in Cognitive Wisdom, Prism of Life

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say we are living in the age of self-improvement. In fact, this theme of self-help is something quite evident in our daily dose of Whatsapp messages. 

As we get busy in tackling the obstacles of our daily lives we are often subjected to innumerable messages – advocating that a happier, richer, more successful life is just around the corner. The only thing keeping us away from having it all is our own lack of clarity, commitment, and the necessary sacrifices.

Which reminds me of H. L. Mencken, who pointed out some inherent anomaly in oversimplification when he quipped sarcastically that 

‘For every problem, there is a solution which is simple, clean and wrong’.

The principle underlying Occam’s razor — that a simple explanation is usually preferable to a complex one — is something that can be witnessed right through the entire genre of self-help. There is a definite assurance wherein you are guaranteed a workable solution for every possible existential problem — that too explained lucidly through simple & digestible listicles.

Thanks to industrial revolution most of our immediate survival needs of food, shelter, and financial security has been taken care of. As a result, we often find our attention gravitating towards finding new methods to make our life more purposeful and meaningful.

This simple sounding curiosity, in turn, has spawned a prolific, multi-million dollar industry of self-proclaimed gurus, bestselling books, blogs, and online courses telling us how to be physically more fitter, psychologically happier — so as to ultimately become a better & more desired person.

In fact, there are experts who can help you Redesign your unfulfilling Life with 10 easy steps or so: 

If you are courageous enough to dig a little deep within yourself to come up with nothing but few candid answers, you can be rest assured to rediscover and embrace your ultimate dream life. 

So let’s have a crack on these supposedly soul-stirring queries & Try our luck.

1) 360 degree assessment of your present life. The goal here is to segregate essential from nonessential components of your life .

Are you fu**ing out of your sane mind? Whose life really looks like a circle without any rough edges? Talking of rough edges — the smoothness of our tongue should never deceive us from its potential roughness. You can try the veracity of this statement with your partner.

We may be quite an expert in assessing others but what makes you think that we can engage ourselves in this futile activity of assessing our life.

Give me a break…you are sounding more like a racist when you talk of “segregation”. Tell me why would any sane person be interested in segregating alcohol from wine?

2) The list of things that you would like to eliminate from your life.o

Oh yes, that list is never-ending. And if you replace the word “things” with “persons”, I would end up being a terminator every single day of my life. And I wouldn’t mind being a terminator myself. 

At least I will get a definite opportunity to eliminate all my competition and not just opt myself out of this race to become the most successful one.

3) Identifying things that contribute to your sense of fulfillment.

Now, you seem to be talking a bit of sense by getting things on track. Fulfillment is possible only through quenching the thirst of all your senses.

There is absolutely no joy in abstaining. The sense of fulfillment from a single task is just an illusion to make your life plain, simple, and boring.

4) What is the cost, you are willing to pay for that thing?

Come on, I am already paying a huge price where I have bartered my freedom for the very dubious idea of security. 

The entire build up of fear around the idea of insecurity is to take your rational mind as a hostage. As long as the fear is prevalent you just can’t think beyond survival.

And since survival is dependent on the fulfillment of various needs, I don’t think it makes sense to prepare yourself unnecessarily for more cost.

5) How important is it for you to get what you want? 

It is indeed very important for me to get what I want — including my wish to have the most beautiful girl as my girlfriend until I get an opportunity to meet the next one.

I guess you don’t need a magnifying glass to see the embedded stupidity inherent in this kind of wishing.

Therefore, it’s nothing but a trap to run after things just because they happen to be on your wish list.

Think of it — most of the things desired by you could break into your list because at the time of desiring they seem to be out of your financial or physical reach. There is no complexity in this explanation.

6) How would you define and visualize a great life?

This is based on the presumption that we are indeed smart enough to define a “Great life”. Now tell me which jackass would not like to believe in his own smartness? 

In fact, they end up displaying all the characteristics of being ‘Cognitive Indolence’ — one who is having an uncritical attitude to one’s thoughts, plans and ideas accompanied by impoverished problem-solving skills.

7) Can you paint a picture of your ideal life?

Now, this seems to be the height of stupidity. Because whatever may be your idea of an ideal life, there is absolutely no obligation on the part of the universe to transmogrify it into your wishful reality.

And if you are unfortunate enough to get obsessed with the vivid imagery of your ideal life, there is a very high probability that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the journey of life.

8) Do you take responsibility to bring more maturity in all your relationship?

Tell me who doesn’t want to grow and flourish in their relationships. But since there are people involved in every kind of relationships, they can’t be expected to behave rationally and consistently all the time.

At least that’s what our experience teaches us. But we being the lazy fellow don’t show any inclination to learn from our own experiences. Instead, we keep looking for every possible new solution that is sold in the name of wisdom.

9) Do you believe in certain principles?

I know…if I don’t stand for something, there is every likelihood of me falling for anything. 

But then if I do believe in a certain set of principles and is not willing to compromise them — my ability to adapt becomes a victim in the long run. Definitely not an ideal situation from the evolutionary perspective.

How am I suppose to survive by losing my critical ability to adapt?

10) What’s your metrics for success?

Does it make sense to have your own metrics for success? 

Let’s say I don’t buy the very idea of success sold to me by the society — that means effectively I am opting myself out of the society’s definition.

Not an ideal situation when being a social animal you always aspire for societal validation in its various manifestations.

Parting Thoughts

The perspective enlisted here is just a candid attempt to entertain critically alternative thoughts and should be taken with a pinch of salt.

There is no doubt that Life can be rich and wonderful at times but it is also extremely complicated. And there is no magic to simplify it as per our convenience.

Since most of us are flawed and imperfect creatures, instead of always striving to perfect ourselves, we should be brave enough to acknowledge this fact. Because it is only through acknowledging we learn to show a little compassion to ourselves and all those people we love.

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