Talent hits a target that no one else can hit. Genius hits a target that no one else can see. ~Arthur Schopenhauer
It’s not necessary to be a genius in order to be creative, but you need to be creative if you want to be a genius. Correspondingly, you don’t need to be awesome to not suck, yet you should not suck in order to be awesome. There seems to be some kind of theme here. If you want to be an awesome genius, or at least to have the desire to be one, you should try to be more creative and to suck less. It’s much easier to say it than to do it, that’s sure. However as Baruch Spinoza once said, “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”
Here are several level mind hacks are tools we can use to influence a bit more our creativity and a little less suckiness into our lives. The great Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “In the minds of geniuses, we find – once again – our own neglected thoughts.”
1.) Alchemize it until you actualize it:
To be human is necessarily to be a vulnerable risk-taker; to be a courageous human is to be good at it. ~Jonathan Lear
This is a bit similar as the phrase, “fake it until you make it.” However, to alchemize something until you actualize it goes much deeper. Alchemy signifies transformation. For example when we are courageous in the face of fear we are actually practicing emotional alchemy, which is less about faking it and a lot more about being proactively involved in a healthier way while you are still honoring the emotional state.
Try to imagine a firefighter standing outside of some burning building with a baby on the top floor. He would be a fool not to fear the fire. Fear is the proper and natural response to a deadly situation, after all. However, when the person doesn’t act courageously despite the fear, then the baby is going to die. Therefore, first of all he must feel the fear, and only then to act with courage, to do the right thing and finally to save the baby.
This can be applied to almost any emotionally charged situation. Feel fear, act with courage. Feel road rage, act with humor. Feel grief, act with steadfastness. Feel jealousy, act with compersion. Feel insecure, act with confidence. The alchemical action is the thing. Confidence eventually begets brilliance.
2.) Transform wounds into wisdom:
It’s of the first order of importance to remember this, that the shaman is more than just a sick man, or a madman; he is just a sick man who has healed himself, who is cured, and who has to shamanize in order to remain cured. ~Terence McKenna
If we really want to live a great life, we have to open ourselves up in order to be present to our wounds. The possibility to have an authentic engagement with our life takes the courage to face before pain and heartache, and the capability to cultivate it and refine it into wisdom. However, the pain and heartache are going to be there. The question is do we have the courage to face it and also to transform it into something that will be able to refine our soul, or leave it and risk slow destruction of our soul.
In case we continue to ignore or repress it, this might fester and darken further into shadow energy. However, in case we learn to honor it for what it actually is, we engage in understanding that has the potential to transform the demons in ourselves into diamonds: into robust, cutting-edge side-kicks that are giving us a streak of fierceness that we can use to engage the world with confidence and resilience.
It’s very similar to transforming obstacles into steppingstones. It’s a kind of Grecian Ataraxia that has been mixed with a stoic optimism that is launching us past complaining about what we are not able to control and into a sacred space where we could be more proactive and engaged with the things that we can control: the attitude we have toward the suffering. One Zen proverb states, “The obstacle is the path.”
3.) Unbecome everything:
To attain knowledge, you should add things every day. To attain wisdom, you should remove things every day. ~Lao Tzu
Beyond meditation, and beyond letting go, it exists a state of strong solitude where you are so much isolated from all the layers of cultural conditioning that you can fully realize the power of being connected to all the things. You have shed a lot of superfluous codependent static that an overwhelming interdependent clarity befalls you. You have discovered that you are connected to all the other things, and everything else is connected to you as well.
Unbecoming all the things turns the tables on “becoming enlightened,” if you shed the uninitiated ego’s attachment to attainment. It’s a very profound realization that enlightenment is not just about becoming something, but it is about unbecoming everything in order to accomplish a state of authenticity. In this state of authentic awareness is when the Ego becomes initiated by the Soul.
Unbecoming all the things is a way to the counter-intuitively become everything, with a twist. The twist is awareness. Although it’s a non-attached awareness, but it’s more a type of a floating observation that merely interprets instead of just judging. Some people call it no-mind, others call it satori, and there are people who call it ataraxy. Either way, unbecoming all the things is cutting the inexperienced ego out of the equation and then sneaking in the initiated ego, which is using the Soul as a tool to leverage a heightened state of awareness. From this specific heightened state of authenticity comes the deep interdependent realization that everything is connected to all the other things.
4.) Count coup on thyself:
He is a sane man who can have tragedy in his heart and comedy in his head. ~G.K. Chesterton
Counting coup is a Native American act of courage and it refers to the winning of prestige in the battle through the social flattening mechanism of shaming. Coup warrior is someone who wins prestige by making some uncommon acts of bravery in the face of fear. Risk and danger is required to count coup and it could be recorded by just touching (shaming) the enemy in battle and then to escape unharmed.
If we are counting coup on ourselves, we are counting coup on the unhealthy, shameful, and fearful things that are within us. We are counting coup on the things that are rigid and dogmatic in our worldview. When we counting coup on the fear, narcissism, extremism, and sloth, we do it so that vitality, courageous action, and diversity could emerge so that we are able to, such as Thoreau said, “Live deliberately.”
The revolution begins at our home. When you count coup on yourself continuously, you might earn the right to count coup on the rest of us. Definitely, with enough practice you will be able to earn the right to count coup on enlightenment itself.
5.) Practice counter-weltanschauung dynamics:
The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble. They can never be solved, they can only be outgrown. ~Carl Jung
This maybe is the most powerful mind hack on this list. Particularly in a world that is slowly closing in on itself. “We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness,” said David Kahneman.
Counter-weltanschauung dynamics is a tool that is helping us to see through our programed blindness.
Weltanschauung in German means worldview. So how can the countering the worldview help us? This is a way to question and broaden our perspective by first taking stock of our current worldview, through ruthless self-examination, and then it enters the idea of the opposite. On that way we might be able to arrive at a more open-minded and empathetic understanding of others and the world.
The crucial goal of counter-weltanschauung dynamics is achieving a state of broad-mindedness akin to the nature itself; to have the ability to look upon the world with holistic eyes. It’s a type of the empathic “metamorality” recognizing that groups of persons with conflicting ideals are still able to live together as long as the freedom is preserved. Counter-weltanschauung dynamics resolves the conflict between persons with different ideological dispositions by revealing that the futility of the human condition is that it’s constantly changing and it can never be fixed.
6.) Practice Promethean Audacity:
I would rather be chained to this rock than to be the obedient servant of the gods. ~Prometheus
Also, you could call it Dionysian disobedience, or putting the “thorough” in Thoreau. The key is a courageous delving into the forbidden so that you can discover some hidden secrets otherwise unattainable, despite the authority.
The Promethean innovator is the perfect example of different thinking, deviating from the ordinary so that it can discover the extraordinary. Promethean audacity is becoming “divergent” such as Beatrice Prior in Divergent, or it’s becoming “The One” as Neo in The Matrix. Or the real-life mettle taking on the NSA as Edward Snowden did.
Promethean audacity is gazing at “God”, and through your fearless “poker stare” alone, calling his bluff. An then all the tables are turned. You are holding all the cards. You always were. Then the royal flush that you reveal is the legerdemain of your own courage, a legerdemind: sleight of mind. God is trumped and tricked, and, just as Prometheus, the money that you win, becomes the fire that you have stolen. And it’s actually worth it, “punishment” be damned.
7.) Engage the Great Mystery through self-overcoming (Cosmic Heroism):
If you have to visualize the soul, think of it like a cross between a photon, a wolf howl, and a dribble of dark molasses. What it really is, as much as I can tell, is a packet of information. It’s a program, a piece of hyper-spatial software designed explicitly to interface with the Mystery. Not a mystery, mind you, the Mystery. The one that could never be solved. ~Tom Robbins
The greatest way to engage with the Great Mystery is through meditation and deep solitude. The second-best way is to develop ontology of eminence, with the magic elixir and otherworldly knowledge gained from that meditation and solitude. Ernest Becker described it as the following: “In this type of ontology of immanence, the thing that we are describing is not a creature who is transformed and the one who transforms the world in turn in some miraculous ways, but instead a creature who is taking more of the world into himself and develops new forms of endurance and courage.”
A type of cosmic catharsis comes from creating these new forms of endurance and courage, which have the possibility to transform life itself into an art-form. The art of self-overcoming, of constantly overcoming the fixed and the rigid self by identifying with the adaptable and flexible self, is a type of cosmic catharsis that could lead to cosmic heroism.
The cosmic heroism is a keen awareness of our need to validate the personal sense of value within a cosmic scheme, by our own creative contributions, in order to reconcile the anxiety of death. Having achieved a state of admiration and wonder by a solitude and deep meditation, a cosmic hero, practicing the art of self-overcoming, has learned a way to be able to transform co-dependence into independence into interdependence. Out of the cocoon of the broken cultural-self (which is co-dependence) emerges the mysterious inner-self (the independence) that yearns for cosmic heroism (which is the interdependence) through the creative and consistent process of self-overcoming.