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The BIG, BIG, BIG Picture! - How To Push Yourself Harder in Exercise | Crank101

The BIG, BIG, BIG Picture!

Big picture perspective can be felt by looking at the sky.
Look up and see the BIG picture!

I like to write about the big picture because it’s easy for me to focus on it. It’s the natural state of my mind when looking at anything, I’m trying to see the entire picture and all relevant variables that might be having an effect on the big picture.

I was thinking yesterday about the big, big, BIG, big picture. The biggest picture.

I consider the biggest picture to be the apparent reality of all that is going on here in this game of life. There are areas of life we have some control over and there are areas we don’t have any control over. One of my previous posts here, “What is the Point of Life?” looked at what is the best way to play the game of life. What are things worth doing? How should one go about playing the game to bring the most happiness?

In this post, I want to explore the nature of reality about the biggest picture, this game of life and what appears to be going on. What are some of the facts about the state of things here in this game? What things are changeable and what things are not? What are the ‘natural’ rules of this game?

It appears that we as human beings have some rules that guide or control this game of life. Some of the rules govern what we can do with our bodies, and others, what we can do with our minds… There is a fantastic number of rules that dictate what we can and can’t do in life that are far beyond our control at all.

These rules of the game were in place from day 1. It’s like reading the rules of Monopoly before you played it for the first time, or chess, or checkers. But, while you can choose to ignore some of the rules of a board game, you cannot choose to ignore the rules of reality in this game of life.

Put obviously, there are things about this game of life that we can control and things that are beyond our control. Even some of the things that we can control if we made the effort are beyond our control because we don’t make the effort.

So, beyond our control are things like:

The past.

We can do absolutely nothing about the past. The past is completely beyond the realm of control. Forget about changing the past.

Physical rules and properties.

The earth. We’re here and we’re not able to get off it anytime we choose. Gravity affects us every day. It affects us more if we eat too much as there is more mass to pull down, causing the body more stress to operate. Gravity affects us all, but some of us more than others.

The physics of the earth and how it physically operates… gravity, motion physics, chemistry, material properties, make-up of the atmosphere, temperature ranges, weather, and earth events like hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, and floods. All of these are rules we’re living by every day and they’re affecting us whether we see it happening consciously or not. Gravity alone has such a major effect on our moods and how much we can do each day.

Social development.

We are born to a male and female that we are dependent on for survival in this game. Whether or not those two people have life figured out to ANY degree whatsoever, is not given any importance in the game because any two persons with working reproductive organs can create another human being. Those parents can be the Dali Lama and a Buddhist nun or Jeffrey Dalmer and Lizzie Borden. You have no choice at all who you are born to, and it appears to be based on nothing but probability itself.

Society born into.

Where in the world we’re born has a major impact on our development, mental and physical. A male and female sherpa in the Himalayan mountains are going to have a child that grows up very differently than would two employees working in Manhattan’s financial district at the New York Stock Exchange as floor traders. Society has its own set of rules.

Here in Thailand, I see kids grow up believing that the Buddha from India was the greatest thing since sliced bread. In America kids grow up believing in Jehovah’s Witness, Mormonism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and other beliefs. Where you’re born and grow up geographically can alter the person you are considerably, and it’s not a choice you make.

Other people.

You don’t exist as a solitary human being. Your needs are selfish, yes, but nearly everything you do is within the context of society. You are not free to do anything you wish in society because things you do affect other people. If you affect other people in a way they perceive as negative and hence, causing ‘pain’ they will try to decrease repeating that experience with you because they are naturally always running the pleasure-pain test to decide what is good for themselves and what is not.

You can influence other people, and a large part of our time is spent doing that each day. Whether you are talking about yourself, them, or any other subject you are constantly self-monitoring what you’re saying to present yourself in the best light and each is trying to influence the other’s opinion, perception, beliefs, and experience.

Body rules.

For Survival, and optimal functioning we need oxygen, water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, roughage, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and 79 other things in our diet for the body we’re occupying to function in an optimal way. We need some kind of exercise, even if it consists of walking to the refrigerator and back to the couch to watch TV, occasionally going out to the store in your car to pick up some more groceries and the latest remote control that can change your TV, VCR, DVD, Digital stereo, Air Conditioner, and car stereo all with one unit.

We need to visit the restroom a couple of times each day to rid the body of waste products. We need to take care of injuries. We need to live in rather sanitary conditions and keep ourselves relatively clean. We need to sleep 5-10 hours per day on average. There’s no getting out of that. A real day for most people consists of only 15 or 16 hours, not 24.

Mental rules.

We have certain needs necessary for survival and optimal functioning. Some of these we can ‘get’ if we search them out, others, because of external circumstances – the family you are born into for instance, or the geo-location you are born in may eliminate the possibility for you to ‘get’ them for yourself.

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs lists a person’s emotional needs that are generally accepted by western psychiatrists as necessary for proper mental development and for functioning at the highest level possible. Some people find these needs easily met in the environment they grow up in, others find it impossible. Again, where you’re born and what family you’re born into affect these greatly.

Memory is a mental faculty that is required for optimal functioning, but how well one person’s mind records memories versus another is largely a matter of genetics and the environment while growing up that either fostered or hindered the development of memory skills. Between family members and twins there are differences in memory ability and so genetic differences and environment both play a part in the quality and quantity of our memories. As does personality itself.

If you are particularly interested in some area of life you’ll have more memories stored there and more knowledge accumulated. Your memories in that area may be superb. Your memory for things like directions around town or for people’s names might not be.

Mind functions. Our minds, at the most basic level function in a certain way… Selfishly. We were all formed with the pleasure-pain principle guiding the essence of our beings. This is perhaps rule number one in the functioning of each and every human being on the planet. It doesn’t matter whether you can feel pain and pleasure with your fingers or some other body part. You feel it with your mind.

Nearly every perception you have during the course of your life you are running that perception through the pleasure-pain test and then recording it in memory to see if it’s something you want to repeat (or not) in the future.

The pleasure-pain principle, says that humans will seek to repeat perceptions that are found to be pleasurable and decrease instances of perceptions that are found to be negative. Traumatic events are given much more weight and the memories will be more clear, but even situations such as adding a strange spice to your food and finding out it made the food taste badly is recorded.

The ‘feeling’ you get when you meet a stranger is put through this pleasure-pain test. Writing with a certain brand of pen, using a new type of toilet paper, or sleeping with the lights on… these are all put through the pleasure-pain test and stored in memory.

This pleasure-pain principle is something that was here from the start. We had no say in it, and it seems that nobody escapes it. Animals appear to be operating by it as well as they learn that something that brings them pain shouldn’t be repeated. They remember it and won’t repeat it.

Conversely, they find that something that brings them pleasure, sex for instance, is something they want to repeat and every spring here in Thailand one can witness stray dogs all over the country mating in the middle of the roads, stuck together as if with super-glue.

So, that’s a look at the things that are beyond our control in this game of life.

What things can we control? The list of what we can’t control seems so large. Even the things we can control are things that are partially or mostly determined by our genetic composition, personality, the pleasure-pain principle, and our memories. The things that are possible for us to control in this game of life are things that require some effort. Physical and mental effort, when applied, can change quite a bit in a person’s life. BUT, much easier said than done.

Basically, we can control what we can make ourselves do.

When I say ‘make ourselves do’ I mean that for some things it’s not as easy as just thinking it and making a decision to do it. That would be ideal. The game of life isn’t so ideal for us because that isn’t the reality. In reality, we may need to get past our memories, our personality, our pleasure-pain principle, and even get past our genetic limits.

Things we can control if we can make ourselves ‘DO’:

The present.

Today. We can control what we do today if we can make ourselves do it. There are millions of choices you can make each day. Sometimes you fail to see them because your mind limits you. If every day you reminded yourself that TODAY IS THAT DAY, you would do more. You would see more opportunities. You could make yourself DO more.

To some degree, we can control the future, but it’s more like ‘influence’ the future than controlling it. The future is the unknown. You can influence the future by working hard toward a goal in the present – today – but it’s never a guarantee of the result in the future. What I do know is that it’s better than nothing, and it’s all that we realistically have. Faith, hope, and the law of attraction are pacifiers for people that want to believe that EVERYTHING is out of their control.

Our daily schedule.

We can choose to do nothing all day if that is our wish. We may die if we don’t even want to get up to eat, but that’s what we could do if we wanted. Everything we do is a choice. Choices we’ve made previously may influence the choices we have available today. For instance, if you chose to work at new for 12-15 hours of each day then you have limited your choices about your daily schedule. You can only decide what to do before and after work (with the exception of sleeping – which is beyond your control).

The job we have.

We can align ourselves with the requirements of the position and get a job doing it unless there is some reason beyond our control… genetics? mental illness? memory?

What we eat, how much we eat, and when we eat.

Who we spend time with.

We decide the types of people we surround ourselves with. We could join a gang and surround ourselves with killers, intravenous drug users and other degenerates… or we could go to the library and hang out with the geeks reading the computer and technology magazines.

What we learn about.

We may have natural curiosities which are contrary to what society might agree with (find pleasurable in you). But, if focus our energies on some other area that does not conflict with society we can learn about it and reach a point where we can do something about it – we can influence or control it in some way, big or small.


We can learn about:

  • A religion.
  • A hobby.
  • Some environmental problem.
  • Our minds – self analysis.
  • Personal development and living life in an optimal way.
  • Other people we know.
  • People we don’t know in a different culture.

Help others with their problems.

Create something of lasting value.
Some ‘thing’ that provides ongoing value, maybe over your entire lifetime.

  • Music or Lyrics
  • Digital or emulsion based photographs
  • Personal development web site or written articles.
  • A book or audio-book. A visual book. A digital visual book. A video book.
  • Podcast
  • Video clip, short movie, feature-length fictional movie, documentary
  • CD-ROM or DVD
  • Powerpoint presentation
  • Adobe PDF file
  • Drawing, painting, sculpture, collage
  • A computer program, widget, script
  • Greeting card, cartoon, joke, origami
  • New board-game, card game, invention

All of the above examples of what we can do are affected by what we want to do.
What we want to do is affected by the pleasure-pain principle. What we want to do is that which brings us pleasure and avoid that which brings us pain.

Our definition of what pleasure is and what pain is then, dictates the entire game of life as much as we have control over it. What I mean is, our definition of what we experience as pleasure and want to repeat and what we experience as negative and want to avoid repeating – is the whole game of life for us. This is what guides us internally and what ultimately leads to a life of happiness or a life of discontentment.

That’s it, “The Big, Big, BIG, Big Picture” is made up of what you can control if you can ‘make yourself’ and what is outside of your control.

Underlying the ‘Big Picture’ is a principle that is at the very heart of every conscious person living on earth… the pleasure-pain principle.

Control what you perceive as pleasure and what you perceive as pain and you are your own master in this game of life because your natural inclination will be to move toward the pleasurable and away from the painful.

There are many personal development gurus that have programs you could follow in order to help you control what you perceive as pain and pleasure. Pick one. Ideally, you’d want to find one that helps you identify what experiences are necessary in your life to create what you’d term the “ideal life”. You’d then define in concrete terms what you perceive as pain and pleasure in the major areas of life… emotionally, physically, spiritually, at your job, with your family and friends, working versus relaxing, and the rest of it. Finally, identify the chasm that exists between your present beliefs about what is pleasure and what is pain and the changes that would need to happen if you were to live a life of bliss and happiness.

As an alternative to this you could sell everything you own and move to Asia or some other place. Living in a different culture has the awesome effect of giving one a new perspective on things. A radically different perspective, but that’s what is needed. You’ll naturally question things that were important to you back in your home country. You’ll find new pleasures and new pains. You’ll get a better worldview and understand yourself a lot better. You’ll see the influence that living in your home country all your life had on you and those important to you back at home.

Whichever you choose, know this…

Something RADICAL is indicated if you want to change your life.

Scroll up and see all those things you CANNOT control. That’s gotta be 90% of all factors related to your life happiness. So, if you’re controlling just 10% of these factors you’d better be maxing it out if you want to find bliss and happiness in this lifetime.

Want to know a secret?

The 10% you control & influence can give you a life of bliss and happiness if you just change what you perceive as pleasure and pain.


Best of Life!


Link to a previous post: Seeing the Big Picture, a VERY Useful Lifehack

One thought on “The BIG, BIG, BIG Picture!

  • at 8:43 am

    Very interesting perspective, gives me a new way to think about things. Great post.


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