Starting small

pb170831-2.gif

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Lao Tzu

Before I can make a difference in my life to implement my plans I must take action. Taking that action can sometimes be a challenge when the goal I have set is ambitious. When I found myself procrastinating in getting started, the words of Lao Tzu come to mind.

Taking an action, now matter how insignificant in comparison to the overall goal, breaks the mental barrier of possibilities that is hold me back. Once the forward momentum is started, no matter how small, taking additional and larger steps becomes easier until I am well on the path toward implementing my plans.

Who benefits?

cui_bono.png

TANSTAAFL (There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch)
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Robert Heinlein

Reading a book on the statin hoax (The Great Cholesterol Con) reminds me why skepticism must be one of my core values, in order to minimize the degree to which others will be effective in trying to take advantage of me.

Whether it is global warming (first global cooling, now climate change), carbs are good and the basis for a healthy diet, saturated fats are bad, WMDs and other lies used to justify invasions of other countries, etc., the list of frauds perpetrated on the gullible public is endless and if anything massively accelerated by the internet and the infotainment that passes for the news these days.

Even when “proof” is provided, I must always keep an open mind to the agenda behind the persons presenting the evidence and be willing to do my own research on its validity.   Consensus, real or popularized, is not a substitute for the truth, and if anything is an indication that the matter being debated should be scrutinized with extra caution.

I must never forget that governments and corporations will use lies, big and little, to advance their agendas for their own interests, not mine. I must ask myself, “who benefits” from actions I see proposed or forced upon me.  Me, or the corporation or government behind them.

Good enough

IMG_0256.jpg

The results of my shooting practice today at the range got me to reflect on the relentless pursuit and promotion of perfection and success in modern society.

The media is constantly filled with stories touting the latest sports achievement, academic finding or perfect physical specimen from the social pages. It is all, “Look at me and what I (or they) have achieved!  You can also achieve this if you spend your life in similar pursuits! If you don’t, you must be a lazy schmuck with no regard to your appearance or social standing!”.  I disagree.

Looking at my range results I consider that while I am not a master shooter, I am probably better than most police in terms of the amount that I practice and the results I achieve. However I compete with true professionals and I know the wide gap that exists between my results and theirs.

Can I be better? Of course, with constant and diligent practice I could improve further – but for who’s benefit? Most of the shooting professionals I know spend hours each day on the range, and travel and compete multiple times per week. Whether it is shooting, golfing, bridge or academic degrees, achieving improvement in any area requires the expenditure of my most valuable resource, time. The minutes allocated to my life are fixed, and spending them to the greatest benefit of myself and those I care for is how I prefer to focus my attention. A yardstick that I must always remember to apply to my goals is “for whose benefit am I doing this? my true self or my ego (monkey mind)?”.

Being a better human overall by equally spreading my attention to my mental, physical and emotional endeavors, is far likelier to bring me long term contentment than it would for me to focus on all my attention on one or just a few areas, with the goal of being a “master” of the area. At the end of the day there will always be someone better in whatever area I wish to master, and putting myself in constant competition with others is hardly the recipe for tranquility.