Self-evident Life Fundamentals
"The truth is always obvious once you know it."
- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
"Common sense is not so common."
"The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply."
- Kahlil Gibran
"So easy it seemed once found, which yet unfound most would have thought impossible."
Self-evident Life Fundamentals
Today, what seems obvious and self-evident to me is not what I used to see. Even the greatest minds in history have overlooked these few fundamental truths that are now obvious to me, either partially or entirely. While understanding these truths is straightforward, implementing them is not so straightforward. However, with a few examples and some explanation, at least the fundamentals can be understood.
Can you or anyone you know challenge these fundamentals?
Perhaps there is something I am overlooking. If you believe this to be the case, please inform me. I am eager to gain new insights and perspectives.
Life's ultimate goal is to attain and maintain happiness, not just in the narrow sense, but in its broadest meaning. At the same time, in trying to avoid sources of unhappiness, we need to mindful that avoiding one source of unhappiness does not lead to further distress.
It is every individual's top priority to take care of themselves. In many cases, the most effective way to care for oneself is by caring for others in ways that align with our own self-interest, creating mutually beneficial support. However, in any circumstance, considering long-term and short-term, if you see no way to serve both, you take care of yourself first, in essence saying to the other person, "A part of me would like to do what you want, but I don't know how to do that and still take care of myself."
Fear as your friend
The issue is not fear itself, but rather our resistance to it (known as dufear). By befriending our fear and consistently following the four steps of courage, we can resolve countless life issues, including stress, worry, feeling overwhelmed or pressured, and experiencing guilt or regret.
Process first, results second
The core cause of human suffering and dysfunction lies in the conflict between our present and future selves. By achieving harmony and mutual agreement between our present and future selves, referred to as Now-Next Integrity, we can eliminate suffering and experience genuine happiness. More specifically, this means that to end this suffering and dysfunction we must prioritize finding ways for our Now and our Next to mutually support each other. This includes the precedence of creating and maintaining a life processes and journey that's enjoyable and that flows, with a more minor emphasis of achieving any specific results that may accrue inside of those processes.
Why have we not realized before that emphasizing the processes over the results leads to better outcomes, including the enjoyment of the processes themselves?
Until now, the cultures, religions, and philosophies of the world have celebrated the act of taking care of the future and condemned indulging in the present. Traits such as persistence have been glorified, while giving up is considered a flaw. Similarly, hard work is viewed positively, while laziness is frowned upon, and courage is praised, while being a wimp is looked down upon.
The first reason why these flawed ideas have continued to exist is because when people prioritize feeling good in the present moment over considering the long-term costs and benefits, the negative consequences can be significant and sometimes irreversible. It's often been viewed as a trade-off between the two, where taking care of one means sacrificing the other. However, we now know that it works best to serve both the needs of the present and the future in a way that creates more benefits with fewer costs for both the needs of the present and the needs of the future.
Mutual self-interest is the only way to go
There exist only four fundamental types of exchanges or interactions that occur between you and anyone else:
A lose-lose scenario where both of you lose.
A win-lose scenario where you emerge as the winner and they as the loser, often labeled as you being the "bad guy."
A lose-win scenario where you end up as the loser and they as the winner, often referred to as you being the "good guy."
A win-win scenario where both parties benefit from the interaction.
Why have we not previously recognized that prioritizing self-interest while striving for that to match with the self-interest of others leads to the best outcomes, including the result of others being well taken care of?
Prior to this point in history, the major cultures, religions, and philosophies have placed greater emphasis on concern for others and taking care of others over taking care of oneself. Generosity has been considered a virtue while greed has been looked down upon. Altruism has been praised while selfishness has been condemned. Thinking of others has been seen as positive while being self-centered has been viewed as negative.
The second reason for the persistence of these fundamentally flawed ideas is due to the fact that when people prioritize short-term self-interest (ignoring long-term self-interest) over concern for others (and most often their short-term self-interests), the resulting costs can be significant and even permanent. The choice has been viewed as a zero-sum game where one must either focus on the benefits for oneself or on the benefits for others. However, by considering both short-term and long-term consequences, we can see that taking care of ourselves and others can complement each other, leading to more benefits and less costs for everyone. Another reason that many people are blind to the costs of this flawed idea is that when we label someone as selfish, it's often because their actions are impeding our own self-centered desires and we prefer not to see the contradiction in this.
Who can dispute the obviousness of these new truths?
I have not encountered anyone who, during a discussion with me, has failed to grasp these new self-evident truths. However, comprehension alone does not readily lead to their consistent implementation in our daily thoughts, feelings, and actions. To reprogram the cultural milieu of these fundamentally flawed ideas that underpin both our internal lack of Now-Next Integrity and lack of Oneself-Others Integrity, each of us needs to invest time and intention. That is why I suggest that you join "The 14:24 Club."