Archive for December, 2015

Strength

BrokenedCup

In physics we talk about the Strong Force, which is one of four fundamental forces or interactions of nature. It is responsible for holding atomic nuclei together. Without it, there would be no matter. Nothing we know would exist.

The previous post referenced another kind of strong force: the one produced by the emotion of love. While it’s always strong and powerful, it is not to say that all love is the same. There are nuance differences in the kind of love and the strength to which it is felt. And its power follows accordingly.

Life is full of challenges, the vast majority of which can be handled, especially with help from the power of love. As noted before, love wins over the other emotions, but it is still relative, so that doesn’t mean it can win over everything all the time.

There are three basic classes of strength:

  • Fragile – things that crack and break under change or stress
  • Robust – things can tolerate certain amounts of change or stress
  • Antifragile – things that strengthen & improve in response to change and stress

We know glass is fragile from having experienced what happens to it under shock, just like we know steel is robust. It’s harder to tell with other things, like love, or the foundation of any relationship. Just how strong is it, or how strong is a particular love?

How can you tell if something is fragile, robust, or antifragile? Putting it under stress is a start, but the big and unavoidable factor is time. Time eats away at anything weak, eventually causing it to fade away. Power is diminished or lost, and it fails at what it was doing. If it was an integral part of something else…

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Why Love Wins

Book-Love

Humans are driven by many emotional forces. Strong ones. They can cause us to do beautiful or questionable things at times.

In the long run love is often able to win over them all because it’s actually the only one that consistently retains most of its power even when we are rational.

Beautiful!

Happiness, Part xx7, Am versus What Does

For reference: Happiness part xx1, xx2, xx3, xx4, xx5, and xx6.

BWGirlEach day brings with it an opportunity to experience life in ways that affect our happiness. Of course the cycle of perceived happiness (or lack thereof) greatly impacts our willingness and ability to engage in ways that emotion. If you’re already down, there is a pretty good chance you’re going to make choices that reinforce that mood, and vice-versa. But with some intention you can either disrupt the down cycles, or carefully reinforce the up ones.

An important component in effectively managing this is to understand what drives you and makes you happy. You may really have to do some work to figure this out, and it may take time to fully understand. It’s also easy to get confused in the subtle nuances between things that make us happy, doing things that produce happiness, and things that tap into and/or stoke a fire within us.

  • Am I happy doing what I am doing? I don’t mean happy in a shallow, saccharine way. I mean it in the full sense of the word: purpose, fulfillment, contributing in my own way to leaving the world better than how I found it. Think about everything you do and sort out the parts that produce happiness. Make a list.
  • What is it that makes me happy? Very different from the question above. I am very happy doing something nice for a friend. I want to nurture my relationships in every way possible. But artistic output in some form is an example of something I find satisfying on an ongoing basis. I feel compelled to do it, and there would be a void if I didn’t/couldn’t.

“Nurturing my relationships” belongs in the first bullet. “Art” belongs in the second one. The first one is about evaluating everything we do; the second is about identifying what drives us. Both are vital to happiness. It usually works out that when we’re experiencing the mood of unhappiness on an ongoing basis, lack of engagement or satisfaction in one or both of these is a root cause. It’s harder to locate and correct when we don’t operate with a clear distinction between the two.

Figure it Out

ManCliff

We encounter many challenges and stumbling blocks throughout our lives. There’s lots of help around, but ultimately it’s up to us to figure it out, even if that may mean figuring out how to get help, or which help to listen to.

Part of growing up is the realization that all of that independence you wanted is yours, and it comes with the burden of you being the one to sort through what you want, determine your priorities, and then devising a way to achieve your desires and goals. It also includes owning the results of all those decisions, and if you don’t like the results, then it’s imperative you figure out a course change.

There will be no shortage of people willing to tell you what to do when the problems seem familiar. When you venture into uncharted territory, however, they will tend to disappear, or the help they provide will be woefully inadequate to the task at hand. The skill of being able to find your way becomes more important as you grow. Indeed it is the essence of growth. There may be moments of clarity, but when the going is tough you learn to doubt the veracity of those. In then end we’re alone, and we just have to figure it out.



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