Monthly Archives: October 2019

Simple life ideas no one talks about

In this post, we’ll have a discussion on simple life ideas no one talks about.

Life just like the human-animal is complex on its own merit. Thousands and thousands of books have been written about it, songs composed and lectures given, and still up to the day of this writing there hardly is a single and concise definition of what it is, or what it might be all about. This doesn’t mean that the whole of it is a mystery. Just like an unpredictable artist who once in a while it reveals a little of itself while keeping its mystery, life too gives us a glimpse of itself but in a way that it’s either to clear to pick up even for the clear-minded or too painful to accept even for the thickest of the thick-skinned. This post is a blend of both worlds, and hopefully, you’ll finish the reading with a clearer perspective of this thing we call LIFE.

Simple life ideas no one talks about

As the title describes it these ideas are simple and for one reason or another we don’t bring them up as much as we should. What it’s easy for us is to rehash old sweet-sounding ideas repetitively, each time feeling like we’re breaking new ground. The truth is that we’re all aware of this on some level, but you know how the human mind is. It’s wise enough to know the truth without knowing, but also creative and relentless enough to hide it from itself.

1.Not Everything matters

The first and likely to be unpopular life fact is that in life not everything matters. In fact, most things don’t even matter when putting to perspective the droplet of time a human life is. And yet most of us act as if everything is the most important thing in the world. We live in a time in which social norms/standards are literally made overnight, and before we can tell something even happened we find ourselves living by different rules. When yesterday you could say whatever you wanted without feelings of fear for your career, today even the self-entitled “I don’t care what people think of me” people have to watch over their shoulders before they open their mouths.

This is good and all, but as you know, with every good comes some bit of evil and vice-versa. The speed with which information travels makes the easily impressed/influenced lose their sense of direction. I’m talking about the kind of people who follow the crowd. I’m talking about most of us. Who 50 years ago would live conservative lives not because they themselves are conservative people but because being conservative was the norm. In the past change would happen very slowly, just like the way it does in large organizations that have been around for decades.

Now the kind of social change that would require years can come and go in a matter of months if not days. All of a sudden everybody is passionate about this cause, and in no time everybody forgets that the issue is still there. It never went anywhere. Just your mind did. Just like a helpless seducer, it found itself chasing something new because what once was exciting is now old and boring. Even as retains its importance and urgency. Not everything matters people! I know It might sound cynical but once you accept this truth and apply it to your life real change can happen. When you only allow yourself to worry and stress about a select of very few thoughts about things you can put/give more of you to those things. This leads us to the question of: “What really matters for you?” Is it money? Relationships? And an even more important question is: “why?” Is it because someone told you the things that matter for you matter? Or does it come from a deep place from within you that might not be completely understood by you yourself, but whose fundamental insights in the subject of “you” tend to be accurate?

The problem with this attitude to life begins when you first voice it out to other people. This is why trying it out first for yourself and seeing the benefits that come from it is perhaps the best. The reason for this is that people are very good at putting their values, goals, and dreams onto us. This need comes from an even deeper need to influence other people. To see them taking our advice and to be able to tell other people that we were the cause of so and so’s change in behavior. We want to be smart so some of us will go to the extent of hurting someone through bad advice just to feel good about ourselves. Anything new, especially if opposed to our beliefs is not welcomed, simply because we tend to attach our identity to our beliefs. We become what we believe in. Many believe that everything matters because if it doesn’t chances are that they don’t matter. And that my friends, just like a life without an afterlife whether true or not is an unbearable thing to imagine.

So what really matters? The answer is simply whatever matters to you and you alone, and you can only really know what this thing/set of things is/are by spending some time alone. By quieting the voices of the many people that whisper within you while giving the fake impression that the values you have come from your own self, just because the voices you hear come from your own head. Not all voices are yours even when they sound like yours or come from within that thing you call your brain.

2. Not everybody matters

Still on the same vein is the idea that only a select few can realistically matter to most of us. We live in a time in which being social has been overblown. Just like groups that have been oppressed, instead of a correction, as the comedian Bill Burr often says, there was an overcorrection, in which the oppressed become oppressors and the only reason why they don’t get the title is because now they have control over perhaps what one would call the most powerful weapon that ever existed, and that is dialog. When you control the labels you can make nothing out of something, and just as easily something turn into nothing. The point is that even that which we consider good can turn bad when overdone, and one of these things is the idea, or to be more accurate the silent idea that one’s happiness is directly proportional to the number of friends one has. So we silently try to become that person who is able to develop deep relationships with every soul that crosses our path, even if we’ll never see them again. So the ones with fewer and deeper relationships can easily feel as if what they have is not enough, ignoring on the process the fact that they might have something priceless at hand. and just like the child that hasn’t felt yet the burdens of adulthood, that same person unknowingly prays for silver when they already have gold, simply because the world told them that silver is to the gold they have what the gold they have is to the silver they now want.

Not everybody matters and one should not seek to be best friends with everybody. Be overjoyed when you find that one person, or that one group who/in which you and them feel the closeness the hand feels when it slips inside a custom made glove. When there is no room for interpretation, or even the need to pretend anything for anyone. It just is. I like to compare the power of a great relationship with the effect that a career path that suits a person has on the way they spend their time. For both time is always at a deficit. Moments and hours are indistinguishable from one another, and for each, the mind’s solely purpose is to slow time down, which fails miserably until it has to settle for less of that it is the attitude of just enjoying the moment while it lasts. Can that be even defined as settling for less?

The point is that relationships are perhaps one of the best areas to apply the old wisdom of “it’s not about quantity. It’s about quality.”

3. There is such a thing as wisdom from within

The third point is that in life it pays to understand oneself. We tend to put emphasis on the kind of person who goes their own way and never follows the pack. Some of us are completely against this approach to life, and their appreciation of well-established rules and procedures to do things is often looked down upon.

One thing I learned about human beings is that they are vastly more complicated than they look. The moment we try to place them in neat little boxes of definitions the more prone to mistakes we are. Just think about introversion and extraversion for example. Can you place yourself/anyone in one or the other completely? Chances are that no. So no wonder problems quickly arise when that moment comes in which the wisdom of the masses fail us and we feel emptier than ever before. The truth is that life is a game in which most have no clue about the rules and very few if any have only a vague idea. But most of us, however, can’t help but follow others like us who, for whatever reason managed to convince us that they know the way in a journey they themselves are taking for the first time.

The point is that life is complicated and blindly following the pack or blindly ignoring it can be a source of great pain and unhappiness. You need to get to really know yourself to be able to even get a shot at happiness and that takes time.  From within the truth about yourself comes to life, not because the inner you is mystical or anything, but because we’re all the main character in the story of our lives, and it’s impossible to get a main character perspective in a plot in which you’re nothing more than an extra. The point is that through introspection you often get to know more about yourself than you would from someone else’s point of view simply because only you can really know what it feels like to be you. Only you can really know what “I” means.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

Leave a comment below

How To Stop Failing At Life

In this post, we’ll have a quick discussion on how to take your life around.

Most of what tends to become one’s life is really the product of momentum. Meaning that at the end of the life of a winner/loser, the winner/loser might find it hard to put the pieces that led them to where they ended up at. One explanation as to why people get to where they end up in life is the word momentum. The drug addict doesn’t begin as a drug addict. He/she starts going the drug path step by step in a way that each step feels so small and inconsequential that it barely registers in conscious awareness as a potential source of future happiness and joy/misery. We are creatures of habit. The more we do something the more likely we are to do it again in the future, and the more likely that is that the behavior will become a habit. Hardwired in one’s brain almost in the same way that some applications come pre-installed on our mobile devices. We can’t remove them or the system will fall in part because they are more than just mere parts. They are a part of what the system is.

What I mean is that after habits become habits, habits become who you are and maybe even how you identify yourself. This is why turning one’s life around sounds good in theory, but just like exercising it can be downright dreadful in practice. The change is in part hard because it requires along with it the death of your current self even if not completely.

How to stop failing in life?

Below are a few tips/ideas worth thinking about when that moment comes in which you realize that you’re worse than just not progressing in life, but in fact in a negative momentum towards destruction.

1.Looking for ways to stop/reduce the momentum and cleaning up your room

This first point is a product of two ideas I learned from two people a while ago. The first comes from the investor and social media Guru Tail Lopez, who is one of his many talks advised the listener that if he/she wanted to make more money to look for a way to learn how to make  an extra $100/month, and after that $500, and on and on until you have become satisfied with your income. The same idea can be applied in reverse. Instead of trying to stop the negative momentum all at once a simpler and probably more productive solution even would be to try to reduce the negative momentum. To become a bit less of a failure as you might feel day by day until your negative momentum becomes neutral.

One of the biggest problems in goal achievement is that of trying to climb a mountain all at once, and to then incorrectly assume that the first few hardships on the way up are indicative that the mountain is infinitely tall even as it looks reachable.

From this idea, another comes to mind. That of Jordan Peterson’s, who is known to promote the importance of doing simple things to make your life less miserable such as cleaning up your room. When you finally get to neutral the same principle applies if you want to get to the green. To each day do one simple thing that moves you in the right direction. Like Jordan Peterson, himself taught in many of his talks that thing could be as simple as cleaning up your room, which although small, it’s also not so small. The power of it is in adding a small fraction of positive momentum to your life which is very important if you want to get extraordinary results. This is one of these ideas most of us have probably thought about at least once in life, but that happened to be immediately followed by the negative voices falsely reminding us that if progress is so small that you can’t see it, it’s not progress. This is why many of us never bring ourselves to begin the journey of reading books and growing our minds because often a given book contains nothing but a small gold nugget of wisdom. We forget about the power of compounding. As the book, The one thing teaches us: “small changes can quickly add up to big results”.

2. Pay attention to the way you spend your time

Many people talk about habits and how powerful they can be in changing one’s life. At the same time, even more, people struggle with the fact that creating new habits is hard. One thing I noticed through observation is that a part of creating new habits is being able to replace what you want to stop with what you want to start doing in your schedule. If you want to be fitter, maybe the solution is in scheduling some form of exercising around the same time that you tend to overeat. The idea is to essentially time starve your bad habits away from your life.

3. Stop obsessing about how much of a failure you are

One thing about failing and winning is that as the old Christian proverb teaches us, the more you have of one, the more of it you’re likely to get, and the least of the other you get the lesser of the other you’re likely to get. The same lesson is taught in physics, where the idea of momentum itself is that what is in motion will remain so until some force that goes against it appears to stop it. The same can be applied with negative momentum in life. The issue here is that the more you fail the more you think about it, and the more you think about it and feel the effects of the anxiety and depression caused by the thoughts, the greater the odds that the negative momentum will remain. Chances are even that the momentum is more likely to increase in speed. So, the point is to as counter-intuitive as it might be to stop thinking enough so the thoughts don’t get in your way, but not too much so that you’re content with whatever life throws at you whatever it might be, which just like the first is not a good thing. A similar example occurs in relationships, in which one is forced to keep the sustained balance between being present so that the partner doesn’t feel neglected, but not so much so that the attention becomes claustrophobic and what would once upon a time look and feel like the actions of a carrying person become defined as controlling behavior.

The idea here unlike what many self-help books will urge you to do is not to stop thinking negative thoughts altogether. Which as you might know it’s next to impossible, because most of the time we spend, we spend daydreaming, and some of that time will be filled with negative thoughts, no matter how positive of a person you are, or how amazing your life might be. So, it follows that even attempting such a feat can be detrimental to one’s attempt to recover from a failing streak simply for the fact that

  1. You’re almost guaranteed to fail and
  2. The pain of failure might add to the negative momentum if not making it even worse because now you’re not just a failure at achieving external things, now you don’t even have power over your own mind. Which is an unreasonable demand to make to oneself. Just think of monks who spend decades of their lives attempting to find enlightenment and some even to attain the state of having no thoughts at all. They might manage the state for a while, but no one who happens to be awake can sustain the state indefinitely.

4. Do something positive regardless of how small

Still on the same breath of momentum is the idea that small changes can quickly, as Jim Rohn also said: “add up to big changes”.  One reason for this is that there is simply no motivator more powerful than results regardless of how little. Knowing that you can reliably lose 0.5lbs every two weeks might not seem like much, but unlike no results at all, here we can clearly see a time in the future such that if we keep doing what we’re doing we’ll eventually get to where we want to go. Here there is no room for doubt.

What we have is a certainty, and certainty is perhaps the most powerful motivator of all.

With the certainty of success, one needs no more external motivator since with the sure win one can allow itself to dream wide and wild without the fears that come attached with the possibility of being proven wrong by the world.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

Leave a comment below

Best Robert Greene Books

In this post, you’ll find a list of the best Robert Greene books.

In life and business, one of the most profound things one can do for itself is to look for the handful of people whose advice they can be confident will produce results. Some people accept the first person that meets the eye, and more often than not the person they chose to listen to is not the right person to be giving advice on anything in the first place. But since humans the way they are can’t help themselves, they opt to give advice even when they are under-qualified. There are some people, however, whose ideas are so meaningful that you’d be doing yourself a disfavor if you didn’t follow and learned as much as you could from them. Even if only through the books they wrote. For me, one of these people is Robert Greene, and below are a few of the ones I consider his best books, and why.

Best Robert Greene Books

#1 Laws of Human Nature

The first book by Robert Greene I consider to be perhaps the most important to read is so for a reason. The way one improves one’s life can have an impact on how much that improvement changes one’s life. It’s now known in science that sometimes all it takes for a person to change its life completely is by starting to exercise. Habitifying exercising caused a cascade of cause-and-effect that in turn caused a complete life makeover. That’s when the ex-drug addict turned successful businessman comes to the stage and tells us the story of how he/she changed their life overnight, and how they can teach you the same, if only you pay a small fee that ends with 99.

The point is that it’s important to be thoughtful about the things you chose to do first, because of the effect they can have 3 or 4 steps down the road. The most important thing one needs to do first on its way to a fulfilling life is to gain an understanding of the inner workings of its own mind, as well as that of those other minds that due to constraints imposed by the laws of physics is prevented from learning about.

Robert Greene

So, this is why this is the first book on the list. In-Laws of Human Nature, Robert Greene describes the inner workings of minds of different kinds of people, with different backgrounds and not yet healed wounds from childhood. Due to the broad nature of the book, chances are that at some point you’ll find yourself as the target of the current discussion, whereby you I mean anyone who has the same psychological makeup as you do. Just like with any other form of criticism, the tendency when we first hear about it is to be defensive, but for the sake of the wealth of information you’ll get if you suspend judgment, the best thing to do before starting the read is to be aware of your own tendencies, and manage them.

Laws OF Human Nature

The great thing about this book is that you also get to learn about other people while you learn more about yourself.

#2 The art of seduction

The second book on the list is The art of seduction. Although most people are likely to think of this book as a pickup book of sorts, only after a few re-reads is when you can be made aware of the fact that it is definitely more than that. On the surface, you learn about the many ways you can engage in the art of courtship, but going deeper you soon come to the conclusion that the book really is about human psychology. Many of the ideas you learn in the context of seduction can just as easily be translated to most other life contexts. One example that keeps coming to the back of my mind is that of the Coquette, whose tendencies/behavior clearly go beyond the seductive. Few people willingly change their personalities to fit the context. Most of us are what we are, who we are, and the way we are when trying to seduce someone, or when at the workplace.

The Art Of Seduction

The consuming flirt is what it is in all occasions. It’s true that some of the tendencies are toned down, but at the core, we never really change. So, the point is that for each of the characters he brings to light, and the description of their psychology on the context of seduction, to assume that more often than not that’s who and how they are in all facets of life. So, when you read up on the coquette’s behavior and psychology in seduction, you also learn about it in life in general. Taking this into consideration, we can thus conclude that The art of seduction is deep down a more surface-level representation of The laws of human nature, even though the latter was published after the former.

#3 Mastery

The third book is Mastery. In Mastery you get a glimpse at what it takes to master a craft. More than just a book on how to master something, Mastery is also about how to master yourself and your own mind through the kind of practice apprentices went through in the old days. What I mean and what the book talks about is the kind of apprenticeship in which the student learns directly from the master in the real world. Here the student is not trying to get the highest grade possible to pass the class but to instead learn and internalize the craft as much as possible so they can be the best at the craft as much as they can be.

Today, with the internet in the reach of our fingertips, it’s easy to incorrectly conclude/feel like we can master anything with a few hours, if not minutes of reading. We think that the mere act of reading the summary of a subject, written by some other person who barely understands the subject is enough for us to consider the subject mastered. I think this is why there are now more and more people who feel the urge to surface level talk about medicine with doctors who went to medical school and have years of experience, in a way that makes it look like they know what they’re talking about. The point is that unless there is some new technology that allows us to insert knowledge and skills directly into the neural networks in our brains, true mastery is not a 5 min subject.

Mastery-Robert Greene

This is in a way what the book is about. By showing us the steps it takes to master a craft, from finding a mentor, to handling the breakup moment well, the author also tells us without saying that mastery takes time and effort. So much so, that just like a spouse, it should be taken as a life-time kind of endeavor, as opposed to the kind of thing you do for a while and abandon without any minute’s notice.

When you learn to master a craft you also learn to master yourself, since the discipline required to achieve the first allows you to also achieve the latter. Mastery is a process that gives you the right to be and feel confident, and this is so because it gives to your confidence a solid backing in such a way that if for whatever reason someone brings the motive behind your sense of confidence to question, you making it less of an opinion issue, and more of a fact. You will be confident for a reason, not just because you lied to yourself in the mirror for a decade, until you believed in your own lies. You will be and feel confident because you’re undeniably competent, and anyone who dares to question your abilities will have to take back their words when they see you perform.

Mastery also gives your life structure. God knows that the times we live in of fast-paced change and new trends, by the time you begin to make progress in the field, chances are that it’s not trendy anymore. When you focus on a craft for life, it might feel somewhat constricting but the constriction that comes from choosing a single path more than pays from the downsides of the lack of direction that comes from not choosing a path at all, or frantically switching from aim to aim. It’s the same reason why I personally think listening to everybody’s opinions about your life and taking them as gospel can do more harm than good as opposed to deciding for yourself what you want to make of your life. The reason for this is that for every direction you can point to there is always someone who defends the complete opposite, and for each of the opposites, there is an endless number of people who are exceptional at convincing people of things. Which means that it’s not only completely possible but likely that if you spend a day with a person defending one point, and the following day with a person defending the opposite each time you’ll feel as if you are in the presence of someone who knows the truth even though can only be one and much less about two conflicting ideas at the same time. The point is that picking a craft to master and committing to it as you would to a partner in a romantic relationship can definitely bring more benefits than harm.

#4 48 Laws of power

I’m sure this is probably the one book most if not all of Robert Greene readers would consider being the #1 on the list. The reason why it’s not on this list is that the way I see it, this book would be another step towards the mastery of your own life. The first 3 are about understanding one’s own and other people’s psychology, then to be able to master oneself, and this one is about gaining power through influence. One thing I noticed on Robert Greene’s reading s is that there is some knowledge of human psychology you learn about regardless of the focus subject of the book. One very salient idea I got from this book, in particular, was that of not stepping on the toes of the ones who have the power to advance or bring your life into a halt. I’m talking about superiors of any kind, who due to the fact that they feel threatened by you, instead of giving you a promotion, they do all they can to stop your progress. Without stealing anything from the book, according to the author the way to go about dealing with such kind of situations is to “not outshine the master”, and if you do, try to make the master shine even brighter. Instead of looking to claim every drop of credit from your efforts, to make a conscious decision/effort to give them the credit while making them feel superior and smarter on the process.

48 Laws Of Power

The great thing about these first 4 books is that the knowledge of human psychology you get by reading them all is incremental as you start and finish each one of them. Some of the things he talks about are things you’ve been aware of, and might even know in your gut, but that was never able to put into words. They are in essence a description of the cold truth about the inner workings of the human mind. The darkness behind passive-aggressiveness, as well as the pettiness triggered by the so well-known feelings of jealousy for those who for whatever reason are blessed enough to have the things we aspire for ourselves. Be that the dream job, partner or family, and the desire to not only have what they have but to take it away from them while making them miserable in the process. The book teaches also how to not make yourself a target of such types, and if even after your efforts you still find yourself at the aim of their aggressive tendencies, also how to quickly deal with the problem.

Like many Robert Greene’s books, this one also explains each point with a reference from mother history who teaches silently but whose teachings are deep and insightful nonetheless. This is one of the many things the book teaches without teaching. That if you want to learn more about power struggles, the winners and losers, and why they won or lost, one way to go about it is by reading through the history books and trying to gain the insights that the words written in them don’t tell explicitly but imply. Another way to go about it is by learning from those who possess the lessons you need in their memories. I’m talking about people who have had the privilege of living through multiple decades. The ones who know what it feels like to be a kid, also a teenager, a young adult, an adult and now have a wealth of experience they are willing to give to anyone who is patient enough to listen to the golden nuggets of wisdom they have to offer. These tend to be even more profound and powerful because they tend not to be tainted by the biases and intents of the writer. A storyteller can perfectly through the use of its own imagination re-tell the tales of World War 2. Only the frontline soldier who’s now an ancient and somehow survived to tell the tale can give you actual wisdom about the difficulties a mind can go through when not just your life is in chaos but the whole world. What it feels like having to find the hope of a better future when tomorrow is unlikely to come.

The beautiful thing about the book is that it takes the reader not only through the cases in which the rule described in the chapter was successfully applied but also through the cases in which it wasn’t and the repercussions that followed from it.

Final thoughts

Over the years. After over 200 books read few have been so powerfully insightful enough to be a part of my all-time favorites. Not that this should mean anything to you or anyone, but I say it as an attempt to give credit where credit is due. Robert Greene, in particular, is also one of the few authors whose books I read over and over again and the main reason for that is that each page is more than just content for the sake of content.

It is all about knowledge and experience 😉

Leave a comment below