Unlike paranoia, maintaining a state of Purunoia will increase the odds of a joyful life with immense satisfaction in the growth of your internal and external wealth. What is Purunoia? Why is it necessary and how can you get started?
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What is Purunoia?
Why be Purunoid?
You are already Purunoid but can do better
Joy with Purunoia within Mindfulness is Nirvana
Why Mastering Purunoia is Difficult in the Beginning
Cruising with Purunoia
Getting You Started – My Top Purunoia Tips
What is Purunoia? [top]
Purunoia is a state of being with a healthy level of fear.
Why be Purunoid? [top]
It is good to be Purunoid pretty much perpetually. Here is why.
Within a hunter-gatherer tribe, it was easy to relax as the incentives of others in the tribe were very aligned with yours and the tribe’s goals to be met required you to achieve your goals. A tribe even a few miles away did not really have any daily and consistent impact on your well-being. Any exchange with other tribes was occasional and either for goods or resources that you had to trade for or go into battle for.
In today’s highly connected world controlled by corporate shareholders (using governments as a front face for legitimacy and to prevent anarchy) the situation is quite different. Decisions in distant boardrooms determine what you will want to eat, drink or wear a few days from now. The decisions you already made today were strongly influenced by what shareholders somewhere voted for some days ago.
We all have a monkey mind that prevents us from using our thoughts as an intelligent guidance system for our actions.
Rather than allow the mind to jump in an uncontrolled manner between topics, by being actively mindful through Purunoia you will ensure that your future self has much better payoffs.
You are already Purunoid but can do better [top]
Think of it in the following way: you are about to leave the house, so you do a quick check to ensure you have your keys, phone, and wallet. You are not at that moment thinking about the 1,000 things that might go wrong in the day. You brought your mind to focus on the little things that ensure a decently large annoyance is avoided in the future. You were being Purunoid at that moment.
That control of your mind to focus on choices that will prevent disproportionately large negative outcomes simply needs to happen much more often than we do it.
Not Paranoia [top]
Purunoia is nothing like paranoia. Paranoia as a mental illness is characterized by delusions of persecution by others. Outside the realm of mental illness paranoia is a tendency towards excessive or irrational suspiciousness of others having the intention to harm or criticize you.
Purunoia includes, among other things, a healthy suspicion of others – be it individuals or organized society, being aware of the intentions of others to act in their own self-interest will place you in a better state of mind to make wiser decisions. A parent recognizes this well when their son approaches them with an extra sweet tone of voice.
Joy with Purunoia within Mindfulness is Nirvana [top]
Every one of us wants every one of our days to be filled with joy. If your focus is on the short term, you will never attain nirvana. By making your basic state one of well-managed emotions, in particular, remaining calm, you will be on a positive path. Being mindful of the little things on an ongoing basis that will prevent large crashes in emotions later is how Purunoia keeps you on that path. We are told that we need to be mindful. Purunoia can be thought of as being a subset of mindfulness with its focus on small decisions that impact the negative outcomes among all future outcomes. Purunoia is mindfulness targeted at the choices that are related to potential negative (rather than all) outcomes in the future.
Why Mastering Purunoia is Difficult in the Beginning [top]
Starting off in anything new can be difficult. You can be easily aware of physical objects with multiple senses but our thoughts are difficult to observe. To then navigate your mind from whatever happened to be its thoughts towards something more consciously chosen is no easy task. External triggers can help (like sudden thunder outside, or the smell of smoke) but these may not always exist. And, external triggers in the form of temptations can often work against your best interests.
The Unholy Trinity forms a natural barrier towards directing our thoughts beyond just very short-term survival. A primary area of outcome focus of Purunoia is longer time horizons, and those kinds of horizons, your lizard brain typically won’t focus on.
Connecting with one’s future self is not easy. Brain imaging experiments show that when you imagine your future self your brain does not fire in the same part as when you visualize your current self. Instead, it fires in a part of the brain exactly the same as when you visualize someone else who is very different and disconnected from you e.g., Nelson Mandela. This very real physical present disconnect within your brain means that making choices based on better outcomes for a distant future self is not easy. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Sometimes we just need to work on things a little bit harder. Fake it till you make it!
Disinterest in complexity is a natural outcome of resistance to thinking. In a highly connected complex world with the many little choices that you make right now affecting multiple things in multiple future horizons, each new type of decision can provide quite a challenge to think through from scratch.
Admittedly all this sounds difficult. But difficult does not mean impossible and, fortunately, we can have effective rules of thumb that help us get on a path of Purunoia. I present some practical examples further below to show how you can get started easily.
Cruising with Purunoia [top]
Remember the definition – Purunoia is a state of being with a healthy level of fear. Ironically, you then actually end up fearing very little because no woman who has eaten dinner and made plans for breakfast fears hunger through the night. Being perpetually prepared means that you have done most of what you practically can to obliterate your likelihood of experiencing that failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Achieving nirvana without shunning technology, control over your own joy, living without pain, be it mental, physical or emotional – all this is possible when many things fall harmoniously into place. A shift in your Internal Culture that will include Voluntary Hormetic Stress, Time Optimized Feeding, Tackling Teachability, Conquering Consistency, being highly aware of the Internal-External Divide, and Focusing on your Own Plate to close the Implementation Gap will all lead you to where God lives. Or money lives. In the detail.
When you realize that even your doctor doesn’t know that alcohol is a Goup-1 carcinogen don’t expect your government to make your life joyful. Being aware that calls for moderation can be malicious while ultra-anything ends up being relatively pointless for one’s ultimate goals, your mastering balance will be easier with Purunoia as you move much closer to your Genetic Potential Fitness at anything that interests you.
Getting You Started – My Top Purunoia Tips [top]
Mastering Purunoia, like mastering anything, is simply about being at it consistently at a pace of progress that you are comfortable with.
Broadly speaking, it comes down to asking yourself questions. I can think of a hundred more examples but here are some powerful, yet simple, ones from different categories of life that anyone can use and take significant advantage of, especially with the passage of time. Here goes…
Time – Like the spoken word and spent arrow, you won’t get this back. Although you can reverse time biologically you still need to protect your only nonrenewable resource like a philosopher. Ask “Is my time being spent or appropriately invested?” If you invest your time appropriately, pretty much everything else can fall into place because you will have more time to invest in thinking about how you tackle those other things. Daily alarms, daily checklists, and topic checklists (shopping lists, packing lists) are examples of using your phone with Purunoia.
Financial Wealth – Whether it be the poorer families in my village or my billionaire friends, I have seen inappropriate importance given to external wealth at the cost of internal wealth. The question to ask yourself is, “What am I giving up from my internal wealth to chase that extra external wealth that I might never eventually spend?”
Food – Something we’re all faced with daily is the decision of what to eat and how much of it. The algorithm for eating that I recommended 6 years ago was based on this simple question – “Is this good for me, or is it poison?”. Even if you are often foolish enough to choose poison, like even I do at times, it is important to be in a state of Purunoia i.e. to ask yourself this critical question at each snack and meal rather than being singularly focused on the pleasure of the experience.
Activity – Even someone who has been out of heart surgery for 2 days is expected to move around. Be Purunoid and ask yourself “Do I need to be sitting right now or can I do it walking?”
Sleep – If you have evolved past the desire to socialize at night, you will realize that the first lifestyle question you have to ask yourself when planning your day is not “when will I get to the gym?” but “what is my target bedtime tonight?”. My best friend has blemish-free glowing skin at 50+ not only because of her genes but because she too does her day’s planning around the importance of sleep (along with appropriate nutrition and exercise).
Breath – Ask yourself “Am I breathing through my nose like I should, or am I being a mouth-breather?”
Disease Prevention – Ask yourself “You have cancer within you right now, no medication is going to cure it, what are you going to do about it?”
Thought Control – Ask yourself “Who is trying to convince me to buy what?”
Other People – Ask yourself “Is he/she stealing my time?”
The Planet – Ask yourself “Can I make a better choice that will hurt the planet and future generations less?”
Words (and Arrows) – Before you do or say anything ask yourself, “Might this be viewed as an attack, and will that make things better for me?”
As a Parent – The most powerful Purunoid question to ask yourself is “What does my child learn from observing my behaviour?”
As an Athlete – Ask “How close am I to over-training?”
As an Entrepreneur – Ask yourself “Is the business that I am building with my sweat just a means to take more dollars from others or will it eventually make the planet more inhabitable?”
As an Intellectual – “Am I taking care of my future brain power by taking care of my present physical body?”
As a Teacher, Coach, Trainer, Guide, or Mentor – With the unique position of possibly changing someone’s life, a question to keep asking is “Am I just telling them what they need to do right now, or am I ensuring they gain some level of mastery in the domain?”
Avoiding Extremes [top]
Purunoia is not about extreme thoughts, but being Purunoid will help you avoid extreme future costs. Remember, it is about a healthy level of fear. For example, you can be Purunoid about your nutrition without orthorexia or protective about your sleep without orthosomnia.
On the other hand, when it comes to frequency, your thoughts should return to Purunoia frequently. It is the focused regular questioning that will help with the small decisions that will prevent extremely negative outcomes.
Eventually, you might not be able to avoid extreme awesomeness!
Parting Message [top]
Just like you check that you have your keys before you leave the house, being Purunoid about all your activities and interests will have you reducing the costs associated with undesired outcomes and increasing the likelihood that you will get what you want. Don’t be paralyzed by unhealthy levels of fear. Liberate yourself with Purunoia.
If everything you do is consistent with your core beliefs and desires, then a long and healthy life of joy is pretty much guaranteed to be yours. If you want to be guided in detail, you know how to reach me, and if you found this useful, please do share it with others.
Dr Purnendu Nath spends his waking hours focusing on helping individuals and organizations reach their goals, to make the world a better place. He speaks, writes and advises on topics such as finance, investment management, discipline, education, self-improvement, exercise, nutrition, health and fitness, leadership and parenting.
[…] close the Implementation Gap you will have to nurture your Internal Culture, being Purunoid to have the appropriate balance between acquiring external wealth at the expense of internal […]