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How to Make Your Ego Your Bitch

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“We are all born free and spend a lifetime becoming slaves to our own false truths.” ~Atticus

Understand: Your ego is not your enemy. It’s more like a clumsy anchor with too many feelings attached to it. It’s like a whiny, woe-is-me mass of sentimentality constantly tripping over itself in front of you. If you are the horse, then Ego is the cart that you keep ramming into wondering why you can’t get anywhere.

Still, it’s not the enemy. It’s one of the most vital aspects of yourself. The problem is that you are probably its bitch, instead of the other way around. You are your ego’s tool, and it leverages you against yourself all the damn time. It slaps you around, and you allow it to. Hell, you probably welcome it. This is because you believe (rather than think) that it knows what you want. It doesn’t. It’s nothing, more or less, than your sense of self-esteem or self-importance. It doesn’t know what you want. It only knows how to keep you safe, comfortable, and secure. It only understands self-preservation.

So the secret to turning the tables on your insecure, uninitiated, tiny ego is to practice self-improvement rather than self-importance. Self-importance leads to impotence. Self-improvement leads to liberation, self-empowerment, and the rise of an initiated, self-actualized ego that’s ready to take on all comers and prepared to perpetually overcome itself.

Practice getting out of your own way:

“Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.” ~Rumi

Step one in turning the tables on your ego: get over yourself. Understand that you are a fallible, imperfect, prone to mistakes naked-ape fumbling through the toddler-phase of its species’ evolution. You are a tiny speck of dust in an unfathomably enormous universe that will exist none-seconds compared to the ancient eternity of the cosmos.

That should humble you. But your ego probably won’t allow it to. It’s too damn scary. Too mortal. Too real. So your ego is probably spoon-feeding you a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance to prevent it from getting overwhelmed. Hence the vital importance of practicing getting out of your own way.

Humility is a cornerstone of self-improvement. Humility is the searing pain of seeing the light upon exiting Plato’s Cave. It’s collapsing in a pile of existential angst in the Desert of the Real after transcending the Matrix. Humility is the ultimate psychological leveling mechanism. It puts the ego in check so that you can finally be authentic with yourself.

The beauty of practicing getting out of your own way (and thus making your ego your bitch) is that eventually your ego gets used to driving in the back seat. It starts to learn how not to take itself so seriously. It begins to see how everything is connected to everything else. It becomes a vital tool in your arsenal, used to flexibly leverage reality into an understandable construct. In short: it becomes interdependent rather than codependent.

We practice getting out of our own way so that we are humble enough to realize that we’re, paraphrasing Palahniuk, the same decaying organic matter as everything else, but that we’re also unique and fragile snowflakes. And the only way to become more than just a unique and fragile snowflake is to make self-improvement primary to self-preservation. We must sow a little painful humility if we are to reap the rewards of self-empowerment.

Stop acting like the world owes you something:

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” ~Soren Kierkegaard

Here’s the thing: You don’t deserve a damn thing. Someone told you that at some point during your fragile development and your ego has used it as a prop ever since. Nobody deserves anything.

You don’t deserve love. You don’t deserve to be happy. You don’t deserve a job. Hell, you could even earn those things through your own blood, sweat, and tears, and you would still not “deserve” it. Why? Because the world simply doesn’t work that way. There are probabilities involved. There’s the luck factor. There’s vicissitude and unexpected change to contend with. And the mother of them all: you simply cannot control other people, unless you become a tyrant.

Only tyrants think the world owes them something. Your ego is a little bitchy tyrant inside you. And until you have the courage to flip the tables on it, your ego will continue to tyrannize you and everyone around you. Tricking you into thinking you deserve the world. When really you don’t deserve a goddamn thing. There’s daring, there’s courage, there’s proactive self-improvement, but there is no “deserve.” Toss that hindering sentiment out the window. Defenestrate it along with the outdated notion that “things happen for a reason.”

The beauty of practicing letting go of your sense of entitlement (and thus making your ego your bitch) is that eventually you realize that everything is connected to everything else. You see how you are the world and the world is you. You don’t need anything because it’s already a part of you. Your ego goes from being a self-entitled tyrant to a self-overcoming liberator.

Make mistakes of ambition, not mistakes of sloth:

“All courses of action are risky, so prudence is not in avoiding danger but calculating risk and acting decisively. Make mistakes of ambition and not mistakes of sloth. Develop the strength to do bold things, not the strength to suffer.” ~Niccolo Machiavelli

When you are your ego’s bitch, you suffer unnecessarily. Your tiny comfort zone is a prison, and metal doesn’t stretch. Bars are not flexible. Sure, inside your prison everything is safe, secure, and comfortable, but it’s all just empty platitudes and sentimental delusions that you keep telling yourself to prevent your prison from turning into a rubber room. But at least a rubber room is flexible. That’s why the wise have always advised going a little crazy from time to time in order to shake things up and shock ourselves into awakening. As Tony Schwartz said, “Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”

A mistake of sloth is remaining fortified in the prison of your comfort zone. It’s allowing your ego to continue making you its bitch by bolting the horizon and blocking the door. It’s ignoring all calls to adventure. It’s turning a deaf ear to “a language older than words.” Meanwhile, Rumi is in your soul like a Persian Yoda, pleading: “Why do you stay in prison, when the door is wide open?” But no, you won’t have it. Ego is boss. Self-preservation is your master. You’re in the grips of cognitive dissonance and you can’t see past your need for comfort, security, and safety.

A mistake of ambition, on the other hand, is a leap of courage. It’s a strategic risk based upon passion, perseverance, and love. It’s saying, “Fuck my ego! I’m giving this a shot.” Which gets you out of your own way by launching you past comfort, security, and safety and into some much-needed adventure. It’s heeding the call, listening to the pulse that connects all things, and then acting with deep resolve on a calculated gamble.

The alternative is unnecessary suffering in the prison our ego has erected. Either way there is suffering, but at least in the suffering that comes from making mistakes of ambition, we are free. As Ajahn Chah said, “There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free.”

Create a less shitty life through cyclic self-overcoming:

“In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have taken for granted.” ~Bertrand Russell

So yeah, adventure hurts. The unknown is scary, and unexpected things can happen. Hell, you could even die. Making mistakes of ambition is no walk in the park. Things could go wrong. But so what! There are greater pains. There are worse ways to go down. Like making mistakes of sloth. Growth is painful. Change is even more painful. But remaining stuck in a shitty life of aggrandized ego-fellating is arguably the worst pain of all.

This is where the art of self-overcoming comes in. Self-overcoming is bitch-slapping your ego out of the way, taking the reins of your life into your hands, and proactively going about improving upon who you were yesterday. It’s taking Nietzsche’s idea of the Overman and running with it. It’s a personalized Fibonacci sequence, where your own development is predicated upon an individualized progressive evolution that will ultimately contribute to the evolution of the species.

Self-overcoming is realizing that the human condition is fragile and fallible. And that’s okay. That’s precisely why self-overcoming is necessary. It’s a vehicle that compels us to become robust and wise despite our inherently fragile and fallible natures. The ego wants to keep you safe in your fragile and fallible comfort zone. Self-overcoming tears down the comfort zone and teaches the ego how to become a flexible tool of self-improvement rather than a rigid tool of self-preservation. We’ll still be fragile and fallible, but we’ll also be more robust and wise.

Self-overcoming is the daily act of letting your ego know who’s boss. You are! And no amount of comfortable coos and warming sentiments are going to lull you back to sleep. You’re awake. Your comfort zone has been stretched and has gained the flexibility to stretch even further. The tables have been turned. In the poker game of Self, you’ve called your ego’s bluff and now you’re holding all the cards. Your self-preservation has taken a back seat to your self-improvement. There’s an initiation at hand. Your ego is ready to become a mighty tool for self-actualization.


Image: Ego/CE.

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Consciousness

9-Year-Old Mexican Girl With Higher IQ Than Albert Einstein Already Studying to be Astronaut

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Adhara Pérez may only be nine years old, but she already has big dreams – which is only fitting, considering the Mexico City native has an IQ of 162, a score even higher than quantum scientists Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking.

Adhara has been taking IQ tests since she was only four years old, and has been applying her considerable brain power to studying advanced subjects that some of us could only dream of grasping.

At the age of seven, she was already ranked by Forbes magazine in 2019 as one of the most powerful women in Mexico.

The young prodigy is already studying for two degrees: one is systems engineering at the Universidad CNCI, and the other is industrial engineering at UNITEC.

She’s also been invited to pursue a master’s degree in atmospheric science from the University of Miami; as well as an offer to study physics at the University of Israel.

To top it off, she’s been invited to join the Aeronautics Program in Alabama and to study Space Science at NASA, reports Telemundo. She hopes to eventually become an astronaut.

However, the youngster is aiming to continue her studies at the University of Arizona and is quickly learning English in hopes of preparing to pursue her dreams.

“I have to stay there for three months to learn and get accustomed to hearing and speaking English,” Adhara explained to NBC San Diego.

At the age of three, Adhara was diagnosed with autism and bullied by neighborhood kids in the Mexican capital for being different. The youngster eventually fell into a deep depression, but this also began her journey toward a brighter future.

Upon being placed in therapy by her mother, she underwent various IQ tests and got a score of 162 – two points higher than Einstein and Hawking, who each scored 160.

Upon finishing high school at the age of eight, she began working on her degrees online. She’s also already written a book about her experience being bullied and the need for perserverence.

Her advice?

“Do not give up, and if you don’t like where you are, start planning where you want to be!”

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7 Powerful Books That Will Unleash The Hidden Potential Of Your Mind

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“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~George R.R. Martin

There it is: your mind –all leashed-up, bored, bookless and chasing its own tail in the corner. It’s time to unleash it. It’s time to toss it back into the shocking waters of wonder and awe. It’s time to distract it from the all too familiar tail (or tale, to wit), and give it a juicy carrot to chase around instead. Seven juicy carrots, to be exact.

So, store that leash, open up your mind, curl up with your best friend, and dive right on in to the following mind-unleashing books. But keep the light on. As Groucho Marx wittily opined, “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”

1.) “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsche

“We never know any data before interpreting it through theories. All observations are, as Popper put it, theory-laden, and hence fallible, as all our theories are.” ~David Deutsche

From epistemology and quantum fungibility to environmental ethics and societal evolution, David Deutsche takes us on a thought-provoking journey into answering a single question: Is there a limit to what can be understood? He comes at a mind-expending answer of “no” by diving deep into the expanding waters of epistemology and ontology. He profoundly claims that our understanding of anything is always at the “beginning of infinity” and there will always be an infinite amount more left for us to understand. Basically surmising that, with accurate and adaptable knowledge, anything is possible unless it is prohibited by the laws of physics.

Highly rational and integrating, The beginning of Infinity launches us into higher thinking on the path toward better and better explanations. He takes us from parochial, outdated ways of thinking to the concept of universality and updated ways of thinking about the universe as a thing to be progressively evolved into using ever-expanding technologies. Thus bridging the gap from man to overman. As he made clear, “There is only one way of thinking that is capable of making progress, or of surviving in the long run, and that is the way of seeking good explanations through creativity and criticism.”

2.) “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

“Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually begins to be intrinsically rewarding.” ~Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Thanks to Csikszentmihalyi, the idea of the “flow state” has become a vital aspect of our cultural awakening. The optimal experience is gained through deep discipline in a particular field/art/sport that provides intrinsic reward, challenge, and feedback, thus integrating confidence, concentration, control, adaptability, and connectivity. Time stops or slows down. Insecurities disappear. We stop caring about what others think of us. A creative unfolding of something larger manifests. Everything flows effortlessly in interconnected unison with us as its interdependent spearhead. In short: we stop thinking and just do.

By simply asking the question, “When are people most happy?” Csikszentmihalyi, through time tested research, pinpoints flow states as the answer. Athletes call it “being in the zone,” mystics have described it as “ecstasy,” and artists term it “rapture.” Unleashing optimal experience is about doing what we love as a pathway toward greater meaning, happiness, and a self of higher complexity. By doing what we love in challenging ways, we leverage optimal experience into our lives. This book powerfully explains the psychology of this vital process.

3.) “Phi: A Voyage from the Brain to the Soul” by Giulio Tononi

“Murky thoughts, like murky waters, can serve two purposes only: to hide what lies beneath, which is our ignorance, or to make the shallow seem deep” ~Giulio Tononi

Phi takes the reader on a mind-altering journey through the nature of consciousness. It interweaves science, art, and the imagination with golden ratios, Fibonacci sequences, and fractal cosmology. The reader has the joy of perceiving the world through such masters as Galileo, Alan Turing, Darwin and Francis Crick, among others. From neuroscience to pseudoscience, from deep introspection to mindful meditation, Tononi elucidates on how consciousness is an evolving, ever-deepening awareness of ourselves as finite, spiritual beings in an infinite universe.

We learn how consciousness is integrated information and how the power of that integration requires the utmost responsibility and credulity. It teaches how the brain is the seat of our perceptions, and is a creative force par excellence, and can even create new shapes and new qualia. It teaches how, by growing consciousness, the universe comes more and more into being, and synthesizes the one and the many, the ego and the eco, the individual and the interdependence of all things into a unified force of Nature.

4.) “The Art of Fear” by Kristen Ulmer

““Everything is fine” is actually a copout, a stuck place, an obstruction to the exploration of who and what you are expanding into higher and further, not to mention the evolution of humanity.” ~Kristen Ulmer

The Art of fear is about curiously embracing fear rather than conquering or repressing it. It’s about rebuilding our understanding of fear from the ground up. It’s about realizing that Fear is only one of 10,000 employees at You Incorporated, and how they all need a voice. But Fear most of all, lest all voices become repressed shadows. The key to fear, she explains, is being curious about it, thereby harnessing its power rather than conquering it. Between courage and curiosity is everything we need to be fearless.

Ulmer’s personal journey with fear eventually led her to study with Zen masters, from which she learned a mindfulness tool called “Shift” which shifts our perspective of fear from ignorant repression to proactive curiosity, thus aligning it authentically with our true nature. The basic tenet being this: Instead of repressing fear, empower it, by being curious and questioning rather than judgmental and accusing. Honor it with deep respect so it doesn’t operate covertly in twisted ways beneath the surface.

5.) “Endgame: The Problem of Civilization” by Derrick Jensen

“Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.” ~Derrick Jensen

Endgame will take everything you think you know about being a social being in a seemingly functional society and turn it on its head. Definitely not for the typical statist, nor the faithful law-abiding citizen. Endgame is about the imperative need to immediately dismantle the unhealthy civilization that surrounds us. Endgame is a scathing, raging critique against the unhealthy, unsustainable, and ecologically unsound man-machine that is our modern culture.

Breaking the book down into a series of simple but increasingly provocative premises, Jensen takes us on a mind-bending and convincing ride into the unhealthy belly of the violent, ecocidal beast that is modern day civilization. His basic premise is simple: Industrial civilization is unsustainable. It’s not a question of “if” but a question of “when” it’s going to fail.

He argues that the longer it takes civilization to fall, the worse the tragedy will be. In that light, there are two things we should be doing: Bringing about the fall sooner rather than later; and preparing to survive it. His attitude is caustic and cavalier, but all the better for the shock value it provides. This book really flattens the box we’re all so desperately trying to think outside of. A complimentary (and perhaps less aggressive) read is Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn.

6.) Trickster Makes this World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde

“Better to operate with detachment, then; better to have a way but infuse it with a little humor; best, to have no way at all but to have instead the wit constantly to make one’s way anew from the materials at hand.” ~Lewis Hyde

Trickster Makes This World is a mythological cornerstone for Sacred Clowns and practicing trickster-gods the world over, digging into the guts of the primordial importance of sacred play and rowdy behavior. Hyde explores how trickster figures represent the “disruptive imagination” that inverts, rearranges, and overturns conventional wisdom. From Raven to Coyote, Monkey to Crow, Hermes to Loki, Eshu to Legba, Hyde reveals connections between mythological tricksters that form a hidden network that connects cultural divides.

The best part about this book is its ability to show how mythology becomes reality. “Trickster consciousness’” is a vital component of human imagination. It reveals that we are the gods of renewal and rebirth, if we choose to be. We are the creators of mischief and mayhem. We are the trickster gods in training. Trickster is us, and we are Trickster. We are the ultimate boundary-crossers. No manmade rules or laws can contain us, unless we let them. Even cosmic rules and laws can hardly contain us. Trickster makes this world by tearing the old world down through high humor, moral ambiguity, foolishness, and strategic transgression and then dances in the ashes of its destruction. But it is precisely from the dancing, the kicking up of dust and ash, where brave new worlds emerge.

7.) “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them” by Joshua Greene

“We need a kind of thinking that enables groups with conflicting moralities to live together and prosper. In other words, we need a metamorality. We need a moral system that resolves disagreements among groups with different moral ideals, just as ordinary first-order morality resolves disagreements among individuals with different selfish interests.” ~Joshua Greene

Moral Tribes is hands-on moral psychology and a refreshing new take on utilitarianism. Greene wraps game theory, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience into a nice digestible package to bolster his theory of cognition, which builds elegantly into a theory of moral psychology. A sweeping synthesis of neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy, Moral Tribes opens a can of psychosocial worms that takes the concept of morality to the next level, revealing how we are exceptionally well-adept at solving the dilemma between “Me” and “Us,” through the concept of the “tribe,” but how we are ridiculously less-adept at solving the meta-dilemma between “Us” and “Them.”

Greene’s concept of metamorlity squares this psychosocial circle by counterintuitively applying utilitarianism to our base, knee-jerk reaction to morality (evolved morality) by becoming aware of our apathy in order to become more empathetic. By reinforcing humanity instead of nationalism, and worldly patriotism instead of patriotic nationalism, we turn the tables on both xenophobia and apathy and we become more compassionate and empathetic toward others. When we celebrate diversity instead of trying to cram the square peg of colonialism into the round hole of cultural affiliation, we turn the tables on the monkey-mind’s one-dimensional moral tribalism and we usher in Joshua Greene’s multi-dimensional metamorality.

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