For the record, I do not think ignorance is bliss (even posted a YouTube video about it many moons ago).

However…Knowledge can certainly be stress inducing and in this post I’m going to write about a specific instance when knowing something is not preferable.

That instance: When you discover something about yourself–something you want in your life, a goal, a pursuit, an ideal–and do nothing about it…

This type of knowledge often presents as a should (what I refer to in my book Six Truths as “The Should Cloud”)­, as in “I really should be exercising” or “I really should eat better” or “I really should meditate.”

When I find out a client is living under the should cloud I immediately ask: “what makes you think you should?” “Is someone else making the rules in your life?” Is there some sort of external pressure weighing on you?” My aim is to get them out from under the cloud and into the freedom of finding out if it’s something they either want to do or don’t want to do. No should about it.

In any case, when there is something you know you want to do and aren’t doing it, that knowledge is painful. It’s a weight on our shoulders, a drag on our happiness, a feeling of being stuck.

Be very careful if you decide to learn about healthy eating, the benefits of exercise, breathwork, meditation, or creative pursuits because if this knowledge is divorced from action, you might be better off not knowing.

I’ve said for years that most of my work is focused on action. What you do with what you know.  Moving toward your goals as you are discovering them. Fact is, I can teach anyone about healthy eating in no time at all, just as I can teach my breathwork approach or an effective ultrarunning training plan. But the question of “what am I going to do with this knowledge” is one that we all need to answer if we want to live a good, vibrant, happy life.

Identifying the life we want to live and the person we want to be is an excellent start to be sure. Knowing this is invaluable, enlightening and crucial.  But to know what you want and not make moves to get it is as rough as not knowing it in the first place.

Knowledge without action is being trapped in the middle ground–never committing, never engaging.

It’s like being in purgatory.

And purgatory is hell.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Sid! Love this, love you! Mood follows action. On another front… PLEASE do an episode on the pod about about “popular health bullshit.” Ok, I’ll be specific- Peter Attila’s “Outlive” book. Sam Harris asks him about nutrition, they talk for 45 minutes, and he does not utter the words ‘fruit’ or ‘vegetable’!!!! For the love of all that is holy!!! I was stunned/not stunned. Ok, thanks for letting me vent— keep doing what you’re doing… and I owe you more coffee!
    Mitch West
    Wilton, CT

  2. 100% agree with Mitch on the need for a rebuttal to that interview and Attia in general. Sam is usually a strong interviewer but he was like putty in Attila’s hands. His take was so reductionist, pharma-centric and pitched at people who have more money than sense.

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