We are not better when we don’t think about things, and our ignorance, however blissful, leads to being easily manipulated by those ranked above us.
By Robert Simmons
A common phrase you often hear from the amateur player is “I am better when I don’t think (about what I am doing)”. The reality is that 1) the amateur still sucks, whether they think about it or not, and 2) because (subconsciously at least) they already know this, when the big moment comes, they will not be able to convince themselves otherwise, and invariably “choke”, “go in the tank”, or drop off in ability, down to the level of their actual training, most of which was spent not thinking about what they were doing.
There are a variety of reasons amateurs prefer to be blissful in their ignorance, but we are not interested in any of them, nor are we interested in amateurs at all; the world is not propelled forward by amateurs. We are only interested in people who seek transcendence, and pursue it so diligently that they are willing to lose themselves in order to find it.
Transcendence, if you must know, moves at the speed of light; we, who are made of matter, only get a glimpse of it on occasion, as it whizzes by us, but no, we will never catch up to it. The good news is that we do not need to reach Transcendence, we only need to reach for it; in doing so, we dedicate ourselves to process, which automatically drives results upward.
As Yoda would advise, “do or do not, there is no try”. Whether we “do” or we “try”, we will still fail, but those who try eventually quit trying; those who “do” will persevere until it is done. The journey is roughly a thousand miles, but once we commit to it, we’ll stop obsessing so much over every painful step along the way; it is then we come to embrace the process (or journey) as being the true purpose of existence.
To unlock the transformative power of your beautiful mind, you only need to choose the vehicle, often described as your “passion”, and let it drive you forward from a place of sucking toward a place of sucking less.
By the way, that sucking sound you hear all day long is your Ignorance. Ignorance is the dark mud-filled hole where we blissfully wallow, consuming pizza and beer, while our television gets larger and larger, to match our gut.
Unfortunately, no one can convince you to put down your crack pipe addictions in favor of a more healthy and sustainable “high”; the choice must come from within you. But if you were to choose a sport, musical instrument, or other discipline that so thoroughly consumed you that you would suffer for it instead of through it, your priorities would naturally shift from feeding your face to feeding your mind.
Some of the more difficult athletic concepts to grasp are said to be “counter-intuitive”, meaning they are against natural instinct. Natural instinct is akin to strategies a bug might employ if the shadow of someone’s shoe suddenly appeared overhead. This bug is clearly an amateur, but if a bug could think, it might reflect or analyze situations like these, discern its weaknesses and strengths, and train to improve upon them; it might form strategies to better exploit its strengths or hide its weaknesses; it might utilize fitness and agility training to improve its reaction time; it might make use of focus, which is the art of blocking useless information from entering the mind, in order to avoid distraction at crucial moments; in short, this bug better choose a defensive strategy, develop some wings, and get the hell out from under this seemingly un-winnable situation.
Many people face similar “un-winnable” situations in their lives, sometimes because our systems, as big as a shoe, often do not watch where they are stepping; sometimes the game is un-winnable, however, because it is rigged.
The Third Option has a plan: re-establish sports as required learning in our schools. Sports are the most underestimated learning tool our children currently have at their disposal. Learning sports requires effort and grit, which are the main ingredients in all success. Playing sports requires the synthesis of many physical, mental, and emotional disciplines, and produces several useful byproducts, like humility, empathy, and self awareness. Self Awareness, because athletes must take that high-powered critical eye normally reserved for others, and turn it around on themselves, as part of their avowed quest to “suck less”. Through this process of Self Awareness comes Humility (embracing our flaws), followed by Empathy (forgiving our flaws), which in turn teaches us how to better recognize, comprehend and forgive the similar failings we perceive in others.
Sports (and their equivalent) are the key to unlocking the powerful tools of effort, grit, reflection, critical thinking, innovation and much more; tools that children can later apply to any job or discipline, and thrive.
Just imagine: an entire generation of children, using their frontal lobes to reflect, analyze, strategize, theorize…then take those high-powered problem-solving tools and aim them at their own lives, and in one collective epiphany realize that we, as a society, also suck, because the mass of people somehow believe they are better off when they don’t think too much about any of it.
They just assume it is all good, because that’s what they were told. Meanwhile, there are people out there doing lots of reflecting, analyzing, strategizing…and thinking how lucky they are to compete against this bunch of amateurs, and get rich doing it, every day, in the free, fair, and competitive marketplace.
Look out at the universe. Transcendence is like the million points of light we see; Ignorance is the space between them. Ignorance is the space between you and me. Let us lean into our Ignorance and close the gap between us. At the very least, think about it.