When I’m Gone

Death is always a surprise. No one expects it. Not even terminal patients think they are going to die in a day or two. In a week, maybe. But only when this particular week is the next week.

We are never ready. It is never the right time. By the time it comes, you will not have done all the things that we wanted to. The end always comes as a surprise, and it’s a tearful moment for widows and a bore for the children who don’t really understand what a funeral is (thank God).

It was no different with my father. In fact, his death was even more unexpected. He was gone at age 27. The same age that claimed the lives of several famous musicians. He was young. Way too young. My father was not a musician and neither a famous person. Cancer doesn’t pick its victims. He was gone when I was young, and I learned what a funeral was because of him. I was 8 and half, old enough to miss him for a lifetime. Had he died before, I wouldn’t have memories. I would feel no pain. But I wouldn’t have a father in my life. And I had a father.

I had a father who was both firm and fun. Someone who would tell a joke before grounding me. That way, I wouldn’t feel so bad. Someone who kissed me on the forehead before I went to sleep. A habit which I passed on to my children. Someone who forced me to support the same football team he supported, and who explained things better than my mother. Do you know what I mean? A father like that is someone to be missed.

He never told me he was going to die. Even when he was lying on a hospital bed with tubes all over him, he didn’t say a word. My father made plans for the next year even though he knew he wouldn’t be around in the next month. Next year, we would go fishing, we would travel, we would visit places we’ve never been. Next year would be an amazing year. We lived the same dream.

I believe — actually I’m sure — he thought this should bring luck. He was a superstitious man. Thinking about the future was the way he found to keep hope alive. The bastard made me laugh until the very end. He knew about it. He didn’t tell me. He didn’t see me crying.

And suddenly, the next year was over before it even started.

My mother picked me up at school and we went to the hospital. The doctor told the news with all the sensitivity that doctors lose over the years. My mother cried. She did have a tiny bit of hope. As I said before, everyone does. I felt the blow. What does it mean? Wasn’t it just a regular disease, the kind of disease doctors heal with a shot? I hated you, dad. I felt betrayed. I screamed with anger in the hospital, until I realized my father was not around to ground me. I cried.

Then, my father was once again a father to me. With a shoebox under her arm, a nurse came by to comfort me. The box was full of sealed envelopes, with sentences where the address should be. I couldn’t understand exactly what was going on. The nurse then handed me a letter. The only letter that was out of the box.

“Your dad asked me to give you this letter. He spent the whole week writing these, and he wants you read it. Be strong.” the nurse said, holding me.

The envelope read WHEN I’M GONE. I opened it.

Son,

If you’re reading this, I’m dead. I’m sorry. I knew I was going to die.

I didn’t want to tell you what was going to happen, I didn’t want to see you crying. Well, it looks like I’ve made it. I think that a man who’s about to die has the right to act a little bit selfish.

Well, as you can see, I still have a lot to teach you. After all, you don’t know crap about anything. So I wrote these letters for you. You must not open them before the right moment, OK? This is our deal.

I love you. Take care of your mom. You’re the man of the house now.

Love, dad.

PS: I didn’t write letters to your mom. She’s got my car.

He made me stop crying with his bad handwriting. Printing was not easy back then. His ugly writing, which I barely understood, made me feel calm. It made me smile. That’s how my father did things. Like the joke before the grounding.

That box became the most important thing in the world for me. I told my mother not to open it. Those letters were mine and no one else could read them. I knew all the life moments written on the envelopes by heart. But it took a while for these moments to happen. And I forgot about it.

Seven years later, after we moved to a new place, I had no idea where I put the box. I couldn’t remember it. And when we don’t remember something, we usually don’t care about it. If something goes lost in your memory, It doesn’t mean you lost it. It simply doesn’t exist anymore. It’s like change in the pockets of your trousers.

And so it happened. My teenage years and my mother’s new boyfriend triggered what my father had anticipated a long time before. My mother had several boyfriends, and I always understood it. She never married again. I don’t know why, but I like to believe that my father had been the love of her life. This boyfriend, however, was worthless. I thought she was humiliating herself by dating him. He had no respect for her. She deserved something a lot better than a guy she met at a bar.

I still remember the slap she gave me after I pronounced the word “bar”. I’ll admit that I deserved it. I learned that over the years. At the time, when my skin was still burning from the slap, I remembered the box and the letters. I remembered a specific letter, which read “WHEN YOU HAVE THE WORST FIGHT EVER WITH YOUR MOM”.

I ransacked my bedroom looking for it, which earned me another slap in the face. I found the box inside a suitcase lying on top of the wardrobe. The limbo. I looked through the letters, and realized that I had forgotten to open WHEN YOU HAVE YOUR FIRST KISS. I hated myself for doing that, and I decided that would be the next letter I’d open. WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY came right next in the pack, a letter I was hoping to open really soon. Eventually I found what I was looking for.

Now apologize to her.

I don’t know why you’re fighting and I don’t know who’s right. But I know your mother. So a humble apology is the best way to get over this. I’m talking about a down-on-your-knees apology.

She’s your mother, kid. She loves you more than anything in this world. Do you know that she went through natural birth because someone told her that it would be the best for you? Have you ever seen a woman giving birth? Do you need a bigger proof of love than that?

Apologize. She’ll forgive you.

Love, dad.

My father was not a great writer, he was just a bank clerk. But his words had a great impact on me. They were words that carried more wisdom than all of my 14 years of age at the time. (That wasn’t very hard to achieve, though).

I rushed to my mother’s room and opened the door. I was crying when she turned her head to look me in the eyes. She was also crying. I don’t remember what she yelled at me. Probably something like “What do you want?” What I do remember is that I walked towards her holding the letter my father wrote. I held her in my arms, while my hands crumpled the old paper. She hugged me, and we both stood in silence.

My father’s letter made her laugh a few minutes later. We made peace and talked a little about him. She told me about some of his most eccentric habits, such as eating salami with strawberries. Somehow, I felt he was sitting right next to us. Me, my mother and a piece of my father, a piece he left for us, on a piece of paper. It felt good.

It didn’t take long before I read WHEN YOU LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY

Congratulations, son.

Don’t worry, it gets better with time. It always sucks the first time. Mine happened with an ugly woman…who was also a prostitute.

My biggest fear is that you’d ask your mother what virginity is after reading what’s on the letter. Or even worse, reading what I just wrote without knowing what jerking off is (you know what it is, right?). But that’s none of my business.

Love, dad.

My father followed me through my entire life. He was with me, even though he was not near me. His words did what no one else could: they gave me strength to overcome countless challenging moments in my life. He would always find a way to put a smile on my face when things looked grim, or clear my mind during those angry moments.

WHEN YOU GET MARRIED made me feel very emotional. But not so much as WHEN YOU BECOME A FATHER.

Now you’ll understand what real love is, son. You’ll realize how much you love her, but real love is something you’ll feel for this little thing over there. I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. I’m just a corpse, I’m not a fortune teller.

Have fun. It’s a great thing. Time is gonna fly now, so make sure you’ll be around. Never miss a moment, they never come back. Change diapers, bathe the baby, be a role model to this child. I think you have what it takes to be an amazing father, just like me.

The most painful letter I read in my entire life was also the shortest letter my father wrote. While he wrote those four words, I believe he suffered just as much as I did living through that moment. It took a while, but eventually I had to open WHEN YOUR MOTHER IS GONE.

She is mine now.

A joke. A sad clown hiding his sadness with a smile on his makeup. It was the only letter that didn’t make me smile, but I could see the reason.

I always kept the deal I had made with my father. I never read letters before their time. With the exception of WHEN YOU REALIZE YOU’RE GAY. Since I never thought I’d have to open this one, I decided to read it. It was one of the funniest letters, by the way.

What can I say? I’m glad I’m dead.

Now, all joking aside, being half-dead made me realize that we care too much about things that don’t matter much. Do you think that changes anything, son?

Don’t be silly. Be happy.

I would always wait for the next moment, the next letter. The next lesson my father would teach me. It’s amazing what a 27 year old man can teach to an 85 year old senior like me.

Now that I am lying on a hospital bed, with tubes in my nose and my throat thanks to this damn cancer, I run my fingers on the faded paper of the only letter I didn’t open. The sentence WHEN YOUR TIME COMES is barely visible on the envelope.

I don’t want to open it. I’m scared. I don’t want to believe that my time is near. It’s a matter of hope, you know? No one believes they’re gonna die.

I take a deep breath, opening the envelope.

Hello, son. I hope you’re an old man now.

You know, this letter was the easiest to write, and the first I wrote. It was the letter that set me free from the pain of losing you. I think your mind becomes clearer when you’re this close to the end. It’s easier to talk about it.

In my last days here I thought about the life I had. I had a brief life, but a very happy one. I was your father and the husband of your mother. What else could I ask for? It gave me peace of mind. Now you do the same.

My advice for you: you don’t have to be afraid

PS: I miss you

View at Medium.com

10 Types of Friends Worth Fighting For

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
― Helen Keller

1.  Friends who make time for each other.

There are countless intricacies to every great friendship, but the foundation is always incredibly simple: making time for each other.  The key is to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you.  Don’t walk away when the going gets a little tough, don’t be distracted too easily, don’t be too busy or tired, and don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and happiness together. It’s powerful stuff!

So put down the smart phone, close the laptop and enjoy each other’s company, face to face, the old fashioned way.

There are few joys that equal a good conversation, a genuine laugh, a long walk, a friendly dance, or a big hug shared by two people who care about each other.  Sometimes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary simply by doing them with the right people.  You know this!  Choose to be around these people, and choose to make the most of your time together.

2.  Friends who are willing to put in the necessary effort.

Healthy, long-term friendships are amazing, but rarely easygoing 24/7.  Why?  Because they require flexibility and compromise.

Two different people will always have two slightly different perspectives about the same situation.  Resisting this truth and seeing the hard times as immediate evidence that something is catastrophically wrong, or that you’re supposed to see eye-to-eye on everything, only aggravates the difficulties.  By contrast, finding the willingness to view the challenges as learning opportunities will give you the energy and strength you need to continue to move forward and grow your friendship for decades to come.

3.  Friends who believe in each other.

Sometimes we see our worst selves…. our most vulnerable and weak selves.  We need someone else to get close enough to tell us we’re wrong.  Someone we trust.  That’s what true friends are for.

Simply believing in another person, and showing it in words and deeds on a consistent basis, can make a HUGE difference in their life.  Several studies of people who grew up in dysfunctional homes but who grew up to be happy and successful show that the one thing they had in common was someone who believed in them.  Be this ‘someone’ for those you care about.  Support their dreams.  Participate with them.  Cheer for them.  Be nothing but encouraging.  Whether they actually follow through with their present dreams, or completely change their minds, is irrelevant; your belief in them is of infinite importance, either way.

4.  Friends who face challenges and weaknesses together.

When we honestly ask ourselves which friends have helped us the most, we often find that it’s those special few who, instead of giving lots of advice, specific solutions, or quick cures, have chosen rather to share in our challenges and touch our wounds with a listening ear and a loving heart.

The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of pain and mourning, who can tolerate not knowing or having all the answers, not curing and fixing everything in an instant, and instead simply face the reality of our momentary powerlessness with us, that is a friend worth fighting for.

5.  Friends who are gentle and compassionate through life’s changes.

Be gentle and compassionate with your friends as they evolve and change.  Mother Nature opens millions of flowers every day without forcing the buds.  Let this be a reminder not to be forceful with those you care about, but to simply give them enough light and love, and an opportunity to grow naturally.

Ultimately, how far you go in life depends on your willingness to be helpful to the young, respectful to the aged, tender with the hurt, supportive of the striving, and tolerant of those who are weaker or stronger than the majority.  Because we wear many hats throughout the course of our lives, at some point in your life you will have been all of these people, and the same is true for your friends.

6.  Friends who support each other’s growth.

No human being is your friend who demands your silence or denies your right to grow.

Healthy friendships always move in the direction of personal growth: for the relationship as a whole and for each individual in it.  A desire to impede the growth of the other for one’s personal comfort is an expression of fear.

When you connect with a true friend, this person helps you find the best in yourself.  In this way, neither of you actually meet the best in each other; you both grow into your best selves by spending time together and nurturing each other’s growth.

7.  Friends who tell the truth.

Subconsciously, many of us prefer gentle lies to hard truths.  But make no mistake, in the end it’s better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie.  Friendships based on lies always die young.

Lying is a cumulative process too.  So be careful.  What starts as a small, seemingly innocent lie (possibly even with the intention of not hurting anyone) quickly spirals into a mounting fairytale where the biggest factor preventing you from sharing the truth is the unwanted reputation of being known as a liar.

Don’t do this.  Don’t hide behind lies. Deal with the truth, learn the lessons, endure the consequences of reality, and move your friendship forward.

8.  Friends who are tolerant of each other’s inevitable mood swings.

Giving your friends the space to save face, and not taking things personally, when they’re occasionally upset, cranky or having a bad day is a priceless gift.

Truth be told, what others say and do is often based entirely on their own self-reflection.  When a friend who is angry and upset speaks to you, and you nevertheless remain very present and continue to treat them with kindness and respect, you place yourself in a position of great power.  You become a means for the situation to be graciously diffused and healed.

My grandmother once told me, “When somebody backs themselves into a corner, look the other way until they get themselves out; and then act as though it never happened.”  Allowing a friend to save face in this way, and not reminding them of what they already know is not their most intelligent behavior, is an act of great kindness.  This is possible when you realize that people behave in such ways because they are in a place of momentary suffering.  People react to their own thoughts and feelings and their behavior often has nothing directly to do with you.

9.  Friends who work out their issues with each other, not with others.

This may seem obvious, but these days it’s worth mentioning:  NEVER post negatively about a friend on social media.  Fourteen-year-old school kids post negatively about their friends on social media.  It’s a catty way to get attention and vent, when the emotionally healthy response is to talk your grievances over with them directly when the time is right.

Don’t fall into the trap of getting others on your side either, because healthy friendships only have one side – it’s called mutual respect.

Furthermore, friendships and their intricacies don’t always make sense, especially from the outside.  So don’t let outsiders run your friendship for you.  If you’re having an issue with a friend, work it out with THEM and no one else.

10.  Friends who are faithful from a distance.

Sometimes life puts geographic barriers between you and a good friend.  But growing apart geographically doesn’t change the fact that for a long time you two grew side by side; your roots will always be tangled.  Knowing this, embracing it, and making the best of it… that’s a clear sign of true friendship.

In the end, this ‘true’ kind of friendship is a promise made in the heart – silent, unwritten, unbreakable by distance, and unchangeable by time.

http://www.marcandangel.com/2015/06/17/10-types-of-friends-worth-fighting-for/

A psychologist discovered the secret to never getting frustrated

We all get frustrated.

The guy in front of you is driving like an idiot. Your boss is being a jerk. Your partner isn’t listening.

And sometimes these all happen to you on the same day.

What’s the fix for this? One guy came up with a solution that deals with all of these problems — and more.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about his system:

In general REBT is arguably one of the most investigated theories in the field of psychotherapy and a large amount of clinical experience and a substantial body of modern psychological research have validated and substantiated many of REBTs theoretical assumptions on personality and psychotherapy.

His stuff works. And it’s as simple as ABCD — quite literally, as you’ll see below.

So how can you never be frustrated again? Let’s break it down.

The Tyranny Of “Should”

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Here’s what you need to take away from Ellis’ work:

You don’t get frustrated because of events. You get frustrated because of your beliefs.

And where did this idea start? Ancient philosophy. Stoicism. That’s where Ellis found the concept. And then he proved it really worked.

…if you understand how you upset yourself by slipping into irrational shoulds, oughts, demands, and commands, unconsciously sneaking them into your thinking, you can just about always stop disturbing yourself about anything.

You’re stuck in traffic and that makes you angry, right? Wrong.

cab traffic new york

Traffic happens. But you think it shouldn’t happen to you. And the thing that’s making you miserable is that word “should.”

Here’s an example. I say, “This headache remedy probably won’t work but give it a shot.” So you try it. And it doesn’t work. You’re not frustrated.

Okay, same situation but I say, “This always works.” It fails. Now you’re annoyed. What changed? Your expectation.

Or you tell a five-year old to stop yelling. They don’t listen. You don’t get that bothered. After all, the kid is five.

But if you tell me to stop yelling and I don’t listen, you get angry. What’s different? “Eric should stop. He’s an adult.

Again, nothing changed but your belief.

Pretty straightforward, right? But that leads to a question: how do you change your beliefs? Ellis has an answer.

The Universe Is Not Taking Orders From You. (Sorry.)

It’s as simple as ABCD. Really.

A is adversity. Traffic is awful.

B is your beliefs. And often they’re irrational. “This shouldn’t happen to me.” Well, guess what, Bubba? It is happening.

C is consequences. You get angry, frustrated or depressed.

In very few cases can you change A. But you can change B. And that will change C. So let’s bring in the 4th letter.

D: Dispute your irrational beliefs. “Wait a second. When did the universe guarantee me a trouble-free existence? It didn’t. Traffic has happened before. It will happen again. And I will survive.”

Giant Buddha Bodhgaya

Look for beliefs that hold the words “should”, “ought” or “must.” That’s where the problems lie.

You’re allowed to wish, want and desire. Nobody is saying you need to be an emotionless lump.

“I would very much like or prefer to have success, approval, or comfort,” and then end with the conclusion, “But I don’t have to have it. I won’t die without it. And I could be happy (though not as happy) without it.”

But you can’t demand the universe bend to your will. That’s where the frustration and anger creep in — because that godlike insistence isn’t rational.

When you insist, however, that you always must have or do something, you often think in this way: “Because I would very much like or prefer to have success, approval, or pleasure, I absolutely, under practically all conditions, must have it. And if I don’t get it, as I completely must, it’s awful, I can’t stand it, I am an inferior person for not arranging to get it, and the world is a horrible place for not giving me what I must have! I am sure that I’ll never get it, and therefore I can’t be happy at all!”

When you’re angry, frustrated or depressed look for those irrational beliefs.

People should treat me kindly and fairly all the time.” Sound rational? Hardly.

I ought to succeed at this. If I don’t, I’m a failure and a loser.” Really?

This person must love me back or I’ll die.” No, no, no you won’t.

What were you anxious or over-concerned about? Meeting new people? Doing well at work? Winning the approval of a person you liked? Passing a test or a course? Doing well at a job interview? Winning a game of tennis or chess? Getting into a good school? Learning that you have a serious disease? Being treated unfairly? Look for your command or demand for success or approval that was creating your anxiety or overconcern. What was your should, ought, or must?

Is disputing your irrational beliefs going to immediately change everything? No.

But when you start disputing you’ll see that your expectations aren’t in line with reality. And with a little work, those expectations will start to change.

Sum Up

It’s as simple as ABCD. Next time you’re turning red and clenching your fists, give this a shot:

A is Adversity. Like traffic. Sorry, no genie can let you wish it away.

B is Beliefs. Look for beliefs with these troublesome words: should, ought and must. “Traffic shouldn’t be this bad.” Not rational. Traffic is what it is. Sorry.

C is Consequences. You banging the steering wheel with your fist and sending your blood pressure into the stratosphere.

D is Dispute. Are you demanding the universe and everyone bend to your wishes? Is that rational? No way. You can want, you can wish and you can definitely try your best in the future, but you cannot demand if you want to stay happy and sane.

Life is not perfect. People aren’t perfect. You, dear reader, are not perfect. And that’s okay. But having beliefs that any of these things “should” be the way you want causes you a lot of unnecessary suffering.

Many of your irrational beliefs are not immediately obvious. Sometimes you’ll have to dig to find them. And you’ll need to dispute them a fair amount before new reasonable beliefs kick in. But you can definitely make progress.

What did Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher, say way back in the first century AD?

People are disturbed not by things, but by the views they take of them.

What did Shakespeare write in Hamlet?

There’s nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

How about the Buddha?

We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.

Rarely can you change the world. But you can always change your thoughts.

And that can make you very happy.

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-to-not-getting-frustrated-2015-4?IR=T&

A Clean House and a Wasted Life

Clean House

You have probably heard the saying before: A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. Whatever else the phrase means, it expresses some of the frustration and the sense of futility that attends life in this world. I thought of that saying when I spotted this proverb: “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox” (Proverbs 14:4). A little bit of research shows that commentators are divided on exactly what it means, but I think one of the explanations rises to the top.

According to this explanation, the proverb is about the messiness of a life well-lived. Tremper Longman says the moral is that “a productive life is a messy life.”

I love productivity. At least, I love productivity when it is properly defined—as effectively stewarding your gifts, talents, time, energy, and enthusiasm for the good of others and the glory of God. By this definition, each one of us, no matter our vocation, ought to pursue productivity with all the vigor we can muster. And if you do that, it is inevitable that along the way you will accumulate some mess. You cannot focus your time, attention, gifts, energy, and enthusiasm toward noble goals while still keeping every corner of life perfectly tidy.

The pastor’s desk will at times be crammed with books and papers. The baker’s counter will sometimes overflow with pots and pans and flour and sugar. The mechanics’s hands will be stained with grease and his shop will need a daily once-over with the power washer. And the home—the home will at times be messy and cluttered and downright embarrassing.

Longman says, “One desires a neat and tidy life, just as the ideal stall would be clean. However, a clean stall by the nature of things would mean an empty stall since oxen do not have to be in a stall long before it is messy. However, without oxen there is no productivity.”

We could as easily say that one desires a neat and tidy house, just as the ideal stall would be clean. However, a clean house by the nature of things might just mean an empty house since children and husbands and houseguests and those neighborhood kids do not have to be in the house long before it is agonizingly messy. However, without all of those people there is no productivity—no true, biblical productivity—, no children to care for, no friends to counsel, no hospitality to extend.

Like so much else in this life, you cannot have it all. You cannot have perfect order and perfect productivity. You cannot have a home that is warm and full and inviting, you cannot have every child fed and cared for, while also having every dish done and every sock laundered. You just can’t. Of course this isn’t to excuse slovenliness or laziness. But you need to understand what Derek Kidner says, that “Orderliness can reach the point of sterility. This proverb is [a plea for] the readiness to accept upheaval, and a mess to clear up, as the price of growth.” Growth, or productivity, as the case may be. Is a clean house proof of a wasted life? Not at all. But a tidy house isn’t necessarily evidence of a well-lived life.

source: http://www.challies.com/articles/a-clean-house-and-a-wasted-life


The 48 Laws Of Power Cheat Sheet with Real Life Examples

Below is a cheat sheet (aka summary) of The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene.

This book sounds kinda weird and evil (and sometimes it is) but it’s a fun read that tells the story of some of the most powerful people in history. Lots of good info here and lots of awful advice, so be careful not to follow everything the book says.

48 Laws of Power Cheat Sheet

Law 1: Never outshine the master

  • Make those above you feel superior. Do not show your talents too much, it’ll make them insecure.
  • Make the master appear more brilliant than they are.

Law 2: Never put too much trust in friends, learn to use enemies

  • Friends will quickly betray you.
  • Hire former enemies, they’ll be loyal.

Law 3: Conceal your intentions

  • Keep people off-balance. They cannot prepare if they don’t know. Guide them down the wrong path.

Law 4: Always say less than necessary

  • When trying to impress, the more you say the more common you look and less in control.
  • Be vague.
  • Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less.

Law 5: So much depends on reputation – guard it with your life

  • Reputation is the cornerstone of power.
  • Reputation alone will make you win.
  • Destroy enemies by attacking their reputation. Then stand aside and let the public hang them.

Law 6: Court attention at all cost

  • Everything is judged by appearance, what is unseen counts for nothing.
  • Never get lost in a crowd.
  • Be mysterious, appear more colorful than the masses.

Law 7: Let others to do the work for you, but always take credit

  • Use the skills of others to do the work for you, never do yourself what others can do for you.
  • Your efficiency will appear god-like.

Law 8: Make other people come to you – use bait if necessary

  • When you force others to act, you’re in control.
  • Make opponents come to you.
  • Lure with gains, then attack.

Law 9: Win through your actions, never through argument

  • You never win through argument.
  • The resentment last long.
  • It’s more powerful to agree with actions.
  • Demonstrate, do not explain.

Law 10: Infection: Avoid the unhappy and the unlucky

  • You’ll die from other’s misery – emotional states are as infectious as diseases.
  • The unfortunate draw misfortune on themselves and will draw it on you.
  • Associate with the happy and fortunate.

Law 11: Learn to keep people dependent on you

  • To maintain independence you must be needed and wanted.
  • The more you’re relied on, the more freedom you have.
  • Make people depend on you for happiness.
  • Never teach them enough so they can do without you.

Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim

  • One sincere move will cover over a dozen dishonest ones.
  • Honesty can bring down the guard of suspicious people.
  • Open their shield with honesty, then deceive.

Law 13: When asking for help, appeal to people’s self-interest, never to their mercy

  • Do not remind people of past deeds.
  • Find something that will benefit them and emphasize it out of proportion.

Law 14: Pose as a friend, work as a spy

  • Learn to probe and find valuable information.
  • Ask indirect questions.
  • Every occasion is a chance to spy.

Law 15: Crush your enemy totally

  • More is lost through stopping halfway.
  • Crush your enemy in body and spirit.

Law 16: Use absence to increase respect and honor

  • Too much circulation makes the price go down.
  • If you’re already established in a group, temporarily withdraw to make people talk.
  • Create value through scarcity.

Law 17: Keep others in suspended terror: cultivate an air of unpredictability

  • Being predictable gives control to others.
  • Behavior that isn’t consistent will wear people out, and they’ll stop trying to explain things.
  • When used to the extreme, you’ll intimidate and terrorize.

Law 18: Do not build fortresses to protect yourself – isolation is dangerous

  • Isolation cuts you off from valuable information.
  • Its better to mingle.
  • You are shielded from your enemy in a crowd.

Law 19: Know who you’re dealing with – do not offend the wrong person

  • Never assume everyone will react the same way.
  • Choose your victims carefully.
  • Never offend the wrong person.

Law 20: Do not commit to anyone

  • Fools rush to pick a side.
  • Do not commit to a cause but yourself
  • Maintain independence
  • Make people chase you and play people against one another

Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker- seem dumber than your mark

  • Don’t be stupid, but make your mark appear smarter than you
  • Making them appear smarter hides your motives

Law 22: Use the surrender tactic: transformer weakness into power

  • When you’re weaker, never fight just for honor but surrender
  • Do not give them the satisfaction to win, surrender
  • Turn the other cheek to infuriate them

Law 23: Concentrate your forces

  • Intensity defeats extensity every time
  • Find a fat cow that’ll give you milk for a long time

Law 24: Play the perfect courtier

  • Master the art of indirection
  • Assert power gracefully

Law 25: Re-create yourself

  • Create an identity that commands attention and never bores
  • Be the master of your own image
  • Use large gestures and actions-your character will seem huge and you’ll gain power

Law 26: Keep your hands clean

  • Never appear soiled by mistakes
  • Use others as scapegoats to disguise your involvement

Law 27: Play on people’s need to believe to create a cultlike following

  • People want to believe in something
  • Become the focal point of this and offer them a cause, a new faith
  • Keep your words vague but full of promise
  • Emphasize enthusiasm over rationality
  • Give your new disciples rituals to perform and ask them to make sacrifices

Law 28: Enter action with boldness

  • If you’re unsure then don’t do it
  • Timidity is dangerous
  • Any mistakes your commit through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity
  • Everyone admires boldness, no one honors the timid

Law 29: Plan all the way to the end

  • The ending is everything
  • Take into account of scenario
  • If you plan, you won’t be overwhelmed
  • Guide fortune by thinking far ahead

Law 30: Make your accomplishments seem effortless

  • Conceal the clever tricks
  • Make your success seem natural
  • Do not reveal how hard you work
  • Teach no one your tricks

Law 31: Control the opinions: get others to play with the cards you deal

  • The best deceptions seem to give the other person a choice
  • Give options so no matter their choice, you win

Law 32: Play to people’s fantasies

  • The truth is unpleasant, avoid it
  • People that manufacture romance are like oases in the desert
  • There’s great power in tapping into people’s fantasies

Law 33: Discover each man’s thumbscrew

  • Find other’s weaknesses
  • Its usually insecurity, uncontrollable emotions, secret pressures

Law 34: Be royal in your own fashion: act like a king to be treated like one

  • The way you carry yourself determines how you’re treated
  • Appearing vulgar or common will make people disrespect you
  • Kings respect themselves and inspire the same in others
  • By acting confident you make yourself destined to wear a crown

Law 35: Master the art of timing

  • Never seem in a hurry, always seem patient
  • Sniff out the spirit of the times, find the trends that’ll give you power
  • Learn to stand back when not ready, and then strike

Law 36: Disdain things you cannot have: ignoring them if the best revenge

  • Acknowledging petty problems gives them existence
  • When you acknowledge an enemy you make them stronger
  • The more you a mistake visible, the worse it gets
  • If you want something but can’t have it, disdain it
  • The less interest you reveal, the more superior you seem

Law 37: Create compelling spectacles

  • Striking imagery and symbolic gestures create the auro of power and people respond
  • Stage spectacles for those around you and heighten your presence
  • Dazzle by appearance

Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others

  • By flaunting your unconventional ways people will only think you want attention
  • They’ll punish you for making them feel inferior
  • Blend in

Law 39: Stir up waters to catch fish

  • Anger and emotion is counterproductive
  • Stay calm and objective
  • Make enemies emotional while you stay calm
  • Rattle your enemies

Law 40: Despise the free lunch

  • What’s offered for free in dangerous
  • Pay your own way to avoid guilt and gratitude
  • No cutting corners with excellence
  • Be lavish with your money, keep it circulating
  • Generosity is a sign and magnet for power

Law 41: Avoid stepping into a great man’s shoes

  • What happens first always appears better and more original than what’s next
  • Following great people means you must double their power
  • Gain power by shining in your own way

Law 42: Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter

  • Trouble can be traced to a single individual
  • These people will influence others
  • Do not negotiate but banish them
  • Strike at the source of the trouble

Law 43: Work on the hearts and minds of others

  • Coercion will work against you
  • Seduce others into wanting to move in your direction
  • Seduce others by operating on their individual psychologies and weaknesses
  • Soften them by working their emotions and what they fear
  • Ignore the hearts and minds and they will grow to hate you

Law 44: Disarm and infuriate with the mirror effect

  • When you mirror exactly what your enemies do, they cannot figure out your strategy
  • The mirror effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact
  • Hold a mirror to their psyches and you’ll seduce them and they’ll think they share your values
  • Mirror their actions and they learn lessons

Law 45: Preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once

  • Everyone wants change but too much is traumatic
  • When new to power show you respect old ways
  • Make change feel like a gentle improvement on the past

Law 46: Never appear too perfect

  • Its dangerous to appear like you have no thoughts
  • Its ok to admit to small defects

Law 47: Do not go past the mark you aimed for; in victory know when to stop1

  • When going to far in victory, you make more enemies
  • Set a goal, achieve it, then stop

Law 48: Assume formlessness

  • By having a visible plan you open yourself to attack.1
  • Stay adaptable and on the move
  • Accept that nothing is certain and now law fixed
  • Everything changes and never bet on it

5 Facts About Life I’ve Realized This Year

This year has been one of the most nomadic and itinerate years of my life. I was constantly on the road – from Sydney to Melbourne, Bangkok, Ho Chi Mihn city, Hobart, Singapore, Brisbane, and back in Sydney again. Although it has been one little loop around this side of the world, it has given more some perspective about life – mostly on living simply, having less, and doing more.

There have been some major changes in my life – both in terms of self-development as well as changes that happen in the lives of those close to me. Below are the facts I’ve realized about life and I’d like to share them with you.

1. Life is about trial and error.

When you’re a teenager, you feel like searching for who you are is the key psychological change that’s going on in your life. You seek to establish your identity and find out what you like and dislike doing. You think that as you get older you will be more sure about who you are, what you do, and what you should do. But as you get older, you realize that you’re still trying and not feeling certain about the outcome of what you do. You change jobs. You move countries. Your relationships fall apart only to start blossoming again with someone new. You give something a go, you try your best, it may fail, and you move on.

Everyone is trying to figure out their sh*t just like you. Even ones that seem most assured are as confused, dazed, and unsure deep down inside as you are. They just pretend that everything is OK. Some people feel ashamed of displaying their feeling of uncertainty, thinking that it’s showing vulnerabilities and a sign of weakness. Some people are open about their trial-and-error path, believing that it leads them to finding themselves more and more as they go.

Whatever your path might be like, you realize that as you get older, you still have to keep figuring things out and don’t really know where you’re actually going. You might think “No, this is bullshit. I know exactly what I want to do and what I’m doing.” But no, deep down you still feel uncertain and unsure – you just suppress the feeling.You may have thought that as you get older, you will become more assured and know exactly what you’re doing, but it doesn’t seem that way. Your parents who you thought were the most assured when you’re growing up are probably as confused as you are. They’re still figuring out what to do with their retirements and when they should retire. They get more and more scared of illnesses that are creeping up to them. Some are also looking for new love to replace the old one that has died and are probably more confused than you are about relationships, love, and life.

When you realize that life is trial and error and that it will continue to be that way, you feel more acceptant of life and circumstances that life throws at you. No matter what comes into your life, it will go. No matter what you decide to do, it will either make your heart grow fonder or languish – you live and learn. No matter what risk you take, you will be OK.

Instead of trying to feel certain about life, you learn to embrace uncertainty. Because once you do, you will feel the most certain about yourself and life. After all, that is the only constant in life.

So take risks…. because it’s not a big deal if you fail. It’s just another error. You can try again.

2. Life has its own flow.

Have you heard of the saying that timing is everything? Well, that’s what I’m talking about here. As you get older, you realize that you can’t force time. Life has a way of unfolding at its own pace. Life has its own natural rhythms.

Every little thing in life is building you up for something bigger. Those achievements you had at school built your self-confidence and self-esteem. The junior roles you had when you first graduated prepared you for the bigger roles even though you felt like you were doing minor tasks most of the time. Those people you dated led you to knowing more about yourself, what you want and don’t want, and what you’re compatible with.

Life has its own pace. You can have it all but not all at once. And if you don’t keep your focus right, you might not achieve anything.

3. Life has its own energy.

Everyone wants to be happy. In the path to happiness, you seek to understand who you are, where you stand, what your nature is, and what your interests and passions are. When you get to do what comes naturally to you – whether it be handy tasks, creative hobbies, or adventurous activities – you feel most alive.

Unfortunately, many people don’t allow themselves to flow with life. They fight life. These people may be working hard towards some goal – maybe academic or professional success. They put aside their flowing, their natural love, and their passions in life in order to reach this goal. They haven’t let life run at its own pace and fuelled by its own energy. As a result, they feel stressed, tired, worn out, and drained which leads them to find something that could help bring them back to a normal state of energy. Some rely on sports, meditation, yoga, and a moderate amount of alcohol consumption. Some have lost their souls to overindulgence in alcohol, gambling, cigarettes, and drugs.

Life has its own energy and when the energy flow is blocked or abused, you feel stressed and lost – you feel like you need control. Turning to bad influences for emotional uplifts, you feel like you’re in control once again – that you can control how you feel. However, regardless of how good the emotional assistance makes you feel, relying your emotions and energy on them only leads you to losing control of yourself and your life even more.

4. Life gets easier when you can manage your emotions better.

In the early years of your life as an adult, you might feel like you’re still finding your feet and that life will get easier as you get older. However, as you get older you realize that life doesn’t get easier. In fact, what gets easier is managing your own emotions as your mental strength develops.

My Dad always said to me …

Everyone was born with the ability to become successful. But on the path to that, the obstacles and challenges everyone has to face are their own emotions. The ability to manage one’s emotions and develop self-discipline is what determines whether they will be successful.

Life gets easier when you become more positive and more resilient – when you know how to bounce back from setbacks in life, combat negative thoughts, stay calm in irritating situations, and let go of bad people whom you may have loved.

Being self-disciplined is not easy. It requires a lot of self-control. However, I believe that when you live life in flow – when you do the things you love and are naturally good at and move at your own natural pace – you don’t feel like you need to heavily rely on something that can instantly fix your energy. You just flow. You feel energized. You feel passionate – and in this case, you work hard towards your goal because your passion intrinsically motivates you. You feel happy.

5. Life’s end goal is not to find happiness.

The goal in life is not to search for happiness. In fact, all you have to do is to stop trying to find happiness and just be happy. When you feel like the current state is not good enough, you’re not happy enough, you start looking else where. This is when the search for happiness keeps going on forever and you wonder why you never feel happy.

It all starts with acceptance – the acceptance of self, of circumstances, and of situations.

Life will never be perfect. But life seems perfect when you’ve accepted that life is not perfect. Happiness comes when you accept the imperfection, the flaws, the ups and downs, and enjoy the moments in life. Realize that everything is fleeting – the good thing will pass, the bad thing will pass – just accept life as it is. Adjust and adapt yourself to situations as much as you can – if you’re tight on money this month, then spend less; if you hate your job, then quit or plan to quit; if your partner is abusive, then break up with him/her; if you’re prone to sickness, then start exercising and eat well.

Life is not meant to be perfect, nor is it meant to be easy.

Life is a game. You are the player. And the players pride themselves in their ability to beat challenges.

You may not realize this but we seem to constantly find challenges for ourselves to get through – whether it be getting to the top of our career, buying a car, owning a house, moving to another country, having a kid and then another kid, starting our own business, investing in businesses, learning another language, or doing triathlon.

Life has its own flow. Find your natural self. Do what you’re good at. And let life take its course.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mo-seetubtim/5-facts-about-life-ive-realized-this-year_b_6354646.html

Life is a maze, not a marathon

Imagine if life were a marathon.

There’s a start, a finish, and the faster you run, the further you go:

Success this way, honest

The secret to winning a marathon is to knuckle down and keep going.

Most of us live like this, but reality isn’t so two dimensional. Real life has no signs, and no straight lines. There’s just a maze of infinite options:

Life is a maze

Some paths, like some careers, take five times longer to get where you want. Some paths, like some relationships, are dead ends.

Maze

If you were teaching a robot to navigate a maze, you wouldn’t tell it to always run forward. You’d teach it to remember where it’s going, and when it gets stuck, to go back and try a different path.

As people, we’re really good at the running forward part. With a clear stretch, we can soar ahead for miles. But we hate – we’re literallyfearful – of backtracking.

To go back suggests we’ve failed, that our judgement was flawed, that our time was wasted. And the painful thing is – that’s usually true. But it doesn’t matter. The maze just is. You can back up and get on with it, or you can stay stuck in the wrong place.

No-one knows whether the turn they take next is the right one. We should expect to get lost and backtrack all the time. In fact, everybody does – it’s just by looking up at people who are way over here:

Don't get thrown by the successful

We’re blinded to the real, confused route that they took:

The real route of the successful

There are only two ways to advance your life: move forward when you can, or step backwards and try something else when you can’t. The greatest mistake to make is standing still.

http://oliveremberton.com/2014/life-is-a-maze-not-a-marathon/

Three words of advice for the young and ambitious

I have three words to change your life: create, big, and defy. Have you got three minutes?

1. Create

Creating things is the secret path that lets you do whatever you want.

How did I become a writer? I wrote. How did I become a programmer? I programmed. How did I become an entrepreneur? I started a company. I never had professional training in any of those things, and it never mattered, because I gave it to myself. You can too. Create the right things and you don’t need a resume. Create things worth noticing, and you will be noticed.

Creating is also a way of extending yourself. Your writing, or your art, or your company – all these things add to you worth, and the right creations fuse and compound over time. Think of it like buying shares in yourself.

Most people make the mistake of permanently exchanging their time for money, aka ‘employment’. This leads to a lifetime trap of spending time to earn money. If instead you invest your time in making things of value, those things can take life of their own, and work for you while you sleep. You’ll be happier and in greater control of your destiny too.

2. Big

The thing no-one tells you about aiming big is that you pretty much always win.

That doesn’t mean you get what you planned; in fact, that almost never happens. But you almost certainly won’t completely fail, and what successes you have will almost always outweigh your losses.

Say you aim to write a single Facebook status. However that goes, you’re not likely to win or lose much. Instead say you aim to write a whole novel. There’s a good chance you will fail to finish, or take five times longer than you expect, or write utter garbagepaste that never makes it past three unhappy relatives. But in the process you will have pushed your skills beyond their point of comfort, and grown immensely. More so than most people do in their whole lifetimes.

If you keep doing this, eventually, something is going to work. And you only need one big win to set you for life.

3. Defy

If you think the world is logical or fair, you’re going to be frustrated and sad most of your life.

The world does, actually, make a lot of sense. But not in the way that you might think. Working hard is not enough. Being smart is not enough. Really wanting stuff is not enough. Your instincts and upbringing may tell you otherwise. They are wrong.

The thing that will hold you back the most, throughout your entire life, will be yourself. You will know what to do. You will want to do it. And yet you will find yourself failing, and you won’t know why.

Most people reflexively blame the world when this happens: “my boss is blind”, “the economy is hopeless”, “girls are stupid”. Externalising leads only to denial and pain. What you need to do – all you need to do – is look inside yourself, and ask what, if anything, you could be doing differently. If you’re certain the problem is outside of your power, drop it, and move on.

Your circle of influence

Redrawn from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

If you can make a habit of this, all of your energy will only go on things that improve your life, and you’ll free yourself from a tyranny of sadness.


Create, big and defy. These are three things that almost no-one does, which is exactly why you should do them. Just by attempting you’ll be putting yourself at an uncommon advantage. Now go forth and conquer.

http://oliveremberton.com/2014/three-words-of-advice-for-the-young-and-ambitious/