The Sevenfold Secret



By Gary Z. McGee



“Being unconquerable lies within yourself.” ~Sun Tzu


1.) The secret to happiness is freedom:


“To win true freedom you must be a slave to philosophy.” ~Seneca


You want to be happy? Be free. Free yourself from your false self, your culture, your expectations. As Rumi advised, “Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.”


Surrender yourself to inquiry. Forfeit certainty. Sacrifice answers to questions. Allow fate to drag you kicking and screaming into awe. Give up all hope for a “meaning to it all” and instead create a deeper meaning of your own.


Gain mastery over what you think you know by not allowing your mind to settle. Keep the open-ended question mark ahead of the dead-in-the-water period point. Keep freedom of “I don’t know” ahead of the fetters of “I know,” lest “knowing” become the prison of a comfort zone.



2.) The secret to freedom is courage:


“The secret to happiness is freedom. And the secret to freedom is courage.” ~Thucydides


You want to free yourself from your tiny comfort zone? Keep courage ahead of comfort. A hero must face the dragon of cultural conditioning with the courage to recondition it. Otherwise, he remains a pawn on the chessboard of life. Be a hero over culture rather than a victim to it. Act with courage lest comfort make you complacent.


Self-discipline creates competence. Competence creates confidence. Confidence creates courage. With enough courage you can conquer anything. You can flip any script, turn any table, push any envelope, checkmate any king. You can gain an unconquerable imagination and count coup on the gods.


3.) The secret to courage is curiosity:


“Be a free thinker and don’t accept everything you hear as truth. Be critical and evaluate what you believe in.” ~Aristotle


You want to keep courage foremost in your arsenal? Keep curiosity ahead of certainty.


You are not only fighting your pride, your ego, and your self-importance; you are fighting their symptoms: certainty, blind faith, and dogmatic thinking. To prevent certainty from bringing you to ruin, you must ruin your certainty. You do that with the blurring ninja punch of curiosity.


The ability to observe without believing is the highest form of wisdom. Curiosity about thinking is the cure for believing what you think. As Einstein advised, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” And that reason is the suspension of belief.


4.) The secret to curiosity is the suspension of belief:


“The root of suffering is attachment,” ~The Buddha


If the root of suffering is attachment, then the root of attachment is belief. Suspend belief. When you suspend your beliefs, you suspend your religious-political-scientific sycophancy long enough to see the big picture. You get power over the power that your beliefs have over you.


In short: you get out of your own way long enough to realize that the propaganda machine of your brain and the political claptrap clapping back and forth is nothing more than a culturally conditioned song and dance.


When you suspend belief, you transcend attachment. You attain a fearless state of nonattachment, where you finally see how everything is attached to everything else.


5.) The secret to the suspension of belief is getting ahead of fear:


“Elevate yourself above the battlefield.” ~Robert Greene


The root of belief is fear. Become curious about your fear. Transform it into a whetstone. Use it to sharpen your mettle. Use it to test your soul. Use it to forge a character so antifragile that your fragility shatters against it.


Take the lasso of your comfort zone and toss it around the horizon of your fear. Pull it toward you. Get it behind you where it can push you further rather than ahead of you where it will only hold you back.


Fear is not an obstacle but a doorway. Tear the doors off the Ivory Tower and tell the oracles that they have failed. Ride like lightning, crash like thunder. Live dangerously. Live on purpose, with purpose. As Courage Wolf said, “Climb the highest mountain and punch the face of God.”



6.) The secret of getting ahead of fear is conquering death:


“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” ~Rumi


The root of fear is death. Rebel against despair and nihilism. Become the paradox flashing across the stage, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” but becoming something through the blood-and-bone knowledge of your existential fury, your unblinking ability to “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”


Such rebellion unburies God. It reignites the Phoenix. It lights up the dark. It shines a blacklight into the blinding light of culture. It reveals the primordial truth: energy cannot be destroyed only transformed.


Your spirituality becomes a firebrand so red-hot that the outflanking universe has no choice but to take it right on the flank—seared and sealed, and put on notice that you’re not just a speck in the universe, you are the entire universe in a speck.


7.) The secret to conquering death is a good sense of humor:


“If you can laugh in the face of adversity, you’re bulletproof.” ~Ricky Gervais


You are going to die. Rescue isn’t coming. No God is coming to save you from your sins. No so-called authority is coming to bail you out. No hero is coming to liberate you from taking responsibility for your own freedom.


The only rescue is a good sense of humor. The only God is laughter. The only hero is wit. When humor is God, all false gods die. When humor is the only authority, all seriousness dies. Boundaries dissolve. Placation and sentimentality are laid to rest. Horizons manifest. You are finally free to laugh, to play, to be fully alive.


In the throes of good humor, death shrinks into a null set, a nothingness, a moot point. It becomes merely something to weigh your lightheartedness against. A laughable inevitability. A pitiful parenthesis. A petty destination that the “journey being the thing” scoffs and finally conquers.


As Marcus Aurelius said, “Death smiles at us all; all we can do is smile back.”


Image source:Disconnected by Stupidgiant


About the Author:

Gary Z McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide-awake view of the modern world.


This article (The Sevenfold Secret) was originally created and published by Self-inflicted Philosophy and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary Z McGee and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.