More To That

The illusion of control 🪞

Published 6 months ago • 5 min read

Hey friends,

First, a quick announcement! My drawing course, Draw Your Words, went out to the waitlist last week, and many of you have already joined it. This course is a distillation of everything I know about drawing, and is one of the few curriculums that also caters to writers. So if you’re looking to elevate your writing by including visuals in your work, you’ll find it very helpful.

There’s 5+ hours of material in here, and the course is just $99 for today. The price will increase to $150 starting tomorrow, so if you want to learn how to create effective illustrations, now’s the time to grab it. You’ll get lifetime access to all the resources, so think of it has having a drawing coach in your back pocket that you can access at any time =).

I look forward to seeing you inside.

Draw Your Words:

A More To That Course

Now, onto the reflection for the day.

One thing I often grapple with is my relationship to uncertainty. On one hand, uncertainty is beautiful because it allows you to value the future. This inability to predict the next moment is the origin of serendipity, and this whimsical nature of life is what makes it so playful and inspiring.

But on the other hand, uncertainty is what casts the shadow of fear. The future is a projection of our imaginations, and the scenarios our minds produce tend to be quite bleak and worrisome. If anything, this is the default state we operate on.

So in today’s reflection, I address this poignant fear, and attempt to understand why it exists. This is one of those examples where I needed to write for myself, as I noticed that this fear was pervading my thoughts more than usual. And in doing so, I realized that much of it stemmed from the tenuous nature of control.

This piece clarified a lot for me, and I hope it does for you as well. When you’re ready, let’s dive right in:

The Illusion of Control

A Book I’ve Been Enjoying

Think On These Things by Jiddu Krishnamurti — I write because I read, and these days, I’ve been much more selective about what passes through my reading filter. Rather than picking up NYT bestsellers and reading whatever’s hot at the moment, I’ve directed almost all my attention toward the timeless books I’ve already read, and diving into them again.

This is my third re-read of this collection of Krishnamurti’s talks, and I’m loving it even more than when I first discovered it. Whenever I find myself struggling with self-acceptance or the fear of the unknown, I revisit this book and get lost in it once again. If you’re working through some of those things yourself, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It’ll help you more than any social media post or productivity book ever can.

An Illustrated Insight

Confidence is nothing more than the assertion that you know yourself.

This is why envy is inversely correlated with self-examination. The less you know yourself, the more you look to others to get an idea of your worth. But the more you delve into who you are, the less you seek from others, and the dissolution of envy begins.

*Note: You will learn how to draw the above graph in an early module of Draw Your Words. By knowing how to draw graphs in Adobe Illustrator, you’ll have a grasp on some foundational tools you can use to help simplify your ideas.

A Thought I’ve Been Pondering

One thing I realized through writing today’s piece is that it’s important to reframe freedom if you want to feel a sense of equanimity. Because oftentimes, the pursuit of freedom leads to a trap where you’re never content with whatever the present moment has to offer.

From today’s reflection:

“I used to think of freedom as the ability to do what you want at whatever pace you choose. While I think that’s a solid start, I’m beginning to realize that freedom is less about doing what you want, and just allowing life to be. Because if you define freedom as doing what you want, it’s quite plausible that what you want is mired in the world of status games and other traps that will slowly deteriorate your being. I felt this viscerally when I thought I was 'free' making music professionally, only to realize that I was attaching myself to people for the purpose of furthering my career or for other dubious reasons.

When I say that freedom is defined by 'allowing life to be,' I don’t mean that you just sit there and do nothing. What I mean is that you direct your attention to the things you’re naturally curious about, and to express those curiosities in a way that doesn’t cause tension to arise. As a personal example, one of the reasons why I chose writing as my mode of expression is because I liked how it allowed me to focus on the work itself, rather than thirst for the attention of others. It was something that intrinsically motivated me, regardless of the praise or criticism that I’d receive for my pieces. All that is secondary to the craft itself, which I have grown to love.

And perhaps it’s that last word - love - that is the antidote to all this. Because love is not defined by how much control you have over the other, or how much power you have over the course of your relationship. No, love is when you allow whatever you have to 'be,' and to dispel the illusion of control whenever it creeps in.

It is only in that state of total equanimity where true freedom can be felt.”

A Brief Parting Question

What’s something you once tried so hard to control, but you’ve since let go of?

For me, it was building an audience as a creator. When I was a musician, I tried to do everything in my power to grow my fanbase. I spent a ridiculous amount of time submitting my music to blogs, messaging popular artists to ask them to work with me, and so much more.

When I started More To That, I let go of all of that. Everything became about the craft itself, and if my audience grew as a byproduct of that, then that'd be great. And interestingly enough, that’s what ended up happening, which I’m very grateful for.

What about you?

As always, hit reply to share any thoughts, to respond to the parting question, or to simply say hello. I love hearing from you.

And as a reminder, today’s the final day to get Draw Your Words for just $99, so get it here while you can.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to share this email with anyone who might enjoy it. Have a great rest of your week!

-Lawrence Yeo

P.S. Thanks to all the wonderful people that support the blog on Patreon! It means so much. If you’d like to support More To That and get access to exclusive AMAs, offline posts, and other reflections, join as a patron today.

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More To That

by Lawrence Yeo

Illustrated stories on the human condition.

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