Saturday, 4 April 2015

Keep Calm and Follow the Creed

Over the past few years variations of the now famous World War II poster, “Keep Calm and Carry On” have spread from the internet to the mass market adorning bags, poster, and coffee mugs.  Most are intended to be funny and convey either motivational messages like, “Keep Calm and Love Life” to those invoking some film or television program or characters like, “Keep Calm and Use the Force”, while others pertain to a lifestyle like, “Keep Calm and Smoke Weed”.  So it was inevitable that an Assassin’s Creed variation would emerge, “Keep Calm and Follow the Creed”.

I would guess that fans of the video game franchise had a laugh and maybe posted it on their webpages,  but there is actually some valuable life advice in remembering to keep calm and follow the Creed.

Here are some ways to Keep Calm and Follow the Creed.

Remember Nothing is True…

Accept Diversity and Freedom
Everyone has their own perspective on reality and most people see theirs as the right one, so without condoning or condemning accept the existence of these other realities and respect the rights of others to have them. Expecting or forcing others to conform to your ideas of how they should think or act only frustrates you and angers them.

This Too Shall Pass
Life is change.  Today’s reality, good or bad, will be tomorrow’s memory and memories are just thoughts.  If today is good, then appreciate it while it lasts.  If today is bad, don’t worry, because it will not last forever and tomorrow might be better.

Do Not Allow Yourself to Become Too Attached To Things
A primary source of human sorrow is the real or imagined loss of things.  These “things” can be anything – possessions, places, a certain lifestyle, public services, respect or love,  cherished beliefs, relationships with others, and even youth, strength, and beauty.  We may have these things for years or decades but in the end they will all change and will all pass.  Learn to accept that truth.

Be Wary of the Fear Impulse
A primary source of human anger, cruelty, and frustration is their fear that they will not get the things they want or that they may lose the things they have.  Recognise this impulse in yourself and others and make allowances for both.  For yourself, accept that fear is not real.  It is the emotional response to a perceived threat which may be real or imagined.  Fear simply tells us to pay attention and should not be allowed to motivate our actions, cloud the mind, or force us into despair.

Don’t Deal In Hypotheticals
Hypotheticals, assumptions, and preconceptions are just opinions and speculations elevated falsely to the level of truth.  People often have strong emotional reactions to their idea of things rather than the reality of things.  Learn to look at what is and not what you think might be or might happen.

Accept That You (And Others) Are Most Likely Wrong
Consider the potential cognitive biases of yourselves and others that can cloud understanding the situation or the people involved.

Remember Everything Is Permitted…

Do Not Limit Yourself
Often, people cannot do something because they have been socially conditioned not to do it; as a result, certain actions go against their programming.  The program punishes violations with emotions like fear, anger, guilt, shame, or a vague internal resistance.  Learn to recognise and overcome your limiting programming to do what you deem necessary and do not be limited in your actions by the opinions of other people, whether these opinions are actual opinions or those that you imagine others to have.

Learn to Limit Yourself
A common feature of human existence is doing what we do not want to do now in order to get something better later.  This requires self-discipline and deferred gratification.  These qualities have been identified as a key feature in people who succeed in life.

Look For New Opportunities and Possibilities
Your existence is a blank page full of possibilities.  It is up to you to fill that page.  Decide what kind of life you want and make it happen.

Recognise What Can and Cannot Be Changed
Everything is permitted does not mean that every action is wise.  There are things you can change and things you cannot.  Accept what cannot be changed and change the things you can.

Focus On What is Important and Let Go of the Trivial
Whatever we focus on has importance.  This is illustrated in games where the player is so focused on gaining collectibles that it becomes the most important activity in their life until they change their perspective and realise how trivial it really is.  These are referred to as “first world problem”.  Trivial matters that people become angry or upset about because they do not have to worry about serious survival issues.  Take a moment and ask yourself if your crisis is really that important.

Cultivate Your Power and Will
Power is simply the means to work your will in the world.  Everything may be permitted, but acting on that permission is limited by the power at your disposal and your willingness to use that power.  The most common form of power is material power in the form of money.  Being low in this resource limits your range of actions.  This is also true if you have the resources but lack the will to use it.  Building your resources before they are needed will give you the power to act when the crisis comes.

Accept the Consequences of Your Actions,
Whether they be glorious or tragic; celebrate the good outcomes and learn from the negative ones.

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