So I recently read: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

The Internet is full of vast amounts of knowledge and it keeps on bloating itself. We have got access to so much data that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality material that you can actually use. Then there are some gems that are available that once you stumble onto, you can not get enough of it.

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant, created, compiled, and edited by Eric Jorgenson is one such gem. This crisp book is one of the best things I stumbled upon this year. In fact, this book is one of the most hopeful pieces of gift or advice one can give oneself in this craptastic of a year.

For the uninitiated, Naval Ravikant is an Indian American who is an investor in tech, runs a podcast, tweets about a variety of things but he focuses on his own life’s philosophies. This book is sort of an Interview in which Eric asked Naval to explain some of his best Tweets. Naval goes in detail about what the Tweet meant. There is so much to learn from this book, that I could use advice from this book again and again. This could be the go-to book whenever one doesn’t want to get trapped into fallacies of motivational speakers and life coaching. I first read about Naval Ravikant in Tim Ferris’ Tools of Titans but I didn’t go deeper then. I could have.

The book has Illustrations by Jack Butcher and each of them is so inspiring that they make great minimal posters on your wall. A Foreword by Tim Ferriss and this podcast can help you get more background by Naval Ravikant.

Ways to read this:

Some of my top clippings from this book which I found fascinating.

Basic arithmetic and numeracy are way more important in life than doing calculus. Similarly, being able to convey yourself simply using ordinary English words is far more important than being able to write poetry, having an extensive vocabulary, or speaking seven different foreign languages.

Learn to sell, learn to build. If you can do both, you will be unstoppable.

Earn with your mind, not your time.

… money is not going to solve all of your problems, but it’s going to solve all of your money problems.

Figure out what you’re good at, and start helping other people with it. Give it away. Pay it forward. Karma works because people are consistent. On a long enough timescale, you will attract what you project. But don’t measure—your patience will run out if you count.

Whether in commerce, science, or politics—history remembers the artists.

If you’re evenly split on a difficult decision, take the path more painful in the short term.

We think of ourselves as fixed and the world as malleable, but it’s really we who are malleable, and the world is largely fixed.

When you’re young, you have time. You have health, but you have no money. When you’re middle-aged, you have money and you have health, but you have no time. When you’re old, you have money and you have time, but you have no health. So the trifecta is trying to get all three at once.

You’re gone in three generations, and nobody cares. Before you showed up, nobody cared. It’s all a single-player game.

Doctors won’t make you healthy. Nutritionists won’t make you slim. Teachers won’t make you smart. Gurus won’t make you calm. Mentors won’t make you rich. Trainers won’t make you fit. Ultimately, you have to take responsibility. Save yourself.

Life-hack: When in bed, meditate. Either you will have a deep meditation or fall asleep. Victory either way.

Value your time. It is all you have. It’s more important than your money. It’s more important than your friends. It is more important than anything. Your time is all you have. Do not waste your time…

When I was younger … my old definition was “freedom to.” Freedom to do anything I want. Freedom to do whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like. Now, the freedom I’m looking for is internal freedom. It’s “freedom from.” Freedom from reaction. Freedom from feeling angry. Freedom from being sad. Freedom from being forced to do things.

Inspiration is perishable—act on it immediately.

The Königsberg Problem

Each Graph Theory class would mention the Königsberg problem once. The problem is simple but the solution isn’t. Basically, there was a city in Prussia (old Germany) called Königsberg (now known as Kaliningrad and it is now in Russia) with 7 bridges over a river. The problem statement was to find a path that could cross each bridge just once in such a way that one could return back to the point where one started.

https://www.britannica.com/science/Konigsberg-bridge-problem
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Half Time 2018

We have just crossed the mid-way of the year 2018 and are in the proverbial Half-Time period. I thought of pausing and reflecting on the journey so far in the year 2018, so the following in an effort at that.

As it is pretty clear, I didn’t live up to the promise of writing a blog post every day. I had totally intended to write at least something every day but even on the free-er days, I didn’t. So, I am going to write, in simple points on how do I feel about things after the first half of 2018 getting over in this post itself.

Good Habits are difficult to sustain

I tried a lot of things from the beginning of this year to date. Some of them and their outcomes follows:

  1. Blogging Daily – I couldn’t do it. Reasons and excuses are many but they are not important. Can I do it? Certainly yes. Will I try again? Of course.
  2. Bullet Journaling – Actually achievable and makes your life better. There is nothing new about journaling and planning your days ahead by writing them down but Ryder Carroll actual made it a lot systematic and formal, yet totally customizable. I started off by jotting out 5-6 things I wanted to accomplish every day before leaving for office. This was not done on an app, but I sat down and wrote them in a small notebook which could be carried without any hassle. Once I got through the planned activities, I could strike them off or if I couldn’t, I could postpone them to next day or any other suitable day. This is a good way of planning and executing. Believe me, writing things on paper and then striking them off gives you a sense of calm and helps build confidence which apps cannot. I did stop doing this when few things happened in life. But I can restart any day. And let Any day = Today. Restarting it right away! See, pausing and reflecting helps!
  3. Toastmasters – I finished my Advanced Communication Bronze module in this May. This means I delivered 7 advanced communication speeches in 5 months this year. I learned a lot of Storytelling and Speaking to Inform and it helped build my confidence in Public Speaking further. I am now going to try to new educational program called Pathways. I haven’t set a goal yet but I do see myself finishing at least till Level 3 of this. Oh, and I made my club win the Best Social Media presence award this year out of 200 odd clubs. IFTTT rocks.
  4. Health – I think right now I am the fattest I ever have been. My weight has been consistent since last 2 years but this time I felt the fat. So, I stopped eating sugar a few weeks back and now even after starting it again in last 2 weeks, but in lesser quantities, I don’t feel the fat. The bottom line is, I need to do more about this and continue to cut the sugar out of life.
  5. Reading Books – When one habit derails, all the other good habits around that also derail. My Book Reading spree came to a halt but all is not lost. Let’s begin again, shall we?

All of the above also helped me end my Social Media stint. It is easy if you try.

Life is fragile

And you must handle it with care. People generally overlook problematic things in life and take everything for granted. We have limited time and it should be told to everyone every day. This year, I have been through some experiences which were the 1st time for me. To be very precise and not melodramatic, it can be summed up in 2 points.

  1. I sat in an Ambulance for the first time for a relative who was being rushed to the hospital after collapsing suddenly. I delivered the news of the person in the ambulance passing away to the kin by myself. The passing away part happened in seconds, right before my eyes, without me even realizing it that it had happened. It happened so fast that I couldn’t even gather any thoughts about it before or after. It just taught me one thing that the transition between being alive and being dead is so small that if understood, a lot of us unnecessary efforts about unnecessary things can be avoided.
  2. I had to experience a very close family member being diagnosed with cancer. All I could do is to motivate and instill all the positiveness I could. The family member is still fighting the battle and I hope and I wish the battle is won.

The above 2 points are so contradictory and ironical that I don’t have any conclusion about the dilemma that should we worry about death or should we let it be?

New Chapter in Life

Just a handful of days ago, I entered my 4th chapter in life if we divide life into a group of years for simplicity’s sake. Considering, we live first 0-13 years as kids and then things change. We live next 10 years i.e. 14-23 towards really jumping on to the career-building education bandwagon and then eventually crafting our careers and setting the tone for the life ahead. After 24 or 25, we reach a position where we do have a faint idea what of what we can accomplish and what we cannot (I know some people are more determined than others, and some don’t know what they want till they’re 60 too. So, I am just presenting my way of looking at age). After 30 or 32 years of life, you actually think that you know a lot and now you could give life-advises to people. Like this blog post. So, I am in that zone now. Sigh.

Alright, Half-Time Up! The 2nd half has started already and time is running out. We have some goals left in 2018 to be attempted. All the best to all those who have goals!

Featured Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

Importance of not taking holiday on January 1, 2018

There’s a common joke that if you do something on the first day of the year, you do that activity throughout the year. That’s not only highly improbable but also stupid, to be frank.

All the past years, my workplace had a holiday on January 1. But this year, because of the ‘policy’ of at max 10 holidays per year, we have no holiday tomorrow. Although most people will extend their leaves until January 2, I have decided to wake up early tomorrow and go to the office. Bring it on!

Why you ask.

There are some things which are tough to do. There are some things which are uncomfortable. There are some things which might make you look like a fool to others. But when you accomplish those things, there’s a beautiful jet stream of dopamine release. That release is much more genuine than that one which you get from Likes and stuff.

So I am going to try that this year. Apart from learning something new every day and 1000 other resolutions, one more resolution is going to be Not Hitting Snooze button. And not caring about what others think of you.

You may still enjoy some more sleep. Or you can do something uncomfortable early tomorrow and get a good chunk of dopamine released into your system.

If you are reading this before Jan 1, you have a really good chance to do the latter. Try.