Everything You Want, You Already Have « Books for Behavior Change

Hoffman explains the nature of his work by offering an extended analogy. In the process, he deftly summarizes a lot of Eastern spiritual teachings.

Unfortunately, the clip omits Hoffman’s concluding line—one that throws the premise of many self-help books into question. Here’s that line:

“When you get the blanket thing, you can relax, because everything you could ever want or be, you already have and are.”

That statement might be a profound paradox—or pure nonsense. What do you think?


Everything You Want, You Already Have « Books for Behavior Change

The Church of Rationality

Years back, when I was an angry young man, I read an interview with Phil Collins. Phil Collins might seem like an inappropriate music interest for an angry young man, and that’s right, but I was also a bored young man; it seems the two often go together.

Anyway, Collins said something remarkable, along the lines of, “Most people I only meet once in my life. I start on the assumption that they’re not arseholes.” That swept me off my feet. What a completely counterintuitive approach to human relations! It got me thinking, and should I ever write an autobiography, I’m afraid there’ll have to be a chapter entitled, “My adult life began when I read an interview with Phil Collins,” which is not the kind of thing blockbusters are made of.

Anyway, here’s a variant of the Collins Maxim: If someone criticizes you based on what appears to be a misunderstanding of what you meant, consider the possibility that theirs is a reasonable interpretation of what you actually said. Otherwise, it could be you who comes across like an arsehole.


The Church of Rationality

A Flapper's Dictionary

Ran across this delightful post from a used bookseller in Pennsylvania. He acquired the July 1922 edition of Flapper magazine and reproduced an uncredited article that listed phrases and jargon that, while probably quite cheeky at the time, seem quaint and amusing now. It’s fun working out the chain of associations that lead from the slang to the definition.

I wonder really how old the writer of the article was; I smell a fuddy-duddy who wants to appeal to the “with-it” generation. I could imagine a Beatnik or Hippie dictionary article of the same stripe.

Some of my favorites:

  • Cancelled Stamp—A wallflower.
  • Embalmer—A bootlegger.
  • Eye Opener—A marriage.
  • Father Time—Any man over 30 years of age.
  • Strike Breaker—A young woman who goes with her friend’s “Steady” while there is a coolness.
  • Rock of Ages—Any woman over 30 years of age.
  • Meringue—Personality.
  • Lallygagger—A young man addicted to attempts at hallway spooning.
  • Houdini—To be on time for a date.
  • Smith Brothers—Guys who never cough up.

 


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Why goal setting doesn't work | Psychology Today

L.A. King and C.M. Burton in an article entitled, The Hazards of Goal Pursuit, for the American Psychological Association, argue that goals should be used only in the narrowest of circumstances: “The optimally striving individual ought to endeavor to achieve and approach goals that only slightly implicate the self; that are only moderately important, fairly easy, and moderately abstract; that do not conflict with each other, and that concern the accomplishment of something other than financial gain.”


Why goal setting doesn’t work | Psychology Today

Sitcom Geek: Script Competitions

If you can write - and you also write a superb script (not the same thing) - producers will want to meet you and stuff will happen. It’s all about the script. Don’t sell it short. Don’t let it go off half-cock. Plan it. Mull it. Research it. Filter it. Replan it. Write it. Rewrite it. Edit it. Put it to one side. Forget it. Then get it out. Read it. Re-read it. Edit it. Then put in some more jokes. Then cut some of them out. And check it over again. It might then be ready to send.

It takes ages. Even if you’re talented. Perhaps the proliferation of competitions gives people the idea that anyone can have a go because writing is easy. It is true that anyone can have a go. But it isn’t easy. I’ve been doing it for over ten years professionally and only now am I starting to think I might have the beginnings of a clue as to what I’m doing. But I do know this. Talent is fine. But there is no substitute for hard work.


Sitcom Geek: Script Competitions

Fibonacci sonnets

I have lately been enjoying a blog by Austin, TX artist/writer Austin Kleon, and have been happily plundering his archives for posts on sketching, storytelling, art, and the like.

I was charmed by this post: Writing The Fibonacci Sonnet. It's a neat little writing trick that uses the Fibonacci numbers (1,1,2,3,5,8, 13, 21) to create short short stories with sentences that have one word, one word, two words, three words, and so on. Kind of like haiku, except counting the words in the sentences instead of the syllables.

It also reminds me of the poet Jonathan Williams' dotty "meta-four" poems, where each line only had four words. An example of one of his meta-four poems in this Guardian UK obit. Here's a meta-four from another appreciation of Williams:

estimated acres of forest

henry david thoreau burned

down in 1844 trying

to cook fish he'd

caught for dinner 300


Compulsively, we compare ourselves with those around us and find our lives wanting: other people seem to have found meaning, while we’re still searching. Partly, that’s because we have no direct access to their inner torment. But it also may be because they’re not looking for meaning in the first place. Perhaps that’s a blessing of sorts, but it’s hardly the enviable state of fulfilment we imagine must suffuse their lives. Being the kind of person who seeks answers in life is troublesome enough. There’s no point feeling inferior to those who aren’t even asking the questions.