Thursday, 24 May 2018

A proven self-development method everybody can use

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If you are well prepared, good things will happen to you. Closed doors will open, opportunities will materialize, and jobs will become available. Preparedness brings not only material benefits, but also psychological ones, in particular self-reliance, which is a highly desirable trait in all walks of life.

Through education, apprehensive kids can become stars. Through training, people fearful of every shadow can thrive in new challenges. Through preparation, men suspicious of every innovation can turn themselves into self-confident achievers.

We should all welcome any means and ideas that help us face life courageously. While dejection leads you to disaffected railway tunnels, self-reliance will motivate you to seek out the shortest way to attain your objectives.

Looking ahead

Training and education, reading and learning, enable man to see farther down the road. Preparedness builds the conviction that achievement is within your reach. Looking ahead with confidence raises individuals above the average. While people without goals are so afraid to slip and fall that they will keep their eyes focused on the ground, those with a vision can use preparedness to reinforce their self-confidence.

How long does it take for a person to develop the ability to turn temporary defeat into a step to victory? In the eyes of worrisome men, achievement is a receding point in the horizon, but in the mind of rational individuals, objectives are to be pursued relentlessly, day after day. Rational people know that attaining ambitious goals is going to involve overcoming difficult obstacles.

In our age, if you talk to men in their nineties, you will hear the story of how they returned from  World War II without any savings or prospects, how they had to rebuild their lives from scratch. Their trust in the opportunities provided by their environment was motivating them to achieve new goals, start families, build houses, accumulate wealth, and lead happy lives.

The only way they knew was to move forward. Each step was preparing them for the next. What they learned one evening, they would put in practice the next morning. Training was done on the job. Evening education was often the only path to whatever knowledge they were missing to get ahead. Their self-confidence was the result of their willingness to absorb new information.


Preparedness allows individuals to overcome shyness. In addition, when you learn to perform new tasks, you will develop mental resilience. A man who acquires new specific skills is, at the same time, training himself overall to deal with any sort of obstacle. Acquiring new information will enhance your general capacity to solve problems, and face life's challenges successfully.

Developing an active mind enables man to overcome adversity. Self-reliance allows us to identify risks, and discard fears that lack basis in reality. Preparedness and education, either formal or self-acquired, reinforce creativity. Imagination and innovation are characteristics of active minds. Those faculties are unknown to people living in fear.

When things go wrong, fearful men blame the world, but self-confident individuals will simply assess their options, choose the most promising, and redouble their efforts. Training and education help us accept the fact that making mistakes is part of our learning process. Only ignorant, unprepared people will see all adversities as final, all obstacles as insurmountable.

Trees planted on fertile ground will always grow to cover any hurts from their past. Learning and education in all forms constitute the fruitful land where your self-confidence can take roots. The conviction that knowledge can be acquired and mastered will motivate you to further achievement.


Self-reliance renders man willing to try new approaches, it help him grow adventorous and bold. His capacity for innovation constitutes an essential element of his long-term success. By the time a cautious conservative begins to move, a fearless innovator will already have gone through the process of failure, reflection, and self-improvement.

In all fields, learning inevitably involves errors, plenty of them, until you have acquired the skills and expertise necessary to achieve your objectives. Self-confidence will allow you not to pay too much attention to your failures. Resilience will preclude your temporary doubts from turning into permanent paralysis.

Beginner's mistakes are part of the learning curve in any endeavour, whether it is private or professional. Detailed, valuable knowledge can only be acquired by playing on the field. The experience of trial and error will build your alertness and self-confidence. Start your preparation for future challenges today, so that you can get the clock to tick in your favour.


Image: Photograph of classical fountain. Photograph taken by John Vespasian, 2017.

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books 

Free subscription to The John Vespasian Letter

Here is the link to an audio interview just published:

Saturday, 5 May 2018

The philosophical impact of setting longevity as a top personal priority

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If human beings were happy all the time, there would be little need for philosophy. If transactions never went wrong, there would be no need of lawyers and arbitration services. If individuals never became sick to the extent that they fear for their lives, few persons would choose to become physicians. If unhappiness and conflict justify the existence of philosophy and law, we can regard death as the ultimate justification for medicine, and its prevention, as the most crucial subject of study.

Statistics tell us why people die, but there is much more to death than what the eye can perceive. Road accidents, heart failure, stroke, and cancer occupy prominent positions in every country's causes of decease. Contemporary data also record the growing death toll taken by Parkinson and Alzheimer.

Statistics show the immediate causes of decease, but do not address the fundamental question of why we have to die in the first place. This issue should not to be dismissed as trivial. Unless we get a clear idea of why we must die, statistical data become irrelevant. After all, one could argue, if we are doomed to die at eighty-two (statistically speaking), what does it matter whether we die of cancer or diabetes?

The way to longevity

Since all living creatures expire at a certain point, we take for granted that nature has assigned a fixed lifespan to each species, but is this really true? Can science extend man's life and push death away, decade after decade, allowing the average person to become a hundred years old before his or her final demise?

History gives us many examples of men and women who have lived longer than a century. What is preventing us today from transforming longevity into a general rule applicable to all citizens? If we could eliminate accidents as a cause of death, can we also get rid of cancer and cardiovascular disease? Will those conditions ever be eradicated?

Scientists have put forward different theories to explain why living creatures die. Nonetheless, most hypotheses have been abandoned during the last sixty years due to insufficient evidence. The two remaining theories (the waste theory and the exhaustion theory) are still considered as work in progress, but they seem to be pointing in the right direction.

First, the waste theory regards death as the ultimate consequence of biochemical decay. From the moment an animal begins to breath, its cells will act as miniature biological converters that turn oxygen and other substances into chemical products that are consumed in order to keep the organism alive.

The conversion process is going to generate a certain amount of biological waste, which will slowly accumulate in the body. When the amount of chemical waste surpasses the body's ability to withstand decay, the living creature will die.

Second, the exhaustion hypothesis regards death as the natural depletion of the body's capacity to replace its own cells. While an animal is alive, its cells are continuously dying and being replaced by new cells, which are almost identical to the ones that have died.

According to this theory, cells can only reproduce themselves a limited number of times without losing important genetic information. This limitation is what determines the maximum lifespan of each species, which in the case of human beings. it is estimated to be 120 years.

When you hear about these two theories, you realize how little sense death statistics make. Indeed, if these hypotheses prove to be true, there might be a common reason for widespread causes of death such as cancer, Alzheimer, and cardiovascular disease.

A mentality change

What if those conditions are nothing but symptoms of a general process of biochemical waste-accumulation and cellular exhaustion? If that is the case, the practical consequences are earth-shattering. It is the equivalent of waking up one day, and realize that your vision of the world has been, until that moment, completely wrong.

If the latest scientific theories about death are correct, this means that the way most people make decisions is massively unrealistic. The misunderstanding has its roots in our perception of sickness and death as the result of the following steps:
  • We are born into a certain family and social environment.
  • We live, eat, and work according to what is generally considered acceptable.
  • One day, cancer, cardiovascular disease, or other major sickness hits us out of the blue.
  • We follow a medical treatment in order to combat that particular illness.
  • Even if the treatment is successful, sooner or later, another disease will hit us.
  • Finally, when medical treatments fail, we die.
However, if the theories of waste-accumulation and cellular exhaustion are true, we need to revise our concept of what it means to live, eat, and work. Sickness and death take a different significance when they are viewed as part of a natural process which each of us can influence to a larger extent than it is currently assumed.

The new paradigm would reshape our vision of life into a sequence of events in which we play a much more significant role:
  • We are born into a certain family and society, which do not always know what is good for us.
  • We will be much better off if we live, eat, and work using reason as a standard, irrespective of what other people may think of us.
  • We need to learn how to live in ways that slow down the accumulation of biochemical waste in our organism because our own behaviour is the number-one factor that contributes to keeping us healthy.
Take action today

Thus, when it comes to health matters, prevention should be our primary concern. If we trust the waste-accumulation theory, the right behaviour should help us postpone fatal illness to a later stage in life, enabling us to live longer and more healthily.

We need to learn to live in ways that minimize cell exhaustion, and help us extend our lifespan towards the ideal 120 years, which seems to be the limit for the human species. What kills most people is a direct consequence of their wrong way of living. By improving our decisions and actions, we can lead a healthier existence, and extend our lifespan.

Imagine the advantages of living a decade longer without being afflicted by debilitating illness. The inspiring aspect of the latest theories about death is that they are reinforcing the idea that each of us, as rational individuals, are in control of our own future.

Although we are still far away from understanding all implications of the new paradigm, it is clear that state-of-the-art scientific theories are strongly favouring the fundamental tenets of rational living: thoughtfulness, prudence, and self-reliance.


Image: photograph of classical painting -- photo taken by John Vespasian, 2016.

For more information about rational living, I refer you to my books 

Free subscription to The John Vespasian Letter

Here are the links to four audio interviews just published: