Having an accurate model of reality is one of the best things a man can have.  If you have an accurate model of reality, you will be better prepared for life’s surprises.  An accurate model of reality gives the ability to intelligently prioritize what is important to you in your life; rather than letting others dictate what your priorities are or should be.  There is nothing worse than finding your definition of “success” is not what you had imagined it to be.

As I’ve tried to increase my awareness of reality, I have noticed certain trends and themes become more and more apparent:

  1. I need to take responsibility for my own life since I cannot rely on anybody else.
  2. The world is throbbing with suffering and I should be grateful for my fortunate circumstances.
  3. The more I learn, the more I realize how ignorant I am.
  4. I create my own priorities, set my own attitude, manage my own time, and face the consequences of my actions and inactions.

Personal Reality – The most important.  How much time are you spending alone with yourself determining whether or not you are taking steps that will improve your happiness and wellbeing? Time alone to reflect is critical.  What makes you happy?  Money in the bank?  The respect of your boss?  Your daughter?  Spouse?  These are important issues which no one can determine except you.  In a materialistic world, it is easy to let others determine your priorities for you.  Taking time to sit quietly and think can dramatically improve your understanding of your priorities and values.  From there, you can take intelligent action to improve your life.

Economic Reality – I consider myself a student of economics and even I am ignorant to what extent the government exerts influence with our economy.  Understanding the role macroeconomics plays in our lives is critical.  Knowing how to invest our savings, guide our businesses, and what countries are contracting or expanding economically can serve us in numerous ways.  They can earn us profits by intelligent speculation, or they can help us steer an enterprise by making better decisions.  As I learned about economics and viewed the world around me (debt of individuals, intelligence of individuals, job abundance/scarcity), I began to increase my skepticism about our economy.  This view helped me seek out like-minded thinkers and I discovered a whole new school of thought about economics.  Thankfully, reading contrarian economists have provided me peace of mind and great insight as to what is happening in our world today.

This economic crash should have come as a shock to absolutely no one.  There were dozens of warning signs that astute people pointed out.  It merely took some open-mindedness to listen to those called it.  By listening to all sides of the argument, it was easy to discern whose logic was more ground in reality.

News Reality –The news last week revolved around a woman who had eight babies and a baseball player who used steroids, neither of which are the least bit helpful to improving my life. What are you trying to accomplish by reading/watching the news? Your time is extremely valuable, so use it judiciously.  The time spent watching news/adverts can be better spent reading specific information sources which will help you improve your job/relationships/habits/health.  You can use targeted info sources (Bloomberg, Google News) to find relevant, intellectually-stimulating news and save time.  The major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN) all didn’t see this slowdown coming.  Mish, Gary North, Nassim Taleb and others saw this slowdown coming years in advance.  Triage your news sources to those that are honest and upfront about their views, even if those views are currently unpopular.

Political Reality – There are many individuals who have become reliant on the government for health care, salaries, education/day care and other things.  When observing the systems that underwrite these promises, it becomes obvious that these promises have been fulfilled in the past by rising assets values, taxation, and further expansion of debt.  These are not sustainable and we are finally witnessing reality intersecting with these promises.  As reality intrudes, we will see many individuals who have become dependent on the government be forced to deal with the reality that they can no longer have a cushy retirement or guaranteed benefits without a taxpayer revolt.  Had these individuals formulated a more accurate worldview, they would have realized this inevitable insolvency and potentially avoided the pain they will now suffer.

Attitude Reality – You can choose to view life as a punishment or an opportunity; the choice is totally up to you.  You can pretend that you’re a spoiled brat and that work is a nuisance, or you can have the attitude of a fresh-off-the-boat immigrant, who sees nothing but opportunity.  You can eat whatever is convenient and abuse food and alcohol, or you take the attitude of a cancer survivor and treat your body with love and respect.  A trip to a hospital or serious illness will impress upon you the reality of taking care of your body.

You choose our own reality.  Choose wisely.

Shaping Your Reality
Here are tips that have helped me gain a better understanding of reality and helped me focus on what matters:

  1. Developing an insatiable curiosity for connecting with others and seeing what drives their thought process is key to improving your understanding of the world around you.  The more “sets of eyes” you see the world through; the clearer your vision.
  2. Why do you eat what you eat?  Read what you read?  Interact with those you interact with?  To grow as a man, I’ve found that putting these things under the microscope is very helpful.
  3. Consume different sources of information from different points of view.  Make sure you periodically read things from people you intensely dislike.
  4. 15 minutes of silent thinking will yield tremendous insight about who you are and what your priorities are.  Listen to this voice of reason and let it guide you.  Nothing mystical about it, just good old-fashioned introspection.
  5. Listen to those who matter (YOU!) and tune out those that don’t (anyone that wants your power and money).
  6. You’ll often discover that you, your family, or your religion has been incongruent with reality.  This is a great discovery to make since it allows you to abandon incorrect beliefs in favor of more accurate ones.

Finally, I have linked to some great thinkers in the upper right hand corner of this blog.  All of the links are websites written by people who have shown a great degree of independence in formulating their worldview and they all show a great deal of logical thinking when drawing their conclusions.  Check them out and learn from their experience.

Thanks for reading.

To read more about what really matters, read here.

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One Response to “An Accurate Model of Reality”

  1. GrethelNo Gravatar on November 20th, 2014 8:43 pm

    S& P 500 for 15 consecutive years, then feliad to beat it for the last two.a0 Taleb stated in Fooled By Randomness that investors credit their investing skills when they are right and then blame bad luck when they

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