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  • If I had a chance to talk to my 20 year old self,  I'd tell myself this: learn to trust yourself.

  • If you learn to trust yourself and develop faith  in your own abilities to solve your own problems,

  • you will feel at home  wherever you are in the world.

  • I don't think there's a greater prize in life  

  • than faith in your own capacities to survive  and thrive. It's of inestimable value.

  • And the younger me would probably ask me  how, “how do I learn to trust myself?”

  • The Royal Society has a motto:  

  • nullius in verba”, which roughly  translates totake nobody's word for it”.

  • Take nobody's word for it.” that's what  I would tell myself, “not even my own.”.

  • Verify all things for yourself, come up with  your own beliefs, and try to disprove them.

  • And as you disprove your own beliefs,  

  • eventually you'll stumble upon a belief  that you can't disprove, try as you might.

  • And as your list of unshakeable beliefs  grows, you will develop a trust in yourself  

  • that is not naive. You will trust  yourself not because you choose to,  

  • but because it's the inevitable byproduct  of not being able to disprove yourself.

  • I would tell myself to ask questions, propose  answers, and falsify those answers. I would tell  

  • myself to destroy all my precious beliefsbecause the truth needs no protection. Only  

  • those beliefs which cannot crack under pressure  carry the potential of being valuable diamonds.

  • Here's an example. Vanessa struggles with focus,  

  • so she states her problem in the form  of a question: why can't I focus?

  • She gives herself an answer:  I have a medical condition.

  • So she goes to the doctor to get checked upand the doctor tells her everything is fine.

  • So that answer is, in theory, disproved.  

  • So she states another answer: I can't  focus because of external distractions.

  • So she starts to eliminate noise from the  background, take away distracting items,  

  • and go to the library if she  needs to. This works for a bit,  

  • but eventually she finds herself  getting distracted by her own thoughts.

  • So she disproves her last theory, it's not just  

  • external distractions that are  stopping her from focusing.  

  • So she comes up with another answer: I can't focus  because of external and internal distractions.

  • So she sorts out these internal distractionssomething I talked about doing in another video,  

  • link in the description if  you want to check it out,  

  • and she finally achieves the  level of focus she wants.

  • Her working theory, that she  hasn't been able to disprove yet,  

  • is that focus occurs when external and  internal distractions are fully eliminated,  

  • and she has individual processes  for eliminating these distractions.

  • And she develops a trust in her  abilities to focus when she needs to,  

  • because she's gained reliable insight  into the workings of her own mind.

  • So Vanessa goes through a process  of asking herself a question,  

  • coming up with an answer, and trying  to disprove that answer. Going through  

  • this cyclical process allows her to discover  valuable insights about the world and herself.

  • And Vanessa continues this process for other areas  of her life too, figuring out what foods are best  

  • for her to eat, what workouts are good, what she  should study in university, so on and so forth.

  • And slowly she learns to trust her own  abilities to navigate through the world  

  • and accomplish the goals she sets for herself.

  • This question-answer-falsification  process may seem tedious,  

  • but I think it's necessary, because  it's really the only way Vanessa can  

  • develop her abilities to successfully  navigate through the world on her own.

  • And I'd leave my younger self with this. I know  you want directions. You want the exact turns,  

  • left, right, left, left, that are going to get  you to where you want to go. You want the tactic,  

  • or the book recommendation, or the  app, or the step-by-step system  

  • that's going to get you where you want to goDirections only work if someone knows your exact  

  • starting point and your exact ending point. You  will mostly never get good directions in life.  

  • Then you might become more sophisticatedand instead of looking for directions,  

  • you'll begin looking for a map. A map of the  territory so you can guide yourself from your  

  • starting point to your end point. The thing isall maps eventually become false. If you wait  

  • long enough, even the mountains and the oceans  move. So you may find a good map, but all maps  

  • eventually become false and unreliable. In the  end, what you were searching for was a compass.  

  • Something that could always point you to True  North. And this compass is inside you, but it  

  • needs to be calibrated. Get to work calibrating it  as soon as you can, that way you can always find  

  • out where you need to go, from where you are. If  you can do that, you don't need any other advice.

  • But nullius in verba. Don't take my  word for it. Verify it for yourself.

If I had a chance to talk to my 20 year old self,  I'd tell myself this: learn to trust yourself.

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B1 trust vanessa focus external answer internal

What I Wish I Knew at 20

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    Summer posted on 2021/03/19
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