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 been about 3 months since I moved to Tokyo. There are a lot of things that are very different about this city than say Delhi or Seattle for example. There are a few I don’t like but then there are quite a few that are absolutely wonderful. One of the great things about Tokyo is just how safe I feel in general. It’s a feeling that cannot be described because usually it is about lack of certain elements and environments and so our mind struggles to define the lack of something.
There are quite a few anecdote’s I had heard about Tokyo and all of them ring true somehow. You can leave your cellphone on a table at a coffee shop and that is sufficient to reserve the table (and obviously no one will take it). You can forget your cellphone or camera on a train and you will get it back within the hour. You can actually leave your cellphones on a train seat I heard to hold your seat. Continue reading
The idea of Ego and the byproducts of it have been on my mind for the last few weeks. The concept of Ego is so strongly ingrained in our lives and worlds, in each culture and society perhaps, that it is difficult to look at it objectively. But given the recent events, I felt that it is something I want to think about, explore and write about.
The ego is used to refer to the concept of Self. In most cases, I would consider ego as the separating self. Because the idea of ego is to represent the self that differentiates you from the rest. It defines the I among we. It outlines the uniqueness of each individual. It is how we define our self-worth in most cases.
I started my work career by doing an Intern at IBM. I definitely learned a lot on that role but that wasn’t really my first job. It was always going to be a short role with a fixed end date, so it always felt incomplete, like I didn’t belong. The first company where I joined for a full time role was Cisco but again that wasn’t really a job. I didn’t do a lot there, neither in terms of work nor in terms of achievement. For me looking back at Cisco brings fond memories of hanging out in a cafeteria, making some good friends and (of course) getting paid. I never talk of Cisco as my first job since I didn’t really work there. I left Cisco after 6-7 months so I didn’t really feel any emotion leaving or had strong bonds with my team etc.
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.
The story really starts about 10.5 months ago when I bought a Fitbit. I thought now that I have spent some money I would have more incentive to be fit. But my real journey started way back. Back in 2007, I was in my 2nd year of graduation. I was a thin person. People (mostly relatives) used to question me on my food habits and the quality of the mess food. But in a way I never had to bother about fitness and weight since I was thin and that was all fitness meant to me then.
It was also during my graduation that I started eating a lot, at all times and all kinds of things. I also started getting more stressed and used food as a cope-up mechanism. In no time, all that oil and butter and fat was getting on me. I still remained thin but my waist started to creep up. However I was too lazy or too weak to exercise. I used to just convince myself that I don’t need to do any of it since that’s not my strong area. I considered working on a computer to be my strength and that’s all I did. Sitting and sometimes lying on the bed for hours at a stretch meant my body got little work out.
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.
If you haven’t already read the first part of us being in Liberia and Del Coco, I highly recommend reading it here.
We were on a week vacation to Costa Rica and spent the first few days basking in the sun and rolling in the beach. Our second leg was to go to Arenal Volcano region.
Initially we had planned to take a bus from Del coco to arenal volcano where we had planned to spend the last half of our trip. But when we did check out the bus situation it would take 6+ hours and need 3 bus changes to get to La Fortuna (which is the main town near Arenal volcano). Our hotel was about 10 KM from La Fortuna town so we would then have to take another taxi. We kind of decided at last-minute to get a rental car. If you book in advance you can get them for like $10-15 a day and ours was $25 a day. In hindsight, this was the best decision of our trip.
We live in troubled times. Maybe not all of us but most of us can sense the growing distrust among people. It may be Europe which has been devastated by multiple attacks recently or the war ravaged middle east. And more recently the feeling of distrust has been growing here at home in USA.
I am completely in agreement that these attacks and wars are devastating for everyone. I also believe that these attacks need to stop. I just don’t agree with the methodology we have started adopting around this. We are starting to close our doors (and our hearts) to people. We believe this will stop the next attack or the next war.
Let me give you a simple anecdote: Gun violence kills more than 100 times people as terrorism within US and against US citizens abroad kill. Have we banned the guns yet?
There are two things that I have become enchanted with over the last year or so: Meditation and Mindfulness. Both relate to your mind, one aims to train your mind while the other allows you to focus on now. In fact it is common to hear the term Mindfulness Meditation.
As I wrote in my previous post, I find it extremely important to meditate. I also have started believing that almost all of us need to meditate in today’s modern world just due to the immense amount of information flowing through. Meditation is the only effective tool to deal with this information and maintain a calm demeanor.