you have absolutely no excuse to ever consider yourself bored.
Boredom is a unique affliction in that, by definition, you could potentially do anything to fix it.
It’s that reason that I think the real problem when people always find themselves feeling bored is that in reality they’re just boring people.
It’s no secret – after over a decade of practicing and eventually teaching Jeet Kune Do and being involved in parkour for nearly as long Bruce Lee is a huge role model for me.
It’s not just his discipline, martial arts skill and fitness that inspire me though. Bruce Lee was fascinated by philosophy (it’s even an enduring legend he was a philosophy major, although technically he majored in drama) and it shows in his interviews and writing – he had a lot to say on how he best thought to live a good life.
In that spirit I’ve collected seven of his lessons here for you to make your life better.
I do my very best to be in the presence of people who are much smarter than myself as often as possible. One such person, Jonathan Fass, recently posted an interesting thought on Facebook.
Paraphrasing a bit, he asks whether you’d rather have a fingernail torn off or get an unexpected punch in the stomach. He surmises most people would choose the punch – something I agree with. The pain of a blow to the stomach seems mild and temporary compared to the shudder inducing thought of having a nail torn off.
This is extremely irrational though. Tearing a fingernail off, while painful, is not extremely threatening outside of the ever present risk of infection to exposed tissue. A strike to the stomach on the other hand can be deadly. Outside of Jonathan’s example of Harry Houdini there are plenty of other examples of punches to the stomach causing internal bleeding and ruptured organs which are easily fatal.
Even with that information, I think a lot of people would still chance death to avoid the pain of having a fingernail removed. Ask your followers and see. This kind of behavior isn’t just limited to physical pain though, and that’s where it starts to ruin your decision making.
Not only is thinking it probably false in relation to whatever it is you’re working toward, it’s probably directly sabotaging your progress.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking this way – stories of how every little bit helped someone in their endeavor are popular. You hear about candidates winning by a single vote, or people taking small, seemingly insignificant steps toward their goals which add up over time into something huge. People like to hear about these types of things.
The problem is it puts the focus on the wrong areas and leads people to make bad prioritization. Bad prioritization leads to failed goals.