Quotes Archive, 2020
"Most people make decisions to feel something or to avoid feeling something, then they deodorize and defend those decisions with spiritual explanations or smart-sounding reasons. Trying to reason with a disingenuously emotional person is like trying to convince a dog he is not hungry at mealtime or convince a cat the lizard should be allowed to live." (10/12)
"When a person is missing pieces of themselves, they tend to replace them with strays, forgeries, and abusers. By collecting strays, we give ourselves an emotional metaphor that feels like we are saving ourselves. By collecting forgeries, we give ourselves close copies and knockoffs of what we really need. By collecting abusers, we give ourselves what we think we deserve, or, because those abusers seem to possess one or more of our missing pieces." (10/1)
"The fulfillment of our dreams comes at the price of facing our nightmares." (9/17)
"A riddle of wisdom: Who is more powerful, the playmaker or the tastemaker? The playmaker knows the winning moves, the last steps to achieve checkmate. The tastemaker cultivates a culture, a pervasive appetite, that benefits him/her. Who is more powerful?" (8/27)
"Discern what kind of preacher you are listening to. The cotton candy preacher inspires morale over morality; depends on starpower over spiritual power; aims his/her messages at your lower self, your earthly wishlist, your self-esteem, your American patriotism, whatever keeps you coming back and giving money. The authentic preachers of Biblical history were transformational figures, shattering the look good and feel good and do good religious defense mechanism people hide behind, leading them into the sanctifying, transforming furnace of the very presence of God." (8/18)
"The need to fix (or clean) is actually a need to stay in control and keep things the way our emotions need them to be. The need to fix (or clean) is simply different clothing for the need to control, and the need to control rises from hot spots in our soul that feel powerless or out of control. If you are a compulsive fixer or cleaner, pray and ask, "Where do I feel powerless and out of control inside? Who/what took power from me? Lord, how do I pull up the roots and heal from this? Compulsive fixing will never fix me. Compulsive cleaning will never clean me." (8/9)
"Realize the damning or delivering power of your mental models, the typical ways in which you interpret people and situations. People love their mental models like a litter of puppies, but like puppies, those heuristics are often one-dimensional, simplistic, hasty, and rarely precise." (7/25)
"Discern the punctuation marks in your life. If you keep seeing question marks, you need more understanding and wisdom. If you keep seeing exclamation points, explore why you need constant excitement and stimulation to feel okay. If you keep seeing run-on sentences with no punctuation marks, you need better boundaries, more time for prayer and contemplation, less hyperactivity and kinetic escapism. Read the punctuation marks in your life and what they are trying to say to you." (7/14)
"If you fully act out your moods, you will ruin good things emerging in your life God has planted and germinated. Some people say fully acting out their moods is being real or human. This is a subtle and tricky overreach. Proverbs 29:11 (NKJV) says, A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back. Proverbs 12:16 (ESV) says, The vexation of a fool is known at once...
A mature wise person can be real or human without fully acting out their moods. Instead of self-expressing like a geyser with little or no self-control, self-express like a faucet whose outflow can be calibrated at will. There is a rare moral majesty in a person who can be real and raw while still controlling for context and wisdom. Stop fully acting out your moods and ruining your blessings." (7/1)
"We underestimate the creative and destructive force of design. Some, if not many, of people's maladies, emotional lows, mental issues, frustrations, anger, perpetual anxiety, and nagging emptiness come from not being in the life purpose God designed their personality to exist in. Observe the rather dramatic mental issues of a fish taken out of water. Imagine the terrifying confusion and powerlessness of a butterfly whose wings have been sadistically removed. Imagine the anxiety of a lion with nothing to rule, a cheetah with nowhere run, a hyena with no one to laugh with." (6/20)
"We name, nickname, and label things so they do not frighten us. Somehow it reduces a nondescript amorphous monster into a smaller and more manageable troll doll. But tricking our brains with grammar is a superficial non-solution. Deep fears must be faced as they are, processed with bravery and truth and possibly repentance, and overcome." (6/8)
"Many people do not reach mastery and expertise, in any area, because they do not understand or do not accept the diligent incrementalism required to get there. People dream upwards, they imagine realities and abilities beyond their current level, yet they imagine a glowing Pegasus will effortlessly fly them there. People romanticize change just as much as they romanticize a new reality or ability. But transformation, in general, is convulsive and awkward. You can become a rare and ear-piercingly sharp two-edged sword, sure, if you cooperate with the developmental gradients and sequencing that lead there. A two-edged sword comes from a blade, a blade comes from steel, steel comes from iron, and iron comes from iron ore." (5/30)
"There are dictionary definitions and there are personal definitions. For example, a person might say "I love you" but actually mean "I need you". Another person might say "I love you" but actually mean "I know what is best for you so listen to me and let me manage you". Another person might say "I love you" but actually mean "I'd rather just say 'I love you' all the time than invest time, patience, conscientiousness, and relational skill and build real intimacy with you". Having meaningful, fulfilling relationships depends partly on discerning the other person's internal dictionary, their soul dialect, what important words mean to them at the motivational level, perhaps even subconsciously." (5/17)
"Good manners can be a barrier to intimacy. Excessive propriety and altruism is the cleverest defense mechanism. Who doesn't just love a polite person? Aren't they just so wonderful? Sniff out the fake nice person." (5/12)
"Job 36:15 says (Young's Literal Translation), He draweth out the afflicted in his affliction, and uncovereth in oppression their ear.
Times of affliction come with unique divine activity in people's lives. First the Lord "draws out the afflicted" then He "uncovers their ear". What are you being drawn out of so that your ear can be uncovered to perceive the voice of the Lord speaking to you?" (4/30)
"People like to think they are mysterious and shrewd, hiding little things underneath prosocial behaviors, seemingly chipper and for you yet possessing a deeper emotional agenda. Throw some chum in the water and see what surfaces. Learn to draw out what is in people's deeper waters with tactical conversation threads, questions, stories, social maneuvers, even well-timed provocation or soft antagonism. Watch for flashes of the real self, knee-jerk reactions or comments, unconscious facial expressions, fight-or-flight manifestations, and so on. In other words, throw some chum in the water and see what surfaces." (4/21)
"People who are exceedingly creative are not subject to the law of supply and demand. Highly nuanced value and frontier freshness can generate appetite where there formerly was none, or, was dormant underneath the surface algorithms." (4/14)
"In relationships and social dynamics, two discernment errors are false positives and false negatives.
False positives are when we see others or someone in particular with a halo. We see their qualities and strengths, but we are somewhat blind or in denial about their weaknesses and hazards. This is also called the halo effect.
False negatives are when we see others or someone in particular with a pitchfork. We see their (alleged) weaknesses and hazards, but we underappreciate or do not perceive their qualities and strengths. We could call this the villain effect.
Both the halo effect and the villain effect keep us from fantastic relationships. The halo effect leads us to disappointing, sometimes utterly devastating, outcomes with low quality people. The villain effect leads us into loneliness and missed opportunities with potential gems. Realize this: you will not notice what you are not looking for.
If you are craving a hero or savior or superman or superwoman, you are in danger of seeing false positives. If you are craving a villain or scapegoat or gotcha-person to project negative feelings or unfulfilled dreams onto, you are in danger of seeing false negatives. God's Word never tells us to so-called "see the best" in people, it tells us to always see what is real and true about them--the saintly, the snakish, the salient, the subtle, the safe, the everything. Be realistic about reality. Walk in the truth and in the light regarding people." (4/8)
"Insomnia is the vengeance of needs not met, emotions not expressed, words not said, adventures not lived, dragons not slayed, people not loved, a Maker not experienced." (4/1)
"Do not try to slay a formidable monster all at once. Start by winning easy battles and improve your position. Confidence-building increments feel small in the shortterm, but aggregate into a new You in the longterm, one capable of finally taking down that monster." (3/23)
"The abuse cycle almost always has a sentimental interlude. Do not be charmed by the upswing phase, the hyperemotional apologies, the self-flagellating displays of penitence, the lavish acts of restitution. Most abusive persons are split in two, the aggressive or passive-aggressive beast (the unhealthy coping strategies) and the broken lamb (the deeper self that is shattered or hollow). If they are truly penitent, they will get longterm help for the broken lamb deep within. If you truly love them (and yourself), you will withdraw firmly to safe spaces or dynamics and not enable their darkness. Ignore the sentimental interludes. Redesign the situation in the direction of health (to the degree that you can). In extreme cases, run and do not look back." (3/16)
"Few people are good at closure and its diverse forms. The majority prefer merely starting and extracting, or, lingering in situations beyond their expiration date. The brief story of Elisha's calling indicates three (of many) forms of closure (1Kings 19:19-21).
He kissed his father and mother goodbye (v20). Sometimes closure is as simple and positive as a goodbye kiss.
He slaughtered his yoke of oxen and burned the plowing equipment (v21). Sometimes closure is destructive, messy, and costly. Be a mature stoic and accept this reality with composure. Destroy what needs to be destroyed, regardless of the mess and cost.
He cooked the oxen meat on the burning equipment and gave it to the people in a mass barbecue (v21). Sometimes closure requires a benevolent exit, more than a simple goodbye kiss. It requires a generous display(s) of thank yous and I love yous and goodbyes in one last celebration of the closing era. Put forth the effort and do it." (3/4)
"Discernment knows when to roar (show of force), when to purr (show of docility), and when to meow friendly (show of collegiality). A person who is always roaring is a predator; a person who is always purring is a doormat; a person who is always meowing friendly is unrealistic." (2/25)
"Disillusionment is the revenge of reality. Do not fight it. The human tendency to be solipsistic is surpassed only by the human tendency to cling to illusions." (2/14)
"Like young Samuel running to Eli, many people run to flesh when God is calling them." (2/7)
"Fool me once, shame on me." (1/31)
"The boxer will always beat the brawler. The boxer will always beat the puncher. Undisciplined intensity and landing the perfect shot will always be inferior to the disciplined, conditioned, skilled, well-defended boxer who can dance for fifteen rounds. Perceive the parable." (1/22)
"Regression to the mean is a fancy way to say that, over time or repeated instances, things return (regress) to the norm, the average, the unexceptional. To statisticians, this is a statistical phenomenon, to students of human behavior, this is a subconscious instinct to preserve group norms or remain in the in-group. However one explains the phenomenon, there is no doubt there are far more one-hit wonders and one-time champions than consistent, longterm pioneers, innovators, champions, dynasties, exceptionalists, and standouts. The former only requires that one flow with the constant undertow of mediocrity and conformity, the latter requires that one constantly live as a frontiersman, always exploring, always discovering, often pushing limits, often doing what is scary, refusing to drift back to the overpopulated, unrewarded mean." (1/13)
"Every rigid masculine has a soft underbelly. That is why, like an alligator, he keeps it concealed, pressed to the ground, giving the illusion it does not exist. Engage him head-on and you will be met by eighty teeth an inch long. Engage him from over him and you will be met by a concrete covering. Get to his soft underbelly and engage him from there and you will induce tonic immobility." (1/4)
"New Year's resolutions are astonishingly silly--as if a new year, as if a changing of the date from 12/31 to 1/1, brings with it any magical change in the deeper emotional and attitudinal substructure that determines one's reality. Existential nip-tucks and cute commitments in January fade by spring (the time of year of peak depression and suicide), again revealing the same old personality framework that can only change by a rigorous, yearlong, year-after-year transformation process at foundational depths inside." (12/26/19)
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