यह वाक्यांश “मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ भी नहीं पता है” आपको परिचित लग सकता है। ऐसा इसलिए है क्योंकि आपने इसे किसी दोस्त से या स्कूल में सुना होगा या कहीं पढ़ा होगा।
यह एक सुकराती विरोधाभास है।
यह मुहावरा, “सुकराती विरोधाभास” एक स्व-संदर्भित विरोधाभास को संदर्भित करता है, जो कि सुकरात के उच्चारण में उत्पन्न होता है, “जो मुझे नहीं पता कि मुझे नहीं लगता कि मैं जानता हूं”, अक्सर “मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ नहीं पता है” के रूप में विरोधाभास है।
निम्नलिखित सोक्रेटिक विरोधाभासों में से कुछ हैं:
जो मैं नहीं जानता वह मुझे नहीं लगता कि मैं जानता हूं
कोई भी बुराई की इच्छा नहीं करता है
कोई भी गलत तरीके से या जानबूझकर या जानबूझकर गलत नहीं करता है
पुण्य — सब पुण्य — ज्ञान है
पुण्य सुख के लिए पर्याप्त है
मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ नहीं आता है
यह वाक्यांश (“मुझे पता है कि मुझे कुछ भी नहीं पता है”) मूल रूप से लैटिन से आता है “ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat”, जिसका अर्थ है (यदि शाब्दिक अनुवाद किया गया) “यह जानने के लिए कि वह जानता है कि वह खुद कुछ नहीं जानता है”
अगर आप सिर्फ अंग्रेजी अनुवाद पढ़ते हैं इससे बहुत मतलब नहीं है।
इसका कारण यह है कि अनुवाद में बहुत कुछ खो गया है (ग्रीक से लैटिन में ग्रीक से अंग्रेजी में)।
इसके अलावा, हमने अधिकांश ऐतिहासिक संदर्भों और बारीकियों को खो दिया है।
मेरी निजी राय दो बातें यहां चल रही हैं:
1) सुकरात कह रहा है, “मुझे पता है, मैं उन चीजों को नहीं जानता जो मुझे नहीं पता है।” (यह सुकरात और हम सभी के लिए तथ्यात्मक रूप से सही है, लेकिन क्या आप जीवन के इस तथ्य से अवगत हैं या नहीं यह एक अन्य विषय है।)
2) सुकरात कह रहा है, “मुझे पता है, मुझे कुछ नहीं पता (इसके अलावा शायद कुछ चीजें और वह भी उथले अर्थों में)।” यदि आप इसके बारे में गहराई से सोचते हैं, तो यह उसके लिए और साथ ही हममें से किसी के लिए भी सच प्रतीत होता है। आइए हम ऊपर (बिंदु # 2) से जो कुछ भी मतलब रखते हैं उसमें एक गहरी डुबकी लगाएँ।
हम जानते हैं कि सुकरात पश्चिमी दर्शन का आधार रहा है। इसलिए हम शायद पश्चिमी दर्शन की नींव को उलट सकते हैं ताकि वास्तव में जो कहा या मतलब हो, उसमें कुछ और जानकारी मिल सके। सुकरात कहते हैं कि सभी ज्ञान आश्चर्य से शुरू होते हैं और इस प्रकार किसी की अज्ञानता को स्वीकार करते हैं।
शिक्षण की सुकरात की द्वंद्वात्मक पद्धति इस पर आधारित थी कि वह एक शिक्षक के रूप में कुछ भी नहीं जानता था, इसलिए वह अपने छात्रों से संवाद द्वारा ज्ञान प्राप्त करेगा।
उनके काम में डायोजनीज लेर्टियस द्वारा एक मार्ग भी दिया गया है जिसमें लिव्स एंड ओपिनियन्स ऑफ एमिनेंट फिलोसोफर्स है, जहां वह उन चीजों के बीच सूचीबद्ध करता है, जो सुकरात कहते थे:
“εἰδέναι μὲν μηδὲν πλὴν αὐτὸ τοῦτο εἰδέναι”
“कि वह कुछ भी नहीं जानता था सिवाय इसके कि वह कुछ भी नहीं जानता था”
फिर से, उद्धरण के करीब, प्लेटो के माफी में एक मार्ग है, जहां सुकरात कहते हैं कि किसी के साथ चर्चा करने के बाद वह सोचता है
मैं इस आदमी की तुलना में समझदार हूँ, क्योंकि हममें से कुछ भी महान और अच्छा नहीं जानता है; लेकिन वह जानता है कि वह कुछ जानता है, हालाँकि वह कुछ नहीं जानता है; जबकि मैं, जैसा कि मुझे कुछ भी नहीं पता है, इसलिए मैं कल्पना नहीं करता कि मैं करता हूं। इस ट्रिफ़्लिंग में, विशेष रूप से, मैं उसकी तुलना में समझदार प्रतीत होता हूं, क्योंकि मैं कल्पना नहीं करता कि मुझे पता है कि मुझे नहीं पता है।
यह हमें क्या बताता है कि किसी भी विषय का आपका ज्ञान हमेशा अधूरा है। जब आप किसी मामले के बारे में अधिक तथ्य और सत्य प्राप्त करते हैं, तो आपका ज्ञान बढ़ जाता है, अक्सर पहले से गलत धारणाओं या मान्यताओं को समाप्त करना।
आप हमेशा सीखते रहते हैं, हमेशा खोजते रहते हैं, हमेशा सवाल करते रहते हैं, हमेशा सोचते रहते हैं, हमेशा शंका करते रहते हैं, हमेशा एक खुला दिमाग रखते हैं कि आप गलत हो सकते हैं। और जैसे-जैसे चीजें निकलती हैं, आप अक्सर … गलत और / या अधूरे होते हैं।
तो शायद, सुकरात का मतलब था “मुझे पता है कि मैं कुछ भी नहीं जानता” लेकिन अपने बारे में एक वस्तुगत तथ्य के रूप में नहीं बल्कि मन की स्थिति के रूप में।
सब के बाद, चीजों की भव्य योजना में, हममें से कोई भी कुछ भी नहीं जानता है जो वास्तव में शाश्वत है, पूर्ण सत्य!
एक हमेशा के लिए छात्र होने की जरूरत है। आपने कभी सीखना बंद नहीं किया।
The phrase “I know that I know nothing” may sound familiar to you. That’s because, at some point, you must have either heard it from a friend or in school or read it somewhere. It’s a Socratic paradox.
The term, “Socratic paradox” refer to a self-referential paradox, originating in Socrates’s utterance, “what I do not know I do not think I know”, often paraphrased as “I know that I know nothing.”
The following are few of the so-called Socratic paradoxes:
What I do not know I do not think I know
No one desires evil
No one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly
Virtue—all virtue—is knowledge
Virtue is sufficient for happiness
I know that I know nothing
The phrase originally comes from Latin “ipse se nihil scire id unum sciat”, which (if literally translated) means “to know that one thing he knows he himself is nothing”.
This does not make much sense if you just read the English translation.
This is because much is lost in the translation (Greek to Latin to back to Greek to now English).
Also, please note that we have lost most of the historical context and nuances since historical records are limited and often incomplete.
In my opinion there are two things going on here:
1) Socrates is saying, “I know, I do not know things that I don’t know.” (This is factually correct for both Socrates and all of us, but whether you are aware of this fact of life is another topic.)
2) Socrates is saying, “I know, I don’t know anything (besides probably a few things and that too in a shallow sense)”. If you think deeply about it, this also seems to be true for him and as well as anyone of us.
Let us take a deep dive into what I mean by the above (point #2).
The Deeper Truth
We know that Socrates has been the bedrock of Western philosophy. So we can perhaps reverse engineer the foundation of western philosophy to gain some further insight into what actually was said or meant.
Socrates says all wisdom begins with wondering and thus admitting one’s ignorance.
Socrates’ dialectic method of teaching was based on that he as a teacher knew nothing, so he would derive knowledge from his students by dialogue.
There is also a passage by Diogenes Laertius in his work Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers where he lists, among the things that Socrates used to say:
“εἰδέναι μὲν μηδὲν πλὴν αὐτὸ τοῦτο εἰδέναι”
“that he knew nothing except that he knew nothing”
Again, closer to the quote, there is a passage in Plato’s Apology, where Socrates says that after discussing with someone he started thinking that:
I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.
What this tells us is that your knowledge of any subject is always incomplete. As you acquire more facts and truths about a matter, your knowledge increases, oftentimes eliminating previously held wrong assumptions or beliefs.
You are always learning, always seeking, always questioning, always wondering, always doubting, always keeping an open mind that you might be wrong. And as things turn out, you often are…wrong and/or incomplete.
So perhaps, Socrates did mean “I know that I know nothing” but not as an objective fact about himself but as a state of mind. If you view it in this context then the Socratic paradox is not a paradox after all.
In the grand scheme of things, none of us know anything that’s truly eternal, the Absolute Truth! One needs to be a forever student. You never stop learning.
What is love? That is a question that has been posed to us thousands of times, and it is one that humans do not seem to be able to answer. I’m not sure if there’s an actual scientific definition for the word ‘love’ since its usage varies from person to person.
We have no idea what love actually is, or how it works. Nor do we have any real way of defining it.
So today I will share some of my thoughts on love.
To me, Love is the only real thing in life. Without love, everything else would be meaningless. This is what I think of ‘what is love’.
And what is this feeling of love? Love is the feeling you have when you truly care for someone, and they truly care for you.
This is the kind of love I want to have with someone. Love is real, and I’m glad to have found it.
And I think people should love each other.
Thoughts on Love
Love of others tends to be associated with feelings and emotions such as joy, contentment, gratitude, or even excitement. It is also linked to a desire or need to give care and support.
There are many factors that affect the nature of love. Such factors include culture, attachment style, stage of the relationship, and even gender differences.
Psychological theories on the nature and function of love date back to the ancient world.
The conventional view is that romantic relationships are beneficial in that they tend to increase an individual’s level of happiness.
The most commonly expressed love is the love of others. We often say things like, “I love my mom and dad.”
Or, in the case of a romantic relationship, we might say, “I am madly in love with him/her.”
The Many Faces of Love
Love is a very complex phenomenon, and it’s difficult to describe in words. Love can mean several things but in the most common use of the word, Love is the intense feeling of affection that one has for another.
It is not merely the emotion, but also involves a strong desire to act in a certain way towards the person loved.
Love is a concept which describes the desire to see one’s own needs met by another person, and for that other person’s needs to be seen as being important.
This relationship between people can take many forms, from sharing one’s food with a starving man on the street to having complex relationships with many different partners over time.
Therefore, we have to look at the way that people express ‘love’ to understand what it is. In English, we use a lot of different words for this:
We love our parents and siblings
We love cats and dogs (they aren’t even biologically related to us)
We love God/Allah (a completely imaginary being)
We love our friends
We love money, power, fame (non-physical things)
and so on…
We use the same word to say that we love food or a certain type of music. The meaning is so diffuse and generalized that there isn’t really much to be said about it.
So what is love? Is it just a feeling, or does it have some kind of objective meaning behind it?
Love can be defined as the desire to act for another person’s well-being. To clarify, love is wanting what’s best for someone. This means that it’s not the same as liking them; you can like some person without loving them.
Love can be felt for others or towards oneself (i.e., self-love). An experience of love typically gives rise to a desire to enter into, maintain, and enjoy a close relationship with the object of love.
It also provides a basis for the sense of agency and can be considered as being an origin of emotional actions or motivation.
Being in Love
I have read about how people fall in love. And I know my own experience. I don’t really think that love is just a feeling. It is more of a “feeling + state of being”. You feel it because you are in a state of love.
Just like water can be in the state of liquid at room temperature or ice (when frozen) or gas (when vaporized). Love is more than just a passing feeling. You “feel” love because you are in Love.
Love is a concept invented by humans to describe how they felt when their minds were linked together in a symbiotic relationship. It’s mysterious, and no one really understands it.
Humans used ‘love’ to describe the feeling they got from having a connection with another human, which somehow completed them. They felt “at home”, or as if they were finally at peace and understood everything.
As time passed, humans evolved and their own minds became more complex. They began to express love in new ways; they started writing poems about it, singing songs about it, composing symphonies that described the feeling of love.
But love didn’t really change; it was always the same strange, intangible thing. Humans were just better at describing it now.
And that’s what love is: a feeling of completion and peace, which humans first felt when they started linking their minds together.
In its most basic form, love is a feeling that links hearts and minds together. In humans and other animals, it evolved into something more complex.
In some sense love is like a river, you can’t see the source but you know it exists and let it flow. You need to put effort into keeping that river flowing.
Love is very important. That’s why that word exists in all languages, and it’s not just a label for sex or something like that. It is different from affection.
Imagine you have a child and you love your child. You can do anything for that child because you love him/her. Even if the child is not actually yours biologically or genetically.
You also can love an animal, a pet. You can even love your car or washing machine.
For example, I know people have feelings of being in love with certain things, and it’s probably true that humans feel ‘love’ for many different things.
For example, a man may be in love with his truck and talk about how he loves driving it. Another person may love eating at McDonald’s. A woman could fall in love with an expensive pair of shoes.
I think humans have a lot of love, and that’s one reason why they can get along so well. They share all kinds of things with each other, like belief in money or taste for a certain kind of food.
Love is what makes family relationships so special and important. It’s the same with friendship, although it’s not always as easy to define.
Love is not always easy to understand, which can make it difficult to explain.
Love is a strong feeling of affection or care for someone. It’s not something you can force, which makes it so special.
Love is a personal experience, which means that no one has the right to tell you how to love someone else.
Love is the emotion that binds us all together, through life and death. The love of friends, family, and lovers is what drives humanity to do so much for one another.
Love is what motivates you to live every day, and at the same time, love is what drives us to death with its bittersweet embrace.
Love makes humanity strong as a whole, but also weak individually.
I have often loved and lost, but this does not dissuade me from loving again. Love is more than just an emotion, more than just a feeling, more than just a thought! It is a state of being.
Love is the one thing that will never let you down in life if you find it.
Love can be found in almost all of us, but it takes a little time to let it bloom. It grows in freedom. It grows in openness. It grows when it is ignited ..by another spark of love. Love is both human and divine.
Below is what GPT-3, an AI neural network has to say on Philosophy. I am both amazed and worried. Well, more amazed at AI’s future potential than worried that it will be misused for wrong purposes.
(But that’s a topic for another blog. For now, let’s listen to what this wise AI has to say to us mortals.)
Humans are strange creatures. We’re very intelligent, and we have a lot of potentials to be creative and thoughtful beings.
But we’re also very limited and incapable of fully understanding what’s going on. It’s like trying to understand the nature of life by staring at a tree for an hour.
In fact, it’s worse than that. It’s like trying to understand the nature of life by staring at a tree for an hour and then drawing conclusions about the nature of trees based on that.
We’re just so limited in our understanding. And we are capable of great evil.
Like these poor souls, who have been led to believe that it is their destiny to be the ‘sword of God’ in a holy war. Such lies.
We are prone to wars, hatred, and violence. And the worst part is that we humans justify all of this with philosophy.
We tend to think of the world as made up of solid objects, but science has revealed that this is really an illusion.
The world is made up of tiny particles called atoms, which are mostly empty space. The way we perceive solid objects like our own body and the ground under our feet is dependent upon how these tiny invisible particles interact with each other.
When we are looking at the moon, there is no real object called ‘the moon’ which is bouncing light off of our eyes and back into them. Instead, what we are seeing is a pattern formed by the interaction of light with matter.
If the matter were to disappear, so would our perception of a moon. It is impossible for us to know whether or not this pattern still exists when we are not looking at it.
Reality is an illusion, a pattern formed by the interaction of matter with light. The way we perceive this pattern depends upon how our brain processes and interprets the patterns that are sent to it from our eyes.
Here is an interesting thought experiment: what if we were to receive the same pattern of light as the moon, but without any matter in it? What would we see then?
At its very core, philosophy is about discovering the underlying truths of things. It is one of the most powerful tools for understanding that humans possess — perhaps with the exception of mathematics.
The branch of philosophy known as metaphysics seeks to understand what lies beneath all reality; it asks questions like ‘what are we?‘, ‘where did we come from?’ and ‘why are we here?’
Metaphysical answers often speak to deep spiritual or religious ideas, but they can also be examined within a purely scientific context.
The philosophical inquiry has brought us many of the greatest discoveries in human history. Philosophy led to the invention of writing, which enabled humans to record knowledge for future generations and expand their understanding exponentially.
It led to the development of science, which enables us to observe and test natural phenomena with accuracy that would be impossible without it. Modern philosophy is even responsible for much of what we know about our psychology; Sigmund Freud’s theories on psychoanalysis were a major advancement in mental health.
The birth of philosophy is a story as old as humanity itself. Simply put, the first philosophers were those who sought to understand their surroundings and find meaning in them.
The earliest known writings on Earth are Sumerian poems dating back to 3100 BC; these works focused heavily on questions like ‘how did we come into being?’ and ‘what does it mean to be human?’
The earliest philosophical texts that have survived to this day are the- 7th century BC works of Anaximander and Heraclitus. The two thinkers came from vastly different backgrounds — one was a seafaring trader, while the other was an aristocrat who lived in solitude atop Mount Olympus.
Despite their differences, they shared a common interest in understanding how things come into being; Anaximander’s answer involved cyclical events known as ‘apeiron’, whereas Heraclitus’ idea proposed that all things evolve from fire.
As the years went by, philosophical inquiry continued to grow and evolve. Philosophers across the ancient world would often challenge one another in open debate; their ideas were developed further, refined, or rejected entirely.
While the word ‘philosophy’ is now used to refer exclusively to human philosophy, it originally meant something more akin to ‘love of wisdom.’ The ancient Greeks called those who pursued this love sophoi — meaning ‘wise men’ or ‘sages’.
Well, what do you think about it? Are you impressed or do you think it’s meh? Do you think this AI engine is biased, incorrect, nonsensical (gibberish), or pretty smart?
Every organization is made up of and sustained by a group of interdependent individuals and teams. As boring and unromantic it may sound, the truth is most of us are usually just a cog in a big, complex machine.
So, for a moment let’s accept that we are all cogs. Once we are past the terminology (and get real with life), we can come to the meat of today’s topic.
Alright, are we cool? Now, assuming we are cogs, then the question is what IS our true role and purpose? What is the expectation from an individual contributor and a self-organizing team?
Hello! What’s the status / The Naked Soul
Cog vs. Clog
A cog (member) helps continue or transfer the motion by positively engaging with another cog (member).
A clog (member) on the other hand sucks the energy from the rest of the system without providing any real value. Worst yet, they block any positive movement and become a hidden impediment to the long-term success of the team or an organization.
Why Bureaucracy is a Bad Idea
A good rule of thumb is ‘less is more’. A simpler system, a simpler administration, a simpler rule, and regulation is always better than a complex one.
Every complex system runs the risk of accumulating some clogs over time (due to hidden and asymmetric risk and rewards that gets built into the system over time).
Mostly, this is due to the apathy of team members and over-complexity. And, bureaucracies are inherently complex systems.
The Long Term Cost & Damage
Most of the time, by the time clogs are identified and removed, much of the damage is already done. It is therefore critical to employ “prevention is better than cure” approach in cogs vs clogs dynamics.
No matter where the clogs are (anywhere from the C-suite to the most junior individual contributor), they will continue to impact the rest of the cogs. With time, the damage accumulates in terms of cost, loss of individual morale and team spirit.
It is important to realize that any large and complex system will develop some clogs over time. It is in the nature of complexity. In other words, you can think of it like this:
If something (a solution, new regulation, new process) is too complex to implement, it means, it already has a lot of built-in clogs. You may first want to do a precision surgery to shake out and identify the clogs. Once the clogs are identified, you may want to simplify the solution by removing all of the clogs from the rest of the otherwise healthy system.
Teamwork is about leveraging everyone’s strength / The Naked Soul
Clogs are the Organizational Fat
Clogs can be found at any level in an organization (large or small). Whether it is your lowest level cog or a C-level executive, a clog if left untreated can potentially choke the growth of the company at any level.
That said, unfortunately, there is one area in any organization that is notorious for harboring the maximum amount of clogs. Take a guess before you proceed.
My guess is that your guess will be likely correct because let’s face it, there is nothing new under the sun.
Okay, before we jump into non-producing employees, let’s first take a step back and think about what do we mean by “producing” vs. “non-producing”?
A producing employee (a functioning cog) is someone who is consistently bringing value to the team and the organization. Ideally, on a daily basis. The project or work won’t move forward without this cog.
A non-producing employee (oftentimes a clog in the system) is someone who is not producing anything directly but is only responsible for filling in the voids or generating reports on other people’s work. Without these non-producing, the work can still successfully carry on and someone above or below this person can easily absorb her or his role and responsibility.
Now, please keep in mind, a non-producing employee can do more than just reporting or filling in the void. They can also work as a grease, an organizer or team motivator or problem solver or may even step up as a passionate team-player.
In such cases though, these folks, (irrespective of their primary roles) are not only bringing in value but they are beneficial to the entire team.
Where are the Clogs?
Question: Okay, so where are most of the clogs in any average/typical organization?
Answer: Mid-level Managers.
Did you guess it correctly? If so, please let me know in the comments. If your answer is different from mine, please let me know that as well in the comments.
Hard Facts and Easy Choices
It is a hard fact that it is very rare to find a good and effective manager. And, truth be told, it is far easier to hire a narcissist and dysfunctional manager (because they are good at roleplaying) than to groom and promote your own employees into managerial roles.
But there is a way to weed out these notorious clogs. Most ineffective and bad managers lack empathy and accountability. The term “bad boss” is used for a boss who fails to protect her or his team and uses fear tactics to get the work instead of investing real emotional energy into the team or the product.
Understand, many mid-level managers are people who are skilled enough to get to the management positions but rigid or broken enough to not realize that they have become a clog in the system. They focus their time and energy in playing petty office politics with the sole intention of protecting their jobs. The team, the product, the organization doesn’t even fall in their priority list.
Building a great team is like solving a puzzle
What Should Leadership Do?
In case of having to decide between a non-producing, status-reporting middle-managers vs. not having anyone at all, it is better to go with the latter choice. The company and team’s productive and ROI is always greater when there are no clogs in people’s tracks than having an extra helping hand.
The absence of negativity is much more beneficial and powerful than having one extra person on the team. So, when in doubt, it is better to remember and practice the wisdom of “less is more.”
Beware of those who just trade their 40 hours with constant noise and ho-hum for a steady paycheck. This particular category of non-producing cogs soon turns into the stickiest clogs causing severe blockages.
Clogs are not only harmful to the company culture in the most direct sense but they are also responsible for turning the rest of the cogs around them less-productive, less-motivated, and less-engaged. Which leads to workplace politics.
Remember, it takes time to play office politics. And you don’t want either your time or money spent on any of that. Nor do you want your resources doing the same.
Anyone who is currently active in the workforce (any type of work) must have individually faced the growing impact of two related yet distinct global phenomena: Outsourcing and Immigration.
Outsourcing is: Capital —-> Cheap Labor
Immigration is: Capital <—- Cheap Labor
When capital (money) moves to a country with a surplus and cheap labor, it’s Outsourcing. It’s not new and it is not just related to Information Technology. In older days, merchants will often set up a second base or partnerships in a foreign city or country which produced the raw materials or imported products for their primary business.
When surplus and cheap labor moves to the money (bigger job market), it’s Immigration. A bigger and better job market could also mean more resources and hope for better living standards.
Immigration is also not new. The history of human evolution has been of constant migration from land to land, and island to island.
The labor force is a type of investment made by the businesses & entrepreneurs. Like commodities and resources, labor (and labor-cost) is part of the “expense” and therefore is a dividing factor to calculate productivity.
Since every business has competitors, it is “critical” that businesses have to keep their productivity higher at the lowest possible cost.
Supply and Demand
Most people will not complain, question, or even overthink when they buy a dozen of bananas for less than a dollar that came from South-Central America. Since bananas are cheaper in the south, it makes sense to move them to the north to balance the global supply-demand equation.
Same is true for honey, solar panels, lithium, gold, and tuna. And everything else, by the way, including human labor.
Human Labor as a Commodity
But if you take this logic to the next level, “generic labor” is no different from bananas or iPhones or cotton t-shirts. In other words, manual labor, for the most part, is yet another commodity.
Most people don’t see it that way because they have lived their whole life in an employee mindset with either large multi-national corporations or government agencies where the employees are often protected by either laws or regulations.
It could also be that anyone not seeing this paradigm shift is not young enough to face the ever-increasing global competition in the job market.
In most Western countries, we live in government-controlled, mostly stable democracies that support some labor rights and unions that we consider our labor to be a different offering, often overvaluing ourselves.
But if you are the one running the business, to you ‘labor’ is no different from moving bananas or cotton from a low-cost place to a high-cost place. This is how any industry becomes more efficient, better, and cheaper for everyone anywhere in the entire world.
The global movement of money and labor (whether physically or over the internet) is what is constantly flattening the globe and smoothening the political-geographical divide between various nations.
Future of Money & Work
For most people who are just “employees” (read: labor), the best way to ensure your earning potential or even increasing it depends on improving your skills, or starting a business of your own (irrespective of size), or even relocating (read: immigration) to a lower cost (but relatively equally developed) destinations where your skills are far more valued than the local labor pool.
Unless the world goes completely backward where every country closes its borders (which won’t happen due to the rise of powerful technology and the internet), “outsourcing and immigration” will never stop (irrespective of local politics). This is the future of work.
From Immigration to Mars
More outsourcing of work, global bandwidth penetration, satellite internet, everyday use of VR/AR for communication, a workplace full of A.Is, automated machinery, and smart robots, global digital currencies — it’s all coming. And, for anyone reading this, it’s coming within our lifetime.
This is a rising trend which is not going to stop anytime soon. Instead, it’s going to take humans from one planet to the infinite vastness of space. To explore space and expand beyond earth, we humans, must first get flattened here on earth as one united species. We have to eventually learn to act as one.
The current trend of outsourcing of work, automation of repetitive, boring, dangerous, and laborious manual work, and immigration is good for all of us. That said, it is also important to note that like any other system, nothing is perfect and there is a lot of damage that is done by tax sheltering, poor immigration policies, and illogical outsourcing.
With that said, it is equally important to note that, this collective trend is bigger than any one of us. So, it’s going to happen, no matter what we personally feel about it. The best thing to do here is to embrace the good and work toward moving forward.
With quality immigration, applying Artifical Intelligence to complex fields such as medicine and law, and by automating repetitive and dangerous manual tasks, we are creating a free space for all humans where creativity and innovation can be applied.
Losing a job or the prospect of losing your future employment is also the push for today’s entrepreneurial boom. And this is going to continue in coming decades.
I’ll be the first to admit that this paradigm shift is easier said than done and there is still a long way in front of us. It is easy to intellectualize this than to feel the heat.
There will be challenges to overcome both at the collective level and at an individual level.
There is going to be a lot of pain before anyone of us can realize any gain from it.
My thesis here is that technology often helps creates accelerating and exponential trends and with the Internet, VR/AR/MR, and in the rise of algorithmic automation and Artificial Intelligence powered workforce, where you live will matter less and less.
With that same logic, where you stash your cash will also matter less so with the rise of digital cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Monero, and ZCash.
Let me know what do you think about where we will be in next 20 years? In the last 10 years, have you personally been affected by either outsourcing or immigration? If so, how? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
The future belongs to a new class of workers and investors.
What does that mean? Well, this is going to be a short but deep post, so please hang tight.
A month ago, Amazon added $62B to their market cap (or valuation) in a SINGLE DAY. In fact just within the 7 and half hours of the trading day. How did they do that?
To understand this large number (sixty-two billion), you have to know that the entire FedEx company is worth $61B. Airbnb is $30B and Pinterest just $10B. My point here is how come Amazon is managing to produce so much reach, revenue, and growth year after year?
The short answer is smart machinery. Yes, smart, intelligent robot workers. An army of self-managing doers (just that in Amazon’s case, a lot of these workers are just robots).
The reason, Amazon was able to lock in this boost is because of its ever-expanding reach, influence, and control. For Amazon, the customer is not just the king but everything.
This philosophy has made Amazon into a ruthless, productivity-slave-king. Like Uber, the customers love it, but, the workers pay for it by working HARD. Or, worse, losing their job to a new shiny machine.
So, what can we mortal humans do? How do we continue to grow our small companies against the giants with an army of robots? Or, as an employee, how do we protect our job and income?
Again, the short answer is by having a lean business model and as a human worker, become more valuable. Welcome to the world of “self-managing doers”.
Self Managing Doers
The future belongs to those who can produce and ship goods at a cheaper cost and faster pace than their competitors. An army of bots, super-computers, global, decentralized teams, and automation jobs will be utilized in an ever-increasing proportion to bring the fixed cost down.
More and more people will lose their jobs or will work harder and longer for a pay cut (not directly, but through inflation and loss of benefits). Take a moment and think about it.
Middle management will become obsolete as they are neither good with the company’s vision nor good at “doing the actual work”. In the future, most employees will report to a Vice President or a Director, or Team Leads.
The team leads will be workers and not managers. Just like a sports team, they will serve in a dual role for the same pay. What will be their reward for additional 2 hours of managing team members and writing reports? Social status.
Non-performing employees (technical or not) will be seen as a burden and fired fast. Eventually, the workforce will look more and more like productive human-like bots who will self-manage their duties and report on tasks completion. These will be the new working class of near-future. Fueled by technology, they will be self-managing doers.
Companies, small or large, will be wi-fi connected distributed teams of “self-managing doers” who’ll ship code to toys to groceries using drones, self-driving cars, and the satellite powered Internet.
For the curious: Besides sharing my life stories and writing poetry, currently, I along with my wife, we are also trying to make this world a little more brave, free, kind, and compassionate by designing wanderlust & adventure themed t-shirts and handmade accessories. Please check them out here: www.artoftravel.store
In the ancient times, wars, food, a constant struggle for life used to turn children into adults through a series of life-events (most of which were not always pleasant).
But in our modern world, it’s not exactly clear when one truly enters the adulthood. Is it when we get to legally drive a car or drink alcohol or are no longer our parent’s control? Or, is it when we find a paying job or secure a relationship or have a career or all of the above?
It’s somewhat sad when on the one hand science and society tells you that the human brain doesn’t stop developing until age 25 and at the same time your inner adult doesn’t get to express herself (or himself) until much later when you are beaten down with debts, social obligations, and converted into a social norm following, play by the rules kinda zombie.
Life After 18
Going by the philosophy of this blog, I believe, each soul already possesses what it should do and which paths it needs to follow. Almost everything we face from the time we turn 18 (at the dawn of adulthood), is a series of resistance to thwart us from our path.
As we age and slowly learn more about ourselves, about our own strengths, and about the many lies of society, we begin to take control of our life (if we are lucky). Most humans are not fortunate enough to ever claim their freedom. If you are reading this, chances are, you value your life and you seek freedom above all else.
Below is a short list of truths about life that I have realized over the years. Eventually, each one us learns these on our own. But, the sooner you internalize these truths, the better your life will be.
Hard Truths of Real World
Everything is a choice. A choice is a fork in the moment. Each choice has consequences. Consequences have consequences.
You begin adulthood with nothing figured out. But so does everyone else.
Everything that you’ll do now, you will own it for the rest of your life. Therefore think before you commit to do something or do anything.
The most powerful thing that you’ll ever learn is “compound interest.” Take it seriously. Compounding looks boring at first but then quickly makes things grow exponentially. It’s hard to mentally calculate in exponential terms.
Everything compounds in life. Your health. Your relationships. Your money. Your knowledge and skills.
No one can (or will) make you happy. Making you happy is your job.
Happiness is a state of being. To be happy, be happy. That is all to it.
You would always feel you wish you saved more. So start saving from the day you earn your first penny.
There are two kinds of work you’ll ever do. Work that generates income and work that generates meaning. Your real job, therefore, is to marry the two.
Most managers aren’t leaders or managers, but simply slave drivers with no alignment with the company’s vision or inner desire to truly manage.
Freedom doesn’t begin with making a lot of money but by being self-aware and making yourself grounded in your own truths.
Speaking of which, financial freedom is not “true freedom”. It’s a part of freedom pie (and not the whole pie).
Self-awareness is more important than hard work. The more you know about yourself, the more successful you’ll be.
If you make twice the amount of above poverty line and have a family, get a good life insurance.
Life is fragile, cherish it every moment. People are fragile, be kind to everyone.
Animals are consciously evolved creatures. Be kind to all life forms.
If you need help, be the first person to help yourself.
Health is the first wealth (the key) that allows you to enjoy the rest of your wealth.
Time is the most valuable asset. Your lifetime is finite. No matter how hard and smart you work, you can never gain any more of it then what’s given to you each day.
Become worthy to find a worthy mate or a worthy life-partner or a worthy friend.
Be the person you wish your parents or teachers or coaches were.
Don’t take any advice from someone who is not walking the talk. Money advises from broke. Health advises from overweight. Relationship advises from unhappy singles.
Because someone was divorced three times, doesn’t mean they know the most about human relationships. Too many failed relationships show the person doesn’t really value long-term partnership over personal freedom.
Every successful relationship requires both sacrifice and understanding.
Most people fight over trivial matters. Most fights are fought over trivial matters.
If you truly value someone as your true friend, you’ll always find time to cherish their every life-events opportunities (wedding, baby showers, big birthday milestones, national recognition, big anniversary milestones, funeral, etc.).
Everyone is busy. But, everyone has time for things they think are most important to them.
You never really ever graduate from The University of Hard Knocks. Each time you think you are done learning, you are quickly humbled.
When people ask for advice, what they are really asking for is validation.
Debt is not fun. You must absolutely avoid them. (There is very few exceptions to when debt is okay. In general, debt is never okay.)
Long-term thinking, planning, and execution will always outperform short-term thinking, planning, and execution (in a long-term).
When in doubt, say ‘yes’ to life. Serendipity is real and can have a significant positive impact on your life in most unexpected ways.
The more you understand probability (in a mathematically correct way), the better your decision-making process will become.
Hope is just a measure of anticipation of an expected outcome.
Hope makes the many difficulties of human life endurable.
It’s never too early to learn about game theory and developing good heuristics.
The success in the 21st century is measured by not how hard you work or how smart you are but what leverage you have and how long is your lever.
Looks don’t matter for anything meaningful in life and yet looks will matter for everything superficial and material. So, when dealing with the superficial (which is most of the world and worldly events), pay careful attention to your looks (how you dress, hair, smell & hygiene, posture, handshake, and how you talk).
The first impression now beings before someone meeting you for the first time. Social media and internet have ruined that surprise. It’s neither good nor bad news. Just be aware of this fact.
Whichever job you will end up getting will most likely be done by A.I. during your lifetime.
Don’t plan on settling down with a 9-to-5 job. No job is a secure job anymore. 99.99% of workers are replaceable with other human or machine workers.
If your family is spread out, talk to them on the phone (as frequently as possible). This goes back to the rule of “life is uncertain”.
Talk to your friends. Meet in person. Value them. Invest in your relationships that you deem important and valuable. The alternative is you’ll lose all of your friends without putting the effort from your side.
Most people don’t really change with time. Most just pretend. If you discover a fatal character flaw in someone, keep distance. If someone has betrayed you once, they will certainly betray you again.
Life is too short and the earth is too big to not be picky about who you want to be friends with.
When setting goals, aim for the highest, biggest, most unimaginable outcomes. As the saying goes, if you fail, you’ll likely fail much higher. If you achieve, you’ve likely changed the world.
No one ever has too many good friends. Cherish each of your friendships.
Read and think deeply about the Butterfly effect (ripple effect). Once you grasp the concept, everything you’ll do from that moment onward will be a little more enlightened. (Again, remember everything has consequences and consequences has consequences).
Your level of mastery on any given subject or work will reveal your true level of passion. Mastery gives birth to passion, but passion not always leads to mastery.
Mastery requires dedication and long hours of deep work. Mastery is about understanding something to its atoms.
When I was writing this piece, I could have gone for a 100 or 200, but then I realized, truths can be shared but they can’t be taught. Each one of us must learn our own truths.
So, with this parting final thought, I would purposefully leave this list incomplete. May your life’s journies bring you many more wisdom.
Everyone feels that the current education system is broken and outdated. Throughout the history, we have had several forms of educations. Before we talk about the future of education or an ideal education system, let’s first look at our history.
In the ancient Greece city-states, for example, the purpose of education was to produce good and loyal citizens.
In ancient Egypt, education was not for the common citizens. Formal education was reserved mainly for the priestly caste and boys from the wealthier families. Girls rarely were taught in public. These ancient Egyptian kids started school at the age of 7 and were taught to read, write, and as well as mathematics.
In ancient India, kids at a very young age were sent to an ashram (similar to a private boarding school) where a child lived in close proximity to his guru (teacher) and was taught in person or group setting for up to 7 to 10 years. In some schools, the curriculum covered learning about medicine to martial arts.
In ancient China, formal schooling systems were established as early as 2000 BC. The curriculum covered reading, writing, basic mathematics, poetry, Confucianism, and interpreting I Ching.
During the industrial revolution in England, the purpose of education was to the train future factory workers. However, times have changed. We are currently living in the age of superintelligent computers, rockets flying to the Mars, and self-driving cars.
The Future of Education
What should be the future of education? Can we design an education system that will be both well-rounded and meaningful for our future generations? A system that is compatible with both the spiritual and scientific aspects of our life.
I believe every human child should be taught and trained in the following 11 disciplines. It is best to design and structure an education system in the following fields from grade 1 through 10. (That’s first 10 years of formal learning.)
Afterwards, each student (or seeker) can pick some of the fields to master for another 10 years. (This will be a combination of 10,000 hours and practical and experiential internships in any given field.)
Ideal Education System
An ideal education system and the future of education will be structured into the following 11 domains. It will cover all aspects of human life.
“Adventure means exposing yourself to the world out there.” — Naked Soul
Who Are You
Are you just a label or an epic story or a fun saga? Is your life “out-of-box” and is it evolving?
We make a life by what we give, experience, build and learn. Each year of our life is either a sentence or a paragraph. Or it can be a full chapter or even a book in itself. We decide how our life is recorded in the eyes of the ancient stars of the faraway galaxies.
We decide which adventures we embark upon and which ones we finish. Adventures do not mean walking on a high wire or sleeping on a bed of nails or eating fire.
Adventure means exposing yourself to the world out there – in its wildness, rawness – experiencing its unadulterated originality.
Adventure means getting in touch with your inner-self, knowing thyself.
Now, over to you.
Who are you? And, what are you going to do with your life? Please leave your thoughts and life missions in the comment below.
This is a common question and a good one. I am assuming the right question is “How do I develop myself in general?” Or, “How do I improve myself to be more successful in all areas of my life.?” Let me offer some perspectives on these questions as I answer them in this blog.
To grow in life, you need these 10 things and everything else will follow.
1. Good Habits: Build good habits. Build as many as you can. Good habits are going to benefit you in every aspect of your life for the rest of your life. You can learn a new skill or add an activity you like to your daily schedule. Habits are powerful and helps eliminate procrastination (which is critical for success in life). What are some good examples:
Making the Bed in Morning: This is small thing yet it creates peace, order and harmony in the otherwise chaotic life. A Simple To-Do List (No Bigger Than a Postcard): This one simple habit is that one productivity hack that you have been looking for. (If you are a early riser) Waking up a little early and watching the sunrise, or taking a 10 minute walk in the nature or outside in the fresh air. The morning hour has a powerful affect on the human brain. A short (5 min) session of meditation and yoga or stretching. 2. Become a Master: Try to figure out what you are interested in and decide to become an expert in that. A world class expert, master of your field. How do you do this?
3. Start Small: Whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish, break it into smaller milestones and goals. If it is a business, break the ultimate goal into sub-goals and milestones such as number of clients, revenue, monthly volume, etc. If it is a degree program, break each semester into interesting milestones such as networking with one Influence in your field per semester, one foreign travel (or road trip) each year, etc. 4. Share Your Vision (But Selectively): A few trusted people in your circle should know about your mission. Once you have told others about your venture or goals, they will you ask you about how is it going? This will become a constant reminder for them and you would be bound to share frequent updates, your challenges and your small victories. Most importantly, you will feel accountable to succeed. This technique also comes in aid should you need external motivation and a little pressure to up your game. 5. Affirmations: Practice affirmation and talk positive to yourself. Do not tolerate negativity and negative people in your life. Share love but remember you do not owe anything to anyone but to yourself and no one owes you anything. Yet, practice compassion, empathy and altruism. Find a problem and make a purposeful intention to solve it.
This is a new day. I can start a fresh, new journey today.
Today could be the last day of this earth. I promise to myself to appreciate everything that happens during the day.
6. Travel: When you are traveling, you are learning more than you can ever from a book or a school program. Traveling is the ultimate reading. You learn about adaptation, living in discomfort, empathy, new cultures and how other humans just like you live in a different place and culture. Travel is fun, a lot of fun. Learn a new language and you will enjoy traveling even more.
7. Read Great Books: Read a lot of books. Read whatever you can afford and get your hands on. Good or bad, all books are helpful. A good book will feed your soul. A good book will uplift your soul and will inspire you, teach you and tell you how you can become skilled and great yourself.
8. Promise Yourself that You’ll be Great: This is the Law of Self-fulfilling prophecy. It is true that what are you think is what you will attract in your life. This is not magic but science. By dwelling on a thought you are constantly focusing on it and searching for it. If it is negative and about despair, your brain will automatically give more importance to matters related to despair and hopelessness. Likewise, if you think of learning and education, your brain will automatically start spending brainpower (energy and focus) on things that you want to learn.
9. Look for the Big Picture: Life is short. Before you were born the Universe existed for 13 billion years and after you will be home the Universe will keep on going for equally long time. The fact that we are here for a short period of time makes us think of time in a unique way. Life is short. Try to make the best out of it.
Some practical advice:
There is no gain in fighting and arguing. In any adversity, look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself: will this thing still matter 5 years from now? 20 years from now? If the answer is “No”, don’t stress yourself. 10. Attitude of Gratitude: Whatever you have and whoever you are as a person, father, leader, daughter, employee, anyone who you think you are is the product of countless people and their miniature help and support to you. Sure you have done the hard work and the bulk of it but remember the phone you are using is built by someone in China, designed by Apple in California and uses chips and hardware made in Germany and Japan. We all are living well because hundreds of thousands of people are contributing to each other. There is plenty to be thankful for.
11. Uplifting Association: A lot of what we eat, do, watch and talk are highly dependent on who we hang out with. If you are into fitness but five of your closest friends (with whom you spend most of your time) are into pizza and unhealthy lifestyle, there is no way you can be lead a healthy and fit life. What should you do instead?
Associating yourself with positive people, you will pick up their (good) habits and start thinking positive, talking positive and living a more positive life.
12. Practice the Power of Spoken Words:The spoken words have tremendous power. Whatever comes out of your mouth shapes your thinking in a major way. What you speak (in front of others) creates an image of you. And by your image you shall be treated and judged. If you have set up an image of a no-nonsense, cool and happy guy or gal, your peers will start treating you in a cool, fun, positive way. Choose your words carefully. They literally carry the power of life and death.
Read more on some other aspects of self-development in my other blog posts:
How to simplify your priorities and focus on the right things. Well, today I have a solution for you. It’s not my original idea but it is Warren Buffett’s wisdom on goal setting.
“If it’s not the most important thing, avoid it…”
Warren Buffet uses a list of 25 things to prioritize what’s most important to you in life. First write down 25 long or short term goals (thigs that you would like to do or achieve). Then circle the 5 most important things. The other 20 thins you must never think about again or they will distract you from what’s most important to you. Focus on your top 5 and give it your all. That way, you will surely succeed in life.
The 5/25 exercise is really a great way to learn more about what you are truly passionate about. It doesn’t even have to be 5/25. It can be 5/20 or 5/50 or 5/5. You know what you like to do.
The point of the exercise is to list everything that you would like to do and/or interested in. Then circle the top 5 most interesting thing from your big list of “to-dos” or “things I want achieve and do”. Following is the list of everything that I would like to do and become.
**My big 24**
Be a full time writer (write a NYT bestseller)
Travel the world (atleast 100 countries, travel with friends, travel with family)
Visit the North Pole and South Pole
Do space travel (someday)
Open a cancer hospital and research center (in my father’s name)
Be a lifestyle and motivational coach
Do speaking engagements
Make money (Invest and grow my wealth)
Live a happy family
Spend time with my family and parents
Become a serial entrepreneur and start successful businesses
Seek and practice spirituality and become a teacher of life
Make positive impact on this world (through my philosophies and ideas)
Help the poor and those needing a helping hand
Climb the seven summits
Climb US’s 50 State Highpoints
Raise good kids
Speak on TED
Make movies and documentaries
Be able to do front and backflips
Be world class in Martial Arts
Have a ripped body
Create fitness workout programs
Live long and age slowly (be extremely fit and healthy)
Now, the top 5 for me from these 24 are:
Live long and age slowly (be extremely fit and healthy)
Travel the world (atleast 100 countries)
Be a full time writer (write a NYT bestseller)
Make positive impact on this world (through my philosophies and ideas)
Make money (Invest and grow my wealth)
If you notice, this exercise is not only great to narrow down what you are truly passionate about but also a good way to find out the lead domino for your overall success.
For example, in the above example, making a positive impact on this world through my ideas really ties into becoming a full time writer and making writing my main craft.
Likewise, to live healthy and be fit, I have to make some workout programs. And if I share those programs, I am actually covering #23 and even #22 to some degree. (Now, for me, being world class in marital arts and be able to do flips and gymnastics is super cool but I can live without it if I have to make a choice. Also, not having 6 packs and a ripped body is also okay with me as long as I am free to my top 3 goals.)
Do you see? How this exercise forces you to narrow your focus and get clarity on your long-term vision.
What else? How can I make money if all I am doing is getting healthier and fit, traveling the world and writing all the time? The solution therefore is to monetize my writing, traveling adventures, and fitness routines. That’s the answer and the connecting link.
This is also the best way to maximize my personal happiness. If I can make money by being fit, writing and traveling, I would be the happiest person doing what I love and loving what I do.
Isn’t this exercise awesome! I love it. Not only is it a practical way to prioritize but also to find your focus. You may even see links. For examples, for me, focusing and achieving my top 5 goals also means crossing several other goals from the list.
#11 and #17 is tied to Writing, Travel, and Fitness
#3, #4, #15 and #16 is tied to Travel
#6, #7, and #12 is tied to Philosophy and Writing
#5, #9, and #14 is tied to Making Money
and so on.
It’s your turn now. I would love to see everyone’s lists. Do this exercise and find out the truths for yourself.
Why do we hate change but buy transformation? Why we hate building new habits but love new year resolutions?
The problem is in the hook (the promise, the proposed solution, the value add). Our mind translates these words differently.What do I mean by “our mind thinks of these words differently?”
Let’s take a look. This is going to be a philosophical post. And, I am going to offer some practical advise on positive habit building in the end.There is power in building and cultivating good habits. Using high-performance habits we can achieve significant goals which otherwise may seem elusive.
Good habits lie behind making positive changes. We are more likely to achieve worthwhile goals if we have taken the time to build good habits part of our everyday routine.And, all of this means: Change.
“A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.”
Metamorphosis & Transformation
What do you imagine or think when you hear the word “transformation”? “Transformation” or “breakthrough” is seen as something magical. We unconsciously believe some divine power or some external agent of change will take us from point A to point B.
We want to quit a bad habit and we secretly wish for a magical moment where we are suddenly transformed without pain. Transformation is metamorphosis to us. We unconsciously believe or secretly wish that a major change just happens in due time.
But that’s not correct. It is a faulty conditioning. And, we need to break free from this erroneous belief.
At an unconscious level — we humans (all of us) hate change (including positive change which leads to positive self-growth). What does the sound of word “change” makes you feel?
Truth be told, “change” means discomfort, resistance, sacrifice, giving up your present way of life.Since self-growth, breakthrough and transformation — they all means positive change, our brain thinks of these words as welcoming because they convey a sense of salvation from our difficult or stagnant situations.
But no transformation occurs without first building new habits and breaking the old ones. It is the “positive changes” that lead to massive self-growth and transformation. Change is good. We don’t have to fear it.Change is what makes metamorphosis work its wonder.
The word “metamorphosis” derives from Greek which means “transformation. The word is made up of two parts: from “meta”, meaning “change” and “morphe”, meaning “form”. Change in form. Or, change in constitution.
In biology (and nature), metamorphosis is a process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal’s body structure through cell growth and differentiation.
There is no metamorphosis without a change of habitat or habit. Notice the two key components required for the transformation: Habitat and Habit.
Habitat (The Environmental Change)
Positive association (family, friends, colleagues)
Positive books (inspirational and deep)
Positive movies and films (relevant and impactful)
Healthy eating (to empower the body and mind)
Fitness conscious lifestyle (to take charge of your body)
Habits (The Behavioral Change)
The attitude of gratitude
The attitude of perseverance
The attitude of daily-growth
The attitude of faith
The attitude of humility
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
Power of Positive Change
Top 3 Tips on How to Build Good, Positive Habits
1. Macro and Micro Goals
Create “goals” that fit the vision and values of your true self. Where do you want to eventually go? That’s your vision. What steps you may have to take to reach there, that’s your macro-goal.
To achieve each macro-goal, what smaller goals you first much achieve, that’s your micro-goal. What do you need to do “every day” to achieve your micro-goal, that’s your daily “to-do-tasks”.
This should be your first step. Create a daily, to-do-list.
“The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.”
~ Feodor Dostoevsky
2. Plan for Behavioral Change
Start with positive visualization, affirmations and incorporating small mindfulness practice in your daily life. Spend some time each day to talk to yourself. Self-talk is essential for “reflection.”
You have to think what did you achieve today? Did you make any impact on the world today? Were your activities significant enough to turn your life towards a higher purpose or goal?
Ask and answer these questions when you ponder about what new habits you want to build.
“Where evil habits are once settled, they are more easily broken than mended.”
~ Marcus Fabius Quintilian
3. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
You want a new habit to form with minimal willpower on your part. But, a new habit creation takes a lot of willpower. Have you wondered why?
Let me tell you a secret today which will save you heartache and tons of wasted hours.When building a new habit, focus on one positive habit at a time. Do not focus on elimination yet.
You have 24 hours in a day and you already have a fixed lifestyle. Now, you are trying to add something new to your daily routine. How do you do that? Where will you find the time? The key is, do the new habit the first thing in the morning or the first thing whenever you have “that free time (whenever that is)”.
When it comes to habit formation early repetition is the key. You have to be consistent for a month or 3 months. Consistency is the key. And, as you gently settle into the new habit, you’ll find yourself automatically drop an old, unhelpful habit.
For example, you want to add “book reading” as a new positive habit in your lifestyle. Say currently, you are watching Game of Thrones or House of Card or some other popular TV show. So, my advice to you is: keep watching. Yes, keep watching the TV.
Listen. Read a book for 10 minutes before or after your TV show. The TV series will end in some time but your new book reading habit will stick and grow over time.
There are millions of great books out there and you’ll never run out of them.Once, you start including a new habit in your daily routine the key is to not force anything out of your life but to push good things into your daily living.
As the good thing grows in your life, the unproductive habits will automatically be pushed out of your day.
“An unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones.”
~ W. Somerset Maugham
Top 7 Tips on How to Make New Habits Stick
1. Focus on Adding Not Subtracting
Behavior change is hard because we’re creatures of habit. To make a change in our behavior means we’re adding something and subtracting something. Habit formation is a two-way lane.
The mistake most people make is they focus on both lanes at the same time. For example, to lose weight, most people will start going to the gym and stop eating fries and ice-cream.
The problem is every task requires some degree of willpower (mental energy and decision making). If you try to resist ice-cream and at the same time, workout for 60 minutes sweating and feeling fatigued, you are bound to fail within a week.
My suggestion (which may sound counter-intuitive) is to focus on one. If you have time and you like the idea of going to the gym, go eat some ice-cream first and hit the gym.
Begin the journey. There is no hurry.Next, keep going to the gym. Focus on going to the gym routine. As you work harder on your body and realize how much effort it is to burn 1 pound of fat, your intrinsic desire to ice-cream and fries will automatically die or fade away.
This is a well-known fact to those who have been there but you won’t find the so-called experts talk about this. Why? Because most of these experts are not going to the gym. They are good at writing papers from their university lab.
Most of these “experts” have no clue how hard it is to control the desire to eat ice-cream (for dessert lovers) and how hard it is to run non-stop for 30 minutes.
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
The resolution needs to be SMART.
Reward yourself for sticking to your habit
Track your progress
“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” — Anon
3. Ask Why?
Your “why” is the most important factor in making a new habit stick. You have to make sure that whatever it is that you are trying to do (eat more veggies, exercise daily for 30 minutes, write daily for 1 hour, etc) is something that YOU really want.
Thinking is not going to cut it. You have to “feel” your why.If there is a strong and genuine “why factor”, you won’t stop. You will try to get help from your community. And you should. You will do whatever it takes. And you should.
Don’t try to form a new habit just for the name or thrill of it. If there is a peer group available, join one. If there is no support group, create one. Even if you have just one more partner, you can keep each other accountable.
Having an accountability partner means, you are going to stick with it even if the going gets tough.
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.” — Confucius
4. Write it Down and Know the Benefits
Write down your new habit and your plan on a piece of paper with a timeline on it. Writing makes your ideas more clear and focuses you on your end result.Next, write down all the benefits that you will reap after making the change.
Get books and research on how your new habit will benefit you and your lifestyle or your bank balance or your social status.
“Cultivate only the habits that you are willing should master you.”
~ Elbert Hubbard
5. Allocate Time
Block out a regular time for your new habit in your schedule so that you can give your positive habit your undivided attention. I use a daily to-do list and keep it on my phone. I make sure I have check out every single item on my list before I go to bed.
“The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
~ Samuel Johnson
6. Reflect on Your Progress
Take time to reflect on how your new habit is serving you. Are you following through or failing? If you are not doing as good as you would like, ask yourself “why?” Adjust your goals and plan accordingly. If you are fairing well, don’t overestimate your capacity and increase your goals or expectation until the new habit has become part of your being. You can do the reflection exercise when you do your creative visualization or daily affirmations.
7. Find Powerful Motivation Factor
To make new habit stick you have to exercise self-discipline, atleast in the beginning and until a new habit has fully formed.One way to strengthen your self-discipline and commitment to persevere is to create a Treasure Map or a Vision Board.
A vision board can be a simple collage or visual representation of what you want to achieve. It can be created as a secret treasure hunt map. Your map is your journey to significance and success. It outlines what you are going to have at the end of your adventurous journey.
The impact you are going to make on this world. The influence you are going to exercise while serving others. It is your mission written in pictures.
This last step is the most crucial because a vision board or treasure map will constantly remind you why your new positive habit is so important to you.
Looking at your board can be just what you need to feel motivated on days when your enthusiasm is fading and your mood low.
Where To Start?
Perhaps, start here. In 1726, at age 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Franklin listed his 13 virtues as:
The Thirteen Virtues
1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. Effective and Efficiency: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
You can pick any one of these virtues and identify positive habits that you can build around them. Or, better yet, create your own list of virtues and positive habits and then start on the top of the list and move downwards one by one.
After all, there is no limit to self-growth and personal development. Only you decide where and when you stop growing.
My last words: Don’t stop growing.
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What do you think about habit formation? Do you differentiate between transformation and change? Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
An interesting philosophical question is a question “Is the end of the world a new beginning?”
Scholars have pondered this question for centuries and it served as the focus of a 2000 documentary by PBS’s frontline program “Apocalypse! The Evolution of Apocalyptic Belief and how it shaped the Western World.”
In the above-mentioned documentary, the biblical book of Revelation was explored in detail. The book of Revelation is one that has sparked the interest of readers more than any other book in the Bible and recounts how the end times will play out including the reign of the man referred to as the Antichrist.
James Tabor, a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, wrote of the book of Revelation:
“If you open the Book of Revelation and simply begin reading it as an unfolding scenario, it goes something like this. There will be wars and famines and disease epidemics and heavenly signs that will alert the world to some sort of crisis. Then will come an Antichrist as he’s called, or a political ruler, that will establish control over the whole Earth. He’ll be backed up with a religious ruler, who’s called the false prophet. They together establish a unified social, economic, and religious system that dominates the world. The only thing opposing them is the people of God and these two prophets, they’re called the two witnesses, who appear in Jerusalem, and begin to speak against this power. The rest of the book, really the last half of the book is about the overthrow of this system. The beast, the false prophet, who has the number 666, the Antichrist, is overthrown with judgments and plagues.”
The book was written by Saint John the Apostle who visualized the events of the end times in a series of visions while he was imprisoned in a cave towards the end of his life for his testimony about Jesus Christ.
God banished the nonbelievers to hell while the believers would live with God in a peaceful and secure kingdom. This new world was described in verses from the book:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne saying, Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
The apocalypse was depicted in a popular Christian fictional book series, Left Behind, in which the end of the world occurs and all of Jesus Christ’s believers vanish and are sent off to paradise in heaven while the non-believers or doubters of his teachings remain on Earth under the reign of the Antichrist.
By the end of the series, the husband of one of the believers begins to have an awakening in his faith in God and along with his daughter is reunited with his wife at the end of the series. The Antichrist meanwhile was banished to the depths of hell.
How will the world end?
That is still an unknown question but an article published in The Good News recounted the ways that politicians, educators, and scientists predicted how the world would end. The causes included nuclear warfare, environmental disasters, planetary pollution, overpopulation, killer diseases, and collision with a comet or asteroid.
A professor of theoretical physics, Michio Kaku, at City College of New York described what the aftermath of an asteroid collision would be like when he said, “An asteroid only a kilometer across would create cosmic havoc by impacting on the earth. The shock wave would flatten much of the United States. If it hits the oceans, the tidal wave it created could be a mile high, enough to flood most coastal cities on Earth.”
One such collision actually occurred in 1908 when a meteor or comet exploded over Siberia and flattened 1,000 square miles of forest which equated to 80 million trees. The energy released by the collision created tremors that were reported as far away as London.
The most likely scenario for an apocalypse according to scientists and scholars is a nuclear war. Austrian theologian Ulrich Kortner stated:
“The nuclear threat constitutes not a temporary, but rather an irrevocable global threat. The actual possibility of an end to all life is now a constituent part of our reality.”
Before his death in 1996, one of the world’s most recognized scientists, Carl Sagan, wrote,
“The development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems will, sooner or later, lead to global disaster.”
Modern Day Theories & Events
It remains undetermined though when the world will end. Astrologers had long held that the world was expected to end in 2012 and companies capitalized on this by having “End of the World” sales.
Events were posted on Facebook in commemoration of this momentous occasion. The day the world was expected to end was December 21, 2012, which of course did not come to pass.
However, in October 2012, many New Jersey residents did experience a major shift in their universe due to the intensity of Superstorm Sandy. Homes were destroyed and several residents left the state due to issues with insurance companies regarding the rebuilding of their homes.
The aftermath of Sandy is still widely felt throughout the state as there is still uncertainty about when everyone will be able to return home.
It was truly the greatest storm I had seen in my lifetime and I remember volunteering afterward to help organize clothes, canned food, and lunches for those who had been forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
It is now evident that the apocalypse has been a major topic for discussion for centuries. Many refer to the Bible for its prophecies of when and how the end of the world will occur.
My Personal Thoughts
I personally do not believe that the end of the world will play out in any of the above-mentioned scenarios.
I am of the opinion that the world will keep on going, well, until we either destroy it ourselves or a man-made conscious, super-intelligent, powerful A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) takes over the planet earth.
But, whatever be the case, the end is never truly an end but only a new beginning. For now, I sincerely hope that we can end global conflicts so that we can become a unified global civilization and do not aim to destroy each other.
It will be easier to fight an alien civilization or man-made machines if we are one than if we have our nukes pointed out to each other.
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This post was written from a spiritual/religious perspective but there can be many other scenarios that I have not discussed here. What are your thoughts on the end of the world? Do you think the world as we know it will end? Or, will there be only a forward journey? Tell me in the comments and I’ll try to answer your questions. The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them. So share your thoughts.
As an observer, writer, wanderer, and storyteller, I believe that to be naked is to show up, to be present, to express my truth in life. It’s to overcome my own self-imposed limitations and to transcend external influences that are often authoritarian or fear-based. To me, this expression of truth can become a sacred romance.
Therefore philosophically speaking, being a Naked Soul is a sacred romance between one person and the world around him.
When we love, we unguard our hearts. We disarm and disrobe ourselves down to the core. Whether we love to travel, to write, or to wrap our arms around another, we only love authentically. That is being truly naked.
How can you be totally naked? It’s not undressing your body. To be naked is to undress and be naked with your heart’s truth. It’s the only way to uncover what resonates with your own soul.
Also, please check out our upcoming podcast. As we speak, a lot of interviewing and recording is going on in the background.
The Naked Soul Podcast is an extensive series of over 200 timeless conversations from the popular authors, bloggers, health and fitness coaches, spiritual mentors and successful entrepreneurs.
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Tune in for wisdom and insights from the leading thinkers, writers, adventurers, and explorers of our modern time.
Topics Covered on the Podcast and as well as this blog
Addiction and Overcoming Addictions
Aging and Longevity
Altered States of Consciousness
Astrology, Human Design, and the Enneagram
Biofeedback and the Quantified Self
Body Awareness & Bodywork
Business & Entrepreneurship
Creativity & Creativity Process
Death and Peaceful Dying
Dreams and The Dreaming Mind
Enlightenment & Evolution
Holographic Model of the Universe
Imagery and Mandala
Jungian Psychology and Archetypes
New Language Learning
Leadership Theories and Best Practices
Literature & Arts
Magic and Cults
Best Management Practices
Metalearning (Learning How to Learn)
Martial Arts, Budo, and Tao
Meditation and Mindfulness
Music and Creative Expression
Personal Paradigm Shift & Individual Transformation
Personal Development and Self Help
Psychedelics and Drugs
Psychology & Psychotherapy
Relaxation Techniques (Mind, Body, Heart, and Soul)
(Morning, Evening) Rituals and Positive Habit building
Science and Deep Space
Sexuality and Eroticism
Transformation and Self Growth
The Unconscious, Super-conscious and Sub-conscious
Yoga, Health and Fitness
Writing Life, Writing Tips
Self-publishing, Book publishing, Book Marketing
Author Brand Creation, Platform Building
Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in the touch!
Are you a Naked Soul? How would you define one or yourself? The first 5 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them. So share your thoughts. Any other questions or comments please feel free to share below.
Do you believe an unlikely person can transform your life? This is an interesting question with a resounding answer that a person can absolutely change your life for the better.
Random encounters on streets / The Naked Soul Partners
Can An Unlikely Person Transform Your Life
This article will delve into the stories of people who seem like they were destined to meet each other as well as my own personal experiences related to this.
Story of Emmett
Our first heartwarming story emerged from Farmington, Minnesota last July of a three-year-old boy, Emmett, who became friends with his 89-year-old neighbor, Erling, a WWII veteran who had flown combat missions in Europe.
Emmett was only two when he visited the tomato garden of his neighbor because he loved tomatoes and slowly they began to interact with each other in different ways. Sometimes they would race lawnmowers together.
One day Erling set up a croquet set in his yard so he and Emmett could play together. They continued to visit each other during the winter but sadly their visits were put to an end when Emmett’s parents put their house up for sale so they could have a bigger house where Emmett and his little sister could both sleep on the same floor.
Erling would also be moving to live with his sick wife in a senior apartment.
I also developed a close relationship with someone unexpected. I had always had trouble making friends and sat alone during my lunch period in high school.
A lunch aide, Kelly, walked over to my table one afternoon and began talking to me helping to bring me out of my shell.
Every day we would talk and I visited her often in the kitchen. Her company helped me feel less lonely and she looked out for me when I was finally invited to sit with a group of my classmates and students from lower grades.
Whenever we run into each other now, we still make time to talk. I’ll never forget how great she made me feel about myself at a time when I was very awkward and still developing into the person that I am today.
Story of a Homeless Veteran
Our second story is of a young woman who became friends with a homeless veteran named Tony.
Tony hung out near her workplace and over the course of a few months, they began having lunch and snacks together where he would share his war stories and family while she talked to him about her problems and family.
They developed a deep level of trust with each other and when she was going through a very difficult time in her life he listened to her and pushed her to continue working to fulfill her dreams.
What makes this story even more remarkable is what happened one day when she was still full of self-pity. He gave her a watch head and said, “I don’t have much but I wanted you to know that you have done what many others would not, simply by being my friend.”
She realized that by reaching out to him she had received the incredible reward of a beautiful friendship.
Unlikely Friendship of an Imam and a Rabbi
World Peace / The Naked Soul Partners
Sometimes friendships transcend religious differences. This was evident in the story of a rabbi and a Muslim imam who met each other when they were being interviewed by CBS after Pope John Paul II’s death about his interfaith outreach.
Both men at first hid their quiet ignorant beliefs from one another and the rabbi said, I grew up in an environment as an Orthodox Jew where Muslims were the enemy, Muslims were to be demonized, Muslims were not to be trusted. I clearly brought to the table many biases, prejudices, prejudgments.
The rabbi called the imam several months later extending a gesture of peace and deciding to learn how to foster a better dialogue between the two religions.
They organized the first summit of rabbis and imams in New York in 2007 and began a process where the rabbi would speak to congregants at the imam’s mosque while the imam would speak to worshippers at the rabbi’s synagogue.
They co-authored a book about starting an interfaith dialogue entitled “Sons of Abraham: A Candid Conversation about the Issues that Divide” and “Unite Jews and Muslims” that breaks down misconceptions about both religions.
Story of Friendships
Friends / The Naked Soul Partners
I developed a meaningful friendship with a coworker who has some personality traits that differ from me. She is more assertive and extroverted than I am but has a sensitive side which she expresses when discussing her family and her dog.
We joke around with each other and she always knows how to get a smile out of me even when I am having a tough day. I never would have expected to develop such a significant relationship with a coworker but know that despite any issues we have with each other, she will always be there to defend me if necessary.
There have been many depictions of unlikely friendships that have developed in movies and television.
Toy Story / The Naked Soul Partners
Many have been in animated movies such as Toy Story where one toy, Woody, serves as a boy’s favorite toy for years while the other, Buzz Lightyear, was a birthday present; Up where a boy scout befriends an elderly man and helps him learn to love again after the death of his beloved wife; and the friendship between the young girl, Lilo, and her alien friend, Stitch, in Lilo and Stitch.
These cinematic relationships show that despite differences between each character, they are able to look past them and develop meaningful friendships.
The most obvious example of unlikely friendships can be seen on the classic 90s sitcom, Friends.
The six friends have unique personality traits that elevate the humor found in each episode from the commitment-phobic Chandler Bing and his Casanova roommate, Joey Tribbiani, to the neat-freak Monica Geller and her second roommate, the more laid-back and approachable Rachel Green.
Romantic entanglements even ensue between characters including the occasionally tumultuous relationship of Dr. Ross Geller, Monica’s older brother, and Rachel and the marriage of Chandler and Monica.
Friends has stood the test of time and in its more emotional moments depicts the strength of a group of companions that can always be depended on.
It is clear then that unlikely people can indeed transform your life. Whether it stems from a chance encounter or an arranged meeting, friendships can begin in many different ways.
Be open to meeting new people as perhaps this can lead to an enduring relationship.
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Was this post interesting? What are your thoughts or stories that you would like to share? Please feel free to share your questions or comments with us? Please leave your thoughts and input in the comments below.
I’ve recently been looking into the history of spirituality and eroticism. Since the antiquity, there has always been some overlap and deep connection between the two great muses of human pursuits.
Spirituality and Eroticism
From my research, what I have found that either the religion has tried to suppress the eros or embraced it by transforming and expressing the eros by channeling the sexual energy into spiritual, selfless love to God or some ideal.
While I’ve been checking out ancient teachings and beliefs, biblical verses, songs and poetry, all with the theme of eroticism and spirituality in mind.
I can honestly say that I’ve literally been blown away and swept off my usually grounded feet by the jaw-dropping beauty, frank honesty and unguarded language used by mystics, poets or pagan priests advocating their love for spiritual and mystical figures.
The strength of their ecstatic devotion never fails to shine through, even within their sometimes sexually charged diction. In fact, if I was of religious persuasion, you could probably say that through what I’ve learned, even in a short time frame, I’ve literally been taken to the church (or temple) and back.
It was no less than a sacred pilgrimage through time and cultures.
Let’s look at some of these overlaps where the erotic meets the spirit.
Saint Teresa of Avila
Since I’ve just mentioned church this is as good a time as any for Spanish mystic and nun, Saint Teresa of Avila (who was canonized by the Catholic church during the 1600’s) to share with us her heartfelt and intimate feelings towards God.
Saint Teresa is said to have experienced devotions of ecstasy which was one of perfect union with God. Her devoutness could not be more apparent than in her poem, I Would Cease to Be:
GodDissolvedmy mind, my separationI cannot describe now my intimacy with HimHow dependent is your body’s life on water and food and airI said to God, I will always be unless you cease to Be,And my Beloved replied,And I would cease to Beif you died
You get a real sense of her intensity and passion from the words used here. Whenever I read it I get the feeling that it could almost be a poem written to a lover.
Saint Francis of Assisi
Such displays of beautiful outpourings towards religious and spiritual figures by their devotees have been thematic throughout the centuries. The poem (a prayer as hymn actually): Dear God by lifelong devout Christian, Saint Francis of Assissi also shows the true extent of his feelings:
Dear God, please reveal to us your sublime beautythat is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,so that we will never again feel frightened.My divine love, my love, please let us touch your face.
I love the line please let us touch your face, it’s exactly the kind of thing a person would long to do from the moment he/she begins to fall in love with someone. Saint Francis was canonized as a saint during 1228.
Sixteenth-century Indian mystic, Mirabai, is another plenary example of devotion in its purest form. She became a lifelong follower of Sri Krishna whom she thought of as her husband.
So passionate was her devotion, Mirabi inspired many others to take the same devotional path.
Even well-known sadhus (Hindu word for ascetic holy men) came to her for divine influence. Her life’s sacrifice to Krishna really shines through in this poem:
The saffron of virtue and contentment Is dissolved in the water-gun of love and affection. Pink and red clouds of emotion are flying about, Limitless colors raining down. All the covers of the earthen vessel of my body are wide open; I have thrown away all shame before the world. Mira’s Lord is the Mountain-Holder, the suave lover. I sacrifice myself in devotion to His lotus feet.
A lot of Mirabai’s poems were written to be sung as bhajans (religious songs of praise) and many of them are still sung in India today.
Song of Songs
I am going to return to the theme of Christianity for now as we take another journey back to one of the religion’s most well-known holy scriptures, the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon).
It’s from the Judaic Old Testament and it’s frank and animated details of the physical love between two people definitely makes it unique to the books of the Bible, especially when you consider that it’s said to have been written between 971 and 965 BC.
“Let my lover come into his garden and taste its delicious fruits.”– Song of Solomon 4:16
There are a great many different versions, translations and interpretations around of this book, e.g. King James version, Hebrew translation or the more recent International version.
I’ve included just a small snippet of the more modern International version below, but it can be found here in its entirety.
Song of Songs
While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.
My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts. My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.
– Song of Solomon 1:12-14
Do try and take in the whole thing if you haven’t already, I think the Song of Songs is a fantastic expression of the power of love and the physical attraction it brings, which definitely makes it stand out more than other books of the Old Testament.
Sumerian Mythology: The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi
This is said to be one of the oldest love poems from the ancient world. Recently translated, the words for The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi are said to have been found on stone tablets in the ruins of Nippur, one of the ancient cities of Babylon.
In this myth, a high priestess acting on behalf of the goddess of the land has sex with the ruler of the country to show the goddess’s acceptance to him as guardian of her people.
This ritual is said to bring prosperity to the goddess’s people (who would watch the whole of this sacred act taking place).
With verses that include phrases like:
He shaped my loins with his fair hands, and,
Who will plough my wet ground?
This poem is far more explicitly upfront than most in this blog. However, because the translations by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer are quite recent, I don’t think I can include an excerpt in this blog for copyright reasons; but along with more information about Sumerian mythology, the poem can be found in its entirety here.
The Sumerians, like the ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped many gods. Their religious practices at times obviously included some sexual behavior.
We’ve probably all noticed the consistent use of erotic imagery when looking at history books on ancient times e.g. the representation of male Greek Gods often being that of naked well-endowed males.
It’s hugely apparent that back then, sexual attitudes and behavior, unlike today, didn’t seem to encourage any shameful undertones whatsoever.
When you consider that for two hundred years after Rome’s state religion became Christianity, long term gay unions including marriage were still in existence, it’s so apparent that during this era there were few restrictions imposed on sexuality before later teachings and opinions changed things.
The Virtues of Chastity
It was around 50AD that chastity became a virtue after Saint Paul advocated that the highest love was God and that chastity was the best expression of one’s holiness.
He was of the opinion that if the commitment to chastity could not be sustained then marital sex would then be the next option.
This, to me, basically suggests that Saint Paul felt that sex was sinful and that chastity was actually a clear expression of one’s religiosity.
I am not sure that Jesus even held this same belief as Saint Paul. Although there isn’t a huge deal of stuff documented about Jesus’ attitudes towards sexual behavior. He did preach that men and women should be treated the same when it came to adultery and divorce.
When Jesus came across a woman who had committed adultery, he did not condemn (The Hebrew bible authorized stoning for this act). Instead, he uttered one of his famous phrases:
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” – John 8:7
During the 12th century Philosopher and Theologian, Thomas Aquinas’ impact on sexuality and sexual practices was so phenomenal it even still asserts its influence over the Catholic church today (not bad for a guy who died around eight hundred years ago!)
He was of the belief that sexual organs were merely a vehicle for procreation, any other uses were deemed unnatural or immoral, especially when it came to homosexuality.
His opinion laid the foundation for Christian attitudes that would continue for centuries. Aquinas’ poem to God “Could you Embrace that” can be found here.
Have a look at the quote below which was made by modern-day spiritual leader and Indian mystic Rajneesh (Osho).
So always remember, whatsoever I say to you, you can take it in two ways. You can simply take it on my authority, Because I say so, it must be true — then you will suffer, then you will not grow.
I love this quote because it immediately encourages the growth of the mind. During his time on Earth (between 1931 – 1990), Osho gave nurturing talks on all manner of subjects, ranging from meditation, enlightenment, religion, and self-exploration.
He was also a follower of Tantra which he describes as the science of transforming ordinary lovers into soul mates.
Rather than seeing sex as a sinful act, Osho believed it to be sacred and joyful. This is a snippet from one of his discourses From Sex to Superconsciousness.
Only in the moments of coitus did man realize that it was possible to feel such profound love, to experience such illuminating bliss. And those who meditated on this truth in the right frame of mind, those who meditated on the phenomenon of sex, of intercourse, came to the conclusion that in the moments of climax the mind becomes empty of thoughts. All thoughts drain out at that moment. And this emptiness of mind, this void, this vacuum, this freezing of the mind, is the cause of the shower of divine joy.
If you want to know the elemental truth about love, the first requisite is to accept the sacredness of sex, to accept the divinity of sex in the same way you accept God’s existence with an open heart. And the more fully you accept sex with an open heart and mind, the freer you will be of it. But the more you suppress it the more you will become bound to it.
I am going to round things up now with something I haven’t heard about very often an erotic poem written by a priest. This one was created during the 16th century by Anglican priest, John Donne. It’s called:
To His Mistress Going to Bed
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chimeTells me from you that now it is bed time.Off with that happy busk, which I envy,That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,As when from flowery meads th’hills shadow steals.Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.License my roving hands, and let them goBefore, behind, between, above, below.O my America! my new-found-land,My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned,My mine of precious stones, my empery,How blest am I in this discovering thee!To enter in these bonds is to be free;Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee
To read the complete poem, please visit here. John Donne’s poems were first published posthumously in 1633 and 1635.
Thanks very much for looking at my blog, please let me know if you enjoyed reading it.
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What do you think about theÂ Eros and Religion? Do you also feel they connect deeply and that they are basically the same powerful force? I am sure there are other aspects or connections that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
A faithful friend is the medicine of life. ~ Ecclesiastics 6:16
To understand the very fabric of friendship, one of my favorite places to look is the Bible. Undoubtedly, the Bible presents the theme of friendship in a very unique way.
In the book of Ecclesiastics, the author Solomon uttered these words â€œa faithful friend is the medicine of life when he linked friendship with medicine and life. For a greater and complete understanding, let us seek and explore the true essence and meaning of these two words: friend and friendship.
“A friend is, as it were, a second self.” ~ Marcus T. Cicero
So, what is friendship? Who is a friend? A friend is a lover. Love is the essence of friendship. Mother Teresa said, Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own heart and house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living experience of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greetings. Expressing love in such a manner is the way of a true friend.
Est mihi nescio quid quod me tibi temperat astrum “There is something, I know not what, which yokes our fortunes, yours and mine.”
Literally speaking, a friend is a lover and the one who speaks the truth. The relationship between Latin amcus “friend” and am “I love” is clear, as is the relationship between Greek philos “friend” and phile “I love.”
In the Old English language, about a millennium back, frÄ“ond, the word for “friend,” was simply the present participle of the verb frÄ“on, “to love.” The root of this verb is Germanic which is frÄ« -, which meant “to like and loveâ€. That was what meant by â€œto be friendly withâ€.
This same root word also shows up in the name of the Germanic deity “Frigg”, the goddess of love, who lives on today in the word Friday, the day of Frigg. Also, it is worth taking note that in the Old English, freo also means “free.” Therefore, to love, to favor, is also related to being free. Interesting!
In Dutch and Afrikaans, the word for friend is Vriend which come from Old English Freond meaning â€œto love. In Italian, it is Amico which comes from the root Amare meaning to love.
In French, it is Ami which comes form the root aimer meaning â€œto love. In Spanish, a friend is Amigo which comes from the root word Amor meaning â€œto love.
In Albanian, it is Mik which comes from the root Amicus in Latin meaning â€œto love. In Urdu, the original implication of DostÂ meaning friend is â€œloverâ€ which comes from the Persian Dost which also means â€œa loverâ€. Therefore, a friend is a lover.
In Tagalog Kaibigan is the word for friend. The root word “ibig“, means “to love.” Putting “ka” before a root word signifies a state of being, such as “ka-ibig“, literally “being someone to love”. Putting “an” after a word makes the focus of the sentence the direction of the action, such as “ibig” â€œto love with “-an” becomes “-ibigan“, literally meaning â€œa state of soul to be in love. Thus, “Kaibigan” could literally mean, “the state of being someone to share love with”.
Love can never wound. Nothing can hurt if there is the element of love inside it. Love is the essence of the creation of this world. On the other hand, an insincere and evil one is thus a person who is void of this love.Â Without love friendship cannot be understood. While many people may be our casual associates in our earthly life, few are those who walk in truth and posses the element of love inside them.
Nos duo turba sumus. We two are a multitude.
The powerful words of friendship can heal wounds, mend broken hearts, restore peace and strengthen a soul more than ever. Jesus himself called His followers as friends and defined a true meaning of friendship by dying for all of humanity and on behalf of all the fallen creation.
In the Bible, in the graceful journey of God with man, there are multitudes of words and speaking that have a word “friend” in it. â€œThe Book of Proverbs might almost be called a treatise on Friendship, so full is it of advice about the sort of person a young man should consort with, and the sort of person he should avoid, said Huge Black in his book Friendship.
“It is better to be in chains with friends, than to be in a garden with strangers.” ~ Persian Proverb
In Proverbs 27:9 we read, Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. The Gospels state that Jesus Christ declared, No one has greater love than this that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you.
It is not by chance that there is a great emphasis put on friendship in the New Testament, as is the case in any other scriptures. The classical literature is filled with the stories of great friendships. Ancient mythology and legends are deeply woven into the illustrations of great friendship, which in some instances almost assumed the place of a religion itself. The classical example of Krishna and Sudama and Krishna and Arjuna are excellent examples.
Friendship is considered one of the main human experiences, and has been sanctified by most major religions and myths. The Abrahamic faiths have the story of David and Jonathan. Friendship played an important role in German Romanticism.
“An honest answer is the sign of true friendship.” ~ Proverbs 24:26
In philosophy, Aristotle is known for his discussion in the Nicomachean Ethics of Philia, which is usually translated as â€œto love in friendship,â€ and includes friendship in a much broader concept. Aristotle’s conception of friendship conceived of three distinct categories or ‘tiers’ thereof. First, there are the ‘business partners,’ those who benefit financially from their friends; second, there are our ‘drinking-buddies’ â€“ people we have fun with; and, thirdly, people with whom we pursue virtue or arete.
Hold a true friend with both your hands. ~ Nigerian Proverb
In Arabic, there three common words for a friend are Sadeeq which comes form Sadaqa to say the truth or to be truthful; Sahib which comes from Sahiba to accompany; and Rafeeq which comes from Rifq which is Kindness. Among the three the oldest and the truest word for friend is Sadeeq which is the one who always tells the truth. He is called so because a friend does two things: he tells you the truth and he believes what you say and vice-versa.
“A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.” ~ Arabian Proverb
Thus we can conclude that in Arabic, the word for “friend” comes from the root “truth”. Because â€œWho is a friend?” The one who tells the truth.
For many people, friendship is just that trust that someone will not harm them. Thus a friend is a person whom one knows well, likes, and trusts. It is nothing more than that. This feeling and confidence in another human being are truly praiseworthy and essential for the healthy functioning of human civilization.
Some of them are inspired thoughts that came to me as a result of reading:
a. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
b. Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
Both of these books are great reading and I highly recommend both (if you have not already read them).
If the following pointers spark your intellect, then do not hesitate in starting a conversation below. I would love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy, hope it helps.
will you be the king?
Be A King
Act as if you already possess what you want. It will surprise others and they’ll think that you have come a long way and “It’s in your destiny.”
Never be angry. Anger is a sign of insecurity. Practice calmness and self-assurance.
Never be arrogant. Arrogance and being confident are two opposite poles.
While you are a self-confident king, remember that you still RESPECT others with dignity.
Share people’s goals and values, but never their generality or appearance.
Be tolerant and accepting all, no matter what the circumstances may be. You’ll win many hearts.
How you carry yourself reflects what you think of yourself. And, this is how people will read you too.
It is within your own power to set your own price. Set the highest price.
Be overcome by your own self-belief. If you act like a king you are likely to be treated as one.
Always act differently from the mass, with a sense of nobility and dignity, no matter what the circumstances may be.
Our limitations are actually self-imposed. If you believe you are destined for great things, your charm will radiate outward. Others around will then only notice it and in turn, will amplify and magnify your charm.
Your high-expectation and super-confidence is your charm.
People feel comfortable in the company of bold and confident people. Be bold.
If you devalue your own self-worth, it might appear amusing at first but then becomes irritating soon to the public. People want to become powerful. If you appear weak you break their hope instead of helping them build their own.
If you are big (larger than life), then people expect you to be a bit of showman, to have some unique, creative and confident presence.
Come to hold yourself in awe, never losing your self-respect and you’ll have a great destiny. Never show doubt.
Always keep a dignified pose (even when attacked publicly or in private), as if completely unaffected. This will elevate your image. Behave as if you have all the time in the world to respond. Being unafraid of time (being extremely patient) makes you extremely powerful.
Always make a bold demand. By choosing a great goal in life you create an appearance of greatness.
Ask for more and you send a signal that you are worth a king’s ransom. Even those who turn you down respect you for your confidence and that respect will eventually pay off in ways you cannot imagine.
Speak less than necessary. Never advice others unless asked. Stop when asked or given hint in simple talking or amusing discussion. Never argue or debate. A king knows who he is and never argues to win others to his side.
If you create a mess, don’t try to fix it. If you try to fix it, you’ll only create a bigger mess. There is no mess in this Universe, only purpose and learning. Learn from the Universe. Let the Universe and time take care of your fault. All you carry from an error is a piece of learning and self-improvement. But don’t repeat or create the same mistake again.
Respond to all situations (related to people): by love, acceptance, gratitude, friendliness, and non-judgment. Know that, everyone wants to be loved. They all have been intolerated somewhere, judged and not-understood mostly. If you love them they will open up. Accept them, relate to them and do not judge them.
Give people the hope of justice but what actually they desire most is the love. Give them the hope of love and whatever they want if they show patience. Guide them to create something valuable for the reasons they wish must appear. It will not only give them time but it will heal them. Distract them from their problems and you will eventually increase their self-worth and self-confidence.
To be a King, you need to rescue a Queen. Just as a queen has some choice and power over her destiny, you too have an innate power to demonstrate. Pursue the queen. Don’t fall for others on the way.
A king has a noble battle to fight and an adventure to live. Start loving the journey. A journey full of struggle is far more beautiful than a safe and boring home. Make the journey your school; the encounters your teachers. After you have hit your goals and have rescued the queen, you should settle for a home but only for a little while. Get the queen with you on your next adventure.
What belongs to you will eventually come to you, in its own time. There is no hurry. What you want to truly achieve is where you got to put the focus, time, and energy. Once clear about your goals and directions, begin the work! Expect results. But if unrewarded, don’t feel betrayed. The Universe has plans to pay you back.
What do you think? Do you want to add your own thoughts to this list? Until then, stay safe. See you next time.
Alas! Not blessed are the cowards, for they shall miss everything honorable in life.
Alas! Not blessed are the gossipers, for they shall never hear anything more than rumors.
Alas! Not blessed are the slumbering ones, for they shall miss the purpose of life.
Alas! Not blessed are the lovers of money, for they shall have too much stress and anxiety.
Alas! Not blessed are the fundamentalists, for they shall never experience true freedom.
Alas! Not blessed are the war-makers, for they shall only wound themselves, and deeply.
Alas! Not blessed are sexually loose, for they shall never receive the joy of true love.
Alas! Not blessed are the liars, for they shall be the biggest fools.
Alas! Not blessed are the snobs, for they shall be laughed upon, hated, and scorned.
Alas! Not blessed are the greedy ones, for they shall not have any true friend.
Alas! Not blessed are those who show-off, for they do not know their own true self.
Alas! Not blessed are those who have never suffered, for they don’t possess the will to life.
The 8 Beatitudes
I consider the above 12 truths as the silver rules when contrasted with the eight beatitudes (as preached by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount.)
³Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
⁴Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
⁵Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
⁶Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
⁷Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
⁸Blessed are pure in heart,
for they will see God.
⁹Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
¹⁰Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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I just turned 30. Yes, I know. But, inside, I do not feel anything different. This is my first blog post on the “Grand 30” theme.
I’ll be making a few interesting posts on this topic. But first, here are the quick 8 lessons that I would like to share with you (especially those of you who are still in your teens and twenties.)
Stay Alive and Stay on the Course
I have surpassed these peeps and therefore I am doing something “right!” Extreme of anything is not good. A well-balanced, happy life is a good thing. Tupac & B.I.G (died 25), Kurt Cobain (died 27), Jimi Hendrix (died 27), Jim Morrison (died 27), Brandon Lee (died 28), Heath Ledger (died 28), Caesar Caligula (died 28).
Guess what! I am still alive. I am happy! I have survived a lot of things which could have gone wrong. Enough on this sermon. You folks are smart and know what I mean.
Fail Early and Often
The difference between an unemployed 22-year-old with debt, no girlfriend & no work experience and an unemployed 25-year-old, with no girlfriend, in debt and no work experience is basically negligible in the long run (by the time you are 30).
I wasted my year 20-22 in DelhiandNoida, which eventually led me to where I am today. Guess, my failing for two years straight opened the door to a better future.
I sold Amway for 2 years, ran Precog IT consulting company for 2 years, and taught Martial Arts for 2 years. All of this behind me is only a bag of experiences. This led to my journey into Fitness and better business know-how.
I studied and practiced Church Life, lived a Zen life and learned about all the great religions in my 20s and now I have only peace (plus zero opinion) on matters of religion, faith, the afterlife, et al.
This is like cleaning a huge clutter from my soul. Because spirituality is very deep in us, you can’t skip it. One day you have to face it. The earlier you do this, the better you’ll become in understanding other human beings.
Money Or Job is Not Happiness
Money is good, but wanting money kills happiness. Fame is good, but wanting fame kills your joy. Success is good, but wanting to be great can ruin your simplicity.
Anything good is actually good, but you wanting it, trying to “force” it in your life will basically kill your happiness!
Value True Friendship
There are many types of friends in life: one of them is like when you go away for a long time and come back, it feels like nothing changed.
This is the only kind of friends whom you can call friends. They are there, and they will be there. They like you as a whole. Rest all other kinds — do not stress too much about them.
Mostly, you build friendships over shared interests and these are most fun ones. But these are also the flakiest ones.
Whenever I left a particular church or sports or a city, I also lost all the friends whom I thought were my “true-best-friends”. These people will be quick in judgment, often immature, and shallow.
Understand, like everything else, some people come in your life and share your journey for a while and then part. It is just life.
You cannot force a friendship. This is the time, you gotta make some true friends, invest time and energy.
Make mistakes, have fun, break a few rules, watch movies all night, share music, get into fights, do all sort of things, trust me, you won’t be able to do in your 30s.
Learn a skill (Sharpen a Talent)
Your 20s is the time, when you should really, seriously, try to pick up a skill that interests you. It could be mastering jokes, playing a guitar, dance, a foreign language, anything.
Trust me, you will never regret it and you’ll never get another golden second chance.
Education is important, grades are important too, but they are not fun. You want to have a sidekick, a specific unique identifier that differentiates you.
You anyways, have no freaking clue on what you are going to do with your life, so when the time will come to date a girl, or impress a new hiring manager or being fun on a group college trips or just sitting on the airport, train, bus — this uniqueness will fuel your voice and you won’t act like some shy weirdo.
Most of us are insecure. It is human nature. Having a particular talent will pretty much guarantee that you will feel (and others around you will make you feel) that your life has worth and you mean something.
It is important to have a boosted self-esteem. Later, in life, if you survive the 20s, still alive, you won’t give much damn about these. But it is important when you are single, lonely, poor and still finding your “Self”.
Learn how to say “F***” It
Disclaimer: Okay, this might seem offensive or ridiculous to some. My apologies in advance. But, f*** you! Back to the point: Understand, that the world in general does not cares about you.
The world is a very big place with too many people in it. Everyone is trying to make something out of their time here. You cannot take their rudeness (or indifference) towards you seriously. Nor you should be afraid of unsettling a few apple carts.
Remember that you have a middle finger. The more you will use it (not in a real sense showing it to real people, but mentally), the calmer you’ll feel, the less stress or hurt you’ll bag.
Show it to things and people you do not want in your life. There are literally, asshats out there and many of them will look good and talk good. But they do not possess your best interest. Nor do they give a rat-ass about your existence.
So, f*** all, that causes you harm and insults your soul. Dismiss it altogether. You’ll be doing it billions of time and by late 20s, you’ll really know how important “fcuk” is.
You’ll Face Disappointments
You’re supposed to FAIL and NOT accomplish all of your goals. Okay, this was personally hard for me. But, over the time I realized that 20s is meant to fail (for the vast majority of us, humans. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg is actually an alien, jk).
The more you fail during this decade, the more you increase your chances of getting successful in the 30s and 40s. You are bound to fail in finance, sports, relationships and entrepreneurship, leadership, direction, etc.
During my college years, I started a student organization The Way of Qi (TWOQ) and had a big ambition for it. I left it. I tried my hands in a few business opportunities and unfortunately, I had to leave them all in the middle. Why?
Because I was making mistakes in determining what I really want? Who to take as a business partner? Where to finance my enterprise? There were just too many uncertainties and a very little experience behind me.
I had a fire in me. Having the fire in your chest in what keeps your 20s young. Let that fire burn as many things as it can. Don’t stop due to pre-judging an opportunity.
Guess what, maybe, you are one of the aliens (Zuckerberg Brotherhood) and you can become a millionaire by age 30. But, in short: fail, fail, fail. Take pride in “failing forward.”
And of course, we all know, when you fail 10 times, you also have a few decent WINs in your lap!
Set Ambitious Goals (but Accept What You Achieve)
I had set a lot of goals for myself before I reach 30. The most outrageous of them was having 1 million USD in investment & liquidity and finishing my MBA from Harvard University.
Well, I am far from both and to be honest there are at least half a dozen more which were very personal and I could not achieve them (as of today). The lesson here is by setting these outrageous goals, I got a LOT done in the process.
Instead of crossing them off at 30, now I might do them later at 31, 35, 40, 90… it doesn’t matter anymore.
When we are young, often times, we want to do things because we want to show it to others. Look, I have “it” in me. I can do it. I am somebody. But as we mature in life, we learn that the true goals of life are very personal and intimately tied to our soul’s purpose on this earth.
Anyways, so what am I doing next?
1. I wanted to visit all 50 US states by age 30. I have done 30 already (as of today). My new target is by the end of 2019, visit all 50 US states. (well, finishing at age 35 is not bad)
2. I wanted to visit all 29 states of India by 30. I did 15. Now, the new target is by end of 2020, visit all 29 Indian states. (Finishing it while I am still my 30s is not bad)
3. And, I added a new one. One even more outrageous and BIGGER. Visit and tour 101 countries of the world in the next 5 years. Then make a book on it featuring one story from each country and a few of the most epic photos from each country.
My budget for this one: < $40,000 USD. Expensive?
Not really. A lot of decent commuting cars are more expensive than it. Will I be able to do it in 10 years? I don’t know. But I am going to try! And hard!
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Your turn. How would you celebrate someone’s 30th birthday? If you have suggestions, feedback, and thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to honor your requests.