Sunday Self-Scaler 24
Oh boy, I've packed a LOT in this one.
I have a love-hate relationship with quotes. I hate the cliche ones that are all over the internet but love the rare diamonds that I occasionally stumble upon.
You know, the kinds that aren’t just romantic “feel goodies” but nuggets of actual wisdom. Of these, there are 3 quotes that I have really come to love and turn to in times of distress.
These quotes don't offer empty consolatory words but rather better perspectives and deep insights to deal with lows.
They’ve always succeeded in making me feel better and I hope they do the same for you.
The One Thing that Is Always in Our Control
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Viktor Frankl
A couple of days back, I lost my grandfather to COVID-19. The grief and shock of seeing him as a corpse when he had been as agile as a kid just a few days back cannot be put into words.
It felt unreal. It still feels unreal but that’s just how life is. Since external factors control more than 90% of our lives, adversity can strike when we least expect it to.
We might not have control over our circumstances in life, but there’s one thing that is always in our control — how we perceive and react to them.
I got over the shock and grief in less than an hour. I had to. Sure, I could’ve wallowed in pain along with my family but I chose to stand as a source of support for them.
In any undesirable situation, there are only two choices — either complain, lament, and wallow in self-pity OR accept the situation and think about how to change it.
The former achieves nothing. The latter achieves everything.
And this quote reminds us that we are always free to choose the latter.
What Suffering Really Is
“Choose not to be harmed — and you won’t feel harmed. Don’t feel harmed — and you haven’t been.” — Marcus Aurelius
Since external factors control more than 90% of our lives, adversity can strike when we least expect it to. But whether or not we suffer is up to us.
In other words — adversity is inevitable but suffering is a choice. This is one of Stoicism’s key tenets.
When I recently developed a severe migraine, this thought greatly alleviated my suffering. Instead of writhing in pain, I managed to calmly sit in my chair. Similarly, my first brush with insomnia had driven me to the brink of sanity but I persevered the second one.
Not only physical pain but also emotional pain — the other day, when my girlfriend made a stinging remark that felt like a blow in the gut, I lost the mood to work out and gloomily sunk into my chair.
But this quote happened to pop in my mind and I instantly felt better. Blasting some heavy metal, I got in one of the best workouts of my life.
In the face of pain, you can always find solace in this quote. The key thing to understand is that — you aren’t trying to endure suffering but choosing not to suffer at all in the first place.
Instead of being a soldier in the heat of battle, you take on the role of a distant observer. Initially, it takes fervent reaffirmation but over time, as it gets programmed into your subconscious brain, it gets easier.
The Key to Contentment
“No person has the power to have everything they want, but it is in their power not to want what they don’t have, and to cheerfully put to good use what they do have.” — Seneca
The biggest thing that we had absolutely no choice in was our birth — how, to whom, and in what conditions we are born.
As a result, there’s always someone better looking, smarter, taller, or richer. But what we often overlook is that we ourselves have some quality that others long for.
Being called gifted all my life and effortlessly topping throughout school had made me arrogant. But when I started working out, I was humbled — I was average at best while there were “gifted” guys that could touch a dumbbell and sprout muscle or train for half the time I did but lift twice what I could.
That is what made me realize — everyone’s gifted albeit in different manners.
And that is the key to contentment — appreciating our own gifts and making the most out of them. Most of us get so caught up in lamenting the limitedness of our gifts that we never bother trying to achieve those limits.
Having average bodybuilding genetics didn’t stop me from trying to realize my full potential. It’s been close to 5 years since I started working out and the effort has paid off — I’m starting to feel proud of my physique.
But every now and then, a sense of despair and longing sets in. Especially when I see shredded fitness models with sculpted physiques on Instagram. It’s on such occasions that this quote helps.
We can’t have everything we want but we can choose to be content with what we have and make the most out of them. But even the best of us can forget this and when we do, this quote’s there to remind us.
Bonus: The One Thing that Can Help Us Bear Anything in Life
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
This one is not for when we feel low but rather when life itself feels low and empty.
The will to meaning is widely believed to be the fundamental driving force in human beings and emptiness results from only one thing — the lack of meaning.
Earlier, I used to be puzzled by stories of millionaires becoming monks or people quitting high-paying jobs to work at grocery stores. But now they make perfect sense — luxury, money, high social standing, or anything else cannot compensate for the lack of meaning.
Earlier, my vision of success used to be rapidly climbing up the professional ladder, raking in millions, and driving fancy cars.
But now, I’d say my surprisingly “normal” life is perfect — a “9 to 5” I enjoy, clinking dumbbells at the gym, weaving my thoughts into words, wholesome conversations with my buddies, losing track of time with my girlfriend, laughing my ass off with my family, sinking into the couch with a book, and catching at least 8+ hours of z’s every night.
And I’ve never been happier. After all, happiness is a direct side-effect of finding meaning.
Find meaning in everything you do and only do things that you find meaning in. Life will never feel empty again and happiness will ensue.
A Super-Helpful Book I Want Every Man to Read
I'm thankful for this breath of fresh air. Coming off the Rational Male and some digging into the PUA community, I had seriously considered learning "game" and exploring that rabbit hole. But this read convinced me otherwise.
As the title suggests, it is about attracting women with honesty - and more than a dating guide, this is a life guide for most men. The principles and framework outlined can not only make you a more attractive man but a purposeful and genuine human being as well.
I love how Mark burns female attraction down to just two primary factors (no, not looks, money, status, or other superficial things). Turns out, while it isn't certain, much of the research corroborates this very fact.
The rest of the book is about building on this - using what he calls the three fundamentals. I like how wide yet deep this book goes - all the while not inflating the page count to ridiculous numbers.
The last part isn't something I liked, as it felt a tad bit manipulative, dangerous, and instructional - all things that Mark promised not to make the book about. But this is a small downside in an otherwise amazing book.
If you're a young man, especially in countries like mine (India), this is a must-read.
(P.S: If you choose to buy the book, kindly use my affiliate link - I’ll earn a teeny amount of money at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)
2 YouTube Gems I Recently Found
Probably the only visual media source I consume is YouTube. As a result, I’m constantly unearthing diamonds.
As an ardent fan of Hamza, I was intrigued when he was idolizing Kris from 1STMAN. And well, I understand → I follow Kris’s content way more than Hamza now. Here’s a video that will convince you of the same:
He introduced me to the idea of “The Male Advantage” → basically how men can drastically increase their Sexual Market Value (SMV) through self-improvement, while women’s SMV is largely determined by age and genetics.
His channel focuses on male self-improvement and for me personally, it’s more a source of motivation and inspiration than information → Kris is brutally honest and has a charismatic style of talking.
The School of Life
For all of you girls and women that were disappointed because both the book and YouTube channel I recommended are men-focused, here’s one for all genders.
I had been subscribed to this channel for quite some time but only recently have I been exploring the beautiful and profound content.
For all you thinkers, dreamers, and musers, this is mana → lovely ideas presented with delicious animations.
Phew! After all those scanty scalers, it feels good to write a packed one. I had had another section in mind but refrained from adding it as I felt it would make this too long.
You’ll see that mystery section next week and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see what it is.
Cya next weekend, in the meantime, go conquer the week!
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Another excellent read, Thank you. I am very sorry for the loss of your grandfather. Grandparents are a special relationships.