Letter To Self, What I Learned This Week.

prooficdholdpen-s46hc55mf5.jpg The last week I learned more about the natural balances in life. It’s been a week of contrasts and dichotomies.

The Meaning of Life? - I believe I learned more about the meaning of life for me, which I believe is about making more sense of it myself and then communicating it and sharing it with others.

I love John Wesley’s

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

And rather strangely, or not.. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s..which contrasts. “The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.” Not one I subscribe to, but very Animus and may work well for some...

Assertiveness - That when we are not assertive and say ‘yes‘ to something we really don’t want to do, we are actually probably saying ‘no‘ to something we would probably like to do more.

Programming - We are fundamentally programmed by our cultural narratives, family ones and the ones we make up about ourselves. I learned that I am probably 90% deadwood, eg: cultural narratives (love is about finding your soulmate), ego defenses, prejudices, unreasonably high expectations and ingenuine. That was tough.

The invisible influences on our lives are incredibly powerful. Our culture is one, we are immersed in exactly the same way the Goldfish says, “Water, what water?”

Those of us in Western Cultures tend to have values based on Greek Philosophers Plato, Socrates and Aristotle and Judaeo / Christian values. Those in the East have other influences Hinduism / Buddhism.

East - The importance of the principle of collectivism, which places man as a member of a multiple collective rather than as an individual. God is within man. The World is seen as holistic and changing. Events are explained in terms of context.

West - Man is an individual at the centre of his universe, God is external and the World is stable and largely unchanging. Events are analysed in linear causal order.

Giggling Rats - I learned that Rats Giggle.


Immortal Jelly Fish - That some Jellyfish are immortal


1 day blooming flowers - life is generally fleeting, delicate and impermanent like these flowers which bloom and die in one night.


Relationship closure - that closure in relationships can be aided by narrating a story about it and learning from it. There are a few common stories we seem to tell:

  • Doomed to failure, it was always wrong from the beginning we were fundamentally incompatible.
  • We started well, but gradually naturally grew apart over time.
  • Quickly circumstantial differences / goals, a job or lifestyle change or opportunity one partner sees or experiences but the other doesn’t.
  • It was all my fault or it was all their fault.

I learned about the concepts of Animus and Anima and how there is some biological predisposition towards these.


It is probably far more useful for us to get to know our shadow, our dark side, than it is to get to know our partner..


Because by doing that we are actually empowering ourselves to fix things, as we can only change us.

Painful feelings are useful. They signpost things that we might need to do something about..


So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • Vale: I enjoyed reading this, you wrote it very well. I wonder if the Western countries had a bit more of the Eastern sense of "collectivism", then maybe issues like universal healthcare and wage disparities (CEO to employees) and other topics might not be so heavily debated in countries like the US. I think more people in the US subscribe to Schwarzenneger’s philosophy than to Wesley’s.
  • Johnny Nicks: Thank you. You may be right Vale, I certainly feel that the West has begun to absorb more from the East that vice versa.
    What did you think of the giggling rats and eternal jelly fish?
  • SomebodyElse: CEOs’ salaries are implicitly agreed to by the shareholders who elect a Board of Directors, which sets executive compensation. CEOs are personally held responsible for the performance of the business.Can’t say that about the file clerks and entry-level employees.
  • Broken 77: This is really good Johnny, makes you think.
  • SomebodyElse: It makes me miss my undergraduate days. ;)
  • Vale: SomebodyElse, I know the difference between the jobs, but in the US especially, the salary difference is much larger than other countries, and I’m sure the CEOs there are equally competent as in the US. This article is a bit old, but this is what I am referring to: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/25/the-pay-gap-between-ceos-and-workers-is-much-worse-than-you-realize/?utm_term=.6402fd6e979c
  • Vale: Johnny, the videos are interesting, it makes you realize that animals are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for.
  • Johnny Nicks: It also made me think about my Atheism, which is based on a lack of evidence..
    I felt wow, I never knew rats giggled..Maybe there is a God..
    Seriously it was an interesting learning experience..
  • Vale: It is interesting, it shows that there is still so much we are unaware of :)
  • Johnny Nicks: Yes. We sometimes feel we a little ‘clever’ and intelligent, but the reality is we are so ignorant :(
  • vitameg: "The more i learn, the less i know" Socrates
  • SomebodyElse: Vale, thank you for the WaPo link. I’m aware of the gap too, and the reasons for it. But it’s difficult to directly compare every single thing about two different economies to decide what is "fair" (a subjective thing anyway) in a universe where nothing is "fair", from resource allocation to climate to demographics.
    IIRC, Economics looks at a couple of variables and says to assume "all else being equal," but that is not reality. Everything else is always changing along with those variables.
    I trust I make myself obscure. :P
    Vitameg, the most brilliant people I ever knew were painfully aware of how much more there is to know. They also didn’t seem to think they were as smart as they were. Maybe that’s what genius is.
  • Johnny Nicks: Thank you ladies:) pleased I’m in good company with the ignorance comment;) lol
  • SomebodyElse: "Good" company? The best! 😁
  • Johnny Nicks: Very interesting...Only 90% of us is our own DNA..
  • Vale: Somebody Else, I agree with your comment "the most brilliant people I ever knew were painfully aware of how much more there is to know. They also didn’t seem to think they were as smart as they were. Maybe that’s what genius is." I think those that act like they know everything are just good at making themselves believable (and I am surrounded by quite a few people like that... they always need to be correct!). Regarding the pay gap, I see it here in Guatemala a lot too and it bothers me. This is very much a two tier society of haves and have nots and the haves couldn’t care less about the have nots :(
    The video was interesting, thanks for posting the link Vitameg!
    One last comment regarding intelligence, I always liked the quote by Einstein "Everyone is a genius. But, if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid." There is so much we don’t know and aren’t aware of and yet we make many assumptions...
  • SomebodyElse: Vale, I had never heard that quote, but I like it. My father was one of the smartest people I knew. I wouldn’t call him an intellectual but he was brilliant at logic. Maybe part of that was from his training as a young computer programmer when I was a baby. But he never acted superior to anyone. He always told me I was smarter than him. I wish! I ended up with more useless book knowledge, most of which I’d memorized. He, otoh, knew how to THINK.
    There is still a middle class here in the US, and I live in a country where even poor households have flat-screen TVs and free education, some access to healthcare, and enough food. It doesn’t compare with what poverty looks like in, say, Somalia or Haiti. I still believe that almost anyone can better his life here. Maybe that’s why people come here.
    I have never seen Central or South America, and I regret that. I’ve never really travelled much.
  • Vale: :)
  • Anonymous2016: eh i copy that poem
  • Anonymous2016: The concept of duality. Okies bye to this blog cha cha cha
  • Ann: Luv it
  • Johnny Nicks: Thank you anonymous and Ann:)
  • Johnny Nicks:

    This week I learned about acceptance and why it is so difficult for us.. because of its strong and invisible link to absolutist B/W R/W binary thinking.. Black /white, right / wrong absolutist or binary thinking is where we consistently and habitually tend to think in either / or terms. If we do A, we cant do B.. So with acceptance the key issue is we don’t want to accept the ‘reality of the situation’, because if we accept it, it means us accepting the situation, and therefore implicitly “approving” of it... accepting the pain and trauma, it means agreeing. We may probably feel we may be self-harming in some way. Our values attitudes and beliefs probably go against this in a major way.. It may even be morally wrong.. A lot of this is also about our expectations - which may be high or unrealistic.. or it may be to do with our perception of reality. What many of us dont see is that we can often find a way to accept things - which saves us from the pain of feeling STUCK in non-acceptance = feeling impotent, hopeless or angry. We don’t also see the difference between acceptance, approval and surrender. We don’t also see that we can both accept reality - for own own peace of mind, but still work to change it, if we have any influence at all over it :) Imagine you have a choice of taking two gates - 1) A beautiful gate leading to a rich green pasture or reluctant acceptance of reality and far less long term pain or 2) A ugly gate leading to a dry empty infertile wasteland..

    That’s your obvious B/W W/R binary choice.. However, remember you can be in your rich green pasture, and still reach through the fence to plant small seeds on the dry wasteland to see if they grow .. :)

  • Johnny Nicks: Are you a female, aggressive and always relentlessly arguing?
    You might be Animus possessed..
    Read here.
  • Vale: I read part of the article you linked, sounds like a horrible type of woman to run into!
  • Spitfire: I agree with Vale. You should run for the hill, or kill her, if you ever meet one of them.
  • Johnny Nicks: The Man in the Arena.. T Roosevelt
    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
    Difference between shame and guilt.."
    Guilt - "Im sorry I did something bad.."
    Shame "Im sorry I am bad.."
    Guilt " Im sorry I made a mistake.."
    Shame "Im sorry I AM a mistake.." :(
  • Johnny Nicks: I learned this week that we have an inbuilt play circuit from birth that enables us to be fair with others and this is also shared in rats that play with each other ..smaller rats may rough-and-tumble play with the larger rats winning over the less powerful smaller rats by pinning them to the floor, but if the larger rats do not let the smaller rats win a third of the time the smaller rats will refused to play.. so the larger rats allows the younger smaller rats to win occasionally so that they can continue playing together..Amazing!

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