The Problem of Perception

Are we living progress, regress, or are only minutiae changing, while the important things just stay the same?

To give just one example: When it comes to the questionable “discovery” of lifestyle design, most people on this planet just don’t know about it and live their life as if nothing was happening.

But what about the people who know?
While some of us will think about the internet, the opportunities of passive income and outsourcing, location independence and cheap airfares, and about the importance of personal branding and commitment in the 21st century, others will think of government and corporate surveillance structures, exploitation and missing job security, the destruction of nature and an ever-growing egocentrism.

Both views are true.

In a broader context, the question, then, is threefold:
1) How can we leverage the positive developments of our times without underestimating the negative ones?
2) In which areas our perception of the world is so selective and blurred that we cannot really decide upon which developments are the positive ones?
3) How can we be open to other people’s perceptions in a way that doesn’t jeopardize our own integrity?

And a free bonus question: How can we reach out to the majority not knowing about the developments and be part of the solution instead of the problem?

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  1. I’ve kind of been getting some…hmm…not sure how to say, so I’ll just say ‘mixed feelings’ about lifestyle design. It’s not a new concept, just a marketing term that Tim Ferris coined and that now others are using to promote ‘freedom’ and money….basically, some idyllic lifestyle plan. Also….I’m not sure I understand the term. Everybody designs their life, whether they like or not. Lifestyle Design is really just another formula in my opinion centered on creating some business for yourself via the internet that will create passive income. I digress a bit…..

    I wonder how much ‘freedom’ this new lifestyle design concept is really offering. I think back to Thoreau’s Walden and how he observed the farmers in Concord and wondered why they were always so busy just doing…kind of for the sake of doing. I see some similarities with the proliferation of the internet. blogging, twitter, internet marketing, etc. It’s a form of doing manifested in a new way. I’m not saying it’s necessarily bad, however, I don’t necessarily think it’s any different than someone taking the corporate route.

    I’m not even sure if this really gets to your questions…so I apologize for that :) This is kind of what came to mind when I read this, so I thought I’d share.

    What I am beginning to learn is that freedom is always available to you. It is available to you right now, in this moment.

    1. Nate, I am with you in a lot of points. Especially this sentence: “Everybody designs their life, whether they like or not. ” Funny thing, JD Bentley wrote some similar thoughts on LD today on his blog, be sure to check it out:
      It was part of the inspiration to finish this post today. Most things are two-sided, and I think it’s good to be conscious of that.
      Thanks as always for your insightful comment, man!

      1. Fabian –

        Thanks for sharing that post. I definitely feel what JD feels and his post gets to a lot of what I’ve written about in my posts for the past few months. I think, right now, we’re experiencing a lifestyle design ‘hype’ if you will. It’s not good or bad, it just is.

  2. Excellent post Fabian. You raise some really important and pertinent questions. To speak for myself, I have recently been working on a small business project. I’ve become so obsessed with it in the last couple weeks that my perception has become very narrow. Reading your blog has prompted me to zoom out and think. To put things into a larger context, or multiple contexts – as you say, both views are valid.

    Re: Nate’s comment. You make an interesting comparison. I agree with your thoughts regarding blogging, internet marketing etc. Somehow we can trick ourselves into thinking that because we are sitting behind a computer at home we are somehow more independent. Perhaps we would be wiser to follow Thoreau’s advice and “simplify”.

    1. Tom, this is what happens to me sometimes, getting a bit stuck inside the details of a problem and losing the overview. So it’s good to hear this post helped you to refocus. Keep us updated on that business, though! :)

  3. Clarity, wisdom and understanding is the key to allow ourselves accurate perception of the questions surrounding us. Without making any effort on evolving ourselves for the better, we cannot make any contribution for the betterment of this life and of our community. :-)

    1. But aren’t clarity, wisdom and understanding the possible RESULTS of an effort of perceiving, interpreting and answering the questions surrounding us? If they are the “key”, i.e. a precondition, betterment will be hard to achieve, or am I wrong?

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