I love those times when wise people unwittingly echo the Yijing. Here’s one such moment:
How to make commitments you will actually keep.
Scott Young talks about how, in order to keep our commitments, it helps to understand that we’re a community of selves. The motivated one, the apathetic one, the peaceful one, the infuriated one, and so on.
Scott puts it better than I could:
“When I go to bed I may be Tired Scott or I could be Enthusiastic and Restless Scott. Enthusiastic Scott thinks it will be easy to bounce out of bed in the morning, but Groggy, Half-Awake Scott doesnâ€™t seem to believe that is a good idea seven hours later.”
Bleary-Eyed, Half-Asleep Hilary can relate.
His point is that the part of you that makes commitments to yourself – to get up earlier, or to be less reactive, or whatever – is just that, a part. And when Motivated, Enthusiastic Self is in control and making commitments, it’s easy to forget the very existence of Bone-Idle Self, who’ll have different ideas about going out to dig the garden on a miserably cold, wet morning. So, he says, “Self-Discipline is the ability to get all of these thousands of variations of You to agree to work together.”
Is anyone else reminded irresistibly of Hexagram 7?
For me, the Army is the ‘self discipline hexagram’ – the one that brings order out of chaos, takes responsibility, Gets Things Done, and may or may not remember that there is a whole world out there beyond those things-to-get-done.
The Judgement says the army needs an elder; Scott might talk about Mature Self being in charge of Instant-Gratification Self. Best to avoid inner mob rule.
He goes on to say, “You are the lawmaker of a nation, except the nation is you.” Which, of course, has more than a hint of 7.6 about it: founding the city, not employing small people. And then he concludes that your commitments need to be as clearly defined as laws, with consequences for breaking them. I’m not quite sure about this part, though: it seems too much like pitting one part of your strength against another, which strikes me as a waste of energy.
There’s another possibility in the Image:
‘In the centre of the earth is a stream. The Army.
Noble one accepts the ordinary people to gather together crowds.’
To have an army at all, to have the focussed power and momentum to bring about any kind of change, you need to ‘accept the ordinary people’. An army isn’t made up just of the socially-presentable classes, an underground river doesn’t flow only with a certain calibre of water molecule, and your personal strength isn’t made up just of the ‘selves’ you can be proud of. So the first step to achieving anything at all is self-acceptance; involving all of you, without filtering or censorship.