A seed is planted. Now, someone must nurture it to grow. After exact nutrients, water and soil it starts to grow and its converted into a young adult.
Now, lets zoom in, to realize how one year is in the life of a young tree. Lets, zoom in from spring season summer months. The tree is full of leaves, there is rich biodiversity around it. Though it is making small decisions regarding which place to allocate more resources still things are going normally.
After a while somewhere on Earth, the temperature changes and winds start blowing. Slowly winter starts setting in. In order to save itself, the tree has to get into the active mode, as leaves are being shed. Each day it is taking a lot of decisions in order to conserve energy, save itself from dying out it takes many decisions and prays to be lucky enough to stand the test of time. It has to make sure each decision it takes should not take him out of the game of life, though he may fail yet failure should not be so intense to through him out of the life.
Nature plays its role when finally tree has almost lost all its hope of survival, winds slow down and the temperature starts changing. Happy times don’t seem far off as the weather is changing day by day. Though each day it deals with uncertainty relating to rain or no sun or complex weather changes.
When summer returns tree starts gaining hope and it learns from the various mistakes which could have killed it and improves.
This process repeats each year and struggle keeps on until the end of life. Though the tree is not slightly realizing is that its roots are becoming stronger each year and now it has gotten used to these cycles of weather. As the tree ages its become more experienced. The more the process repeats the better it becomes.
Over time these cycles, become the new normal for the tree and it has got used to struggle. It enjoys failure as an opportunity to learn rather than be disheartened. Yet it makes sure, as each decision has a probability, nothing should throw it out of the game.
One process which is taking place subconsciously is that the more, the tree plays the game the stronger its roots are becoming.
Though over time it has gained the strength to deal with toughest circumstances, something uncertain out of the blow could still wipe it out, which is not due to its own error. These are long environmental changes which take place over 75-100 years due to manmade intervention or factors outside the control of tree.
Like water finishes in the area in which it’s growing, meteor strikes though not every tree faces it some in the past may have faced it.
These three diagrams together represent what goes on. As you zoom in the daily life of the tree is the usual up and down (Struggles in life). Over time it fails to realize that its roots are growing stronger. Though there may be some larger cycles of the environment going on.
Ray Dalio, has explained macroeconomics through these principles (Cycles) in an excellent way. It is a must watch and his book on the life and work principles is a must read. The key to understanding cycles is that human nature or natural laws of the Earth operate in a similar way.
Life or Skill
Life can be thought of in a similar way. Over the entire life, we will take many choices and go through the thick and thins in a similar way. Though subconsciously we may not be realizing that our roots are becoming stronger. Think of zoomed in view of life which we live every day as the Red line, major catastrophes and extreme success as black line, the progress of life or skill brown line in the image.
The same thing has applied to me while learning practically anything in my short career, though I am not that experienced to claim any credits for the same. I am probably on the very beginning side of the line.
Be it any skill we are learning similar kind of process is going on.
Think of playing cricket. First few years you learn the basics of the game. Then you practice and improve every day. As you improve after a certain time magic of compounding works. Even the best players keep on improving and practice every day. Though subconsciously they are not recognizing that they are becoming stronger (Brown line).
Which Type of Thinking Can Take Us Out Of The Game?
We don’t have the patience to go through the long process. Even if we are sure what we are doing is we love and have better chances of improving it, we miss out the bigger picture focussing on the wrong picture. We consider failure to be bad. In fact, failure is one of the best ways we can learn and improve. From the time of growing up, we are told that it is bad to fail, our education system further amplifies the effect giving us a harshly wrong lesson for life. Like we are given multiple choice questions in the exam and told there is only one right answer. This approach is heavily flawed as in life there are no single right or wrong answers there are many ways to approach the same answer.As our point of view is limited to the zoomed in version, most of us give up quite early without recognizing the subconscious changes taking place in our life. Like when you start exercising, it is quite an achievement that you went to exercise every day for one year. Slowly and steadily you can learn and improve on each aspect. As we need to go through a lot of iterations of failing to learn and repeat.
If you know anyone you admire you will recognize they are still struggling and learning (even after being on the pinnacle of their career), though their way of handling failure or struggle has changed as the tree became used to the yearly ups and downs of life. That wise person could be a world-class athlete or it can be your father or mother, you will see they are happy to struggle, a struggle is the new normal for them. They take it as a learning opportunity.
In order to learn and take right decisions, we can learn a lot from history. As our world (physics laws, evolutionary, natural law) is cyclical most things have already happened in the life of other people. Like famously said, “ One thing we learn from history is nothing.” Yes, the situations you face will be different from history, though after some time of reading you can identify patterns which help you to take the right decisions.
The small decisions we take can have a large impact on our lives, as each decision has probability, even if the probability is small we can magnify it by repeating the process, again and again, learn from the feedback we get.
The way we define failure can have a deep impact on us, most of our failure is guided by what other people think about the same. However, it’s better to be guided by an inner scorecard rather than an outer one. It takes time to master what you are learning.
Finally, happiness has no link to how we do in life. By being happy we can tolerate the problems in a seemingly humorous way. Though each work we chose requires a lot of hard work and thinking if we chose to do what we love work would be seemingly happy. Otherwise, chances are bright we would leave somewhere in the process when we fail.
During this entire journey, our thinking may be further cluttered through emotional thinking or envy or social proof, not using rationality to think. Most wise people say what really matters in life is to have a decent bed to sleep, decent education, good friends, good food to eat and affordable healthcare. Though most people go crazy over making money, it has practically no link to happiness beyond a certain point. It does not mean we should not work but if our motivation to work is money, chances are a terrible life is waiting for us.
Remember, the author of this article is foolish, young and naive, and has high chances of making terrible blunders.