Why We Hate Cheap Things by The School of Life

Why We Hate Cheap Things. In the past, pineapples were expensive and people who bought them kept them as status symbols until they rotted and fell apart. It had almost a ritual quality. Savoring one was like a luxury. The top of the South Towers of St Paul had this divine fruit being perched on it. By the end of the 19th century, technology enabled large plantations to be built. Now, it is no longer deemed as a rare fruit. When the price falls, we become less passionate. In the past, when flying was dangerous and expensive, it seemed thrilling. Now, taking a flight on a commercial aircraft seems a little boring. We definitely do not appreciate the skies as much as Leonardo da Vinci would. The same can be said about having a hot bath. In the past, heating the water was considered difficult. It was largely reserved for war heroes or for the very rich. Now, it is a very common experience and some might even view it as a waste of time. We view cheap prices with a lack of value. Due to the Industrial Revolution, we are now able to make things cheaply. In the past, because of hand labour, more expensive things were associated with higher quality. There was a price to pay for craftsmanship. People hoped that with industrialization, prices would fall. In 1911, the commercial car was born. However, industrialization might have robbed certain experiences of loveliness, interest and worth. Now, it might seem bizarre if we are interested over cheap things. We now favor the things that are expensive. A child’s mind is more curious and wonder-like in nature. Children do not understand money. They can be obsessed with things that do not cost a lot. To adults, costs = value. Over time, when children understand money, they believe that saving for a big purchase is good. The artist Paul Cezanne was obsessed with painting apples and noticing their texture. Every apple exuded their own colour and aura. He was excited over apples, even though he was extremely rich. The fact of life is that we can get great things for little money. We have given up on too many of our native loves. In the modern society, we are drawn into advertising. The issue is that cheap but useable objects do not have sufficient advertising.

We need advertising pursued with the same sense of drama and intensity and ambition but directed towards biros, puddles and olives. – The School of Life

There are two ways to get richer: one is to make more money; the second is to discover that more of the things we could love are already to hand. – The School of Life

Contemplation of the history of the pineapple suggests a curious overlap between love and economics: when we have to pay a lot for something nice, we appreciate it to the full. – The School of Life

A reduction in our esteem for an experience follows a reduction in the cost of obtaining it. – The School of Life

This means that we often end up feeling that we can’t afford good things and that our lives are therefore sad and incomplete. The money hierarchy constantly makes us feel impoverished, while the truth is that there are more good things within our grasp than we believe. – The School of Life

Why We Look Down on People Who Don’t Earn Very Much. If you don’t earn a lot, what you say is unlikely to command much respect. There seems to be a link between talent, effort, skill and income. This is capitalism for you. A person’s wages are determined by the scale of their social contribution. Economics would say that wages solely depend on demand vs supply. Christianity insisted that a person’s worth has no relation to their financial standing. Whether you go to heaven depends on merits. Karl Marx thought that workers should be paid based on their contributions to society. This meant that the wages of the hitmen, casino owners would do down while that of the nurse and the farmer would go up. In the past, lacemaking was a job which was poorly paid. Many painters noticed this and painted pictures of lace-makers at their craft. The artists hoped that through their paintings, more would appreciate the lacemaking craft. Art gives us a sense of a person’s true merit and a willingness to disregard wages. Art can be the answer to bridge the gap between money and human value.

We recognize the phenomenon in our society well enough: the more someone earns, the more they are likely to be admired by strangers, and perceived as interesting and exciting. – The School of Life

On Being an Unemployed Arts Graduate. Arts graduates complain about finding employment. Some of them are also underpaid. Some people can’t understand why artists should be paid to study history. People lack a real understanding of what the humanities are about and how it can benefit humanity. The universities also can’t explain why students should pursue humanities. Humanities are the closest we have to replace religion. They are bodies of work that teach us how to lead our lives. We need to reinvent universities. There are practical aspects of reading 19th century literature. Humans crave nourishment as well. There needs to be a new definition of culture.

Good Materialism. Materialism is generally seen as bad. Is there such a thing as good materialism? We have failed to distinguish good from bad materialism. Even religious people have made material items, like shrines, artworks etc. They did so because they believed it developed their souls. Some material possessions can be seen as transubstantiation, where they have both a practical and physical form. Material objects can have a spiritual role in our lives. They can give us a chance to understand ourselves better. We should only purchase things which can lead to the better encouragement of ourselves.

We are still enmeshed in the desire to possess – but we are encouraged to feel rather bad about it. – The School of Life

Why We Are So Bad at Shopping. We need to learn how to shop. Shopping for others is tricky, but we don’t seem to think so for ourselves. Capitalism is supposed to provide us with unlimited options. However, humans are influenced by group instincts. There are very standard consumer patterns in our economy. Our shopping choices are really not that personal. Humans like to follow trends etc. They like to buy what it is fashion in the modern age. We do not want to appear weird in front of our friends. We do not analyze pleasurable activities much. Product reviews don’t help us too much as well.

Part of the problem is that we lack the ability to know, looking back over experiences, what truly brought us pleasure. Our brains aren’t so keen on taking apart their satisfactions – and therefore plotting how to recreate them. – The School of Life

It isn’t that we are too focused on shopping, we are not thinking deeply enough about what we’re doing. We haven’t yet learnt to be doggedly precise enough about pinning down our own fun and making sure we get it. – The School of Life

Using Sex to Sell. Using sex to sell seems cheap and low-class. Ficino believed that humans will move from sex to love. The next stage would be to long and have the capacity to understand. To get someone to understand something, it would to get the person interested in sex. Ficino suggested to Lorenzo to paint pictures of beautiful and sexy people. There is nothing wrong to use it and it has been used in the Renaissance period. However, it is useful to sell something noble. Once our senses are ignited, it is easier to learn. However, there is a need to sell things like books related to wisdom and philosophy.

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The Telomere Effect by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel (Part 2)

Renewal Lab. Learn to reduce ‘ego threat’ stress. Tell yourself that your identity runs wide and deep. Write down the goals and values that matter most to you and stick to that. This has been proven to help reduce stress responses. When you understand that no one big event can hurt you, you become less stressed over the negative occurrence of any one event. Learn to distance your thoughts from your emotions. Use the third party pronoun and not ‘I’ too frequently. One can also apply time distancing, this means you imagine whether an event will affect you in 10 years’ time. One can also apply visual self-distancing. Imagine that you are viewing an event from afar. Pretend to be a third party witnessing yourself act. This technique of mentally stepping outside of your body can work well.

Mind Your Telomeres: Negative Thinking, Resilient Thinking. Thought suppression isn’t healthy and good for our telomeres. Negative thinking isn’t good too. Try to learn about your style of thinking. Cynical hostility isn’t good at all. A lot of these thoughts are actually automatic. One strategy is to learn to laugh at your negative thoughts. Hostility is associated with anger and thoughts that people cannot be trusted. Pessimists typically predict that a bad outcome is going to emerge. Pessimists are also associated with shorter telomeres. Pessimists tend to hate stressful situations and worry that they are not up to the mark. The human mind tends to wander and not focus on the task at hand. However, activities like sex, engaging in conversation and exercising produce less mind-wandering. If you are not fully engaged in an activity, you tend not to be happy. Multi-tasking actually is a source of noxious stress. To do something effectively, it is better to only do one thing at a time. It would be wise for you to try to eliminate distractions and to focus on the task at hand. Rumination is about rehashing your problems over and over again. Instead of finding a solution, people feel worse in this process. People who ruminate experience more depression and anxiety. Thought suppression is about pushing away unwanted thoughts. The more you try to push something away, the more it will call for your attention. This is also known as ironic error. Scolding yourself when negative thoughts emerge is unlikely to work. One can use resilient thinking, which is based on acceptance and mindfulness. Exercise thought awareness and loosen the grip of negative thought patterns. This is not thought stopping, but simply viewing the thoughts with more clarity. Meditation and long distance running can help with thought awareness. Stand like an observer and witness your thoughts passing by. A lot of the thoughts are repeat of thoughts that came before. Understand that thoughts will fade after a while. It is advisable not to believe everything that you think. Mindfulness is really about training the mind to focus. Now, I can focus better on whatever I do. Close your eyes and breathe once you experience negative thoughts. You do not need to go for a long course on mindfulness to be good. Meditating also increase your sense of purpose in life. A stronger life purpose can definitely give you better resilience in life. Being happy and having a purpose are often closely linked. Having a purpose is associated with eudaemonic happiness. This is associated with a strong sense of values and purpose. Volunteering to help the community can certainly be very rewarding. Volunteering can produce 2 to 3 years of reverse aging. Being conscientious is a good trait for your telomeres. These people tend to have long term goals and longer telomeres. Having good impulse control is important. Self-compassion is also another technique and it means kindness towards yourself and not beat yourself up. Be patient and be tolerant towards others. When you fail at something, do you berate yourself? It is good to be high in self-compassion. Developing self-reliance helps towards building stress resilience. Start your day with gratitude and say ‘I am alive and I will seize the day!’. Learn to understand your habits of thinking. When encountering something stressful, try to take a self-compassion break. Tell yourself that suffering is a part of life and also say ‘may I be kind to myself’. Be wary of the internal critic inside of you. Think about what do you want people who to remember you as in a few words as possible. Articulate what are the more important principles in your life and write them down. If your life is too boring, engage in cognitive exercises and do something out of the ordinary.

We push away our bad feelings, which inevitably roar back, and then we feel bad, and then we feel bad about feeling bad. – Elizabeth Blackburn

The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you lived at all. – Leo Rosten

When Blue Turns to Gray: Depression and Anxiety. Some people suffer from a panic attack, an intense episode of fear and anxiety. Depressed people feel that there is no possibility in life. If you have depression, the onset of more serious illnesses will come faster. Anxiety is characterized by dread/worry. Some people have anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are associated with shorter telomere lengths. Women who are depressed have shorter telomeres. Sometimes, people whose cells experience telomere shortening have cells producing more telomerase. However, this attempt at producing more telomere fails. Telomere length can also increase if the anxiety goes away after a while. Mice who are subjected to a lot of stress develop an excessive number of mitochondria. Depression is a dysfunctional response to stress. Negative thoughts are not signs that you are unworthy, but are substances of depression. If you are anxious, you will need to learn to face the fear of the item and deal with it head on, in a brave manner. Depression is chronic in nature. There is a sense of contentment of focusing all your attention on a small task. Take a 3 minute breathing break. Breathe and become aware. Gather your attention by breathing and exhaling slowly. Paced breathing can help to lower blood pressure.

Instead of frantically striving to change things, you can choose to do little things that bring you pleasure, and things that help you feel masterful and in control. – Elizabeth Blackburn

When we breathe in, our heart rate goes up. When we exhale, our heart rate goes down. By having a longer exhalation than inhalation, we can slow our heart rate more, and we can also stimulate the vagus nerve. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Master tips for renewal: Stress-reducing techniques shown to boost telomere maintenance. Meditation has a lot of benefits and has been shown to be able to improve well-being. People who meditate tend to have longer telomeres. Staying at a retreat has a powerful effect as you are unplugged from tech devices. Those without meditation experience can try the mindfulness based stress reduction programme or MBSR. MBSR is good for those who want to reduce stress. There is much literature on the health benefits of yoga. It improves the quality of life and mood for many people. It can improve spine bone density if practiced long term. Qigong is part of the wellness progress for Chinese medicine. Qigong reduces depression and may improve diabetes. Qigong exercises are easy and can give you a sense of calm in minutes.

Help your Body Protect its Cells. Stressful long-term events have the potential to contribute to telomere shortening. Do you suffer from mood disorders? Try to figure out how much social support do you have? The more physical activity you do, the better it is for your body. One should engage in aerobic activity at least 150 minutes per week and engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. Exercising more can increase your telomerase levels too. Do consider your nutritional needs as well. Eat food with antioxidants and vitamins and avoid sugar carbonated beverages. Choose an area to focus on where you have weak scores. Choose one area to work on at a time.

Training Your Telomeres: How Much Exercise is Enough? Try to avoid being a weekend warrior when it comes to exercise. Do not overtrain or over-exert unnecessarily. Over-training is characterized by sleep changes, fatigue, mood swings etc. Telomeres do not need extreme fitness regimes to thrive on. How does exercise work wonders for your body? There are cellular benefits of exercise. Ideally, our cells should have enough antioxidants. When free radicals build up, it is bad for our body. Exercise is very valuable in the short term, as it stimulates the body to produce more antioxidants. When you exercise more, your body produces less cortisol and you feel calmer. People who exercise regularly have a more robust immune system. Exercising regularly can help to delay the onset of immunosenescence. Exercise also helps to maintain your telomeres. Both moderate aerobic endurance exercise and HIIT are useful. Those who increased their aerobic fitness the most experienced growth in telomerase activity. Strength training helps to improve bone density and muscle mass. Fitness is one of the keys for telomere health. Even though you might be naturally fit, exercise will still help you keep your telomeres healthy. Is too much exercise bad? The benefits of extreme endurance do not seem to be useful. It is important to start exercising when you are young, and never be discouraged. Learn to read the signs of over-training and avoid them as much as possible. Even if your schedule is packed, find time to slip in some exercise. In addition to your exercise regime, it is still important to keep moving throughout the day.

People who exercise live longer and have a lowered risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. And they avoid dementia for longer. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Exercise can improve your mood for up to 3 hours after working out and can reduce stress reactivity. Stress can shorten telomeres, but exercise shields telomeres from some of stress’s damage. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Tired Telomeres: From Exhaustion to Restoration. How can we get more sleep? Cognitive changes and mindfulness will enable you to get more sleep. If you feel sleepy during the day, it is a clear sign you need more sleep at night. Poor sleep will definitely affect your well-being in life. Insomnia is associated with shorter telomeres. Sleep is the most restorative activity that you can actually perform. REM sleep helps to regulate your appetite as well. Poor REM sleep results in higher level of cortisol and insulin, stimulating your appetite. Sleep helps us to refresh emotionally too. Longer sleep results in longer telomeres. 7 or more hours of sleep is the key. Sleep quality matters a lot too. Going to bed at regular hours help in your cell’s ability to regulate telomerase. When you suffer from insomnia, you tend to worry as you are afraid that you will not be able to function after a poor night’s sleep. When such thoughts come to mind, learn to challenge them instead. How can someone suffering from chronic insomnia get better sleep? Avoid engaging in mind-sapping activities just before bed-time. Avoid light sources like phones/laptops. One can consider some light reading/ some classical music. Blue light can supresses melatonin. Minimize light from windows and digital clocks, if possible. Tune out your environment from light and noise distractions. Always try to eat and sleep at regular times. Sleep procrastination is a big problem in modern society. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, go for a check-up. Learn to adopt the following 5 bedtime rituals. The first is to spend 5 minutes in transition. The next is to listen to soothing music. Set a mood for relaxation Brew warm herbal tea. Perform bedtime stretches (gentle rolling of the head and neck, forward bend, child’s pose).

When you are well slept, you are better at learning and remembering. Tired people just aren’t as successful at focusing their attention, so they don’t take in new information as well. – Elizabeth Blackburn

If you feel terrible without 8 or 9 hours of sleep. Don’t try to scrape by with 7. Get those extra hours. And remember that rule of thumb, which offers highly customized sleep advice: If you feel sleepy during the day, you need more sleep at night. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Telomeres Weigh in: A Healthy Metabolism. Belly fat is something that must be avoided. It is a good idea to bring a salad to work as it is healthy. Some people find it hard not to think about food. Eating too much does affect your telomeres, but not as much as depression. Weight is a not very accurate measure of metabolic health. Dieting is not the only way to get healthier. You can be of a normal weight, but if you have a belly, it doesn’t bode well for you. Belly fat, high cholesterol and high blood pressures are key risk factors for diabetes. High belly fat might indicate poor glucose control or insulin resistance. Globally, 9% of people have diabetes. People with diabetes find that it is more difficult for glucose to enter the cells. People with belly fat tend to develop shorter telomeres. There is a connection between short telomeres and diabetes. Weight cycling (increase and decrease) is very unhealthy and should be avoided. Constantly thinking about eating less also produces a cognitive strain. Instead of dieting, one could be physically active and eat nutritious foods. Reducing sugar can lead to metabolic improvements and simple carbs are bad. There is mixed research on caloric restriction. Learn to measure your insulin sensitivity by testing your fasting insulin and glucose. Cutting back on sugar will work wonders for your body. When you crave for sugar, surf the urge. Sit down and close your eyes and imagine the snack and the flavour, but do not eat it. Understand that the cravings will pass and dissipate. Stop eating when you are moderately full, at around 7 or 8 out of 10.

This idea – that improving your metabolic health is more important than losing weight – is vital, and that’s because repeated dieting takes a toll on your body. – Elizabeth Blackburn

Our body has a set point that it defends, and when we lose weight, we also slow our metabolism in an effort to regain the weight (metabolic adaptation). – Elizabeth Blackburn

Dieting can create a semi-addictive state, and it’s also just plain stressful. Monitoring calories causes cognitive load, meaning that it uses up the brain’s limited attention and increases how much stress you feel. – Elizabeth Blackburn

To Be Continued 🙂

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How to Choose a Partner by Susan Quilliam (Part 1)

Understanding. Finding a partner can be a difficult task. It can seem like an adventure. It is also a self-development journey. Nowadays, there is a practical aspect to romance too, such as the need for financial stability etc. In the past, romance was not necessarily linked with commitment. Women are more educated, sensible and independent. Love has been a lot more emotional than ever before. Modern romance has a lot of pressures on singles. With the ability to divorce, we can choose to walk away from a relationship. We can even choose to get into another relationship with someone else if our spouse has died. Modern people have higher expectations. In addition, working hours are longer than before. Meeting a mate is indeed very challenging. We see our partner as ‘God’, someone who is perfect. The fact is that this isn’t possible and it’s implausible. In the past, due to lower expectations, there was a greater chance for couples to be happier. We have more dating windows than ever before. One can use speed dating, dating agencies and matchmakers nowadays. Technology has certainly given us more options. More couples have met via technology. The author has worked with couples via her work. The book draws on experiences to guide one in finding the right partner. You have the potential to change your future forever. Seize it.

We once sought meaning in the divine, now that we can no longer find such meaning, we seek it elsewhere. Partnership is the source which is now expected to deliver all the hope and happiness that we originally expected to get from the deity. – Susan Quiliam

Now we fear that if we choose wrong, we will end up not only alone but condemned – even damned – for our failure to make love work. – Susan Quiliam

Being Ready. It’s tempting to rush into it. Is this the right time to be looking?  There are times for being single. If you have other things to tend to, finding a partner shouldn’t be your priority. List down the things your loved ones have given you. Are all your needs met already through your current relationships? Being single allows you to pursue your real vocation. Do not simply do what ‘society’ wants or ‘everyone’ does. You can choose to marry the whole world. Do you have room to hold down a committed relationship? Map out your schedule and determine which of them have to make room for a relationship. You have to be chosen by your partner too. Often, there is a fear of rejection and of making the wrong choice. Learn to overcome the fear. Learn to be vulnerable and reveal your fear. One also needs to be emotionally available. You need to let go of emotional baggage. During post break-up is a terrible time to be a relationship. However, some people do it because of rebound effect. This is not a good idea. One needs time to heal. Are you mature enough to pick a partner in the first place? You will need to know what is worth loving, what you need and how to let go of needs when necessary. You will need to know how to love your partner. If they are not ready, give them the time and space they need.

It’s said that the best thing in life is to be happily partnered and the next best thing is to be happily single – but for some people the hierarchy’s reversed. Some of us are entirely whole without additions, flourish better without distractions, are simply happier alone. – Susan Quiliam

The ideal of singledom is highly valued in many spiritual traditions less because of puritanism than because it frees us to follow our real vocation. – Susan Quiliam

The extra sting in the tale is that the more successful we’ve been in life up to now, the more we’ve developed our career, expanded our social life and gained a rewarding lifestyle, the less room we have for partnership. – Susan Quiliam

Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you have to dive for it. – Chinese Proverb

Does your potential partner have time and room in their life for love? Are they over their past relationship or actually still yearning? Are they reaching out to us through genuine attraction or to fill a life gap? – Susan Quiliam

Looking Back. Look back at your past relationships and learn from them. Your decision is influenced by many factors. Are you influenced by your parents? Who has been your biggest influencer? You should know what your influences are. One develops love maps when young. You will know when a person feels right. This is known as transference. Your partner might not be able to live up to your parent’s expectations etc. You are drawn to a partner who resembles the figures you loved in the past. We know that we have to survive. Sometimes, you secretly want your partner to heal you when there is too much pain. There are many tragic events which can wound us. Similarly, your partner’s past will affect her behavior and personality now. You should just retain the useful bits of the past into your present relationship. You can cull events from your memory bank. If there are events which had you to make misguided decisions, please see a professional.

Very often, the person feels right because they remind us of someone who felt right earlier in life or because we believe that with them we can reclaim the ‘right’ life events. – Susan Quiliam

Not Choosing. There are people who believe that by not choosing, things might work out. However, this is in contrary to popular belief. Not choosing means ceding control of your life. Use a coin toss. Chance is an efficient way to decide. If you believe in fate, chances are you will not put much effort into a relationship because it was so called predetermined. Those who believe in fate are likely to react badly when things go wrong. Growth-love is more sustainable, but involves more effort. Arranged marriages and letting someone else choose for you seems like a bad idea. Matchmakers need to be competent for this arrangement to work. However, if the arranger is well informed and know the guy and girl well, things might work. Online dating seems to present a multitude of options. However, this might be an illusion because dating apps have algorithms which try to match people. They are usually superficial in nature too. Some of their apps are unproven too. Although choice is a good idea, serendipity has its joyful moments too. Enroll and ask advice from friends for guidance, consolation and celebration. Remember to take risks in the process.

It’s not just that love is one of the few areas in modern society where we may still cling to romantic notions of fate determining our future. But also, by handing over control to others, we might avoid repeating past mistakes or making new and future ones. – Susan Quiliam

Offline, be open to the occasional blind date, opportunity dinner from a colleague or fortuitous encounter at the supermarket checkout. Randomness certainly can open a different, less blinkered and therefore sometimes better door. – Susan Quiliam

If done well, “arranged marriages” can triumph, delivering the objectivity of chance, the reassurance of destiny, the pragmatism of growth. – Susan Quiliam

Focusing. More options can be good when there are a lack of alternatives. This is good if you have a small social circle. Avoid stagnant pools but learn to find slow rivers. You could take up a new hobby, dating events etc. You could sign up for a dating site too. Join a variety of sites and be open-minded. Too much choice causes people to make slow decisions. It is easy to be the victim of the shopping mentality. It might be a disaster in disguise. Hence, we need to reach a balance. Elimination is the key. Cut the field to choose only those events where you want to mingle with those in the room. Filter them to either of the categories ‘serious’, ‘fling’, ‘affair’. Use the funnel of love. Those who can’t meet our criteria will be eliminated. The problem is that we might be wary to use the funnel or reject people too quickly. If you are focusing, learn to visualize. Have the mental experience of wanting that partner, feeling entitled to want them. You need to specify your criteria. Learn to write specified lists. It will help to keep you in track. You must know what kind you want to attract. Write down all the elements of an ideal mate: gender, age, appearance, cultural background, religious belief, lifestyle, career, earnings, leisure patterns, hobbies, interests, location (also learn to identify your top 5). Write down your deal-breakers. There are 4 main ones: different sexual leanings; mismatched relationship aims; conflict in deep values; incompatibility of interests. Visualize what a ‘normal, happy day’ would seem. The person has to create the daily life that you want forever.

Don’t get trapped in a social life where you see the same people over and over again. Instead, put your energy into groups which offer a steady and regular through-flow of different individuals, in situations where there’s opportunity to mingle, meet, chat and bond. – Susan Quiliam

Quantity is less crucial than quality in partner choice, but also because the human brain treads a fine line between having a wide range of options and having too many for sanity. – Susan Quiliam

To combat the increasing confusion from emotional paralysis from having too much choice, we try to simplify. Which in turn leads to our over-considering irrelevant criteria, rejecting without real consideration, and craving the ‘next good thing’ rather than focusing on the current one. – Susan Quiliam

I’m not a believer in “The One”, but unless we start saying no to those who aren’t right for us, we won’t get anywhere near those who are. – Susan Quiliam

Partner choice is a quest, and as with all quests it’s good to have a bit of feisty courage – courage to believe in yourself, courage to believe there are partners out there you can choose, courage to believe that there are partners out there who will choose you. – Susan Quiliam

When we create a partner specification, we will often mysteriously find ourselves exploring much wider issues, not just about surface criteria but also about what we need from a partner on a deeper level, and how to instinctively recognize that when it arrives. – Susan Quiliam

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How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big Kind of the Story of My Life By Scott Adams (Part 3)

Humor. People who enjoy humor are more attractive than those who do not. A good sense of humor can compensate for a lot. Humor raises your energy. It transports your mind away from your daily troubles. Humor directly influences your energy levels. It affects every part of your life. Humor is free and easily accessible. You can choose funny books. Choose the happy movies. There are tricks and mechanics for writing humor. You can steer the conversation to fun topics to add humor. Your attitude and effort count for a lot. Avoid the following traps: 1) Over-complaining is never funny; 2) Don’t overdo the self-deprecation; 3) Don’t mock people; 4) Avoid puns and wordplay. Don’t do gripe-based humor. Humor is a violation of straight-line thinking. Tailor your humor. Tailor it to your audience. Adapt to what others want to hear. Jim’s Colonoscopy Story. Engineered humor is one that includes unlikely or surprising solution to a problem. Men and female appreciate different kind of humor.

Humor makes average-looking people look cute and uninteresting people seem entertaining. – Scott Adams

Humor raises your energy, and that can reverberate into everything you do at school, at work, or in your personal life. The boost of energy will even make you more willing to exercise, and that will raise your overall energy even more. – Scott Adams

Affirmations. Imagine the outcome you want. He doesn’t believe in magic. Affirmations are useful. ‘I, Scott Adams, will become a great cartoonist.’ There is no magic involved. How It Started. Scott bought two good stocks after the declared that he wanted to be rich. He next approached a girl far out of his league. Your selective memory could be behind your perceptions. He tried affirmations again. Set your sights higher. He used affirmations in its rarest, most desirable job I have ever imagined.

Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want. – Scott Adams

Timing is Luck Too. Luck is timing. If your timing is off, your hard work or talent doesn’t matter. He tried a lot of different ventures. Dilbert was lucky because he was born in the era where newspapers existed and comics mattered. It was difficult convincing any newspaper to pick it up. The good timing was relentless. Dilbert was a hapless office worker. Soon, it moved to all the top magazines in the world. Newspapers snapped up his comics like candy. He drew the comics using some computer software. It is a story of luck. You need to stay in the game long enough.

I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over. – Scott Adams

A Few Times Affirmations Worked. He wrote an article called ‘The Dilbert Principle’. It received a great response from readers. ‘I, Scott Adams, will be a number one best-selling author’. Affirmation caused a few successes. Not using them doomed yourself to failure. However, affirmations do not work all the time. Affirmations will work if you have a 100% unambiguous desire for success.

Voice Update. There was no cure to spasmodic dysphonia. He couldn’t speak on the phone or order food in restaurants etc. Blogging kept him alive. The inability to speak was debilitating. He created a spreadsheet to identify the pattern. No pattern emerged. He googled it and searched for any one with similar conditions. He hoped that someone would find the cure for the condition. The odds were not good. ‘I, Scott Adams, will speak perfectly.’

Experts. He had a lump on his neck and went to see the specialists. It could have been cancer. The X rays were not clean. He was scheduled for a biopsy. The needle was full of clear fluid and he did not have cancer. However, he did not trust the experts this time.

Association Programming. He had a friend who wanted to live with the rich until he could be associated with them. You become like the people around you. Alcoholics Anonymous works terribly well because the bad influences are kept away from you. Who you associate with makes a big difference. Hanging around with overweight people can make you fat as well. Anyone can write a published article and make money from it. Humans are social creatures. It is easier to exercise when others are exercising. It is easier to work when others are working too. Spend them with good people and their good habits will rub off on you eventually.

To change yourself, part of the solution might involve spending more time with the people who represent the change you seek.  -Scott Adams

Happiness. It is not selfish to think that way. Learn to treat others well. Happiness is a Science. Start by defining what happiness is. It is when there are pleasant sensations in your mind. Happiness isn’t all dependent on your circumstances as well. Circumstances only play one factor. Happiness is largely the control of your lifestyle and the forming of positive thoughts. Alcohol has its risks. The timing is very important. If you nap just before bedtime, it does little good. Work towards having control of your schedule. Flexibility is very important. Learn to maximize your freedom in the long term. We feel good when things are moving in the right direction. It is good to find a hobby where you can keep improving and not stagnant. Slow and steady improvement will be good. For a career, also choose a lifetime of ever-improved performance. If your skills are improving, you will feel many. The next aspect of happiness is your imagination. If you are optimistic, it produces a sense of energy and happiness. Imagination is very important. Don’t let reality control your imagination. Happiness is the natural state when people are healthy, have flexible schedules, and expect the future to be good. If you are always in a bad mood: It is due to one of the following: flexible schedule, imagination, sleep, diet and exercise. Exercise occupies your mind and your muscles. It also helps you sleep better. Take care of yourself and leverage on that for other aspects of your life. Once your purpose or objective has been met, find a new one. Read ‘The Paradox of Choice’ by Barry Schwartz. Routine àPeople become unhappy if they have too many options in life. Set a routine and you will prevent yourself choosing from other alternatives. Reduce daily decisions to routines.

The only reasonable goal in life is maximizing your total lifetime experience of something called happiness. – Scott Adams

If you want to boost your happiness, it helps to understand what happiness is and how it works. – Scott Adams

For starters, the single biggest trick for manipulating your happiness chemistry is being able to do what you want, when you want. – Scott Adams

You need to control the order and timing of things to be happy. It’s important to look at happiness in terms of timing because timing is easier to control than resources. – Scott Adams

By any definition, what I’m doing is work, but because I can control the timing of it on this particular day, it doesn’t feel like work. I’ve transformed work into pleasure simply by having control over when I do it. – Scott Adams

Happiness has more to do with where you’re heading than where you are. – Scott Adams

If you are lucky enough to have career options, and only one of them affords a path of continual improvement, choose that one, all else being equal. – Scott Adams

I find it useful to daydream that the future will be better than today, by far. I like to imagine a future that is spectacular and breathtaking. Simply imagining a better future hacks your brain chemistry and provides you with the sensation of happiness today. – Scott Adams

Diet. This book should not be seen as advice. The author eats whatever he wants. Eat the right kids of food for enjoyment. Then you won’t crave for anything else. Bad food tastes good when you are hungry. Well prepared food can taste good. Learn to change your food preferences so that you will only want healthy food. Change your cravings. They can be manipulated. Most healthy food is bland. Look at things differently. Overeating makes you bloated. Our mood changes depending on what food we consume. Look for the pattern. If you eat right, you will start feeling more optimistic. Food helps to contribute to your mood. Ask yourself how you feel after a meal. If you have too much carbs, you will feel sleepy at 2pm. Carbohydrates make you feel sleepy during the day. Eat those foods which make you more energetic. Figure out what works for you. Peanuts can help as well. Humans have a limited supply of willpower. The diet system shouldn’t rely on willpower. The Food-Exercise Connection. Food is the fuel that makes exercise possible. Get your diet right before you will feel motivated to exercise. Learn to eat stuff other than simple carbs. Break your addiction with simple carbs. Simple carbs include white and potatoes. He has also consumed too much diet coke. He replaced diet coke with coffee. Nutrition is largely bullshit. Eat the following: Bananas, Protein Bars, Peanuts, Mixed Nuts, Cheese, Whole wheat pasta, Edamame, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, fish, lettuce, tomatoes, apples, pears, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, quinoa, brown rice and berries. Keep willpower out of the equation. Know what you’re eating. If you keep feeling hungry, perhaps you did not sleep enough. Try eating peanuts and mixed nuts. Go for food with the lowest calories. Use some seasoning to make healthy food taste good. Salt is not good for the body. You need to exercise regularly. Avoid having overweight friends as well. Coffee makes you alert, happier and more productive. Coffee can make you more likely to exercise. It can make you happier and enjoy work. Don’t become addicted to it though. For celebrities, fitness has a huge upside.

You’ll be surprised at how often a bad night of sleep leads to nonstop eating. – Scott Adams

Once you start on a vegetarian diet, the inconvenience is more than paid for by the way your body feels after a meal and the holier-than-thou sensation that comes with doing something that looks hard to others. – Scott Adams

But if success is your dream and operating at peak mental performance is something you want, coffee is a good bet. – Scott Adams

The happier you are in one area of your life, the less effort you’ll put into searching for happiness elsewhere. – Scott Adams

Fitness. Sports was his life in the past. Scott didn’t like jogging and he preferred chasing something. Tennis was his outlet. Be Active Every Day. Being active is a good thing. Simplification is the key. If something is complicated, you will require the use of willpower and that is not ideal. Exercise may not be your priorities later on in life. Be active every day and thus you won’t need to use any willpower for exercise. If you require willpower to exercise, it is going to be unsustainable. It mustn’t feel like work. You need to feel good after exercising. Make fitness a daily habit. No one needs willpower to do the things they enjoy. Just be active everyday. Always exercise at the same time everyday. Join an organized team. Choose a team sport with a set schedule. Have an exercise system in place. Have a predictable exercise system. You should never exercise so much that you don’t feel like exercising tomorrow. Light exercise gives an energy boost and reduces stress. This is the reward. It is easier to be active everyday than only to be active on certain days. Reward yourself with a good snack after exercise etc. To exercise on lazy, set a cue. If you feel super tired, just wear your exercise gear and immediately you are in the mood to exercise. Wearing the exercise gear is your cue to exercise. Interviewers prefer healthy candidates as well.

Exercise is hard work in every imaginable sense. When you add marriage and kids to the mix, exercise can become completely impractical for many people. – Scott Adams

When you are active every day and your body feels good about it, it will become easier to increase your exercise level than it would be to stop it. – Scott Adams

In the long run, any system that depends on your willpower will fail. Or worse, some other part of your life will suffer as you focus your limited stockpile of willpower on fitness. – Scott Adams

To put that another way, the right amount of exercise today is whatever amount makes me look forward to being active tomorrow. – Scott Adams

Voice Update 2. He still could not speak properly after so long. The future looked bleak. There was a surgeon in Japan who had a ‘cure’. Scott wanted to follow all leads, no matter how unlikely they seemed. Surgery had an 85% success rate. Many of the patients went through it successfully. Scott decided to proceed with the surgery.

Luck. Success is a lot a matter of luck. ‘Books change us automatically, just as any experience does’. If you can improve yourself after reading this book, it would have meant that the book has helped you.

CalendarTree Start-up. This website is good for event organizing etc. Generate a lot of opportunities so that luck can find you. Learn to take risks and be great. Add new skills and new contacts and see your market value increase substantially.

Voice Update 3. He had the surgery and the recovery period was awful. 3 and a half months later, Scott finally managed to speak. It was a breath of fresh air. The vocal cords and his brain were connected now. Over time, his voice gradually improved. Fluency returned and Scott was elated.

A Final Note about Affirmations. Affirmations appear to have more power than positive thinking. Selective memory comes into play. False memory is another reason. Optimists tend to notice opportunities that pessimists miss. Train yourself to act like an optimist. Writing affirmations is a good form of training. Optimists make themselves an easy target for luck to find them. Affirmations might work for perfectly logical reasons. Affirmations are more a system than a goal actually. To him, they are like small miracles.

Summary. Learn multiple skills. Learn to control your ego and pick skills where others fear embarrassment. Stay in the game long enough and luck will find you. Look for an opportunity to give you a flexible schedule in the future. Some skills are more important than others. Goals are for losers and systems are for winners. Failure is your friend.

Focus on your diet first and get that right so you have enough energy to want to exercise. Exercise will further improve your energy, and that in turn will make you more productive, more creative, more positive, more socially desirable, and more able to handle life’s little bumps. – Scott Adams

And always remember that failure is your friend. It is the raw material of success. Invite it in. Learn from it. And don’t let it leave until you pick its pocket. That’s a system. – Scott Adams

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Great Thinkers by the School of Life (Part 3)

Art and Architecture

Andrea Palladio. A lot of people spend time indoors. We admire great buildings. Venice has one of the best architecture. Andrea designed buildings when he was 30. He designed many villas. Finally, he emerged as top architect of Venice. To me, architecture has to have a clear purpose. There are rules for great buildings too. We should build in order to encourage good states of mind in ourselves. It helps us with calm, harmony and dignity. Symmetrical shapes help bring calm. Buildings should be well fitted and aligned well. These are powerful coherent buildings. Buildings should gave dignity to aspects of life which are seen as unworthy. Buildings should compensate us for our weaknesses. We need serene, harmonious and confident buildings. They are rules for architecture as well. One could follow mathematical ratios. Buildings should be made symmetrical.

Johannes Vermeer (1632 to 1675). Many things are glamorous. Artists can capture scenes of beauty which are commonly overlooked by many. These are deep moments of contemplation. Even bread and butter can be satisfying. Simple homely pleasures are important as well. He did a lot of painting in his free time. His famous work was ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’. Thoughts for the non-renowned are important and should be considered too. Artists have the power to make the ordinary look special. Sometimes, in life, doing modest things are sufficient.

Most of life is taken up dealing with things which are routine, ordinary, humble, modest and (to be honest) a touch dull. Our culture should focus on getting us to appreciate the average, the everyday and the ordinary. – Johannes Vermeer

Caspar David Friedrich. Art can teach us how to suffer. His distinctive style emerged slowly. He depicted sufferings in his paintings. Tragedy and grief could also express emotions and solemn moods around. Solitude brings with it our deepest possibilities. His works make us aware of our insignificance. We appreciate how small we are and that some things don’t matter. Learn to be conscious of our space and time in the grand scheme of things. Now, his works are deeply admired.

Henri Matisse. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves of the bad things that happen in life. We are aware of the problems and injustice in the world. We feel small in the face of problems. Hope is to be celebrated and is a necessary part for success. The problem with the world was that there was too much darkness and misery, hence, we need to remind ourselves of happy things in life.

Edward Hopper. He is a painter of gloomy-looking paintings. The paintings help to accept loneliness. His paintings are gloomy, however can seem charming too. His works didn’t sell well. Even those he loved his wife, some part of him realized that he was still alone. Art can be therapeutic when addressing loneliness. When travelling, Hopper loved the introspective mood.

Oscar Niemeyer. Buildings looks the same everywhere. His buildings had motifs from the floor to ceiling. He practised Brazilian-infused modernism. One should use techniques like reinforced concrete in creative ways. He liked sensual curves of rivers, of a female body etc. The church he built had tiles across it. He created a building where you could work and relax and have a conversation that expands your mind. You could be sexually adventurous in your house as well. His architecture was also a future dream for Brazil. He created new buildings to reflect nationalism. To him, it was important for buildings to be culturally specific.

Louis Kahn. Kahn got inspired by the buildings in Rome due to their ancient designs. Yet, he managed to marry that concept with innovation and clarity. Kahn used symmetry, which was an old idea. Symmetry helps to provide a sense of balance and focus. He often used new materials for his office, like ceramic, copper etc. Wood can give warmth while concrete gives strength and stability. He was also a monumental architect. He could combine the old and the new and thus was very famous.

Coco Chanel. Fashion is a part of life. However, fashion nowadays is eccentric and foolish in nature. She started off as a designer of hats. In the past, clothes are complicated and very expensive. However, her clothes were inspiring in their design. She invented a better destination. She introduced a little black dress. The wearer looked energetic etc. The dress was designed to be long-lasting. She re-invented the black dress. The fashion sense would also be appropriate for 10 years later. She limited colour options to those that were essential and elegant. Elegance and grace was the big focus of her dresses and that was very important. She also designed jewellery and handbags. Her clothes are revolutionary because they were embodiments of good ideas.

Jane Jacobs. There is something compelling about cities. They are full of possibilities. Cities can be really complex on their own. She loved to explore the own city she lived in. She worked as a writer for a magazine. She married an architect later on in life. The problem with modern architecture was that it wasn’t want real people wanted. Architects should learn to respect urban order. These were usually the result of bad thinking. She realized that to know what people wanted, you have to walk around and explore the city. To her, diversity was very important. Cities should be like eco-systems. There needs to be a diversity of businesses. City blocks should be small so as to encourage more interactions between people. There should be a mix of old and new buildings. Cities should be dense in population. Cities should be compact.

Cy Twombly. Abstract art can seem meaningless to us. The key to abstract art is to appeal to people’s emotions. It represents inner rather than the outer world. What does the work feel like? Cy was an abstract artist. His work suggests a reflective life and ambition and confusion. He loved figurative and representational art. We should really think more about the slogans that we are exposed to in everyday life.

Andy Warhol. He was a glamorous figure of 20th century art. He was famous for making brightly coloured prints. Andy was largely an eccentric character. He was a celebrity, but also concentrated on his business. Throughout his lesson, he thought us the 4 important life lessons. They are 1) Appreciating everyday life. For instance, he loved the soup can. However, humans need to take a step back to appreciate them. Everything we do in life is interesting and note-worthy. The things we do all the time have their own merits. He groomed some countercultural eccentrics as ‘Superstars’. To him, people worked because they wanted a glamorous outlook in life. The choice of the right celebrities were important. He was good at both business and art and felt that they could go well together. To him, art should be accessible and not just restricted to a select rich few. We need the branding power of business to drive the power of art. Andy Warhol mastered many different genres of art. He died at the age of 58.

Dieter Rams. He was a great designer of everyday objects. He made the company ‘Braun’ famous. Design and functionality are closely linked. Dieter saw the beauty of simplicity. The radios he designed were simplistic and even the modern iPod took inspiration from it. The fact is that our lives are too cluttered and having simplicity is very beautiful indeed. Being simple is truly an achievement to be celebrated. There is value in modesty. The products had to improve other people’s lives. One needs to build empathy with the customer. An object should be easy to live with. Rams was classic too. His goal was to make enduring products, those which we didn’t need to throw away. Art and product design is very important.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude. They didn’t like producing art on a small scale and produced large-scale art. They wanted their art to fill up public spaces. Their art was produced on a massive scale. Their aim is just to make things beautiful and inspiring for all. The job of an artist is not just to dream of a better world, but to make it happen. To create large work, they needed the support of the government, of many users etc. Profit certainly wasn’t their main goal. This is the central plank of good commerce.

Literature

Jane Austen. She was an ambitious moralist and wanted to make people nicer in terms of their characters. She was elegant, a good dancer etc. However, she didn’t marry. She believed that the lover should educate you. The purpose of marriage is to educate and improve the other. It should be the union of both. Your spouse has to be able to make you feel relaxed and comfortable and overcome our failings. We have to judge more carefully. She doesn’t care as much of outer appearance as compared to integrity and other values. Learn to treat money seriously. One will need sufficient money before one can get married. Do not be overimpressed by what money can do. It is not wise to get married without enough money. Wealth is important to happiness, but not in terms of living in luxury. We mustn’t learn to be snobbish. Do not be all high handed in dealing with your hierarchy. Few people are snobbish. Secretly, Austen wants the world to be of a certain way which is appealing. This is why she is much loved as a writer.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He was one of the big cultural heroes and excelled in many areas of his life. Many people were impressed by how he led his life. He learnt theatre in school. We can learn a lot of lessons from him. The first is ‘From Romanticism to Classicism in love’. Although romantic love is attractive and wonderful, it does have its deep problems when there is breakup etc. The movies paint romance to be fairy-tale like, but in reality, it is not very pretty. He believed more in Classicism, which is marked by pessimism. However, Romanticism felt more exciting. Later, Goethe worked for the government. There is dignity in administration and working for the government. He often sat in meetings and listened to others. He eventually created a model urban park. Travel was a form of therapy. He was inspired by Rome etc. However, when he reached Rome, he was a little disappointed. He realized he needed a guide. To him, travelling was not about relaxing, but about finding the missing ingredient of our own maturity. Later, he got back to his political and creative work. One should live life to the full: the Faustian hero. His most famous work was Faust. Faust was downtrodden until he was visited by Mephisto, a devil. The devil will offer him the ability to do whatever he wants. Faust realizes that want is wants is beauty and love, and not being a pure hedonist. You can use power and put in for noble use. To fully achieve, we have to flirt with things, but also hold on to a higher purpose. Science is for artsy people. He was known for his achievements in botany. He a hero for those with artistic and literary sense. He studied animals closely and how they interacted with one another. He was an awesome guy.

Leo Tolstoy. The novel was a form of psychological education and reform. He was born in 1828. He was not a good student in school. His marriage was difficult. He wrote War and Peace, Anna Karenina etc. The key lesson from his books are that if you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, they would seem kinder and more forgiving. We need to understand the ‘dislikeable’ characters. People are not as what they seem all the time. The thought of mortality should inspire continual kindness and sympathy in us. Tolstoy was a man of outstanding moral courage and generosity. He wrote an important essay. It was titled ‘What is Art?’ Art has the purpose of making the world kinder for all. We have to aspire to be something else.

Marcel Proust. He was a French writer who wrote the longest novel in the world. There were 7 volumes. It was deemed to be the greatest novel of all time. The title was ‘In Search of Lost Time’. It was about a guy seeking to find meaning and purpose in life. He wanted to stop wasting time and start living. There are potentially 3 sources for the meaning of life. The first is social success. The narrator worked his way up the social hierarchy. However, once you are there, you will realize that people are not extraordinary. Vices can be found throughout the population. It is normal for one to try and scale the social ladder. Love provides meaning to life. However, it is not possible to truly understand someone and conflict might arise. Loneliness is endemic. Hence, both the first 2 fail to provide meaning in life. The last is art. Human adults are too stuck in their routine and cannot get out of it. Children do not suffer this and find beauty in the world. We need to look at life with greater sensitivity. It is possible to find natural beauty everywhere, and not just in museums. There is a nice charm to everyday life. The work of artists are like long Proustian moments and they remind us that life is fascinating and lovely.

The reason why life may be judged to be trivial although at certain moments it seems to us so beautiful is that we form our judgement, ordinarily, not on the evidence of life itself but of those quite different images which preserve nothing of life – and therefore we judge it disparagingly. – Marcel Proust

Virginia Woolf. She captured a lot of emotions which she saw. She had famous parents but did not want to live a life of luxury. Later, she suffered a mental breakdown. She was a journalist and a novelist. She married Leonard. ‘To the Lighthouse’ is one of her most famous works. She committed suicide in 1941. Learn to notice everything. There was no minor situation, in her opinion. She was very aware of her surroundings. She was not ashamed of describing her illnesses. We should learn to accept the everyday. We should be a feminist. She liked to explore her sexuality. She also wanted to raise the status of women in society. Women also had the rights to education, intellectual freedom etc.

It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly. – Virginia Woolf

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Great Thinkers by the School of Life (Part 2)

Political Theory

Karl Marx. We often dismiss Marxism. His ideas led to disastrous planned economies. He wanted private property to be abolished. Despite this, we should not dismiss him so easily. He joined the Communist Party, a bunch of intellectuals at that time. He wrote many books in his life. Marx realized that modern work was ‘alienated’. To love your job, you need ‘to see yourself in the object that you have created’. It should also allow us to improve. In the modern world, this doesn’t happen very often though. Modern work is too specialized. To him, humans are all born as generalists. We all have many desires as humans, not just to specialize in our work. If you feel your work is meaningless, you suffer. Our work has to address genuine needs or to help people. Some people’s jobs don’t have a long term effect to which to accumulate towards. Modern work is insecure because of advances in technology. However, most of us want stability. Communism guarantees that everyone has a job. Workers get paid little while capitalists get rich. The bosses get all the profit. Labourers will find it hard to change their circumstances. Workers, or the proletariat, could be easily exploited. Capitalism is very unstable. People are over-producing. Productivity has improved over the years. Marx thought that because of this, people should be happily unemployed. However, unemployment is frowned upon in society. Capitalism is bad for capitalists. Marriage was an extension of business. Because people cared too much about money, they could not put their hearts into their relationships. This is known was Warenfetischismus or commodity fetishism. Capitalism leads people to believe that with more money and belongings, people will be happier. It teaches us to be anxious, competitive, conformist etc. After he passed on, his writings were used for the ideological movements for the 20th century. We do need a more authentic relationship to money and consumption. We have to change the world.

John Ruskin. He cared a lot about beauty and wanted to remake the world into a beautiful place. He was a remarkable man. Ruskin had natural talent for art. Often, he would draw architectural buildings as well. Venice was the paradise to him. However, he was not so impressed with British urban life. He compared Venice with Britain and wondered how could Britain improve? He started his career as an art critic. As a career, he later attacked the principles of capitalism. This was done via speeches. After his dad passed away, he used the money to set up farms to create sustainable good sources. He created industry, schools, and museums. He started the Guild project, which was successful. He encouraged the rich to donate wealth to the Guild. Ruskin was a professor at the University and once got students to mend the road so that children could pay on them. It took a long time, but progress was made. Do not leave it to market forces. He was a man of his word and acted a lot. Be inspired by nature and look and appreciate it. We are part of nature and should use nature to energize us. Often, we dismiss thoughts as of having no significance. We should analyse such thoughts and understand them. Learn to see the good in society.

But the underlying point is crucial. Out of fear of seeming ridiculous, we often end up not tackling the challenges around us. The road mending was a small instance of a larger idea that animated Ruskin’s life: that it is the duty of creative, privileged people to direct their efforts towards making the world more pleasing and tidy, more convenient and beautiful, not just for themselves, but for the greatest good of the greatest number. – John Ruskin

Henry David Thoreau. He was an unemployed writer who lived in the woods. It is important to be simplistic and be authentic. He learnt about transcendentalism from Ralph Waldo Emerson and adopted it. He built a small cabin in the woods. The plan was to go there to write a book. He lived them and sucked out the marrow of life. In the woods, he discovered himself. Mankind doesn’t need a lot of things. Money doesn’t help us develop our soul and to him, work was unnecessary. He worked for only 1 day a week. He worked just long enough to fund his lifestyle. To him, sometimes we use other people to fill gaps in our inner life. One should aim to change oneself first. Technology was a distraction for him and encouraged others to remove it from their lives. Time was what was necessary to make people happy. He also found great beauty in nature. It also encourages introspection and self-discovery. To him, we needed to clear distractions from our minds. He encouraged civil disobedience in protest against immoral laws. He was the founder of the non-violent civil movement. One should be actively engaged with the world.

Matthew Arnold. Matthew was an educational reformer. Education would be a good tool. He was fond of higher ideals and fond of sweetness and light. Eventually, he became Professor of Poetry at Oxford. His famous work was ‘Culture and Anarchy’. There was very little love and care in the world, he noted. This was meant by anarchy. Money politics was growing and everyone was fond of riches. He predicted that culture would overcome anarchy. He wanted culture to be taught in schools and wanted art to govern societies. Art had the power to enable us to understand and clear confusion. The arts were only useful if everyone could understand it. Hence, there was a need to popularize it. He wanted a world where people were kind and exhibited sympathy towards one another.

William Morris. He understood the role of pleasure in work. Consumer demand has also played a huge role in modern society. Early on, he realized that money could not solve everything. He started off as an architect, but later wanted to be an artist and poet. He was keen of the medieval idea of craft to boost the economy. Workers could have to build a skill. Craft work is good because you are building something tangible. If people like their jobs, the issue of pay is less critical. You are no longer working just for the money. Labour was dignified. He started an arts business later in life. Industrialization brought about massive change and allowed for mass production. Would customers still be willing to pay for craft work? Consumers need to be educated. Everything in your house that you own should be beautiful. Items purchased should be seen as a form of investment. You can also pass it down to your future generations. He was conscious of the beauty of life. The economy is related to our preferences and choices.

John Rawls. What is truly unfair? He published ‘A Theory of Justice’ in 1971. He was a humble man who did a lot of social work and carried himself well. Life was not always fair and rag to riches stories are simply too rare. Imagine if you were not you. Those who are privileged seldom think of those who have suffered prejudice and suffering. Thus, there was a need to convince this group of people. He conducted ‘the veil of ignorance’ test. You wouldn’t know exactly what your life circumstances are. Your birth place is like a lottery. People need to know what needs to be fixed. His question allows people to think what a fair society is like. There is still a lot to be done to maintain this fairness.

As Rawls forcibly reminds us, in the modern United States, and many parts of Europe too, if you are born poor, the chances of you remaining poor (and dying young) are simply overwhelming and incontestable. – John Rawls

If we knew nothing about where we’d end up, what sort of a society would it feel safe to enter? In what kind of political system would it be rational and sane for us to take root – and accept the challenge laid down by the veil of ignorance? – John Rawls

Eastern Philosophy

He confronted suffering. He was known as Siddhartha Gautama. He was in a palace filled with luxury. When he was 30, he met the real world and saw ordinary people. He was touched by their plight. Finally he left the palace for good. He avoided all physical comforts and pleasures. Now, he developed a sense of compassion and peace. He reached ‘Nirvana’ or the ‘Awakening’. All of creation is united in its suffering. One shouldn’t bathe in luxury. It is best to live in moderation. There is constant suffering and dissatisfaction in the world. Suffering is caused by attachment due to our desires. Attachment is the root of suffering. We must change our outlook to life. Humans are not happy because we are greedy, vain, insecure. He suggested an eightfold path for humans to follow. Right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Learn to develop a mindful attitude. The state of living was the most sacred issue. Do your best to liberate yourself from tyrannous desires.

Lao Tzu. He is a guiding figure in Daoism. He is rumoured to have wrote Tao Te Ching. The teachings are interwined with Confucianism and Buddhism. People are guided by the ‘Dao’. It opens life to multiple interpretations. It is the path to virtue, happiness and harmony. We resist the very simple path that will make us content. We must learn flow and the harmony of it. We need more time for stillness and to appreciate the world. Let your mind be still. Be in touch with your real self. We should pay more attention to the wonders of nature. He compares different parts of nature to different virtues. Trees are resilient and should be admired. Water is soft and gentle, but yet can be powerful when given time. Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished. Life is a series of small changes. Be content with what you want. Rejoice in the way things are. Learning the way of the Dao reminds you of stillness, openness and natural forces.

The idea that the contemplation of nature is a source of perspective and tranquillity is well known in theory, but so easy to overlook because we take it from granted and never give it the time and focus required. – Lao Tzu

Confucius. Confucius claims that he invented nothing. He led a virtuous life. He coined the golden rule. He understood the importance of ceremony. Rituals were powerful. Rituals teach people how to behave. Treat your parents with reverence. We should practise filial piety. Moral life begins in the family. Be obedient to honourable people. Be respectful to all around you. Cultivate knowledge more than creativity. Spend time to slowly change your habits.

Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself – Confucius

We should obey our parents when we are young, care for them when they are old, mourn at length when they die and make sacrifices in their memory thereafter. – Confucius

Sen no Rikyu. He is one the greatest Zen thinkers. He stayed in the countryside and appreciate the Japanese tea ceremony. He believed in rituals too. Wabi-sabi means the appreciation of the imperfect. He made people realize the value of the authentic, for the un-decorated and the humble. The tea-house should be strong. The tea-house was meant to promote harmony. After the ceremony, one would be tranquil and peaceful. Make the spiritual life more tangible. There are co-relations between the big ideas and the small ideas.

Matsuo Basho. Poetry is good for our souls. Poetry was meant to guide us and bring wisdom and calm. He wrote in Haiku style. Old pond…A frog leaps in. Water’s sound. He was an exceptional poet. We should really appreciate life for what it is and be contented with our own company. Use natural scenes to remind his reader of flowers, weather etc. The transience of life makes every moment valuable. The lightness allows readers to escape the burdens of self.

St Benedict. We feel like we need to reinvent our lives. We are not involved in our community. Monasticism is where people are fruitful and they group together as friends towards a few big goals. One day, St Benedict went to the mountains. He had rules for everyone. There were rules for eating. One should avoid red meat and long chatter at dinner tables should be avoided. Silence was golden and was the key to concentration. Fashion was a huge source of interest to Benedict. Everyone should wear the same clothes and wear the same hair. Incorporate some physical activity in your life. Have early nights and sleep early. Do not have porn addiction. Learn to dress in a demure way. Admire beautiful art and architecture. Create a home which is uplifting and calming. He is showing us the potential for rules to help us live well. There is a lot of importance in having a strong community. One should live in such a way so as to avoid distractions. Communal life can be fun and we are better off joining a team.

Alexis de Tocqueville. We support democracy, although we can be disappointed by it. Alexis de Tocqueville studied the United States model. He believed in the power of democracy. He went there to see what the future would be like. During his trip, he talked to many people. There was an attitude of selfishness by the Native Americans. The Natives looked different from normal Americans. There were things to admire about America. To him, the wilderness was impressive. What were the social consequences of democracy? Democracy breeds materialism. This is because people believed that through hard work, you could amass a fortune. That is why people respect money. The test of a business is whether it can make money and be admirable. Capitalism led to people judging one another. Democracy breeds envy and shame. Poor people were looked down. Everyone believes that they have a good shot at life. People in the past, before democracy, were calmer. Democracy dismantled barriers to expectation. It was true that some of the poor might one day become rich. In aristocracies, servants accepted their fates with good grace. However, in democracies, they were ambitious. But the problem was that not all of them could achieve their goals, and if they couldn’t, they became bitter towards their masters and hated themselves for their inadequacies. Another issue of democracy was the tyranny of the majority. Majority could dominate the minority. Good ideas proposed by the minority could be shut down. Another problem was that democracy turns us against authority. Democracy was all for favour for equality, which was harmful in some ways. The issue was that people with no education could not understand why they were not on par with a doctor and disrespected authority. It was biased towards mediocrity. Democracy undermined the freedom of the mind. They did not speak up for their convictions, for fear of backlash. He showed us the pros and cons of democracy. He tried to get people strategically pessimistic.

I never met a citizen too poor to cast a glance of hope and envy toward the pleasures of the rich. – Tocqueville

Max Weber. He grew up seeing the Industrial Revolution. He was a young academic. Capitalism was possible because of a set of religious ideas. It was created by Protestantism. Protestantism makes you feel guilty all the time. God likes hard work. All work is holy. Work was also part of a religious vocation. It’s the community, not the family, that counts. There aren’t miracles. One needed to think methodically, act honestly and work industriously. The world bank should be giving Africa ideas instead of money. The economy requires cultural assistance. We need to look to changing mentalities, like Calvinism. How can we change the world? Bureaucracy is a major implication to change a nation. Removing the leader might only have a small impact. One cannot bring social change just by charisma. One way to overcome bureaucracy is through knowledge and systematic organization. Ideas might be important than tools to change nations. One can always change the thoughts in their heads.

Emile Durkheim (1858 to 1917). Capitalism makes us richer, but more suicidal too. He was fascinated by religion. Also, suicide rates were increasing among the educated people. Why were people becoming more unhappy? Individualism played a bigger role than community. Hence, it forces us to be masters of our destinies. When things go wrong, you only have to blame yourself. This is the burden of capitalism. It raises our hopes. Everyone thinks they can become the boss. Envy grows rife. Life is often quite simply painful and sad. Humans have too much freedom and that is not a good thing. There is nowhere to hide if you are not capable. Atheism was more common. Religion created bonds between groups of people. Capitalism weakens the nation and the family. Modern economies do not provide sufficient support and guidance for individuals.

Margaret Mead. She was a famous anthropologist. She eventually chose Christianity. The world was teeming with separate cultures. She travelled to Samoa for her field-work. She wanted to see that primitive cultures had their insights too. Naturally, she picked up the native languages and became popular. She led an unconventional life. The natives were comfortable with sex. There was less social expectations for them as to whether they could have sex etc. Modern Americans are forced to conform with societal norms. Our modern life does not allow us to be free. In different native cultures, women could be the more aggressive as compared to men. Culture has been big part to play in shaping personalities. Therefore, because of modern society, we have left some things behind. Humans are definitely moulded by society. We miss out on the greater opportunities in life. It is important to consider cultural norms and use them as guides for your emotional lives. Learn to study complex cultures. She was a supporter and fighter of many cause. We need to unleash and uncover human potential in our rush to modernity.

Theodor Adorno. He was a German. Eventually, he focused on philosophy. He wanted intellectuals to band together and change society. To him, capitalism was bad because leisure time was seen as being toxic. Leisure time should be used for expanding and developing ourselves. Hopefully, these cultural activities might have some impact on our lives. Modern entertainment keeps us distracted, and do not have the ability to alter political reality. It was like opium for the masses. The culture activities like to keep us distracted. Pop music focus on love. He thought that Walt Disney was the most dangerous man in America. To him, capitalism doesn’t sell us the things we need. We actually don’t get what we need but settle for less. We need calm, insight and tenderness etc. Advertising is mass manipulation. Politics needs to be changed via psychology too.

Adorno argued that leisure had a great purpose to serve: free time – and the cultural activities we might pursue in it – was our prime opportunity to expand and develop ourselves, to reach after our own better nature, and to acquire the tools with which to change society. – The School of Life

Rachel Carson. We have damaging the planet. She really cared for the environment and wanted to conserve it. She wrote books on sea life etc. She promoted identification with the world earth. We are all part of this beautiful Earth. DDT was controversial as it harmed wildlife. We should really try to leave nature alone. We should think more creatively about how to prevent insect damage. Good stewardship of the Earth is a must. Love is the key to transforming humanity’s relationship to nature.

Sigmund Freud. He was a vulnerable man inside. He invented psychoanalysis in 1900. However, he remained an unhappy man. He was jealous of Carl Jung. Humans are largely governed by the pleasure principle. Education teaches us to forgo short term pleasure but seek long term rewards. Life was full of neuroses. Childhood is the time when we adapt to reality. Later, children have to experience the ‘anal phase’, where they face the challenges of defecation. The next phase of a kid is when he has new sexual wishes. This nature of the child is repressed. Freud thinks that humans experience the Oedipus complex, where children direct their sexual impulses towards their parents. A child will tend to love her mother, but someone else will take away her attention. As a result, the child will hate the dad. To him, incestuous thoughts are at the back of the child’s mind. Humans have a difficulty associating sex with love. Freud thought that the cure for neurosis was psychoanalysis. Humans experience dreams which are exciting, but these are usually not practical in reality. Humor was a psychological survival mechanism.

Anna Freud. She was Sigmund’s daughter. She became a psychoanalyst when she grew up. Naturally, humans try to protect their egos. There are 10 key types of defence mechanisms. One is denial. This gets in the way of long-term coping. Projection is the next. We often project our own negative feelings to someone else. You can also turn against the self. Humans tend to regress and avoid commitment on big decisions to be made. A tantrum is a regressive defence mechanism. Humans often rationalize that we are innocent and nice and worthy. If one gets rejection for a job offer, one way to rationalize is that ‘it was a boring company’. This is the way to protect one’s self-esteem. Humans tend to use displacement, where people are angry with their bosses at work but do not express it and end up shouting at their wife at home. Fantasy is another escapist mechanism. These help you to escape from reality. Defences are not voluntary. Defence mechanisms play a big part in our lives.

Melanie Klein. She was also a psychoanalyst. Our desires are in a raw form. Deep down, we are governed by the pleasure principle. Sometimes, we fall prey to neuroses and inhibitions. We end up being uncreative in daily life. We might also end up failing. Klein analyzed children and how they played with toys. Children, when they grow up, start to realize what ambivalence is. As humans, we also learn to understand the ambivalent nature of all relationships.

Donald Winnicott. How do you build a better world? The way parents bring up children has a big impact on this. The right upbringing is absolutely key. He started off as a pediatrician. First, parents should remember that children are vulnerable. The early few months are immense work. Learn to let a child be angry. Make sure your child isn’t too compliant. This would lead to the child emerging to a ‘False Self’. These kids are not a proper good, but acting good only. Let your child be. Realize the gravity of the job you’ve taken on. Love is about the surrender of the ego, and putting aside one’s own needs and assumptions.

The foundation of the health of the human being is laid by you in the baby’s first weeks and months. Perhaps this thought can help a little when you feel strange at the temporary loss of your interest in world affairs… It is not surprising. You are engaged in founding the mental health of the next generation. – Donald Winnicott

John Bowlby. We all want to form stable relationships. Why is it so hard to establish such relationships? Relationship building is important as a child already. Children suffer when their parents are not good role models. Children need cuddling and playing too. Then, they will love their mother’s body. The ideal parent must be there. Most people do not get the required maternal care. Our parents behaviour might not be consistent. Those kids without good care entered 3 phrases: protest, despair and detachment. These are patterns of ‘anxious attachment’. Some kids are worse and they are ‘attachment avoidant’ and avoid warmth and even a hug because it seems dangerous. There are 3 kinds of attachments to other adults. They are 1) secure attachment. This is the best. This means that ‘you are slow to anger, quick to forgive and forget’. The next is anxious attachment. This is marked by clinginess and close checking on the other person.A small act can be seen as a huge threat. These type of relationships quickly become coercive and demanding. Some are avoidant attachments. This means you would rather walk away then get angry with the other person. People tend to a combination of a few traits. It is important to establish an early bond between mother and child. According to research, 56% are securely attached, 24% are avoidantly attached and 20% are anxiously attached.

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The Rich Employee by James Altucher (Part 2)

How a Poor Employee Thinks. Jobs can be either outsourced to other countries or be replaced. Education might not protect you from it. Do not look for employers who will outsource people at the first opportunity. Use time to learn to be innovative. Learning from online courses is a great idea. Avoid the poor employee mindset. A poor employee gossips, under promises, doesn’t understand company vision. He never invests in himself. He spends on showing off instead of learning new things. He never comes up with great ideas. Does only what is required to get a salary. He surfs the net a lot for personal interests. He hates the job.

How to Become a Rich Employee. This is a practice.

The Rich Employee Miracle Morning. You are the alchemist of your life. A near death experience can change you. Do not fight with any bad things that might have befallen you. Adopt the daily practice of choosing yourself: striving to improve every day 1% for both your physical and mental health. Some of the miracle morning strategies you can adapt are ‘Meditation’; ‘Prayer’; and ‘Breathing’. Use affirmations to help you every morning. For instance ‘Today, I am open to learn new things’. ‘V’ is for visualization. Learn to visualize your goal. ‘E’ is for exercise. ‘R’ is for reading. Read books that contain positive ideas. ‘S’ is for scribing. It is very important to have a healthy routine. Start to take action and develop positive habits.

How a Rich Employee Creates His or Her Side Hustle. What worked in the past might not work well today. Hence, it is better to cultivate the rich employee mindset. Being an entrepreneur is about mitigating and not creating risk. Find a system for developing a side job. Pay attention to your emotions. How do you make a blog more successful? You love more. Learn to spread the love and share others’ posts. Link others to your page. Have guest bloggers. Learn to make more love. Buy low, sell high. Use drop shipping tactics, like buy from AliExpress and then sell on Ebay for instance. Adopt the QVC-A method for success. Q is for Quality, V is for value, C is for consistency, A is for authenticity. Learning to find happiness with less is true wealth. We are the sum of our experiences and not the sum of our belongings. It is okay to do nothing at all on some days.

How Does a Rich Employee Handle When Others Get Jealous and Trash Her or Him? You gain success and others will start hating you. People will be jealous of your success. It is not possible to be loved all the time. I have learnt to deal with death threats and hate mails. Learn to live life like it’s your last day. It might be the last moment you see your loved ones. Hate will eventually pass after a while too. Those haters are just junk status binging. Just say ‘thank you’ and let go. Learn to have a vision. Write and work from the heart. Laughter cures all and makes people relax. Laughter is indeed the best medicine. Do not waste time living other people’s fears.

Habits of the Mentally Strong Rich Employee. Anyone can learn to mentally strong. Mentally strong people have very strong relationships. ‘You are the average of the 5 people you spend your time with’. Honesty is important. Understand it’s not about me, it’s about you. Focus on solving the problems of other people. Don’t keep thinking about making money. Smart people keep reading and become stronger. Some of the good books to read are ‘As a Man Thinketh’. Every mentally strong person was a voracious reader. Health is wealth and you can’t achieve big things in life when you are sick. Sleep 8 hours a day and walk a lot. Be curious and try to learn more things in life. Ask questions and learn and do not be shy. Learn, say, repeat. Exercise your idea muscles and come up with ideas. Learn to exercise the idea muscle and keep learning. Mentally strong people give themselves permission. Give yourself permission to fail and to try again. Ask ‘what can you do to help others?’ Understand that life changes fast. There is no grand purpose for you out there. Also understand that experiences are more valuable than goods. Learn to listen more. Pretend everything is going to die tomorrow and treat others well and with compassion. News is completely unimportant. Art and innovation are main stayers. Always take the job that gives you as much freedom as possible.

When you buy something nice, the neurochemicals spike, and then go away. When you have an experience, you have days of anticipation for the experience. Then you have the experience. Then you have the memories that can last forever. – James Altucher

Habits of the Poor Employee. The poor employee has an opinion. The poor employee thinks they are special. We do not have a special purpose in life. The poor employee talks a lot. Try to talk less when you know nothing much. The poor employee has no career. The poor employee thinks it needs X to get Y. There are many other paths to get Y. Some people think that ‘If I don’t do this then bad things will happen’. The poor employee thinks that he can’t leave. There will always be haters. You can’t change them, so you can just delete them. You are the coach of your future self. Take a walk when you feel like shit. Spend time with those who are good around you.

Get good at three, four, or five things. Then find the intersection. Then become the best in the world at the intersection. That’s how you can pretend to do your special purpose. – James Altucher

How the Rich Employee Learns

A Rich Employee is Always Learning. How do you know what you are talented at? Everyone is talented in many things. There are 10 step technique for learning. The first is to love it. Write every day. Study every chess game and work hard. Quantity of ideas is more important than quality at the start. Get a teacher. That will make you learn 10 times faster. Study the history and study the present. Do not read so many self-help business books. Write down the things you learn from each book. Do easy projects first. This will be the small wins which you give you enough confidence to continue. Study what you did. Analyze and do a post-mortem for any failures you might have suffered in the past. No man is an island and we work better in teams. Find your evil plan. Change the world.

Don’t forget the important rule: the secret of happiness is not “being great” – the secret of “growth”. If you only “try”, you’ll get to a level that is natural for you. – James Altucher

Frequently and Important Questions Rich Employees Have

How Does a Rich Employee Deal with a Crappy Boss While In Transition. When a boss yelled at me once, I quit. However, that is not the best way to deal with things. One should learn to deal with them and train them. The first tip is never kiss ass. Engage as little as possible with him, only talk about work. Never talk badly behind his back. Always give him/her credit for everything as Dogs like to be loved. Write a cover-your-ass memo every day describing what you are up to and who you are dealing with. Keep track of every detail. Build relationships with his network of colleagues and contacts. Help other employees of your boss with their jobs. Learn to over deliver. Understand what’s your market value and apply for jobs.

If your boss is a crappy person then you want to engage as little as possible. Only work stuff. Never joking around. Never anything that builds a meaningful dialogue that he will twist later. Don’t make friends with an animal. – James Altucher

On anything he asks you to do provide an extra touch. That is how he gets promoted. When you are more creative than him, over deliver for him, and he gets full credit. – James Altucher

Why is it especially important for women rich employees to become idea machines? Women need to bring things to the table too. This is because women still get paid less than men. As women, you should ask more questions. Men tend to ask the questions during talks. Men do things even if they are not 100% prepared. The transformation might be slow but slow and steady wins the race. Get out of depression. Remember to give to ourselves. Remember that ideas help to save lives and relationships etc. Learn to debunk stereotypes of women. Come up with 10 ideas a day. Ask yourself what is your passion for today? Learn to cut ourselves some slack. Understand that there is no beauty in playing small. The author recommends that ladies read ‘Lean in’.

Just One Thing to Do. Are women afraid that they will ask dumb questions? Do not be afraid anymore.

How Does a Rich Employee Master New Skills? Most of us will not be masters at anything. Talent is indeed a factor. How do you find what you are talented at? The first method is to write down what you enjoyed doing as a kid. Another way is to go to a shop and see what books you pick up to read. We are after all a combination of all of our experiences and if it is garbage so be it. Work on it four hours a day. You will also need to study history rather deeply. Study those who had failed before you. Study your failures. Do not blame others if you fail. Always learn from your experiences. Be able to recognize patterns. To become a master, one has to endure much pain. With mastery, big failures will always come. Build your ego. Persistence creates luck.

There’s a myth that everyone is talented at least one thing and you just have to find it. This isn’t true. Most people are not talented at anything. Most people can be pretty good at something. – James Altucher

At some point you have to cook 10,000 meals. Or play a million hands of poker, or 1000s of games of chess. Or start 20 businesses. Very few are successful right away. That would require too much luck and luck favors the prepared and the persistent. – James Altucher

One reason most people in the world don’t get really good at anything is because they have no talent for anything that anyone cares about. Another reason is they don’t want to put in the work. – James Altucher

How Does a Rich Employee Transform Anger into ‘What Works’? When you experience paranoia, you start losing intelligence. It will destroy you. Resentment is very bad too. If you think of revenge, that is very bad too. So does feelings of regret. Perfectionism is bad too. You can’t control the fact that you are not perfect. There are always things outside your control and you simply care too much. Feelings of guilt are not desirable too. Thinking of worst case scenarios are not desirable too. Talking unnecessarily also removes confidence.

Is there a ‘right way’ to ask for things that the rich employee utilizes? Do not be ashamed when you have to ask for something. The passive aggressive ask. By keeping silent, it will ruin your life. By asking, sometimes it can hurt your chances in future. If you can handle a lot of Nos, then keep asking. This is known as the cold ask. It doesn’t hurt if you don’t really care about the person and also what they of you. You are asking for something very small. You can ask people out for coffee. I asked 100 people to give me $5 on the street, only 1 guy gave me $1. Begging might work. Learn the ‘no pressure’ ask. Asking is good if whether they say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ doesn’t affect the relationship. Later on, you can follow up with No Pressure Asks. One good way is to ask for advice. Ask for advice on how you can improve at work or in your personal life. Try the reciprocity ask. Therefore, the trick is to give something first. You don’t have to ask immediately, you can store up your asks. What to have to offer in return? Therefore, sometimes you need to do the background work first.

As a Rich Employee, how do I know if I should take up a job in a start-up? If the CEO has built a business before, the odds of failure go down to 25%. The company must have enough funds to last 1 year at least. You must also believe in the company’s vision and the CEO must be good at communicating that vision. If you use the product and you like it, even better. Don’t work for a company that is easily replaceable at a lower valuation. Learning is the key. Look out for the subtleties of the company. If you hear about the company trashing their clients, you will probably not want to work for them. All gossiping is bad. You have to like your boss. Work for promising companies utilizing new technologies. Do not ask for when the company will IPO, because it can take up to 7 or 10 years. Make sure you see the path to profitability.

Resources for the Rich Employee

Create a Choose Yourself Meet-up in Your Town. Improving yourself is a practise and not a goal. Associate yourself with others who strive for self-improvement too. Associate yourself with people with similar goals. Share with others how to keep learning, network etc. How to Run a Choose Yourself Meet-up. Keep the meetup small. Gossip should be kept out of the way. This is like a self-help group.

Suggestion Websites where you can pick up new skills: Fedora; TedX; Coursera; Coursmos; Highbrow; Skillshare; Curious; Lynda.com; CreativeLive; Udemy; Codecademy; Stuk.io; Udacity; Platzi; Learnable; Code School; Thinkful; Code.org; BaseRails; Treehouse; One Month; Dash; DataCamp; DataQuest; DataMonkey; Duolingo; Lingvist; Busuu; Memrise; Chesscademy; Pianu; Yousician; ClaudiaYoga.

Recommended Books: ‘The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9 to 5’ by Taylor Pearson; ‘The Miracle Morning: The Not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life (before 8am)’ by Hal Elrod; ‘Become an Idea Machine. Because Ideas are the Currency of the 21st Century’ by Claudia Azula Altucher; ‘Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success’ by Mathew Syed; ‘Seven Years to Seven Figures: The Fast-Track Plan to Becoming a Millionaire’ by Michael Masterson; ‘Quitter’ by Jon Acuff

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