What is Success

I woke up today to have a shard of glass that was stuck in my foot for a month taken out at a podiatrist. I booked the appointment for 8AM on Monday. There were other time slots available, but I figured that this would kick my ass out of bed earlier and hence promote a better use of the day than sleeping in an extra hour.

The thing is, on the previous day I went to a barbecue gathering and ended up coming home late. I had totally forgotten about my appointment. My alarm clock didn’t. Waking up, half-conscious I cooked myself a top-notch breakfast and went on to the clinic. I came back home knowing there was meditation, a workout, work and other tasks begging me to start. Instead, it didn’t take long that I felt like dozing off in bed for 15 minutes. I ended up taking a nap at 9AM! Then I started thinking about how I could make the best of the day amidst my progressively withering spirit.

If there is one worthwhile mental exercise that is worth trying out is to look at aspects of your life that go well and to evaluate what makes it flow. So I looked at what I did well in my boxing training, from attitude to the dispositions I took to get the results that I wanted. When I am always at the ready no matter what my mental state is.

And so, after a bit of pondering offer I picked out the elements that work well in m training. Then I try to copy them over to other facets of my life. Sometimes it’s work ethic, sometimes it’s the environment, but most of the time it is grit. Do look out for all aspects, even minor ones like the mental state you are in before you do an activity.

And with that, I believe that this is one of the gateways to fulfilling other endeavors successfully. *Off to work!*

Purpose of School

A bunch of big shots have already made the point that school’s purpose is to nurture or enhance a students capacity to think for himself; critical thinking.

Yet this was not the case in my 8 years of advanced studies. It sounds so obvious, but we were innocent. You wish you figure this one out on your own, but by the time you do you owe 150k in student loans with no work experience whatsoever.

I believe that the current conventional framework used by many universities is lacking or incomplete. When I entered grad school for the first time I was exposed to precise aspects. A focus was put on the fact that we were graded against a class average. That evaluations would have a specific format. That you won when you succeeded.

It’s now over, I graduated last year and I had no sense of who I was and I wondered why the attainment of a degree felt so empty. I found a good job that payed well. And I had the chance to party and meet interesting people, but we were all molded in the same shape. When everyone is living the illusion, you can’t know by contrast what is out there. I competed against my fellow classmates and learned the art of finding answers to specific questions. Most of our time was spent studying the greats too. So this did not give us a chance to doubt their theories. Which is fine for starters, but the mindset sticks and it usually is the biggest challenge for students who continue on for a master or a Phd.

We were not invited to explore and use our creative ability to solve problems. And yet that’s what the industry wants now. They want talented individuals with a knack for adaptability. Our environment unfortunately did poorly in teaching us to use our mind to more than simply solving mathematical formula’s and writing without spelling mistakes.

So when I hear that young graduates who followed their peers into higher establishments complain when they see a friend who succeeded without an education I tell myself that we have missed the boat.

A Cause of Suffering

I’m currently reading The Art of Being by Erich Fromm which has turned out to be a delightful read so far. Some of the content made me want to do some minor introspection on myself since he made psycho-therapy sound so fascinating.

Then it clicked. Somehow I realized an idea that was so obvious that I had never really given it any thought: The discrepancy(the gap) between our current state and our ideologies is a source of reasonable suffering.

Say for example you are alone on a Friday night. You are physically situated in your room or at work. You perceive yourself as being lonely because you have this imaginary version of yourself that is seen socializing and suffering you are creating a gab between what is and what ought to be.

And this has nothing to do with your social status. If you spent the last two weeks having fun and enjoying yourself because a bunch of favorable events came your way during those particular weeks you can still feel lonely on a quiet Friday night. It’s how you project your current image that curses you. Some people are out-going and don’t mind spending the night reading a book with some tea. They could suffer too, but if they, instead, have their thoughts aligned with their behavior they will not feel lonesome or dreadful.

This sounds obvious, but it is something worth checking upon every now and then because in some cases, people have an excessive tendency to project themselves outside of their current status. That is an invitation for resentment towards oneself and a piss-poor attitude that eventually materializes in acts such as complaints or violence.

Now, this isn’t something we should get obsessed over. Let’s remind ourselves that we all have slumps and downfalls, we also all have our high times, let’s be real and allow ourself to have critical thinking balanced with a hint of humor.

Binary Assessments

In my opinion, we as human beings, are full of faults. It’s easy to find examples, we could probably enumerate a thousand different examples just by looking at the way we handle our planet. I am also aware that pointing out the problems loudly will not provide the anticipated results. That is why I turn myself to human potential. Countless times have we seen remarkable characters show us what human potential is made of. History may have been written by the victors, but truth prevails in subtle ways too.

And while were talking about human potential there is something I find lacking in modern day society. A sense of wonder, of amazement, a genuine curiosity. We have a knack for something I call “binary assessments”. What are “binary assessments” you say? Well, whenever we deal with one of our five primal senses we split the experience in two concepts that are mutually exclusive. To cite a few examples, we may say that the weather outside is “lame” in contrast to “great”. Or we may say that this food “tastes like shit” in contrast to “this is the best thing I ever ate”.

We so rarely think of all the nuances. Let’s think for a second. The weather outside. Have you ever looked at the clouds and their shape? Do you look at the infinitely perfect blue gradient that sits over us? Or the myriad shades of gray on a cloudy day? Do you ever listen to the rain, the way it sounds upon touching different textures? Don’t you feel the breeze, the way your clothes and hair move to it, the way it gently sweeps across the land? This moment is unique, and it is always there, waiting for you.

The world is absolutely brilliant, our sense of wonder is still here, all it wants is our attention. To use our critical thinking ability to understand how we bath in a rich and complex dance of molecules that spans an ever-expanding universe!

I can hear them saying: “This sounds crazy, your fooling yourself.” Really? What if we were simply used to the way society ran and preferred to fit in? This wish to fit in, it does it not come from a fear of freedom? Our independence?

I’d like to think that it is in my power to cultivate a sense of wonder. I would like to think that you can too.