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Be Less Disciplined in the New Year

ants
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett and Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

When it comes to keeping your New Year’s resolutions, you probably think you know the secret to success.

Whether you’ve resolved to lose weight, eat better, use your time more effectively, or even to amor fati, you’ve simply got to get more disciplined.

Right?

Certainly, discipline plays a crucial role in making any mindset or behavioral change. We’ve said as much ourselves.

But the exact nature of this need for discipline is frequently misunderstood.
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Your New, New Year’s Resolution: Harness the Life-Altering Power of Eternal Return

2018
The following is a reprint of an article by Kyle Eschenroeder that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

We’ve once more rolled into the time of year where many of us make resolutions for how to live better in the months to come.

Most of these resolutions concern very concrete, practical parts of life: losing weight, exercising more, wasting less time, getting organized. Worthy resolutions all.

But the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once gave himself a different kind of resolution — one that was both epically sweeping, and yet had the potential to tangibly transform every single area of his life:

“For the New Year . . . everyone takes the liberty of expressing his wish and his favorite thought: well, I also mean to tell what I have wished for myself today, and what thought first crossed my mind this year,—a thought which ought to be the basis, the pledge and the sweetening of all my future life! I want more and more to perceive the necessary characters in things as the beautiful:—I shall thus be one of those who beautify things. Amor fati: let that henceforth be my love! I do not want to wage war with the ugly. I do not want to accuse, I do not want even to accuse the accusers. Looking aside, let that be my sole negation! And all in all, to sum up: I wish to be at any time hereafter only a yea-sayer!”

Nietzsche resolved to amor fati — to love his fate. He wanted to say yes to life.

Amor fati was in fact not just a one-time new year’s resolution for Nietzsche, but central to his whole philosophy:

“My formula for human greatness is amor fati: that one wants to have nothing different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely to bear the necessary, still less to conceal it. . . . but to love it.”

While Nietzsche’s resolve to amor fati was rather broad and immense in scope, he fortunately had a very specific tool to help him achieve his goal: the idea of eternal return.

If saying yes to life is a resolution you’d also like to make this year, then this tool — this radically perspective-altering prism — will prove invaluable to you as well.
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