Category Archives: Life Lessons

Life Lessons May 2014 Part 1

Priority and Short Sightedness.  I have the idea in my mind that I must do what is optimal for everyone else’s happiness at all times, especially for friends and family. However, this makes friends feel like I’m overthinking and/or overworrying sometimes because I’m constantly thinking about them and evaluating them to know what to say. And if I say or do anything that they didn’t respond well to, suddenly I’m worried and I try to change my behavior and remember it for the future.  This is too much: There is an amount of respect you should have for someone and it is good to wish happiness upon them, but you shouldn’t completely stifle who you are. I have been starting to feel like I can’t be who I am around my friends because I am too conscious of what they are thinking and feeling and what they like and such.  Just be who you are.  When you OFFEND, THEN scale back according to who you are.  Prior to offending them, it’s OK to be yourself–people are accepting, and if not then they’ll talk to you about how you bothered them if they are mature and it’s worth their time to (which is the case if they’re your friend, and usually not the case if they’re strangers. So to improve yourself, make friends so that they can give you feedback).
However, the real problem is that I treat all events of happiness and unhappiness with equal priority: if I accidentally spill water on a friend I treat that as equal to accidentally discouraging and crushing their dreams with poorly chosen words.  They are not the same, and recognizing when it is important to scale back and when it is unnecessary is important: not spilling water is preferable but not a big deal, not crushing your friend’s self esteem is very important. Secondly, I am not looking at the bigger picture: a spilled water once in a while is a normal occurrence and won’t be remembered long term.  Consistently spilling water every day and then it’s a problem.  
Often, the solution is NOT to answer the question “Why am I unhappy” so much as it is “what can I do to be happy.”  Don’t spend too much time thinking about why you’re unhappy–if you can figure it out, great, fix it, but if you can’t don’t stress over it or get stuck pondering the question.  Just keep looking for and doing things that make you happy and then you will become happy.  Also, you can’t think clearly if you are in a bad emotional state, so seek first to improve your mood before thinking about why you are unhappy, because while you are unhappy you may be blind to what is actually making you unhappy, and it is only after you escape the situation and look back in hindsight that you can recognize what it was that made you unhappy.
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Life Lessons Feb 2015

        Every now and then I like to review my priorities.  I do this not by looking them up but by listing them off the top of my head.  When listing my priorities, I pay attention to the order in which I remembered them because it is often the order that I have them prioritized in practice and that data is as valuable to know as the priority levels you want them to be in theory.

People often approach budgets with the wrong mindset and order of events. If you go to a restaurant and your budget is $10, what you should do is look at the menu and find what you want. THEN look at the price and adjust your decisions.  Too many people do it backwards: they use the budget to look at the prices and find out what they can afford, and then try to maximize their dollar and/or maximize their spending.  They have their priorities reversed.  The focus should not be the money or cost, the focus should be your wants and desires. When you prioritize things before your own satisfaction, you end up being dissatisfied with your choices even though they are your choices, and that is an unfortunate position to be in.

Furthermore, by making decisions with the wrong priority order, they forget that $10 is the maximum to spend and not the goal to spend, and they end up spending the maximum $10 to maximize the value that they get from their money.  They forget that the whole reason they have a $10 limit is to be smart with money and save it for more important things in life: rather than potentially find something they want that costs less and gets them to their financial goals faster than expected, they get there at the slowest pace possible given the goals they set.  


When someone says to you to be more normal what they really mean is for you to be more like them. If I tell someone else to be normal I mean for them to be more like me. Therefore, unless you want to be that person, listen and consider but don’t follow their advice unless it’s what you want.  Don’t change yourself to be a worse version of someone else.

You adapt to your environment and circumstances.  If I spend time with people who are not good at cooking for example, I’ll learn their bad habits slowly and become a bad cook myself.  When you don’t have the option of spending time with people who are good at cooking, say you can’t afford the lessons with professionals or the tuition for school, then the way to improve is to focus on your own cooking to the exclusion of those around you.  Adopting habits is not always the right thing to do, sometimes you should look at yourself closely and simply work on finding ways to improve yourself in comparison to yourself, because if you do that long enough you will evolve beyond your past skill levels.  Furthermore, this skill will come in handy when you become at the top of your field and there’s no longer anyone to look up to and emulate.  When you are the leader and the cutting edge, the person to beat is yourself, and an important skill to being at the top is to be someone who can improve in comparison to themselves.

In my childhood it was easy to develop in isolation because I didn’t listen.  I only heard myself and no-body else.  Over the last few years I learned how to listen, I developed listening skills.  The problem is I let what I heard influence and affect me in ways that I should not have.  I reached for the stars, then I started hearing people say I was reaching too far, and I stopped dreaming as big.  Listening skills are important to stay grounded and normal, but what you should do with your life should be unique and specific to you.  I started looking for other people’s decisions to emulate and asking for other people’s advice on what decisions to make for my own life instead of making choices myself and asking myself which choice to take.  Ask for advice, listen, but in the end, listen to yourself. 

Specialization tells us to focus on execution.  Be able to do this and you’ll get a job. But this is not good for personal success long term because whether you succeed is more a function of good decision making and life strategy than a function of how well you can execute decisions.  In this way capitalism is misleading in the path to success.  It doesn’t matter how good your Squirtle can shoot his water gun, if you’re fighting a grass Pokemon you made the wrong strategic decision to use Squirtle.

The same is true able school as about capitalism.  Schools teach execution, life teaches decision making

        If you’re going to give, give AFTER you have enough. Give what you HAVE, not what you DON’T HAVE.  Make sure you have enough, then AFTER you’ve gotten enough, start giving.  Don’t hurt yourself in the process.  

School/academics are high level, high off the ground and high in your head.  Daily life is at eye level: you interact with the world and it interacts back.  Deep in your heart are your feelings, this is the ground. Too few people engage in activities that touch the soul.  and instead spend too much time in their heads or in their eyes.

Get more sleep if you are an athlete: Professionals get 10-12 hours of sleep a day! ( and

        You can find whatever you’re looking for when it comes to emotions and interpretation.  If you are looking for love you will find it. If you are looking for hate you will find it.  Fear, Joy, etc.  Make sure you’re looking for the right things and not wasting your time looking for the wrong ones.  

There is good and bad to everything. It is important to see both but focus on the good
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Life Lessons October 2014

Save energy by spending when you need to — From playing tennis this month I learned that when you’re tired you should not rest or reduce the energy levels of your game even though it is the natural thing to do.  Instead you actually want to keep using energy to be aggressive and stay in control of the point because playing defensive takes more energy.  When I get tired I usually scale back on my intensity to save energy, but what I learned was that in doing so I was giving up control and having to work harder to stay in the point, and therefore having to work harder in the long run. (Specifically, I have a tendency to slack off on shots when I’m tired, giving the opponent opportunities to win and forcing me to work harder to try and save myself from loosing. Instead of being forced to use energy to try and stay alive by my opponent, I should have used that energy to hit the right shot well and prevent my opponent from having a winning opportunity.)  It is better to hit everything with good quality and lose than to hit everything poorly and be destined to eventually be worn out, exhausted, and lose, since you basically make it a matter of time before you lose when you lower the intensity of your game, showing weaknesses.  Try to end the point earlier if you’re tired is the better strategy: slacking is the wrong one.

Balance short term with long term — While it is important to make big goals and partake in long term planning, it is equally important to stay focused on the present and win in the short term.  There is no long term if you don’t win in the short term, because the short term sets you up for the first step towards your long term goals, and if you never take the first step then you can’t take the second and thus never reach your long term goal.  If you know you’re going to eat a huge buffet next month, you shouldn’t starve yourself for a month because then you’d lose in the short term and never make it to that long term goal.  If you have a long term goal, ask yourself if it has a short term component and whether you have that in your short term planning.

Appearance, reality, truth — Appearance is a 3rd person subjective point of view.  Reality is a 3rd person objective point of view.  Truth is a first person point of view.  It appears that Bob likes apples because Bob said so.  The reality is that Bob said so.  The truth is that Bob said so because he wanted to fit in, but he actually doesn’t like apples.

Stop playing the wounded or pity card: It doesn’t make sense — The logic is this: I am handicapped so even though I’m not the best at ___, I deserve the 1st place medal anyway. Does that make sense? Would you ever give an Olympic medal to someone who is incapable of competing with the best athletes in the world, simply because that person is incapable of competing and should be compensated somehow with an award that wasn’t earned?  If you’re wounded, sorry.  Life is tough and you don’t always get the best cards in your hand, but you will win what your cards deserve to win, and not what they don’t deserve to win.

Stop expecting things in return — Unless you have a contract or trustworthy agreement with the other party, when you give them something, leave it at that: that you gave them something.  A gift, not an exchange.  Then you can manage your resources/finances and ensure that you never give what you can’t bear to lose, and then you’ll live a more stress free life, and your relationships will be less strained.

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