Two quotations that have been doing wonders for me

The first is from Josh Waitzkin, whose life the movie Searching for Bobby Fisher was made after. The second is from Mark Manson, a blogger whose writings and whose thoughts, I find, are absolutely spot-on (and more importantly, easy to apply).

From Josh (the picture shows him with a black belt from Marcelo Garcia, one of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s demigods):


The secret is that everything is always on the line. The more present we are at practice, the more present we will be in competition, in the boardroom, at the exam, the operating table, the big stage. If we have any hope of attaining excellence, let alone of showing what we’ve got under pressure, we have to be prepared by a lifestyle of reinforcement. Presence must be like breathing.

And the second, from Mark Manson:

Happiness, like other emotions, is not something you obtain, but rather something you inhabit. When you’re raging pissed and throwing a socket wrench at the neighbor’s kids, you are not self-conscious about your state of anger. You are not thinking to yourself, “Am I finally angry? Am I doing this right?” No, you’re out for blood. You inhabit and live the anger. You are the anger. And then it’s gone.

Just as a confident man doesn’t wonder if he’s confident, a happy man does not wonder if he’s happy. He simply is.

I feel the two are inextricably intertwined; the sort of presence that Josh explains in his book The Art of Learning (the book where the quotation’s from) is that state which he found himself in when he was competing at world chess tournaments, international Tai Chi competitions, and later, at the highest levels of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He found a state of flow, stemming from his ability to be ever-present — something he practices moment by moment.

Presence is this: neither thinking about the past, which has already happened, nor about the future, which has yet to happen — rather, simply immersing yourself in the intricacies of the present moment.

So that which leads to happiness is presence, a skill. Thus, happiness is also a skill.

You simply are happy. It’s not a destination. It’s a state of being that necessitates a skill to be ever-present.

Consider Kasina Meditation. This type of meditation is a form of exerting pure focus onto a disk, red or blue. Supposedly, CAT scans (don’t think linking the studies is worth it for such an informal posts) reveal that those who are well-versed with this sort of meditation are in perennial states of ecstasy.

Thaaa fuck? Ecstasy from simply focusing on a red-friggin’-disk?


So presence=>focus=>a happy state of being.

Food for thought.


So I’m not inspired very easily

but when I am, I get insanely inspired. Tim Ferriss is one of those characters of inspiration; one of the reasons I like him so much is because he’s so prolific (e.g. here’s a 3-hour podcast he did with Joe Rogan). I’m the type that doesn’t do well with structured learning (e.g. exam #1 is on date A, essay #2 is due on date B, etc), something I’m aware I’m weak at — and something I’m in the process of fixing. I’m much more the take massive amounts of information, deconstruct it, paternalize it, and apply whatever patterns I find are important.

So the fact that Tim has a bunch of books + all these interviews + all these mini-documentaries helps me explore the thought processes of this particular person.

The fundamental reason I like him so much though is because we both have a similar unquenchable curiosity for absolutely everything — mastering mastering. One of the most important qualities I’ve learned from the little I’ve heard/read of/from him is his minimalistic approach; that is to say, the Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of your results are results from 20% of your efforts.

Nothing short of inspiration. Not only because he’s remarkably intelligent and amazingly articulate, but because he’s also extraordinarily realistic to what he knows, what he doesn’t know, and what he knows he can’t know because he’s simply not an expert in some of his research fields.

Here’s a picture so that the link looks more appealing.

My inspiration:

Here, by Christopher Mark Heben.

seal team six

“We’re experts at becoming experts. That means if I have to know everything there is to know about something by 8 o’clock tomorrow morning, I-am-going-to-know-that. As are my buddies.”

That means: my “one hour” must be equivalent to other people’s “10 hours”. So I get to 10,000 hours much quicker than anybody else, in less time, more effectively.

Laser-like focus with my HSP traits.

There’s a reason

why you’ve never heard of Mike Pyle. And why you’ll never hear of him.

mike pyle vs rory

Because he’s not in touch with reality, stemming from his arrogance.

Before his fight with Rory MacDonald. The fight. After the fight.

He “wants the title right now” — but I predict he’ll never, ever get it. His age, style, whatever, apart, his mindset will not win him anything. Not necessarily because he’s overconfident, though it seems that and being out of touch goes hand-in-hand. But necessarily because he’s not in touch with reality, caused by his haughtiness.

Rory MacDonald, on the other hand, stays so damned humble. He doesn’t merely say that he’s humble; rather, he lives out humility. He, along with GSP, are on the path to championship and are champions, respectively, because they’re in touch with reality — which stems from their humility.

Life lessons.

Respect is overrated

and so is talent and genetics — but those for another time.

I love psychology. I’ve been perpetually immersed in psychology; psychoanalysis is something that’s part of me — something that’s inseparable from my personality. And I’ve always been a curious person — if you ever asked my mom what my personality was like as a toddler, she’d tell you about how I would always inquire “why” — why the sky is blue. Why my sister, at age 3, wasn’t like all the other 3-year olds. Why our apartment was on the third floor and not the first.

Most these questions are nonsensical but some of them, arguably, reflected something deeper within me: an unquenchable thirst — a bottomless hunger for the (capital-t intentional) Truth.

In human beings, one of the ways Truth is reflected is through a person’s charachter — how true that person is to what he/she thinks is the Truth (no matter whether it’s demonstrably right or wrong) and more practically, what steps he/she takes to actualize it. Meaning: how much action does a person take in order to manifest his/her truth?

Which is why I find Chael Sonnen so fascinating. One of “his” more honest interviews:

Objectively, Chael’s been ranked in the top 10 in a weight division (and still is) that’s highly touted by many as one of the most competitive divisions in the premier mixed martial arts (the most primal and most effective form of fighting) federation in the history of mankind. To not listen and learn from what somebody in his standing has achieved would be foolish. So with that said:

Well if I don’t mean it, I won’t say it. Ever. I don’t do hyperbole, I don’t do exaggeration and [stares directly at camera] I damn sure don’t give apologies.

I also don’t know what’s up with these fighters and their little fake egos that refuse to admit when they get hurt … is your ego that small when you can’t admit a guy rung your bell? … I’m proud of the fact that Michael Bisping drilled me and I walked through it. He hit me and it hurt — and I don’t care.

I don’t have respect, period. And I would encourage you in your life to get it out as well. Respect is for children. If somebody is my senior, I will ‘respect’ them. If somebody is a competitor I’m going to compete — at anything. And I’m not going to walk in there with a hat in my hand and I’m not going to walk on eggshells. I’m going to be big and boisterous and I’m going to take care of business. That’s it.

To explain the implications regarding these quotations would be a bit much if you’re not already familiar with Chael’s personality and what he’s said regarding some of his opponents.

But simply look at the intentions behind what he’s saying given his standing as one of the best kick-assers in the history of mankind. Honesty not only to himself but also to his truth (which in this case, happens to be objectively demonstrable).

“I don’t judge”

Yes you do. Even if you, or I, don’t consciously decide to internalize how we view people, judgment transcends our humanity — it’s rooted in our primal, subconsciousness.

Especially if you’re a female. Historically, males were primary hunters for hundreds and thousands of years; males were responsible for killing and bringing home that deer so that his family/tribe could survive. Females, since they were responsible for protecting the offspring when males were out hunting, have developed almost a sixth-sense sort of instinct.

That’s why, for instance, “natural vision” differs between genders. Men are focal creatures; we can concentrate on what’s in front of us and view it with a crystal vision. Such focused vision assisted us in ensuring our prey (read: food) didn’t run away. It helped us hunt. It helped us survive. Nowadays, it’s pretty obvious when dudes are checking out chicks because… well, it’s difficult for us to see something if we don’t obviously turn our heads to look at something. That’s why women already know men are interested and we’re dumbfounded how women already knew..

it’s because women are naturally attuned, visually, to everything around them.

Fact: women can see 180-degrees (and even a little behind them).

This sort of prowess assisted females in detecting threats back in the old days; falls under the category of that “sixth sense” women have developed over centuries. If a female couldn’t detect threats (say, a hungry lion or an ill-intended stranger), then the likelihood that she (and her offspring) have survived would tremendously decline.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, were you even aware of such a thing before you read about it?

Of course not. Neither was I — but it’s rooted in our nervous system to have such awareness.

That’s what we guys do when we stare each other down — it’s because we feel threatened by that new stranger who entered the room. Obviously, it doesn’t make much sense in today’s world; you just come across as a dick when you try and mean-mug every single male you come across. Primally however, it makes perfect sense: ward off the potential threat via posturing so that you have a higher chance of survival down the road.

That’s why women are so attuned to that drunk slob of a guy approaching clumsily in a bar — and why they run away when he’s 20 feet away. Females, primally, are so attuned to potential threats that their senses have evolved to detect such things.

When a person walks into a room, we immediately judge. Subconsciously or not, we do. And that’s perfectly fine (and unavoidable); instead of pretending like we’re capable of perfect non-judgment (and if you think you are, get off your high horse), embrace that it’s human to judge. And proceed from there to rationalize (something our amygdala, our “primate” brain, isn’t capable of) that judgment isn’t relevant.