Episode 005: Jared was a guest on the Everything Voluntary podcast in May 2018. With host Skyler Collins, they discussed the following topics: the Pacific northwest, career electrician, second marriage and dating, his political journey, Jack Spirko, Stefan Molyneux, Austrian economics, Lysander Spooner, challenging jurisdiction, Larken Rose, cognitive dissonance, outgroup bigotry, and more.Continue Reading
Nobody asked but …
My excellent fellow writer and contributor here at EVC, Kent McManigal wrote a piece recently in which he pointed out that racism is not a permanent affliction. It is only enduring when the holder of racist views continues to stoke that fire. I believe, for instance, that the Governor of Virginia has tried to dodge the bullet instead of owning his past. It appears that he has given no evidence that he is no longer a holder of racist views. Please be aware that I know that a negative cannot be proven, but a preponderance of evidence can support a change of sentiment. So far, in my opinion, the Governor has not shouldered his burden of persuasion very well.
Kent used himself as an example, and I was inspired by it. I grew up in the middle south, in the “border state” of Kentucky. But as with every place else, human stupidity ruled the roost. A racist atmosphere blanketed daily life. Black people were ignored and separated. The only counter influence I ever had was from my mother, a native of the Boston, Massachusetts area — she was an egalitarian generally, but she was saddled with preconceptions of a Boston sort — one group of snobs may be believed as better than some other group of snobs. As for myself, the established order was set so I hardly even knew that black people existed. But my purpose today is not to recite details of my personal trip from biased state A to biased state B. As regards race, however, state B is far ahead of state A. Everybody is on a journey from biased to unbiased in any particular area. I have a bias against hominy, but I have grown to like grits, corn nuts, hoppin’ john, and pozole. I have a bias against a collective of human beings, but I have grown to like voluntaryists, individualists, anarchists, entrepreneurs, libertarians, agorists, philosophers, Austrian-school economists, objectivists, and empiricists.
— Kilgore Forelle
When an addict’s supply is cut off, it’s usually an agonizing journey through withdrawal to the other side of the addiction; where the poison finally loosens its grip on the person, giving him a new chance at life.
I’m not talking about a chemical dependency this time, but a far more deadly condition: government addiction.
If you are feeling effects from this imaginary government “shutdown,” even as simple as having noticed it, you are most likely somewhat addicted to government.
Do you feel as though you are suffering because you don’t have enough government? Are you buying into the hysterics coming from the government extremists wanting the shutdown to end?
Other signs of addiction can include a desire to see taxes increased, a call to build border walls, the obsession to outlaw tools of self-defense while saying that’s what police are for, and many other things.
Those aren’t the cravings of a healthy mind or spirit.
If you’ve ever wanted more government than you have, you are addicted and on a self-destructive path. Are you suffering any discomfort or emotional distress at all? If so, you are feeling the effects of withdrawal caused by your government addiction.
I’d love to help you kick your habit. You may think I’m joking; I’m not.
Like all addictions, breaking the addiction to government is going to hurt. Withdrawal is never fun. It is so much easier to chase after one more hit; one more law to ease the pain for the moment. If someone offers you a hit of government, and you take it, you’ve fed your addiction. You’ve kicked the can down the road. You’ve delayed healing rather than facing the problem and dealing with it in a responsible manner. It’s your choice.
Addicts are responsible for their choices. No one is obligated to bail them out or save them from themselves. Yes, it is hard to watch someone hurt themselves. Worse, irresponsible behavior always has innocent victims; those who never asked to be a part of the sickness, but who get dragged down with the junkie.
This unique chance to break your addiction won’t last forever. When it ends, and someone offers you a hit of your old vice, I hope you’ll be strong enough to say “no.” To say you don’t need the poison anymore. If you need someone to talk to, to help you through the pain of withdrawal, I’m here for you. I’m completely serious.Continue Reading
As 2018 comes to a close, I have to say … it’s been a year of depth but also chaos and blessings for me and Zen Habits.
I’m grateful for the wonderful readers I have had for more than a decade now (all of you!), and for the journey I’ve been on and will continue in the coming year.
Personally, a lot has been going on for me … here are some of the headlines from this year:
- I launched a new mission: my Fearless Training Program. This is my laboratory for the new kind of training I’m doing with people, the mission I’m on for at least the next couple of years. And it’s been going incredibly well — not only have I set up the training, but we’ve launched a community on Slack with small groups and accountability and support and more. We have more to do, but it’s off to a great start with incredible people who have joined me. Join us!
- We moved to Guam (temporarily). Yeah, I didn’t really announce this publicly, but in August we packed up our house (sold stuff and put the rest in storage) and moved to Guam. It’s temporary (we’re moving back to California in the spring), but I wanted to be here with our family, including my grandma who is turning 90, mom, siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and many other great people who we miss dearly. It’s a gorgeous tropical island that we still think of as home. I’m especially enjoying the warm, humid winter, along with lush tropical greenery and fruits, and warm ocean water. And being with my grandma.
- I went deeper into mindfulness. I’ve been training for years in the Zen tradition, and have also been embracing Tibetan Buddhist practices wholeheartedly … but this year, I joined a program by John Wineland where we did deep men’s work. It was a challenge for me, one of great growth.
- I did a bit of traveling. I did a couple of conferences — Wisdom 2.0 in San Francisco and the World Domination Summit in Portland — and loved both experiences, meeting some great people. I also did an around-the-world tea trip with my friend Tynan, an around-the-world trip with Eva and our friends Suraj and Heena that included my first visit to Africa (amazing), a couple trips to Japan, and a planning retreat with Eva in Mexico. Honestly, it was a bit too much travel, but I’m not complaining — I loved it all.
- I launched the Mindful Focus Course and did monthly challenges in Sea Change. I launched a 4-week video course called Mindful Focus Course in the spring that was one of my best courses ever, and really loved working with the participants. In my Sea Change Program, I did monthly challenges, and have launched a new Slack community for Sea Change members that is thriving. Join us!
- I simplified. To get my finances straight, I’ve cut back on spending, both in my business and personal spending. It’s great to return to simplicity when you notice things haven’t been as conscious as they could be.
- I’m getting ready to grow. That said, I’m ready to grow my business to take my mission to the world. I’m about to hire a Director of Operations, who is going to slowly build a small team for Zen Habits so that we can have as big an impact on the world as possible. Stay tuned.
A lot of other things happened as well — my 19-year-old daughter Maia moved to Japan, my oldest daughter got a new job with Guampedia, my grandmother has been in the hospital for a couple weeks (she’ll live, but she’s in a lot of pain), I’ve been taking yoga classes taught by my beautiful sister Kat, and more.
The Best Zen Habits Posts in 2018
To wrap up this year, here are my favorite Zen Habits post from 2018:
- How to Develop a Mind That Clings to Nothing
- It’s Not a Problem, It’s an Experience
- The Little Handbook for Getting Stuff Done
- A Practice For When You Find Yourself Annoyed by Other People
- A Case Against Optimizing Your Life
- The Magic of Seeing Everything as Sacred
- Give Up Comfort
- Paring Down Your Life
- Four Antidotes to Procrastination
- Grand Canyon Focus: The Practice of Full Devotion to a Single Task
My most popular tweet of 2017:
Formula for when you’re unmotivated: disconnection, rest, a good walk, & reflection about what you deeply care about.
— Leo Babauta (@zen_habits) March 25, 2018
For more best of Zen Habits:
- Best of Zen Habits in 2007.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2008.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2009.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2010.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2011.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2012.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2013.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2014.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2015.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2016.
- The Essential Zen Habits of 2017.
Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.
Goals, like any tool, can be used to bludgeon ourselves over the head with shame and guilt, or can be used with intention, as a way to consciously deep our practice in life.
Goals are not the answer to everything, but neither are they evil. They’re simply tools.
Imagine that you wanted to sail to a certain port (your career goal) … there are two ways that could go, depending on how you work with that goal.
The Usual Way of Working With Goals
The first way to work with sailing to a certain port is the traditional goal-setting way:
- You fix your sights on that port (the goal) and map a route to get there.
- But things don’t go as planned (maybe you didn’t work hard enough, got distracted, or other things came up) and now you feel discouraged.
- You can either give it up entirely, because the goal is making you feel pretty bad about yourself … or you can hold firm to the goal and resolve to do better.
- A storm hits you, then your boat starts falling apart, and you get sick during the journey. You start using your lack of progress towards you goal to beat yourself up more, feel shame, think of yourself as a failure, get frustrated with the world.
- Maybe you give up, or maybe you firmly stick with the destination and get some new resolve.
- But maybe you learn more about this destination as you travel toward it, and learn that it’s not really what you want. Maybe you find other ports that would actually be better to sail toward, that you didn’t know about before.
- Nope! You have to stick to the port you originally chose! No flexibility, the goal is the most important thing.
- Maybe (if you’re tenacious and also lucky) you get to your port. You feel a momentary happiness at your accomplishment, but this destination isn’t what you envisioned it to be. It’s not the solution to all your problems, not the joy you hoped it would be, and you feel let down.
- You immediately start thinking about your next destination, and barely notice the one you made it to.
As you can see, there are a lot of elements here that aren’t helpful:
- Using the goal to beat yourself up and create shame, guilt, disappointment.
- Sticking firmly to the goal even when you learn about better opportunities along the way, with no flexibility.
- Thinking that there’s something magical about reaching the goal that will change your life in some way (rarely true).
- The forward looking mindset (instead of looking at the present) will not end when you reach the goal, but will cause you to look toward the next goal immediately (maybe even while you’re heading toward the first goal).
So what’s a more helpful way? An intentional, conscious way of working with goals.
An Intentional Way of Working with Goals
Imagine instead that you aimed for sailing for that port … but worked with that aim in a more intentional, conscious way:
- You think of this goal as an intention that you’re setting as you start out, a way to guide your direction in the current moment, not a fixed path.
- You don’t think of the port (the goal) as a fixed outcome that you need to hold onto tightly, but rather just a way to guide yourself right now.
- When you do notice yourself attached to the fantasy of your goal, you practice loosening your grip on it, and focus instead on the present moment. What action can you take right now that’s aligned with your intention?
- Regularly check in with yourself, “What’s the most loving act I can take right now? What action right now would be aligned with my intention? What can I appreciate about this moment?”
- Allow yourself to be flexible — if you’re not tightly attached to the goal, you can shift as you learn more, as you sail on your journey and understand the journey more, as you find new opportunities that might be more aligned with your deeper purpose.
- If/when you do arrive at your destination, stop and be present with it, appreciating your journey, appreciating where you are, without immediately turning to the next thing.
This is a more flexible way of working with goals, and a more present-focused way of working, more intentional. The goal doesn’t become the most important thing — though it is helpful — the present moment and your actions and appreciation in the moment become the most important things.
I encourage you to try this flexible, intentional method out as you think about what your goals might be for the next month, for next year, for your career and future. How do you translate that intention into right now?Continue Reading
I learned early on in my journey toward voluntaryism that “constitutional limits” were a temporary hurdle at best and totally invisible at worst in “chaining” down the state authority-expanding actions of opportunistic politicians and bureaucrats. It was obvious to me during my Constitutionalist phase that how these people should go about expanding their [supposed] authority was not via interpretation or re-interpretation of the Constitution (or straight up ignoring), but by amending the Constitution to say exactly what they wanted it to say. If an article, clause, or section of the Constitution or it’s later Amendments were less than perfectly clear, then the default position should be to protect life, liberty, and property, not to embolden and license the agendas of expansionist politicians and bureaucrats. There’s an amendment process for a reason. But alas, what use are strictures and limits to those who seek authority over other people to begin with? Humanity was conquered along time ago, and though the forms and rituals change throughout time, the facts do not: the people who call themselves “government” have assumed jurisdiction over other people arbitrarily and coercively, constitutions notwithstanding. And that’s today’s two cents.Continue Reading