18 May 2023
Reading time: 2:39 minutes

(Today's tip is based on the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi.)

Our Western philosophy of living is mostly rooted in trying to appear that we have everything under control. That we live perfect lives.

That's the reason why we often act in different ways in front of different people. We put up a front to show them what we think they will appreciate. And that leads to cognitive dissonance. We are disconnected from who we are so much, that often we don't even know who we are.

It starts in early childhood and it is deeply ingrained in us in school. We are expected to give the "right" answers and do the projects well. The grades are sooooo important, you know.

And even worse, we expect to be perfect fast. Like NOW. Or even better, yesterday. Just try to ask your employer when the project should be done :).

Before my breakdown, I was always a very result-driven person. And I was able to achieve a lot of things which were admired by many. But in the end, I found out they didn't matter as much as I thought they did.

Over the last few years, I learned something which gives me peace and yet drives me forward even more. But today, the drive is much healthier.

I learned not to focus on perfection but on the continuous process of creation.

Please stop and read the previous sentence again. Think about it.

There are many things hidden in this one simple sentence. Let's take the "focus on perfection". By that, I don't even mean those who are "perfectionists". Even people who do things sloppily often focus on how those things will appear to others. We often forget to do things just for us. We focus on the outside world instead of ourselves.

On the other hand, when we focus on the process of creation, we are ourselves. We do things to express ourselves without considering how it will appear to others. The reason why we feel unsettled in our lives is simple.

Our life is not aligned with who we are.

There are two reasons for that, but that's an entirely different contemplation to be had.

So, what is the best way to deal with the urge to look good? Two things.

The first is to realise that your purpose on this earth is to be you, not to look good. Enabling you to be yourself is the main focus of the whole Tree of Life Quest philosophy. The second thing is the wabi-sabi philosophy.

Wabi-sabi is based on three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.
  • Wabi sees beauty in everyday simplicity. Instead of trying everything to be perfect on the outside, it focuses on the inner, spiritual. It's about an inspiration, a motive.
  • Sabi acknowledges the passage of time. It sees how all things grow, age, and decay, and how it manifests itself beautifully in objects. Beauty is beneath the surface. It's hidden in the story.

"File: Contemporary wabi-sabi tea bowl.jpg" by ottmarliebert.com from Santa Fe, Turtle Island is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
What that means and how you can use it?

When you are trying to appear in a certain way, you are never yourself. The praise or envy you receive from others might give you a short-term boost. But your life will feel empty, because you abandoned yourself in the process.

Being you, on the other hand, might lead to rejection or ridicule from others. But it gives you a much deeper and long-lasting satisfaction. When you stop chasing aproval and start being yourself, you start living your life on your own terms.

There is a simple action to take whenever you are doing something to check your motives.

Just stop for a moment and ask yourself: "Am I doing it for me or to look good?"

And that's what I call an Intentional Living

Till next week ​

What you can do next:

  1. Did you find the content valuable?
    Do you know someone who could benefit from information like this?
    Please forward the email to them.
  2. Have you been forwarded this email?
    Do you like it?

    Here is the link you can use to subscribe.

    The Growing Tree of Life newsletter is sent out every Thursday.
    Reading time is usually 4 minutes or less.
  3. Check out the Tree of Life Quest website. (The web is very stale for now, I am working on a complete overhaul. If you want to check out what's in the making, here is a screenshot of the new front page.)
  4. Do you have questions, comments, suggestions or complaints?
    I would LOVE to hear from you.
    You can reply to this email or use the Contact me Form.
  5. Follow me on Twitter for daily tweets about personal growth, life improvement and occasional threads with tips and tools you can use.
    (Note: I don't post on other platforms too much. Yet.)
  6. If you want to unsubscribe from the Growing Tree of Life newsletter, the link is at the bottom of the newsletter.
Thank you for reading.
See you next time.


twitter facebook instagram linkedin youtube 
Email Marketing Powered by MailPoet