“He, who has a why to live for, can bear almost any how.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
If there is one big lesson I have learned in my life on how to get better at something (anything), it is that of asking questions…and a lot of them.
Now, asking questions does not come naturally to me. All my school and college life, I rarely asked questions for the fear of looking like a fool for the next five minutes.
Here is a wonderful thought from Anne Frank on the importance of asking questions from her Tales From the Secret Annex:
Ever since I was a little girl and could barely talk, the word ‘why’ has lived and grown along with me… When I got older, I noticed that not all questions can be asked and that many whys can never be answered. As a result, I tried to work things out for myself by mulling over my own questions. And I came to the important discovery that questions which you either can’t or shouldn’t ask in public, or questions which you can’t put into words, can easily be solved in your own head. So the word ‘why’ not only taught me to ask, but also to think. And thinking has never hurt anyone. On the contrary, it does us all a world of good.
Keep asking, you can find all the answers.
The Greek philosopher Socrates is considered to be one of the wisest person, he was one of the founders of Western philosophy. He however used to say: “I know one thing: that I know nothing”. (Source)
On the contrary, when we see the debates on electronic media or the posts of most people on social networking sites like Facebook, we find that these people are so sure of ‘what they know’ that they are not even willing to listen an alternative point of view.
We, therefore, wonder how a person who is treated by the world as the wisest person says that ‘he knows nothing’ while so many ordinary folks claim to have all the knowledge of the world.
Was Socrates lying; or was he just trying to be humble; or was he actually speaking the truth?
A lot of what we are ‘know’ may actually be useless for us unless we apply the triple filter test.
You can easily see that most of what is believed to be ‘knowledge’ is actually neither true, nor good nor even useful. Yet people are so proud having such knowledge that are busy convincing others that they have solutions of all the problems of the world.
Only an ignorant person can give a categorical reply to all questions of life. Most people believe that they can answer any question of life. It requires the wisdom of highest order to accept that you don’t know much about anything. Hence only a wise man can say these words “I don’t know”, while fools are answering all questions of life.
What makes Calvin & Hobbes the greatest ever is its ability to make you laugh and identify with it. What makes it one of the great treasures is its ability to invoke emotions that you never thought you’d spend on a comic strip.
One of the many Calvin and Hobbes comic strips that I love goes like this:
Calvin diligently studies his calendar. Hobbes stands beside Calvin, full of anticipation. Calvin says: “Well, let’s check my calendar and see what our schedule is for today. Today says do nothing. So does tomorrow and every day after…all the way through the end of August.”
I can‘t honestly remember the first time I read this strip of good news! But I do remember that it made me very, very happy and I wanted to join Calvin and Hobbes on their adventure of doing nothing.
Following are two more comics about doing nothing:
We are always busy doing things, sometimes one should just look at things and think about things without doing things.
I looks like a myth that in the olden days (about 3 decades back) , people used to spend their Free time enjoying the beauty of nature and appreciating the gift of life. There were less things to worry about and even less things to be afraid of.
In those days, people were mostly afraid of their death or the death of loved ones, now we are afraid of loosing job, house or cars.
Everyone is trying to get rich and successful. Let me give an inference from Calvin and Hobbes:
“I have no idea why human beings have developed all this technology to help them when all it does is make their lives busier. People are less patient now than they used to be 10 years ago. When computers were invented, if someone wanted to have their program executed, they had to use punched cards to have their program written. And very few people had computers, so they used to submit their decks of punched cards in offices that had computers. People had to wait for days to get solutions to their programs. Now that we have developed such high speed computers and super computers, even a few seconds of lag drives us insane. If human beings actually wanted to enjoy leisure, we never would’ve developed these machines. They delude us with the idea of making lives simpler when in reality, they are complicating it even more.”
We have no time to appreciate this life. We spent a lifetime trying to amass wealth that will last a lifetime. What we fail to realize is that our time in this world is limited. Why not do things that make us happy. Money is a small part of life. Travel, relax, have fun and live life.
It’s funny how day by day, nothing changes. But when you look back everything is different.
— Calvin & Hobbes
Two people sit opposed to each other. In between them is a cup:
One person argues: the handle is on the left. The other argues: the handle is on the right. Even when talking about a cup there can be disagreement.
Disagreement often rises from different points of view. Only when two people share the same point of view we could establish if one of them is wrong.
This reminds me of the story of the Blind men and an elephant, they all touch the same elephant but claim different qualities. One feels its tusk and says it’s like spear, another touches its legs and says it’s like a tree trunk.
This alludes to the many possible perspectives that are available to look at the exact same thing. Every perspective though is true but partial.
Integral theory (Ken Wilber) makes the attempt to create a framework which incorporates different perspectives. Someone can be looking at an idea from the inside (subjective), another person could be looking from the outside (objective) – who is right? They both could be to a certain extent.
So when two people disagree, it does not necessarily mean that at least one person has to be wrong – both can be right at the same time.
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know how to spend it.
Money can buy you better food, better medical care, more free time and more meaningful labor – so why does people with more money are not much happier than those who have less? Jennifer Aacker and Melanie Rudd of Stanford, along with Cassie Mogilner of Wharton provide an answer: they aren’t spending it right.
In an article in the latest issue of Rotman journal, the authors offer seven tips on how to wring more happiness out of your hard earned money.
- Spend on experiences like holidays instead of things like jewellery. Experiences are usually shared with people we love and they tend to be our greatest source of happiness.
- Buy many small pleasures instead of a few big ones.
- Don’t spend your hard earned money on extended warranties.
- Pay now and consume later. Delaying consumption provides the benefit of anticipation, which increases happiness.
- Remember that happiness is in the details, so a farmhouse in the hinterlands may not bring as much happiness as you might think if you factor in the inconveniences you have to put up with when living there.
- Beware of comparison shopping because it focuses your attention on attributes that are not always important for happiness.
- Spend money on others instead of yourself — it actually gets you more happiness.
When asked to take stock of their lives, people with more money report being a good deal more satisfied. But when asked how happy they are at any given moment, they are barely different from people with less. This suggests that money provides us with more happiness when we think about it, but not when we use it.
If Money Doesn’t Make You Happy, Consider Time
1st year students of MBBS were attending their 1st anatomy class. They all gathered around the surgery table with a real dead frog. The Professor started class by telling two important qualities as a Doctor. The 1st is that NEVER BE DISGUSTED FOR ANYTHING ABOUT BODY, e.g. He inserted his finger in frog’s mouth tasted it in his own mouth. Then he said them to do the same.
The students hesitated for several minutes. But eventually everyone inserted their fingers in frog’s mouth & then tasted it.
When everyone finished, the Professor looked at them and said: The most important 2nd quality is OBSERVATION, I inserted my Middle finger but tasted the Index finger. Now learn to pay attention.
Moral: Life is tough but it’s a lot tougher when you are not paying attention.