I write a lot. This blog is the tip of the iceberg. But seeing as writing is both my job and my hobby, I have (in spite of myself) built up some sort of routine. It helps me get into the mindset where I can shut off my internal dialogue and just write.
For some people, having their shit together means being happily married with a little brood of kids, a paid off mortgage, and shiny hair. For some, it means managing to pay the bills, get laundry done, shower once in a while, and smile sometimes. For some, it means passing out drunk on a front lawn less than three times a week.
“It is very difficult to go through life when your core belief about yourself is that you are incompetent and do not count. When you have no sense of your own value, you are like a leaf in the wind, dependent on what others think of you to know who you are.” ― Valerie Porr
It’s a cliche at this point to talk about how we all wear masks, we all portray a fake image on social media, we all lie and conceal our true selves. Of course we do. We always will as long as it’s not socially acceptable to do things that everyone does. And although that’s seen as a bad thing, it’s not. We wear masks because it liberates us.
Hell is other people — not because they are intrinsically bad, but because relationships are inherently uncertain and uncertainty is the worst torture imaginable.
As it is, we can picture McCandless as being like ourselves, only truly free. Whatever that means. We can ignore the obvious physical and mental toll of prolonged isolation and imagine that with a few different choices it could all have been fine.
Guru' is a tricky word. A category which includes both the greatest and worst people to have ever lived. The kindest and the cruellest, the misunderstood and the manipulative. Gurus have shaped our world to an unimaginable extent. Yet we rarely recognise the links between them.
It's not about grabbing a few nuggets of information and cramming them in our brains or writing up a summary that will get lots of clicks on Medium. It's an experience, it's something sensory and infinitely pleasurable- the rich sense of delving into another world that I first fell for as a child. I didn't read in the way I do now. I worked my way through bookshelves. I borrowed from family. I read whatever fell into my hands.
A comprehensive guide to reading 200 books a year, remembering what you read, updating your mental models and more.
Reading has to be a priority. This is a no-brainer, yet it's easy to forget. You cannot outsource, simplify or 'hack' everything in life. To read a book, you have to actually sit down and read the damn book. All the way through. There is no way around this, whatever anyone says. I read faster than average, but only slightly.