Mental Model: Direction Is Yours

person s hand in shallow photo

If you don’t choose a direction for yourself, someone else will pick it for you. Someone else will also tell you what is right and wrong. Someone else will tell you what is good and bad. And Someone else will tell you when you’re happy or not.

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” 

— Alice in Wonderland

In the previous blog, we discussed why many people find themselves wandering and feeling lost- why it is difficult to choose a direction for themselves. This blog discusses how to discover one’s own feelings, articulate one’s own values, define one’s own identity, and choose your own direction.

Usage

  • As an adult, you are the sole owner and primarily responsible person to choose and direct yourself.
  • You get to choose what direction to pursue. You get to choose that, and you have no obligation to explain it to anybody else. But it does help a lot, when you can justify it to yourself as to why you chose that direction.
  • Based on the mental model of Direction, Strategy, Tactics, and Execution (DSTE): a simple direction to begin with is to find out what matters to you (direction), and be wise about discovering it (strategy).
  • Because you want to be wise about finding out what matters to you, it makes sense to address the difficulties enumerated above.
    • Explore, read, and talk to people to learn about more opportunities. This addresses limited knowledge of opportunities.
    • Evaluate which opportunities you want to pursue and what requirements you will need (degree? set of friends? money? time? learning a language?) to get access. This addresses limited access of opportunities.
    • Following the DSTE mental model, follow through with being hard working (execution) to unlock that access, and evaluate the behaviors and activities that work and don’t work for you (tactics).
  • Forward thinking: What do I want? What do I care about? What brings out emotions in me?
  • Trimming down options: What am I sure of that I do not want? What are things I feel indifferent to?

Misusage

  • Sometimes, we get married to early opportunities and don’t reflect on whether we have outgrown or have changed our minds about certain things. Law 48: Assume formlessness.
  • Indifference to things lets you really focus on things that matter, but be careful about becoming isolated and self-centered. This will introduce risk of you being disconnected from society and people, which has adverse effects in the long term. Law 18: Do not build a fortress to protect yourself.

Questions

The following section enumerates questions that are difficult to answer truthfully. However, it is by going into your underworld to find out your truths, ugly or beautiful, that we learn who we are and what we value.

Here’s a video where Jordan Peterson breaks down why it is important to undergo this self exploration.

You go after the unknown! You don’t protect what you know. You already know what you know. You go after what you don’t know. That’s why you have to talk to people you don’t agree with. That’s why you have to talk to your enemies. Cause they’re going to tell you thing you don’t know. But people don’t like that. They want to talk to people think the same way.

Jordan Peterson, in his lectures

Aligning with one of my favorite quotes on reading, writing, and discourse, Jordan Peterson has a paid writing program called the Self-Authoring Program. I highly recommend that you check it out.

In the mean time, you can reflect on these questions:

  1. What makes you feel anger, joy, satisfaction, regret?
  2. What do you feel strongly about? Why?
  3. What are you afraid of? Why are you afraid of it?
  4. What are you insecure about, or feel vulnerable to? Why do you feel that way, or where did that start from?
  5. What are things in your past that you do not want to face?
  6. What are things in the future that you drives fear in you?

I have much more that I want to write about this topic, but for now, we’ll just Do A Shitty Job.

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