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.
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.
The idea of minimalism is largely known to people in some form or other. However the term minimalism being used to represent this idea may not be very popular or mainstream. The interesting part though, in my personal experience, has been that those who do know the term minimalism have strong opinion on it. They might be strongly in favor of it and consider it a life enhancing tool or they might be strongly not in favor of this and consider it a waste of time and a blight on human nature.
I was largely unaware of this term a few years ago. And I don’t remember when I did start understanding the term but I remember calling myself a minimalist at least a few times in the last 5 years or so. I happened to watch a documentary, sometime in 2017, on Netflix called Minimalism and that helped coalesce some of my thoughts into more coherent opinions. If you would like to watch it, check out this website. Continue reading
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.
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.
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?