If your goal is to understand at a deeper level what motivates people, how they interact with and think about systems, then yes - a masters degree in Interaction Design or cognitive science, etc. can be extremely useful.
If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.
Probably the most dangerous thing about an academic education—least in my own case—is that it enables my tendency to over-intellectualise stuff, to get lost in abstract argument inside my head, instead of simply paying attention to what is going on right in front of me, paying attention to what is going on inside me.
On fear, or my particular brand of it
I think most of the time, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to. Not that I can’t, but that some exterior force will prevent me from doing, going, having, or being whatever I want. I think that’s good, because mostly, it makes me fight to forge ahead and swallow the next project or move to the next place, in spite of myself. It was scary to..go to college even. Or move to San Francisco or start teaching or quit teaching without promise of a new career, but the nagging thought that propelled me was, “What if I don’t?” The suffocation that ensues from the thought of or potential for stasis is enough to light a fire under me. And I guess that’s a kind of fear. A eustressful fear that I think I can say I’m thankful for.
I think it can be bad though, when it keeps me from even venturing attempts to do, go, have, or be what I want. After all, if you don’t try, you don’t fail. A distressful fear that paralyzes me.
Historically, I have gone and done and had and been what I set out to, and when I’m distressed, I need to remember that and get eustressed. And keep going. Now, how to do that in little ways, everyday? Not getting so comfortable that I’m afraid of discomfort. Getting comfortable with a little discomfort.
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.
— The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, p.192
The great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up.
— Albert Schweitzer, from The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, p.176
As we’ll consider it here, convergence is the state of being where everything in our lives is in alignment. We have good relationships with family and close friends, we’re excited about work, we’re in good health, we do more or less what we want to every day, and we know that we’re making a difference in the world. In short, we find ourselves full of gratitude and regularly challenged in an active abundant life.
— The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, p.173
Better to plan for the future while also living in the present.
— The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, p.156
1. I happily exchange money for things I truly value.
2. As much as possible, I don’t exchange money for things I don’t value.
3. All things being equal, I value life experiences more than physical possessions.
4. Investing in others is at least as important as my own longterm savings.
— The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, p.153
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.
— Dale Carnegie, from The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, p.60
All things being equal, we generally resist change until the pain of making a switch becomes less than the pain of remaining in our current situation.
— The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, p.49
The time to leave the best job in the world is right before you get tired of it…After four years, I was getting tired, and I didn’t want to join the ranks of the cynical.
— The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau, p.15