Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Old Indian proverb: Don’t be friends with people too below you, they will pull you down. Don’t be friends with people too above you, they cannot add real value to you. Be friends with better equals.
"Below" and "above" are not strict judgmental criteria, rather they are a mixture of economic, physical, intellectual and spiritual achievement, independence, and maturity.
The point is, to have the right level of tension in a friendship, where you polish each other through your interactions, refracting, extracting ever higher value out of each other
The worst problems with friends too above you is you can become just envious, or their help becomes charity. Let such people be mentors and advisors, not necessarily “friends”. They may not be able to relate to your problems if they are past them too long ago. E.g. it is great to know a billionaire entrepreneur and draw inspiration from them, but they might not remember the details and struggles of starting a business, especially the struggles of today. Likewise, knowing a Nobel laureate in Neuroscience is certainly has great namedropping potential and potential for being inspired, but if you are a high school biology student, they might not make the best friend for you.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Between stimulus and response lies choice. No other species except humans really have this choice. This was one of the most important learnings of my life, thanks to Stephen Covey in his classic “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.
The more evolved you become, the easier and easier it gets to abide by this ethos. Some one might say “I really, really cannot fucking stand you at all”.
You could respond with so many different options:
Try and build this intellectual muscle by trying this out five times this week. When someone says something to you, good or bad, consider your response: take a pause, generate 5 options for what your response could be, try one of the non-obvious ones.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
A society’s technological capability must exceed the pressure created by its population and the population (and technology) of competing societies. Otherwise, it gets imprisoned, defeated, or placed at the mercy of external aggressors, or succumbs to internal wars. Vision and strong oratory can provide hope and hence temporary stop gaps to technology. Think: sanitation, NYC 1-way streets, Uber, FB, telecommuting, solar - all release pressures of population. India’s Naxalites exist due to lack of tech