Panta Rhei

Part 1: a collection of reflections

Heya Desai
3 min readDec 30, 2022

Panta rhei: Everything flows

Heraclitus taught us that everything is a constant becoming; a process of change.

Heraclitus of Ephesus claimed “life is flux” and though he presumed this observation would be crystal clear, we continue to resist change in its entirety to this day.

The Pre-Socratic philosopher was well aware of this, yet encouraged society to embrace change and celebrate it wholeheartedly, without denying that what one had could inevitably be lost.

After all, change is the fundamental essence of life.

We’re constantly in a state of flux — it’s the irrefutable pathway leading up to growth, change, and evolution, regardless of the catalyst potentially being accidental.

I didn’t want to make my self-proclaimed “comeback” with a 2022 update, instead, I want to share a few streams of thought, by unraveling my mind.

Traditionally, I’d plan to write my key takeaways and my lessons learned at the end of the year, or at the beginning of the new year. There’s still about 6.48% of 2022 left, and I know that I’m going to be continuing to figure things out and learning along the way, so what I conclude to be my biggest learnings will change.

At the end of the last few years, I’ve labeled them as these journeys of seemingly endless learning — ones where I came out a better, healthier, and wiser person, rejecting the truth that every year will be a “learning year”.

I can’t pre-determine “productivity” and “success” as themes of the coming years.

I don’t know everything. I don’t know when I’m going to have to re-evaluate the direction I’m heading in.

Can I increase the rate at which I achieve pre-defined success? Absolutely.

But regardless of how aligned circumstances are with my mental “perfect”, I’m never going to escape the fluctuation life comes with.

I can paint a good foundation and do everything I think I need to do from my perspective, but the future remains unpredictable.

So while I’ve continued to acknowledge that recent years have been full of learning, the way I describe my vision for what’s to come is a lot more detrimental than beneficial.

It’s ironic now that I think about it,

lifelong learning is really important to me, yet I’ve labeled the past few years as “years of learning” — self-implying that results and outputs will dominate the following year.

As it turns out, learning and any defined success metric are not mutually exclusive.

I knew this though, or at least I consciously believed I did.

All beliefs are contextual

Like this, there are contradictions in even our strongest-ly held beliefs, and I’ve learned that there’s a pragmatic reason as to why. Visualize your brain trying to catalog all exceptions to your core beliefs and protected values — your frontal lobe may be challenged.

There’s also no automatic mechanism that points out the dissonance and automatically resolves it.

Once we have more than one protected value, there’s a higher probability of them coming into conflict at some point. Almost any statement I can make about human behavior is only true in certain circumstances. There will likely always be circumstances where I unintentionally think/act against my beliefs because the contradiction is rarely explicit.

So I’m left with a few options.

Rationalization.

I can make a mental note and understand my beliefs aren’t contradictory and that they vary based on conditions (often described as the “it depends strategy”)

…OR I can eliminate the inconsistencies moving forward by actively choosing one belief based on data points I’ve collected from experience.

The latter was the indisputable case with my mission to engage in continuous learning co-existing with mentally separating learning and reaping desired outcomes when forecasting the year to come.

One of the largest shifts I’ve made in my mindset has been eliminating the premature cap I put on having to iterate, making changes, and switching my approach or plan concerning any objective.

Life is dynamic, and the only constant is change.

What’s next? [Sequel Reads]

  1. Planning is a Multifaceted Model
  2. Environment is the Invisible Third Hand
  3. Vulnerability and Emotional Honesty → Valuable Relationships
  4. Discipline > Motivation

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