“Take this whole life as a myth, as a story. It is one, but once you take it this way you will not be unhappy. Unhappiness comes out of too much seriousness. Try for seven days; for seven days remember only one thing – that the whole world is just a drama – and you will not be the same again. Just for seven days! You are not going to lose much because you don’t have anything to lose.
“You can try it. For seven days take everything as a drama, just as a show.
“These seven days will give you many glimpses of your buddha nature, of your inner purity. And once you have the glimpse you cannot be the same again. You will be happy, and you cannot conceive of what type of happiness can happen to you because you have not known any happiness. You have known only degrees of unhappiness: sometimes you were more unhappy, sometimes less unhappy, and when you were less unhappy you called it happiness.
“You don’t know what happiness is because you cannot know. When you have a concept of the world in which you are taking it very seriously, you cannot know what happiness is. Happiness happens only when you are grounded in this attitude, that the world is just a play.
Q: What are the key modes of thinking that drive our values and beliefs?
[Adam Grant]: Two decades ago, I read a brilliant paper by Phil Tetlock, who introduced me to this idea of thinking like a preacher, a prosecutor or a politician. Once I’d gotten that framework into my head, I couldn’t let it go. I saw it everywhere… I saw it in my own thinking… in other people’s thinking… I saw it in the way we communicate.
The basic idea is that when you’re preaching, you’re trying to proselytise to other people and defend your sacred beliefs. When you’re prosecuting, you’re trying to win an argument which means you’re going to have to prove the other side wrong. My big worry is when we’re locked into a preacher or prosecutor mindset, we’re not willing to question our own assumptions and opinions… if I’m right, and you’re wrong, then I get to stand still, and you are the one who needs to change. In politicianmode, things are a little more flexible. In that mode, I’m trying to win the approval of an audience – and that means I’m going to lobby or campaign. I might say things you want to hear, but I might not be actually changing what I really think or- if I do- I might be doing it to appease my tribe rather than to find the truth.