Fear

One of the biggest negative things about fear is it makes you blind to all the opportunities that are available to you at the moment. In fact, the solution in the form of a great job or money or person could be right in front of you and we may never grab it to pull ourselves out of misery. And also obviously, this limits our circle of experience and the actions we take daily. Without fear we see life with floodlights and with fear we look at it with a flashlight.


Paradoxical

Desperation doesn’t work. The harder you try to be happy, the lesser you’ll be. The more you try to be trustworthy, the lesser you appear as one. The greater you try to conquer fears, they eat you up more deeper, and likewise,
the more you aspire to impress, the greater the chances that others simply brush you off aside. The classical example is love. More the love, more the suffocated the others feel, lesser the love you get in return. Love grows in freedom, as they say, is 100% accurate. Isn’t it?
Do less, get more. Eat less, and live longer. Forget and you will find. The simple is the highest sophistication. Minimalism is meaningful. Got it?
This also reminds me of the famous Indian king Ashoka who gave up wars because he waged too many wars in the first place. I guess the law of diminishing returns kicks in.


Life and Meaning

At some point in our lives, probably after a tragedy or so, for at least a brief moment, one stops and asks the damn question- What is the meaning of this life? Our consciousness somehow cannot fathom this wonderful existence without a grand purpose behind it. Maybe because we never trust someone especially when they give a free gift like life here without scheming something fishy. We always expect something in return when one does charity, despite what people say. Help always demands acknowledgment even if it is a humble thank you but how can god or someone up above give away something precious away freely or with a massive discount like in a china shop to us? The ego’s suspicion expects a solid answer for all this.
Speaking strictly from egoism, life is neither a blessing nor a charity given by someone. We are part of creation that somehow for some wild reason developed metacognition and consciousness that developed a fragile ego that could for a brief moment in time separate itself through an illusion and think that it is different and great. For the existence, we are in no way different from an asteroid moving randomly in space.
Arthur Schopenhauer for this exact reason warned us not to enquire about meaning in life, as it leads to disillusionment as everything in life and everything we value is transitory and vanishes away like a soap bubble as soon as we try to grasp and grab it.
It is correct. As long as we are slaves to time, change, and decay. It is not worth it. And moreover, what does one do even if he or she knows the purpose and meaning of his/her life? We get satisfaction and die. Hence we just long for satisfaction which roughly translates to the release of chemicals in the brain. How is it different from the satisfaction we get after watching a TikTok video or a YouTube short?
In short, one should not waste this brief time on earth over this useless question when it is nothing but ego playing a trick on us for mere chemical reactions.


The one thing

In mathematics, multiplying by zero gives us a zero. No matter how complex the multiplication is, if in the end it is multiplied by a zero, we end up with a zero. It’s a powerful metaphor that we can apply in life. Even if we take high-value productive choices consecutively like acing tests, going to a top-tier university, learning life and job skills, taking good enough risks, and landing up with a good enough business to take care of, one bad choice like the zero will spoil everything and make the pack of cards fall just like that. It could be doing drugs or cheating or stealing and selling the company’s secrets, one wrong friendship, or something else. The point is one thing if it has the good potential can blow up everything that one has built thus far. Thus, beware of the zero.


Boiling frog syndrome

Small, steady, and incremental changes are often ignored and tend to go unnoticed. If someone takes away 1$ every day for 365 days from our bank then it doesn’t matter to us and it is not attention-worthy enough. We step into action or focus only when 365$ is taken away in a single day even though the quantum of the amount is the same except for the time. The frog too as the myth says jumps out of a pot filled with boiling water but stays comfortably in normal water even though we slowly raise the temperature to a boiling point that might kill it.


Size and Decision

If there are 10 options before us, then suppose we have picked option number 3. Here we can easily judge and evaluate whether we opted for the right one or not. In other words, we can say how good our picking was based on a comparison with the other 9 options. (Assuming that you have a decent amount of time on your hands)
However, if there is an overload in a number of options, probably 10 million or so then we can never know whether our decision was accurate or not. we can only at best assume that we made a smart choice. As the sample size (Using the lingo of statistics here) increases, our ability to decide decreases, and the analysis falter. Unless we have a supercomputer in our heads, it is hard as we progress into the information age. Big data and AI will aid us for sure but a common man or an ordinary individual (not organizations) neither have the resources nor the technical know-how under the belt to do so.
Unable to handle this gap, the mind invents more heuristics, shortcuts, use-less logical fallacies, and unknown biases which hide in the Freudian unconscious rarely accessible to 6-7 seconds attention-owning sapiens.


Anecdotal Fallacy

Exceptions should not be used to dismiss sound arguments. Yes, the chain smokers lived till 98, Yes, the alcoholics
reached full life expectancy, Yes, the guy didn’t study and got straight A’s, Yes, toxic work culture gave huge profits for the company, Yes, eating high-fat foods didn’t give the heart attack, Yes, all these things did happen.
There’s no doubt about that but they do not in any way nullify the general rules and principles. Believing contrarily is the perfect example of anecdotal fallacy.
By the way, high-school drop-outs have become billionaires but it doesn’t mean you drop out of it now.


Learn and Leap

What I learned after many trials and errors and mishaps is that one should not chase success right away.
Michael Watkins puts it perfectly in his context- ” There’s a lot you don’t know and in fact, there may be lots you don’t even know that you don’t know. The time before you actually start is a really crucial time when you should focus on preparing yourself.” Bias for action is good because we usually use planning as a decoy to procrastinate but jumping into the ocean without any clue about the depth is suicidal. If you think over-preparation is bad then under-preparation too is equally bad. Before you start the game, understand the rules, exceptions, variables (Big and small), information, and data that might increase the odds of winning by a few percentage points. The roadmap from the start to the end will save you.


Change

Heraclitus, an ancient greek philosopher commented that life is always in flux. He was simply pointing out that nothing
is permanent in life. In other words, this too shall pass. Marcus Aurelius too in Meditations noted that everything is
destined to change, to be transformed so that new things are born. The wheel moves is what the wise have noted.
But, yes there is a but to almost everything. As people age, they seldom welcome change. The older we get, the more stubborn we become. Everything is about ego when the bald head and bottomed belly kick in. When someone targets our political party, we target them. If some random teenager mocks your favorite movie, then you are ready for a fight. In fact, a lot of us become conservative and believe superstitions, stupid medicines, and rumors that even tabloids are envious of. As we age, our ability to welcome change with open hands decreases. At least, we should be able to acknowledge this.


Framing effect

How you say matters more than what you say even when both have the same meaning. There’s a hell lot of difference in how people will react when you say there is a 90% chance you will survive this operation, don’t worry vs but there is a 10% chance you will die from this operation, so, are you up for this?
Advertisers often use this to their advantage. The commonly referred example is the frozen yogurt one. The 20% fat yogurt is shown as 80% fat-free. It is simply the old adage glass half-full, glass half-empty, branded intellectually.
Often it is used along with anchoring bias. 50$ on a t-shirt is struck off and sold for 35$, and we never question the fact of whether does it have the value of 50$ in the first place. And
If possible, always stick to the positive frame and avoid the negative one, as humans have loss aversion in them inherently.
By the way, 399$ price tag works over 400$ price tag.