First Chapter, Section 1

Searching for nobility and virtuosity (finding virtue and nobility with inner truth and passion) Concentration and focus ——> Imagination (Visualization) + Insights + Learning + Intuition ———--> Goal Setting, Hard Work, Determination, Teamwork, and Creativity Strong feelings of accomplishment and originality

Finding virtue is what? When you find what you do to be magnificent, sanctified, exceedingly joyful, divine, fascinating, inspirational, amusing, somewhat sacred, fulfilling, satisfying, and most importantly, noble and virtuous, you have found virtue, which is an intriguing notion or mental state. This may have occurred when you were fortunate to have an inspirational instructor in school. This may occur when you see motivating musicians, painters, dancers, or singers demonstrating their genuine enthusiasm for their craft. They are drawn to the topic of their interest by an internal inspiration and inner drive.

Let’s revisit our mental map to see how you may do the same thing. Focus might come before seeing the good in the work. Sometimes visualization comes before concentration. This mind map truly has no hierarchy.

Concentration and focus ——> Finding Virtue: Imagination (Visualization) + Insights + Learning + Intuition ————--> Goal Setting, Hard Work, Determination, Teamwork, and Creativity Strong feelings of accomplishment and originality

Sometimes you Imagine, learn, and then focus, and then you find virtue. This is like learning math. No one finds virtue in not knowing algebra. Once you learn algebra, you will find the power of math, and finally, you will find the virtue behind it. The theory suggests that each helps the other along a circle to create a vortex. The more you learn, the more you find insights, and the more you find insights, the more you focus. The more you focus, the more virtuous the task. Each pushes the other in a circle that creates a vortex.

Imagination (Visualization) + Insights + Learning + Intuition ——> Concentration and focus Finding Virtue: Goal Setting, Hard Work, Determination, Teamwork, and Creativity Strong feelings of accomplishment and originality

Concentration, a strong form of focusing, and imagination might be the aftermath of intrinsic motivations and finding virtue. The Aha moment is when you reach your goal with creativity and ingenuity.

A very important trait innate in most creative people is eccentricity. Eccentricity is a natural gift or innate force that helps overcome the fear of failure and take risks. Eccentricity gets rid of the shame of failure. It might be the answer to our vulnerability.

David Weeks is the author of an excellent book called ECCENTRICS:

Given the frequent association of eccentricity with genius—the ability to conceive startlingly original artistic and scientific breakthroughs—it seemed to be an obviously worthwhile subject for psychological research. The annals of eccentricity include such names as William Blake, Alexander Graham Bell, Emily Dickinson, Charlie Chaplin, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, not to mention Albert Einstein and Howard Hughes. If we could gain even the barest glimpse into how all those people came to be the way they were, it might just help the rest of us to be more creative, more original, and better at being ourselves. Eccentrics, Emperor Norton, and his court pose a challenge to the assumption that underlies all modern psychology: that we know more than we used to about the mind and therefore that we are doing things better now. In fact, a strong case could be made that even though nineteenth-century Californians knew nothing about brain-cell synapses or neurotransmitters, delusional grandiose mania, or borderline syndromes, in humanitarian terms they got it much more right than we do now.

Eccentricity means uniqueness—finding the freedom to be utterly one’s own person (Autonomous). What’s the opposite, you might ask? The opposite is Alienation. It means that an individual gives himself up (denying what he knows to be true in favor of what someone else says is true) in order to achieve success and avoid failure.

This alienation results in us doing things only as a matter of reaction or just being on autopilot. What would be the opposite of reaction or autopilot? This book is all about the opposite of reaction or autopilot; the term is called Mindfulness.

As E. E. Cummings put it, “To be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest human battle ever and to never stop fighting.”

Even if outwardly we do not appear different, inwardly there is the fearless ability to be wholly the embodiment of yourself.

The painter Georges Braque once exhorted those around him, “It’s up to us to be real strong eccentrics and not to waver.” One Zen master called this the culmination of Zen training’s fruition: “To be faithful to yourself and to life.”

Here is an interesting old fable.

It seems that bigots were eager to rid their town of a stranger who had opened a tailor shop on Main Street, so they sent a group of rowdies to harass the tailor. Each day, the ruffians would show up to jeer. The situation was grim, but the tailor was ingenious (eccentric?).

One day, when the hoodlums arrived, he gave each of them a dime for their efforts. Delighted, they shouted their insults and moved on. The next day, they returned to shout, expecting their dime. But the tailor said he could afford only a nickel and proceeded to hand a nickel to each of them. Well, they were a bit disappointed, but a nickel is a nickel, after all, so they took it, did their jeering, and left. The next day, they returned once again, and the tailor said he had only a penny for them and held out his hand. Indignant, the young toughs sneered and proclaimed that they would certainly not spend their valuable time jeering at him for a measly penny. So they didn’t. And all was well for the eccentric or ingenious tailor.

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