Monthly Archives: December 2013

Something Pleasant

Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

The Egg

Hedonic Adaptation

Worth a read if the following is of interest…

“Empirical and anecdotal evidence for hedonic adaptation suggests that the joys of loves and triumphs and the sorrows of losses and humiliations fade with time. If people’s goals are to increase or maintain well-being, then their objectives will diverge depending on whether their fortunes have turned for the better (which necessitates slowing down or thwarting adaptation) or for the worse (which calls for activating and accelerating it).”

Hedonic Adaption to Positive and Negative Experiences

Got this reference from an article on how most importantly, money buys freedom. You can check this article here.

The Real Use of Money is to Buy Freedom

A Realization

I’m in NYC. In just one day I was very overtly hit on by two gay baristas, offered illicit narcotics followed by a warm “Merry Christmas”, and saw two grown adults on roller-blades. Mind you, this is one day. This excludes the photographer who fell in love with my feet last week.

Temporarily changing the framework in which you exist in is perhaps the most powerful way to understand what you’re chasing and where you’re headed. Though I’ve only spent a week and a half in a new city, in a new culture, and surrounded by unfamiliar faces, the experience has offered a unique platform for retrospection. Maybe that’s why people often “escape to the wilderness” in order to reflect and collect themselves, because it’s a platform to view your permanent life from a more unique temporal state. It’s hard to get a panoramic view from the inside looking in, but the view is all of s sudden in perspective from the outside looking in. What am I trying to say? I am trying to say that I think it’s important to take somewhat extended trips away from where you have built your life in order to understand your goals, trajectory, and to simply collect your thoughts. What have I understood from my experience in NYC? I’ve understood that I’m growing up. I’ve understood that the goals of my early twenties are no longer the goals of my late twenties. I’ve understood that some of my naive ideas of concepts like career and marriage are much more evolved now. I’ve understood that the goals I currently harbor are shifting their trajectory year by year.

I remember circa 2009 I was in the middle of the wilderness at probably 2am listening to hard pounding electronic music, surrounded by a ton of people I barely knew. I distinctly remember thinking in that moment that “having fun” is not the end goal, because it’s temporary and easily achievable. “Having fun” is a short-term state by design. It leaves more to be desired. You can look back on the moments you have had fun and cherish them, but there is a glass ceiling to having fun. You can never have more fun than the amount that your mind allows you to. You can reach the end goal of having fun by having fun. I think what the majority of us seek out of life is not the end goal we can reach, but the end goal that is just beyond our grasp. And I think with every year’s passing, the end goal morphs into something slightly more refined.

A Brilliant Article

“I suspect there is something inherently misguided and self-defeating and hopeless about any deliberate campaign to achieve happiness. Perhaps the reason we so often experience happiness only in hindsight, and that chasing it is such a fool’s errand, is that happiness isn’t a goal in itself but is only an aftereffect. It’s the consequence of having lived in the way that we’re supposed to — by which I don’t mean ethically correctly so much as just consciously, fully engaged in the business of living. In this respect it resembles averted vision, a phenomena familiar to backyard astronomers whereby, in order to pick out a very faint star, you have to let your gaze drift casually to the space just next to it; if you look directly at it, it vanishes. And it’s also true, come to think of it, that the only stars we ever see are not the “real” stars, those cataclysms taking place in the present, but always only the light of the untouchable past.”

A couple realizations worthy to note

The cross-religion and ubiquitous debate of fatalism can be endlessly discussed. There truly is no answer to the debate, and thus our own subjective interpretation of the idea is really all we have. And our own subjective interpretation of the idea is shaped by the various meta-physical education, experiences, and ideas that we harbor. That being said, I’ve never been certain of my take on it. I’ve never really believed things happen for a reason, because if they did, a lot of the evils in the world would simply not exist. If things truly all happened for a reason, the world would embody somebody’s utopian fantasy – which it obviously doesn’t. People die, things break, illness befalls us all. Life ultimately, in some way, shape, or form betrays us indiscriminately. All of this aside, despite the times in my life when I have been most free, free of financial, relationship, familial, or other shackles, I’ve never actually *felt* truly free. My recent decision to leave my job and my city for a new adventure, to some degree, seems as though it has been prescribed to me somehow – despite it’s appearance of complete freedom. Maybe that’s why true gravity of the situation has never really bore its weight on my shoulders – because I feel as though it’s a path that has been constructed for me to follow. Somehow, there’s always a glimmering guiding light distantly swaying in the fog. A light that I feel I am following, though I’ve never seen it. It’s a bit hard to explain I suppose.

Second, I’m coming to realize, more and more, that really your trajectory towards achieving anything is truly a reflection of your own confidence and attitude. A wise friend once advised me that you can think yourself through any situation. I didn’t really comprehend the true meaning of it, and I still don’t think I really have. But with every positive and/or negative life event, I’m seeing the energy from the outcome can be guided towards something greater, solely dependent on one’s confidence and attitude towards it. Confidence and attitude is vital to building the strongest version of yourself. It opens opportunities, builds attraction, builds self-esteem, and perhaps most importantly, begets more confidence and positivity.

Granted, I’m a victim of circumstance to the context I was born into, I hold high esteem in the path I’ve constructed for myself thus far. I need to keep that steam in my head to power the future assurance and confidence in both my personal and professional success. I have been offered my very first opportunity for employment in New York City. Once brimming with doubt, a resilience supported by friends and family has resulted in a success that I was previously blind to. The opportunity embodies two vital characteristics critical to my well-being in a career, a) Meaningful and purposeful work and b) a specific level financial stability.

This new found financial stability will enable me to benefit myself, my family, and others who need it. Sometimes capital is the missing piece in a machine which desires to mutually benefit itself and others who need it most, so I don’t necessarily regard it as evil. What I do regard as problematic, however, is the human condition, which gives way to the worship of capital above other things. The ego that comes with power, success, and financial security is deceptive and complex. I strongly believe in order to control one’s ego, one must not only think about restraint, but practice it through action. A quote that captures this essence figuratively has been said by Tariq Ramadan.“Saying that Islam is in the heart, is similar to giving back the exam’s paper completely white and saying : the knowledge is in my brain.” To admit that you are modest, charitable, caring, etc can not only be a matter of thought – but must be a matter of tangible action. I do think intention, for anything is cornerstone. But intention coupled with practice is what makes a tangible difference in the world – not the intention in and of itself.

Another wise friend once advised me, “Never get too comfortable” And he’s absolutely right. The human condition strongly favors comfort, and why not? But as muscle requires to be broken down in order to build, and as the rose bush requires pruning in order to thrive, we must challenge ourselves beyond our comfort in order to build. This is much easier said than done. This is not to say that one should repeatedly throw themselves into flames and expect to grow from it. But rather, to never settle for less. Appreciate and respect what you have, and understand the benefits and privileges you have are greater than what most have, but never close the possibility for improvement. This idea, to never settle, I believe erodes the future-state regrets of “What if.” From what I have consistently heard from others, it is not the things you did in life that you most regret, but the things that you didn’t do. This may sound like a preachy, Gen-Y, idealism and dissatisfaction and under-appreciation of what you have, but really, that’s not my aim. My aim is to encourage the calculated risk, pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone. As JK Rowling said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” Failure, rejection, miscalculation, and denial is all scary and best avoided. But if completely avoided, then one’s life has been subjected to confinement in the birds nest, without truly feeling, seeing, and learning from the possibilities outside of those confines. With age, any sort of risk or comfort bears more burden, becomes more intimidating, and is generally less enticing. But what keeps our minds, bodies, and ambitions healthy is a constant challenging of the status quo.

Just some thoughts.