Immersion is arguably one of the quickest and best ways to improve your mental and emotional conditioning. It is also one of the hardest. Imagine if you spent a year learning Mandarin Chinese while simultaneously learning C programming and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. It would be an immensely difficult year for you. It would also be one of the most rewarding if you were able to pull it off.
This is because each of these areas will teach your brain different things. When people learn things in a classroom learning it is usually the worst kind – rote learning reading from a screen. This is just not a healthy way to learn things and is also very repetitive. The way that people learn is every bit as important as the subject matter. So learning a language while talking to people is nothing like learning grammar from a book. And trying to create a new program in a software language is different from learning it in a classroom. Learning all three of these is just not realistic in the modern-day environment. But you could consider doing one of them, at least part-time. And there are also different forms of immersion.
We have already mentioned two of the best immersion strategies available. These are intensive painting and intensive writing. Both of these draw on your creative faculties so you can make them stronger. Creativity is an excellent tool that you can use in nearly any context. Once you open up your creativity just a little, you can build momentum and make innovation and the imagination as core components of your existence. But it always takes commitment and willpower at the start to immerse yourself in the creative process. Consider that Mark Zuckerberg publicly posted that how was going to spend a year learning Mandarin Chinese. Intelligent people are constantly looking for ways to expand their mental capabilities.
Travel is one of the most common immersion strategies available. Learning how different people think and behave is excellent for contrast against your own personal values and beliefs. The starkest example of this is when people of the West go to places like India and Thailand in the East. While people in the West are goal orientated and live in the future, the people of the East tend to live in the moment more (this has its own set of drawbacks, as they generally don’t seem motivated enough in terms of self-development). Many people spend at least a year of their lives traveling. However, they tend to go the wrong way about it. They often do it near the end of their lives and try to fit in as many places as possible like ticking boxes off a checklist. When traveling, it is best to spend longer time periods in a set location to really imbibe the culture.
You can immerse yourself in anything. Try to immerse yourself in minimalism for a month. No tv, smartphone, no unhealthy food, no social media, no computer, a clean desk, a clean room, a small set of clothes, etc. Remember that 21 days is the time it takes to incorporate a habit. So if you manage to follow through witH something for over 21 days, then you can carry this habit forward with far less effort than when you started out.
Painful Immersion Practice – The Best Kind
One of the most useful techniques that you can learn to develop a strong mental framework is to find what you hate and do it intensely or try to do the opposite of what you are typically used to doing. In the modern world, people are set on trying to be comfortable. The biggest fear of someone in the modern era is to lose their income so they could not afford cable television or a smartphone bill, both of which do not contribute any real value while eating precious cognitive space.
An old Stoic practice is to practice being as poor as possible for a set amount of time. This might sound strange. But there is actually nothing whatsoever to fear. It is modern-day comforts that are actually a cause of much distress, as well as the constant striving for more and more and more. When you confront your fears so directly they lose a lot of their energy. They are only so powerful when you don’t look at them. This could also be called a form of shadow work in the form of directly confronting fears.
You can easily discover your fears through some creative writing and asking yourself some questions. Or just write out a list of things that you would never consider doing and ask yourself why. If you hate public speaking, try doing it intensely for a month or so. As painful as it is, you would be making an immense progress.
Understand that immersion is not going to be a pleasant process, by and large. Though it will be very rewarding in the end. Can you remember how hard it was when you first had to learn the alphabet and string words together? This is what it feels like when you are learning something completely different. This is basically what immersion is. The more foreign the subject (such as Mandarin Chinese or martial art) the greater the benefits. It will stretch your mind in ways that it is not used to being stretched.
It is also worth considering that the vast amount of projects are abandoned early on. Most people finish their yearly resolutions two weeks into January. Before embarking on a project that could take you 3 months, be sure that you are prepared and that you are absolutely 100% certain that you want to do it.