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“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…

“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…

“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…

“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.” – Denis Waitley Since the dawn of time, religious people, philosophers, scientists and artists have been pondering what happiness is. However, they all failed to find a satisfactory answer, because what makes one person happy doesn’t make another happy. Happiness is subjective.  Some people never even bothered to ask that question. Instead, they believed that life is one never ending hoarding game. They thought that achieving X, owning Y or being surrounded by Z will make them happy. However the happiness they felt is fleeting; modern research has shown that achieving something doesn’t make a person happier but actually sadder. (I will not go into detail, but you can read it yourself in the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert) This was because as Mark Manson powerfully wrote in his…

“The acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience! “The desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience”- Mark Manson Look around you and you will find that a world is a shitty place to live. Scan the news and you will see that people around the world are suffering- wars, terrorism, injustice, racism, jealousy, hatred, murder. But one doesn’t need to look very far, look at your own life and you will see that your life too, is full of suffering. Although the cause of suffering can’t be pinpointed (bad karma, God, one’s actions or decisions), one thing is certain: suffering is inevitable, no matter who you are, whatever choice you make, you will suffer. Like the Buddha said, to live is to suffer. So if suffering is inevitable, what then…

“Journal writing is a voyage to the interior.”- Christina Baldwin Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group has a very fascinating habit. After making important business decision, he would open up his journal and write the reason behind the decision he just made. According to his biography, this exercise will help him reflect the ‘whys’ behind his every decision. It turns out that he was not alone in this. People like Emma Watson, Mark Twain, Lady Gaga, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie and the great emperor Marcus Aurelius have kept some sort of journal to evaluate their life decisions, day and values. According to the stoics,  journaling is one of the fastest way to improve oneself. Journaling can give you awareness to your inner thoughts and feelings; remind you to what matters most and help you measure your life’s progress. So starting a journaling habit is probably one of the best…

“If you wish to have a leisure for your mind either be a poor man or resemble a poor man. Study cannot be helpful unless you take pains to live simply…” – Seneca In an age where religion was viewed with deep skepticism,  people delve deeper and deeper in to individualism and consumerism has become a way of life, many people have made the pursuit of pleasure as their purpose of life.  However, the pursuit of pleasure according to most Stoics, is a very dangerous thing. Seneca argued that pursuing pleasure is like pursuing a wild beast. On being captured, it can turn on us and tear us to pieces. He then elaborated that this was so because the more pleasures a man captures, the more masters will he have to serve. Thus, the stoics were very adamant about keeping their pleasure level in check. They used the following two…

“Death is the light by which the shadow of all of life’s meaning is measured. Without death, everything would feel inconsequential, all experience arbitrary, all metrics and values suddenly zero.”- Mark Manson Living in a modern world, far from dangerous animals, wars and threatening diseases, it’s easy to think that we’ll live for a very long time. It is no surprise then that many modern human squander their time on empty pleasures and meaningless stuffs; like a son of a rich businessman squandering his parents’ money on a 3 days trip to Las Vegas. A life of safety creates an illusion of immortality, and this is a very dangerous belief to adopt. Here’s why… Although modern medicine have increased human’s average life expectancy to 79.3 years, average human will spend 7.8 hours/day sleeping, 1.8 hours/ day on household chores and 1 hour/day on eating and drinking. While our life expectancy…

“My formula for human greatness is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not in the future, not in the past, not for all eternity. Not only to endure what is necessary, still less to conceal it – all idealism is falseness in the face of necessity -, but to love it…” ― Friedrich Nietzsche In life you will go through three kinds of situation: Things that you have full control over, which in this case, you need to take the most effective action to reach your goal. Things that you have partial control, which in this case, the best course of action is to internalize the goals (focusing on what you can control). And things that you have no control over, which we will discuss fully today. Most people don’t find it hard to deal with the first two situations, but when we are talking about the…

“Psychologists call this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it marriage.” ― Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness Have your ever bought an I-phone in great exhilaration only to start treating it like your father’s beat up Nokia months later? Have you ever bought a beautiful house on top of a hill, only to treat it like a hotel room months later? Have you ever thought that you have finally found the love of your life, only to treat him or her like your personal assistant years later? Well you are not alone, I and the rest of humankind share the same predisposition towards new things just like you do. We just seem to be never satisfied with what we have. Psychologists called this phenomenon hedonic adaptation. This according to psychologists, Daniel Gilbert, is our tendency to quickly return to a relatively stable state…