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Week 2023#23: periodically revisit your beliefs
How not to become a grumpy old man
Lisbon - and Portugal - are much greener than I expected. Compared to Athens there’s more greenery in and around the city, the temperatures are more moderate and there seems to be an abundance of water.
What I’ve learned
Revisit old beliefs periodically
One of the reasons for me to go to Lisbon was to work on the scars I’ve carried from two bad summers in a row in Greece.
Looking back at August last year, I was full of grudges against Greece, and by extension any Mediterranean country:
they’re all deserts already or turning into deserts over the coming years,
people are unreliable,
I’ll spare you the full list, suffice to say that it was long and chiefly colored by me not being in a good space mentally.
This year has been treating me well after a turbulent start and life is great right now.
However, I still felt a kernel of anger in me, directed at countries that looked like Greece.
Spending a week in Lisbon and the surrounding area finally removed this kernel of anger.
All of the things I feared to be horribly broken actually worked, and they worked pretty well.
One week of exposing myself to something new actually undid months of negative conditioning.
I don’t feel like a grumpy old man anymore - holding negative beliefs without reason and clinging to them.
The bigger lesson here is obviously that there might be more beliefs that I haven’t bothered to update in a long time by exposing myself to new experiences.
This might be a fun game to play:
Think about things you believe to be true and pick one (e.g. “I have no marketable skills to earn money on the side”)
List reasons why you believe this (e.g. “I’ve never earned money on the side”, “I can’t think of anything”),
Pick an activity/experience that forces you to interact with this belief (e.g. "sell lessons in a skill you have for 5 EUR”)
Do the activity
See whether your belief changes
Direction vs Movement
Directions for Week 23:
Openness: full success - I even enjoyed being at the beach and going into the sea after a year of this being the last thing I’d possibly enjoy.
Directions for Week 24:
Connections: I want to reconnect with people I haven’t spent time with in a while and also nourish new connections that were formed in the last two weeks.
A sense of wonder: foster a sense of wonder and appreciation for all the things that keep modern society running - there are a lot of things I take for granted and having passed through multiple countries is a good reminder of how fiendishly complex modern society is.
Highlights of last week:
went into the ocean and enjoyed it!
made new friends in Lisbon,
realized that I struggle with languages that are full of ambiguities (ehm, Portuguese) - after a week I’m still not sure about the pronunciation and my best approximation so far is to mix Spanish and French and try to be as lazy as possible when pronouncing things,
reconnected with Luis, a Portuguese friend who’s also living in Tallinn, but we only manage to meet once every 18 months or so,
my Bolt driver on the way to the airport told me that Bolt changed his life: he used to work in bars for little money and never saw his young kid, but now, driving a taxi with Bolt, he’s earning decent money and has flexible hours so he can actually be with his kid growing up.
Feedback like this is the best possible motivation!