“Higher Concepts” ; )

I’ve been pushing myself to re-examine my concepts and beliefs lately, and in the process, I’ve learnt a few things that have really hit me.

The first I want to mention, is one of rewriting memories. I was listening to a discussion of how when you recall a memory, you rarely recall it exactly the same way you did the time before. You may use different words, different expression, and even different details. It might be because you’re recalling it for a different audience, or a different reason, but either way, it’s coming out different. The argument was that every time you recall a memory, it’s like opening a digital document or image, and rewriting or repainting it, then saving it again. You can repeat this process and wind up with something completely different over time. This is a real form a therapy too, where a therapist asks their patient to recall a traumatizing memory, and then begins to reshape the way they look at it.

For the first time, I considered the very real possibility of rewriting my past… This idea really sits well with my belief that I should choose the beliefs that serve me best. A simple example to sum up that theory: believing that I am awesome serves me better than believing that I suck. Behavior in faith is always better than behavior otherwise. By that logic, it might be worth some effort to start believing my past was better than I currently believe it to be. This concept to me was a little more interesting than it was useful, but if I run into memories I can’t shake, it may come in handy.

The second concept I want to share, I’m still working on incorporating more deeply. For a long time I’ve found myself at war with well, myself, sometimes baffled by my inability to shut down the war in my own mind.

In Ray Dalio’s audiobook “Principles”, he quickly brushes over something he calls “higher-order consequences”, but to me, this may have been the most important concept in this very rich book. To sum it up, an example of what he meant:
If I decide to go to the gym, the first-order consequences would be: it takes effort, it takes time, it hurts, etc. Second-order consequences could be things like: it makes me stronger, it makes me lose weight, etc. Third-order consequences could be: it makes me more confident because I’m stronger, I have to buy new pants because I’m losing weight, etc. Fourth-order consequences could be something like: I’m more successful because of higher energy, strength and confidence. And so on…

He went on to argue that inner wars start between the different levels of a person. When it’s time to go to the gym, lower-level me, the one concerned mostly about first-order consequences, that guy doesn’t want to go. Staying in bed feels way better than the pain of working out. Second level me likes the post-workout feeling, he comes out of the gym ready to go get stuff done, check things off of lists and hit some homeruns. Then the higher levels of me like to dream about the long-term effects…

I don’t know if that hits you the way it rattled my cage, but I was a little shaken. This is a new way of thinking for me, and I’m a little excited to start working with it. I like thinking about higher-order consequences as a path to becoming my higher self. Seeing it this way helps me push past the lower-level hurdles. It also makes me think about happiness a little differently too. Lower level happiness occurs on the couch, higher level happiness occurs when you go “up and at them!” It all makes me ask myself, how high do I want my happiness to be?

Anyhow, that feels like about as concise and thorough as I’m going to be with that. Hope something in there means something to you. Keep moving higher ; )

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