Lately, everything I look at is going up. I look at stocks of tech companies in US and they are going up. I look at various stock market exchange indexes and they are going up, both in India and in US at least. Crypto-currencies are going up for the last year or so. And not just up, some of these assets are going up in a crazy fashion, doubling 10x in a year. It was becoming hard for me to even understand what I was doing and made investing even more risky.
For a long period of time, until recently, I used to believe that net result of every transaction is 0. If you are spending money, someone is earning money. So if you make money in the stock market, someone should be losing money. That is what the conventional wisdom in my head said. Continue reading
Fear of missing out is defined on Wikipedia as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. This social anxiety is characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.
Before I started writing this blog I thought it was just a cultural term that’s become popular but on reading a bit more about it, I realized that is an actual social anxiety and can become a serious threat to psychological stability of people.
Before I decided to read this book, I used to laugh at the title and I probably looked down on people who might have read it. I mean who needs to read a book to win friends? What kind of loser would that person be? Well, here I am, one of such Losers. In hindsight, the title of the book is unfortunate but catchy. Maybe had it not been titled such, it would not have sold as much or stood out among people the way it did.
This is not a book review as such. This post is more about my opinion on the book and the other chain of thoughts it made me wonder about. The book was first published in 1936. Just reflect on that. Here is a book that can be termed self-help that is still valid and working for 81 years now. That caught my fantasy. The other thing that was equally appealing was Goodreads page of this book. This book has a rating of 4.22/5 from 322,000+ ratings. That blew my mind. Here is a book which 320,000 people have bothered to review and rated 4.2 on average. I mean surely it must have had a profound impact on a lot of people. But even before I got to this point, this book was recommended and was also on my to-read list. I picked it up to read without hesitation.
It’s one of those topics that has divided the world for years and probably will continue to do so for years to come. It is not easy to accept that change is here and your way of life is in danger. It is equally difficult to accept responsibility for something that you cannot see or touch or feel right in front of you. Even if you can, it is hard to correlate your acts of keep the air conditioning on to the freak hurricane that hits you.
So I can understand why people do not believe in climate change. I can also understand the situation where people believe in it but they feel they are too small and trivial to do anything about it. I think this is the real reason for a lot of climate change deniers. It is easy to deny something than accept it even though you think you can’t take action.
It is quite likely that in the last hour you craved momentarily for something or someone or a feeling. It usually hits us out of the blue, sometimes lasting for one moment while at other times it lingers on. It could be a feeling of intense desire, it could be that sudden hunger for ice cream or it could be the strong urge to buy that phone.
Craving is defined as great or eager desire; yearning in Dictionary. Some of the common ways to describe a craving include using words like hunger, lust, urge, need etc. However I have been wondering on whether craving is a good thing or a bad thing.
About a month ago I got a chance to read a very interesting book called Sapiens. It was written by a historian and it was one of the most thought provoking books I have had a chance to read. I rarely read non-fiction but history interests me somewhat. This book was more of a mashup between human history and psychology. It’s goal in a way was to write an unbiased history of the Homo genus, more specifically the Homo sapiens species. That, btw, is modern human beings
What really caught my attention was a very obscure fact. The brain matter of another human species, Neanderthals, was bigger than homo sapiens. Yet that specie died out and never developed civilization and sophisticated tools etc. For all of my life, I had assumed that humans are special because we have more brain matter. However I was clearly wrong.
As I mentioned in some of my blogs from January, I started meditating this year. I had started to not like myself because I was always ready to snap. I had long thought of myself as a cool and composed person but that had started becoming more of a fictional character. So I turned to meditation to channel some of these energies.
Meditation is a fun activity when you don’t rush it or force it. I started meditating regularly and most days tried to do it in a part of my day where I wasn’t time pressed. Once I started to clear my head of the everyday thoughts about work, traffic, food, money, TV, technology etc I got a little more mental room to follow some of the other thoughts that would pop up. Earlier I would have run out of time or energy to even consider such thoughts but I felt more upbeat after starting to meditate.
Recently I had a chance to visit Costa Rica. For those of you who don’t know where it is (like I did a year ago), it is in South America. I would say it is central america reaching out to meet south america. You can almost miss it in Maps between the Mexico at top and Colombia / Brazil below. My trip lasted almost a week and it was a very interesting one indeed. In some ways it was a trip of firsts. It was my first trip to South America. It was my first trip where I wasn’t on a vacation from work. It was my first trip to a volcano. It was my first trip where I drove a car. It was also my first trip where I felt US was cheaper.
I had been meaning to take a vacation since Gayatri had a week off around this time. The idea was to go somewhere where I can use an old Alaska airline credit but still not in USA. We kind of settled down to 2 main choices: Cuba and Costa Rica. Both had their pros / cons but what did it eventually was that Cuba was super booked. It seemed like every hotel was booked due to President Day weekend and flights were crazy expensive. As usual I tried to avoid crowds and ended up booking the tickets to Costa Rica.
At first I felt this title might be catchy like a clickbait. But then on pondering about it for a few minutes I realized that it is more truthful than catchy. The idea of leaving amazon is almost like the idea of embracing change. It makes me think about the transitions we make which are almost unbelievable before we do them and simplistic once we do. For example using Facebook in times of Orkut seemed pointless and my first year or so with FB account had no real activity but now I can’t imagine using Orkut 😛
The short story is that I decided to leave my current role without really knowing what I am going to do next. The long story follows below.