Self Improvement

David A Musick (
Wed, 11 Feb 1998 15:00:51 -0500

Yak Wax mentioned that he could will his mind to run faster and it
eventually made it so. I have done something similar with my senses (I
mentioned this on the list about a year and a half ago, but I think it
should be repeated, especially for new list members). A few years ago, I
somehow got the intense desire to have better senses. This led me to pay
more attention to my senses, because I realized that improved senses
aren't any good unless I pay attention to them, and I realized that I was
ignoring most of my sensory input anyway, and learning to pay attention
to that vast amount of information was the first key in improving my

My exercises started first with persistent reminders to myself to pay
attention to my senses. As the need for reminders became less frequent,
I began focusing more on noticing more details in my senses. I would
listen to "the sounds between the sounds" and look for more minute detail
in things I sensed. I practiced much; I would frequently go for long
walks, spending most of the time paying close attention to my senses,
which continued to become more vivid and detailed over the course of
months, and are still improving today. I also practiced much while doing
my regular daily activities.

I think the most important area of focus when improving my senses was
learning to pay conscious attention to so much information. And one big
key to doing that was learning to be interested in vast amounts of
information which doesn't really matter. Most sensory information didn't
really matter to me, so I ignored it, but when I determined to pay
attention to as much as I could, my sensory world really started opening
up, and ordinary things became fascinating delights. I eventually
learned to see and appreciate so much beauty in my world that I simply
overlooked before because I didn't think it mattered. Now there's so
much vivid detail in everything, even the most common-place things seem

By learning to pay attention to more detail in a given unit of time, I
have noticed that my thinking, in general, has gotten quicker. I have
trained myself to process sensory information faster, but it seems to
have helped me process cognitive information faster too. It's also made
it easier to switch from thought to thought and think of several thoughts
simultaneously, since that's what I do when I use my senses; I
consciously think (to some degree) about everything I sense, and my
sensory data keeps changing, especially as I move around. Because I've
spent so much time paying attention to my senses and continually
analyzing and interpreting them, my mind has shaped itself around those
sorts of activities. Before improving my senses, I was extremely
intellectual, and had a hard time thinking outside of rigid categories.
As I focused on my senses, my intellect gradually gained new thinking
styles that were more related to interpreting and analyzing the sensory
world. My thinking became much more dynamic, detailed and powerful (it
also became more multi-tasking, switching among several lines of
thinking, rather than focusing on one until it was done).

It's been very rewarding for me to see the vast improvement I've
experienced in my senses over the past few years; rewarding because now
things look, sound, feel, taste and smell so fascinating and beautiful,
and rewarding because I was able to pursue my goal of modifying myself in
that way and succeed.

As my senses became very good, I realized that I could probably improve
my thinking even more by learning to pay more attention to cognitive
information. This has proved to be more difficult and elusive than
paying attention to sensory information, but I persist in working on it,
and I am making some improvements.

I have come to believe that attention is a big key to improving oneself.
It's basically a way of getting feedback, and without feedback, directed
change approaches impossibility.

I think it would be useful for list members to discuss the effective ways
they have discovered for improving various aspects of themselves.

David Musick (

- Flexibility and attentiveness
are the main keys to improvement,
and thus, to excellence.

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