This Friday, we had TrainWrecksTV, a Twitch streamer, join us on the Healthy Gamer stream. Dr. K and Train talked about moving forward in life. They covered topics like cultivating a personal anchor, how talking about something diminishes its power, comparison, ego, and focusing on actions over outcomes. It was a delightful conversation, so definitely check it out!
Train narrated a story about how he used to drive up to a mountain top. He would sit there, staring at the night sky for hours, and picture a world where he would like to live. It was his private retreat — a place he could go to get away from the noise of life. It was his anchor, where he could be alone and learn more about himself. He could watch the night sky and explore the deepest, darkest parts of himself.
In this world that values the hustle, growth, and continually trying to be better every day, we sometimes forget to sit with ourselves. Everyone has their problems and emotional baggage. Sometimes, to get rid of that baggage, you need to sit with it and get comfortable around it. To keep moving forward in life, we need to rest and recover and appreciate the progress that we have already made. It may seem like there is be a long way to go before you can be a valuable human being. But there will always be a long way to go. That is why it becomes crucial to recognize that you have value being who you are at this moment.
Talking About Something Diminishes Its Power
Train shared with Dr. K that when he starts to talk about the impact he has on other people, something gets lost in the process of putting it into words. He has a sense within him that if he talks about the impact he has on Twitch, then it feels less powerful and important to him.
Dr. K shared that Train has stumbled upon a fundamental principle that the yogis have known for centuries: talking about something diminishes its power.
For several different reasons, people do not feel like talking about their traumas. Some think that they do not want to burden others with their emotional baggage, while others believe that nobody can help them, so there’s no point in sharing. However, when you do end up talking about things that are on your mind, it feels like some pressure got released. Our vocabulary reflects this as well — we refer to talking about our feelings as “venting.” Intuitively, we know that if we talk about our troubles and traumas, they start to lose their power over us, and their strength diminishes. On the other hand, if we stay silent, their power compounds and grows. That is the principle behind why talking to other people about our worries is so beneficial for our mental health.
However, this principle goes both ways. Just like talking can take away power from traumas built up inside us, staying silent about personal achievements or good deeds can build up their strength. It goes back to the story Train shared about driving to a mountain top and exploring his mind. He would not tell anyone and do it, which made it that much more personal and valuable. That is how it became his anchor and helped him with his life purpose.
We also see that there are people who talk about starting companies, while other people don’t. On average, the more successful group is the one that stays silent and focuses on taking action. It is a powerful principle since it can take away power from traumas and cultivate positive habits, which can accelerate the pace to keep you moving forward in life.
Why Shouldn’t I Compare Myself With Others?
If we look at someone else’s Instagram, Facebook, or even Twitch stream, all we see are highlights. We observe the person at their best, and our mind assumes that every moment of their life is a highlight reel. We don’t realize that these instances are rare. We’re exposed to these moments easily due to social media, and as a result, we start to make comparisons. These comparisons keep us from moving forward in life.
The worst part is that these comparisons aren’t even fair. When we compare how we feel to someone else’s holiday pictures on Instagram, we compare our insides to someone else’s outsides. How we feel internally is not a fair comparison to how someone else’s external projection. That person might be depressed, might have lost their job, or might be going through tough times in life. However, our mind does believe that. It is easier to assume that their experience of life is much better than ours. It validates and reinforces our internal feelings of sadness.
Comparison is a function of the ego. The ego is a protective mechanism that protects us from emotional pain. It works by putting ourselves up and putting other people down. It allows us to tank the emotional pain of being insufficient by convincing us that we’re better than everyone else.
If we can address low-self esteem and address the root cause of why we engage in comparison, our ego will not need to tank emotional pain for us.
Check out this video on how ego controls us:
The ego uses strategies apart from comparison to tank emotional pain. One of these strategies is to tell us we’re playing a different game from other people. Sometimes, we can have delusions of grandeur, especially as teenagers or adults, and we might think that we’re special and different from everyone else. While it is true that people are unique, they also have similarities. Our brains are fundamentally similar, which means that everyone is susceptible to similar problems. That is why some of the wisdom from older people can be so useful — we’re all playing the same game with the same rules. If we weren’t, then other people’s advice would not apply to us.
Our circumstances might be different, our path to success might be different, but to keep moving forward in life, we need to realize that we’re all playing the same game. Talent and intelligence are useful buffs to have along the way, but they are not the only way to win the game of life. Hard work can go a long way.
Focus on the Next Step, Not the Last Step
It always seems like the grass is greener on the other side. While that mindset is useful since it gives us something to strive towards, it can also be harmful. It makes us chase the next thing that will make our life easier. “Once I develop confidence, then everything will be easier. The problem is that I lack confidence right now.” We only end up chasing something in the future. As a result, we’re never satisfied with where we are. It can be very paralyzing to look ahead towards your goal and looking at all the work you have to do to get to it.
The solution to that is to re-frame from being goal-oriented to action-oriented. It is about being where you are and trying to move forward from there instead of trying to get to the end goal. It is healthier to orient yourself in a particular direction and try to keep moving forward in life rather than to get to one specific place.
For example, it can be paralyzing to realize that you want to get a job at your favorite game development studio, but you don’t have any relevant experience. You will have no idea where to move from there. Even if you manage to make some progress, it will be easy to get discouraged. Instead, if you focus on meeting just one of the job’s requirements, you will be more likely to be successful. Over time, as you check off the different conditions for that job, you will have made much more progress than if you tried to tackle the abstract task of getting a job at a game studio.
Dr. K explains reframing from goals to actions in this video:
Meditation: Alternate Nostril Breathing
Our central nervous system has two modes. The sympathetic nervous system controls the “fight or flight” response, whereas the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for the “rest and digest” mode. This technique balances these two systems on a physiological level. If you are too excited and you need to calm down, this meditation will calm you down. If you are feeling too sluggish or slow, it will energize you.
How to do this meditation:
- Sit up straight and close your eyes.
- Use your right hand to make the “call me” sign.
- With your thumb, block one nostril and breathe in.
- On a full breath, switch to blocking the other nostril with your ring finger and little finger, and breathe out.
- Breathe in through the same nostril, and on a full breath, breathe out.
- Repeat for 5 minutes. Over time, you can increase the duration.
Check out the full interview here!