Manual of Life Forum

Teaching foreign languages by Dalibor Sevcik [2011-03-29 06:40:43]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

At school, foreign languages are tought with the focus on the active use, with grammar as the focal point. Much more eficient I find the way around through the passive understanding. This is what children do, they listen, and one day start using the already wide passive knowledge in active.
And grammar? You don't need to teach that at all! It's here to prevent confusion and if you learn to understand what you say, the grammar is as natural as it should be. (Just think of "reported speech" in English. It's not about shifting tenses, as the grammar books say, it's about saying what you mean.)


Invisible mind of others by Dalibor Sevcik [2011-03-29 06:33:16]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

99% of your excuses (sorry, good reasons) are completely irrelevant to other people. Even if they wanted, they can't care for your thoughts and feelings, because they can't perceive them - like a blind person cannot appreciate Picasso's bright colours.
(--> everyone is completely and unalterably alone in his world)


Three levels of guilt by Dalibor Sevcik [2011-03-14 11:11:36]         Category: Rubric01_Relationships

It's helpful to differenciate between three levels of own guilt. First level, the true "my mistake", meaning that I didn't deliver my own part, the 50% of the total. Second level, when I feel guilty that I wasn't able to compensate for the other half (e.g. for bad temper of my partner). And third level when I couldn't prevent bad things happening, which I'm not directly responsible for. Example? New highway close to your house, perhaps preventable if you had had run for the mayor's office.


Courage to be individual by Dalibor Sevcik [2011-03-14 09:51:19]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

There are thousands of possible simplifications for a philosophy. My findings about the inner and outer world could also be summarized as in the title. If you bring yourself to act independently, even if it means differently than all others, the society is safe. Then you have the courage to improve the world, even if others don't.


Why we love our children so much by Dalibor Sevcik [2011-01-28 09:03:14]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

Loving your own child is easier (although not automatic) than let's say loving your partner, because both you and the child know that it's YOU and IT, the chosen to be loved and no substitute is possible. But we struggle to see our partners as similarly unsubstitutable (as also your partner could substitute you) and so the love is more complicated. Otherwise there is no difference between these two types of love. Don't you agree? I'm open for a discussion.


chain of defaults is fragile by Dalibor äevŤŪk [2011-01-11 09:25:48]         Category: Art. 03_Get up! It's morning

Itís clear that bigger changes, like moving to a new apartment, require adaptation of the morning defaults, but not only those. Even the tiniest difference can make you slip from the prepared path, especially when it concerns the reflex-move. When my wife used her own alarm clock for us both, my reflex-move was gone and waking up became suddenly much more difficult. Also on weekends, when I donít set the alarm clock I remain laying longer than I later think appropriate. My lesson? Donít let circumstances steal the control of things from you.


Summary of the article "Arguing? Without me!" by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-12-04 15:54:36]         Category: Art. 01_Arguing? Without me!

(I gave this piece of advice to my brothers.) It's easy to be a good husband: If she shouts at you, donít say a thing, because anything you say in that moment WILL be used against you. Later, sheíll apologize for shouting at you. Also, you have to hope and ask her for the same favour, that she remains quiet when YOU start shouting at her. As soon as it downs on you how badly you treated her, itís your time to apologize, and do it well. In this way you turned your fights into an occasional shouting of only one of you, with no harm done at all.


Can you renounce on secrets? by Dalibor äevŤŪk [2010-11-30 11:19:35]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

Secrets, privacy, surprises, hide and seek. It would be a piece of cake to track down all drug dealers, tax frauds and even killers and thieves, if we just reveal all our secrets. However, as we donít want that our neighbours know how much we earn and our wives where we had lunch, taxes still depend very much on the liberty of declaring them and love affairs can still be kept secret (at least for a while). For the very same reason we have black market for fake Gucci handbags, iPhones and cigarettes, as well as drugs and prostitution. Moreover, we try to tackle the secrecy of the underworld by creating tops-secret agencies and espionage, and thus pouring oil on the fire.
One could say that we need to give up our privacy if we want to tackle all these problems. I, on the other hand, say that we donít need privacy at all and so no harm is done if we have to reveal everything ? it is just a little odd at first.
It is anyway far less dramatic than it seems to ?go public?. Here is why: 1. Vast majority of personal anonymity is kept not because the info is concealed, but because no one cares. What do I care that a certain Mr. Kuthorwopeoli on the other side of the world got drunk yesterday? This is true also for the private life of stars ? if they donít make the info scarce, there will be so much to know that the fans will stop caring. This devaluation of information will also cause that little will change when we make everything public. 2. If you are OK inside, you donít need to fear the truth or, for that matter, that others know the truth. Do others know that your penis is small or that you got fired for insulting your boss? If it is true, why should it bother you. And if it isnít true, you need to bother even less. 3. Often we keep secrets to do others a favour, either because the info is irrelevant (think of all the boring contributions on FaceBook) or because they wouldnít like to know (thatís why we keep toilets as separate rooms). This kind of not concealing, but not exposing either is OK if correctly understood and can be kept. 4. The other kind is here to manipulate the opinion of others to get an advantage of it, e.g. not telling how much I paid for an expensive car. Sometimes it turns out in my favour, sometimes not (I pay more taxes or people envy me more than they should). With the revealed truth, however, I always get what I deserve so the stakes are lowered to an acceptable amount.
A true man (or woman) can always stay tall and doesnít need to hide anything in front of anybody. Letís work on ourselves to get to this point and thus make our own part in cleaning the world.


Wrongness of divisions by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-11-21 12:06:02]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

In one century, a big thinker comes with a clever division of mankind into MEN and WOMEN. Next century, the scientists declare his statements wrong, because the true division is MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN. Another hundred years later also this proved wrong as the ultimately correct division is MEN, WOMEN, BOYS and GIRLS?K
This banal example shows how every division of the unique reality (no divisions at all, all connects to everything, all what counts is the result) is at the same time correct (as long as the sum of the parts gives 100%) and utterly wrong. Why the divisions are wrong is clear ?V the divisions are only theoretical, simplifying models of the reality, which doesn't play at all with any separations or categorization. A baby-mouse doesn't care that it belongs into a group of mammals, when it is hungry it searches for something, and mama-mouse's milk seems right enough.
Why it is ALWAYS correct, however, is not as evident until you look at the division with the eyes of the author. He (or she) needed to categorize and group for a purpose, to prove a point, to adjust some rules, to describe better etc., and defined such a division, which was helpful for the purpose. It fulfilled a function, so I call it a "functional division". If the entire theoretical construct works, that is the division plus the concepts build on the division, then the division was correct. If later someone else comes with a "better" division, it doesn't make the previous division at all wrong, maybe just less effective or more complicated. (It is like in programming - no matter how you build your code as long as it works).
(By the way, what happens if you keep improving a model and make it more and more real-like? You reach the reality, or in other words, you stop making models. Simplification helps only as long it helps.)
To me this means two things: First, this re-division of what was "wrongly" divided makes up 90% of scientific "progress" (especially in philosophy, psychology, sociology, economics, law, politics, marketing). But calling the old "wrong" is wrong, and the process of re-divining is never-ending, so their jobs are safe :-). Second, a big problem is when divisions according to different criteria (there are endless levels of points of view for divisions) are mixed and treated as parts of the same total. If you attend any conference of the EU, for example, you??ll hold your breath when they not only want to foster poor people, but also old people, children, and of course we can't forget cities and remote villages and agriculture and fishery. Obviously, the derived policies are inevitably wrong.
I would even dare to say that the mixing of incoherent and overlapping groups and categories is causing 70% of the bad political and economic decisions of each country in the world. Wouldn't you agree?


Climbing the mountain of wisdom by Dalibor äevŤŪk [2010-11-17 15:33:37]         Category: Manual of Life in general

Imagine the search for wise living like climbing let?s say Kilimanjaro. The higher you get, the better, the more you understand and act wisely. Getting to the top means to reach the ultimate knowledge, the complete picture.
Once you get to the top you also may start seeing things differently, especially the other groups of hikers and climbers. Before, you thought they are on a completely wrong path and going nowhere, now you see that they are actually attempting to get to the same peak, just from the opposite side of the mountain. You now also understand and respect those, who walk horizontally, others, building paved roads instead of risking quick advancement, or even those, who descend every now and again to acclimatize to the thin mountain air or those who gave up.
This fact can be used as an additional check whether one really has the 360? view from the peak. Only if you can spot the right tendency in every religion, philosophy, psychology stream, old wise men and women or even a businessman or a politician, you have been on the top. They have the same goal, so you can only question the path they chose ? but also there, it?s only result that counts, how high you get and how exhausted/old you get there, to still profit from it.


Mistakes - Observ. 2: Is this a mistake? by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-08-03 08:13:05]         Category: Manual of Life in general

There are certainly different opinions on what objectively is a mistake, what is my own portion of the fault etc. For example, recently I overheard a similar discussion about World War II and the crimes of the single parties.
The good news is that the whole concept of mistakes is only internal (=for me), so I don?t need objective view nor approval of others for what I call a mistake. The bad news is that I?m going to accept blame for many more mistakes than it would be in the objective view. Let?s take relationships to other people ? no matter how ?bad? the others are, if a talk ended badly, I made a mistake. Unlike in the objective view, where I would have ?only? 50% of the fault, in my own honest opinion I must acknowledge that changing my 50% would have made the difference and changed the whole result to positive. My fault lies therefore at 100%.
Thus I can derive a general rule on how to identify my mistake: whenever the RESULT is negative (hurt feeling, damage on persons or property, failure, injury, ?.), there definitely was a mistake from my side.
Only when I identify it and acknowledge, I regain the peace and invulnerability, talked about in Observation 2.
With mathematical precision it could be said, that when I take part in a dispute, I?m wrong. When I fight, I?m wrong. When I dislike someone, I?m wrong. And always up to 100%.
Doesn?t this change the view on ?justice? and ?good cause??


Mistakes - Observation 1: Acknowledging by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-07-27 08:06:31]         Category: Art. 01_Arguing? Without me!

There are many approaches to the search for the wise living (religion, philosophy, business, psychology, common sense, ?) and many terms and methods how to describe the findings and pass them on. I think that one of the most practical concepts is the understanding of own mistakes. Why so? Because it uses everyday terms, happens very often and brings immediate results.
Here my Observation No. 1 about mistakes: Relief of a fully acknowledged mistake.
Fully recognized and acknowledged mistake is as if nothing has happened. I don?t feel stupid because I did it, I feel great because I?ve learned so much. Moreover, it is now impossible for me to make the same mistake again.
If making the mistake was -10 points for my hypothetical value, when I see my fault I gained +11 points again. (Something like learning from own mistakes?). The key here is this full awareness of the own mistake, without any but (? but he shouted at me first), or if (? if I only hadn?t been under such a pressure). I?ve ?studied? this part of acknowledging a lot and can certainly offer many useful techniques, but more about it some other time.


Mind stretching - intro by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-06-21 07:47:10]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

Let?s train our minds to overcome narrow-mindedness. I propose a similar training to real muscle stretching ? every day you go a bit further, patiently and without breaking the strings. I will put here a series of lessons, which should help to widen our minds, bit by bit.
(rest of the article censored for now)


Theory is not like theory by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-04-04 14:16:28]         Category: Manual of Life in general

?Are you losing motivation at your work? I have a theory, how to stop it.? Your counterpart might be upset that you want to feed him a theory instead of a real help, but maybe the problem is just in the word. It?s probably a wrong use of the word ?theory?, because it is much different from let?s say a theory of the Big Bang or of state economy. Whereas the economic theory has very little practical influence on everyday activities, the first kind of theory usually leads to a real change of choices. In other words, it is practical, and what?s the point of calling practical things theoretical?
On the other side, everything said or written is only theoretical and only deeds are real. Talking about how a bridge should be built is theory, building the bridge is reality. So where exactly stand the applicable theories for living? My explanation (alias theory about practical theories) is that here we are talking about EXPERIECES. I?ve had a decline in motivation at work and experienced an improvement after a series of actions. This is still pure reality. Now if I am able to describe in words the actions that helped me out, and add a presumption that they might work also with other people, then I created a theory. Like when I make a cake and write down its recipe (theory about a cake), which somehow contains the cake, but must be executed to become reality.
Such usable theories, which are also what?s Manual of Life is all about, would better be called ?described experiences? or similar, and have nothing in common with empty and basically useless ?philosophying? or reasoning about beginning and ends of universes.
In this sense, allow me a small theory to go: whenever you hear an terrified ?Not one of your theories again!?, apologize and reformulate to ?Would you like to hear a description of my experience in this matter and thus my method of facing it??. I myself will definitely follow this one.


Irregular schedule for regular duties? Thatís bad by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-03-15 09:32:36]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

The best example is harvesting of our physical vegetation. Except of those women (and men), who are permanently changing their hairstyle and hand-style, the rest of us just like to keep the same haircut, shaved face and short fingernails. They grow constantly and regularly, and there is no reason but poor self-management for statements like ?Oh, my fingernails are again so long, one of these days I must cut them??
How can you find out if you have these regular tasks fully controlled? If you remember, when did you cut your hair and fingernails the LAST TIME, and you already know, when you are going to cut them NEXT TIME, then you are doing well. Those of us, whose answer to one of these questions is ?no?, still didn?t fully realize the truth: HAIR AND FINGERNAILS DO GROW REGULARLY.
There are therefore all reasons to treat them regularly. It means to set placeholders, that is time, which per default is reserved for shaving, for cutting fingernails and for cutting hair. Why not to book the next appointment at the hairdresser?s right after having your hair cut? Why not to even book the whole year in advance and so secure the most convenient hour? You can always change it later if can?t make it. That?s how defaults work ? you do the default unless there is a good reason not to.
I have a satisfyingly reliable default for shaving ? every day after the shower - and for fingernails, my ?Sunday-morning-care? as I call it. The more precise the default (exact day, exact hour or minute), the most probably that it will work. But I must also admit that I haven?t found the hair-cutting regularity yet. Once a month is already such a long period that one could believe that hair grows irregularly, but it doesn?t and should be cut regularly.


Laws steal the pleasure of doing favours by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-03-13 13:54:38]         Category: Opinion unrelated to magazine

Today I heard that producers must make available their user?s guides at any time for free, and this by law. Why is that? Of course it is in your own interest to tell your customers how to use a DVD player or a coffee machine, and of course you would try to help them when they lose the original manual ? you don?t want them to think badly of you. In the contrary, with the tiny favour of sending them a new handbook you can win them as future customers. Until, of course, someone makes a law out of it.
The same happens with the obligation to stop when pedestrians are about to cross the street (you can?t do them a favour any more), with speed limits (when you drive slowly you aren?t considerate to the children on the road, you are a stingy driver who wants to avoid fines), or even with contracts. In the past you could stick to the agreements because you had morality and honour. Once there are laws saying that you have to be moral and honourable, the best you can achieve now is to be respectful of the law. No one would even believe you that you do it still for the original virtues and not from the fear of jail. The law killed the honour.
Putting the best possible option as the only one allowed necessarily leads to failures, as there?s only one direction to move - down. You can?t be more considerate to the pedestrians than to stop when they cross, unless you get out, ask if they need any help and maybe give them all your cash. You can?t top the top. It is setting the goal to the maximum level, going for all or nothing. ?We must win this years league?, ?We must be the best business in the sector?. Second place is then as bad as the last, 100m in 9,94s is already unacceptably slow. Frustration is inevitable, what?s more, even if you win you just fulfilled your duty. Where is the joy of achievements?

If you ask yourself one day where all the good, honour and morality of the world went, the answer is: ?We killed it with our laws. We demanded it instead of praising it.?


Some achievements are difficult to show by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-03-12 18:05:04]         Category: Manual of Life in general

When you successfully apply a diet, everybody sees it. But when you learn not to interrupt people when they speak, who will notice?
Manual of Life (MOL) is full of the second kind of improvements, the huge, but subtle changes of your own mind, personality, behaviour, but behaviour mostly in the direction of ?absence of action?. It is quite sad: not only you need ages to improve yourself, you also must wait years before the others notice (if at all). Maybe they notice in the general way and see you as a better person, but it's more complex than that and doesn?t belong here.
Here I just want to point out that refraining from doing is really difficult to notice, and to judge. Exceed the speed limit 20 times and you make it maybe even in a local newspaper. Respect the limit 20 times and what? Is that something you can talk about at a party, that you behaved normally? Only ex-addicts keep a record for refraining from doing, they can be ?clean for 7 months, 5 days and 14 hours? and show off with these amazing results. Others, like the 43-year-old who hasn't touched drogs for 43 years, 259 days and 21 hours, don?t have anything to show off, they are boringly normal.
Maybe the solution is actually to use the method of the ex-addicts: a personal, private statistics of how many times I stayed calm, how often I didn?t hate, didn?t cry, didn?t attack, avoided stress, sadness, depression, didn?t let myself manipulated, didn?t let my pride or ego take over, didn?t argue, let people to have the last word, or simply didn?t interrupt others in their speech - all that wasn't natural for me before. This can give me satisfaction and a feedback more true and valuable then the ovations of masses.


Readers said "Nice, but not applicable" by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-03-06 13:14:53]         Category: Manual of Life in general

I was told by several readers more or less the same comment: "Your ideas are good, but difficult to apply in life".
This is a serious objection, and if so, the whole effort of MOL would lose sense. MOL definitely shouldn't bring yet one another set of rules, impossible to follow, but guaranteeing success.
On the other side, knowing the way and walking it is a different thing, and as Robin said (see quote three comments below), a professional self-management is required to learn how to apply what MOL suggests.
I see the know-how in MOL like a course for a rock climber - he learns everything about climbing, rock, whether, equipment, methods, securing and securing of securing, but despite all this, when he challenges a new wall, no one guarantees that he doesn't fall.
The articles in MOL should give you the final proof that without any the best way to behave is this or that. That's only theoretical, sure, but that's the best you can get from a text, and if it does, then the article succeeded.
Now comes the longer and more difficult path, to get with the trial and failure method as close to the ideal outcome as possible. It can take years, but changing one's nature is never a short task.
Even this process of learning to use the findings will be addressed in MOL, and can be analyzed, cut in phases (recognition, testing, feedback, ...), but to that only later. Now I'd like to ask you to search in the articles only what they can deliver: understanding and an ideal behaviour for REAL situations. I'm convinced that this is sooooo much more than you can find anywhere else.


Anti spam action by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-03-06 08:39:54]         Category: Manual of Life in general

I wouldn't have belived it! I opened this forum and every day found about 100 spam messages on it.
This is not nice for any reader so I must do something about it. You'll find a control question in the form, which should prevent the (hopefully) stupid spam robots to enter their links here.
Sorry to all human visitors for this additional work.


I cannot overrule my own will by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-02-21 22:30:06]         Category: Art. 03_Get up! It's morning

I said here before that MOL is based on one?s own feelings. Let me show you how this applies on the article Get up, it?s morning. One way (wrong) is to act like a machine ? ?I have to wake up, I have to wake up?. The result seems right, but it is right only to people around. In yourself you?ve lost. You only fed a useless separation on good and evil, the schizophrenic view of lazy you and rational you, and undermined your own thinking.
It may not be easy to see the difference of the MoL article, but it would never suggest acting against your current will. It offers a way around, from uncertainty towards a 100% decision to get up or not. You put your morning feelings to test, all right, but not a fake one, which always ends in favour of getting up. It?s you, for God?s sake, and you cannot cheat on yourself. That you don?t even try and learn to live with the fact that you are only one, that?s the true inner peace and harmony. Read the article and maybe you?ll see all this now, when you know what to look for.


How to call the MOLís philosophy? by Dalibor Sevcik [2010-02-21 22:28:45]         Category: Manual of Life in general

I hope my friend Robin forgives me if I quote him without asking, but his words perfectly match what I?m trying to explain. In 2008, after one year of working with me on the ?MOL?s philosophy?, he wrote: ?Too late I go the awareness that the self-improvement in this area can be done ?professionally?, systematically, using various tools and methods (like indicators etc.). ? I could have proceeded much more.? This is very true and the word ?self-management? could be a good name for it.
One important aspect would be undermined by the word self-management, though. ?Management? suggest something impersonal, objective and transferable. Everything in Manual of Life, however, is based on one?s feelings and motivations as the only true values there are, the subjective inner world. Here the word ?psychology? comes to mind, but again it doesn?t seem entirely right, because I think it limits itself to the passive role, the observation from outside. MoL, on the contrary, presents very active work with one?s own mind, so we need a word with a certain dynamics here - something like ?headology? (known to me from T. Pratchets Discworld novels).
There we go. Combining the two parts I could say that the way presented in MOL is ?a systematic improvement of one?s own mind setup and its impact on everyday life of oneself and people around,? or in short, HEADOLOGICAL SELF-MANAGEMENT.


Congratulations !!! by Mel Robert-Kelemanis [2009-06-23 02:25:04]         Category: Manual of Life in general

Wow Dalibor, this is such an amazing achievement!! Congratulations !! Your MOL book is such a fabulous idea, thought provoking - a new concept of understanding 'Life'. You have certainly made everyone that knows you very proud! I'll certainly enjoy reading thru your 'pages of wisdom'. Keep up the brilliant work my friend!


Combine the magic objects! by Robert Havlicek [2009-03-16 15:29:23]         Category: Art. 04_Dissolving in time

I think that very powerful psychological exercise is combining of the Dissoving method (see p. 42) with using Defaults (see p. 61).

Because, if you have a default, then "doing nothing" actually equals to "following the default".

At the evening, when Im tired and Im supposed to go to the gym, sometimes I find my mind inventing dozens of reasons why to skip the training today. The training is a problem ahead I need to solve (understand: get rid of), and my mind is screaming for immediate solution. Then I think: hey, just wait for a while, maybe the problem will disappear in time. And really: just 2 hours later I find myself going out of the gym, my problem not existing anymore. And I didnt have to do anything - just follow the default and wait.

Nice mind trick for this kind of situation.

There are many "magic objects" hidden in MoL, and you can do a lot of "magic" not just by themselves, but especially by various smart combinations.


Thanks and congrats by Joel Sanchez [2009-02-22 23:41:43]         Category: Manual of Life in general

Hi Dalibor,

Congratulations for this achivement, and thanks for Manual of Life. I agree with you we live in a world where sometimes we feel strange, lost and we always need somebody who helps us to find the way, the road, as human beings we have feelings, emotions that sometimes drives our lives.

Personally I haven't meet that person who does not have fears, is wise, serene all time. But we can learn from people like you, even when we are not perfect!

Thanks Again, and keep going, we are proud of you.






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