Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom helps people realize their unique importance. Using my knowledge of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, my experience with therapy, coaching, somatic healing, and personal growth I create products to help you discover, develop, and express the elements of your identity critical to your health and your contribution to our world. My goal is to research, develop, and disseminate these materials so that every individual can reconnect with their uniqueness, realize their passion and purpose, and live the life they were born to live.
This Episode started out examining the different kinds of shoulds. Some shoulds come from extrinsic sources like my dad telling me I needed to get a job and not study philosophy in college, or your church telling you not to be gay. Extrinsic shoulds can be pretty easy to identify because they are often things we rebel against, are mean, or are even evil.
Intrinsic shoulds can be complicated. Some are good. We tell ourselves we *should* eat better and not have two pieces of cake. We *should* call our mother more often. Sometimes these shoulds come 100% from within us, but often they are actually extrinsic shoulds disguised as our own. The world has told us not to eat so much cake and that good sons and daughters call their moms more often. So it’s hard.
But I think, inherently, the more we come to know the are and to live in that space, the easier it is to identify whether your shoulds are intrinsic or extrinsic. In other words, I believe humans fundamentally KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL. It’s just that the more time we spend in the shoulds, we forget.
Like I often do, I wander a bit in this episode toward some emerging elements. I began a shift, in real time, toward a more somatic and external assessment of our personal growth path with respect to the Are vs Should Problem. I even go so far as to suggest we take the focus off ourselves for awhile, and focus on the people around us!
I hope you enjoy the tangents and trust that I will continue to develop these ideas in upcoming Episodes.
I was so happy to meet Bernhard Kutzler. I told him we were kindred spirits because we were asking such similar questions. He agreed. He also agreed to interview with me to discuss Curiosity.
My first thoughts about Bernhard were why no one else has heard of him. I still think about why some people become household names and others’ work is lost out in the world of cyberspace. The simple answer is marketing. But that’s not the point of this post. The point I’m trying to make is Bernhard has made several important contributions to the worlds of philosophy, science, psychology, and personal growth. He has published a handful of books. He is an author on Medium and has his own blog.
To entice you to watch this rather long video in it’s entirety I’ll tell you one thing about Bernhard.
He took a THREE AND A HALF YEAR hiatus to live alone and unencumbered by technology. During this time he asked the basic questions like, ‘why am I here’, ‘what is the purpose of life’, and ‘what does it all mean’. Then he wrote two books about it. One is a comprehensive documentation about everything he did during that time. It (Consciousness. It’s Nature, Purpose, and How to Use it) ‘s a heady read, for sure. And maybe a little ‘out there’ in places. The other is a how-to apply what he learned to live your best life (Being Free: Get out of the Box) and is more approachable for most people.
Though this is a long interview, there is a lot of information, knowledge, wisdom, and experience here that will benefit listeners and viewers. I hope you choose to participate.
Bernhard is currently ‘out of the office’ again, surely exploring some amazing questions. I can’t wait to hear about it when he returns.
Since the Big Bang, the universe has been changing. Changing forms. Changing states. Changing composition.
All around us, change is driving the universe. The Earth. Our behavior. The seasons. . . .
Yet, many of us resist change. We don’t like it. It messes up our scheduling. We OBSESS about predicting the future. The popularity of the Weather Channel is a great example. We believe we can predict the future and CONTROL change. Or even omit it altogether from reality.
Seriously, sometimes I wonder if that’s the state of nature we are shooting for. To have every day be as predictable as the last. The literal Groundhog Day of life. And on the one hand, it’s easy to see how comforting that predictability would be, but also how COMPLETELY BORING life would become.
And I get it. We resist change because it ISN’T predictable. And that makes us feel unsafe. And feeling unsafe is scary and sad. So we are afraid. So we want the fear to go away. So we attempt to CONTROL, and remove change from the world.
But that is literally insane. It is as asinine as removing oxygen from the atmosphere. Not only is it impossible, it would kill us. And I’m afraid the path toward minimal change will similarly cause our demise.
In fact, I believe our resistance to change is somehow related to (or the cause of!) many of our human problems.
In this Episode I continue exploring why change is bad, and further develop my hypothesis about how change is related to the Are vs Should Problem.
I’ve been talking a lot about how change is a FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF LIFE. Biological entities have DNA which builds our bodies and defines our unique abilities and deficiencies. But more than that, DNA is the mechanism that perpetuates and propels species through TIME by allowing adaptation to changing environmental conditions. The universe is always changing and anything wishing to persist needs a way of dealing with those changes. Biological things, like humans, have DNA to do that very job.
Another key assumption is that DNA is how we navigate that change – as individuals and as a species.
And my point in Episodes 61 and 62 is to point out a HUGE problem currently plaguing the human race:
We are currently RESISTING change, rather than embracing it.
And, I’ll argue, THIS is a major contributor to MOST of human problems.
From world hunger, to climate change, to our obsession with war. . . . it’s all about NOT understanding the need to change. To react. To modify. It’s literally in our nature. And when you fight your nature, you’re going to lose.
Full Episode coming Friday right here at KEW. Please subscribe to the KEW podcast and/or to my YouTube channel, and follow this blog for updates. You can also check out KEW on Medium.com.
If ever there were an oversimplification in the whole personal growth or self-help category, this is it.
What do you value? What are your values? It sounds sooo simple. But that’s deceptive.
For me, defining my values took WEEKS. And, worse than that, I THOUGHT I knew what they were. I think we all do.
I value family. Safety. Comfort. A good hot dog.
Whatever. We don’t really know what the options are, so how do we know we covered it.
To REALLY nail your values – and you REALLY need to to make quick progress – you have to put in some hard work. And by hard work, I mean repetition. And by repetition, I mean you have to be PERSISTENT.
It’s more simple, really.
Sit down quietly and ask yourself, ‘What do I value and love’, and, ‘What gets me out of bed in the morning’. Make a list. Read the list.
Take each thing you wrote down and GO DEEPER. Why do you value love? What is love anyway? Is this about a person? Write all that down. Write some more. Instead of a word you’ll have pages. Now ask yourself again. GO DEEPER. AGAIN.
Repeat that for every word on your original list and go through 6-10 iterations of each, going deeper until you can’t go any deeper. Take a few days. Take a few weeks. Take a few months.
Yeah, it sounds crazy. And maybe your final list will look just like your original list, but mine didn’t. It was close, but in the end I fell like the work taught me a lot more than writing that original list. I have now internalized and automated my values. I can now use them as guideposts in my decision-making and growth.
Hey guys – just wanted to make a note here about a few projects I have coming up that you may be interested in.
First, I’m currently conducting interviews about the “Are vs. Should Problem“. I’ve completed the first two with people I had never met and I’ll say it’s going to be very interesting. I plan to do around ten total interviews and to start releasing them either every other week or as a separate series beginning in October sometime. I’m excited to hear others’ perspectives on this issue and to have candid conversations about what it means to be yourself.
Second, KEW now has a writer’s page on Medium. For those of you who don’t know, Medium is a website for writers. It’s subscription based, and non-members can only read a handful of articles for free. For me, it’s better than reading the news every day – I have made it a habit to spend more time on Medium reading interesting stories and articles instead of reading news. I have only written one article so far, but I have made it a goal to start writing one a week in the near future. Mostly these will mirror what is happening on KEW but we’ll see where that goes. You can find my first article here: https://medium.com/@kpluseiswise/what-we-forgot-6e4b7090d540
This first article, ‘What We Forgot‘, gets at the idea that somewhere along the line we flipped nearly 180 degrees from being people who lived mostly in our ‘ares’ to people who listened more to the voices of the ‘shoulds’. I’m still not sure how and why this happened, but it is becoming clearer every week. In fact, I am starting to develop an even larger project about HOW to address this issue which I will get to in the upcoming weeks.
If you know anyone I should interview for this AvS series please comment or email me at kpluseiswise@cburcher
When I was a teenager I realized I would be working for the rest of my life. This hit me like a ton of bricks. This realization LITERALLY left me feeling like I had fallen out of a tree and couldn’t catch my breath. Though I’d experienced physical pain by this point in my life, fully coming to understand that I was going to have to spend a significant part of my life doing things I didn’t want to do was disturbing.
And it wasn’t so much that I had to WORK. I didn’t mind working. I had my first job at 13 and was gainfully employed when I had this epiphany about work. It was more that a big chunk of MY TIME was spoken for.
I felt like I was seeing my future, and part of it was already planned out. It wasn’t so much about the WORK thing, it was the CHOICE thing. My future was, at least in part, not my CHOICE. And I don’t know why this created so much dissonance. But this was a true blindside. I didn’t see it coming. I felt like I lost my whimsy.
And so that is, in huge part, what led me to explore the Are vs. Should Problem. Why do we struggle between the person we ARE and the person we feel like we SHOULD BE? A big part of this SHOULD is related to having to work and to have a career. A huge part of our youth is being on a path that gets us to that point successfully and to a greater extent than our parents or grandparents. From early on we are chugging along a course related to some place we will be in the future that will steal our time.
And the best we can hope for is to love the career so we are not wasting our time. To sort of ‘double up’ and get paid AND find pleasure in our job.
Well, how many of us got there? How many of us arrived at the place where we can’t BELIEVE we’re getting paid to do what we love? How many of us LOVED spending all that time studying, and interviewing, and kissing up, and missing out. . . . How fun was that?
Sure, some people do find a path they enjoy and a career that fulfills them. But most of us don’t. And this investigation intends to figure out why it happened and how we can change it.
This week I go back to the roots of the Are vs Should Problem.
For me this whole quest began when I was a kid and realized I had made a deal with the devil to blow 2/3 of my day working whatever job I’d be lucky enough to get. Any plans I had to travel, explore, or play were necessarily and all of a sudden pre-regulated by this ‘deal’.
In return I’d get to have the money I’d need to do the traveling, exploring, and playing. Only I couldn’t, because I’d have to work.
Sure, maybe I’d get a week of every year, but that seems like a consolation prize compared to what I had planned.
The beginning of the Are vs. Should Problem is in here. For me. Maybe for you. I made a deal. I lived up to my end of the bargain (mostly). I made the sacrifices. But I don’t feel like it paid off. Robert Johnson at least got some awesome guitar playing skills out of his deal with the devil.
Although now I see I did get something. I got a chance to do it over.
I realized yesterday that the Are vs. Should Problem really started in Episode 42: Safety. I knew the idea had been rolling around in my head, but I didn’t realize I actually stated it formally in that podcast. So, really, the Are vs. Should Problem officially begin in Episode 42.
So it’s kind of like I was unloading ideas in Episodes 1-41, then made a sort of shift toward organizing the ideas in Episodes 42-49, then realized what I was doing by Episode 50. Not to say any of the Episodes were more or less important, just noting a definite trend.
So in THIS Episode examining the time we spend pursuing our careers vs. the time we spend loving each other, I was really getting to the meat of the Are vs Should issue. And that is, what do we value and how do we measure success?
What do we value?
And how do we measure success?
This Episode gets at the ARE and the SHOULD as terms we use to measure how well we are living our lives. And it’s confusing because so many people, and so much of the system, measures success in money, power, and accolades. Yet so much of what we NEED, and so much of what we are MISSING, is measured in love, and smiles, and calm.
Depending on how you define ‘uncomfortable’, 100-200 million people worldwide can’t meet their basic needs. Folks are born into societies and cultures where they are doomed to fail. Millions of people on this planet will live their entire lives worried about dying, finding food, or having a safe place to sleep. These are enormously huge problems that I truly don’t understand. Nor do I understand how complicated the solutions are.
But I do believe one thing: if we wanted to solve these problems, we could. We could at least make them better. And I truly believe that the solutions begin within each one of us.
To solve these problems we need to fix ourselves first. We each need to put on the proverbial oxygen mask so that we can take care of ourselves so that we can take care of each other. And right now there’s a lot missing from that equation.
First, many of us don’t care about ourselves. Some of us are so sad, stressed, malnourished, hungry, or whatever to take the luxury time necessary to change our beliefs, habits, and behaviors. And I’m not judging, that’s understandable.
Second, many of us who DO have the luxury of pondering our existence just don’t think it’s important to do so. Many of us are too wrapped up in our jobs, iPhones, addictions, or whatever.
And last, most of us wouldn’t know what to do if we DID figure out how to change ourselves because the rest of the world is out there running on autopilot. Once we figure things out, we need to share it with our community – and many of those communities just don’t exist any more.
What I’m trying to say is that I truly believe the Are vs Should Problem is the CAUSE OF and SOLUTION TO, all of our problems. That might be a stretch but let’s just go with the idea that this concept might help us solve some of our problems.
See, I think if we can figure out how to reduce our time spend doing things we feel like we SHOULD be doing then we would have more time to ponder who we really ARE. And if I think we can make that shift in how we spend our time, we will find out that we actually crave connections to our brothers and sisters. I think we actually are inspired to do good. I think we do actually want to share resources instead of horde them. I think we do actually want to take care of our planet. I think we do want to spend our lives finding solutions to issues like world hunger instead of becoming investment bankers and stockpiling financial wealth.
But I’m a naive naval gazer. Or I used to be. And now I want to be again.
I want all those things to be true so I’m believing all those things to be true.
And if you follow the assumptions I’ve made thus far:
DNA is the precursor to human magic and MUST be fully expressed.
Expressing our individual uniqueness is our human purpose.
Reducing the things we feel like we SHOULD do frees up time and space for us to do the last thing.
By becoming the people we are destined to be we will realize, as a species, the way things used to be.
Peace and happiness result from more ARE and less SHOULD.
The CHALLENGES we face as humans can be solved.
Then maybe you’re interested in learning more? That’s what I’m here for.
Please take the time and let me know how you feel.