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Principles and procedures

to remove all suffering

from your life

(20-35 minutes to know how)

...just keep reading...

Fun problems and suffering problems

Two types of problems confront each one of us: those that cause suffering and those that don’t.

 

These two types may sometimes appear as one, but they are quite distinct. For instance, let’s say you want to learn to ride a bicycle. The problem is to learn how to ride a bicycle. As such, it is just a fun thing to do, a fun problem to solve. However, you may collapse another type of problem to the task of learning to ride a bicycle. You indulge in the following thoughts: “I’ll look foolish trying to learn at my age. I should be able to learn faster. What if I can never ride a bicycle well enough?” These thoughts stimulate anxiety and self-blame and cause you to suffer. Without these thoughts, learning to ride a bicycle is just interesting and fun. With these thoughts, you suffer.

 

As you read through and study this exposition (it will take you 20-35 minutes), you will learn how to solve any and all problems that cause suffering.

 

Whatever problem that you are confronted with, it’s best to resolve any suffering aspect of that problem first. Once any suffering has been removed, then any problem that remains (like the problem of learning to ride the bicycle) will be easy to address.

 

Knowing and learning the following principles, using them step by step, will remove suffering and you’ll experience being your own best friend and your own best fan.

Two types of problems that cause suffering

Two types of problems are the cause of all suffering. The principles that solve these two types of problems are similar, yet also differ somewhat. Follow these principles, questions, and procedures according to which type of problem you have, as detailed below. Note that sometimes a problem is of both types and you must use both sets of principles.

 

The first type are Now/Next problems (to be explained shortly). These are solved by creating Now/Next integrity.

 

Here is a common problem of this type, “Am I going to eat for pleasure or eat for health?” If I eat for pleasure, then my Now (the part of me that just want to be happy and comfortable now) is satisfied. But my Next (the part of me that wants my future and my health to be good) is not and will likely blame my Now and I’ll feel guilty. On the other hand, if I eat for health, my Next is happy. But my Now will feel deprived and not taken care of. Either way I choose, a part of me will lose.

 

The second type are Oneself/Others problems (also explained shortly). These are solved by creating Oneself/Others integrity. For example, consider the problem, “Am I going to be a kind person and just listen to my friend complain about their problem or am I going to figure out a way to cut this conversation short and maybe hurt my friend’s feelings?” Again, either way I choose, a part of me will lose.

 

Now/Next problems are more fundamental than Oneself/Others problems. If a problem has both Now/Next and Oneself/Others components, then, by first resolving any Now/Next issues, you can more easily solve any Oneself/Others problems that may remain. To explain further, if a conflict exists between two people, and both are acting only short-range (they have not solved the Now/Next problem in that particular circumstance), then they will not be able to easily resolve the Oneself/Others problem. Witness two people who are angrily fighting each other over who started the fight first. Neither is thinking long-range (they have not integrated their Now and their Next). Consequently, the Oneself/Others problem will occur as impossible to address effectively.

 

Ways to understand and undo Now/Next problems

Let’s look at the basic truths, questions, and procedures behind resolving all Now/Next problems.

 

  1. The purpose of your life is to be happy, both short-term and long-term. If you’re not already clear that this is indeed true, check out this link: happiness as the ultimate purpose.

  2. Your Now is in charge of making sure you’re happy short-term.

  3. Your Next is in charge of ensuring that you’re happy in the future (long-term).

  4. Both are in charge of happiness; they just have different time-spans in any given circumstance that each is responsible for. Note that when your Next becomes your Now, it is no longer your Next and you have some new Nexts. To illustrate, right now, my Now is enjoying writing this and my Next is planning and anticipating sharing it with a friend tomorrow at 3.00pm. When I am sharing it tomorrow with my friend, then that will be my new Now (that is currently one of my Nexts). And at 3.00pm tomorrow, I will be planning for and anticipating some other new Nexts.

  5. As long as you’re alive, your Now and your Next will always be together. They’re married for life. Divorce is not an option. Your Now cannot say goodbye to your Next and your Next cannot say goodbye to your Now.

  6. Learning to notice whenever you have a Now/Next conflict, your most important and immediate task is to resolve that conflict before continuing with anything else. Integrity first!

  7. In general, you have been taught that, whenever a conflict occurs between these two parts of yourself, to believe that your Next is more important than your Now. You think of your Next as the good guy and your Now as the sometimes bad guy. If your Now wants something that conflicts with what your Next wants, then he or she is the bad guy and must be ignored or subdued. Taking care of your future, persisting, not procrastinating, setting goals, making plans, and having patience are the main virtues, often practiced at the expense of your Now. And, at any time, if your Now takes control at the expense of what your Next wants, your Next will blame your Now and you will feel guilty. With these culturally approved and encouraged values and ways of dealing with any conflict that occurs between your Now and your Next, life is hard and you suffer. You are not your own best friend and fan of yourself.

 

 

Undoing Now/Next problems

Given these basic facts and principles, validated by the new science of creating happiness, the end of suffering lies in learning various ways to answer the following new questions (especially whenever you notice a Now/Next conflict).

 

  1. “In this circumstance, how can my Now and my Next both be happy?”

  2. “Is my Now happy right now? Am I showing respect and consideration for what my Now wants and needs? Is my Next happy right now? Am I showing respect and consideration for what my Next wants and needs?”

  3. Or more specifically in some circumstances, you can ask, “How can my Now enjoy the process of what my Next wants me to do in order for my Next to get what he or she wants in my future?”

  4. Also, weekly or periodically, ask yourself, “How can I change my lifestyle to support easy alignment between my Now and my Next?” Only by putting lifestyle and enjoying the process first, with results second, can you create an easy and almost seamless alignment between your Now and your Next.

 

Several methods are available to resolve any Now/Next conflict that may arise. These recipes are laid out in the NNI Toolkit on my website AskDwightHow.org.

 

Here are just a few of the titles for the various tools for creating Now/Next integrity:

 

  1. Just ask the questions (asking certain key questions can often provide quick answers so that Now and Next can agree)

  2. The 15-15 way (this shows respect to both sides)

  3. Doing it with others (this often makes Now happy and Next can get what he or she wants also)

  4. Under promising (this is good for both Now and Next)

  5. Lower your standards (making it possible for Now to have fun and it’s still good enough for Next)

  6. Step by step (again, Now and Next both benefit)

  7. Keeping fit in nine minutes a week (so easy for Now, great results for Next)

  8. The doer and the planner (setting the day up so Now and Next both win)

  9. Is your life a buffet? (putting enjoying the process as a priority over results)

  10. Lifestyle first, results second (just what it says and, in the big picture, you’ll get more results too)

  11. Undoing fear (resisted fear makes Now/Next alignment more difficult)

  12. Undoing stress (obviously better for both Now and Next)

  13. Undoing expectations (you’ll be surprised how this increases Now/Next integrity)

  14. Being present, slowing down (Next can still be happy and Now really enjoys)

  15. Small celebrations (don’t wait for the big results to celebrate)

  16. Creating persistence (the easiest and most reliable way to be persistent)

 

Ways to understand and undo Oneself/Others problems

Let’s now look at the basic truths, questions, and procedures to resolve all Oneself/Others problems.

 

  1. Your Oneself is that part of you whose job is to take care of yourself and to provide for your own needs and wants.

  2. Your Others is that part of you whose interest is to take care of others, to please others, to look good to others, to avoid being blamed by others, and to have good relationships with others.

  3. Although you care for others and others care for you, the reason that the universe/God put you into your body and mind is that your #1 job is to take care of yourself. And ultimately, you are the final judge of what is in your own best interest or not, not anyone else. This is similarly true for others.

  4. Learning to notice whenever you have a Oneself/Others conflict, the most important and immediate task is to resolve that conflict before continuing with anything else. Integrity first! Sometimes these conflicts are exacerbated by Now/Next issues that are not yet resolved. Oneself/Others conflicts are much easier to deal with once any relevant Now/Next issues are addressed first.

  5. In general, you have been taught, whenever a conflict occurs between your Oneself and your Others, that you should think of your Others as more important than your Oneself. You believe that your Others is the good guy and your Oneself is the sometimes bad guy. And, if your Oneself wants something that conflicts with what your Others wants, then he or she must be ignored or subdued. You must sacrifice the wants/needs of your Oneself for the wants/needs of your Others. Taking care of others, doing for others, being generous to others, putting others before yourself, looking good to others, and having good relationships with others are the main virtues, often practiced at the expense of your Oneself. If your Oneself takes control (and you act selfishly) at the expense of what your Others wants, then your Others will blame your Oneself and you will feel guilty. These values, beliefs, and attitudes create an ongoing and recurring battle between your Oneself and your Others. Because of these recurring conflicts, life occurs as difficult and unfair (you see yourself as a victim) and you suffer. Again, you are not your own best friend and fan of yourself. Two examples: You loan money to your friend (doing for Others) and you feel taken advantage of. Or, on the flip side, you don’t invite your difficult cousin to your wedding (doing for Oneself) and you feel guilty. One way or the other, no matter which way you choose, you’re always losing.

Undoing Oneself/Others problems

Given these basic facts, along with the new science of creating great relationships, the end of suffering lies in learning various ways to answer the following new questions (whenever you have a Oneself/Others conflict),

  1. “In this circumstance, how can I take care of myself and the other person at the same time? How can my self-interests (both short-term and long-term) and their self-interests work together? How can my selfishness and their selfishness dovetail?”

  2. “Is my Oneself happy right now? Am I showing respect and consideration for what my Oneself wants and needs? Is my Others happy right now? Am I showing respect and consideration for what my Others wants and needs? How can they both be happy?”

  3. Or more specifically in some circumstances, you can ask, “How can my Oneself enjoy the process of what my Others wants me to do for this other person?”

  4. Also, weekly or periodically, ask yourself, “How can I change my lifestyle and my boundaries with others to support easy alignment between my Oneself and my Others?”

 

Here are the few differences between creating Now/Next integrity, in distinction to creating Oneself/Others integrity.

 

  1. You can never separate your Now and your Next. They can never walk away from each other. In contrast, in your relationship with any other specific person, saying “no,” creating boundaries, and even walking away are always options. And, paradoxically, if you remove these options with any specific person in your life, you often disempower yourself in being able to create the best relationship with that person. Trying to remove all risk in relationships ends up creating even more risk (both for yourself and for them). An example: marriages in which either side is absolutely sure their partner will never leave most often take their spouse for granted and treat them badly (this often occurs for both at the same time). On the other hand, consider those marriages in which each partner knows that, if they don’t treat their spouse well, then he or she is likely to walk. These marriages often turn out to be the best. More sense of risk actually creates better results.

  2. With Now and Next your job is to take care of them both. But with your concerns for your Oneself and your Others, your #1 job is to take care of yourself, and, in your desire to take care of others (and look good to others), you make sure that you take care of yourself at the same time. Of course, it’s other people’s #1 job to take care of themselves. But that’s ultimately their responsibility, that’s ultimately their business.

  3. If a conflict occurs between taking care of yourself and taking care of another (considering both short-term and long-term benefits and possibilities, as well as costs and risks) that you cannot resolve for the mutual satisfaction of both you and the other person, choose courage to prioritize yourself by saying “no,” creating or maintaining a boundary, or by walking away. Self-sacrifice is not an option.

 

Various approaches are on the menu that can resolve any Oneself/Others conflict that may arise in different circumstances. These recipes are detailed in the MYI Toolkit on my website AskDwightHow.org.

 

Here are just a few of the titles for the various tools for creating Oneself/Others integrity:

 

  1. Undoing expectations (expectations are ways we lie to ourselves and set us up for upsets with others)

  2. Undoing fear (resisted fear makes good relationships more difficult)

  3. Undoing worry (same here)

  4. Undoing stress (same here)

  5. Partnership Conversation (this is the platinum standard for resolving any conflict that may arise with another person)

  6. Being 100% responsible (whenever you assume anything less than 100% responsibility for the quality of your relationship with another, you are relinquishing some of your power)

  7. Respect cf. Love (showing respect, as well as love, creates better relationships)

  8. Being your own best friend (if you’re not already your own best friend, it’s likely to toxify your relationship with others)

  9. Undoing guilt (self-blame creates difficulties in any relationship)

  10. Undoing being a victim (if you feel you’re the victim of another, then your response is likely to make them feel that they are a victim of you)

  11. Undoing shoulds and should nots (when you’re fighting with reality, everyone loses; this is also essential for Now/Next integrity)

  12. Setting up and maintaining good boundaries with others (good boundaries make great relationships)

  13. It's not about you (yes, your actions may influence how others respond to you, but who you are is great regardless of how others think about you)

  14. Listening (listening makes all the difference; distinguish listening from obeying)

  15. Listening for their listening of you (create a tight feedback loop to increase understanding and effectiveness)

 

 

Conclusion: you can remove all suffering from your life by understanding and following the basic principles and methods for creating both Now/Next and Oneself/Others integrity.

 

You now know how to disappear any problem. Learn, implement, and habitualize these new procedures step by step. You’ll discover a life of ease, accomplishment, connection, joy, and happiness (our natural state of being).

Check out Your Primo Habit; using this lead-horse habit, your life could be this easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life is hard. Not great. Kind of tragic.
     -T.J. Miller

I have read and studied many hundreds of books about life and how to lead a better life. To a fault, almost every accomplished thinker I have admired, even though they may disagree about many things, end up claiming that, "this will be hard." Whole philosophies and religions are based upon the idea that "life is hard." Every story, every moral, every drama requires that the characters go through something tough. It wouldn't even be interesting otherwise. Is it possible that life doesn't have to be this way?