Winning Matters

Not knowing or avoiding the laws of life landed me in Nowheresville by the time I was 30 years of age. Life is a competition. If you’re not competing then you’re not playing. If you’re not playing then you’re just watching other people score(I stole that line from a TV show).

The name of the game is being better than others because that’s the difference between feeling good and feeling like a loser. A few try to win but most play not to lose. The common mindset is to tell yourself that you don’t want to win so that you don’t feel so badly about yourself for chickening out. Spectators in the arena criticize the competitors but also secretly envy them.

People feeling inferior about their lives while in my presence should have been my goal in life. It may be lonely at the top but sheep get slaughtered, they just don’t see it coming. This all sounds slightly primitive and unevolved but to believe otherwise is pretending we’re fundamentally different than our recent ancestors. The game changes but the rules stay the same.

 

 

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Dear Diary: Binging/Addiction

On The Doctors they featured a woman who for many years was addicted to physical exercise. I’ve been experimenting with different workout regimens trying to find one I can stick with. As with most things in life it’s been a trial of trying to find an acceptable level of pain for reward(loser’s attitude). If I could just develop 1/10th of that woman’s addiction I’d be better than 9/10ths of the population. Having 1/10th of a crystal meth addiction would be perfect. The exercise-addicted woman discovered one day that her addiction was a means to block out childhood trauma from sexual abuse.

Many people binge watch television shows not to block out memories of a perverted uncle but often they’re blocking out something. It could be as innocent as procrastinating housework or maybe something else more sinister like wasting life. It’s easy to throw in the towel and decide that there’s nothing else to life besides a job and maximum screen time. Maybe sometimes you just run out of 91 octane for life.

The last 2 days I binge watched a docuseries on the Roman Empire. I usually feel a bit like a loser when I binge watch TV shows but I convinced myself that I was binge learning. I was educating myself while being entertained at the same time. It may not have been about the Roman Empire as much as it was a story about the Roman Empire because it’s anyone’s guess what really happened 2000 years ago. A person’s propensity for bullshitting can have no limits especially in certain situations. Like the saying goes, history is written by the winners. 

 

 

 

 

Decision Making

The ones who make better decisions will do better in life. Most people don’t do so well in life. They do okay, satisfactory maybe, average. In other words, they would do things much differently if they could do it over again.

If you could figure out how to make good decisions then you would be set. Some figure it out but often only after they have handcuffed themselves to the consequences of a series of bad decisions.

Since I have no positive residuals to show for from any decisions I made in my 20s then I may have made no good decisions during that era. My path in life during that time may have been attributed from the lack of a decision. Like the saying goes, not making a decision is still a choice. 

To be able to make good decisions requires the appropriate knowledge, experience and objectiveness. Too often the beliefs, ego and emotions interfere with rational decision making by ignoring statistics, science and math. 2 + 2 = 4 except when you want it to equal 5.

Fear is often the constant emotion involved in bad decision making. Being blinded by love is more often a case of being plagued by fear. The occupation that one chooses is often a decision based on a perceived probability of not losing. Settling too soon for too little feels safe but the guarantee you’re also promised is that you’ll never win.

An immediate catastrophe is often not the consequence of our decisions which allows people to prolong the idea of an improbable rosy outcome. There can be substantial comfort in the time between a bad decision and the day of reckoning.

If your life has not gone or is not going the way you would have liked it to then you have to question your decision making ability. If your main priority in life is to not feel down on yourself which is often the case then you will make many bad decisions. The universe does not care about your feelings.

Make your decisions as if the right or wrong answers would mean life or death the next day.

 

Visiting the Emergency Room

My mother was vomiting all day yesterday and said that she was feeling really dizzy which made her decide to want to visit the emergency room at the hospital. My first thought was that it wasn’t necessary. When dogs puke we yell at them for making a mess and put them in the corner.

Dr. Google’s opinion was that such a condition is usually not serious unless accompanied by other symptoms which she didn’t have. The scenario I imagined was that she ended up dying in her sleep and I would have to hide from the authorities that she wanted to see a doctor but I refused because I wanted to take a nap. It must be nice to be a sociopath.

It was my first experience in an emergency room. I’ve somehow managed to never fracture bones from snowboarding or accidentally drink too much bleach. Many in the emergency room seemed to be there for non-emergency reasons such as my mother’s condition. If everyone who was puking and felt dizzy visited the emergency room there would be a line-up out the door and around the Starbucks across the street.

Sitting there for hours I could hear patients explaining to the front desk what their issues were. One guy said, “I want to stop drinking.” In a less nice country one might have told him to go back home and stop drinking. Most patients who came in after us were called before us because they probably assessed that my mother was low priority. If you want to get in first for something trivial you should lie and say your pancreas is about to explode as well. Once you get in to see a doctor you tell them your pancreas feels better but you want your foot fungus to get checked out.

While in the waiting room I thought about how nice it was to be living in a country like this. The nurses and doctors know you’re probably fine and wasting everyone’s time and money but they still smile, speak politely and look up your bum if you tell them to.

They gave my mother some Gravol and she laid in a bed for 3 hours before discharging her saying everything was fine. I didn’t even think of trying Gravol first. It would have saved me 6 hours in the waiting room. I hope she feels guilty for not dying.

 

 

Piano and Life

There was frustration during my piano lesson due to my disappointing performance. It was frustrating because I practiced every day for the whole week and thought I was prepared. I don’t know, perhaps someone watching me and the difference in setting causes me some discomfort. Or maybe I didn’t practice enough. In my head I thought about burning my piano books and throwing them against a concrete wall. I QUIT! Then I thought how pathetic that would be.

During my internal tantrum I recalled a memory from several years ago. I used to fool around with the guitar with a few other guys who resisted the idea of attempting to improve at it. They instead preferred to strum the same song for hours each time we met. “Don’t you guys want to get better?” I asked. They replied with a friendly, “no.”

A thought crossed my mind during my piano lesson. What if I continued to practice and continued to suck? That would crush me since it could mean that I’m mentally disabled. I’d have to pack it in and resign from life, admit myself to the Centre for Ungifted Children. That’s why some people don’t even try. To them, failure would confirm their suspicions of their deficiencies.

I come from a group of guys who are all deficient in some manner which is the reason why we all came together in the first place. Some of them were able to muster up the appearance of some kind of success but there’s always traps set out to snag the ones who were programmed to fail. Some may have thought they were better than others in the group but no one was because if they were they would have moved on to something better.

That’s life for many or maybe even most people….they’re put on a path and then operate on auto-pilot. Over many years the deficiencies etch themselves a permanent place in the programming and instead of debugging, the tendency is to find a miserably comforting workaround.

 

The Stock Market

It’s common for people to think that you have to know something to make money in the stock market. If you don’t it feels as if you’re just throwing your money into a dark hole and hoping for the best. The stock market can be like believing in Jesus — one way to look at the overall stock market is that it will one day get you to heaven. You just have to believe.

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S&P 500 Index(500 of America’s largest publicly traded companies)

During the Great Depression, 1970s, tech bust and the Great Recession you may have questioned your faith but the market has always pulled through. The trajectory still appears to be heavenly.

Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns but what is certain is that if you were invested in the S&P 500 index anytime before 2018 you would be up on your investment. You can pick individual stocks for greater returns but then you might have to know something.

What will happen in the future is anyone’s guess but I think the most rational answer is that this chart in the long term will continue going up. If you don’t believe it will then you’re betting that America is soon going to shits and will never recover. From my experience the ones who believe the world is going to apocalypse mode are the ones who don’t like how their life has turned out. I know because I used to be one of them.

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It’s not all fun and games in the stock market. There can be periods of frustration such as the years between 2000 and 2013. If you had invested in the height of the year 2000 then you would have ridden a roller coaster just to be even in the year 2013. That sucks. If you had contributed to your investment all the way through though you would have made out just fine. Buying on dips is quite imperative.

This is not investment advice. I’m just presenting the facts. As far as history goes all that you had to know to make money in the stock market was to contribute regularly to an American index fund, have a long-term mindset and not panic sell.

 

 

 

The Looming End of Something

In my 20s I was excited to have an arsenal of movies or shows to watch for the whole day. It was stimulating but it was also an effective way of practicing what we loved to do which was kill time. Arguably the most precious aspect of life and we were proud to slay it like an evil beast. The endless amount of media available today has withered my excitement to hang out in front of the TV but I also believe there’s something else to it.

Twenty years seems like a long time but not when I think of it as the time that has passed since I graduated high school. If you take those years and add them to where I am now I will basically be an old man. With age comes the higher possibility of regret, disease and an almost definite outcome of being uglier. Time will have its way with you like a large black man in prison. You’re powerless and have no choice but to take whatever it gives.

Many men have fallen to the screen as a way to live out their life. Some have convinced themselves that there is nothing else to life. Maybe there’s truth to that or maybe it’s an effortless lie used to block out anxieties.

In his act, a stand-up comedian says hope is the culprit of the sadness to life. Youth often breathes a continuance of hope into dreams that never manifests into reality. While your aspirations remain elusive the comforting thought of I still have lots of time nears its end of life. He goes on to say that once you’re convinced the money, life and love you hoped for will never come to fruition a huge weight is lifted off of you. Now you can spend your time trying to enjoy yourself.