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Magnus

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Magnus lives in Semarang, Indonesia. He is currently managing the family's business together with his dad and his elder brother. Magnus enjoys reading and recently he started writing his personal reflections.

“Most people do not really want freedom because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.” Sigmund Freud Do you feel that your life sucks? While everyone seemed to be having the time of their life, doing the things they love, surrounded by people they love and travelling to places they love; you seemed to be stuck in a dead end job, living a hand to mouth existence and surrounded by enemies who took pleasure in your downfall. Life is miserable and the world is unfair… and honestly, I don’t deny that. If life is a game of poker, most of us are dealt with a bad hand. Only some of us get better cards than others. It’s easy to get hung up on the cards we are dealt, but the real game lies in the choices we make with the cards we are dealt. People who consistently…

“The dog doesn’t try to make you a good human, a good master. Then why can’t we allow a woman to be a woman or a man to be a man and love that human just the way he or she is without trying to change that person?” – Don Miguel Ruiz The biggest question people ask when they enter or about to enter a love relationship is this: Is this man/woman the right person for me? Living in the age of social media, it is hard to distinguish between a person’s image and true character. Most people would rather hide behind their social mask than showing their true character and risk vulnerability.  As a result, most people ruin any chance for intimacy in their relationships. To judge a person’s character, you then need to observe him or her closely; and this is why dating a person is a crucial…

The stoics are ancient Athenians philosophers who became famous in the early third century BC. Their teachings have survived and spread to the 21st Century and was practiced by many famous people like Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale, Pete Caroll,  and President Theodore Roosevelt. What makes their teachings still relevant today is its practicality to  modern life. Instead of focusing on complicated theories and vague ideas, the ancient stoic philosophers taught us how to overcome life’s many difficulties with logic and self awareness.  Below are the distillation of their many good advice on becoming a more resilient, virtuous and wiser individuals: (*) Develop self awareness: You can’t fix what you don’t know. Thus, the first step to becoming a practicing stoic is to observe ourselves as we go about our daily business and periodically reflect on how we responded to the day’s events. Use a journal, use an app, use…

“Achieving success in life is not nearly as important as our definition of success.”- Mark Manson A lot of people have a rough idea what their goals in life are, but few people have really thought through if those goals are worth achieving in the first place. This is why a lot of people find themselves at the top, but only to realize that their ladder was leaning on the wrong wall. In his own definition, Hitler probably thought that he is a successful man. He has achieved his goals to become chancellor, exterminated millions of Jews and occupied his arch enemy, France. But we all know that it was not a good success. Millions of people died horribly and Hitler too died a tragic death. History will not remember him as a successful man, but as a monster who orchestrated the murder of millions Jews. Thus, in the grand…

“To say “I love you” one must know first how to say the “I”.” ― Ayn Rand In the early 1990s to early 2000s, a lot of self help gurus and motivators have encouraged people to develop self esteem (or more popularly, self confidence).  At its core self esteem can be defined as an evaluation of our worthiness, a judgement that we are good, valuable people.  William James, one of the founding fathers of modern psychology stated that we derive our self esteem from thinking that we’re good at things that have personal significance to us. Most people raise their self esteem in one of two ways: Value things that we’re good at, and devalue things that we’re bad at. Increase our competence in those areas that are important to us. Thus, we can conclude that self esteem stems not only from our own self judgement, but also more importantly,…

“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.”- King Solomon, Proverbs Recently I just had a fascinating conversation with a close friend of mine on the issue of anger. This person felt that anger was such a destructive emotion that she felt it was very wrong to be angry. The thought really puzzled me because if anger is very wrong then we are all wrongdoers for we all feel anger from time to time.  Asking an emotional being not to feel any emotions (anger in particular) is like asking monkey not to eat a banana or hoping that there will be no traffic jam in Jakarta. We, as emotional beings, can’t go through life without feeling emotions and besides, emotions have their uses. Scientists have agreed that our emotions (especially the negative ones) are necessary knee jerk reactions that have…

“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club Living in a social media crazed world, where everybody can be anybody they want, look great without being actually great and everything seemed awesome; it is easy to feel entitled. This feeling of entitlement can come in two forms: I am super awesome and the world sucked. (The World is such a woe) I sucked and the rest of the world is awesome. (Woe is me) However, these two forms of entitlement is counterproductive if you are planning to live the good life. It is even arguable that entitlement is the source of most human sufferings. What then should we do with these feelings of entitlement that we have? Modern philosophers like Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Malcolm Gladwell and Mark Manson have shared many tips to help…

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.” ― Alexander Pope In the book The Mastery of Love, writer, Don Miguel Ruiz stated that “Your whole life is nothing but a dream. You live in a fantasy where everything you know about yourself is only true for you. Your truth is not the truth for anyone else.” Thus a perfectly functioning relationship is a relationship where two people in the relationship can share their truth as it is, and live their truth comfortably. The first secret sauce of a happy love life then, is to accept each other’s differences and respect it. We need to treat each other’s truths as truths with capital T (because that’s how they see it). The problem is, most people in a relationship tends to force his/her truth onto the other, believing that their truth is right and their partner’s wrong…

“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.” – C.S. Lewis Bad things happen to good and bad people alike. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, Indonesian or European, religious or not religious. The world is never fair, the world is just is… Sufferings happened to the best and the worst of us. We lose things all the time: our time, money, loved ones and possessions. So if bad days will come, and you know there’s nothing you can do to change it, you might as well prepare for it. The Ancient Stoics have recommended few ways we can steel our heart against grief. Here’s…

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”- Kenji Miyazawa In my previous post I have established that to live is to suffer and that the best way to overcome the feeling of pain that comes with suffering is to accept it as it is. Once you have accepted this truth, the next thing you need to do is to choose the suffering you want. Life problems never stopped, they are only upgraded or exchanged, so the question you need to ask yourself is “what kind of suffering do I want?” This question will not only help you clarify what you want in life, but also open your eyes to the cost of getting what you want. It is easy to say what we want out of life, I want X, achieve Y or be Z. However, those hopes usually don’t translate into anything because when…