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Leaving Florida

I’m leaving for California at the end of the week to spend three months with my mom in Union City. She will be taking the first week off, after which I will be working at Goodwill of San Francisco for a volunteer internship, which should involve transitioning them from the LAMP stack to Microsoft SharePoint for their intranet CMS. My mom also works there. I will also be taking a tour of Google’s campus.

My mom left in 1998, so I’ve lived with my Dad since then. This is a good time to visit her, since I’ve got nothing important going on in Florida. I will be getting to see my 10 year old sister for the first time since 2006.

I won’t be taking any computers, musical instruments, or many clothes, instead relying on buying stuff there and using my mom’s computer. I will take my camera, cell phone, and a portable hard drive for data storage, but I’m limiting myself to one carry-on bag so I don’t have to defend or wait for luggage. I have a four hour layover in Atlanta, so I’ll probably take a book to read. I’m taking a shuttle from Daytona Beach to Orlando, since it’s the same price as the gas for a round trip to Orlando. My mom has promised to buy me a piano, and I may have to buy a monochrome laser printer so I can print sheet music and whatever else I need.

This will be my first time traveling alone, flying on an airplane, and leaving the state, besides a funeral in NC in 2006. I will also be turning 20 on August 17 while in CA. This will be a very significant trip. I’m sure I’ll miss my family, home, and a few key friends in Florida, but I’ll have my cell phone to keep in touch, email, Facebook, blogging, etc. I will also be keeping busy, so the time might pass very quickly. I can’t say for sure until I get out there.

I’m debating which GPS to take, since my mom will let me use her car. I have a Magellan GPS unit I like, but the maps are from 2009 and it costs money to update the maps. My TomTom GPS has free unlimited map updates, but the directions are confusing and the user interface is terrible. I don’t like how the Magellan GPS does not go past 1798 Ridgewood Ave. in Holly Hill, even though that road goes up to higher street addresses. I guess that part of that road may have been in a different city a few years ago. I will probably take the Magellan GPS, and hopefully the roads will not have significantly changed in the bay area in the past two years.

If I like California, I could stay out there or go back later. According to the CA website, I can claim domicile after staying a total of 6 months within a 12 month period, so I would have to go back for another 3 months before May. Then I could go to college at UC Berkeley at the in-state rate, which is about 30 miles from Union City. Hopefully Daytona State College will grant my AA degree at the end of the month, at which point I could go to work on some sort of Bachelor’s degree. However, in FL I can continue receiving the BrightFutures scholarship. I’ve already used up 4 of the 7 years on the AA portion, but can continue receiving it if I work on my Bachelor’s degree here within the next three years, if I’ve read the rules correctly. New BrightFutures students have only 5 years to complete their degree, but I have 7 since I came in under the 2007 rules.

Since I will not have most of my possessions in CA, such as my desktop computer, violin, saxophone, cello, and Chihuahua, I will be relying more on my intellect and my ability to convince my mom to buy me stuff. I won’t be able to help my family with computer issues, nor will I be able to remotely access my computer, since we are having our Internet disconnected tomorrow. I switched from AT&T DSL (768Kb) to Brighthouse cable (10Mb) six months ago, but now they are trying to raise it from $29.99 to $50.00 per month, and their “lite” speed (7Mb) has also increased from $32.99 to $35.00. AT&T now says they only have dial-up in our location, since they are at-capacity for DSL subscribers. Normally, technology advances over time, but in Ormond Beach, FL, it moves backwards. I have to take our cable modem back tomorrow and will be downloading Netzero and/or Juno again for their 10 hours free dialup access per month, for the next few days before I leave. Hopefully they still offer that. I really don’t feel too much loyalty to Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Volusia County, or Florida in general at this point.

Since there are thousands of gang members roaming the streets of Oakland, I will have to be very careful not to stay our at night, and to avoid wearing blue, red, or black T-shirts, since those are the major gang colors, according to my research. Since I will be in a strange environment, I will naturally be more careful than in my hometown, so I’m not too worried about all the things that could possibly go wrong.

One online project I would like to work on while in CA is getting my text, photos, and videos onto as many websites as possible. While I’ve previously written about the dangers of relying on community websites like Facebook, Twitter, DeviantArt, YouTube, and Etsy, I now realize it’s much easier to get people to visit you on these websites than a personal website, and these sites do offer hosting for your content and ideas, serving as a sort of online backup on foreign servers, free of charge, so long as the moderators of such services do not ban you or erase your submissions. When I share my photos, I always try to do so at the highest resolution possible. While some people post only thumbnails with watermarks to protect their intellectual property, I would prefer the peace-of-mind of knowing that even if my house, WiredTree’s datacenter, and all of my relatives’ houses burn down, my photos will still exist on some computers or in someone’s files somewhere. Proliferation is better than protectionism. I’m hoping to take a lot of photos of the Golden Gate bridge.

Rather than selling individual images, soliciting donations, or relying on passive income, it may be easier and more fun to offer freelance photography services. A widespread online presence facilitates this, since even though Facebook may take all my ad revenue, it can generate leads that are far more profitable. I photographed a wedding at the beginning of April, and enjoyed it a lot, taking 750 pictures of the wedding at Tavern in the Garden, the couple after the wedding, family and guests, and the reception in New Smyrna Beach. I enjoyed capturing others’ precious moments, and I edited over 300 of the photos for color and contrast, providing all of them on two DVD+Rs, including the 750 raw files (8GB total). While many photographers safeguard their photos to milk for future profit, I prefer to provide my clients with all the files, so they exist in multiple geographic locations and because I would want a photographer to do the same for me. If you don’t know your clients well, it’s a good idea to not give up any files until you get paid. Fortunately, most people don’t even know how to edit or process raw files, so you can use your editing skills as a selling point. I use FastStone Image Viewer to create JPEGs from the embedded preview images in my Canon Rebel’s .cr2 files, with some automated contrast enhancements. This way, I can give my clients a lot of JPEGs and have them tell me which ones they want edited. The bride and groom created a wedding photo book on Shutterfly and ordered it themselves, so I didn’t even have to print anything. Since most photographers charge a lot, you can always market yourself as someone who does not offer all the professional printing services, but charges less. It helps if you have a nice website with a lot of text and no Adobe Flash. :)

I’ve been posting a lot of videos of me playing piano and violin on my YouTube account, and I will take some more videos in California, while developing my musical skills. I’ve also been learning foreign languages with my pirated copy of Rosetta Stone, focusing on Hindi and Mandarin Chinese to start. I will continue working on this in California, and might take a microphone for the speech recognition parts. If I start learning foreign languages now, I will be much better at them at 29 than I would be at them if I never started. While my dad says it’s impossible to become fluent in a language if you don’t have people to speak with, and that it’s far harder to learn another language at 19 than it would be at 9 or from birth, I can’t change the past so I’m not going to dwell on it. I was never enthusiastic about Spanish in high school, and I refused to listen to my mom’s instructions in Mandarin at 3 years old, instead preferring English, but I’m hoping to become poly-lingual over the next few years. Since my mom is fluent in English and Mandarin, she should help me when I visit her. My step-mom knows Vietnamese and Pali, but I never picked either up.

I could decide there is no point in learning anything since I’m going to die anyway, or I could decide not to learn anything unless it generates measurable, purpose-driven results. More likely, I could make no progress due to a lack of love for learning, or because I keep practicing at the same level over and over again without advancing. It helps to have a computer program to direct your learning for you, since you can use it at anytime and it remembers where you left off. When I read my college textbooks, I would often find myself re-reading the same parts over and over, because when I came back after a break, I would forget where I left off previously. This could also indicate I was not interested in the material, since I’d probably remember it if I found it interesting. Years ago, I switched from piano to photography since photos were more easy to share online, I did not have a good understanding of sheet music or music theory, and I disliked how long it took to make progress in music. Now, I feel just the opposite, and I haven’t even been using my camera much since I’ve been working more on learning the Moonlight Sonata, basic pieces on the saxophone, the Granada Sherlock Holmes theme on the violin, and chords on the guitar. Unless you suffer massive brain damage, all your practice and experience contribute to your current skill level.

Anyway, I will leave off by saying I’ve been taking 5000 I.U. of vitamin D per day and I haven’t gotten a cold or flu in a few months. It could also be because I haven’t been around many people, but I think vitamin D is much more significant than vitamin C in preventing illness. Cod liver oil, B complex, niacin, and CoQ-10 are also good vitamins to take.

I am looking forward to California and the new friendships that await!

Creation vs. Promotion

Do you spend more time creating things or promoting things you’ve already created? Musicians who spend two years touring with the same album are clearly focused on promotion, whereas musicians who release four albums a year to little fanfare are focused on creation. Some authors have written thirty books but can’t get even one published, while others have one best-seller they spend all their time promoting.

Promotion gets your art out to more people―creation allows you to have art in the first place. You can spend all your time and money promoting other peoples creations―i.e. Google, Facebook, The Beatles, or Sony―or you can spend your resources promoting your own creations while enjoying the creations of others only as a customer. You can live life as a starving artist who toils into the night but never achieves recognition, or you can be a salesman who sells his paintings on everything from welcome mats to toilet seat covers. You can advertise yourself aggressively while creating very little, or you can create a lot but not advertise your creations. At one extreme, you can create works that are completely original―at the other, you can produce works that are completely derived from the creations of others. You can even choose to create and promote nothing at all, instead working at a menial job for most of your life. You may be contributing more value to the world as a worker than as an artist, because the world has too many wannabee artists already.

I am a photographer and writer, but I spend most of my time creating. Sure, I send out emails, tweets, and status updates about my new creations, but I don’t spend much time or money promoting myself. I don’t take clients or work for hire. I don’t even have a tangible product, besides a few framed photos and a whole lot of 4×6 snapshots. My main source of revenue is Google AdSense, and that only generates about $60 per month on this website. In light of this, I definitely need to spend more time on promotion and less time on creation. Though I have hundreds of pages, 21% of my visitors leave my website immediately after viewing one page. I rarely get more than 10 comments per week, and emails come once in a blue moon. However, I am confident I am a good photographer and could be famous if I worked tirelessly for many years at promoting myself.

If you focus on promotion, you appeal to casual fans while boring your loyal fans. If you advertise your ebook or products in every email or blog post, you attract people who don’t read most of your material, but you annoy people who read and re-read everything you write. Conversely, if you focus on creation, your loyal fans are happy but your casual fans feel overwhelmed. Often, they don’t even know where to start when picking up one of your creations, be it a book, magazine, newsletter, or website.

The key to unlocking your life’s dreams is in balancing not only creation and promotion, but your image as an advertiser and your image as a creative artist. If you do consulting to help people increase sales and web traffic, you should promote yourself as an advertiser to that demographic. If you sell original works to art enthusiasts, you should promote yourself as a counter-culture creative genius to that demographic. If you have to target two contrary demographics at once, you should balance your persona.

While it may sound like you have to promote your creations and create things for your promotion, in fact you can choose one and out-source the other. Basically, this is called “getting an agent” or “becoming an agent.” Singers, actors, writers, and even successful artists have agents to promote their work, negotiate contracts, and protect their interests. If you’re more interested in being the rock that supports someone else, you can become an agent. Then, you focus on promotion and let someone else do the creating. There is often more money in being an agent than in being an artist.

Google and Facebook are companies that focus heavily on promotion. While they create original algorithms and maintain vast networks to serve up content, the content is almost always created by others. Google spends most of its resources indexing and retrieving foreign web pages and emails. Google Adwords is all about advertising the creations of others and collecting a commission, be it 100% on search results or 32% on AdSense publishers. Facebook mines your personal information, habits, and secrets to sell them to advertisers. Both companies are agents focusing on promotion. An advertising agency is also a good example, but many agencies do original design for hire, which is more creative.

Companies that focus heavily on creation are largely partnerships or sole proprietorship. Any company larger than that invariably has secretaries, accountants, lawyers, and other officers who only perform “meta” tasks―tasks that are essential to keeping the company running, but are not its core mission. For example, shooting and editing photos, burning CDs, and printing are primary tasks in a photography studio―distributing the photos, scheduling appointments, finding new clients, and filing tax returns are secondary, “meta” tasks. Most companies have more employees working on secondary tasks than primary tasks, but they are paid less.

Whenever you have writer’s block, composer’s block, or whatever-block, you are in a great position to focus on promoting your old work. Conversely, you do not want to be interrupted by secondary tasks when creative inspiration strikes. For this reason, it is important to maintain flexibility in your schedule, rather than trying to divide creative tasks and promotional tasks into hourly blocks.

Creative artists are afraid of being judged as losers who never succeed in life. Promotional artists are afraid of being judged as “sell-outs” who value dollars over art. Many people want to be pursuing something creative such as photography, writing, drawing, music, psychology, or dancing, but instead choose to major in something “practical” like nursing or business administration. Other people enjoy accounting or secretaryship but worry about being forgotten in death. If you are in either group, you will not find happiness outside of a radical life change or black-swan event.

Human Potential

It’s safe to say that we are the premier creature of the planet Earth. No other species has the power to influence the planet as we do. Only humans can reason, philosophize, be religious, and leave legacies.

However, there is a growing movement that wishes to relegate humans to the company of apes, sharks, and other simple creatures. Even worse, we are depicted as a plague which must be eliminated to preserve the harmony of the planet. Schoolbooks dwell on the damage we cause to the rainforests, oceans, the atmosphere, and endangered species. College professors embrace atheism, the doctrine that we are the supreme beings of the universe. Paradoxically, atheism simultaneously places humanity on a pedestal and in a pit. If there is no God, then naturally man is very important, but man is also very meaningless, because we came from the same place as ants and microbes. Thus, there is no morality or higher purpose to the human experience. You should lie, cheat, and steal if you can get away with it, and the only thing you should fear is human punishment. Obviously, this is a hedonistic belief, and all hedonistic beliefs are also limiting beliefs which stifle your potential.

Unfortunately, “personal development” as a philosophy will always be associated with the “New Age” movement. This religion (and it is a religion) recognizes neither an all-powerful God nor the absence of divinity, instead embracing a no-man’s land of spirituality without substance. Prayer is replaced with yoga. “God” is replaced with “source,” and your connection to God is your “connection to source.” The Bible is replaced with The Da Vinci Code and The Matrix trilogy. Unlike atheism, which appeals to twenty-something liberal arts students who have no income or property and mooch off their parents, the New Age movement appeals to childless women in their late 30s and early 40s, and possibly gay men. The New Age movement embraces astrology, teleology, sun-worship, witchcraft, and the worship of animals. In many ways, it’s even more pathetic than atheism.

While practicing a traditional religion such as Christianity, Hinduism, or Islam is at a higher level than atheism or faux spirituality, religion always limits your potential by answering questions that are unanswerable. How do you reconcile the Pyramids and the existence of space aliens if God created us in his image? Are we one of many experiments? Can you really know if God exists for sure? Everyone has ghosts in their lives, so you cannot deny the existence of the metaphysical realm, but the belief in an all-powerful being who pulls the strings cannot be substantiated. Therefore, the most potent humans believe that they do not know the answer. It is very difficult to live with unanswered questions, but only highly developed people can accept that some paradoxes can never be resolved.

Humans have the most potential when they leave the most doors open. If you pigeon-hole yourself into a religion, race, nationality, or belief system, you close many doors for no good reason. Adopting a multi-paradigm perspective is always better than living with a narrow mind. Our allegiance should be to the truth first. God, nation, and family come second. If you find that your family members are marauders, your nation commits genocide, and your God is Molech, do you still remain committed to them? Of course not—your reject them and find a different God, nation, and family who are not evil. Fanaticism destroys your potential, because it forbids you from negotiating with the opposition. Entrenched beliefs may be good for a civil servant, but they are the antithesis of a human being with high potential.

Are you fulfilling your human potential? What beliefs are holding you back? What people should you cut out of your life? Whom should you spend more time with? Are you living your best life now? Or are you waiting for something or someone who will never come?

The Modalities of Existence

Music only has two true modalities of meter: duple and triple, from which all other meters are derived. A piece in 4/4 time is actually duple, just as a piece in 6/8 time is triple. Similarly, there are two modalities of existence: fear and love, from which all four modes are derived.

Fear only = the dark side
Love only = the light side
No fear and no love = death
Fear and love combined = insanity

This matrix is much like a Johari window.

Arena = the public self Blind spot = the private self
Facade = the blind self Unknown = the undiscovered self
COMPARE TO:
Fear and love = insanity Love only = the light side
Fear only = the dark side No fear or love = death

There are many shades of fear and love, such as sorrow, joy, guilt, forgiveness, rage, kindness, anger, and contentment. More importantly, there are two significant combinations yielding four results:

Fear of love = independence or phobia
Love of fear = courage or submissiveness

A living person cannot experience the absence of fear and love, just as a deceased person cannot experience both combined. The combination of fear and love produces all the evils of the world, including murderers, rapists, devil-worshipers, and the insane. The absence of fear and love can only be experienced in death. The quickest way to eliminate fear or love from your spirit is to kill yourself.

People with a love of fear sometimes become soldiers, firemen, astronauts, or daredevils, but more often than not, they get trapped in abusive relationships and accomplish nothing. In most of these relationships, women are controlled physically and men are controlled emotionally. A woman who loves fear will cling to a man who continually beats her, just as a man who loves fear will become obsessed with a woman who sees him as nothing more than a friend. The result is always a losing proposition for both parties. Opposites attract: a woman who loves fear will attract a man who fears love, and he will “run hot and cold” to create a “love-hate relationship.” The man punishes the woman when she demonstrates loyalty and submissiveness—he chases her when she shows any sign of courage and independence. At this point he will usually buy a bouquet of roses and a box of chocolates for her, and she will take him back once more. Once she becomes his slave again, he will return to his independent, aloof self, only demonstrating phobia when she demonstrates courage. Phobia manifests itself in “rage attacks” which always involve violence. This bipolar cycle can go on for months, years, or even a lifetime, resulting in the purchase of thousands of dollars of roses and chocolates. The entire floral and confectionery industries are built on this principle.

Similarly, a man who is obsessed with a woman demonstrates a submissive, “beta-male” attitude which repels his love interest. From time to time he will stop buying her chocolates and flowers and instead take a devil-may-care, “alpha-male” attitude which re-ignites the attraction. If he is submissive and fear-loving for too long, the relationship ends. Any couple who splits up and gets back together experiences this cycle.

Two people who fear love will usually never talk to each other, even if they cross paths regularly. Two people who love fear will do the same. It’s like trying to turn a magnet backwards and stick it on your refrigerator. It just doesn’t work.

Someone who fears love may become an independent, “lone-wolf” type, blazing his own trail of creative excellence. However, he is more likely to become schizoid and phobic. His downfall is his inability to connect to other people. While he wishes to create works of art that stand the test of time, being inherently valuable even if never viewed, his human ego prevents him from finding satisfaction in anything but adulation. Typically, he (or she) becomes a narcissist who accomplishes little but exaggerates greatly.

A person who experiences fear only will do everything he can to increase his power and invulnerability. He may hire bodyguards, build a bomb shelter, invest in cryogenics, and research immortality. Fear is just as strong a motivator as love. This people typically become politicians, religious leaders, business tycoons, or even healers. However, their purpose is never to help others—it is only to increase their own power. These people are less dangerous than the unlucky few who experience love and fear simultaneously. Their mission is to build an empire, not to destroy the empires of others. They may kill millions, but this is only “collateral damage” in an unrelated mission. It is not the central objective.

A person who experiences love only will demonstrate loving kindness to his friends and enemies alike. He will be like Jesus. His downfall is his trusting nature. His enemies will become more enraged the less they are able to provoke him, and they will eventually crucify him, literally or figuratively.

The coexistence of fear and love is a special case reserved for schizophrenics and murderers. A man who is absolutely obsessed with a woman is much more likely to kill her than a man with a healthy worldview. While fear and love are polarities, they are in fact very close to each other. Your closest friends become your most bitter enemies, just as your most bitter enemies become your essential allies. Fear and love are like East and West Berlin, with neutrality being on the other side of the world, 12,500 miles away. While most people alternate between fear and love, a man who embodies both at once experiences a living death worse than death itself. He cannot kill himself because he is already dead—he feels only agony because he is hardly living. He is insane. The most secure place for this man is a life sentence to a supermax prison, but this only minimizes his agony. If left unchecked, he will become a monster of Frankenstein proportions, destroying everything in sight, either overtly or covertly. Overt destruction produces a mass murderer who is quickly captured. Covert destruction products a psychopath who hurts a huge number of people emotionally and physically, without conscience, often into old age. Some will mistake him for a passionate, complex, and eccentric visionary, but he is no more than a rotting corpse who has died in the spirit but not in the flesh. David Rockefeller fits this profile. So does Hugh Laurie from “House, M.D.” seasons 1-5.

Love is to Jesus as fear is to Lucifer. While “Lucifer” means “to illuminate,” the devil in fact casts darkness on everything. Just as the “Ministry of Love” is the hotbed of torture in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “Lucifer” is the Prince of Darkness, a conniving, hypocritical figure.

A deceased spirit who indulges in fear will throw himself into a hellfire of his choosing. Usually, he will never even realize that reality is in his hands alone. A deceased spirit who indulges in love will go to whatever he perceives heaven to be. Sometimes, he will not realize he has chosen the path of light, but more often than not, he will be self-aware. Jedi are much less likely to experience “learned helplessness” than Sith. A man who places himself in hell deliberately is a frightening creature. His drug of choice is sado-masochistic self-torment.

Anyone who believes a divine being will condemn anyone to eternal hellfire is walking the path of fear. Sadly, this includes most church-goers. “Repent or you will burn” is nothing more than a scare tactic. Any preacher who espouses this is rooted in a position of fear, not love. No torment, even God’s torment, is so great that it cannot be escaped by sheer willpower. Even if your body is feeling terrible pain, you can end your life and escape to the afterlife, where you will not be bound by the rules of reality. While love and fear make interesting mixtures, true power lies in choosing one of the two modalities. Choose love or fear whole-heartedly and you will see that YOU ARE POWERFUL.

Self-Destructive Behavior

Behavior that is self-destructive in one context might not be self-destructive in another. For example, chopping off a leg is definitely self-destructive… but not if you’re suffering gangrene and will die otherwise.

Eating 10,000 calories a day is extremely self-destructive for a normal adult, as it will result in massive weight gain. If you’re an Olympic athlete, it may be just right.

If you’re so obsessed with golf that you’ve quit your job and abandoned your family, you’re self-destructive… unless you’re the next Tiger Woods.

If you have the wisdom to know the difference between positive action and self-destructive action, you will go far. Just because you are passionate about something does not mean it is positive. Plenty of people are obsessed with playing video games, watching sports, or gambling, but none of them have any commercial viability.

Society may consider behavior normal under some circumstances and self-destructive in others. Teen pregnancy is considered self-destructive, but having a child in your thirties is not. Boxing or stunt racing is destructive when done by amateurs, but a money-maker when performed by professionals.

Healthy self-esteem is a positive trait, but wild narcissistic arrogance is destructive.

Half the battle is avoiding self-destructive behavior: the other half is reading self-help articles. :wink:

Heartless People

2009-12-20 Update: Be careful not to become too jaded or polarized from reading this.

It’s easy to forget how heartless most people are when you’re not around them.

At the beginning of the semester, my speech teacher asked all the students what their majors were, and what they were going to do with their lives. What did he get?

Boring replies.

No conviction. No one was committed to anything they said. There were a lot of “I don’t know”s. Those are bad, but even worse are the people who have been brave enough to “choose” a path… but they’ve chosen one that inspires no confidence. You know these people. Often, they’ll even say what they really want to do with exciting enthusiasm, but then in the same sentence they’ll say how unrealistic it is. These people think they’re really smart. They think they’re being “grounded” and “down to earth” by choosing a “reasonable” career. No one will tell them anything different.

But really, what are they?

Heartless people.

They’ve sold out. They’re not even twenty, and they’ve already committed themselves to doing what they hate for life. And that’s reasonable? We’re telling the children of the world that selling out is reasonable?

Shame on us.

You can’t have a heart if you’ve already sold yourself out. Sure, you can have compassion, kindness, love, friendship, bravery. But you’ll just have a shadow heart. A sliver of these things. A crumb, when you should have a whole pie.

The way to bring others back to their hearts is not to comfort or support or empathize. It’s not to stick by them. It’s not to bring yourself down to their level.

The way to help others is to follow your heart to the end. When you find someone like this, it’s like meeting Jesus. You’re meeting someone so brilliant and spirited that his heart transfers to you. It’s like a wildfire meeting a blighted forest. His fire becomes your fire.

So how do you overcome heartlessness? Phase heartless friends out of your life, and bring heartfelt friends into your life. That means: get away from negative people.

Once you’ve built up a network of positivity, go back to those negative friends. You’ll find they aren’t so negative after all. Their completely positive now. Were you mistaken?

No, you made them positive. Whenever you embrace your heart, others do the same. When you deny your heart with lies, excuses, and limiting beliefs, others do the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hermit. You still hold other people back when you hold yourself back. What you do to my brothers, you do to me.

This is the perfect manifestation of chaos theory and the ripple effect, because it means that we’re all pretty much the same. You have an ethical duty to do the work that does the most good for yourself and others, because if you don’t, you’re bringing down humanity. This isn’t something that can or should ever be mandated or legislated, because no one but you can find your heart. I can push you in the right direction, but only you can drink the water.

You have quite a responsibility. Every minute you waste working for more fake money, you take away from humanity. You think you’re being good and staying out of trouble, but you’re actually being evil.

How good would it be if I decided to stop taking pictures and stop sharing these articles, to instead play the violin or open a shop selling widgets? It wouldn’t be good at all, because that isn’t where my heart is. I’d be doing something I enjoy far less than this, so I’d contribute far less to the lives of others. If I picked a safe path like becoming a computer-science teacher or a government-funded librarian, I’d actually be doing something completely evil. That’s where heartlessness comes from.

One of the greatest ways to have a heart is to choose your career. Your career is what you do that makes money. It is not what you do to make money; it’s what you do that also incidentally happens to make money. Also: it is not what you do, but how you do it. My photography and writing is always focused on the growth and inspiration of others. If I found that I could better inspire others by composing music or giving speeches or returning to pencil sketches, I’d switch in a heartbeat. But I don’t, because my talent + heart makes photography and writing the most effective mediums for me right now.

You can’t choose a career in advance. You have to do it and then see if you like it. This is costly and takes years. To speed up the process, you must choose what you really like now, as that’s the closest thing to your mission that you currently know.

Ask yourself: “What would I do if I had all the money and possessions I need to live? What would I do if I’d found my mission? What would I do if I’d created my religion? What would I do if I had a loving wife and family? What would I do if I’d overcame limiting beliefs and made peace with the world?”

What would I do? I’d write this.

My gut reaction is that I should make my life perfect first, and then write this. Once I eliminate my problems, I’ll have peace.

This is putting the cart before the horse. Problems give you peace. ‘Unhappiness’ gives you a mission, because it’s actually happiness in disguise, telling you what you need to be doing. It’s that little voice (your conscience) that watches out for you. You have to follow your intellect (the voice) instead of your gut (not the voice). You have to be open to hear him. You have to listen real close. God’s not going to help you if you refuse to help yourself. Be thankful for the voice, because no other species has it. We’re special. We have a voice.

The nature of heartlessness

If Yoda from Star Wars has taught us anything, it is that the dark side is much more tempting than the side of light, because it makes progress much more quickly. Siths seem to have much more power than Jedi, because they blaze ahead while Jedi make slow advances. Siths rise to greatness in days instead of years. Strangely enough, however:

The dark side is powerless.

Heartlessness is powerlessness.

Good always triumphs over evil, because evil is a dependent system, whereas good is an independent system. Evil is the derivative of good. You cannot have a pure-evil world; evil can only co-exist with good. If you have evil, you must have good. But you can have good without evil. The phrase necessary evil is the dark side’s Trojan horse. Evil is never necessary.

You can’t have shoplifters without shoppers.

You can’t have thieves without customers.

You can’t have poison without medicine.

You can’t have corruption without honesty.

You can’t have hate without love.

You can’t have evil without good.

You can’t have heartlessness without heart.

You can have heart without heartlessness.

If everyone is wholly corrupt, how can anyone have anyone to take advantage of? You can’t have a society of leeches. Someone has to contribute something, or else there is nothing to leech.

Think of evil as cancer cells, and good as healthy cells. Cancer cells leech; healthy cells contribute. Cancer cells are incredibly powerful because they can reproduce and continue growing indefinitely. They expand exponentially. Cancer represents evil and heartlessness. Healthy cells, which represent light and heart, have no such privileges. But, there is a paradoxical fail-safe that protects the light side.

As cancer gets more and more powerful, it actually ends up committing suicide. Cancer is heartless, but it relies on something heartfelt (the body) to continue living. Once it becomes unstoppably powerful, it overwhelms its host. Both die. It’s like using Explosion in a Pokémon battle.

In a bad world, terminal cancer victims would be completely engulfed by the disease, becoming walking cancer zombies that roam the Earth spreading the disease to millions of others. They’d also be green and glow like Frankenstein. Evil would triumph.

In our world, evil can never triumph.

The best possible outcome for the dark side is the destruction of both good and evil, leaving nothingness. Evil can never win. If you’re evil, the best you can hope for is a stalemate with good, resulting in the death of you both.

The best possible outcome for the light side is peace on Earth with unprecedented abundance, freedom, and growth for all of humanity. Evil is completely removed, but not in it’s destruction, so much as it’s conversion to good. The evil men lay down their swords, stop murdering each other, and commit themselves to empowering rather than imprisoning their countrymen. We and the dead spirits forgive their transgressions, because there’s nothing else that should be done. There is no love in perpetual Hellfire.

Evil cannot be isolated. Pure evil does not exist; it is always tempered by good, be it 50% or .001%. Pure good does exist, alone and 100% independent of evil.

Which side will you choose?

If you pick heartlessness (evil), you’ve actually already given up on life, because the best you can hope for is a stalemate. But if you follow your heart (good), the sky is limitless.

How could this be any simpler?

When you give up your freedom to secure your safety, you’ve chosen evil. When you choose a safe, boring life over a risky, adventurous life, you’ve chosen evil. When you choose accounting over lion-taming, you’ve chosen evil.

Evil exists in everything you fear, everything that leads you into limits, shyness, and seclusion, away from your God-given power.

If you become heartless, you’ll make fast progress. . . toward death.

Your life has no meaning. It would have meaning if it was defined in terms of good, but by defining yourself in terms of evil you’ve obfuscated your heart into a cryptogram that serves no one.

Just because evil cannot triumph does not mean that you should not be concerned. The best endgame for evil is the destruction of good, and that is still really really bad. We want to keep good around.

Knowing that heartlessness depends on the heart gives you unstoppable power on the side of light. You may think power is evil, but it’s completely necessary. Anything that’s necessary is good, not evil. Power is great. It allows you to uphold goodness.

Just think: any heartless person, no matter how far gone, can be saved, because there is a sliver of good in him which can never be destroyed. To destroy that sliver is to destroy him.

If your evil is too strong, it might kill you to return to good. Or at least, critically injure you. But that’s much better than continuing in evilness. If you’re evil, you’re drowning alive.

If you cause a really heartless person to die, not through force but by his free return to heartfeltness, you’ve done something great. Although I’d prefer him to live, you’ve proven that impossible, and so his fate was best.

The way to combat evil is not to fight fire with fire, or murder with murder. In Gandhi’s words, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” When you fight evil with evil, you become evil. Don’t cooperate with nor support evil.

A good example of disguised evil is pre-emptive and retributive punishment. You cannot rightly punish a man for his plans or his genes or his thoughts. “Hate crimes” and “thought crimes” cannot exist, because hate is irrelevant to a crime. So is “affirmative” action. Abortion is also pre-emptive punishment, because it’s meant to save a child from the horrors he’ll face in the world, being unwanted and unloved and all. All these things are touted by the evil-doers as “good,” but they are squarely in the category of heartless evil.

Don’t support evil.

Your thoughts are important, but for the purpose of justice, they’re only important after you’ve committed a criminal act. Then, in an ideal legal system, a jury of your peers reviews the evidence and decides unanimously if you (a) are guilty; (b) should be punished. You can only be punished if you’re guilty, but not all guilty people should be punished. If you accidentally kill someone, it’s a lot different then purposefully killing someone. The difference can be between no punishment and life in prison (not death, because death stifles your opportunities for personal growth). If you dive in the water to save a drowning child, it doesn’t matter how many “no swimming” signs are around.

Governments are not inherently evil. Our governments are evil. American was not evil, but it has become evil by would-be do-gooders standing idle while evil-doers like Abraham Lincoln, the income tax, and the Federal Reserve system rose to power.

Irresponsible debt is evil. If you mortgage your heart, you can’t expect anything but heartlessness. Most debt is evil, because most debt is irresponsible. Live beneath your means always, buy less than you need, contribute more than you take. Possessions and thoughts don’t matter; actions matter. Don’t put up with people who push you toward debt.

Thwarting the Death-Worshipers

The heartless have a plan right now. They want the best endgame for evil. The only path to that is the extinction of the human race (after a lot of pain and suffering, of course). The population of the Earth must become 0. Then, both good and evil will be gone, permanently. The evil-lovers worship death.

If you’re “neutral,” you’re evil. There’s good and evil, and neutral people are evil because they let evil people reign without matching evil with good. You have to choose between good and evil. This isn’t something you can wuss out on.

“The world is evil” syndrome

The main counter-argument of the dark side is this: nature, including the nature of man, is naturally uncaring and evil. Whenever we do something good, like sharing kindness or love, we’re doing it for ourselves. It’s selfish, because the end result is the betterment of ourselves. The betterment of others is merely a secondary result, making every person evil.

The problem with this theory is it objectively defines the self vs. the other, when such an objective declaration does not exist. When you redefine the world in terms of subjective reality, which is the only congruent system, you’ll find that other people are just projections of you and they represent the struggles and dreams of yourself. When you’re sharing your art or love or generosity with others, you’re being “selfishly evil,” insofaras that you are benefiting yourself. If the world was objective, that would be evil. But it isn’t, so love and compassion are always good and on the side of light, because you are other people, other people are you, you single-handedly represent all of humanity, and every other person on this planet is the exact same person as you.

Suicide is murder and must be illegal. Killing yourself is the same as killing someone else.

The environmentalism ploy

If you’ve read the Georgia Guidestones, the ten commandments of the death-worshipers, the first item on the list is “keep the human population below 500 million.” The way to do that is to kill 93 out of every 100 people. It’s going to take a lot of wars, nuclear attacks, famines, sterilization, abortions, and plagues to do that, and you can bet the illuminati are plotting right now.

If you support population reduction, let me tell you the truth: population reduction starts with you. Show your commitment to the 500 million milestone by taking the lives of yourself and your family right now. I’ll wait here.

Are you done yet? Very good.

Humanity is the calm within the storm. Humanity is the beacon of light that shines through all the smoke, fog, and mirrors that plague the lower forms of life. Humanity triumphs over adversity and heartlessness eternally, not by extinguishing the heartless but by converting them to the side of light and making them our strongest allies.

We’re strong together. It doesn’t matter if we have twenty-billion people; the life of each person is inherently valuable and sacred regardless. This is the path of heart.

Look at dogs for example. Before we came along, that had no mission. The race of the dog was a ship with no rudder, no engine, and no captain. But now, with man as the captain, dogs have love, abundance, and a mission like no other. By partnering with us, they’ve unlocked their true potential. It isn’t all sunshine and roses, because we’re killing dogs all the time, just as we’re killing people. Support the good things while denouncing the killing. Killing isn’t necessary; enough people die on their own.

Humanity is the most perfect and natural form of life on Earth. Don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t our planet. The planet is doing great, life is more diverse than ever, there is no global warming besides natural cycles of the sun, and pollution is minimal due to technological advances. The volcanoes of the Earth put out dozens of times more pollution than all of our actions combined. This is a secure, versatile planet; it can easily handle us. Mother Earth is not a fragile butterfly; she’s a solid rock with a will like no other.

Following your heart, day to day

If you’ve read everything I’ve written and am eagerly looking forward to my next articles, you’re one of a few. You’re reading a lot of other personal development books and blogs now, taking in all the information you can.

Yet you’re doing nothing.

You’re scared to do anything.

It’s much safer to read than to act.

It’s even safer to write than to act.

Right now, I’m just writing. You could say I’m being evil, because I’m encouraging other people to do nothing but read my writing, even if I say I want them to get out and see the world.

There is no personal development in sleeping, or reading, or even writing. Only in action.

You can read all you want, but you have to apply what you’re reading. If you’re merely amassing a list of quotes or a collection of books, you’re doing worse than nothing, because you’ve convinced yourself you’re making progress where really you’re making none. You have no heart.

When you forfeit your power to others, you give up your heart. You say that other people can make better use of your heart than you can. You’re afraid to wield power or personal responsibility, so the best you can is to let others guide you because they must be smarter.

The thing is, you can’t live with two hearts or zero hearts. You can only live with one heart. If we take that heart away or transplant a second heart next to it, it will kill you. Completely. When you become heartless, you’ve given your heart to someone else, and that person will die too because he can’t support two hearts. Heartlessness is the most pure form of evil, because it results in the death of everything.

It isn’t natural to live in fear. Courage is the natural state of man, but we’ve drifted away from it. When you’ve drifted off the path, the only thing to do is to get back on the path. Return to courage. Do something real.

Conclusion

Some people will say I’m naïve and idealistic for defining good and evil so concretely, or for believing in the goodness of man.

To them I say: :silly:

If you want something to pick on, I also believe in true love, real money, joblessness, purposeful happiness, and the sanctity of human life.

Always remember that the people who push atheism or Christianity on you the hardest are the ones plagued with painful doubt themselves. When people become highly angered, they’re never angry at you. They’re angry at themselves for not following their heart. Anger means that you’re either jealous of someone else being true, or unhappy that someone else is imitating you by being heartless.

Whenever I’m angry at other people, I’m actually angry at myself, because other people are me and I am other people. We’re the collective heart. It’s like the Borg, but ten times better. We’re working to consecrate the heart rather than extinguish it.

Live in the light.

First Google AdSense check

$112.23 Google AdSense check

Just got this check from Google for $112.23. I wasn’t sure if this Google ad program was real till now; perhaps they’d just take my money and ban me when I reached the $100 threshold? :xx:

I started this blog way back at the end of last year, just for my photography. I didn’t do much for a long time, often just spending lots of time fiddling with the layout and code, but in the past two months I’ve made lots of progress. I feel I can do a lot of good here, if not for others, for my own mind.

While DaytonaState.org makes the most, the balance is switching to this blog. I think it’s because I’m writing in-depth, thought-provoking articles like Digital Sharecropping, Personal Development for Photographers, and Transcending Limiting Beliefs. Not lists or tables or mash-ups or charts. No fluff. Writing that takes will work and has a real purpose. I didn’t really start doing this till two months ago, when I added personal development as my main subject alongside photography.

While $112.23 is no more than pennies an hour for all the work I’ve put in here, it’s much better than any job because I would do this for free. Most people can’t say that about their jobs.

Even though I made far more as a criminal, it’s much better to profit as an asset rather than a leech. Friends have been quick in offering to click ads for me or get others to do the same, but I’ll have none of it.

My hosting bill is paid up till 2009 March, and it has totaled $70. I also registered Thripp.com till 2018, costing $73, and thripp.net/org/us/biz/info are mine. I’m in this for the long haul. Expenses don’t really count, because I’d be paying them either way.

This month has been the best yet; I’ve taken in $61; half of what I made in the eight months before combined. Curiously days have bounced between $0 and $4 rather than being constant like last month, but it doesn’t matter.

Some people hate ads. If I was one of them, I would’ve made nothing. If this is a business, I’m lucky because most businesses lose a lot of money to start.

You can’t expect to make money if you don’t even try. Blogs are much like newspapers, which pay their printing bills and more with advertising. Now, the bills are time, effort, and less importantly, web hosting. And the message is free, rather than being a token fee of thirty-five or fifty cents.

However, if you give away the message and turn your back on advertising and turn down donations (read: don’t ask for), you can’t turn your passion into anything more than a hobby.

Unrelated: the URL for this post has 666 in it because that’s the post ID. It’s just a counter. I think it’s cool to have it at the end of URLs. I’ve actually made only 530 posts and pages, but the other numbers have been lost to test posts and drafts. Think of it just as an arbitrary number to uniquely identify each of my articles.

Also: this post is evil. :evil:

Transcending Limiting Beliefs

It’s a very scary thing when someone openly disproves your limiting beliefs. If you have empowering beliefs, being disproven is a triumph rather than an attack, because you’ve been given the easy opportunity to fine-tune your belief system, which can only lead to improving your self and your model of the world. But if your mind is holding you back, you’re highly afraid of breaking the chains. The three major reasons for this are:

1. If you’re disproven now, whose to say that you won’t be disproven again? If you switch from Catholicism to Protestantism, couldn’t what you really want be Unitarianism? If you disconnect yourself from your heart and intuition, you have no reason to ever change or grow. Depending on where you are in life, that could be much more comfortable than change.

2. Changing your beliefs invalidates your past. If you spend all your life buying groceries at the normal price, and then a spendthrift tips you off that you could easily pay half the price with judicious acquisition and use of coupons, what does that say about all the groceries you’ve already bought? If you accept your new couponing beliefs fully, you’re acknowledging that your previous shopping beliefs cost you thousands upon thousands of dollars. It could be much more comforting to simply block coupons from your reality.

3. Changing beliefs may conflict with your actions. If you don’t want to do what you’re doing, then you must either stop doing it, develop the want, or be a coward by doing what you don’t want. If you’re a lawyer now, and you find you can’t win a case without dishonesty, but you want to be honest, then you have to be a hypocrite, an unsuccessful lawyer, or an unemployed person. But if you continue believing dishonesty is okay, you don’t have to change at all. Only a change in your beliefs requires a change in your actions.

Defending a limiting belief

You can always pick out a person who has caged himself with limiting beliefs, because he reacts defensively when your actions or successes contradict his model of reality. If you’re an astronaut, and you tell a member of the Flat Earth Society that our planet is round, what can he do?

1. Ignore you. Pretend you don’t exist.
2. Call you a liar. You saw that the Earth is flat, but you just like to deceive others.
3. React defensively. The “are you calling me a liar?” response. Or maybe “this is none of your business; I don’t have to tell you anything!” Anyone who says this is subconsciously limiting himself. Accepting that hurts.
4. Accept your belief, but attribute it to confusion, misunderstanding or confirmation bias. You want to believe the Earth is ball-shaped. Subconsciously, you bend the truth to fit this desire.
5. Call you a lunatic. This is a more extreme version of the above. The Earth is flat, but you had a hallucination and saw it as round. Maybe you were on drugs?
6. Become a hypocrite. Acknowledge the photos of the round Earth, but continue to attend Flat Earth Society meetings and give out booklets. Believe in both a flat Earth and a round Earth, but flip between the two as convenient.
7. Extend the system to accommodate the new belief while supporting the old belief, even though they are inherently incompatible. “Backward compatibility,” if you will. The old belief is true in every instance except ____. Same as: the laws of physics apply to everyone except the Apollo crew.

Obviously, all of these are sub-optimal solutions. Fortunately, they give a clear indication of limiting beliefs. You can use this model to identify weak points in yourself and others.

For example, no one can tell me I’m not serious about photography or personal development, or that I don’t enjoy either of them. If someone says “you don’t look like you want to do this,” I’d have a good laugh about it, because it doesn’t shake my belief system at all. But if I really wasn’t enjoying photography, yet I was stuck in a college education + career of it, I might do something different. Instead of coming to terms with not being where I want, I’d deny it. If I did this, I’d probably respond with the “this is none of your business” tirade.

Really, there’s no reason to say “this is none of your business.” There’s no reason to prove the other person wrong either. Unlike a cinder block, words can only hurt you if you let them hurt you. Once you believe your emotions are the domain of others, you give up sovereignty over your life. You become a drone and a slave all at once.

Another example: “bad stuff is happening, so I should be upset” is quite a limiting belief. You’re only upset because you want to be upset. No matter what happens to you, you could remain happy if you consciously chose to, rather than being ruled by your subordinate subconscious.

Once you decouple your emotions from your circumstances, your mind becomes much clearer. While your environment continues to toss you about like the waves of the sea, you’re now floating smoothly above the water, like Jesus. Rather than changing your focus every day as friends and advertisers recommend, you may stay focused on the same project for weeks or months. You won’t multitask at all, and you’ll work much more efficiently because of it. I did this when I was coding the software for my public library, and although my focus has shifted to writing more articles like this rather than opening a public library, it’s only because I’ve identified this as more important. Nobody else can or should do that for me.

Once you separate your mind from your environment, you’ll gain determination like no other. Your friends will be envious. To help you, they’ll try to get you back on the track of limiting beliefs. They’ll tell you that you’re “obsessed.” Perhaps you even have ADD or ADHD. You should just be “normal.” It isn’t normal to start your own business, or to spend hours writing / composing / photography, or to not want a normal job, or to not see the value of college. Perhaps some Ritalin will help you?

I’d prefer determination any day.

Identifying limiting beliefs

“Trying is the first step towards failing.”

Homer Simpson

If “limiting belief” isn’t solid enough for you, reword it as “policy of defeatism.” The dictionary tells me that defeatism is the “acceptance of defeat without struggle.” That’s exactly what a limiting belief is. It makes you give up before you start.

Theoretically, this would be beneficial. If you try something and fail completely, wouldn’t it have been better to not have tried at all?

The problems with this are twofold: you can’t know if you’ll fail until you try, and you gain lots of experience from failure. Failure is good. I failed dozens of times in successfully labeling my photographic prints en masse, before I came up with the current laser printing method. I failed three times in naming this site while encountering logistical difficulties in fulfilling my dream. It was richardxthripp.com, then richardxthripp.richardxthripp.com, then richardxthripp.com/richardxthripp, and now richardxthripp.thripp.com, and rxthripp.com in print. When I started out, Thripp.com wasn’t even available because someone else had taken it. For a long time I thought I’d be at richardxthripp.richardxthripp.com forever, so after developing my laser printing method for labeling my 4×6 prints, I etched that address on the back of thousands of photos. I still haven’t finished giving them all out.

It took me years to conquer library science by coming up with a solid, consistent, effort-free way to assign file names to my photos. The way I do it is inconsistent with everything else I’ve read, because it completely defies logic to name your computer files arbitrarily, rather than with the subjects or people in them. So instead of flowers-and-sunshine-09-20-2008-0022.jpg, I have 20080920-132509rxt.jpg. It works better because I automate it, saving me lots of time. The only way to learn this was from repeated failures with logical taxonomy. What I really needed was illogical taxonomy, but I couldn’t have known that sans failure. I gave up time zones and Western date formatting in the process, two beliefs which seem very rational at first, but are in fact insanely limiting.

What is a limiting belief? Anything that includes “can’t” or “never” is suspect. Absolutes are always to be suspected. If you say that climbing a wall is absolutely impossible, that just means you’ve given up on climbing over it. You can still tunnel under it, walk around it, or buy an airplane and fly over it.

Before you can successfully identify limiting beliefs, you have to do two things: stop envisioning beliefs as fixed points, and stop believing that your beliefs define you. When you disconnect your ego from your beliefs, you can stop defining your persona in worldly terms, and start defining it in universal terms, such as service to humanity, justice, truth, love, etc.

I hear this one a lot: “I can’t do ____ because I don’t have the time.” I used to use it myself. The thing is, you have plenty of time. You have so much time you don’t know what to do with it all. I found plenty of time to write this article, even though I ‘should’ be studying or doing something ‘real.’ If you don’t have the time to do something, that means that thing isn’t important to you. We all have a list of priorities in our head built around a 60-hour day, and the stuff that gets done is (hopefully) at the top of the list. Only the stuff that can all fit in 24 hours. If you start at the bottom of the list, you’ll never get to the important stuff. Do the important stuff first, and you’ll find you have plenty of time—but no time for frivolous action. If you’ve fully optimized your time to the limit, you can move mountains in minutes. I’m nowhere near that, but the optimization process is more fun than the goal.

Limiting vs. empowering beliefs

This is a huge limiting belief millions of investors have:

“If you’re losing money in the stock market, don’t pull out. Your stocks will eventually go back up. If you pull out now, you’ll take a loss, but if you stick with it, you haven’t actually lost anything.”

Isn’t this absurd? It’s a hugely limiting belief. A loss is a loss; there are not two ways about it. If you’re personally developed, your losses become opportunities because you learn (and thus gain) from them, but that doesn’t change the fact that loss was the seed. Don’t gamblers have the same belief?

“I’ve lost my car and $8000 at the casino, but that’s alright. This means my luck is about to turn around and I’ll soon gain everything back.”

Of course, it doesn’t happen. If it does, the gambler thinks he’s on a “winning streak.” He continues gambling, soon losing it all again and far more. Once he starts on his chain of losses, he refuses to believe that he’s lost anything, until he has nothing left to gamble. He’s left with a rude awakening, thousands of lost dollars, and possibly a mountain of debt.

On the surface, “my luck is about to turn around” seems like an empowering belief, not a limiting one. Any belief rooted in success seems empowering, but in fact it has to be real, too. Saying “Tomorrow, I will succeed in writing fifty articles as in-depth and helpful as this one” could motivate me, but it would be short-lived because it’s impossible at my current skill level. It might not even be humanly possible (but be careful with that one). Believing I’ll write one good piece tomorrow is much more enabling.

The downfall of gamblers and investors stems from a shared limiting belief: “what goes down must come up.” Anything or anyone can go down and stay down. When you drop a brick from a tall building, it goes down, but it will never come back up on it’s own accord. When you burn down a man’s house and steal his car, he can return to material prosperity, but that doesn’t mean he “must.” A more true belief is “what goes up must come down.” That’s not a limiting belief, because it does nothing to limit you. The problem is that it is easily interpreted as the false, limiting belief, “any success will eventually be met with equal loss or failure.” You could justify this limiting belief as in “we all die,” but just because you die doesn’t mean you failed at life. If you believe that, change it to the belief that you’ve succeeded and that everyone else who dies has succeeded with you. As long as they loved living, it’s true, even if they didn’t aspire to benefit all humanity.

The profit police and the zero-sum game

Five years ago I had an aversion to advertising and profit in general. Money is evil, making money is tacky, look how annoying advertising is, etc. We get annoying telemarketing calls all the time. Wouldn’t it be better if the government banned all forms of advertising and self-promotion? Then the world would be fair.

I was stuck in the zero-sum mindset, which means that every gain must result in an equal and opposite loss. When you gain possessions, other people lose possessions. When you eat dinner, you’re making other people starve. Talk about a hugely limiting belief!

Teenagers and twenty-somethings are moochers in general. They love Karl Marx and communism, because they haven’t contributed anything to the world, they don’t own property, and they’d like to keep mooching. Communism represents the best system to them, because it gives them wealth where they deserve nothing. Doesn’t something for nothing sound nice?

The problem is that these young folks justify averting personal success. They say that if they succeed, others fail. That’s bogus. When you make money, you’re contributing more to the world than you could even contribute by not making money. Non-profit is B.S., and the motives of any “non-profit” corporation should be questioned. It’s hard for me to even trust a website that doesn’t have advertising or a donations page. How is the owner supporting himself? Is he a thief? He subsidizes his website with thievery, right? How could I spend the time to do all this work to help others, but not expect to make lots of money from it? The only way to help others is to make money.

When any person or organization claims to be “non-profit” and has no visible means of life support, be suspicious. Be very suspicious. The owners are probably laundering drug money.

The profit police are against your success. If you hold disdain for the success of others, in any form, consciously or unconsciously, you’re part of the scoundrels known as the profit police. Kill this limiting belief today. The success of others represents the success of you, because it is the success of humanity in general.

Communism now hides under the guise of environmentalism. We’re killing mother Earth by living here. We don’t deserve this planet. The world would be better off if were were all dead.

Have you noticed that nature is more fertile and magnificent than ever? The air, water, and land is cleaner than it has ever been in history. My Grandma grew up around the steel mills in Pittsburgh. She’d have a layer of soot on her face just from walking to school. Not so anymore. Steel mills have been greatly refined. They put out much less smoke. All the “problems” we’re causing are actually non-problems, because they don’t exist. But even if they were problems, we could use technology and our human ingenuity to solve them.

Global warming is also a myth, designed to take away your cars and freedom. There’s so much oil on this planet, we could go 10,000 more years without exhausting it. We have tonnes of it in Alaska and the mid-west, which our government refuses to use. I remember the Florida summers all the way back to 1995. They were just as hot as 2008. Our carbon emissions are 2% of what Earth’s volcanoes put out. Are we really pompous enough to believe that we can kill the environment? How dare we disrespect nature by openly denying her resilience?

Economic and philosophic capitalism, unbridled by any more than a base-level concern for the environment or the welfare of others, is the most perfect and empowering belief system in the world. If just the United States alone would return to capitalism, we would experience prosperity greater than the rest of the world combined. Can you imagine a country with no empire, no government schools, libraries, hospitals, welfare, no illegal drugs, no income (slave) taxes? We’d still have (privately contracted) public roads and police to keep the peace, but taxes would only need to be 1%. Large businesses could not trample their employees, because small businesses would flourish with the removal of crippling regulation. Private charities could provide social welfare to every person in the world if they so chose. Money would be backed by gold, controlled by Congress and Congress alone. In court, a free-minded jury of 12 of your neighbors and peers would unanimously decide not your guilt, but whether you deserve punishment. They would also unanimously decide your punishment. If they could not reach a unanimous decision, then obviously removing you from the streets is not a priority for them, so you would go free.

Before you can start the revolution in our government, you have to start the revolution in your life. Let go of these limiting beliefs about mankind, the environment, and success in general. Stop profit policing. Embrace the success and profits of others as your own, and encourage them in all their worthy self-promotion. Read my article from 2008 March, The Profit Police and How They Kill Everyone, for further analysis.

The major belief systems

I’m going to categorize every mind in the world into four categories:

1. Rational positivity.
These people make sense. Think John Locke. They believe in the natural goodness of man and the world. When bad things happen, they know they’ll be able to turn things around, and when they’re enjoying unbounded health, they know they’ll get sick eventually. It doesn’t matter that bad things may happen in the future, because the future isn’t now.

2. Rational negativity.
This people still make sense, but they are pessimists. Think Thomas Hobbes. They believe in the natural badness of man and the world. If a rational negativist left his wallet at the post office, he wouldn’t even go back to look for it because he’d assume the first person who found it would take it for himself. Then, he’d attribute the loss of his wallet to the greed inherent in mankind.

3. Irrational positivity.
These people are on crack. They’re overly happy for no apparent reason. This is good occasionally, but not all the time. You can’t spend all your time in state 3; you have to go back to 2 and 1, and possibly even 4 occasionally.

4. Irrational negativity.
These people were on crack. Now they quit and their brains are messed up. The constantly suicidal fit in this group. People who have really been holding themselves back with limiting beliefs fit in this group. The amount of negativity is equal to the magnitude of the limiting beliefs multiplied by the amount of time they’ve been subjecting themselves to them.

People don’t fit neatly into one of these four categories, but most people are not equally split between them either. You can change your category from day to day or minute to minute. But when you do this, your life feels muddled and unfocused. It’s best to stick with one, regardless of choice. Thieves might stick with #2 and then rationalize it with stuff like “it’s alright, because the people I steal from are free to steal from others too.” I prefer rational positivity, because it’s the most human.

The greatest limiting belief of all

The biggest limiting belief ever, alongside profit policing, is:

“Comfort requires permanence.”

We’ve been told by others to not like change. Don’t bother with relationships that won’t last, find a job that you can never be fired from. A lot of religious folks take this to the highest extreme, by completely squandering this life in the name of the eternal afterlife. They don’t actually do anything good for anyone here, because they’re too busy living in the future.

“How can you enjoy living on Earth when everything is going to die and fade away,” Christians ask. The truth is, that’s the only reason to enjoy living here. There would be no opportunity for personal growth if everything is permanent, just as there will be no opportunity for personal growth in heaven if it is as described in the Bible. The Bible explains heaven and the hierarchy of angels / Jesus / God in too human terms. If it’s going to work, it’s going to be totally different from what we know, and there will be no need for a pecking order.

In life, the only thing you can be sure of is change. Instead of suppressing your dislike of change, actively replace it with a love for uncertainty. You don’t have to be “best friends forever” to enjoy a friendship. In fact, 90% of the people I know now, I won’t have any connection with in ten years. My current friends and contacts will move away or change careers, and it will be time for us to form and recognize new relationships. When I graduate from Daytona State College next spring, I’m going to be around college students a lot less because I won’t be in college. I’ll still be taking courses online at Florida State University. Rather than mourning the end of the first phase of college, I’m happily anticipating starting on my Bachelor’s degree with math and computer-related courses. My Dad won’t have to drive me to school every day. Perhaps I’ll even be able to afford a vehicle of my own by then.

When I was fired from my job at the local library, I lost a lot of friends. I haven’t been in touch with my cohorts in a couple months, and I’ve been bumping into friends and patrons less often. It’s no loss for me, because they’re still all my friends. There exists an underlying connectedness between us that transcends the boundaries of spacetime. In fact, meeting up with these people several years down the road will be far more interesting, because we’ll have a ton of growth and new experiences to share all at once. You can never really get a birds-eye view of someone if you’re around him all the time.

Change is good. Uncertainty is good, because it pushes you to progress efficiently. You don’t know how much ground you must cover, so you do as much as you can rather than the minimum required. If you could know that you’ll live forever, you probably wouldn’t make progress in personal growth, because you’d put it off indefinitely.

Reframing limitless beliefs

“I can always be happy” sounds enabling, but it’s actually limiting. All limitless beliefs in the physical realm are limiting, because the physical world is always bounded by limits. It’s inescapable.

Your mind can go anywhere, but your body cannot. But do not despair. The difference between your potential and your present state is so great that you could spend your whole life working yet never reach the limits of your potential. I’ve never fully exhausted my mind, strength, or even my bank account. And if I did, I could always take a break and recover for a while.

Most limitless beliefs are rooted in permanence, which doesn’t exist. Don’t believe that you’ll be dedicated to any particular trade, cause, or lover forever. Don’t believe that you can live without experiencing pain, or sadness, or suffering. If you’re not suffering now, then you’re not suffering, period. Don’t live in the future.

Replacing limiting beliefs

Replacing a limiting belief normally requires a substantial change in action, in addition to a new mindset. Whenever you change your actions, family and friends will discourage you. Family members often discourage you more, because they’re quite attached to your current behavior. They don’t want to see you change, even if it’s for the better. Your improvements remind them that they can be improving, and if they’ve forsaken personal growth, then that is a scary realization.

While you can evaluate beliefs without trying them, it doesn’t work effectively. You can only effectively evaluate a belief by fully committing to it, for a time. In the same manner, you can’t be sure you’ve picked the right career until you are past the point of no return. Then you’ll find that the “point of no return” doesn’t actually exist. You can always return. It just costs you a lot of time and effort. That’s better than sticking with the wrong choice for life, just as it is better to change beliefs rather than to limit yourself forever, even if the initial change is very costly.

I used to believe that writing and photography were unrealistic careers. The best thing for me would be to find a ‘stable’ job I enjoyed moderately, while doing what I really love on the side, after 5 P.M. My passions would become “hobbies.” That’s why I was planning a career in librarianship. It seemed like something that wasn’t going away, and other people would think I was normal.

I started to feel out of sync with this belief around the fall of last year, but I didn’t let it bother me at first. I started researching the history of libraries and library software, and I found there was a lot of interesting concepts from computer science that cross over into library science (taxonomy, schemas, sorting, search algorithms, tries, etc.). That should be enough to keep me interested in the subject, I thought. Of course it wasn’t, because if it was I wouldn’t have to rationalize my choice anyway. I’d know it intuitively.

I didn’t actually change until my environment changed; I was fired. The problem with librarianship isn’t the details of the field, so much as the concept of working for others. Soulless non-innovators can get by fine, because everyone in the chain of command is a non-innovator, by choice or by force. Soulful innovators like myself don’t do well, because we reject the confines of mediocrity, which is frightening. You can’t have people like me bringing high awareness to my coworkers. We might revolt.

By letting go of limiting beliefs about work and purpose in general, I’ve gone much further in three months than I did in three years before. Writing stuff like this is a lot more important than doing stuff like that. Even if this remained an entry in my private journal, it would still be worth it because I’ve learned so much just from writing it.

My family and friends were shocked when I gave up librarianship, especially because at the time, I’d formulated no alternatives. People were also shocked when I started my own website, and when I transitioned away from piano and music toward photography in 2005-2007. When I started exploring personal development three months ago, many people wanted me to just stick with photography, because that’s what they were comfortable with. I could take all these social cues literally by not changing, but in reality, when people are against you changing, you should plow ahead. Any social resistance is a cue to push forward. You may think you’re pleasing others by doing what they say, but they don’t want you to do what they say anyway, because if they did, you wouldn’t be interesting or human.

No one can tell you what you can’t do. Only you can.

Over-Emphasis

When you work in an area you love, you’re far more efficient than doing what you are indifferent to. Rather than all being general practitioners, by focusing on one aspect of life we can make much more progress than focusing on many. Instead of gaining a cursory knowledge of ten skills, we gain real expertise in one. While this can be known as specializing, or niches, I like the term “over-emphasis.” You over-emphasis your strong areas, while giving moderate attention or even no attention to your weak spots. You simply don’t develop in areas you have no talent for.

An example: it took me just as long to write Creon vs. Gilgamesh as My Life of Crime. The latter is a subject I’m passionate about (gaming the rebate and coupon systems of retailers), while the former is a mandatory school assignment. The latter is eight times longer, and each sentence is more interesting. The subject that is not my speciality is boring to read. On time vs. word count alone, I’m eight times more efficient in my area of over-emphasis than elsewhere. If you combine the appeal of the writing and presentation, I may be 100x stronger in my niche than outside it.

If you love to do something, dare to over-emphasis it in your life. Don’t create a blog for general photography tips when you really want to focus on computational photography. Don’t write an article on the totality of all the injustices in the world when you really want to focus on abortion. If you love taking photos of flowers and sunsets, don’t dismiss the field because it’s too common. While there may be 60 million other people taking photos of the same subjects, only one percent of them are fanatical about it. If you’re competing at all, you’re not competing with the whole world, and you have the advantage of offering a unique, creative vision, not mere boilerplate. I could choose not to write about personal development because the subject has been beaten to death, but then I’d miss out on all the personal growth I gain from writing, and more importantly, what my readers may gain from a fresh perspective.

The beautiful thing about over-emphasis is that it cuts through the noise. If you’re familiar with computer science, the signal to noise ratio is how much of your signal is garbage. If you have a high amount of noise, it’s like playing a record that’s beaten and scratched, or watching a t.v. show on rabbit ear antennas, snow and all. People often complain that because there are so many more people in the world, particularly online and blogging, that the field is too crowded. People start new blogs on subjects they think will be immediately profitable, even if they don’t care about the subject whatsoever. Don’t do this. If you pick what you’re passionate about, you can make things happen rather than waiting for others to make things happen for you. Instead of following the buffalo, the buffalo follow you.

In fact, the only way to live is to make things happen rather than waiting for luck to kick in. Even if you fail miserably, it’s much more fun and interesting than leading a regimented life.

If you’re going to wake up every morning and tend to the twenty-by-twenty garden in your yard, meticulously pulling every weed, planting new flowers, and growing small crops of tomatoes, then perhaps you should start a farm. A lot of people work nine-to-five jobs for forty years, and then they retire to do the same thing via yard work, crocheting, or other busywork. Doubtlessly, there are people with great ambition in these fields, but most of the retirees just work to pass the time. That’s why it’s “busywork.” Busywork is pointless work. It’s just to waste time, without getting anything real done. If you’re not doing something real, then what are you living for?

I don’t want to work nine-to-five for pay. Don’t even mention volunteering to do it. Why don’t more of the retirees travel the world taking beautiful photographs, or start charitable foundations with the wealth they’ve built up over decades of toiling? Because they refuse to over-emphasis anything important in their lives. They value procedures, tradition, submission, fear.

Public schooling puts our children through years of busywork. Memorizing lists of facts or writing mindless essays on classical literature doesn’t teach you anything of value. The whole point of public school is to condition you to be a drone. Then, you work nine-to-five forty years, tend to your garden for twenty years, and die a bleak death, while leaving a small sum to your grandchildren (who won’t appreciate it anyway).

Fortunately, I’m home-schooled. You can be too. If you can’t learn on your own, you can’t learn in college. If you succeed in school, that just proves that you didn’t need it to begin with. If the fate of your life rests with family, or friends, or your boss, or your professors, or the freemasons, then you’re failing your mission in life. But if you’re still living, you haven’t failed yet. “Failing” isn’t “failed.” Create the strength within yourself to become self-reliant and to learn where others only dawdle. Solve big problems while your peers submit to uncertainty. Work hard on what you love. You may be labeled with attention deficit disorder (or whatever the latest name is), but what you really have is an abundance of attention for the subject you over-emphasize. And that is courageous living.

Money and Love

What I made online, 2008-08

Just wanted to give you a little hint for how my websites did last month. My goal is $1 per day, and while I didn’t hit that every day last month, the overall total was $56.41, or $1.80 per day.

I can see I’m making a bigger impact on the world. In July, I made $20, so my income basically tripled last month. You can’t get that kind of raise with a regular job.

$53.73 was from Google AdSense; $2.68 was from this blog’s Amazon Associates commissions.

Of the $53.73, $1.54 came from Brilliant Photography and Personal Development by Richard X. Thripp. Th8.us made $2.30, DaytonaState.org made $42.63, and the Thripp.com users made me $7.26. Our hosting / domains bill is $15 per month, so I’m more than covered.

DaytonaState.org is targeted. A lot of people come from Google looking for information on enrolling in colleges, so the information appeals to them. On the other hand, Thripp.com is black-listed by Google, so this blog and others appear low in the search results. I haven’t done much marketing either, instead focusing on writing and producing new works of art, so that explains the low turnout. But in the long run, the richardxthripp.thripp.com is where the action is going to be.

If I was still working at the library, I would have made ten times more. But last month, I did no work. Even though I exhausted far more time and energy here, the energy comes back twofold. This simply isn’t a job at all to me.

When you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t matter how much time you “spend” or how much money you make. (You’re not really spending time; you’re saving it.) You’ll do it anyway, because it’s what you do. If you’re looking for something to love, photography is a good place to start, even as a freelancer. I wouldn’t do it myself; I’d prefer writing articles for free and making money indirectly. But every person enjoys different methods.

Also: when you love playing with LEGOs or battling in World of Warcraft, it still doesn’t matter, but the problem is you’re not helping anyone else. You think you’re doing what you love, but you just haven’t found what you truly love. When you combine ambition with a purpose that really makes an impact on people around you, you’ll find something you love far more than child’s play. It’s still play, but it’s play taken to the next level. You character has just reached level 100. He’s replaced hit points with love points.

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