25 lessons (or ideas) I learnt over the past quarter-century (in no particular order).
I might be guilty of an availability bias considering that the post was written over a very brief stint, however, I can say the lessons are quite representative.
1. Prospect theory – we are much more likely to be risk loving when we are about to lose what we have, but risk averse when we want to gain what we do not have. This innate tendency can turn you into a (broad daylight) mediocre.
2. A life worse lived, is a life of dishonesty. To earn your freedom, ALWAYS say the truth.
3. There is a great deal of cognitive freedom (or, say, cognitive harmony) that comes with owning and wearing a few cloths. (And preferably only a pair of shoe). It’s a time saver.
4. Greatest medications I have ever come across – Sound sleep and (very intense) physical exercise.
5. Never (ever) be condescending. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5)
6. A fancy (but, serious) synonym for a good life will be a good wife (and vice versa).
7. “He who is most contented with the least has the most”. (You can think about money, or if you like – women)
8. Anger is bad, so is jealousy, envy, and hatred. They have a single goal: to steal your happiness.
9. Wisdom is relatively static. If you are wise, you have got an edge (for life!)
10. No one was ever wise by chance (Read a damn book)
11. If you really want to win an argument, here is a secret that will give you an edge: “No one wants to look stupid (not even a fool)”
12. Ostentatiousness (either in deeds or thoughts) is a waste of time.
13. Risk hiding is a dangerous sport – It will always blow up a system. (This is as true for a neophyte relationship, as it is for the Siberian economy) An anecdote. My mum told me once (actually, a couple of times) to use an antimalarial drug after complaining bitterly of several malaria-like symptoms. I ignored the advice, try to sleep more or play an active sport – so I can sweat-it-out (you could say I successfully hid some risk). Usually, it doesn’t take a few weeks before I blow up (Typically, after several doses of chloroquine – I roll on my bed all day, drink pap like a one year old, or better still, vomit profusely as if there is an award for it)
14. Life is non-linear (randomness put limits to what you can replicate, say, in what you see in your neighbors’ life for example.)
15. Don’t think too much of yourself – self-serving bias is (very, very) pervasive (An example: 94% of French cab drivers say they are above average in driving skills in comparison to other cab drivers. I have never seen a butchered statistics in my entire life. I will expect perfect replicates in all the countries in the world)
16. Social proof, peer pressure, herd mentality (or whatever you choose to call it) is the strongest of all psychological force I can ever think of. Stronger than you think. It becomes obvious when you start asking yourself petty questions like – why am I wearing this cloth? Or, driving this car? Or, using this phone? Or if you are about getting married – why am I getting married? Then you might be amazed (or, maybe, embarrassed) by how little thinking you have done.
17. You shouldn’t trust a non-sinner who hasn’t been given the appropriate (and ample) opportunity to sin. The same logic applies to why (I believe) you wouldn’t like a training surgeon to open you up, say for a heart surgery.
18. There is always so much to do – it’s way better to work smarter, not (necessarily) harder.
19. There are 3 classes of knowledge – what you know, you know; what you know, you don’t know; and what you don’t know you don’t know (that is, the unknown unknowns) Of all the 3, the latter is usually the greatest – another (good) reason to be humble.
20. Life is imbued with uncertainty. For the most important decisions (those that carry with it great implications) A simple logic is to focus on consequences for decision making rather than sorting for precise HD predictions.
21. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13
22. “The best way to predict the future is to build it”
23. There are advantages in disadvantages, (sometimes, the obstacle is the way). If you are a bio-nerd, you can think about bacterial resistance and antibiotics. A dose of harm, makes them stronger. (albeit, in the next generation)
24. Long lasting happiness comes from the mind and our relationships with people (again, not from Ferraris or a million dollars)
25. If you really really have to get something done the right way, do it yourself.