Empiricism: the only way to get to know it – is if you try it.
“Empiricism is a theory that states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience.”
Empiricism seems pretty stupid in certain cases (do you really die if you jump in front of blue truck coming by 100 km/h?) while often it’s just plain impossible (how is it be born of a different colour, sexual orientation, nation, being grown by completely different parents, etc.). But all the important experiences in your life (let it be your first fight or work or sex or the feeling of the spring breeze) will be based on empiricism.
Empiricism is the most basic and most powerful way to get to the end of human nature.
Try to convince a 13 year old girl that kissing is nothing life-changing!
I can see some of you smiling. “Of course kissing is nothing life-changing.”
What if I told you that you are exactly like the 13 year old girl when it comes to many of the current goals and achievements in your life?
Would it be really life changing if you earned 20% more?
If your book was published? If twice this many people read your blog as now? If you finished your PhD half a year earlier than planned?
My point with this article isn’t that your life is senseless. My point with this is that you are like the 13 year old girl. Waiting to experience something in your life you have never experienced. You can read a book about a salary raise, about how does it feel to have your book published as the real 13 year reads about how a kiss is. But you need to feel it for yourself. Because it feels important.
Which is the more life-changing? Reading 5 books and watching 10 documentaries about death or have one close-to death experience?
Books and documentaries about India or spending 2 weeks there?
Chatting with a girl on Facebook for 2 hours or meeting for 15 minutes?
We base most of our concepts of the world on information we gather from theoretical sources. We all have an idea how is life in Syria right now, how is it to be a soldier (doctor, medical scientist, writer, hostel receptionist, etc.), how does it feel like to be pregnant and most of the things surrounding us. It takes 15-30 minutes to watch “all the important news” that happened on Earth in 24 hours. But it’s probably going to change your life less than drinking a glass of beer.
Empiricism is the strong answer. If you are really interested in something (how is to live in Nigeria; how is to operate the human brain; how is to be a mother; etc.) empiricism will be your only answer. If you are interested just a little – don’t bother with it.
Empiricism is the strong answer – that works. But we can only use it in a very limited way: using yourself as the experimental mouse…
Thinking and talking of death is an essential part of thinking about human life and planning the future. When it comes to social sciences you’ll find all kind of data about life expectancy and common causes of death. When it comes to healthy eating you’ll find how you can live longer in average. When you grow older and retire death becomes something to think about as your friends, brothers and former colleagues pass away.
But as long as death is distant, one doesn’t give too much thought to the whole thing. And I guess it does make sense.
Do I think about retirement at age 28? Nope.
Do I think about getting weaker, physically and mentally as time will pass by at age 28? No way.
Do I think about dying and death? Yep.
Unlike many I’d consciously like to have some sort of effect on the outer world. I strongly believe that our (and my) actions matter and even though I have doubts whether the human race and human action is generally a good thing, I actively want to and try to change the outside world.
Now, reaching a long-lasting effect has a lot to do with habits. But how to form habits when you don’t know how long you have the chance to participate?
The thing is: this date exists (will exist). You will die. Knowing the date (let it be next week, 3 years from now, 54 and a half years from now, etc.) gives you a timeframe, or even better put: a deadline for accomplishments.
Imagine you’d have a final exam in high school but you can take whenever you want to. Chances are that you’d never sit down to take them. You wouldn’t even finish high school!
Not knowing the date might make you relaxed. It even gives you the feeling of infinity: as the date of your death will never come. But relaxing might not let you appreciate the time you have – to do something you’d really love to.
Would you want to know the date?
I certainly would…
– you buy an expensive present to your loved one / get a parking or speeding ticket / your wallet is stolen ONCE will change less than buying the more expensive apple juice every week
1, entertainment (blood, murder, scandals, conspiracy theories and the rest)
2, anything interesting (“I don’t know what I want to know so I’ll take in whatever’s offered tonight” [more true for TV than online where you choose which articles to read]
3, good information on daily happenings – the thing is: it’s not every day that something important happens either on Planet Earth or in your hometown if something really happens, you’ll hear it more than you’d like to hear about. And even if something important happens new portals might not be the best sources…
4, it’s comfortable and it makes time pass
5, just because – People don’t act but react. And following the news is an easy reaction to many friends following the news and talking about them.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
First of all: thank you, Tim Ferris!
Your book gave me a lot of food for thought and evoked enough emotions for me to write a review. It’s rare. I rarely write reviews.
Still, if I had to sum up your book, I’d say:
I’m Tim. I’m really rich and I’m really cool too. I can teach you how to be like me.
1, Create a product that sells well even though people don’t need it.
2, Get rich from it
3, Throw away things you don’t need (including this book)
4, Lead the life I’ve always wanted
5, Save couple hundred bucks on accommodation and airfare even though you already have a thousand bucks automated income daily and all the time of the world (to avoid flying)
6, Being rich and successful is difficult because people think you are a jerk. But I teach you how to handle this too… Don’t give a shit about others and the consequences of your actions…
One of the main reasons of Pablo Escobar’s downfall (at least according to the very well made series Narcos) is that he wanted to be something else than what he was – a bandito.
First Tim, who is probably a good businessman (studied MBA at Princeton, claims to have 1000 USD/day income with 4 hours work / week) and through his failures and successes he developed an interesting, new type of business model he shares. Fair enough.
After reading an article from James Clear about inverse thinking I made a note to myself: I shall do the exercise of pointing out what I would need to do in order not to reach my goals.
I would need to:
– fail changing my everyday habits so I will not be able to do more I do now
– get stuck in a job that I don’t believe is moving the world in the right direction
– spend of a lot time being distracted (Facebook, unimportant news, people who bring little to my life – and I bring little to theirs)
– focus a lot on theory, thinking – and little on action and practice
– overestimate comfort, security and money
– put myself in front of other, “bigger than me” ideas
– forget about the simple joys of life
– never relax and always try to push it forward
– focus on myself and have an unrealistic picture of myself
– stop writing my 2 articles weekly
– stop learning French every day
– stop doing my morning exercises
– keep writing “excercise” before autocorrect warns me for the extra “c”
– fail in bringing in new habits and transform a large part of my day to something that makes me more efficient
– get scared – or at least not become more brave when it comes to pointing out unpopular truths
Yep, you read it well. I’m about to propagate further complication in an already global and complicated enough world.