Skip to main content
The Daily Paradox

How are you keeping up with new developments?

How are you using the new comms media now available to all? No intrusion intended, so the question is somewhat rhetorical, but does AI scare you? Is TikTok too plebeian? Do you find WhatsApp better than email and if so, why? Are you making better contact with your family and friends? How much have you posted on YouTube? Indeed, have you made a 2-min video clip at all yet? None of these things are compulsory and the purpose of life is happiness. Clear about that – but we modify that purpose slightly as: To enjoy life vigorously.

The new comms media can make life vigorous or slothful – both physically and mentally. You’ve seen the stories of people tucked away in their rooms with computers glued to games, gun battles and gore. Games can be excellent ways of learning and earning. They can also be mind-numbing, distracting and escapist. What you do with your life is your business so the choice is yours. But someone said to me the other day that he wanted to opt out of work and active social life at age forty-five. It prompted me to review my belief that you will be happiest if you work until you drop. Here’s what I came up with.

I’ve been around longer than you have. That gives me no rights, privileges or skills greater than yours. I have had good and bad luck, just as you are having. I have travelled a different road from the one you are on, at a somewhat different time from your time but you, too,  will find it is a fascinating ride if you live on for a while. The advantage I have is that I can look back a considerable distance and analyse the right decisions I made as well as the wrong, sometimes disastrous, ones. In every sense our life stories are our decisions.

My analysis is that I could have learnt more, sooner about this changing world. Not so that I could in some way beat it but so that I could enjoy it even better. Every lack of success has been due to an absence of clear thinking by me, mainly caused by fear of failure, to learn the scene that was developing around me. Every bit of good fortune I have had has stemmed from a determination to grasp the intricacies of new opportunities. Very occasionally that has even enabled me to make a novel contribution myself.

Take a recent, simple and extremely modest example of that. In trying to tidy up my life records I realised I had a massive amount of data not perfectly labelled. Sorting though it would be a nightmare for someone else. The search engine almost gets hiccups when I give it ‘finds’. How to simplify without losing the breadth of material? So I created a pre-search-engine index, grouping the key words under ‘super-key’ clues. Savvy friends have called it an encryption but I don’t think it is as grand as that. It solves the problem – simply.

Our triumphs don’t have to be nuclear. They can be quite modest and still satisfying. And they are ours, even if they’ve been invented a thousand times before. Learning is not about answers but about questions. They taught me that when I started my commercial life in market research. Every step of the journey has reinforced it. Does it mean that I recommend a single, specific path to this nirvana of blissful joy? No. Your own path is the right one for you.

Does it mean that there is an approach that might help you find your path? Yes, there is. It isn’t new or instant or easy or relaxing. It is Directed Vigorous Seeking (DVS). You can’t seek everything, so you need to choose carefully. Once decided you master the chosen areas in depth. Doing so will give you confidence, not only about your chosen selection but about everything. Confidence comes from knowing both what you know and what you don’t.

In a social setting the other day I met four people who truly live DVS. It is common to meet one, very occasionally two, together. I’ve never seen four at the same time until now.

It gave rise to the liveliest and most productive conversation they and I have had for a long time.

Even more importantly it set the scene for more DVS.

And opened up a whole new vision of enjoyment.

Good morning

John Bittleston

Directed Vigorous Seeking (DVS) leads to focus, force and finding

If you have a story about it please share with [email protected]

1 July 2024