Wisdom From the Internet #1 [TMP]

Landing pad

January and February have come to a close, and within the time, I’ve read many, varied articles and newsletters, from writers and just people who document their experiences for the sheer sake of growing and learning.

Why have I done this?

I enjoy it. Some are funny.

Bonus: I learn from it.

It doesn’t get any deeper than that.

Okay, how does this affect me?

I have gathered stuff any human would consider helpful — if said human desires to live life by meaningful, little to no regret-filled experiences. In simpler words: ‘live a good life’. (Ok so not just any human.)

I have found them to be useful and inspiring, and so, have decided to share them so someone else gets it right too. It’s a journey, and we learn from others with others.

You can always bookmark this article to read again (I plan on making this a monthly series!).

I sincerely hope you find them just as helpful and act on them :) Let’s get into it!

growing stack of collated guiding words of wisdom

Takeoff 🚀

Stupid games, stupid prizes

“Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

Naval Ravikant

Most people don’t set out to play stupid games. We want something so bad and so we work towards it. Except as we ‘work’ towards our desire, we focus on the wrong thing.

For example, we want to get good grades. (The goal is vague but we’ll leave that).

So, in our effort to get those smashing grades, we read. And because it’s school and it is sure to happen, we work through sleepless nights. We’re proud of ourselves for not giving in to the ‘easier’ way, we burnt the midnight candle, we put in the extra work. Sleep is for the weak.

Because we are a community of stressed out, sleep-deprived souls who are proud of being strong, we somehow bring it into the conversation: ‘Guy, this course is so demanding, but it can’t kill me; do you know how much I need sleep? I’m running on 2 hours bro.’

Worse, if it’s exam period: ‘I didn’t sleep throughout the night’, ‘I’ve not slept for 2 days straight now, I’m so stressed.’

Somehow, we have deviated from evaluating how much we can solve related questions well to how sleep deprived we are. The most stressed person is the readiest person. We envy the one we believe is going through the most. The goal is now how much we can bear till breaking point not how high we can scale our ladder of higher scores.

Higher scores = Better grades, no other parameter results in better grades. There might be a relation between a parameter and the goal, but the parameter is not the determining factor.

For every deviation, you might win a prize. What prize are you winning?

Your situation may not be school-related, or work-related. Yours may be about reading a certain number of books. Unless you’re reading to impress people, the number of books you read is irrelevant. The situation may be learning an art. ‘Will I become objectively better by driving myself to the point of exhaustion?’

No matter the case, always take a pause to check if what you’re doing will help you become better than you started? The results are a guide.

Repetition makes truth

“A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.”

— Daniel Kahneman in Thinking, Fast and Slow

Leaving the context of making people believe falsehoods, this statement makes absolute sense on why affirmations work.

If the brain cannot easily decipher between familiarity — what I tell myself countless times — and truth — what negative things others or I say about me that I have erroneously believed to be true —, then, I can repeatedly tell myself a different thing (preferably positive) to not just temporarily counter what lie I have believed, but to progressively erase said belief and replace it with a truer statement.

Amazing!

Pretty sure there is a psychological explanation for exactly why affirmations work. But right now, I’m awed and this makes me believe even more in staring at myself in a mirror and talking authoritatively to myself :)

What you repeatedly tell yourself about yourself matters.

At the end of the day, you have control of what you allow to be true.

Too many opinions deaden the brain

“A constant flow of thoughts expressed by other people can stop and deaden your own thought and your own initiative.”

— Arthur Schopenhauer

This explains why, for a significant part, Twitter users retweet more than they create their own tweets. I’d know because I’m a Twitter user and I’ve been there. But this applies to more than Twitter.

For instance, you’re in a room of people talking about something say if people should cohabit or not (🙄). By the time you listen to about five people give their takes on it, you’re most likely to simply agree with one of them. Even if you do agree with one of them but for a different reason, you’re likely to swallow up your unique reason and just go with the flow — that is if your brain manages to come up with something around that noise. It’s just the easier path for the brain to follow.

Another instance is conversing with someone you respect. They state their views and you just continue to swallow them. Over time, their views become your views and you don’t even know it. And when you do realize, you say to yourself ‘well I agree with person x, he/she always speaks facts’.

No darling, it’s perfectly alright to agree with x but do so because you do think in the same manner not because he/she ‘speaks facts’.

As we begin March, always take a breather to:

  • note when your thoughts are simply mirrored thoughts
  • think on your own (even if that means not participating in some conversations)

If you then need to state your opinion, then lead the way.

Mastering the art of start

“If you can master the art of the start, then any creative endeavour is possible… the grand purpose of creativity is to actualize your potential, but its everyday expression is rooted in small actions that feel like they have little to no consequence.’’

Source: Lawrence Yeo, Create for Just One Hour Each Day

A task becomes daunting when we wait and let it pile up. As we work, you progress forward, and we reduce the work pile left to tackle.

The Beauty In Writing

“The simple act of assembling your thoughts, putting them down, and hitting publish is so much more than just an act of writing. It’s really a commitment to continuing to work on yourself, clarify the ways in which you see the world, and build the confidence to take a stance on what you believe. And this small but simple skill can have a profound effect on your entire life.”

Source: Dickie Bush, The Benefits of Writing

Passive Wants vs Active Wants

As it’s still the beginning of the year and we have goals we want to achieve, Sahil Bloom’s take on wants is a rocker:

‘Want can be passive or active.

Passive “want” will rarely succeed.

Active “want” — hard work, accountability, resilience — will move the Earth.’

Source: Sahil Bloom, The Friday Five

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