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It is now approaching noon. Therefore, we have enough light to dedicate ourselves to the manifesto. We want to dedicate ourselves to what unites us and what guides us. The manifesto is our constitution and thus a whole. However, this manual for the manifesto is divided into five sections. Just as our hand is a whole but has five fingers.
You have already encountered the manifesto for the first time in history. Now imagine a Petri dish on which a few happy bacteria are dancing that you cannot recognize with the naked eye. Then you add a drop of a magical substance to this dish. This is new for our bacteria. They sniff it and then taste it very carefully. New generations of bacteria arise that are already familiar with what was once new. So, it's time to give the bacteria a new drop to increase the concentration.
This image serves as a template for our manual. The manifesto is best experienced step by step, or drop by drop. Even though the manifesto is short and comprises only 20 lines, it takes time for these words to unfold within you gradually.
Each of the five drops has its essence. We first explain the essence to you in each section. This is followed by a part that we call Change and Repetition. In this part, we have thought experiments and questions for you to experience the essence yourself.
One more thing: We are not in school here, but in life. You will see that you can only do everything right with the manifesto and also in this manual. The more attention you give to the drops, the more intensively they can work within you.
Now we can get started!
The First Drop. Essence.
The first drop contains these four lines. So this is the beginning. It's the thumbs up. These four lines are still somewhat intangible to you. Perhaps you feel these lines as a slight resistance in your stomach. Or maybe you hear a voice that snippily retorts: "Nothing is true? Even this sentence?" It is particularly helpful to first read these four lines out loud. Go ahead! No one is listening except you. In ancient times, it was even the custom to always read texts out loud.
Let's now take the first feeling that has become noticeable. How can nothing be true? There are such things as truths. So, the sun rose this morning and it will set again this evening. This is one description among many possible descriptions. Another possible description is that the Earth will continue to rotate, thus pushing the sun out of sight this evening. But now it's 11 o'clock. That's true. No, that is also a description. Another description is that it's only 9 o'clock in Timbuktu. What time is it on the sun right now? So, let's just note at this point that what we experience can be described with language. Let's also note that there isn't just one description, but a multitude of descriptions.
Now you might argue that this may be the case with subjective experience, but there are natural laws, and they are carved in stone. Natural laws are models, so again, descriptions, not truths. Gravity is a description of a cup shattering as it hits the hard floor. But gravity is a model. We know today that all our models are wrong. So the only question is how wrong the models are and when we will find a better one. 1 + 1 = 2. That is true in the language of mathematics. Within the exact sciences like mathematics, the word truth has a special meaning. But even Kurt Gödel has shown in his incompleteness theorem that with great complexity, systems become contradictory.
Nothing is true. That's tough to swallow. Yes. And this sentence does not sound uplifting at first glance. But this sentence does not stand alone. This sentence belongs to the next one, just as the day belongs to the night.
The Germans have a very nice word. They call what surrounds us reality. This word, reality, emphasizes an essence. This word emphasizes the effect. In our model, reality as a unity is a constant effect and a constant learning. In our model, there are no truths, because everything is a process. In this reality, direct experiences occur, such as the letter B you are now seeing, or indirect experiences occur, such as the thought "That's tough to swallow." Thoughts, i.e., indirect experiences, can be images, short film sequences. Thoughts can also take the form of an inner voice. As soon as a thought enters our experience, it is usually followed by a more or less strong feeling. Possibly we believe these thoughts when a strong feeling reinforces us. Our model and our view may now seem like hair-splitting to you, and the question arises for you, what does this bring. Quite simply. It brings a freer view. While previously our windshield was often full of thoughts that stubbornly hold on, now thoughts can quickly fly away. The view becomes clear, and we can step on the gas pedal.
Well, then we are now allowed to take the next step and pay more attention to the contents of thoughts. As we have already determined, thoughts can appear as images, but also as spoken sentences. Key word: Inner monologue.
"If no one pays attention, we will all die from climate change!"
Here comes our magical quartet from the first drop into play. Stage free for…
Question. Check. Understand. Improve.
This quartet now begins its play with Question. In our example, the following questions would offer themselves:
Who exactly should pay attention? What should they pay attention to? What should they do? When will we die? How do we know that? Won't we all die anyway? Is the sentence relevant to me right now?
Question is our first soloist. Often, a burst of "why" questions can illuminate the models behind the models and lead to greater clarity. Question. What do you want to achieve? How can you achieve it?
After our first soloist has played, now Check may begin with its virtuoso play. The answers we have received can now be checked:
Are the answers applicable to us? Are the answers coherent? Are the answers complete? Do further questions arise from the answers?
Time to invite our third player on stage: Understand.
Against the backdrop of the questions and their answers, something can become clear. Here the English are to be praised, who use the beautiful word understand for this activity. Understanding described as a stepping back. Understanding as taking a new position in which the previously unclear is embedded in an existing model and thus expands the model.
Now finally our fourth player may step in to complete the piece: Improve. The fruits of our third player can be ideas, impulses, and new perspectives. If something is understood and thus has become clear, then ideas can also emerge on how something can be improved. For example, if a supposed truth has no relevance for you at the moment, it can be filed under the label "Later." Or it may lead to an impulse to see something in a new way or to deal with it in a new way and thereby change it.
Let's summarize the current score. We have a duo working with a quartet. Together they ensure more clarity and thus much better decisions.
All this may now seem quite pompous and strenuous at first glance. To do something so elaborate in the future that has so far been so simple.
As with any change, it is also the case here as it is with riding a bike. It was once laborious to learn to ride a bike and perhaps painful when we crashed on our face. Today we don't even think about it and can even ride with no hands, and some of us even post our new status on social media while doing it if we have to.
The First Drop. Change and Repetition.
Paying attention to what has been said so far and thus allowing it to sink in is already half the battle. Below, we have some simple exercises for you. Speaking of rent. The word 'Miete' has been known in German since the 8th century. Originally, it meant wages and also gift. The fastest way to learn is to practice something daily. The famous five minutes. Through this, both small and large miracles can often occur. For these miracles, sleep, and especially dreaming, where we process what we have learned, is obviously important. If you now firmly associate the exercise with an existing ritual, such as brushing your teeth or your bedtime ritual, then it works particularly well. Let's get started!
Reading: Write the four lines on a small note. Read the lines out loud every day after waking up or before you start your work.
Writing down: If you realize over the course of your day after evaluating a thought that it may be relevant at some time but not now, note the thought in your smartphone or a small notebook.
Word clarification: Write down five words that you encounter daily but only have a vague idea of what they exactly mean. Then take each of these terms and explore it with the help of the magic quartet. You can experiment with terms here as you like. Take terms that are ubiquitous, such as time or sustainability. Another possibility is to take very specific terms that are meaningful to your group, such as the name of a competitor or a special technical term from your work.
Sentence clarification: Now create a list of five sentences that you hear over and over again from yourself or others but that seem suspect to you. Commonplace phrases such as "Nothing comes from nothing" or "Money doesn't buy happiness" are popular here. Then take these sentences and examine them with the help of the magic quartet.
Casual conversation clarification: Now that you've become a bit more practiced, you can also try it during a dialogue about something unimportant. This can be the chit-chat over the fence with your neighbor or a little gossip at the local bakery. Write down a few sentences after the conversation and illuminate them with the help of the magic quartet.
Reading clarification: Now try with the reading of a book or an article. Read the content with your new glasses and this newly sharpened attention. What conclusions do you come to?
Expert clarification: Keep a small logbook in the future where you enter surprises that occur in the fields you count as your circle of competence. These unexpected events are particularly valuable. If you research these, you will get important impulses for fundamental improvements.
The Second Drop. Essence.
Pursue joy. Feel the power. Use technique. Create.
These four lines are the second drop. Your raised index finger reminds you of their essence. It is, if you will, the core of our manifesto. Now that you have already digested the first drop, this second drop will be even easier for you. You can see at first glance that we only have a simple quartet here, and just like with the first drop, it's a flow. It flows from the first player to the fourth player.
Pursue joy, for joy is where your strength lies. The critics among you will now object that one can only achieve something by gritting one's teeth, fighting through, and continuing such emphatic gymnastics. Of course, for most, it is not a joy to do the accounting, but every successful company and the founders of these companies have not created what they have created by forcing themselves to do the unpleasant. Unfortunately, this is the insidious thing about our strengths: we find them so hard to recognize because our strengths come easily to us. Our weaknesses, on the other hand, constantly attract our attention. In short: Pursue joy! What could be more beautiful? Let joy guide you. Choose what comes easily to you. By doing this, you follow your strength and you are on the right path. When you pursue joy, you move from "must" and "should" to "want."
Feel the power. As soon as you follow joy, you feel the power. It's another indicator of being on the right path and for the good cause. There can be setbacks, small and large. There may be a difficult phase, shorter or longer. But you feel this power, which functions like a way marker for you and calls out to you: Bravo! Keep going! Straight ahead!
Use technique, because now you are ready for it. Before we can pay attention to this player, we want to look at what we mean by technique. Technique is derived from the Greek Techne: art and craft. For us, technique is the unity of wetware, hardware, and software. Techniques as systems. This is how we understand technique. Technique includes language, processes, and descriptions. Perhaps autogenic training is a technique for you that helps against back pain, or perhaps it's a special software that helps you collect ideas. Technique as a personal process of adding and omitting. If you're annoyed by the neighbor's mumbling in the reading room, use earplugs. Technique always offers us new possibilities that you can use.
Now everything is prepared to call the king of players, the greatest magician of all time, to the stage. So please, let's have a loud rumbling of thunder, bright lightning, and great applause:
Create is the core and Create is the pinnacle. All our values - joy, understanding, technology - support this one value. Create. We mean creating with hands, with words, or with the mind. Creating as the center. Creating as the goal and great value. What is characteristic in a Swabian and what he describes as "work, work, building a little house" seems to us today outdated and above all petit bourgeois. But the common saying touches on an essential core, and we should not be mistaken here. Whether you want to build a house or program software, whether you want to paint something new or whether it is a realization you want to achieve. Create is a space. Reality is your space. You can fill this space at any moment. You are the creator and you are this magician.
The third drop. Essence.
Share ideas. Own. Think in generations. Live beyond judgment. Become your own nation.
Our third drop now offers five values for you. In addition to the thumb and index finger, you now take the middle finger as well and proudly stretch your hand into the air.
Perhaps after the first drop, new perspectives have opened up for you, new ideas have dawned on your horizon and you have noted down good ideas. Ideas are like dreams and also like plants. As soon as you give them attention, they grow all the better. Once you jot down ideas, your subconscious realizes what it has to do and rewards you with more and better ideas. This is also the commonality with dreams: As soon as you record your dreams and, even better, share them with others, it’s a true celebration for your subconscious. You will be able to remember your dreams better and more often realize that you are dreaming.
However, sharing ideas has a number of other advantages for you.
Linus Pauling, who, next to Marie Curie, was the only person to receive Nobel Prizes in different categories and who made many of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century in chemistry, once said, "The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas".
Sharing ideas magically enriches you. As soon as you voice an idea and this idea then meets the attention of another person, so that two attentions kiss, brilliant sparks of inspiration can fly. Both the other person and you can then build and build upon what was spoken or written. Thus, much more can emerge than was originally there. You gift yourself and you gift others.
You have surely noticed, if you have read attentively between our lines, that much of what we write does not correspond to what is commonly thought. It is the same with the imperative Share ideas. A widespread and false view is that ideas can be stolen. Let's take a closer look at this image. Lawyers know that the criminal offense of theft requires two people and an object: an owner who has something valuable and a thief who takes something valuable away. But with ideas, it's the exact opposite. There is still an owner who initially has something valuable, but as soon as the idea thief comes and steals it, it remains - magically - also with the original owner. Thus, the thief is happy about his loot and the one who birthed the idea is happy that now another has his idea. Professionals who professionally assess ideas, such as investors who invest in startups, have long seen through the fairy tale of idea theft and only smile wearily when asked to treat a business idea confidentially or even sign a non-disclosure agreement.
As soon as two cells join, it begins. After we enter the world naked, we start full throttle with the game of life. In the sandbox, we mark our territory. Whoever builds the biggest castle receives the greatest respect. Possession can later take on various forms: possession in the form of money, contacts, reputation, or knowledge. Possession is utterly polymorphic. One form can be exchanged for another. We can describe this exchange mechanism also as a game and thus ascertain that the objective is to trade as skillfully as possible and gain the most from it.
But modern thinking teaches us that possession makes us obsessed, and common wisdom teaches us that money stinks and does not bring happiness. As we have seen, this model can only persist if the expression of possession takes a special form and it is further assumed that there is no possibility of exchanging for a different form.
Possession, however, can take on a variety of forms and can be magically exchanged. Let's say you feel like dancing and decide to go to a club of your choice. Now it's up to the doorman to grant you access. If he denies you this, then you can either look for another club or dance in your room at home. You don't need to become the owner of a club just because you want to dance. But if you had that role, then you would have guaranteed access.
As soon as you realize that it's all about possibilities, the behavior of your fellow players becomes much clearer to you and it's much more fun to play this game.
Our imperative Possess is underpinned by a polymorphic connotation of freedom. To possess means to be able to determine and to want.
Think in generations.
Our mind is a thoroughly ambivalent companion. This is both a curse, as it is therefore quite susceptible to a host of cognitive biases and often interferes in matters to which it can contribute little. But it is also a blessing as it allows us to juggle thoughts and thus has given us imagination. As in the previous sentences of this drop, we open up horizons that contradict the familiar and known.
Thinking can be sorted by the time horizon it touches. This can range from plans for the next hour to plans for the next decade. Depending on the stage of life you are in today, your thinking may revolve around career choice or retirement planning. So what does a thought that goes far beyond this time horizon promise? What does thinking in generations bring, which goes beyond a decade and looks far into the future?
Thinking is strongest in planning. Another advantage of thinking is that, in addition to mental energy freely available to us, it only costs time. So let's flip the view now and take up the ensuing question:
What's stopping you from thinking in generations?
Long-term thinking, as you will see immediately if you don't already see it, has a multitude of advantages!
If you take the perspective from the Create imperative and see your life as a game, then long-term thinking gives you a huge competitive advantage: almost none of your fellow players practice this strategy. Imagine playing chess where your opponent is only allowed to plan two moves ahead, and here you come thinking five moves forward. You will win every game.
In this discipline, of course, professionals have long had the insight, while in the general public people only think from twelve o'clock until noon. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, two of the most successful contemporary entrepreneurs, live and explain long-term thinking as the number one success factor.
Okay, so now the question is: how do you think in generations?
When we think about the future, a host of neurons is activated in ever-new groupings in our brains. We experience this on the side when images and an inner voice appear. For most people, images of the future appear on the upper right. If an image is attractive - big and colorful - we try to reach it. Attractive images may also appear alternately. Then life is on the brink and the question can arise for us: Should I now study law or business administration? We then call this decision-making. Then we gather information, review the information at hand, and eventually one image appears more attractive than the other: We have made a decision and thus made a forecast about the future. Planning thinking, therefore, is making forecasts.
But making good forecasts is notoriously difficult. Louis Armstrong was once asked by a journalist before a concert how jazz will develop over the next few years. He replied, "If I knew that, I would be playing it tonight." We simply do not have all the information and not an unlimited amount of time to make a decision. Therefore, we make decisions based on simple heuristics such as trial and error, random sampling, or the process of elimination and accept inaccurate forecasts.
However, these methods are based on experiences that can only represent reality in a distorted way. Psychology knows hundreds of cognitive biases that impede our ability to make good forecasts. The following biases illustrate this:
The Dunning-Kruger effect is the systematic and faulty tendency in the self-understanding of incompetent people to overestimate their own knowledge and abilities. If someone is incompetent, then they cannot know that they are incompetent.
The Barnum effect describes the tendency of people to interpret generic statements about themselves so that they are perceived as accurate descriptions.
The peak-end rule describes how people assess an event largely based on the most beautiful and the final moment. That's why, after a doctor's visit, children always receive a small gift.
Loss aversion refers to the tendency to weigh losses more heavily than gains. This explains why investors sell stocks too early when they gain but tolerate losses too long.
Besides cognitive biases, the so-called time preference also plays against our ability to make good decisions: Time preference or present bias is a concept in economics that describes consumers' preference to prefer consumption in the present over future consumption.
Thus, we are naturally very poor decision-makers. But exactly this disadvantage can be transformed into a tremendous advantage with knowledge and practice. One only needs to look again at the professionals.
Warren Buffett describes his success like a snowball; you just have to find a long slope. He refers to the effects of compounding interest, which Albert Einstein once called the eighth wonder of the world. "He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it," Einstein once realized.
If a 20-year-old invests 10,000 euros at 10%, he becomes a millionaire at 70 years old and has a fortune of 1,173,909 euros, without having worked a single minute for it.
That's it, and we can now turn to our next sentence from the third drop.
Live beyond others norms.
What do you associate with your home? In the place where you live, you set things up so that it is good for you. You might move the armchair to this or that corner because you weren't quite satisfied with its current location. You are, however, still in your home and in your house. As soon as you - to stick with the image - leave home and go out on the street, something fundamental changes. On the street, there are rules that do not apply to your home.
Live beyond judgment is intended to encourage you, first, to recognize what judgments are, and Live beyond judgment also encourages you to question these judgments, to experiment with what it's like to live beyond these evaluations.
Evaluations can be good. If the temperature of a stove top exceeds a certain value, then this temperature is no longer good for your hand. The evaluation of the temperature is good in this particular case.
However, many evaluations are inherently bad. One thinks here of the unspecific evaluations of others that restrict our actions and thus our possibilities. Think of some teachers at school. Many evaluations that are brought to us from the outside - whatever outside may be - then sneak in and thus transform into evaluations from within unquestioned.
Unlike traffic rules, evaluations can be ignored. Live beyond judgment is, therefore, an encouragement to focus your attention on evaluations and to question, check, understand, and improve them according to the revelations of the first drop.
Become your own nation.
The word nation, like so many words, comes from the Latin, is derived from nasci, and means to be born. We have all been born into a nation characterized by a common language, common traditions, and common customs.
But after we were delivered from our mother, many of us have learned languages, traditions, and customs that go far beyond the languages, traditions, and customs of the respective nation-state into which we were born.
If you take a peacefully dozing cat and throw it into the garden pond, the cat will flee from it immediately and seek out a cozy spot behind the stove again to dry off.
Become your own nation, because you can become your own nation, is what our imperative wants to convey. A cat does not belong in the pond, and you can transcend your nation.
The insights of the first drop are helpful here as well.
Nation-states do much more than supply us with a language, with traditions, and with customs.
Become your own nation is now the imperative for a process. It's about questioning, examining, understanding, and improving the metaphorical air that constantly surrounds us, just as we did in the first drop.