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The mastermind needs to die

When we are little kids, we tend to view the world with an unobstructed lens. It’s very surface level and in our attempt to get acclimated quickly, we are constantly in learning mode. We pickup on behavior, intonations, proper conduct, patterns of speech, patterns of thinking. It’s all done very mechanically and without much deliberating.

However, adult humans, apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, have an innate ability to ask questions. It’s truly been our key to species success, in some regard because we can challenge reality. We’ve created a world within a world that suits our needs. We see something and we ask why? We have a goal and we ask how? We have a commitment to fulfill and we was when? We need a person to engage with and we ask who? We’re hungry for a meal and we ask what? Suddenly, with the simple questions all the choices begin to appear.

This ability to choose and ask questions is nothing short of God like. In fact some people act as if they are God and continue to direct the world around them to fit their views of the world. Though, on an individual level, this doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. If the self became a God, choosing and asking all the questions, making the choices based on the will of our God, and acting everything out in accordance would make life way easier. We don’t have to contemplate about who is in charge. The problem is when we, the self, become a God, the world around us is viewed as a means to serve that God. Naturally we would want to serve that God in a way that makes that God happy, so we ask “ourselves” what do I feel like doing and then I go and do that. The problem with this life mantra is that it is creating a God within us that directs all of our behavior, speech and thought in the pursuit of seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. This new God is great at first. We follow that prescription, and life becomes a simplified version without all the dogma and seemingly unnecessary effort that our parents and rEsPoNsIbLe pEoPlE tells us we should do to have a good life! Just intoxicate until the world around you starts to feel good. Any problems and consequences of today can be dealt with tomorrow. There’s always another way to soften the blow, take the edge off, continue down a rollercoaster path of highs and lows that will exhilarate the senses and fill your world with shiny things.

Who is making these choices? It’s the mastermind. He was fed this idea of how can we turn this situation from a boring one, in to a fun one and from that day forward he took control. How can we evade these responsibilities and just do the bare minimum to keep the sharks at bay. Sadly, this is a formidable opponent because life is full of tactics and maneuvers that the mastermind can draw from. He will always find a way to keep the pleasure party going. Maybe not all day every day but long enough to where you can waste your entire life fighting off the responsibilities of manhood. Let someone else fight the lion. Have someone else sail off into the unknown. It’s not that we don’t like the idea of those things or the people who do engage in that behavior. Quite the contrary, the mastermind within us just thinks that we can outsmart them. We can have our cake and eat it too. Everyone else, centuries of humanity before us didn’t have the same tools that we have available to us today so that is why they were never able to crack the code. But this mastermind, has the right plan, he can whip up a plan better than anyone who’s ever attempted it before and keep the kool aid flowing forever.

Eventually, the walls start to crack, the flood happens, the fire gets too big and the chaos of the universe rears its ugly head. That’s why the mastermind has to die. He is always looking for a shortcut when we need someone who starts building the boat on a sunny day. He’s always looking for the easy exit, when we need someone to reinforce the walls every time they get a little weak. The pain free way to get what we want, when the person who learns how to deal with the pain everyday is always ready for the fight. He wants to not make this hurt when the real authentic self knows how to overcome it. Every opportunity to feel pain is ‘avoidable’ if he is at the controls. Just give him the reigns and watch how fast things can start to feel better. That works when times are good but when times get bad we need the leader who was disciplined all along.

This mastermind won’t go down easy. His whole purpose to strategize around obstacles to his mission. So he needs to be put squarely into focus. Watched like a hawk. And when the moment is right…when he leasts expects it…you need to kill him.

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Doing it yourself

Sometimes we feel like we don’t understand where to even start. So intimidating and confusing we just have no idea what we’re doing. It’s okay to be a fool. It’s okay to not know. Just keep pressing until something clicks. The magic comes from iterating on your knowledge. Learning from your mistakes. You may surprise yourself if you just jump into it. The urge to have the answer sometimes is a false harbinger of relief, because the real relief comes when you’ve learned something that no one can take away or charge you for ever again. Do it yourself. Pay the experts when you need an expert not when you just want the answer.

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Clear mind

Never know what the day will throw at you. One thing is for sure, it’s very easy to receive some bit of news that was unexpected and emotionally demanding. During these chaotic times, it’s important to practice having a clear mind to make these decisions. That practice can come in many forms, sometimes it’s meditation and prayer, sometimes it’s taking to a trusted family member or close friend, sometimes it’s talking with a complete stranger, whatever it happens to be if it’s a priority your future self will thank you for it.

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Clean early, clean often

As someone who admittedly is not a fan of “cleaning up,” I’ve been forced to clean a lot these past few months because of the pandemic. Having access to a regularly scheduled cleaning session has been challenging, eating out not as convenient so I’ve had to cook more, and overall living in the unit more requires more cleaning. Turns out if you make cleaning a part of your daily habit, it’s not as hard keeping things clean as the previous biweekly effort. The sum of all daily cleaning efforts and cost is less than the sum of all biweekly cleaning efforts and cost by a long shot.

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Explosive Gains

When assets gain in value by multiples of the original price, it’s usually because the public has mispriced or not properly anticipated the value creation moment. There could be a number of reasons for this, although the public seems convinced it’s usually based on random luck. While things appear to be arbitrary, it’s likely you may not be observing them from the right perspective. If you’re forcing a view that’s not there, the lesson could be very painful for you. On the other hand, if you don’t understand the view but can appreciate the momentum, you can capture a lot of the value. Humility is key.

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Catching Trains

There’s no number to text when you’re running late to catch a train. Some see this as a limitation of the service, but it is this very feature that makes them mostly dependable. Sacrificing your personal convenience for a collectively cheaper ride is a fair trade. Next time you’re running late to catch a train, remember what you’re giving up.

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