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Last Month’s Article

Well, I got a lot of response to my last month’s article. Mostly agreeing, but some disagreeing.

In last month’s opinion, I urged you to cut out online arguing. Don’t get into political battles that eliminate half of your potential training partners. Don’t “rant” and expose focusing on what is not working in your life.

My example, familiar to a lot of people, was arguing online. When someone contradicts you, or outright opposes you, they are in a sense attacking you. Sometimes unknowingly, sometimes pretty in your face. And your instinct when attacked is to defend yourself.

But like a lot of instincts, this one was not designed for the world we now live in. There is an old samurai saying. “When a man insults you, if he is far away, ignore him. When he stands before you, cut him down immediately.” The new internet world is a third reality; people get in your face from a long way away. Counterintuitive as it feels, I find it better most of the time not to defend yourself. Otherwise these people are literally wasting your life.

I admit I get attacked online a lot. People make up and repeat the most unbelievable lies. Maybe it makes their own lives seem a little less insignificant if they can relish made-up tales ridiculing “the great Stephen Hayes”. And I admit I have done a pretty questionable job of suppressing the natural human inclination to retort, “Hey, that’s bull****!”. But it is becoming more natural for me. I do not have time for that.

Arguing online is addictive. One byproduct of technical progress is that things we like tend to become more addictive. Which means we will increasingly have to make a conscious effort to avoid addictions — to stand outside ourselves and ask, “Is this really how I want to be spending my time?”

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