Across many of Robert Greene’s books, there a reoccurring theme – to be effective in life, you have to learn to see the world as it is, not as you wish it to be.
Obviously this is easier said than done. It takes practice to develop and master this skill. We are naturally meaning attribution machines, we spin stories and see patterns to make sense of the events in our lives and the world around us.
None of us really see life as it is.
Or maybe there is nothing to see. Maybe nothing is real.
From a scientific viewpoint, there is nothing at the foundation of reality but the experiences created and interpreted by the observing self. Stimuli from an external environment filtered by the structure and capabilities of our senses, neurons and synapses, brought to life by the ego and consciousness.
But beyond physics and metaphysics, maybe nothing is real even from a social point of view.
The world around us, the one we think we live in, the one with the rules and norms and expectations, the one with the constraints and limitations, doesn’t really exist. We act like it does. We believe it does, and we eventually create it, by our expectations, beliefs and behaviour.
I think about this in terms of the market place and the world in general, questioning my preconceptions around brand, self-image and success in the real world. The battle as a creative, as a maker, is balancing the need to make things for the self, to create to learn and for creation’s sake, against making things that have wide appeal, that get famous, that resonate and succeed in a capitalist world?
How do we do that?
Some things work better than others. There are certain creative formulas that draw eyeballs and grab attention. Appealing to our baser instincts of lust, superiority, righteousness, indignation generally have a more immediate and visceral reaction than appealing to the sublime, or rationality.
Is it good or ethical to change ourselves, to change our packaging, change our story to achieve a goal? Does authenticity still matter, or should we just wear the masks we must, spinning the webs and illusions that get us what we want?
How long can you wear a mask before it becomes your true face?
Can we use this idea as a tool instead? Reaching forward to ‘pretend’ our way into the person we want to become. Is there an ethical way to ‘fake it before we make it’?
If nothing is inherently real, does that free us to be anything we want, anything we choose to be? Or is there a real self waiting to emerge? Where is the space for authenticity?
Is what we call authenticity just trying to hold on to a past story? Trying to make your actions today be congruent with the person you have always been?
If we must embrace forward-facing stories, pressing on to what we must be that we aren’t yet, then perhaps we can embrace the notion that nothing is real and just go ahead to create the new experience we desire.
Which means we second guess ourselves less. We are less tripped up by expectations, by the burden of our self-conception. We no longer use the excuse, ‘no I can’t wake up early because I am not a morning person’. We just go head and work our way to becoming early risers. We are free to change and be who we want to be moment to moment.
I read somewhere a while ago that behaviour drives emotion and behaviour drives desire.
It means that we can change desires. We are who we are now because we have conditioned ourselves through our choices and behaviours. We love junk food, or leisure or low-value entertainment and activities because we have behaved in ways that reinforced those desires in us.
We are also familiar with change, growing out of things and into things as we develop over time.
But if behaviour drives desire, then we can speed up change in the directions we choose. It will feel weird and horrible at first, but over time, after constant action, desire changes to match behaviour.
The more I workout, the more I enjoy it, the more I crave it. Something I would not have imagined possible years ago. The tricky part is that initial hump you have to push across. Doing something consistently enough to change desire.
If nothing is real, (and the timeline is malleable, which is another idea for another time having to do with changing the past) then we face the questions, what should we do, and how should we do it?
If nothing is real, then our fears are unfounded and unreal. It means there are no real lines, no real restrictions, just illusions, promises and agreements. We can honour them and we can break them.
Is there then no morality?
If nothing is real and anything is permissible, it does not mean that it isn’t without consequence.
So, perhaps nothing is real but everything has consequence.
The idea that nothing is real then becomes a liberating idea that allows you to morph and change as needed. It also frees you from constraints of expectation. If nothing is real, then its okay to create the image you need to get what you need to get done sorted. But know that what you create will have an effect.
If nothing is real, and you want success in a certain arena, if you want more eyeballs and attention to your work, to your brand, then you have to work and rework your brand until you find resonance. And that is not something to fight, it is something to embrace, to practice at until you get it right.
But whatever you create, must be aligned with your true values. If you are not aware of your values, you run the risk of building something empty, losing touch with that which is most fulfilling, the highest expression of your soul.
I love books, but I have a wierd relationship with them. Sometimes I read books properly and sequentially, from start to finish. Half the time however, I read books in bits and pieces, often preferring to read multiple books at the same time, a page here, a paragraph here. I tend to treat my small library more like a buffet than a menu with distinct meals.
Many books I read just once and never crack open again. With some, I don’t even get past the first chapter. But there are a few books that I keep coming back to time and time again. They are the books I reference often in my posts like Gary Keller’s The One Thing, or one of my favourites, 50 Cent’s and Robert Greene’s The 50th Law. These are my ‘quake’ books.
Quake books (the term was coined by Ryan Holiday I think)(actually it was coined by Tyler Cowen), are the books that shake you to the core. They cause a seismic shift in your thinking and perception. They radically change the way you view and approach life or yourself. They open doors to new worlds of ideas and possibilities that were hidden from you up on to the point you came in contact with the book.
These are the books you should read over and over again.
Why do that? Why go back to something you already finished?
For some reason, we tend to forget that repetition is how we learn anything. We understand that principle when it comes to studying and acquiring new skills. But when we approach books, we hold on to the mentality of getting it done and dusted. We read the book, and then put it down and that is it. Sure, you can treat many books that way no problem, but if you really want to extract the marrow from the bones of a book, especially a really good one, then it pays to approach reading it differently.
We only retain a fraction of what we read anyway. How many times have we read a book, put it down and then completely forgotten about it? If you just read that textbook once come exam time, you would almost definitely fail? So you read, you studied, you took notes.
The more we read and re-read a text, the more familiar we get with it. The easier it is to recall what we learnt and bring those lessons to mind when needed. The more times we read a book, the deeper the ideas and principles seep into our mind and subconscious, and the more they transform and change us. Which is really what they are for – To help us change and to help us grow.
Now, It might seem boring to read a book you have already read before. Why read a book again when I already know what it says?
Because things change, and we change.
Every time you interact with a something – a book, a movie, a work of art, you bring your self, your perception, your interpretation, and your experiences to the table. What you take out of that interaction, is as much a reflection on who you are at that point in time, as it is a reflection of the thing itself.
This is how we can grow to dislike something we used to love or grow to love something we used to hate. This is how many people can look at the same thing and have wildly different reactions.
Reading books over and over again allow us to approach the content at different points in time. Points where we ourselves are different and have grown. Suddenly, a part of the book we usually glossed over before springs to life with new and fresh meaning. With the benefit of new experiences, we get deeper understanding and appreciation of the nuances in the ideas presented to us. We connect us to the author’s words in a way that we could never have appreciated before.
We read books over and over again To remind ourselves.
We are forgetful creatures. We are constantly collecting new information everyday and bombarded by stimuli all around. As we record all these new things, we forget others. Reading these books over and over remind us of what we have learned. They keep us on the path and from sliding off. They pull us back when we have strayed too far.
And so these books become more than just books, they become life long companions, living sources of knowledge and wisdom, sources of strength and guidance to pull from in our journey of life, in our journey to get what we want and max out our potential.
The other day, I was listening to a Benjamin Hardy webinar, and he said something that really stuck with me since. He outlined a couple of things that influence the trajectory and quality of your life – things like your body, your brain, your environment. But there was one he mentioned that I found quite interesting, and that was the idea of your story.
What is the story you tell about yourself?
Stories are crucial to our humanity. As a species, we have evolved to process and transmit a ton of information in story form. From our earliest days in caves to modern day cineplexes, we have had stories at the core of our culture, society, and civilisation. Stories are how we connect, communicate, and understand our place i society as well as our history. Stories are how we pass on cultural norms, and form social bonds with one another. Stories are how we create meaning.
We are surrounded by and inhabit stories all the time. We have stories about our world, about our nations and their interactions with one another, stories about race, about community, about families. But there is the story that is uniquely important to us, shaping our self–perception, stirring our motivations and driving our actions. And that is the story of ourselves.
What is your story?
You might never really think consciously about it, but you can see the main plot points or elements of your story very clearly when you are asked, ‘so tell me about yourself‘. Every time I hear that question, the first thing I draw is a blank, like – ‘well…um… where the hell do I even begin?’
How do I define myself? How do I tell the story of me?
Who are you?
Usually, when I am faced with the question, I generally default to saying I am a designer. I have held that label and identity for so long, that even though it is not precisely accurate or complete, I still use it. As limiting and dated as it is, It just rolls off the tongue.
What are the words you use to describe yourself?
For most of us, we define ourselves around our economic roles or societal function. Do you define yourself around your work and what you do? Do you define yourself around your personality, or around your values? Maybe you define yourself around your family or tribe or nation.
But perhaps, the most important element of your story is this – is your story fixated on the past, or is it focused on the future?
The direction your story faces has a massive impact on how you view yourself, what you believe is possible, and how you move through life. You can focus on the past – on what you have done and who you have been. Your can latch on to your past achievements and accolades, your failures and missteps, or you can reach out for the future – your dreams, your vision, your all–consuming passion.
The past is important yes, to anchor us, to show us where we have been. But dwelling on the past too much will lock you in and hold you back. Even if you have racked up wins and have a string of successes to show for your life so far, holding on too tightly to that will eventually make you slack, become defensive, rest on your oars and quit pushing forward. And if your past is checkered or less than ideal, it can send you down a vicious spiral.
What if you framed your narrative with regards to the future? All of a sudden, you are not bound to what happened before, you create a blank canvas of possibility. You quit being reactive to previous experiences and begin to be proactive and decisive. It is not just about what you have done or what you are doing, it is about where you are going.
Where are you going?
Now you have to exercise imagination. You have to figure out what you want, what your values are, and what you want to create in your future. And commit to it, and tell your story around it.
When you begin to adopt a future-facing story, a couple things begin to happen.
It helps you let go of the past
We all have things in our rearview mirror that we are not proud of. We have mistakes we wish we could take back, missed opportunities, We’ve been through twists and turns we never saw coming. Embracing a story that focuses on the future, allows you to forgive and let go of those things. The past is done. It came. It went. We are here now. We are able to forgive ourselves for past mistakes, knowing fully well that your past does not equal your future and that we have the chance to write a brand new story starting from today.
It creates new options
When we are fixated on the past, we become limited. We are held back by what we have been and what we have done. It is hard to break out of it and imagine something new, to embrace new possibilities. So we default to our past story, and with every retelling of the story, we ingrain those ideas and patterns deeper and deeper into our brain. It can trigger a rut that keeps us stuck at best, or drags us down at worse. We are confined to the same routines and undesirable results.
When we focus on the future instead and tell our story around what we want to create and be, we become creative again. New things become possible, ideas and possibilities we would have never recognised suddenly come into view. It opens up uncharted waters for us to explore and discover a better life.
It changes our self-perception
A story that embraces the future weakens our old conditioning and rewires our brains, changing our perception and expectations of ourselves. The more future-facing we are, the more we are inspired to take new action, We do and embrace new things and are forced to grow. With this new narrative in mind, we realise that we are capable of more, that we must embrace and nurture this potential. We break old patterns and actually begin to visualise ourselves living the dreams we set out for ourselves. We create this new person and life in our minds and are subsequently pulled towards it.
Oh, but you might be thinking, this future facing story isn’t true yet. Wouldn’t I be lying to myself and others?
We are on a journey, and the journey itself is more than half the fun. We must speak things into existence and embrace new realities. We are marked by our relentless pursuit of a worthy goal. There will be haters, those who say that you are not it, that you should stop lying to yourself and just quit. There will also be supporters, those who believe, who see clearly what you only see dimly, those who will walk with and aid you in the journey to your new future.
Embrace the story. Everyone loves a good story anyway. With a clear vision, backed up with massive work, things will come together.
An exercise to help reframe your story
Who are you?
Write out your story. A quick 5-6 sentences in answer to the question ‘who are you?’
Now read through it and analyse it. How do you define yourself? Do you talk about your job, or relationships or family? Is your story more focused on the past, what you have done and how you have gotten here? Is there anything that tells us about where you want to go.
Now write it again. This time keep your vision and dreams in mind. Reframe your story. Take the best of where you have been and combine that with a clear statement of what your big dream is, what you are pursuing for the vision.
Doesn’t this new story fill you up with hope? Does it not make your heart sing, your chest puff out a bit more and your walk briskier. Try on this new story and read it to yourself every day for the next 30 days.
Tell this story when people ask ‘tell me about yourself‘, and see what it does for you.
We all know that person. The one full of hot air. The one that talks a whole lot but never executes. They can regale you of tales of their ideas and plans. But nothing ever comes of them. You will most likely find them in the same place in a decade. Still talking about their ideas. They probably thought of Uber before Uber, and Amazon before Amazon. But it never went further than a fleeting thought in their mind.
Don’t be that guy.
Don’t be the person who just talks and never takes action. Because, you miss out on a lot. It is important to execute on your ideas. The ones that come to you, the ones that are uniquely yours. The ones that never seem to go away. Sure, you don’t have to execute every single thing. But it is important and massively impactful when you take a concept of yours from idea to reality.
Here is why.
The more action you take on your ideas, the more they will come.
Creativity is an infinite resource. The more you use it, the more you of it you get. Ideas beget more ideas. And clearing out ideas by executing them provides the space for new and more interesting ideas to emerge in your mind. But if you do not act in the first place, those new ones never come. If you are stuck for ideas on what to do and work on, take look back. What ideas did you abandon without executing? Revisit them, dust them off and work on them now, or release and let them go. Create the mental and psychic space for new ones that you will commit yourself to executing on.
Executed ideas open up doors
When you execute on an idea, make it real and release it into the world, it provokes a response. Sure, they might hate it, or they might like it. Either way, it is a response, far better than the deafening silence that is the back of your closet or mind where that idea resides wasted. When you put something out, it allows you to be seen, heard and interacted with. People can find you, talk to you, and open more doors for you. Imagine if JK Rowling never published the first Harry Potter book, or George Lucas never made the first Star Wars movie, the entire massive cultural phenomenon they both became would never have existed. Execute.
They help you learn
Executing on your ideas will teach you more than any amount of theory could. The actual experience of learning, practicing and creating encodes lessons deep into your mind and soul. They teach you about who you are, in the process, in the failures and heartbreaks, and the successes. They give you character, they build grit. You will learn as you execute, and you will learn after the execution. Did the idea work? Did it resonate with people? Did it fail? Why? What can we do better next time?
Executing on your ideas builds your confidence
Confidence is a huge part of the game of success. If you don’t believe in yourself, why should the world? The act of executing is a bold statement of belief, in yourself in your ideas. You move from being a passive consumer, to being an active creator, contributing to the fabric of the world around us. As you execute, you learn to value yourself and your opinions more. You hold a higher respect for yourself as you can point to tangible things you have done and created. The more you execute, the better you get at it, the more confident you become in your skill and in yourself.
Executing on your ideas helps you become more YOU
Our ideas are an extension of ourselves, our programming, our environment, our life and experiences. As we create and execute them, we are forced to come to terms with a lot of things, to examine our biases, to clarify our thoughts, to define ourselves more clearly. The creation processes allow us to become more of who we are. As we create things and execute things, we create ourselves, we affirm what we believe, we engrain the values and traits we believe in.
Honour your ideas and dreams with execution, and watch your life transform.
Exploring virtuous and vicious cycles
Life is marked by cycles. We have day and night chasing each other in perpetuity. We have our Earth revolving around the sun year after year. Our days are marked with the seasons of summer, autumn, winter and spring. A lot of our experience is cyclical.
In our particular and specific lives, we also experience cycles. Habits and patterns of behaviour that we are pulled to and remain locked in. Seemingly intractable, they either take us up or they take us down.
In my post about morning routines, I mentioned that the path to success lies i putting the right things on autopilot. This post is about understanding which things are already on autopilot in our lives, what they are and how to change them.
We have our cycles, whether we like it or not. We all have patterns we are running, patterns of thought, patterns of behaviour. We are usually not conscious about them, but they exist, running constantly in the background influencing every area of our lives.
We are also never static. The nature of life is such that if we are not constantly growing, we are getting left behind because time itself moves us relentlessly forward. Life is entropy, anything left alone will fall into chaos and disrepair. In resistance to this reality, and as a necessity, we have to grow. We are either moving forward or falling behind. We are either in virtuous cycles or vicious ones.
We all know vicious cycles, an ever–escalating set of events that keep getting worse, and provide the conditions for even worse results ad infinitum. We see a small example of that on our worst days. Something bad and seemingly random happens at the beginning – a broken shoe, a stained shirt, a small accident, someone cuts us off, and before we know it, we are livid and things spiral out of control and we end up with a terrible day. For many of us, this is not the story of a bad day, but the story of our lives. A life of bad luck and experiences keep us down, depressed and stuck. We are trapped in vicious cycles. We have no money, we cannot even muster up the strength and resources to make a change. We seem doomed.
And then there are virtuous cycles. Fewer of us enjoy this experience. Things escalate for us in an upward trajectory. We enjoy good health, good food and good exercise. We have a series of productive days, weeks and months. Our projects go off well, with hard work and struggle of course, but they go well, and they open more doors. We are awash with opportunities and sought after for our expertise. We find it easy to make money. We learn skills and they improve our lives and make things even easier for us. We make money, we invest, we make even more money. The future is bright.
Of course, there are numerous nuances and levels in between. Maybe we even get stuck oscillating between virtuous and vicious cycles. But understanding this concept can help us halt the one and fan the flames of the other.
See, we have to understand all the different factors that affect and make up the cycles of our lives. They generally boil down to a couple of elements – our thoughts and mentality, our environment, our friends and peers, our productivity, our diet and lifestyle, our choices. All these things either work to move us forward or move us back.
What you want to do is make empowering choices and strategic investments in all those points to create virtuous cycles that move us up and forward. Not everything will pay off immediately, there is a lag time and you have to allow the results to compound and really change the game, but there will definitely be an improvement in your life if you keep these things in mind.
You basically want to put yourself in the best position to succeed. You want to increase the odds that good things will happen to you, that opportunities, resources and the like will be available to you. And you have to generally ask yourself that question. What can I do to improve the chances of my success?
It can be very hard at first, we might be right at the bottom of our vicious cycle with no way out. How do we claw our way back and move upward? Let’s explore these areas that have big effects on your cycles.
The Inner World
This is the place you have the most power over, and it is from here that everything else springs from. What happens in this domain is what ultimately determines what you see and have on the outside.
What kind of thoughts do you have on a daily basis? What is your personal story? Are you stuck in the past, or pulled by your vision of a compelling future? How do you see yourself? What do you think is possible for you? Do you have unresolved trauma? Do you experience self–loathing? Do you believe in yourself? Do you think the world is out to get you or out to help you?
This is the place where the battle is won or lost first.
If your thoughts work against you, it doesn’t matter what happens around you, you will always end up in the vicious cycle.
Your environment has a massive effect on you. It is environment that turns the limitless potential of stem cells into specialised biological equipment. It is your environment that forges you and makes you who you are. You cannot afford to take it lightly. Sometimes the biggest thing you can do to change your life is to move. If the place around you is depressing and pulls you down, leave. Even if that place is home.
The people around you, the energies, the way a place looks, how clean or dirty or designed it is all has an impact on your subconscious mind, the way you think, the way you view yourself and what you expect. It is always worth the investment to make sure that your environment supports you and doesn’t drag you down.
Your environment can lift your spirits, inspire your creativity and empower you to be the best you can be, or it can absolutely crush you and keep you stuck. Curate and choose it wisely.
Your friends and the people you interact with are a huge part of that cycle. We are social creatures, we learn and exist together, and our ‘scene’ will play a huge role in who we become. Your friends either invite you to low- value activities, or they invite you to high value activities, deals, opportunities, and collaboration. Our relationships invariably shape us. We must shape them intentionally to move forward.
We learn by mimicry. We see our friends achieve great heights and it inspires us too, it forces us to work harder and push farther. Or we see our friends loaf around and it dampens our enthusiasm, seducing us to comfort and mediocrity.
Opportunities surround us all the time. It is just that half the time they are dressed in overalls and look like a lot of work.
We can change our lives by tapping into the opportunities present around us, or we can ignore them and taking on the wrong opportunities. Some opportunities create virtuous cycles and others create vicious ones? Here, we apply discernment. A high paying job with terrible work–life balance and a toxic workplace can spell doom for your life in the long run. A seemingly low paying gig could be the one that opens the door to massive value and opportunities for growth and wealth building down the line. The right opportunities are the ones that move us forward.
You must also put yourself where the opportunities are. Place yourself in the hub of activity. Be where the important things are happening and make your contribution. The more opportunities you expose yourself to, the more the chances of your success, the more you aid your virtuous cycle.
What do you produce in your life? What do you make? What is your gift to the world? Life by virtue of its nature demands consumption. We must eat, we must drink, we must survive. We must also choose to be producers in our lives. The more prolific and productive you are, the more you feed your cycle. If you produce good things, your cycle is virtuous. If you produce bad things, your cycle is vicious. This is where many small businesses and freelancers get trapped in their businesses. You get very busy working, but it is the wrong kind of work, it takes too long and doesn’t pay enough. It keeps you stuck. The productivity point is very nuanced, but in essence, it is about being productive, and being productive in the right thing. The more you execute, the more you can execute. One product or service or creation can change the course of your life forever.
Our diet and lifestyle
This is a huge core one. What you eat will literally make or break you. If your lifestyle is healthy, if you are eating right and exercising well, you feel good. You are full of energy, you can get more done during the day. You can go longer, and further. Your productivity skyrockets. But if you fail at this. You get tired, you get sluggish, you get worse, you enter a vicious cycle. A lot of your life and career problems can really just be solved by eating better. Our bodies are biological machines, the better we take care of them, the better our life experience.
These are just some of the points that influence and affect the trajectory of our lives. Life is chaos, and we never know what is around the corner from us. But by taking the time and care to maintain and manage these factors well, we can create the conditions in our lives for amazing things to happen. We place ourselves in the best position to succeed.
It is a general principle of life that for all things, there are two sides of the same coin – pleasure and pain. Everything is a delicate dance between these two extremes, good and bad, pleasure and pain, light and dark. And even each extreme contains the seed of its opposite. This is the essence of the tao.
Relax all day and enjoy the pleasure of watching movies or playing video games, and then get hit later with the pain of depression or self loathing, feeling like you wasted the entire day later. Endure the pain of working through the day, and enjoy a leisurely guilt free evening later.
Endure the pain of going for a run every morning and enjoy the pleasure of higher energy levels throughout the day and the feeling of accomplishment. Enjoy the pleasure of sleeping in and living a sedentary lifestyle, feel the pain of bad health and weakness.
Pleasure and pain. Always present.
If these two things are always constant, How do we balance them? We could indulge in pleasure first and tackle the pain later. This is the essence of procrastination. Avoiding the pain of a task to bask in present pleasure or delusion. Until the pain of not getting it done is too much and now we are forced to deal with it. Or we can do the opposite, paying the pain upfront to reap the pleasure later. Sure, this can also backfire, deferring reward so much that you never get it, or you get it when you can’t enjoy it.
Balance as with all things.
Another thing to understand is that the more you let something accumulate, the greater force or impact it has when you do release it. So if you avoid paying the pain now, it accumulates over time and becomes an even bigger pain. If you pay it early, it is still painful sure, but it is relatively smaller.
The reverse is also true. the longer you delay gratification, the bigger the payoff. Think of saving or investing or studying. It is the same premise. The more you save or invest without tapping into the account, the more money you accumulate to use down the line. Endure pain today, endure it long enough, and maximise your pleasure down the line.
Of course, the alternative is tempting. Why wait. You could die tomorrow. Or who is to say, that tomorrow will be better than today. As with all things, there is always the risk. The trick is managing it.
This principle of pleasure and pain is important because everything we do as humans is predicated by deep instinctual reactions to those extreme poles. We are constantly trying to maximise our pleasure and minimise our pain.
But life itself is a mix of both, we cannot hope to have all pleasure and no pain. It is impossible because life by its nature is full of challenges. And those challenges are the gift.
In a video interview with Tom Bilyeu, Mark Manson speaks about talks about this fact, expressing that we should not seek to have no problems at all, that is impossible, what we should strive after is gaining better problems.
Problems exist at every level of life, and for good reason. It is these problems that inspire us to act, that move life forward. Without challenges, we would wither away. The rich have problems, just as the poor do, just different ones. With every choice, and at every level there are challenges. You just have to choose what problems you are willing to deal with.
Because getting what you want is about tackling the challenges and problems surrounding that which you want. If you want to excel at your career, you have to tackle the problem of developing yourself, of improving your skills, of networking and being more seen and heard.
If you want to make more money, you have to tackle the problem of creating or proving something useful, of learning to sell it, of getting paid for it. Problems everywhere. If you want to gain better health, you have to tackle the problem of working out and eating correctly, and there are many problems to be tackled around that.
If life is full of challenges no matter our station and circumstance, then it is better in general to live with a predisposition to the pain, with a bias to taking action, responsibility and tackling problems. And the longer we lived this way, the easier it would get.
If you woke up everyday looking for the price to pay, looking for the pain to endure, you would get better at tackling and managing the pain . Over time, you would begin to even derive a perverse joy from the strain of pain. Pulling out the seed of pleasure from your pain.
All things have pleasure and pain, even pain, even pleasure.
It is in this way that we become skilled in the art of living. We learn to pay in pain, we learn to do it upfront, to maximise our gains and pleasure down the line.