Life Lessons May 2014 Part 2

Hello Readers! 
I’d like to transition to a life lessons format for this blog to give it a consistent profile so you know what to expect.  Please let me know your feedback in the comments below and please enjoy!
Never dismiss something before you understand it. Don’t disagree simply because you don’t understand it either.  Always take the time to understand it first: how it works, the pros and the cons. Only then are you allowed to disagree or dismiss something.
People’s faces are often a reflection of yours, so what you see is what they see.  It might be your fault if everyone is frowning at you.
Instead of rebelling by asking “how is it my fault,” ask “how can I make it my fault” or “How can I take responsibility for or influence the outcome?”  Taking control of the situation empowers you and helps you learn and grow.
An amateur gets to say, today was an off day, I’ll beat you next time on a good day. A professional takes responsibility for winning on any day in any condition.
Too much water is dangerous, particularly in hot weather because you end up diluting your body of nutrients. Balance drinking water with juice, milk, fruits and vegetables so that pure water isn’t your only source of liquid in hot weather.
Being sensitive is a sign of fight or flight and stress. Relaxation is not sensitive; relaxation is non-responsive.
I rarely take initiative: I believe in training passive skills to carry me through. I need to now take an active role and train active skills: consciously thinking about dance moves, thinking about how to solve a problem, conversation, etc.
You need a balance between having the calm and patience to wait for opportunities, and taking action to increase the odds of getting what you want.
Power is a prerequisite to freedom. You can’t have freedom without the power to be free.  And that power comes from somewhere: you, external, etc.
It’s not what you wear but how you wear it. Having isn’t enough, using it properly and effectively is needed too.
Be careful about using adjectives to describe people in a conversation. Don’t say someone else is expensive, because that can be an accusation; instead, say that you are more cheap than they are. However, at the same time, you don’t want to insult yourself, so be strategic with your adjectives. When to describe something in reference to yourself or the other party is a decision you should weigh carefully before you speak.

Rebalancing your portfolio is critical to reducing volatility and increasing your return.  Assess where your energy is going and whether there’s another opportunity you can use for diversification. (Source:

Accept help. Don’t let the desire to be independent and self made hold you back from your full potential.  People are willing to help, and there is a fair price you can pay for what they give.  Learn that fair price.  
1 I hit resource barriers in the past. With sports, I felt held back by lack of access to facilities. For Rubik’s, lack of access to new cutting edge cubes; for business, lack of resources to start.  Olympiads, lack of teachers, community, structure, parents to support me.  I took this as bitterness towards the unfairness of the world. That I didn’t have resources. 2 Then I asked myself, why didn’t I get sponsorship? Why wasn’t I recognized for being great with my bad resources and then given the tools necessary to keep going by people who invest? Then I realized it’s because I’d always refuse help, I wanted to be self made: I turned down the help, or my mom refused to let me join sports, or my peers conspired to steal my leadership position and therefore desire to win; then I tried to hide all my talent for fear of being mistreated or manipulated or used, then I raged against the capitalism and the unfairness that stems from not being able to fund myself or from within the family–I have to take outside investment where I must give up more of my profits instead of just being able to own all of it.  3. Finally I overcome and accept external help.  I accept because a. I realize I need it b. I appreciate the help I get and realize that they deserve value for the value they give me
Life is difficult because you are the designer.  That’s why people like structure: it is a relief to not have to make decisions. 
In a computer game a game designer designs the quests so you just have to play them. In school, there are people who design the curriculum so you just have to learn it. At work, other people build the system, you just obey.  It’s only in creative work that you start getting choices.  The point is that it’s easier to play a game because it’s well designed, and life is difficult because it isn’t well designed, and you have to figure out what the quests are yourself and what you get out of them.
False sense of security means danger.
False sense of danger means danger too, because if you always believe you’re not safe then you’ll never ever feel secure and never rest. Either I am stressed from danger or stressed from the danger of false safety.
I have a fear of giving criticism because I think criticism is death.  This is not true because not everyone is suicidal or willing and ready to leave you at a whim.  Some will want to work on it and stay. Talk through it maturely.
My worst fear is to be used for results.  I can overcome this by making me the main character of my life, and finding fair trades that benefit me.  That way, if I am used for results, I am paid for them in a fair trade that benefits me. 
Observations are not rules.
I used to want to compete in Math/Science Olympiads in High School so I looked up the profiles of every winner in the last 10 years to learn from them.  I learned that they all had two parents, so I became discouraged because I only had 1 parent.  I felt so empty knowing that they could study for competition while I had to manage the emotions and finance of the family for my single mother.  They had 2 parents giving positive impact, and I had one parent giving negative impact: it was -3 in terms of net difference.
However, I regret thinking I was doomed to fail at Olympiad competition.  Just because I observe that all HS Science/Math Olympiad people had two parents doesn’t mean that’s a rule: I can break that rule.  It is important to know when rules can and can’t be broken.  I got to within top 300 places in the USA in 5 Olympiads simultaneously while also supporting my mom and also believing that I couldn’t do it and therefore not trying.  If I had believed in myself and tried hard, I know how I could have made it. I’m not saying I’d make it for sure.  I’m saying I could have if I believed in myself more. 
How I achieved success in school was by always being one step ahead of all of my classmates: learning lessons from 1-7 years ahead of everyone else (If the teacher’s teaching 7th grade, I’m reading the 10th grade textbook, etc.), that’s why I could do well. What I’m finding out is that this doesn’t work in the real world because now you’re facing people who have done it their entire lives.  So you really really REALLY have to find something you want to dedicate your entire life to if you want to be anything close to exceptional at it.


I realized that whenever I got a coach for a sport in the past, I’d always tell them I want to be the best, and so they’d always respond by holding me up to the impossible standards of the best, which causes me to be annoyed at them because I know I can win without meeting what to me seem like unusual requests specific to the coach, and so I quit going to the coach. Next time, I won’t quit. tl;dr, turns out coaches in my past weren’t throwing random obstacles at me, but actually doing what I wanted them to do without explaining that’s what was going on.

The natural thing to do when someone doesn’t like you is to not like them back. The mature thing to do is to respect them regardless and not treat them any worse than you would a normal person.
In a capitalistic society, freedom is not free: it has a price.

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