Defining Awesome — The world in your head
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  • The world in your head

    Written by . Posted at 9:59 am on August 19th, 2008

    This post is a result of my constant thinking about getting things done. If you have problems like procrastination, not following and working on your passion, not approaching that hottie next door, not making your dreams, not working on that lobby server (Ryan;). Then this is for you. Think about what problem you are facing right now and with that in mind, read on.

    It is just a state of mind

    I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity and its relation to mind states. There is a certain mind state that could be best described as ‘flow’. It is a state in which everything you do is done effortlessly. There is no struggle, everything is quick, efficient, you move from one task to another, in a matter of hours (which seam like minutes) you get everything and even more done. Also what you get done is the result of your stretched capabilities, meaning all your talents act in synergy with each other. This state of mind is the core of many Eastern teaching such as Zen, Tao, martial arts. All of these teach you not how to get to that state, but rather what not to do, so that this state naturally emerges. Because as I’ve come to believe it is the natural state of being of a human (although it is so rare). This mind state is often described as “no-thought” or “no-mind” and it is the best way I can describe it also.

    The second state of mind or rather set of many states is entirely different. They could be called “thought states” because thinking is present. And by thinking I mean analyzing, rationalizing, being stuck in the head, being self-conscious. This is the main characteristic of the second state, you are conscious of your “self”. There isn’t just doing. It is “you” thinking, “you” writing, “you” playing, “you” singing, “you” programming. You are not enjoying yourself fully and you are not fully present and merged into the task. And you can feel that something is wrong, because any kind of work where you have to administer your thought processes or what you’re doing is exactly the opposite of flow, and that is unpleasant. Work seems like struggle, you can’t meet deadlines, conversations are dull, dancing seems weird, you procrastinate (reading blogs;), what you finally get done is mediocre at best.

    Yesterday I wanted to write something on the blog but instead of writing I was thinking what to write about or why I should write. And when I ask myself the question why write there is a lot of answers, but none seem great, so great that I’ll feel an urge to write. I start thinking about the counterparts of motivations. And I can think of even more reasons for not to write. This is a whole list of things ranging from logistic problems to insecurities of mine.

    When you get stuck in thinking like that sometimes something magical happens and you get out of your head and you are able to look at yourself, at your thoughts from another perspective. You think, all that is bullshit, why not JUST do it?

    “just do it”

    What does it really mean. How do you JUST DO IT?

    In the simplest form: instead of thinking about what you’re going to do, you JUST do it. More specifically you get out of your head and into your body. So that there are no thoughts except you controlling the body and performing the task. You are JUST doing, nothing else is there.

    This sounds simple but isn’t. If it was simple nobody would ever procrastinate. The thing is you have to decide to do this. And to decide really to do this, you must first disassociate from the bullshit that is going on in your head. No matter how much thinking you’ve done, you have to say to yourself “it doesn’t matter, I’ll do it anyway”.

    The easiest way to do this is to understand that your thought processes aren’t real. If you’re thinking about doing some work on a game for example, you might start thinking that: “today I am tired” or “nobody will like it” or “its pointless” etc. You have to be willing to say fuck off to those thoughts, don’t take them as granted. To do that you must believe on a deep level, mostly on your heart level, that what you’re doing is worth it and you will do it no matter what. Nothing matters really, you will just do it.

    It’s in your head

    The problem with thinking is that it is based on a world in your head. Thinking is done by the brain and the data the brain is operating on comes only from the 5 senses of body (hearing, seeing, taste, touch, smell). From that data the brain creates a model of reality. And this is crucial to understand. It is JUST A MODEL. The world you are experiencing right now is not exactly the real world. It is a model, at best an approximation of reality. All thinking is based on a model of reality and if the model is wrong, the thinking is wrong. So if the thinking is wrong, why does it make so much sense a lot of the time? Why does it seem real, logical, convincing? Why does it make sense to conserve energy and surf the web instead of working and creating your dreams?

    Because your WHOLE model of the world is ultimately and fatally incorrect. If you believe in the things you believe right now and if you follow them blindly you will be mislead your entire life and live a life of unaccomplished dreams. You will be thinking “it just can’t be done”. And you will have so many reasons to back that theory up. The theory might make sense, but unfortunately it is based on a misconception. The misconception that what you are experiencing right now is reality and whatever makes sense in it, makes sense in the real world.

    Thoughts are not real

    It makes sense only in your head because YOU ARE LIVING IN AN APPROXIMATION. You exist in a world that is entirely in the head of a human being. A result of neurological computations of the brain. And those are mainly wrong, because it is just a machine. It is built for basic survival and living in a mammalian pack. It was not built for making games, creating music, creating monumental work. The brain must use a trick to get that done.

    Become conscious

    There is a way to bypass this bug in the human specie. The brain can realize that it is a brain and that it is creating models. There is something out there that is ungraspable. You must trust certain things.


    The brain becomes conscious of itself.

    This is when the magic happens and you stop believing in any kind of bullshit like government propaganda, media, religion, family, other people and most of all your own self thoughts (because they were created exactly by those listed). This is where you see that “just doing it” is the only way to go. This is where you start seeing that you have to base your decisions on something else than thinking. This is where you discover that you have a heart.

    So just doing it means ceasing the thoughts about whether to do it or how to do it or any other kind of analysis and doing it just by the basis of what you feel is right or wrong in your heart. Of course this takes courage. But that is exactly what courage is, not believing in anything, just trusting.

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    1. Thanks, that just helped me a lot :)

    2. A couple of day ago I was doing programmation, I started to listen at Ludwig Van and it was simply GREAT!! A sensation started in my back up to my head (hard to explain). From that point in time until 2 hours latter I was different I was focused and accomplished what I wanted to do for days.

      What I realized his: don’t trust time. Your brain uses your perception of time to drive you in the direction that will make you: lazy, procrastinate, tired, …

      When you want to do something don’t look at the clock. You could pass the entire night working on a project, you could forget to go have diner with your girl friend… who cares! (maybe your girl friend) If it will make you accomplish your dreams DO IT!

    3. Another post which strikes a chord. Thanks Michal!

    4. When you say ‘religion’ do you mean enlightenment or organized belief? I prefer to think of myself as an enlightened Christian yet I also do not believe in organized or professional religion (like the Catholic church or denominations – though they believe some of the stuff I do I also do not go along with a lot of what they hold to…). Therefore when people just say ‘religion’ I like to check what they really mean…

    5. To “just do it” you have first to know HOW to do it. So you don’t have to wonder if you think about driving a bike properly all the time if you drive a bike the first time. In the beginning you have to train over and over again trying not distract yourself by other things like a shaolin that stays in his abbey not to see the hottie next door. If you are good enough you can later perform the work on an subconcious level like when you are writing letters or driving a bike. If you getting distracted on that level you leave the flow because your work is blocked by other problems that are not solved yet (which way i want to drive) or can’t be solved (like driving a bike without having wheels).

    6. rfreak: Yes time is an illusion. In the sense that it is part of the model the brain creates. It is useful for some things and for others it is not.

      Zack: Any kind of belief system that you’re attached to will ultimately mislead you. That is my belief.

      yv3: yes. Sometimes you get stuck because you don’t know something, but still you have to do something, you can’t get stuck on your thoughts. Sometimes you have to see that you’re not intelligent enough and you must find another way.

    7. Nice Post MM not to think is one of the best things ypu can do i realized it too some day but its hard you cant force your brain to think not well some people can maybe… Soem weeks ago i was designing a website i started 20.00 and when i locked at the clock it was 2.56 and it was liek i missed 6 hours but the resault was great.

    8. Great article! I really need to “just do it” since i keep thinking about various stuff all day and once i finish thinking about one think i find another one. So i’ll try to get stuff done. And now MM time to make a reminder not to forget to “just do it” 😉

    9. As you stated, you also believe in something. I don’t think there’s anything new under the sun – many people also believe what you believe. It may not be an ‘organized’ belief per se yet it is still a belief structure which you hold to, as is mine. You can’t get away from it. I agree with a lot of what you say but logically this doesn’t ring true to me.

    10. To “just do it” is a belief, imo, and by saying not to believe on anything is sort of contradictory on that point.

    11. There is nothing wrong in beliefs, everybody makes them. The attachment to them is what can ruin you. For example you can make a great theory around the idea of “just do it”, it can work for a while but then it stops. If you are attached to believing why it works you won’t do anything. I have been guilty of doing this many times. The best way is to just get the idea behind a concept and use it in your own way. Strip it down from all the mental structures. It should be intuitive.

    12. If you have beliefs that don’t come from you and that don’t bring you anything positive it’s not worth to keep it.

    13. WHO CARES
      NOT ME



    14. when you want video games go in a shop and buy some. DO you really think MM cares about what you say? Do you think he will start now making a developing blog because you said it?

    15. Hahaha, “the world in my head” , now that sounds already very familiar to me. :)

    16. hey I had a great idea in my head, lets make 2d shooter with top notch audio head related transfer processing and everything, maybe options to bring the 8800gt gfx to its knees!

    17. Lol, great idea… until it clashes with reality as it is I guess. ^^

      Just kidding, you should go ahead and try… Surely you could always just give it a go, right?

    18. Michal's concsience

      hmm maybe it’s time for me to finish Berserker and Link-Dead,uhm,but those babes look nice and that beer..yes!!!!! Girls come to dady I will pound you with my dick !

    19. when we getting more screens n stuff?
      ive been waiting for a year now O_o

    20. Looking at these comments I would think my blog doesn’t reach the audience it is intended to reach.

    21. Some of us just sit and listen :). Please keep this blog going, I found it really usefull.

    22. Time for an update!

    23. Michal's concsience

      omfg!!!,I have so many readers now,I’ll go take a wank looking at what I’ve accomplished and never finish my games

    24. Michal's concsience

      Omfg!!!…i should show to this guys link dead and berserker…cause they are complete.

    25. How about making a game instead of spouting amateur philosophy.

    26. This is a personal blog, not a development log. I agree with Michal, and what he said struck a chord I actually struck before… It’s too bad it never gets strung that way all the time, and I procrastinate more often than not.

    27. Michal's consiousnes(or something like that)

      “jacking off” .. All….These….READERS…GOD IM SO EMO…….. just 1000 more and il post link dead

    28. Michal's concsience

      …Lmao i should learn inglish before i post something…rly i should take some time to do that

    29. “Omfg!!!…i should show to this guys link dead and berserker…cause they are complete.”

      Hmmm… either Michal’s conscience is a fat liar (think of the consequences…), or Michal’s fucking with us.

    30. Hmmm, i probably shouldnt ask…but is this “month of silence” on the blog in some way related to the Muslim Massacre? As in… you dont want to release any updates because you dont want to be called “right-winged” again after such a small period of time?

    31. No, it isn’t related to that, I think MM has just been busy. I’ve spoke to him a few times over the past week or so, I’ll try and urge him to start posting again

    32. I’ve been doing a lot lately but it isn’t an excuse for not writing. I don’t feel a need for posting, you can create it by giving me constructive and positive opinions. Tell me you need me :)

    33. LoL, THAT sounds a bit emo to me; but hey, WE NEED YOU 😉

    34. Hey, do you think you could write a post about burnout? You know, when you work really hard and then… burn out? Tips on how to relax?

    35. DOOD Facepunch Studios is making a ripoff off of Soldat! Its called Crash Commando


    36. You by W.H. Auden

      Really, must you,
      Dense companion,
      Be there always?
      The bond between us
      Is chimerical surely:
      Yet I cannot break it.

      Must I, born for
      Sacred play,
      Turn base mechanic
      So you may worship
      Your secular bread,
      With no thought
      Of the value of time?

      Thus far I have known your
      Character only
      From its pleasanter side,
      But you know I know
      A day will come
      When you grow savage
      And hurt me badly.

      Totally stupid?
      Would that you were:
      But, no, you plague me
      With tastes I was fool enough
      Once to believe in.
      Bah!, blockhead:
      I know where you learned them.

      Can I trust you even
      On creaturely fact?
      I suspect strongly
      You hold some dogma
      Or positive truth,
      And feed me fictions:
      I shall never prove it.

      Oh, I know how you came by
      A sinner’s cranium,
      How between two glaciers
      The master-chronometer
      Of an innocent primate
      Altered its tempi:
      That explains nothing.

      Who tinkered and why?
      Why am I certain,
      Whatever your faults are,
      The fault is mine,
      Why is loneliness not
      A chemical discomfort,
      Nor Being a smell?

      My major gripe is the issue of self-reliance and being objective about yourself. I used to believe that any person with perseverance and a determination could achieve just about anything. However, now I believe you really need a guide to critique you because ultimately your own mind is going to be biased and feed you cognitive distortions all the time. For example, I used to believe that any person could meditate by themselves and gain from it but now I think that most (if not all) people need someone “professional” to guide them through meditation because otherwhise they won’t do it properly (like Lama Yeshe and other Buddhists recommend). I feel similarly about metaprogramming in your mind (like Prometheus Rising says) because it’s near impossible to be objective about yourself in your head and when you think you’re making progress you’re not going anywhere at all.

      No man is an island, entire of itself
      every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
      if a clod be washed away by the sea,
      Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
      as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
      any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
      and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
      it tolls for thee.

      -John Donne

    37. Mike: Don’t know why you’re writing exactly. About self-reliance: there is no such thing as objectivity. You need a guide, yet you don’t need one. Or in other words, you have to get to a point where you don’t need one, but to get there you must have one. Very zen-like I know :), but that’s how I can explain it.

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