Type One and Type Two Fun

1260 Relax and Succeed - By seeking pleasureI heard an astronaut on the radio yesterday. When asked if it was fun to do a spacewalk, he responded that it was Type Two Fun, meaning it’s not the kind of fun that you really feel while you’re doing it. The two are very different, but it’s often easier to look at the day around the fun to help determine whether it’s Type One or Type Two Fun.

Type One Fun days are often a lot easier. That’s stuff like going to the beach, or having a party, or going to a good show. Type Two Fun comes from experiences where our own attention needs to be highly focused and the experience is more demanding, like on a spacewalk, or during a big dance number in a show, or when I race my brother’s race car. It’ll be a fun memory when I think about it later, but at the time I need to stay present to keep a very fast car from hitting a wall.

Type One is fun at the time. Two is rewarding later. Rather than suffer for our whole life by trying to avoid Type Two days, we’re all better to understand that inactivity and a lack of motion or creation will lead to our worst suffering. Meanwhile the pain endured to acquire strength or skill ends up as stored energy that releases Type Two Fun when our own personal genius makes itself known through action.

1260 Relax and Succeed - Dwell in possibilityType One Fun is easy. But yin and yang means that there is no getting around certain kinds of suffering in life. Let me write that again: there is no getting around suffering in life. Not for anyone. Young people die, you can’t fight City Hall, and around the world the weak suffer. What makes existence holy is when we accept this fact and we begin turning an idle sadness about life into an action that converts difficult times into rewarding Type Two Fun. Med school is hard. Saving lives feels awesome.

The only help people ever need with Type One Fun is if they start to dose it with thin pleasure, from things like drug addictions etc. But for the most part Type One Fun is easy to enjoy, just possibly harder to find. Opportunities for Type Two Fun abound. They are plentiful all around us. Every complaint points to a potential Type Two Fun solution. Like with being a doctor, refugee camps are hard places to work. Saving lives there feels awesome.

When we’re urged to do what scares us it’s not the fear that has the value, it’s the discovery. Doing things outside our comfort zone increases the size of our comfort zone, and as that circle expands, its growing perimeter encounters increasingly more opportunities to do the sort of things we tend to look back on with pride and self-satisfaction. That’s credit we know we’re truly due, and it never feels better than when we rightfully give it to ourselves.

1260 Relax and Succeed - For most people their spiritual teacherIf most of us look at our lives, our suffering is caused by our resistance to things that are “hard.” That fact is a demonstration of how we all live in illusory worlds, because if we stopped to meditate on our own lives for just a while, we would suddenly make the genuine connection between our suffering and our avoidance of challenges, versus our joys and our overcoming of them.

You will make choices regarding your path every day. Some will be motivated by fear, others by fun, but for greater clarity we require a greater level of consciousness about those choices. Rather than perpetually seeking Type One Fun and torturing ourselves in that act, we are better to fully grasp the value and profound rewards that go with taking on Type Two Challenges.

Don’t hide from what scares you. Use the yin in your life to make room for the challenges that you can then convert into a wave of Type One Fun. It’s in you to do. Enjoy your day.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

A Life Made of Moments

1257 Relax and Succeed - What makes a life awesomeYou’ll find cases who are big stars, or some will be your friends, family or maybe a mentor or lover. They don’t feel like failures to you because they don’t feel that way themselves. Even someone with a small life filled with disasters can really like how it all unfolded, because they know that even most awesome-looking lives are filled with reactions to failure. What makes a life awesome isn’t based in our results, it’s found in the quality our interactions in pursuing them.

A good example of the results not mattering was yesterday’s post, where we looked a gold medal athlete who might move into retirement feeling sorry that they passed on a must-win attitude that makes both themselves and their child their worst, most impatient, critical selves. A gold medal can’t fix the fact that the quality of their daily interactions will have suffered to get it and, in the end, which is worth more when the athlete’s 50? Love and companionship, or ostensibly a necklace too ostentatious to wear every day?

When we hear of people shifting in this direction or that, extremely few of them are following some muse or calling, because, even if they were that does not remove the fact that life doles out a lot of punishment on its way to giving us its rewards. (Warning: movie spoiler alert.) This is what makes the ending of the film Arrival so beautiful; even though she knows she’s signing up to watch her daughter slowly die, and to be deserted by a beloved husband, when given the chance to do it all again, she joyfully takes it.

1257 Relax and Succeed - Successful people aren't betterMost of the moves we see people make in life are because of the punishment life delivers. Part of this life-game is down at the bottom of Maslow’s Pyramid and we all need to eat, so some aspect of life is invested in providing for ourselves and/or others, and our comparative minds we tend to evaluate a large part of ourselves on the basis of how much ‘food’ we’re able to provide. Likewise, we judge others on much the same basis.

This means we can detect the possibility that a manager who moves into a lower position in a new company may have been fired by the previous company, but we don’t often realise that the creation of a new TV show was actually the product of someone having their previous show fail and be cancelled. We see the new show as a victory, not as a reaction to the failure of the old show.

Lawyers lose a lot of cases. Athletes lose a lot of games. Lovers have their heart broken, and a parent can move up or down in status in their pursuit to ensure they’re providing for their children. This means that lives that we may judge as failures are also filled with successes, just as the lives we view as successes are always also filled with rejections.

1257 Relax and Succeed - When your'e not concerned with succeedingWhat counts is: what did that person do in the face of rejection? Curl up and die? No, they move forward on whatever path is best, whether it appears to lead up or down? Because it’s not like we can tell where a path is going by how it looks at the start. No one begins thinking their wedding will lead to a legal nightmare, just like they won’t assume divorce is the greatest thing that will ever happen to their love life, and yet both things often happen just that way.

Our failures will come. Some we’ll see coming, some will be unexpected. The healthy reaction is to avoid turning that fact into a personally destructive internal narrative about failure. We must free ourselves by understanding that failure litters every life, and that the quality of your life will actually be dictated by how you react, and not by what happened.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Effort vs. Inspiration

1243 - Relax and Succeed - Stop being afraidEffort can be helpful. Effort can get us to lift more weight, more times. It can get us to run farther, or faster. But effort fails to capture everything we have within us. Effort is like squeezing liquid from a sponge, whereas inspiration is more like the natural lift of buoyancy.

Effort involves ego. It’s when we’re doing whatever it is for abstract reasons instead of acting from an internal drive. Inspiration is when we feel pulled to do something rather than pushed. Rather than intellectually knowing something is good for us, we should feel the thrill of engagement and do whatever it is as an act of expressing our own life and vitality. It should be more of a celebration of everything, rather than striving for some specific thing.

You’re not looking for phrases like, come on, you can do this, or; just three more blocks, just three more. Just keep moving, or; push!!!!!! You should feel like you’re excited to do the thing because you know you’re moving along your path toward your own surprises. You’re not exercising your body, you should be exercising your spirit. Flex it.

1243 - Relax and Succeed - Warning, ExerciseOf course you can do it, and you don’t reach a running goal, you’re chasing something and you can feel the thrill of catching up to it. And the weight you’re lifting doesn’t require your effort, you simply need to exert your superior understanding of the forces of the universe. After all, we’re all only atoms lifting atoms. Atoms are mostly space. Stay aware of how ephemeral the weight you’re moving really is.

Stop talking your ego into things and start being them. The real you doesn’t need a pep talk. It doesn’t even use language. The strong part of you simply understands that you need time to master new things, but that no new thing is outside of your capability. You have to approach everything in life aware that you have a natural prowess at it all–you just often psyche yourself out with words in your head too often.

Quiet your mind. Simply act. If you catch yourself thinking you do not respond by being upset or scolding yourself, you simply move back into action. Action, action, action. Move your day from activity to activity. Stay aware as you flow through each function. Fully be the thing you are doing. Make you and the activity into one thing. Forget the words and flow into being the real you. It’ll take courage, but only because you do it so seldom. If you consciously did it more often you’d soon realise that capability is your natural state.

1243 - Relax and Succeed - I am learning every dayGo make your day happen. Act as though even your derailments are a part of the plan for your day. React as though you were expecting them. Act, act, act. Less thinking, more being. Become some type of verb, whether it’s to read, to write, or engage in physical effort.

Avoid getting in your own way with words and instead conjure for yourself the pure feeling of capability. After all, every time you’ve felt capable it was only because you told yourself it was so. Therefore I would suggest that you take the entire day today, and make it so again.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.