Friends are those that challenge you and equally you challenge them so that you may mutually benefit from this exercise and grow together in life. Acquaintances are individuals who are more prone to getting hurt feelings during the friendship process, fall to the way side, and can choose to leave and cease communication. This is the law of friends and acquaintances and one shall only grow in life by having more of the former and less of the latter.
Some acquaintances couldn’t understand full well why Automation is crash over everything like a Tsunami and destroy this precious thing we hold dear to our hearts called the Middle-Class.
When debating this topic, the opposing party mentioned that “humanity has infinite potential, we’ve adapt to countless automation measures in the past, and will live infinitely fruitful into the future.” While is this a blissful outlook on whats to come, the reality is far from this case. The survivors have to learn to adapt at a much faster rate than the rate of automation. There will be victims of Automation and the victims will far outweigh those who somehow survived.
This is my response to the above thesis of “everything will just be fine”:
“For this to succeed I see all of the following to align:
1) Learning rate that naturally exceeds the average rate of those in the IT fields (aka they are smart or smarter than the average person applying to those jobs). OR dedication to throw away all your free-time to make up for the fact that you can’t learn faster than your competitors and the only way to get the same yield is by committing ever more time just to keep up let alone get ahead (Gatech syndrome)
2) Spend at least a couple of hundred or (thousand if you are slower) hours getting proficient in a couple of popular programming languages
3) Spend another couple of hundred or (thousand – same as above) of hours getting proficient in AI and ML/DP applications in those particular languages
4) Hope that others who embarked on this journey are now way behind their current skill level
5) Hope that the job flyer they’ve targeted still exist, if not, it exists at another firm and is still open to a candidate of the current skill level
6) Hope that their interview skills are on par or better than all other people running in the same race with more or less experience
7) Make it to final round of interview
8) Actually get an offer and accept it
Or know someone in the industry or do your own startup and hope to get funding. Both of which are much harder than the steps outlined above in 1-8.
Note: Media reports on outlier stories. It is easy to believe that everyone around you is a multi-millionaire/billionaire and that if you apply these 5 easy steps that you too can be rich beyond your imagination. After a couple of iterations of this non-sense and seeing rest of what you read is complete garbage, you know that to find stories on the 0.0001% and report the collection of these findings as the empirical truth for the other 99.9999% that have no chance of making it is fundamentally flawed.
Each step is a conditional probability and the total probability of success for all 8 steps to all be 1 is rather low. Apply this over the masses of people that will be displaced and you will find that a few might luck out and make the transition while most will fall on their swords.”
A buddy of mine made some revisions to my statements above by saying:
“This is a good fucking post. You’ve honestly summarized the last 6 or so years of my life here. I would tighten some numbers – for 2, definitely hundreds not thousands required for entry level. For 3, that is specialization, which can be done after first round retraining. Everything else I agree. I retrained in my free time while earning 30k a year over 3 years so ~100k investment based on my hourly rate is on point”
Figure out your own self worth, reflect on that, and determine your proper market valuation based on jobs that are coming into popularity not existing jobs that are deemed safe.
Stability is the egg from which hatches Automation. You want to be a part of the Chicken and less so the Egg that is laid. There are plenty of eggs in this world and a ton of new Chickens about to hatch when Automation comes into the spot light.
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.
Preface: I’m going to rag on Asians, especially Chinese, because I can, it is a suitable stereotype, and because I am Asian and Chinese so I can do it as much as I like. Tough.
Educated people are the worst. According to the Father of Alternating Currents, Nikola Tesla, “Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment.” Erudite individuals often abuse their enlightened minds to persuade others into schemes for which they cannot comprehend in order to exercise confirmation bias to achieving one’s own agenda. These people indeed are the worst. While these individuals may be intelligent, they are exceeding dumb because they are not enlightened but just educated idiots.
Asians, especially Chinese, are some of the dumbest people I know. Forgive them because they know not what they do. Their parents told them stories of stories of people who are better than everyone else because of a lineage of Ancient and Wise philosophers from many Moons ago. If there is a thing of Generational Wealth, then it is safe to say that there is also something called Generational Wisdom. As Asians, we are blessed with Generational Wisdom because there were so many of us and we systematically survived a lot of iterations. Generational Wisdom can make people feel entitled to not DO anything because the previous Generations have done it all.Therefore, all one has to do is sit back and let the crowd of “wise” individuals validate a concept, idea, or person and then simply nod in agreement. (link to Boston.com’s article on pitfalls of crowd-sourcing and bias from online reviews) Baring from fake news, deception, and other charlatan tactics, this might be the most effective way to save one’s effort and outsource thinking to the masses. But what if that weren’t the case at all? What if YOU had to think for once? Uhoh… Get ready, Paper Tigers, because you are in for a wild ride.
Everyone knows that Chinese are supremely Elitist and ostentatious when considered as whole; Ivy League Education, Employee or CEO/President/VP/etc of Major Companies, and iPhone using Louis Vuitton handbag carrying individuals. Asians also encourage their offsprings to think in this way and to disregard anyone who is substandard in comparison to their social caste as people who are “beneath” them are intrinsically a waste of time. By beneath I mean anyone who has:
But now Jack Ma is a household name. Before Jack Ma was successful he was hailed as a failure and now the media worships him like a hero. Quite the change!
When you ask Chinese what they think about Jack Ma before he is the man he is today they would be dismissive, reprehensive, or probably be glued to some Chinese-Drama on XYZ Channel without a care in the world. Now, when Jack Ma makes headlines, Chinese love him without question. Why? Jack was crowd validated and Forbe 100 certified. Without even looking up from their regular dose of Chinese-Drama, the answer, as per Generational Wisdom, is Jack is King. Easy, right? Wrong!
There are in fact hundreds of thousands of Jack Ma’s in the world, all equally hard working if not more so, all using the same if not similar techniques to tackle challenging problems, but only one Jack Ma made it and the rest are not THAT successful in comparison. Chinese glorify the story of the MOST successful while dismissing those of anyone “LESSER.” If the same message was said by Jack Ma and that of Jack Ma clones who didn’t make it, the Chinese will listen to the former and totally dismiss the latter and also remark that the latter is a complete loser and opinion irrelevant until they make something of their lives.
Reason #2: Worship Elitism and Fall to Pettiness:
This sure makes anyone preaching ANYTHING to the Chinese rather difficult under this philosophy of worshiping only the absolute top Elitists. Similarly, if this is applied to their own weaknesses, they would then become defensive and dismissive. Chinese are not particularly good at receiving it as much as they love dishing it out. For instance, one can argue that if the child were not successful then the parents are idiots and the grandparents are idiots as well, ad infinitum. Children who are clever can play this game with their parents and make them feel equally worthless under the Elitist system. If the child is not successful that means the parents could be better, the parents lack the resolve to improve themselves and therefore are not the most fit or Elite parents, and therefore unworthy to parent any kid let alone their own. If that were the case, then the parents need to find ways to hire other Elitist parents who are better than them and fall on their swords to save face because the child is ruined by lackluster environment and resources. No one wants to be told they suck themselves but the Chinese love to tell each other how much others suck. Ever wonder why a race of people never really got anywhere after thousands of years? It’s primarily because of this Generational Wisdom and maintaining this cancerous mentality of pettiness through thousands of years that leaves us with the righteous title of Chinese or Middle-Kingdom’s people or those that will never evolve to higher societies and will always be fending off surrounding Barbarians.
Why am I hating on Chinese so much? It illustrates my point and that the culture of Elitism is very much flawed. Natural learning that was supposed to happen to make people aware of the fact that they need to be more empathetic and sympathetic in understanding of others were silenced in favoring of blindly worshiping Elitists. If Jack Ma told everyone to jump off a cliff tomorrow then a lot of people will without question because it is Jack Ma, man!
Reason #3: Failure to actually be Educated:
Majority of Chinese interpret Education as a means of leveling up individual skills to get an ever higher paycheck in performing a high-skill based job and remaining pacified living a middle-class life. Education is for work only and work is for making a living. Education was supposed to be an enlightening experience to understand life better but many Chinese aren’t affording the luxury of understanding because they are too busy conforming to test taking and climbing the social status ladder. True understanding requires meditation for which is in short supply these days.
After exiting a rather dictatorial rule of Mao post Cultural Revolution, the Chinese mindset is that society and its systems are always right and the Government is absolute. Teachers and coaches have to be obeyed without question because they were appointed into those positions of authority by the Elitists due to their supreme qualifications and the system is supposed to work all the time without error. It’s a shame to have this mindset because the system in fact is flawed by construction and people who put people into positions most of the time do not have any clue what they are doing. That’s why mistakes happen, that’s why life is full of surprises.
It is much easier to have absolute belief and faith in the system without question and much harder to question everything and test ones understanding. Chinese love to do the former and fail often to do the latter. This is why they can be easily pre-suaded to buying dumb shit like Louis Vuitton bags and every edition of the Apple iPhone even though Huawei, Samsung, and LG make better phones at a lower price point and also run on a better platform called Android.
Paper Tigers are horrible creatures because they (1) live off of crowd validation, (2) worship elitism and at the same time fall to pettiness, and (3) lack a true understanding of education to think independently for themselves. Next time when you run into some “smart” Asian that says, “well, the Ancient Asian Philosopher said….” Hit them back with, “Well, what do YOU say?” They will try to cite a bunch of sources and use confirmation bias to bolster their original thesis, wait for this annoying display of “Education” to end, and then repeat once more, “That’s fantastic. Without citing references and quoting others, what do you genuinely feel about this issue or topic?” If you’ve always felt Asians were introverted and calm you will be in for a real treat as you witness full-on Paper Tiger Panic. Enjoy!
My good buddy, Jims, was the person who first got me to really think about the Game of Life. Beyond a simple board game, the real Game of Life is rather complex and any attempts to simplify it will be met with utter failure. It is what it is. Certain things can be clarified at best so I shall attempt to clarify the two dichotomous aspects of the Game of Life.
My friend Jims’ angle on this game is the following:
“My idea was more of a thought experiment about if life was a game, no one would want to play it, because there’s a lot of broken game mechanics in it. That it would ultimately fail. That the reason it hasn’t [become] free to play is because there’s a lack of competition from other games.”
Jims explains the structure, rules, and dynamics of this game very well when we discussed this topic at large in previous conversations. His above quote implies that the architects of the game has a very fat margin and wants to keep it that way. There is a lack of general competition to keep the game fair and interesting for all people certain people’s starting line is in absolute poverty while others are born with a silverspoon into an affluent family. The only way for the former to advance beyond their starting line is a ton of hard work and an amazing amount of luck and still never touch the starting line of the latter. Such games are obviously very biased, such is life.
The angle I took in my previous post on this topic was more of sarcasm, cynicism, facetious, and blunt. However, I did in very crude terms explain the rough idea of the theory behind the game itself which aligned with what Jims’ discussions. Jims told me that I leave the reader with a motivational and inspiring path that possess the fragrance inspired from heavy basenotes of Capitalism and a topnote of Meritocracy; this is the applied approach in playing the game itself vs the treatise of pure theory.
I felt it appropriate to draw the line in the sand and divide up the two discussions as separate topics and when appropriate intermingling when the music is right for the two to dance as one.
With Freedom and Self-Awareness, the paths to life are infinite. No one’s life is a straight line as it is impossible and boring without the ups and downs that takes us from evaluating the strategies and planning(theory) before going back to playing the game and the actual execution (applied).
While my previous post did have an overtone of Jordan Belfort/Zig Ziglar-ism (Sales/Inspiring/Pragmatic), it appropriately outlined majority of future topics.
Is the Game really stacked against us or can you actually do something about it?
Theory or applied?
You decide and à la carte use consume which ever body of knowledge and wisdom when appropriate.
Footnote: Future posts will be tagged with #Game of Life and Titled [GOL-T] or [GOL-A] for Game of Life Theory and Applied respectively.
Life is an investment of an ever scarce resource called time. To live life to the fullest, one must understand what activities and people to invest in and which ones to avoid. In investments, people often make the mistake of spending good money to chase bad money by dumping more liquidity into losers hoping for a rebound. In life, people make the identical mistake of dumping good time into bad activities and people.
To simplify, good activities and people are ones that positively and critically support you to attain your goals in life and provide a genuine source of happiness. Bad activities and people are the polar opposite of those aforementioned items. Your life has a netpositive and bullish when you start to acquire more activities and people that are goodand net negative and bearish when you acquire more bad activities and people. This is simply effective management of your portfolio of activities and people that you’ve acquired by investing your asset called time.
Think of all the activities and friends in your life. First, let’s examine activities.
What activities do you do now that you can do without in your daily routine and won’t miss it at all a week, month, or year from now? Bundle all this up and we’ll call these useless activities because they are so lukewarm or cold that it doesn’t stir up your burning desire and passion for life.
Useless Activities can include:
Mainstream News (fake and manufactured anyways, right?)
Watching the Paint Dry (you know what this means)
Vices (Various internet related or real life addictions. Substance abuse, etc. Use your imagination)
Drop all of the above if possible, the more the merrier. It’s all useless! Next, let’s examine your “friends.”
Your car breaks down in the middle of the night (2AM) on the interstate. You have every single known contact that you’ve ran across in your life at your disposal for phone calls.
Who will actually answer?
Who will actually come to your rescue?
Who will actually consistently rescue you from this and future incidents without fuss?
Who will you repicprocate this favor for from #3 above?
You and all your friends go on a hike and run into a Grizzly Bear or a Pack of Wolves. Someone or a group of people have to stay behind and fend off the animal(s) while the others escape or else everyone dies.
Will you stay?
If so, who else will join you?
If not, who will be brave enough to sacrifice their lives for you and the group?
If they step up, will you join them to tough it out with them to the very end?
The “friends”that made it through both Scenarios #1 AND #2 are your true friends. Rest of them are garbage, put them where they belong as they are not important in your life nor are you in theirs.
Analysis of Experiment:
At this point you can say, “Well, that was extremely harsh and brutal! You can’t be saying things like that about my ‘friends’!!!” To which I will respond with, “I just did.”
You know from doing the exercises above who are your friends vs. “friends.” The latter category is known as acquaintances.
Acquaintances is defined as “a person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend.” or “An acquaintance is someone recognized by sight or someone known, though not intimately: a casual acquaintance.”
Ahhhhh! So now you realize that you have a ton of acquaintances and very scare number of friends.
Don’t bother fading those who are negative and bearish, they will fail in due time and from their own devices, fall to zero, and get delisted from the exchanges (drop off the social circles). Only a couple of these folks who hit rock bottom will have a slither of hope of rebounding and the only ones that do exhibit positive qualities of attentiveness and adhering to sound advice.
Only invest your time smartly in people who exhibit the above positive qualities and also add value to your life by giving you objective support, guidance, and encouragement. Those people who can do this are usually from the small circle of friends that you’ve identified from above. Look for these great qualities in making new friends in the future! Now you are shifting to the right direction to be net positive and bullish. People who see and know you will want to invest their time in you to help you out. Now you are exuding success and successful people can identify and spot others like themselves. Very good!
Do your best to avoid spending too much time with everyone else who do not qualify as a friend. There are enough people in the world to be a friend to someone and if that person isn’t you for some reason someone else can fill that spot. Find net positive and bullish individuals and stick to them like superglue! Friends can be your peers, teachers, coaches, or mentors. This strong group of individuals will help you grow in life and make you ever more bullish for your outlook on life. These individuals can be both living and dead. Read a book or watch a video, learn from those who’ve passed long ago! Our collective human knowledge is what makes us humans immensely more powerful than other animals in the Animal Kingdom; use it!
Your one and only goal here is to (acronym: GDDC):
Grow the pool of Friends
Demote people to acquaintance when necessary
Drop negative or toxic people from friends and acquaintances immediately
Cut excessive acquaintances to focus on acquisition of new friends
Trying to lump everyone into a large pool by calling everyone your friend will only waste their time and more importantly yours! Cut’em! No need to shed tears, they left you stranded on the interstate anyways so why should you care?
Life is too short to mess around with individuals that add no value to your life or actively work to bring you down because they are toxic cesspools. Identify who your friends are immediately, stick to them and make new ones like them, and drop everyone else. The cardinal sin of investing is doubling down on negative and losing positions in hopes of a rebound. Learn to cut your losses early and invest in positions that will yield net positive results and ones with a bullish outlook!
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!”
How to Make a Country Rich video in the previous post hinted at some of the “loner” and “loser” activities that made great philosophers and thinkers great because our current society prefers worshipping the “celebrities”, headline grabbing icons, or controversies.
We are more than just the following (just to name a few):
Grade Point Average (GPA)
Arguably the worse non-weighted metric to evaluate students (easy credits == hard credits)
Salary or Networth
Competition of who has the BSD (key term in Finance)
Person with the largest FU money (another key term in Finance)
Educational Status and/or relative Prestige of School
Mine’s better than yours in XYZ department/sub-specialty
Boring ice-breakers as used by recent graduates long retired by experienced industry veterans
Reliving artificial experiences in a predictable game to find a common ground with a fellow inmate student.
Number of plastic trophies and medals won at XYZ Competition
For a high functioning “doing” type of job that requires fierce competition, the above values are used parametrically to formulate some equation to accurately assign a value to individuals for a best-fit into their future prospective roles at a multinational conglomerate (not quite what happens but at least we can hope. Actual process is a close guarded secret by HR). Being proficient at the above items makes us very productive for the system that churns out products or services.
However, the above attributes fail to measure the following:
Emotional Quotient (EQ)
High EQ usually overshadows and excels vs a caustic high IQ individual
Presentation, Salesmanship, and Acting skills
Eloquence and Articulation
These attributes measure qualitative assets as possessed by the individual that would otherwise be missed by the pure quantitative assessments mentioned earlier. We will revisit these ideas later on in this post.
It is much more difficult to get an idea of how the person will do by qualitative assessments. There are lengthy psychological profiling as part of job applications to vet candidates to conduct this assessment by gauging responses to artificial scenarios. This is most likely why most HR departments defer to looking at quantitative data on candidates since it is easier to compare and much less time consuming on the front-end of the job hunt without any consideration to the back-end cost incurred later for hiring a bad candidate.
The continuity of a company is much like a telling of a successful tale; a good story builds through different cycles and can be blissfully only if certain elements align between the inception and present day. Companies are comprised of workers who contribute to this entity to ensure its long term survival. Therefore, for a company to survive and tell a healthy tale the company must have strong main and supporting characters to carry it through all the stages of the plot and themes. These characters possess emotional and intelligence qualities that need to be carefully assessed for their potency and placement in the storyline. Without the emotional piece, the company is just a horde of robots doomed to fail. Emotion is the glue in which humans bond and intelligence used in analysis and telling of the tale. Both parts are equally important.
Assuming equal weighting on EQ and IQ, when was the last time that HR applauded your Emotional Quotient (EQ) during the interview process vs. the times they admired your GPA and hard metrics?
Facebook feed showed yet another plug from Harvard Business Review (HBR) on Carol Dweck’s concept of a growth mindset as it pertains to Microsoft’s adaptation. I quit reading the book when she cited Enron executives as a role models for creativity and ingenuity as I always thought the creative branch was over at Arthur Andersen.
Summary of Mindset: Everyone can whine about things, people succeed by believing they can and actually doing it.
Angela “Grit” Duckworth invents new vocabulary to go along with her new revelation that success comes from passion and perseverance in her book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. Angela has been on TED talks and headline of articles such as this one from Forbes. Suggestions for her next buzzwords coined have been rest of the breakfast menu such as oat(s), egg(s), ham, and bacon.
Summary of Grit: Watch the movie Forrest Gump.
Last but not least, we have Malcolm “10K” Gladwell and his book Outliers. A Princeton study done back in 2014 on the meta-analysis of performance in different domains only found a 12% difference in performance based on practice in this article. Primary counter-argument for the 10,000-hour theory? It has to be deliberate practice and not just any practice that can allow a person to trend towards mastery as cited in the previous article and as well as this one on the National Post.
Summary of Outliers and ancillary books: Practice under a superb coach/teacher/mentor and actually know what the hell you are doing and love it at the same time. Hours are irrelevant.
Major Sales Pitch: You have to have the right growth mindset and grit to endure 10,000-hours of training to become a true Jedi Master. [Mindset->Grit->10K Race]
Let’s examine history. We’ve survived for thousands of years, tiptoed through disease and war, built World Wonders, innovated and engineered ourselves to the current modern life. Did we really haphazardly survive all this time without the above tools or perhaps we’ve been doing this the entire time under other terms? My people (Chinese) built a Big Wall to keep foreigners (Mongols) out, Egyptians built Pyramids, Europeans survived the Dark Ages and flourished through the Renaissance (thank you Assassin Creed, history class could never compare to the Animus), and now we got the internet and this wonderful place called WSO. In the first two examples of the Chinese and Egyptians came down to one simple concept; work or die. Surprisingly enough, from this is ‘new’ idea of work, the aforementioned items are two of the Seven World Wonders.
I’m not bullish on re-branded buzzwords. These books are good at explaining basic concepts to first time readers but the idea that we’ve somehow missed the train for tens of millennia is hard to swallow. It’s like the new twig calling the branch and the tree trunk fragile.
I thought it appropriate to start the first blog post with direction because without it we may be lost forever navigating in the vast oceans of life. Emphasis should be placed on direction and not solution(s) because life is ever evolving for the players, environment, or game itself. In mainstream media articles can be found written by gurus purporting “# Steps used by Successful People” or “XYZ Effective Ways of dealing with ABC.”
The issue with the general consumption of these articles is that the reader is lead to believe that all will be well after they’ve successfully implemented the prescribed plan of action and life will be peachy living it happily ever after. For many of us we know this is not true because the article is written in such a way to have renewed subscription for readership, mainly to generate ad revenue and/or sell products and services of the respective gurus, so as to lead the audience to chase endlessly for the carrot or the next carrot that will solve all their problems. It never will.
What if life was never meant to be “fixed” and we live constantly in a continuous battle daily with wars waged internally in our minds between positive and negative thoughts and externally through physical exertion or conflicts with outside forces? If this were true, then any solution we throw at the problem of life is simply a band-aid solution to an everlasting problem that is essentially unsolvable. For any one or groups of guru to prescribe a possible solution to an unsolvable problem would make them a genius or a pauper with no fan base. Life is hardand people have been trying to figure it out for thousands of years with limited success. How do I know this? Because men such as Voltaire and Leibniz came upon an idea of the “best of all possible worlds.” We aren’t in it because our society is still imperfect after all these iterations so therefore we really haven’t figured it out.
Direction is fundamentally different than solution(s) but has also possess similar qualities. Google Maps can provide you a list of directions with steps telling you when to turn and where to go in an orderly fashion. Google Maps can also re-direct you if you go off-course to go back onto the path of least time expended to get to your final destination. In this case, Google does the solution or thinking for you to get you back on course with a new set of directions. Solutions would be like using print-out directions from MapQuest (for those of us who still know what that is). A guru like MapQuest would tell you how to get from point A to point B with a set of instructions and wish you the best of luck. If for some reason you go off course in the days before Google Maps, TomTom, Garmin, or any other GPS tracking system you better hope you have a printed map of your current area. Claiming to be a solution without the appropriate thought process or heuristics to dynamically adjust course is driving blind. You will quickly get lost and eventually ask the locals for direction.
The poem “Invictus” by Henley below best describes the purpose of this site and the view on direction for life. This excerpt from Invictus best describes gaining that direction for life:
“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
I don’t have all the answers and my life is just as messed up as anyone else’s if not worse. Haha! Yes, I just laughed at that statement because laughter is a great medicine for a lot of ailments of the heart, mind, and soul. So, life isn’t perfect and there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow if the rainbow exists in the first place. We won’t ever get that carrot at the end of the stick but are still told to run the race because that’s all we know. Anyone competent can wax philosophies about how messed up our world is and at the end still come away empty handed as if to shake ones fist and scream at the cloud filled night and stormy seas for not revealing the shining celestial salvation when your ship is rocked about in rough waters.
So what? With a strong sense that you are still the master of your own fate and captain of your own soul, as long as the ship weathers the storm you live to fight and navigate another day. That’s the beauty of having a sense of direction (vision, purpose, goals).
I’m here to share knowledge, stories, and wisdom so that others may also find their own sense of direction and sail to their respective peaceful shores. We collectively are lighthouses for each others lives in the journey of life. Through sharing experiences by storytelling we can act as guides to each other in the darkest of nights.
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”