Programming The Operating System of Reality
With 4 simple tools
With great power comes great responsibility. Today, you’ll gain a great power.
Today's not a random day.
For most of you, today will be the day your life changes, forever.
For some of you, it'll remain a random day, until you start thinking about what you read today years from now, when it all starts making sense, slowly at first- then all at once.
There’s something special about what I’m going to tell you today, but the biggest thing that separates this essay from everything else on Bright Mirror, is that I don’t want everyone to read this.
I rarely begin an essay with a disclaimer, but this is one such essay that I know I have to.
Please, do not read this essay if you -
- Have been diagnosed with any mental health issues
- Know that someone in your family has been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders
- Are actively seeing a therapist or a medical health practitioner for mental health issues
- Haven't been diagnosed yet, but feel like you could be if you sought out the treatment
If you fall into any of the above segments, do not read this essay. I know I am not responsible for what you do with this information, but I seriously want the best for all reading this, and if you’re on the above list, reading this isn't the best use of your time.
This is not a clickbait disclaimer, and I'm not saying this to kindle your interest. Unless you have a strong grasp on your mind, reading this essay will do more harm than good.
That is not what I want. That is not what you want.
Here's a picture of a puppy wearing a suit.
Cute puppy? Right. Here's a link to more.
Spend time there instead of reading this.
Some things are not meant to be written until it’s the right moment for it.
This piece is of those essays for many things, but 2 primary reasons are -
This should be a book. An essay is too short for driving this concept home, and if I were to do this idea justice, it should rather be a book with a lot more tools.
Someone with a mental health disorder will read this, ignoring the warnings above and their lives and the lives of people around them will become infinitely worse.
While I might write a book someday about this, and while I'll figure out how to token-gate that book so that no one with mental health issues can easily get access to that, I'm not going to do any of those things anytime soon.
So, why write this now? Why risk the consequences that some people may ignore my warnings, tread on, and read something that leads them to a tragic ending?
The answer is simple. If I got hit by a bus tomorrow, this essay would remain unwritten forever, and that would be a bigger tragedy.
So, here we are.
Take a deep breath, relax, and read on.
Today, we'll learn something that everyone is capable of doing, but very few get to master it in their lifetimes. There is no foundational definition for these tools, there are no guides (except what you’re reading), there’s a risk to it where you seem delusional for believing this, and thus, there isn’t a conversation about them at all.
Today, we'll learn how to program the most important operating system of our lives - The Operating System of Reality, using 4 simple tools.
Everyone subconsciously does it, but because they do it subconsciously & aimlessly, it is far less effective. I hope you to show you a new world today, a new world where you not only have the power to change reality but to affect the reality of those around you.
If you use this power well, you'll achieve whatever you want in life. If you are not careful, you'll drive yourself insane.
Tool 1 - The Root Access Prompt
The Root Access Prompt is the first step to all this. It is the foundational tool, and one that lets you gain root access to the operating system of reality. If you skip this first step, the others won't make sense, and you'll never realize the full potential of the operating system.
What is the first step?
The first step is accepting the truth - There is no reality.
Repeat after me, "There is no reality."
Everything you've been taught about reality throughout your life life, is a lie.
There is no such thing as reality.
Only when you accept this, would you start being able to program the operating system of reality.
But first, accept that there is no reality.
I know it's hard. This sounds insane, and goes against everything you've learned in life so far. That is okay. Sit with that feeling, and try to understand why this is important.
We're all taught to just accept reality, an objective fixed reality that we cannot change. But that old definition doesn't serve us. Nor is it entirely accurate.
Reality is not fixed. Reality isn't meant to be just experienced. It is there for all of us to program, tweak, upgrade and change. There is no reality that is objective and true for all.
Reality is more subjective than objective. And once you start to understand this, you can change reality, distort it however you want.
This is the truth.
Watch this scene -
Do not try and change reality. That is impossible.
Instead, only try to realize the truth.
There is no reality.
The definition of reality is what's limiting, as reality, by definition - isn't something that can be changed.
That is why we must reject it.
There is no reality.
The Science of today may not agree with this, but the Science of tomorrow might. It is foolish to assume that we're all living in the single greatest moment in history when Science has figured it all out, and that there are no discoveries to be made, no questions left unanswered, and no paradigms left to be discovered. That is simply not the case.
While a thousand years from now, kids of tomorrow may learn how to alter reality through scientific methods, perhaps by discovering that yes, this is all a simulation and we have discovered how to access & alter the interface of that simulation clearly, or- this is all a collective dream inside the head of an intelligent species, we don't have that much time.
We also shouldn't think of any of this as scientific, then, as science is about starting with a hypothesis and then looking for ways to find how that is wrong.
We're all going to be honest here, we're doing the exact opposite of that, because doing the opposite of that is what will serve us.
We're starting with a hypothesis, "There is no reality", and accepting that as truth. Throughout our lives, we'll look for ways to reaffirm that fact, and that is how we get the most benefit out of this.
Tool 2 - The Firewall of Compartmentalization
I know this sounds insane to many reading this. That is valid. If you were to say these things aloud to anyone, they will probably think you're crazy. That is why you shouldn't. This is not something that has to be preached, or practiced outwardly.
If you were to tell me everything I am telling you here, I would probably think that you're crazy too. So yes, this is self delusion.
This is self deception. And this is absolutely not something you should tell anyone.
Have you ever read a book, or watched a movie, or listened to a song, something that's so good, so transformative, that you refused to share it with anyone else? You didn't want anyone else to have the same experience as you did, not because you didn't want them to, but because you were sure they wouldn't feel the same thing as personally as you did.
This is one of those moments.
Thinking that there is no such thing as reality is self delusion. But the only to program the operating system of reality, is to believe that there's no such thing as reality in the first place.
How do we hold these two conflicting beliefs while refusing to delude ourselves completely?
That's where we'll use one of the most effective psychological techniques, one that's a common cognitive flaw in those who suffer from it subconsciously, but a powerful tool in those who manage to use it consciously -
The Firewall of Compartmentalization.
Compartmentalization refers to the phenomenon where we keep information, processes & beliefs in our mind separate and segregated, such that the knowledge possessed by some of your reasoning processes, isn't applied to or accessible by the other parts.
In other words, it's how you separate things into compartments in your mind, such that thinking from one domain doesn't affect your thoughts in another.
The religious scientist is an example of this, where he doesn't apply his scientific thinking outside the lab. If you believe ghosts aren't real, but still don't want to spend a night in a haunted house because you anticipate something supernatural happening to you, that's another example.
Finally, think of the manager who is rude & strict with their employees, but a surprisingly loving father and family man at home. This manager has compartmentalized his kindness & nurturing nature, and thus, his employees don't think of him in the same way as his neighbours do.
Usually, it is a good idea to reduce compartmentalization as much as possible. You want your learnings from one domain to translate to another domain. That is one of the benefits of having a wider range of expertise.
But here, we'll use the firewall of compartmentalisation consciously & deliberately so that we're not outright self delusional in all walks of life.
Yes, reality does not exist. Yes, it is possible to program the operating system of reality. But these truths should be kept separate from the rational part of your mind that inspects the world through a scientific & rational lens, that updates their beliefs based on new evidence, that seeks truth instead of searching for lies that confirms your existing beliefs.
This is why effectively programming the operating system of reality is so difficult, because if you're not careful, you might as well be rightly labelled crazy.
The purpose of programming the operating system of reality is to be happy. It is for self improvement. You need to have a strong grasp on your mind for this, and strongly compartmentalise these ideas in places that you wouldn't need to access if you were doing anything that's outwardly relevant.
Yes, there is no such thing as reality. Yes, the operating system of reality can be programmed, and thus, reality can be changed to your will.
But if you were to jump off a cliff, could you believe that you can fly and thus, not die? Definitely not.
Could you convince a coworker that they can be better at their job, even though they clearly aren't right now, and watch that coworker be better? Probably yes. Could you convince them that they can bench 300 pounds tomorrow? Definitely not.
Understand this nuance, and compartmentalize effectively. Understand that compartmentalization is the difference between you becoming a great leader & a crazy cat lady. It is the difference between Steve Jobs with his "reality distortion field", and your friendly neighbourhood conspiracy theorist who believes that the Earth is flat.
Do not let this system affect your rational lens of the outward world, but take advantage of it inwardly, believing them as true and behaving appropriately.
This is not going to be easy, but it's not supposed to be. All good things in life are hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Everyone won't, but if you do, and if you do it right, you'll see the benefits of it.
From this moment onwards, I'll assume you're using the firewall of compartmentalization correctly, and that everything I'm going to say will fall into your compartmentalized bucket. I'll stop saying things like "I know this sounds crazy but…" after every few lines, not because it doesn't sound crazy, but precisely because it does, but now you have activated the firewall to handle it effectively.
Tool 3 - Deliberate Belief Prompts
Just like you use text prompts and engineer them to get LLM chatbots to behave how you want, you can prompt beliefs into the operating system of reality to get reality to behave however you want.
Reality is whatever you believe, and your subjective lens of reality not only affects your own reality, but works to transform the objective operating system of reality itself.
Variations of this concept have been tried & tested by many in the past. There's this whole spiritual wave of "affirmations" which involves writing down "I will be rich one day" every day and proponents of affirmations claiming that it'll happen. You'll find many celebrities advocating for this phenomenon, which leads a lot of people to believe that affirmations really work.
The problem with that is - we're only hearing from the minority of successful people for whom affirmations worked. We're not hearing from the thousands or millions that affirmations did not work.
This tool isn't about affirmations or law of attraction BS. Simply writing down you'll be rich one day isn't going to be that effective, and your thoughts aren't filled with spiritual "energy".
Instead, we're going to be deliberate, and we're only going to believe things which are useful to us. Whether the things we believe are true or not, is besides the point. Crafting the right belief prompts will matter, and that all starts with what you believe.
Belief prompts about on your ability are the best example of this.
Do you believe your abilities are fixed or that you can grow?
There is a vast amount of scientific research on this. If you have a "fixed mindset", you're going to hard time learning anything new as you'll implicitly believe that you're not capable of learning new things. If you have a "growth mindset", you'll be able to learn you'll implicitly believe that you can.
Do you believe you perform better under stress or do you believe that you perform worse?
Research shows that you perform exactly how you believe you'll perform under stress. So, if you believe you perform better under stress, you will.
Do you believe you have limited willpower or that your willpower gets depleted throughout the day?
Research shows that if you believe the above statement, your willpower does deplete throughout the day. If you don't believe the same, you won't have unlimited willpower.
If you visit the links above or search for evidence of the same, you'll notice several scientific studies confirming everything I've mentioned.
And I can go on and on about these, as there's a lot of research backing this up.
Watch Dr. Alia Crum's video with Dr. Andrew Huberman. Read Carol Dweck's book on mindset.
There's a very good reason for so much research on this. Scientists have a vast amount of data as a majority of scientific studies involve having the patients just take a sugar pill, or just be injected with a placebo instead of the actual drug. There are many cases where the results from just the placebo (which is basically just the patients believing they've had something effective) works just as well as the drug being test.
The drugs are thrown out at that point, but the research still matters. If you're an athlete, and your performance improves by 20% when you swallow a sugar pill vs 22% when you swallow a caffeine pill, the caffeine pill may be ineffective (which was the purpose of the study), but I'd still give the athletes I'm coaching make-believe sugar pills if they're seeing a 20% improvement in performance. The results are what matter to us.
Now, while you can search for what you want to believe based on scientific studies & research, today, I want to give you a framework to create your own belief prompts from scratch. Instead of telling you what to believe, I want you to create your own belief prompts.
Here's the framework. Your ideal beliefs should ->
Be useful to you
Help you be a better person
Help those around you
That's it. It is that simple.
Here are some of the belief prompts I follow -
With enough time, I'm capable of understanding & learning anything
I'm capable of learning new things exceptionally quickly
In all fields that people view me as an expert in, inwardly, I'm a perpetual beginner, always looking for new things to learn & better ways to do things
I'm capable of working harder than everybody else
I'm at peace when I'm alone with my thoughts
I have unlimited willpower
I don't need distractions to quiet my inner mind
I have a moral duty to make the world a better place
I can train my mind to behave exactly however I want
I'm more creative than 99% of the population
I can tolerate pain & sadness better than 99% of the population
I capable of living by the phrase, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”
You don't have to follow my belief prompts. I know some may even sound ridiculous to you, and that's okay.
Your belief prompts don't have to make sense to anyone except yourself. No one has to know, and if you're really trying- some of your belief prompts should be personal enough that you aren't speaking them aloud in public.
You can copy any of mine if they make sense to you, but the best thing to do now, is to create some of your own. This tool, combined with the one I'll mention next, will make your life a thousand times better.
Tool 4 - Pygmalion's Stack
Pygmalion, in Greek Mythology, was a sculptor who worked hard to build an ivory statue representing what he believed to be the perfect woman. The statue was so convincing and represented his ideal of womanhood so accurately, that Pygmalion fell in love with the statue, thinking of the statue as nothing less than real.
He even gave the statue a name, "Galatea" and he prayed to the Gods to bring the statue to life. The Goddess Venus answered his prayers, and Galatea, Pygmalion's statue, was brought to life.
Thus, Pygmalion was not only able to convince himself (enough to fall in love with an inanimate object), but he was able to convince the world when the statue eventually became a real person. He succeeded in changing not only the nature of his own reality, but the reality for all those around him.
While we might not get Greek Goddesses answering our prayers anytime soon, this next tool will help us achieve a similar effect. It'll allow us to not only validate our deliberate belief prompts, but also change the reality of those around us.
Now, when you're changing your reality, and the reality of those around you, you're only a few degrees of separation away from changing the reality of the world. If you reach a position of influence, that’s exactly what you’ll be capable of doing.
You'll see political and culture wars all the time where people from one side are living & believing in a reality that's exactly opposite to the reality of the other side, and the existence of one reality does not destroy the other. But to dissect how to effectively manufacture this reality, we need to leverage Pygmalion's Stack.
Pygmalion's Stack is simply building an undeniable stack of proof that validates your belief prompts. You need the positive feedback loop that comes from getting your beliefs validated, which is why this tool grows powerful the more you use it. That is how you get build trust in yourself, not just by believing whatever is useful for you, but by proving that through sheer will.
Without the existence of such proofs, why would you trust anything that you claim to believe? Why would anyone believe you? How can you change reality if you cannot believe in your own thesis?
If you notice my list of beliefs above, despite how ridiculous they are, I have an undeniable stack of proof for each of them.
Because I do, if I were to establish a new belief tomorrow, I can trust enough in myself that I'll pull through on that new belief. If I fail in any of the existing beliefs once in a while, that's all right, because of all the existing times I know I didn't let myself down. By now, I’m well conditioned to trust that whatever I put my mind to believing, I’ll try my best in proving it.
The more times you reaffirm & verify each belief, the more you prove to yourself, the more these beliefs gets reinforced. They don't have to start out being true. But you have to pick beliefs which could be proven, and work hard enough to verify each multiple times throughout your life.
The best thing about Pygmalion’s Stack is what happens after you've built a stack of beliefs and verified them long enough - you start to influence the reality of others.
If you can tell someone that something can be done in 4 hours, what they take a week to do, they won't believe it. But once you show them, they will.
Till 1954, it was thought to be impossible to run a mile in 4 minutes. That was the reality for the entire world. Roger Bannister broke that reality, by being the first person to run a mile in 4 minutes. 42 days after he did, John Landy became the second person to run a 4 minute mile. Then, people randomly started running a mile in 4 minutes.
Now, even students in high school are expected to run a 4-minute-mile. What was once impossible is now suddenly normal.
That is how everyday life will feel once you master these 2 tools. By believing in what sounds absolutely absurd to everyone else, but showing up to prove what's possible, you'll be able to distort and influence the reality of everyone you meet.
Studies have shown that if teachers were led to expect better performance from students, the students performed better. If they expected lower performance, the students performed worse. This also happens in the workplace between managers and their subordinates. This is known as the Pygmalion Effect.
This makes no sense if you think about it, but this is exactly what happens. Once you convince people to expect better of you, you perform better. Thus, once you start programming your own reality, you begin you program everyone else’s, and thus the operating system of reality itself.
We’re nearly at 4000 words. That's how much you've read if you've read this far, and for now, that's enough. There are more tools for our operating system, but these should provide enough of a foundation for you to start your own journey in discovering & creating your own.
These tools have to serve a purpose - and for most, that purpose should be self improvement. If a crazy man believes he’s secretly rich, he’ll probably live a happier life than if he believed that he’s not. But he’s crazy, to both you and I, and to the world at large, thus his beliefs serve him with no incremental improvement.
Similarly, if you believe things which are harmful for you, you’ll program your reality to fit that negative frame. That’s not ideal either, but you have to work hard to avoid this. Negativity & conflict sells and grabs your attention, and thus, most media is optimized to show you a negative reality, instead of a positive, optimistic one.
Programming reality demands hard work, and it takes regular practice, but the benefits, as you’ll quickly discover, outweigh the costs.
There are enough links on this page to take you down deep rabbit holes but again, I want you to keep the firewall active.
If you need more, read all of Scott Adam’s books. But also, spend time reading rationality books to improve your rational lens at the same time.
You cannot let these delusional beliefs affect your objective and rational lens, but you must believe them within youe firwall with 100% conviction.
As you practice these, you’ll start noticing the patterns everywhere. You’ll realize why some people are successful, why some are not, why some companies fail, why some don’t, why some cultures work out, why other’s don’t, why religion continues to thrive, why politics is the way it is, and more.
While you may not get all of life’s answers as you program reality, you will at least know what questions to ask.
You now have a great power.
But you also must use this power to create a reality that’s better, not just for yourself, but for everyone else.
With great power comes great responsibility.
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