One of the main failures of Paper Tigers is that they cannot think independently for themselves and worship Elitists. However, as history has it, every single breakthrough in human history has been made through unconventional discoveries which often if not always goes against the views of the establishment and Elitists!
Most want to worship current Elitists because…? Well, their friends, family, or those that they respect follow the crowd and therefore they feel compelled to join the movement without much thought. This is why History is so illustrious with examples of individuals who’ve started movements and rebellions.
The world is filled with examples of cycles where the current establishment, in thought, government, or enterprise are constantly turning over; out with the old and in with the new. Holding onto the past or present precludes the development of the future. What is may not be in the near or distant future. Yet, however, we still want to believe in the current popular mainly because we fail to use critical thinking to think slowly on each and every decision; thinking fast is much easier in comparison so we feel less compelled to use higher forms of the thinking process.
What’s most challenging is when you are the ugly duckling going against the crowd and standing alone with your beliefs. Only when you can endure all the ridicule, mockery, and being thrown various labels can you shut out all the outside distractions and focus on the only thing that matters which is the self.
For anyone who has made in the past did not do so by strictly adhering to tradition as they would have become an ancient artifact themselves collecting dust in some dark corner of a museum.
A buddy of mine challenged me to think more about:
the Game of Life
Rules of the Game
Ranking and Points System
How to get to the next Level in this Game or the next one
1) The Game:
Life is a river, flowing one way, and a careful selection of routes can lead to greater bodies of water or dead-ends/standing water pooling into swamps or lakes. Moving water is better than standing water because moving water has a chance of getting to greater bodies of water or higher levels in life.
The Stages of the Game are as follows:
A. In the beginning of the game:
Life until end of highschool or college/gradschool is rather structured. Goals are very clear and many have been through this assembly line. The administrators of this game, teachers, parents, and coaches all know this game pretty well because it is predictable and the results directly and readily measurable. Watching candidates shuffle through the assembly line of school has become a scientific discipline where the measure of one’s aptitude can be easily summarized by a few metrics being the almighty Prestige of Institution and the individual’s Numbers such as GPA (Grade-Point Average) and Test Scores (SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, etc).
B. Mid game:
Get the paper(s), good metrics, be branded by prestigious institutions and you can be on your way to middle-class paradise (white picket fence, 4-5BR House in the Suburbs, a couple of cars, boats, jetskis, etc). You ran the race well in the lower tier divisions, finished College at some top 10 whatever ranking order (US News, Financial Times, etc) for your respective discipline, got a few years of work experience at big name Fortune 500 (FANG [NASDAQ], ExxonMobil, J&J, Coca-Cola, HomeDepot, SAP, etc) company, went back for a Harvard Business School (HBS) or equivalent M7 MBA, and reshuffled back into the system as a higher leveled player leap frogging your peers stuck on the assembly line by a couple of years worth of leveling (grinding).
At this point, you are tied down to a pretty hefty mortgage payment, owe a ton of student loans, got a spouse, probably have a few rugrats (kids) running around. Current risk tolerance is much lower than the beginning phases of the game, debt load substantial higher from the leveling required that helped you get ahead, and set to live and retire in your current home or maybe one level above it should you make Vice President, Director, Managing Director, or the coveted Executive-tier rank at a Major or Minor institution.
Some break down at this point and have a mid/quarter/third life crisis and ponder the meaning of life. Too bad, you are a little in over your head to change course and speed, because the cash-flow schemes don’t make sense with other options on the table and the bills coming in have to be paid. Those chains of debt keep reminding you of why you are where you are at right now and the only sources of comfort is the smiling face of your spouse, your children, and a wag of the tail from your pet. If you didn’t manage to start a family by now you might have already been Tango-ing with Xanax and Chacha-ing with various devilishly tempting flavors of Alcohol as you struggle to walk life in a straight line swiping left and right at the various mating prospects that you shopped and took home from the App store Meat Market. It’s not too late, or is it? Wake up, it’s time to get back to the grind, the system awaits your production!
C. End Game:
It’s over! You either know or made it at this point or you are simply doing the ‘road’ program waiting to collect various sources of social or company sponsored retirement packages at 59.5, 60, 62, 65, or whatever arbitrary set date as determined by mathematical models to keep the current system’s payout to influx of new cash sustainable.
Regardless whether you made it or not, you reflect on all the ups and downs of the past decades, the hours robbed away from the now trivial but then seemingly so damn important projects/promotions/merits/achievements/awards, and you wonder what to do now with this new experience of retirement; the unstructured, undemanding, and unrewarding afterlife as a cast-away divorced from exciting and engaging Corporate ladder climbing life. Free time seems like an infinitely long rope to climb to a peaceful life spent in indulgence of hobbies or a tight noose to hang oneself in absolute boredom. Isn’t life swell? Don’t worry, it’ll all be over soon. Average age expectancy is around 85 and the rest is determined by how your body, mind, and genetics withstood the damage done to you by being a working Bee. Still remember where you kept your stash of Xanax and 9mm rounds? Finish your last Will and Testament and make sure you took out a life insurance policy. Enjoy your time or what time you have left on this Earth, you’ve done well and it will be all over soon.
In any competition, the rules are pretty obvious if one asks the right questions to determine how the game can be played. It basically comes down to this:
Get run over or worse left behind
At least this is how the game is played in a Capitalistic free-market society. You’ve seen examples of this in school where “Elite” students are heralded as Heroes and rest of the class a moving population of cannon fodder Losers for the successful. The Losers are told everyday and made aware of who the Heroes are and how the Heroes are infinitely better than whatever non-sense that the Losers can produce with their trivial lives. (But wait, didn’t some of these Heroes come from the lower-ranks once upon a time or deemed as losers by the media once upon a time before they made it? Shhh now, rest up, plug back into the Matrix, you didn’t just think this thought, erase it from your memory.)
Everyday, you either Advance or you get left behind. Produce or DIE. Simple as that. A group of individuals make up a company, a group of companies belong to a holding/umbrella/parent company, groups of big companies’ debt traded on exchanges, a group of the companies are aggregated together as an index to measure the overall health of the economies from various sectors, and the indices aggregated to tell the tale of the economic status of a particular Country. Everyday, economies get ahead or get left behind on a macro scale as determined by how the game is played on the micro scales between individuals up to the aggregated multi-national behemoth conglomerates.
Ask then the following questions to determine the rules of the game:
How do I get ahead?
What does it take to get ahead?
Who around my level do I need to leverage (or screw over) to get ahead?
How can I apply my talents to best exploit an edge?
Which mini-game(s) should I dedicate my time to in this big game of life?
Which Elite players (mentors/coaches/teachers) can help me level up quicker?
3) Ranking and Points System:
Capitalism made the ranking and points system pretty obvious:
You are either on that list or you are not. If not, try and try again.
Academia is now played through the battlefields of:
NY Times Best Seller
Ad Space on Harvard Business Review Articles or Publications on or below this caliber (Business Insider is the purgatory but still better than being straight up in Middle-Class Hell).
Academia is all about Impact Factor. Either your work makes a difference or it doesn’t and gets filed away into oblivion where no soul knows of your work in this life or the next. If you actually want to be well known during your life, you have to resort to shameless plugs in the methods listed above to crowd source your academic/mental aptitude insecurities and validate your life’s meaning. Think on Hero, think on, the Nobel Prize/Fields Medal/etc is only a couple of publications away. Keep dreaming!
4.A) How to get to the next Level in Games (Selection of Quests Available):
Corporations at any level want to prevent an Icarus situation. Icarus in Greek Mythology tried to take flight with a pair of wings made from feathers and wax, flew too close to the Sun, his wings melted and he fell to his death. Fly carefully if you want to fly high, avoid hot things that will melt your wings, and pack a parachute just in case. Corporations prefer you to remain as predictable as possible just like you were when you left the Educational Institutions so that you can be shuffled predictably from one assembly line to another, from one factory/warehouse to another until you leave the assembly lines and ship off to be sold/repurposed/recycled(buried in the ground aka Game Over).
A. Entrepreneur route (high-risk, high reward): If you somehow try to challenge the system (with your startup or idea), you will be converted into being one of them and join the elusive and exclusive club of the ultra elite (Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, etc). This is a complete IPO or buyout. If they don’t feel like buying you out entirely you will be allowed to survive so long as they want you to survive.
To complete this Quest you need to have (in no particular order):
Great innate talent(s)
Purposeful development of this/these talent(s)
Great Mentors/Coachs/Teachers/Peers to support all of the above
A bit of luck here and there
You want to make money? Learn sales and how to market products, services, and yourself. Hint: The closer you get to integrating the entire sales pipeline for your commission, the more money you stand to make. Be the person (company) that takes 95% of the revenue and flips the Salesman 5% for commission for a job well done. Be the person collecting the checks on your Yacht anchored out of your own Private Island in the Latin Americas and not the person still grinding when you get to your 30/40/50/60s depending on how you’ve played the Game.
B. Senior Level Employee route (mid* risk, predictable higher pay [120-400k USD/yr]): Slave away endlessly working for those who made it in the Entrepreneur quest. When effort, timing, and luck aligns you will be favored for promotion(s) assuming you didn’t leverage the nepotism card to get ahead in the game. An ideal end game is C-level position, else Senior Vice President or Senior Director, else Vice President or Director, else Senior Management or Senior Program Manager. The amount of your sacrifice has to be commensurate with attaining these ranks or you find the nearest bridge and promptly jump off of it because you failed to live up to your “ultra high”expectations that you’ve placed on yourself.
* = You will get to fire others before they fire you
C. Mid Level Employee route (high* risk, predictable okay pay [85-150K USD/yr]): Slave away to be the apple in the Senior Level Employee’s and Founder’s (Entrepreneur) eye. Promotions are far and few between because there is an ever larger and growing pool of entry level populating the Mid Level Pool (did I just hear a school bus backing up? Yep, there goes another innocent employee used to grease the tires on the bus that helped to advance someone else). You are fairly certain at this point that you aren’t going anywhere but your collection of DVDs/Blurays, 100″ Projector screen and Home Theater System, Semi-Luxury cars (BMW/Audi/VW/etc – by the way all made in the Bible Belt in good ole USA) keep you happy and off the ledge of the cliff. Having a spouse, children, and pets help as well. Hey, look at you, at least you might have a chance to maybe finish Senior level, right?
* = There are just too many of you and all the same, undifferentiated, and very replaceable if the Senior powers to be decides to cleanse the workforce to appease the shareholders on the next quarterly earnings report.
D. Entry Level Employee route (low* risk, unpredictable low pay [50-75K USD/yr]): You are the lowest person on the totem pole. You just got out of one game in the Educational Institution and you are trying to figure this one out. There are a ton of you around and you are ever so grateful but complain about the fact that your job sucks, hours are long, and you have a career that seems like it is going no where. There are too many people in the Entry level pool waiting to climb to Mid level waiting to climb to Senior. All your cool ideas are poached by the Corporation and you get flat fixed-fee pay off at least for your efforts or a pat on the back and “Thank You!” email from one of the Senior level(s) or Founder(s). You are too greenhorn to have an opinion, too naive to understand what’s going on, too young and still think you have your whole ‘life’ in front of you. Little do you realize that that’s exactly what the pool of Middle and Senior level all thought back in the day and they are still here today! Welcome to the [rat] race, here is your wheel to run on, get running.
* = You’ve got no epic gear to lose, no epic spouse or house to write home (parent’s home, not yours, you don’t make enough to have one remember?) about, and no epic experiences to be had. If you lose everything now, you can build back tomorrow, no harm, no foul!
4.B) Wait, what? That’s it? So how the hell do you get ahead???
Good question, how do you get ahead? The more you act and behave like the folks who are most successful in this game the more successful you become.
Want to run a company? Go start one!
Failed at startup? Good, try again!
Can’t lead worth shit? Good, join the military and learn some real leadership!
Don’t have any money? Good, go work a job on WallStreet or Military and save that money, try again!
Not going anywhere in life with your current group of friends? Good, dump them, get new ones!
Your peer group whining about the same things? Good, dump them, start talking to coaches, mentors, and teachers who are at least 10-20 years older than you preferably retirees 60+ who have more time available to share their life story and wisdom with brash and aggressive young lads such as yourself.
But old people suck, I don’t want to talk to them! Good, stay a loser and let others win for once and leave your whining ass behind.
Okay fine, but where do I find these old people to talk to? Good, finally came to your senses. Ever heard of grandparents or retirement homes? Volunteer your time and learn to give before you receive or take. Learn the power of opening up yourself to strangers and let them ripe your life to shreds so your life can be built back up together with a supportive team of experienced individuals.
You kind of get the gist of how to Win in this game by now.
Bottomline:Dump what doesn’t work such as useless activities, habits, and/or people in your life and fill it back up with useful activities, habits, and/or people. You will be on the right track to success by doing the above.
Life doesn’t get any simpler than that. Any deviation from the above truth is nonsensical waste of time. Have fun and go live. When you’ve figured out this life and can start to live it fully you can then start to ponder how to play the next game as you level up and what the next lifeis about.
Descarte once remarked “I think, therefore I am.”
Modern day social media clout hoarders often dubbed this as “I tweet/update/upload, therefore I am.”
Bruce Lee once said that life is about subtraction not addition. Take out the bullshit!
Smile, have fun, enjoy life, and live life by: “I am!”
Once upon a time the Ketuvim (כְּתוּבִים) was written. In it contained three poetic books called Psalms, Proverbs, and Job. It also includes a collection of five scrolls (Megillot) that has the book of Ecclesiastes. The introduction to Ecclesiastes the author is introduced as “son of David, king in Jerusalem” or better known as Solomon.
This book is a very good candidate to analyze and discuss with Shape of Stories as used by Kurt Vonnegut. All of stories can be mapped on an axis such as the one below:
All stories have a beginning and an end filled with a mixture of good and ill fortunes. Within each story there are sub stories that follows the same principle. This is how all stories are told since the beginning of time and some get creative by jumping around on the timeline to tell slices of the story in non-chronological order (i.e. Fight Club or better yet Pulp Fiction).
The story of Ecclesiastes is told from the perspective of a King who’s done it all and seen it all and can truly profess that “there is nothing new under the Sun.” Each pursuit begins with purpose, progresses to fruition, celebrated with delight upon triumph, and ends dismissive as a useless and meaninglessjourney. Each chapter is a mini story and each paragraph a sub-story that follows this story arc.
For instance, the story begins where everything is meaningless in a very bottom-line upfront approach in story telling. Next the author tells the audience that:
Wisdom and folly
There is an intermission where the element of time is introduced and different elements on the spectrum of human experience in opposing pairs such as:
Birth and death
Plant and uproot
Kill and heal
Tear down and build up
Weep and laugh
Mourn and dance
War and peace
Before resuming his negative stream of consciousness the author also gives a hint at the idea of infinity, eternity, and God. Along with these elements the author describes beauty, happiness, satisfaction, toil, and fear.
A continuous chorus of “everything is meaningless” is song constantly throughout the dialog to drive the point home to remind the reader of this “ill journey” on the shape of the story. The “ill journey” on this journey is eternal confusion and failing to comprehend eternity to be stuck in an infinite loop of questioning in a finite world without knowing how to migrate to the next level of infinity.
Before resuming to telling the next elements of meaninglessness the author runs through yet another mini-story explaining the meaninglessness of toil, dragging down the story towards “ill journey”, and then at the end offers a solution which is to journey in life with a battle buddy and never going it alone:
“Two are better than on, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Journey resumes and the list of meaningless continues with:
Advancement (Keeping up with the Jones’) [Part 1]
No way any normal man can keep up with a King, and no way a life can have meaning if a King cannot find meaning in it… Right?
Another intermission to remind man of eternity and “fulfill[ing] your vow to God.”
Meaningless list drags on with:
Riches [Part 2]
Can’t take money to the grave!
Your clout doesn’t matter worth a damn in a finite life vs. infinity
Now the entire meaning of life, major elements of it, and the toils and pleasures are all essentially worthless the author turns over a new leaf to then bring meaning back into all forsaken elements one by one. This is powerful for two reasons:
He got your attention by riding the story up and down the line of good and ill fortune
All your current perceptions and prejudices against all known things in life are now wiped clean
You are now a clean canvas
The teacher can start his lesson anew to build one up again
Each brick of the foundation is thus laid as follows (rising up from ill fortune to good fortune):
“A person’s wisdom brightens their face and changes its hard appearance”
Metaphoric for internal self image and perception
Obey the King
Basic law and order
A common destiny for all
We all die (Sorry!)
Wisdom is better than folly
“Now there lived in that city a man poor but wise, and he saved the city by his wisdom. But nobody remembered that poor man. So I said, ‘Wisdom is better than strength.’ But the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are no longer heeded.”
People chase paper credentials and social status more so than real life wisdom (Even back in the day!!!)
Invest in many Ventures
Talks about diversification to hedge against risk
Observe market conditions to know when to throw down and toil, when to restrain oneself
Concludes with step-by-step investment strategies and the mechanics of investing
Remember the Creator while young
A troubled heart and anxious mind confuses the young
Message is to ponder about the infinity and see how small your daily problems are in comparison
Author after mentoring the young closes his Sales pitch by saying the hard earned truth is the most concise guide to a no non-sense life without any addition or subtraction from the principles outlined. Studying too much and reading too far into other texts in search of the distilled wisdom is a pure waste of time.
Major arcs in the story consists of a beginning where it is “ill fortune” with mini-stories of ill and good fortune and the story progresses to “good fortune” until the conclusion where it remains neutral like the glass surface of a still lake on a calm day. Stories conclude like this for only one reason and that is to leave the choice up the reader to willfully live a different life or remain the same as before even after learning of this knowledge.
The lights fade, curtains drawn, stage empty, and either the audience applauds or walks out in silence.
[Readers discretion: Has some dark and negative parts]
I have a habit of checking on people occasionally to find out how they are doing and to see what new things happened in their lives. An old friend of mine, Big V, was last seen in Japan with a beautiful lady settling into an apartment after his retirement from Active Duty service. My mind finished the thought by saying “And they lived happily ever after.” Sometimes it is good to check up on old friends because real life is rarely Hollywood or Disney. My friend Big V had to give up the Hollywood ending as an expat and turning down lucrative job offers to keep to his duties to take care of his family back home in the USA. Real life is filled with sadness and despair that isn’t captured on film after the credits start rolling on the screen.
Real life, as we find out daily, is filled with challenge, grief, and misery. We want to find that sense of happiness if only to see it on the screen while streaming Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix. Why settle for what we have or don’t have in our lives when we can vicariously take our minds to experience distilled human emotions as projected by actors and actresses on the screen? It’s the constant medication for our insatiable miserable lives, right? It creates a sense of Nostalgia as illustrated by this scene from Mad Men. Entertainment is a pharmacy of infinite delusions with prescriptions to cure every single emotional malaise. We also can do this ourselves because we have a collection of past called our memory. We can always escape to the past experiences or emotions to run away from present realities and future worries.
Most of us have a hard time letting go because we have the Disney life of “Happily ever after” to play out in any circumstance or situation that we get into personally or professionally. It is impossible for every permutation of reality to be favorable in a one track simulation called this life (multi-universe and realities). The sooner we can let go or learn to let go the better off we become. The Sedona Method and the ideas within this book by Dale Dwoskin are tremendously beneficial for learning this fine art. Bruce Lee describes this very precisely by saying:
“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
No matter if you go back to the past with that person in that exact place, wearing the same outfits, trying to recreate those emotions back then as you want to experience them today, it will never be the same no matter how hard you try. That is a curious thought because chemically and physically (DNA) we don’t experience a drastic change so if the scene is set in the right way we should technically be able to reenact that script from the past. Emotionally and mentally, however, we will never be the same and it’s that gap of the mind and heart with the passage of time that separates us from mere animals. My friend Big V and I discussed this very thing and we came to the conclusion that we have to let the past go to live in the present.
Professionally, it’s easy to lie to ourselves to think that the dream(s) is/are still alive and that we must keep chasing it. We often feel that we are entitled to success with more effort we’ve committed or sacrifices made so therefore the universe owes it to us. This is a fallacy and there are many other factors like luck, networking, and creativity that are key in conquest. Since we live in a one track world not one of infinite paths, it is therefore crucial to let go of the dreams that drag us down instead of elevating us. One of the best things I’ve realized this year is to know and understand myself better, know when to pursue an endeavor 100% and when to simply let it go. Letting go of losing positions is fundamental in investing as well so you don’t lose your entire cash position/liquidity so that you can invest in something with growth potential. Let go of the dreams, people, possessions, habits, lifestyles, perceptions, and other things that prevents true growth opportunities from blossoming.
Let it go and feel that weight come off of your shoulders.
Emotions are fundamental motivators for production. Salsa singer and writer Marc Anthony once said in an interview that he writes music whether he is happy or depressed. Likewise, this post originates from anger but invokes thought that has some resounding truth.
Once upon a time I had a conversation with two wise sages. They were trying very hard to impose their seniority and experience in the Corporate world to justify their valuation of my worth to Corporate america. As wise as these sages may be, they were not experienced in human resources, finance, or career coaching or counseling. As we moved from the abstract of their thesis to full bodies of arguments where I interrupted and asked a few questions. You see, in my world, the world of experience in the military, we did different things and those things also had different functions and values. I asked the following question:
Did you ever land a helicopter on a moving ship pitching and rolling with adverse winds, foggy conditions, and cloudy skies with low visibility?
Have you ever dove under the water to simulate the attacking force trying to defeat and disable a ship?
Lead men into combat scenarios and man damage control stations to be able to fight fires to save the lives of everyone at work?
Have the lives of other men and women placed in your hands whom entrusted their safety and well being to your ever watchful eyes and clear guidance to land a helicopter in adverse conditions as mentioned above?
Star gazed in the middle of the Ocean under a clear sky with zero light pollution except that of the ship you are on?
Saw the golden sunrise and the ocean turn orange under the purple sky with sunset everyday?
Fish for Tuna at the fantail of the ship on a low speed cruise?
To all these questions were of course met with a resounding response of “No.” To this I say “You of little experience regardless of your own perceived wisdom.” Everyone reading this vicariously considered in their imaginations what those experiences above might have felt like and then a luck few were with me through those experiences know FROM their OWN experience how that FEELS like themselves. The experiences of the two sages were undoubtedly valid for their own perception of the Corporate world. They do not possess the aptitude, without experiencing it themselves, to fully valuate the entirety of my experience based on their vicarious understandings. I know from experience, they know from a story produced by experience. Life on the Oceans is a poetic and surreal experience that, if survived, can greatly broaden the spectrum of emotional and intellectual capacity of a human being beyond measure (at least much more so than a regular 9-5 office/monitor/keyboard+mouse routine). We lived on the limit.
Can you truly learn and understand everything from reading alone?
My previous article on Experiences talks about reading and learning from others. While this establishes a good baseline to form experiences of your own while avoiding a lot of pitfalls that were previously identified, it does not excuse a person from living and experiences things for themselves! Experimental vs theoretical science and reality is the ultimate litmus test (proof is in the pudding).
For if anything is written, it had to have been experienced or done first by someone in order to start the learning process.*
*Note: Assuming that the knowledge is genuine and not meant to deceive or mislead the audience.
Think about the statement above for a moment. Someone had to have taught Lao Tzu in order for him to teach others. That someone learned it from someone who did it themselves to be able to teach it in the first place. Therefore, all wisdom originates from an original experience or a group of experiences. Experience are the bricks used by philosopher’s mortar to conceptualize their theories.
No matter how wise a person may seem to be, we are all limited by time and our respective limited experiences. Since time doesn’t work for us but against, no one person can be infinitely wise. Our only hope is that the collective whole can in time grow to be ever more wise so as to avoid the pitfalls of the past treading into the intrepid unknown and hopeful future.
I wasn’t much of a scientist or engineer but I found the stories of these great folks who were in those particular fields of study to be very fascinating. The man above is Richard Feynman and he is one of the most interesting Physicists I know. Feynman wrote an interesting book called Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). He leads you through all the ways he thinks about life as a Physicist and an inquisitive person. He doesn’t particularly care for what others think of him, particularly his grammar, and just does things for fun! Give the book a read if you haven’t done so already as it is a worthwhile adventure.
Feynman never for a moment doubted his own abilities or his insatiable desire to explore the world regardless of what his peers or contemporaries thought about him. His self worth is determined by the size of his imagination and appetite for adventure. Obviously, this eventually resulted in him taking on wild vacations by putting a finger on a spinning globe and getting a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. Guess it doesn’t hurt to be curious!
So, if Feynman can do it, so can you, right? Well… Not quite. Not to say you cannot get a Nobel Prize or have a lot of fun but you will never truly have fun if you live by the rules set by someone else and their definitions of attaining success. The following quote is widely associate to Albert Einstein. Regardless if that is true or not it is a good quote anyways:
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
This is how most people judge their own self worth:
It’s easy to gauge social status and worth by titles assigned at big Corporations and Institutions, current dollar amount in our respective bank and brokerage account, number of ponies in the stable (cars in the garage), square footage of the house(s) that we own, boats (yachts) on the dock(s), and planes (jets) in the hanger(s). That is a good way to gauge our extrinsic value without really looking at our intrinsic value. Usually, by harnessing intrinsic talents we can acquire a lot of extrinsic knowledge and wealth (i.e. Elon Musk). Society easily judges based on extrinsic value because it is easier than to assess the individual intrinsic worth. It’s quicker to check the people on Forbes 100 list than to read entire auto/biographies of those very same people.
One way to understand intrinsic value is to read and understand others, both living and deceased, through various forms of media available. Ultimately, you will find a character like Feynman who is naturally curious and inquisitive about the outside world and himself. You will understand that smart and rich people worry about the same things as you and I and much more by understanding how they think. Once you internalized this knowledge and acted upon it in some reflection you too will find your own self worth as determined by your metrics.
My highschool Math teacher Mr.Ben Cook once told me that:
“If you are not having fun, you are doing something wrong!”
He’s an interesting character and reflecting on my own life I know he is right!
Asians are known to be the geeky bookworm type and this quote gives a good reason for this hypothesis! There is a wealth of content that can be extracted from the wisdom of the Ancient Chinese Philosophies. A lot can be learned from the experiences of others either living or dead, captured in writing, seen in a video, or heard from radio/audiobook/conversations.
Watching UFC Champion Conor McGregor speak about MMA training during an interview I noticed he placed a huge emphasis on sparing and training working on the precision of his strikes and training the mind. He said this is upgrading the “software” to his “hardware” which is his body. You don’t necessarily NEED to be beaten to a pulp in order to learn how to fight! There are smarter and better ways to get the same if not better training if you know how to upgrade your software.
In the military we drill and train to fight. This repetitive discipline keeps us very sharp and ready to respond to various scenarios effortlessly so that we can smoothly carry out the mission with minimum mistakes. This quote from the post-war debrief of a German General captures the spirit of training:
“The reason the American Army does so well in wartime, is that war is chaos, and the American Army practices it on a daily basis.”
As individuals, we also can find a lot of life’s intricate answers through self reflection rather than seeking out the advice of gurus who found the same solutions by doing the same introspective meditation by themselves. When you find out this truth for yourself it is many folds more rewarding than getting it regurgitated from others. Once the veil comes off, pharisees abolished, and truth liberated we can seek the direct path to our own truths through meditating and using critical thinking.
Society is filled with the concept of outsourcing everything to increase margins. On the subject of self development and reflection we can benefit greatly from the practice of insourcing. For every solution found externally must be internalized for any change to take place and solutions found by oneself within is one step closer to attaining a better direction for life.
Before asking what would XYZ Guru/Person do next time simply ask: