43 / 365: Stop trying to change people.

Howdy,

As people, we like to brag. A lot. I don’t know the evolutionary psychology behind it but I’m sure we have neural pathways with the only purpose of feeling superior to others.

In the past, we bragged about a lot of things. As caveman – my club is bigger than yours. Bang! In the middle ages – I have a better horse than yours. In the 1800s – I have more slaves than you. In the 2000s – I’m an atheist, I’m smarter than you.

Well … it seems that the trend in 2016 is to brag about self-improvement. To be more specific – to find it impossible to consider that some people may not be interested in what you’re interested too and how your lecture of Napoleon Hill can save their life – if only they would listen to you.

Look … I’m a big, big time reader of self-improvement. I average way over 50 books per year and many are in this area. In the beginning, I was looking around me and I’ve thought that I had the keys and the answers to everything – that I know what every friend and stranger should do – just if he / she will listen to me. And … nobody listened. Some were polite to listen, approved me but never changed.

That’s when I’ve became frustrated. How dare you? I’m showing you a key to change your life. You’ve told me that you want a better life and better results. Now I’m showing you how to do this. How dare you not follow them? Idiot. You’re not my friend anymore.

This is how it was happening. Well, maybe not so dramatic but not that far away either. The simple fact that someone may not subscribe to my same principles, mindset, goals was so insulting that I’ve broke up many friendships because of this. It’s like the deism vs atheism principle – “what, you don’t believe in God? I’m sorry … we can’t be friends”.

It was … or is immature. Believe me. And it was … is hypocritical. Why? Five reasons. Plus a bonus one.

Reason #1 – People change for their own reasons. Somebody told me that smoking is bad for me. I’ve heard this many times so I’ve dismissed it. A smarter person quantified it and showed me what I’m losing – in terms of physical capacity, money even self-respect and how it is shaping my behavior. That person was … right.

The logic was right. It wasn’t fairy dust. I still didn’t quit even if I’ve agreed. Why? Because people change themselves when they want to change themselves, not when you give them reasons to do so.

This is one of those logical fallacies that nobody gets it. Another similar one is giving someone reasons to be happy or someone reasons not to be upset. When someone is upset, that person doesn’t engage in an emotional state based on a rational calculation that lead to pain. It is simply a primal, instinctive emotion that was activated. Bringing rational reasons to change an emotional state is like bringing winter clothes in the middle of the summer. It is functional, you may need them (especially if you live in England) but overall, from a logical perspective, the only reaction is “WTF?”.

People don’t change just because you give them reasons to change. People change them they give themselves reasons to change, most probably when they want something so much or they are in so much pain that the status quo won’t do it anymore.

Reason #2 – Logic is over-rated in human interactions. 

Some people appreciate logic and live under it. Most don’t. Life is mostly not a debate and people don’t admit defeat just because you’ve beat them on a verbal level. In other words, you can be the smartest person in the world and have the best arguments – this may not change a person towards your direction not even a bit.

Instead, you change a person using mental and emotional judo. You take what that person already believes and slowly you move the direction towards another point. You never slap people with ideas in the face. You’ll just get their resentment and you’ll fail at your goal to persuade them.

Reason #3 – There is a thing called subjective experience.

You know where I am now? I’m at McDonalds. I’m not eating. I’m having a coffee. I actually like the McCoffee. It’s around 3 USD. StarBucks is next to McDonalds. I may not afford to go daily only to StarBucks but I can go now. I’m not. Why?

Because I consider that coffee not to be that good. I think it is overrated. I think that I don’t need their dim light to work or to read a book. And for 25% of the price, I’m getting actually a good deal at McDonalds.

This is a subjective experience. It’s what I like and I don’t like based on an intricate patterns of “self” that determine who I am. Some people like to go there every single day and they enjoy every single sip from their $15 USD coffee. I don’t.

The point is that if someone tries to convince me that I’m getting a lot more there, I won’t believe him. He can bring me all the facts in the world and he may be right. They have good internet. People are quiet and everyone is working, kind of priming you to work too. Every time you go there, it is like the Apple Store with a lot of focused people. The coffee is high quality and they have a lot of options. This is the objective truth. Yet, I don’t like StarBucks so much.

Reason #4 – People don’t like to feel inferior.

You’re walking down the street. I come to you and I tell you this.

“Look, you are walking almost every day. So why aren’t you listening to an audiobook? You could finish several books in a month. Aren’t you upset that you don’t have more money and that you are not as smart as you want to be? Really, listen to an audiobook”.

While to the untrained eye, this may seem a good persuasion pattern, since I’ve agitated him, actually, it is an awful one. I’ve basically said “you suck” and while I may be right, it’s kind of hard to react to negative feedback in a positive way. It takes a certain degree of maturity to do this, a level that most people don’t have, me included.

As a human, our first reaction when we get negative feedback, no matter how useful it may be is to feel a negative emotion. You can be the Dalai Lama, you’ll still feel on an instinctive, even visceral level, a negative feeling when you are judged, directly or indirectly.

From that moment, you can make a choice and take it as positive, constructive feedback but this part is a rational one, it is a choice. If no choice is made, then you’ll feel like that person attacked you. So even if you are right, if the other person feels insulted, you think you’ve accomplished something? You are not a philosopher into some deep search of truth. Your responsibility as someone’s friend is to exchange value, not to act as the emotional equivalent to Wikipedia, cold, ruthless, apathetic. Your job is to make the other person feel good and only when there is a very special situation, to sacrifice this for the truth.

And let’s be honest … You’re not that perfect either. It doesn’t feel good, does it?

Reason #5 – Truth is subjective

Okay … what is right and wrong?

For example, it is wrong to kill? Are you sure? It is wrong to kill someone that wants to kill you? It is wrong to kill someone that wants to kill your family? OK, let’s go to something smaller as this may not be the best example. It is wrong to lie? This is what the bible says, as the atheist in me actually read a part of the bible.

If your lie would make someone want to commit suicide, it is bad anymore? After all, preserving someone’s life comes higher than the truth.

You see where’s the problem? There is no real hierarchy of values and it is all relative to something else. This is why morality can’t be defined more than a system of values relative to a reference point. The same can be said about some parts of the truth.

What is true for you may not be true for another person. What works for me, may not work for another person. While proven principles tend to be universal, circumstances differ. This means that you can take an concept and have different results with two different people just because their circumstances are different.

BONUS: If people actually need you help, they’ll come to ask for it. Just because you have the tool to being rich, happy and sexy, this doesn’t mean other people are actively looking for it. So don’t help people that don’t want to be helped and instead focused on those that actually appreciates it. If you came to my house and offered me to sell a bottle of water, I may pay $0.5 for it. If you find me in the desert, after three days with no water, I’ll pay $500. Just because someone needs it, this doesn’t mean the person is willing to value the advice. Find those who do.

Time for a conclusion. If you want to improve your life, improve your life. Don’t brag about it. Don’t force others to see who you are. Nobody cares. Use that time to do what you need to do to get results. You’ll be rewarded in many ways but nobody is going to raise you a statue because you know more than others.

Best regards,
Razvan

PS: Be so dedicated to making your life and the life of those you love better  (BUT NOT BY FORCING OR EVEN TRYING TO CHANGE THEM) that you don’t have time to judge how others are not what you want them to be.

42 / 365: How I’ve Really Developed Gratitude …

Gratitude is such a buzz word these days. It is promoted as a solution to anything, from anxiety to depression to relationship challenges and even to improve your health.

However, “show gratitude” usually enters the same category as “be happy”. Sounds easy in theory and hard in practice. Usually, it is suggested to have a gratitude journal where you write down reasons why you feel lucky but after a while, it comes down to “Thank you for this beautiful day and thank you for the people around me”. In other words, it is a classic example where something is done at a very superficial level and the actual improvements to that person’s life are marginal.

I’d like to take a new perspective on this.

Yesterday, while near Tower Hill in London, I was listening to an audiobook and heading towards the station. Then I saw a beggar. I don’t usually notice them and I generally ignore them. Call it rationalization or however you want to call it but I don’t think I notice 95% of them.

In this case, it was different. I saw him and I saw something … different in him. Apart from the sign that wrote that he served in the army, there was some kind of … kindness but also resignation in him. He looked at me in a way that didn’t reproached or anything, just to see if I can spare a pound or so. I haven’t. Three stations later, I was ready to return to do this but I haven’t. I felt horrible for a few tens of minutes.

It is not the fact that he was a beggar, it was the fact that in a way, I could be so receptive to what he was feeling, in a way that rarely happens. Through his body-language, through the sign that mentioned that he served in the military, through the resignation on his face when he thought that I’m going to donate but I haven’t … I’ve realized a lot.

And that’s when you learn the idea of gratitude. You don’t need to read a book about it or go to a course. You don’t need to sign up for a fancy online service, download an app or buy an expensive journal to write your gratitude thoughts.

I’ve learned then to feel thankful because I have people who care about me enough to never let me reach that state. I’m sure that he too was a strong person once but not everyone can be strong, all the time and then he slipped. I’m sure too he had dreams and ambitions and goals and I’m grateful for the fact that I can pursue them in my own life. I’m grateful for the coffee that I haven’t started drinking yet and for the chance to write this on my laptop, at 6 AM in the morning (anyway, 7 AM).

When you see a person like that, the first thought is to dismiss it. It is uncomfortable to accept the reality. However, the fact I guess that I’ve felt empathy at a very intense level, even if it was for just a brief second, made me realize how many blessings I have in my own life. I am living an exciting, beautiful adventure. I have people that love me. I do something that I love doing, most of the time anyway. I am heading on a path of my life that promises a lot. I am developing myself as a person and it is easier and easier to look in the mirror and love myself, something that was rather difficult not so long ago.

I am grateful. Even if I feel a bit guilty for not helping him … I am grateful for everything that I am, have around me and will be. It doesn’t take a lot to get there, where he was and I can’t dismiss it by saying that I’m a stronger person. I am but I’ve had a lot of favorable circumstances working towards my favor.

So thank you life … for everything. I’m really grateful.

Best regards,
Razvan

PS: I don’t think it is possible to fix everything that is wrong in the world. In a way, it is darwinism, survival of the fittest.

However, I do believe that we can change a small part of it. Now, I won’t become a social activist. It is not my thing. You won’t find me at a rally trying to change something. When other people go to these things, I’m home sleeping or watching a movie. I haven’t been to a single one, I don’t donate to Greenpeace and I’m not volunteering my weekends.

Nevertheless … I do believe that I can change a small part of the world. It may be myself, it may be my girlfriend, it may be my friends. When you walk down the street and you pick up an empty pack of cigarettes to throw it into the bin, you’ve changed something for the better.

It is not much, but you’ve made an impact.

When you smile to someone or say to someone “it has been a pleasure”, you are making someone’s day better. You may think that these things are common sense but it is more common to frown these days than to actually smile.

When you do a small gesture of appreciation or service, you are making a small part of the world better. When you serve others, you serve yourself because others are your environment unless you’ve decided to go Walden style and live in a forest.

So the call to action is not to become an activist for anyone’s rights. It’s not that. I mean if that’s your thing, do it but it is not mine. My call to action is to bring a little bit of happiness or light whenever you can – preferably for someone close to you, someone that you love but if not, even for a complete stranger. We’re actually all of us together in this.

So … think about this.

41 / 365: The Illusion Of Control.

Control.

In a way, this is something you strive all your life to have. From the moment you are born to the moment you die, the entire life is a futile pursuit for control. One in which you want to predict with as much certainty as possible what it is going to happen and you want life to follow a mathematical precision.

This sounds great but … it is an illusion.

After the events in the last month or so, most of which were positive, I’ve understood that there is no real control in life. That yes, you can have a direction and you can move towards that direction but circumstances won’t play out based on a single factor. Circumstances play out based on a combination of different processes and systems and at the end of the day you can try to have control (and fail) or you can simply roll with the punches.

Does this mean that you have no control over life whatsoever?

No. You can set goals and you can accomplish them. You can set intentions and you can follow them. You can say “I’m here and I’m going to get there” and you can do that. You have absolute control over the driver’s seat of your life, over the vehicle that gets you from A to B. But if life is a car, you have control over your car (at least most of the time) but you don’t control the road. Or the traffic. You don’t control if the road is going to be a smooth or a bumpy one. You don’t control how other drivers will act.

And once you understand this …

… it becomes very simple. Life becomes simple. It comes down to doing your best of what you can do and let the other factors be. You know, in a way, it is like the weather. You can’t control it. You can get dressed in shorts and a t-shirt and in five minutes, it can start raining. This actually happened a few days ago. You can’t control the rain. You can go back and get more clothes and an umbrella.

So it is with the metaphysical aspect of existence. You can’t control what really happens around you but you can control your reaction. You can’t really control how people are going to treat you but you can control how you can react to that. You can’t control circumstances so much but you can always or at least, most of the time, control your own reaction to circumstances.

Once you realize this … you simply let it go. Some people call this God, like a higher being, force, whatever that controls everything that happens. I’m an atheist so I just called it perceived randomness. It is not actually random though. Since the universe is not infinite (expanding to an infinite state doesn’t mean that it is infinite, it just means that it is heading there) there can be a limited number of states in which any object, any person, any particle and beam in the universe can exist. So since there is a limited number of options, this means that the universe is a predictable environment.

And if you take into account enough factors, everything can be predicted. I believe that in a few hundreds of thousands years, quantum computing will be so efficient that it will take into account everything to predict the future. But right now, you can’t do that. You know that what happens, happens because different cause and effects interact together but you can’t actually predict how and you shouldn’t even try. It’s just … life.

Anyway, getting back to the point …

… Reality is too much of a complex mechanism to actually predict how it is going to work. But your reactions are not. In every action there are a lot of possible reactions. Some will empower you, others will not. For example, let’s say that you will wake up tomorrow and it is raining outside. You can curse the weather or you can take a book and read. You can call a cab and go somewhere or you can simply walk through the rain. There are many possible reactions. You can’t change the rain but this doesn’t mean that you are stuck on a course of action. You are virtually limitless here.

Once I’ve accepted that I rarely have control over what is around me and my true control is over what I am and what I do, what is in my area of control, my life became a lot easier. I’ve realized that there are actions that are in my area of control … my area of influence and finally, that are out of my area of control. I can focus mostly on the first and a bit on the second and the most I focus on this small circle, I extend my area. But even so, I accept that absolute control over circumstances is a huge illusion and that you just let things to be.

Things are the way they are because they work this way on a cause and effect level. If something exists in a certain way it is because there are factors that make it to be that way. It is not random. It is as natural as 3 + 3 = 6. You can’t really change the state of the thing, you can change the factors that make it to be that way.

But everything is as it is supposed to be. You can’t wish things to be different because it is futile. Things, circumstances to be more specific are just an result of a complex equation of causes and effects that are happening all around you.

So the next time you ask “why is this happening to me?” the answer is simpler. It is happening to you, good or bad, because there are many factors that came together to make that happen. And when you’ll change enough factors to shift the direction, the circumstances will change. Maybe they’ll change dramatically, maybe not. It all comes down to the building blocks of reality and how they are working towards that effect.

Best regards,
Razvan Rogoz

40 / 365: Nietzsche was right …

From time to time, you get a paradigm shift. Not the kind of where you make an marginal improvement on a belief and now you know it a little bit better. Rather, the kind in which you are faced data that goes so much against your paradigm, against your beliefs that it feels alien … and yet, logically, you know that the data is right.

You know that your own beliefs, experiences, points of references shaped what you think about X or Y and you take them for granted. After all, these are the lenses through which you look at the world. Yet, you realize that they are wrong … and right at the same time. And since A can’t equal B at the same space and time, you wonder who is wrong.

I’ve met some an example not so long ago and I’ve understood something critical. In the moment you simply let it go and stop judging what is right or wrong, you lose all your fear. After all, what shapes our behavior? Desire and fear. And if you do those things that may fear you, either on a emotionally or rationally level, you get rid of them. You don’t become pure but you become less vulnerable.

And then it comes to two phrases.

“Those who play with the devil’s toys will soon bear it’s sword”.

This Nietzsche-an like quote is about the fact that if we start wondering on a path, soon we’ll find ourselves doing it more and more. That it takes a single step in either direction, good or bad to build momentum and that there are only shades of grey between white and black.

I’ve been thinking about this and how it works in a self-reinforcing loop. If you do something, good or bad, whatever the hell that means, you’ll get feedback. That feedback is causal, it is not based on your values but it is based on reality, on cause and effect. With enough feedback, you build a momentum. In other words, it is enough to throw a single snowball for it to compound into an avalanche into the right conditions.

And when this happens, we have two choices. Either adapt our outer world or our inner world. In other words, we either move into an environment where are actions are rewarded or we rationalize our actions so there won’t be any cognitive dissonance, that there won’t be two concepts of good and evil at the same time.

Then is the quote from beyond good and evil by Nietzsche …

“If you stare enough into the abyss, the abyss will stare back at you”. It wasn’t actually like this but for all intents and purposes, it works.

What does it mean?

It means that you can conquer it. Fear. Anxiety. Anything. It is the equivalent metaphor of staring an eye into the eyes until the lion turns back and runs.

I’ve seen this recently and I was impressed, to say at least. I’ve seen how if an individual is at the edge, ready to lose everything and then just lets go, that individual will become fearless. No attachments. No fear. Nothing. After all, after staring fear into the eyes long enough, few things can scare you anymore.

Best regards,
Razvan

39 / 365: And all is good in the world today …

When I was 18 or 19, I’ve met a young, dreamy girl who told me one phrase – “all is good in the world today”. This phrase stuck with me, day by day, month by month, year by year and it means more to me than a lot of the things in my life.

And today, this was put to the test.

Today was the kind of day in which the past, the present, the absurd, the predictable and the future all collide to ruin my day. Not just to ruin it but to make it as awful as possible.

And so here I was, on a transfer bus shuttle, being hungry, being annoyed, being anxious, being sad, being all of these things at once. And then I’ve realized it.

There is no destination. I may die today. I may die during that ride actually. There may be no tomorrow or next year. There may be nothing. All I have is that particular moment not what will happen in T+60 minutes T+365 days.

It hit me, this is my life, this is all that there is, this experience, right here and now and while I have plans and goals, the only thing I can take for granted is this one. Everything else may or may not happen but the present is happening. The present is certain. The present is assured, nothing else is.

So I’ve just put myself some music and I’ve let it go. Yes, things can go very bad or things can become better or things may not change at all. I don’t know. What I do know is that what is now is not what it is going to be in the future. I may reach my goal or I may not. But the truth is that in the grander scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. I am here, I am now and I am grateful for this particular moment.

I don’t need to run from it by going to the past or the future. The present, this present, is marvelous.

And then all was good in the world once again.

I’ve decided to let it go a bit. To smile, to enjoy the moment as much as I’m capable without forcing myself. And it worked.

I don’t know how my life will be in a month but all is good in the world today and I’m grateful for it.

Best regards,
Razvan

PS: Thank you.

38 / 365: You are the sum of your choices.

I’ve realized something a long time ago. At the end of the day, it is not so much if you feel like doing something but if you do it. In other words, you can look at any given day and it doesn’t matter if it was a good or a bad day, but rather if you’ve put in the effort for the future.

It would be nice to wake up each and every day focused, determined and motivated. It would be nice to feel every single day that you can take on the world. But the truth is that those are rare moments and you can’t rely on them alone. You need a routine. You need a ritual. You need a framework which you can follow both in good and bad times.

Every single person on this Earth think he / she is productive. But if people would actually track what they do, they would quickly realize that it is not the case. If you would keep a list daily of what you’ve accomplished vs. what you’ve set to accomplish, you’ll see that there are days, even weeks in which you haven’t got some things done. Being aware, tracking your workflow is the best way to actually stay on track.

For example, I track four things. If I wake up at 04:00, if I hit my work goal, if I hit my study goal, if I exercise. If I am to look at the past week, I am ashamed. There are a lot of red markers there and only a few green ones. But I’ve felt productive, I’ve felt good. Yet, in real life, I wasn’t. Just because I’ve did some things sporadically and I felt good about doing them this doesn’t mean that I was actually productive.

And what have I’ve done in the last week that “prevented” me from being productive?

  • Reading tens of travel blogs.
  • Watching House of Cards.
  • Watching videos on YouTube.
  • Last night I’ve stayed up late until 02:00 AM to watch “The Transporter”.
  • Wasting time on Facebook.

I can’t say that I’ve done a single good major thing instead of doing my rituals. I can’t say that I’ve read so much (I’ve started a book two weeks ago, haven’t finished it yet). I haven’t went outside to explore because it was raining and even this is only an excuse. I haven’t worked on my book. I haven’t watched motivational videos. I haven’t formed new meaningful connections. I’ve simply lost time. And this is not a good thing.

And now, I’ve realized how important is that time and that I don’t want to waste it anymore. I could be doing something meaningful in it. How can I complain that I don’t have time to call people that I love if I waste it? How can I complain that I don’t have time to go see a movie or at the Opera if I waste it? How can I complain that my life is not where I want it to be if I waste my time? How can I expect greatness from myself if I spend more time deciding if I want to buy the new iPhone vs actually doing something productive. After all, if I were to do something productive, the added gain would have been large enough to cover any mistake I would do with the above.

How can I value my time when I carry conversations with people who try to recruit me into MLM businesses? Who don’t know who I am, don’t care what I want yet they have “a deal of a lifetime” for me. How can I value my time when I spend hours carrying conversations that are meaningless in the end and do not add any value to my life nor to the other’s life person.

I’m not 14 anymore. I don’t have all the time in the world. Yet, I sometimes act like I’m a 14 year old dumb kid and I’m starting to appreciate more and more the people who invest just as much time as it is required in talking with me, who are not available at my whim, because they value their time. And I need to learn how to value mine too.

The rules of engagement are simple.

  • You have friends that are not going on the same path as you are. Find new friends.
  • You are doing things from momentum that are not bringing you what you want to have. Stop doing them and do what’s right for you instead.
  • You are carrying your life in a manner that leads to a lot of rationalization but few results. Stop doing this, take your excuses and shove them somewhere and do what brings you results.

And you know what’s stupid? At least when it came to people, I’ve picked convenience. I had these amazing people in my life with which I could spend hours and be sad at the end because I had to end the conversation.

  • There was this amazing girl once with which I’ve spent hours talking about life at a coffee shop, about her plans, about mine and she’s not in my life anymore.
  • There were these amazing two girls that were fun loving, adventure loving individuals and could simply push me outside of my comfort zone and yet, I haven’t talked with them for months, if not a year.
  • There was this girl with whom I’ve discussed about The Selfish Gene book and evolution and she’s not in my life anymore.
  • There was this amazing friend who was a soldier and now a network analyst with which I used to spend hours talking about things smoking and drinking beer and I haven’t called him in over a year.
  • There was this amazing girl that was a lot younger than me but impressed me with each conversation and left me inspired and determined each time we’ve talked but we’ve broke contact.

I’ve had so many diamonds in my life and yet, I’ve excluded most of them. Even those I still have, I spend far less time with them than with the people that don’t actually bring me a lot of value. I go out to coffee with folks that at the end of the day just leave me tired and in a state of apathy when I could buy a train ticket / plane ticket / bus and meet with folks that would change my life forever.

The shame is on me. These were my choices and I’m glad I’m realizing them sooner than later. I’ve excluded, disappointed, rejected the truly valuable people and I was left with those that I don’t need in this stage of my life. And now, I need to start from zero and build this network again.

Making the right choices, when it comes to actions, when it comes to people is not easy. It is usually very counter-intuitive as the right choices are the hard choices and as people, we tend to take the path of least resistance. For example, just right now, I’ve received a request to answer a question on Quora. I can spend 10 minutes or more answering it which is what I do from momentum or I can invest 10 minutes into something that will actually bring me value in my life.

At the end of the day, we are the consequences of our actions. Nothing less and nothing more. And slowly but surely, we learn to take new decisions, decisions that are more likely to bring us the life that we desire than the one that we don’t want.

Best regards,
Razvan

37 / 365: A pragmatic perspective on social constructs & social dynamics.

Here’s a newsflash.

People don’t see the world as it is. They see it as they are. In extension, people don’t see you as you are. They see you, as they are. Their entire world is seen through the filters of their own self and that self is made through years, decades of experiences and feedback loops.

So it made me wonder. I’m a persuasive person. After all, I’ve became a specialist in compliance. However, I don’t have a lot of strong connections and I’m breaking them faster than I’m building new ones.

If I am to think, the people who supported me, the people who have been there for me are people who look at the world the same way as I do. It is not so much about what awesome, amazing, whatever person I am as it is the fact that they see their own projection in me and I see my own projection in them. In other words, we mirror each other.

And this works on a universal level. People tend to hang out with similar people. Folks tend to like, to have rapport with similar folks. For example, I’m a capitalist, I can’t possible have rapport with a socialist. We see the world in a different way.

I’ve thought about this today for a long, long time. I’ve had a reasonably high number of romantic relationships. The only ones that actually worked were the ones that were congruent on a deep level. Maybe we were different people but our inner operating systems, our deep values were very similar or the same. It is interesting how two people can look very different but deep down, to be lead by similar, even identical values and to connect at that level.

So it is with the amazing people in my life. The people who actually gives a fuck and who I actually care about are not based on time spent together. Some I know for days or months. Others I know for years. I can connect with someone who I’ve met today on a deep level if I am congruent with that person on a value level than with someone I know for 10 years if I’m not.

But again. People don’t see the world as it is. They see it as they are. So when you are a person’s projection of the world, when you are what that person considers to be right in the world, on an authentic level, it is impossible not to be liked. This is real charisma and this is how strong friendships and emotional connections are formed.

I am looking at the people I know and I wonder with how many I actually have what to talk about. With how many I need to fake my interest in order to appease them but at a real level, I don’t feel any actual connection. The answer is many, too many.

So based on this realization, I’ve took a simple decision. There are many people in this world. Statistically, I can find as many as I need that are congruent with my own projection of the world. Those who are already in my life but do not fit my model of the world do not deserve to be there. After all, I’m not interested in how they see the world, they are not interested in mine. All that is left in this case is a polite acceptance but no real rapport. So, it is a more productive approach to simply say good bye and find new ones.

Each time I read an article about leaving, about traveling, about starting new, I find a phrase like “the pain of losing contact with old friends” and I wonder, what pain? A person’s value relative in a subjective social construct is not based on how much time that person has been. A person is not a fine wine that gets better with time. It is based on how much value that person brings in your life.

For example, I have a female friend that I know since I was in primary school. We talk sometimes but that’s about it. She doesn’t bring value in my life, I don’t bring value in her. To be honest, we are very different people. So does it mean anything that I’ve known her for so long? No. It doesn’t. Time doesn’t mean anything.

It may have mean something in the past when building new connections was rather hard. However, in a fast moving, fast evolving social construct like ours, where you are seconds away from meeting virtually any person in the world, it doesn’t mean anything. Value added to one’s life is the only thing that really matters and the “old friendships value” is just a relic of a past where social mobility was not that important.

Or to drop the fancy language, this kind of veteran mattered when it was hard to meet new people. The easier is to meet someone, the less important is how long you’ve known a person, on a pure time basis.

For a large part of our existence as humans, we were forced to stick in one location. We did this for security mostly. Now, we have almost complete mobility. A person 10.000 miles away can bring us more security and pleasure than a person 500 meters away from you. We have options. And when we have options, the status quo is lost.

Therefore, in conclusion, I don’t see any logical reason why we should keep people in our lives for friendship sake. If it is not justified, we are one Facebook request / phone call / Whatsup chat / plane ticket away from finding and accepting someone new in our lives.

 

36 / 365: How I’ve Stopped Worrying And Started Loving Life

It is hard to really know when you make a switch in who you are. It happens slowly and one day, you realize that you are a different person.

This is what happened to me.

I used to worry. A lot. I used to worry how people perceive me. If they do accept me or not. If they like me. I used to take most things very personally.

I used to worry about big and small things, from paying the bills to my near and far future. About what it is going to happen next month, next year. About a future that never came which though seemed very predictable.

And I’ve started to stop worrying. I don’t know how. It simply happened.

I’ve learned that if people don’t like me, that is OK. There are many people in this world and some will like me, others won’t. I’m not going to try to appeal to a popularity contest anymore. It simply makes no sense for me. I’ve lost several friends in less than a week and while I thought this to be devastating, it is not. I think it is worse that there were amazing people in my childhood with which I haven’t kept in touch.

I’ve learned that I don’t know what will be in the future but the future it is not near. It may be good or it may be bad. The only thing I’m sure of is that it is not going to be the same. After all, why would I even want to know what the future reserves for me? Life is a roller-coaster. The only reason why we try is because we believe we can make it better. If I simply knew what will happen in my life, I would not care about trying anymore. I would like to know the stock-market evolution though.

I’ve learned that people can’t really harm you. They may dislike you, they may leave, they may betray but that’s about it. What can someone do to me? Kill me? That’s laughable. And in a way, I’ve understood that I don’t need to like someone in order to feel positive or to hate someone in order to feel negative. We’re all people. Some better than others but even if I’ve been an elitist for years, a decade now, I don’t care about it anymore. People are more complex than our own view of them, no matter if it is negative or positive.

Yes, tomorrow may be uncertain. I don’t know what will bring. Maybe it will bring beautiful things, exciting adventures and great rewards or more challenges. But it is not tomorrow yet. It is today. And today I have a great book to read and a funny movie at TV. I have a day in which I gave my best and even if I know that I could have done better, I’ve tried. I have a pack of cigarettes and a comfy bed where I can sit, put some good music, light up a cigarette and close my eyes.

Tomorrow, for all intents and purposes, I may not even be here. I know that I will be, I hope so (otherwise 80% of my action oriented actions are useless) but I don’t really know. So even if virtually every day I’m investing towards a brighter future, that future may never come so worrying about it is simply ludicrous.

The important thing is to be grateful and to thank existence for going through this day and when I wake up tomorrow, to thank existence for giving me another day. I don’t believe in a God (I’m an atheist) but I can thank to the deterministic, causal system called existence.

I don’t know but I’m grateful to be here now. I’m grateful for the fact that a wonderful books await me on my Kindle. That I can watch the new House of Cards. I’m grateful that I’ve stopped putting myself into an early grave by worrying about everything, every-time up to the level where I was never in the moment.

So, whatever factors made me grow up, thank you, I am grateful.

Best regards,
Razvan

 

Last blog post for a while …

It is 00:08 and I should be sleeping.

However, I’ve had an “a-ha” moment, one that came in the strangest of times. I’ve finally realized why I have failed in so many of my attempts so far and why I’m not where I want to be, not even close.

The answer is simple. The key in life is to not make the same mistakes again and again. In other words, you must observe what you do, understand what you did good and understand what you did wrong and then stop doing the wrong part.

This “a-ha” moment first came while I was watching a chess game recording. I’ve realized that in chess, it is as simple as seeing what happens if a certain setup is on the table and then learn to react properly. pawn in front of king is almost always the best move as white for example.

Anyway, a few hours later, I’ve understood that I am making the same damn mistakes again and again until the pain becomes so big, some bothering, so burning that I change. Usually I need to get smacked in the head to realize this as I’m rarely (or was) capable of changing in a proactive manner.

So now, I’ve decided on a simple mindset. Mistakes, I’m going to do tons of them. But I’m going to act – observe – improve. That’s about it. Act in a way that I think is productive for me. Observe the effects of my action and see if they are what I really want. Improve on my action, tweaking, eliminating it, boosting it, etc. And while it seems logical, I swear to God, this comes extremely unnatural to me.

In any case, I’ll have this be my last blog post for a long, long time. I have discovered something that does work and I’d rather spend one hour there than here.

Razvan

35 / 365: You are special. Here’s why.

Hello,

Maybe you don’t realize (yet), but you are capable of amazing things. You were born a virtually limitless person. You were born without fears, without anxiety, without frustration. From the moment you came to this world, you had and still have the potential to truly make a dent in the universe.

So if this is the case, then you may ask yourself why you haven’t done this yet?

In a way, it is not your fault and I will explain why. We are all responsible for our actions. For our actions, there are consequences and we will benefit or pay from them.

However, the person you are now was influenced by many factors. Maybe you are a brilliant person, the next Einstein but you’ve had no one ever believe in you and so, you’ve never uncovered your potential. Maybe you are a great artist but your parents / caretakers tried to “shut this down” and have you focus on other areas. Maybe you are a great writer but since those around you haven’t shown interest in what you write, you thought that you are not good enough, that nobody is going to read what you write and you … quit.

But let me ask you this. Who says that you are not limitless? Who says that you can’t have it all? Who says that you can’t be beautiful / handsome, smart, wise, rich, loved, loving, grateful, peaceful? Who? Nobody.

Nobody in this world can determine what you will not become. You can be whatever you want, whenever you want, if you’re willing to stick to your dreams and to your guns.

I know that you may not believe me. After all, you wake up in the morning just to feel anxiety for events that are going to follow in the day. This is what most people feel. Even if you don’t feel that anxiety, you may don’t really feel excited upon the upcoming events.

However, I must tell you, you can do it. You can be it. You can have it all. You are special but years or decades of comparing yourself with others made you thought that you are not so. Years of building limiting beliefs limited what you think you can do in this world. Years of hearing “no, you can’t”, made you believe that no, you can’t.

Because if I’ve noticed something in life is that anyone can reach the stars but not anyone has the power to go through all the negativism, all the pain, all the “no, you can’t do that” influence of the world around.

However … you know who is the biggest bully? Not just the world around. You are, with yourself. You say things to yourself that you wouldn’t even dare saying to someone else. You attack yourself in such an aggressive manner that your inner self starts to doubt about its own value.

Self love is required for performance and success, no matter if you realize it or not. But self-love starts with your own person then the environment around you.

Because my dear friend … let me ask you, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will? If you don’t actually love yourself? Who will? If you don’t believe in your dreams? Who will? And even if others will, before you, you will dismiss their claims.

You can’t love for the world to show you that you are valuable and important. The world may show you or it may show you not. You must do this yourself and then the rest of your environment will follow suit. Do you understand what am I saying?

You must treat yourself with the same love and care that you would treat someone you love. You can’t be a loving person of humanity while dismissing and even hating yourself.

So, in the end, I must ask you again …

Why do you think you can’t do it? Because you can and your dream, your goal, your vision is within your reach.

Best regards,
Razvan Rogoz