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The only technique to learn something new
By James Altucher
I had a friend who wanted to get better at painting. But she thought she had to be in Paris, with all the conditions right. She never made it to Paris. Now she sits in a cubicle under fluorescent lights, filling out paperwork all day.
Someone stole $90 million from a company I was involved in. I'm a poor judge of people. The company collapsed.
Some things I can't learn. I tend to like people too much.
So it's hard for me to be a good judge of people, no matter how much I try. So I find other people who are good at judging people and I ask them to help me.
Don't force yourself to learn something if you don't want to or it's not a natural talent.
What's the role of talent? Very small. But you have to start with it. Talent is the seed of skill.
How do you know if you are talented? If you loved it when you were ten years old. If you dream about it. If you like to read about it. Read the below and you'll know what you are talented at.
Trust me when I say: everyone is talented at many things.
￼ This story is from James Altucher's website. He let us it after we asked nicely.In the past 20 years I've wanted to learn how to do some things really well. Writing, programming, business skills (leadership, sales, negotiating, decision-making), comedy, games.
So I developed a ten step technique for learning.
1. LOVE IT.
If you can't start with "love" then everyone who does love will beat everyone who "likes" or "hates".
This is a rule of the universe. The first humans who crossed the arctic tundra from Siberia to Alaska in -60 degree temperatures had to love it. The rest stayed in the East Africa Savannah.
The very first day I wrote a "Hello, World" computer program I dreamed about computers. I woke up at 4am to get back to the "computer lab" and make even bigger programs.
When I first started to write every day, I would write all day. I couldn't stop. And all I wanted to talk about with people were different authors.
When I was 10 years old I wrote a gossip column about all my fellow 5th graders. I read every Judy Blume book. I read everything I could. I loved it.
Most of my friends got bored with me and soon I was very lonely. Except when I was writing.
2. READ IT.
Bobby Fischer wasn't that good at chess. He had talent but nobody thought much of him.
So around the age of 12-13 he disappeared for a year. He did this later in his 20s.
But at 13 when he came back on the scene he was suddenly the best chessplayer in the US, won the US championship, and became the youngest grandmaster in the world.
How did he do it? He barely played at all during his year of wandering.
Instead he did two things:
a) he studied every game played in the prior century. In the 1800s.
When he came back on the scene he was known for playing all of these antiquated openings but he had improvements in each one. Nobody can figure out how to defeat these improvements.
In fact, the final game of the World Championship many years later, in 1972 when he was playing Spassky, he brought out his 1800s arsenal to become World Champion.
Spassky desperately needed to win to keep the match going. Fischer needed to draw to win the title.
Spassky started with a very modern attacking opening ("The Sicilian") But then around 13 moves in, all of the commentators watching gasped.
Fischer had subtly changed the opening into an old-fashioned very drawish 1800s opening called "The Scotch Game." Spassky didn't have a chance after that.
b) He learned enough Russian to read the Russian chess magazines. At the time, the top 20 players in the world were all Russian. The Americans didn't really have a chance.
So Fischer would study the Russian games while all of the Americans were sitting around with openings and styles the Russians already knew how to defeat.
Consequently, when Fischer competed in the US championship in the early 60s it was the first complete shutout, all wins and not a single draw.
Studying the history, studying the best players, is the key to being the best player. Even if you started off with average talent.
3. TRY IT. BUT NOT TOO HARD.
If you want to be a writer, or a businessman, or a programmer, you have to write a lot, start a lot of businesses, and program a lot of programs.
Things go wrong. This is why quantity is more important than quality at first.
The learning curve that we all travel is not built by accomplishments. It's only built by quantity.
If you see something 1000 times, you'll see more than the person who sees the same thing only ten times.
Don't forget the important rule: the secret of happiness is not "being great" - the secret is "growth".
If you only "try" you'll get to your level that is natural for you. But growth will stop and you won't be happy.
4. GET A TEACHER (PLUS THE 10X RULE).
If I try to learn Spanish on my own, I get nowhere. But when I go out (and now marry) someone who is from Argentina, I learn more Spanish.
With chess, writing, programming, business, I always find someone better than me, and I set a time each week to ask them tons of questions, have them give me assignments, look over my mistakes and tell me where I am wrong.
For everything you love, find a teacher and that makes you learn 10x faster.
In fact, everything I put on this list, makes you learn 10x faster. So if you do everything on this list you will learn 10 to the 10th power faster than anyone else.
That's how you become great at something.
5. STUDY THE HISTORY. STUDY THE PRESENT.
If you want to learn how to be a GREAT programmer (not just good enough to program an app but good enough to be GREAT, study machine language.
Study 1s and 0s. Study the history of the computer, learn how to make an operating system, and Fortran, Cobol, Pascal, Lisp, C, C , all the way through the modern languages of Python, etc.
If you want to write better, read great books from the 1800s. Read Hemingway and Virginia Woolf and the Beats, and the works that have withstood the test of time.
They have withstood the test of time. versus millions of other books, for a reason. They are the best in the world.
Then study the current criticism of those books to see what you have missed. This is just as important as the initial reading.
If you want to study business, read biographies of Rockefeller, Carnegie, the first exchange in Amsterdam, the junk-bond boom, the 90s, the financial bust. Every Depression. All the businesses that flourished in every depression.
Read "Zero to One" by Peter Thiel. Watch "The Profit" on CNBC. Read about Steve Jobs. Read about the downfall of Kodak in "The End of Power".
Don't read self-help business books. They are nothing. You are about to enter a great field, the field of innovation that has created modern society. Don't read the average books that came out last year.
Step up your game and read about the people and inventions that changed the world into what it is today.
Read how Henry Ford had to start three car companies to get it right and why "three" was the important number for him.
Read about why Ray Kroc's technique for franchising created the world's largest restaurant chain. Read how the Coca-Cola makes absolutely nothing but is the largest drink company in the world.
Write down the things you learn from each reading.
6. DO EASY PROJECTS FIRST.
Tony Robbins told me about when he was scared to death on his first major teaching job.
He had to teach a bunch of Marines how to improve their sharpshooting. "I had never shot a gun in my life," he said.
He studied quite a bit from professionals but then he came up with a technique that resulted in the best scores of any sharpshooting class before then.
He brought the target closer.
He put it just five feet from them. They all shot bullseyes. Then he moved it back bit by bit until it was the standard distance.
They were still shooting bullseyes.
Richard Branson started a magazine before he started an airline. Bill Gates wrote BASIC before his team wrote Windows.
E.L. James (and yes, I'm including her) wrote Twilight fan fiction, before she wrote "50 Shades of Grey".
Ernest Hemingway never thought he could write a novel. So he wrote dozens of short stories.
Programmers write "Hello, World" programs before they make their search engines.
Many chess grandmasters recommend you study the endgame first in chess (when there are few pieces left on the board) before you study the other parts of the game.
This gets you confidence, it teaches subtleties, it gives you greater feelings of growth and improvement - all steps on the path to success.
7. STUDY WHAT YOU DID.
The other day I threw everything out. Everything. I threw out all my books (donated). I threw out all my clothes.
I threw out old computers. I threw out plates I never used. I threw out sheets I would never have guests for. I threw out furniture (four book cases) and my TV and old papers and everything.
I wanted to clean up. And I did.
I found a novel I wrote in 1991. 24 years ago. It was horrible.
For the first time in those 24 years, I re-read it. I studied what I did wrong (character unrelatable. Plot too obvious. Deus ex machina all over the place).
Someone told me a story about Amy Schumer, one of my favorite comedians. She videotapes all her performances.
Then she goes back to her room and studies the performance second by second. "I should have paused another quarter-second here," she might say.
She wants to be the best at comedy. She studies her every performance.
When I play chess, if I lose, I run the game into the computer. I look at every move, what the computer suggests as better, I think about what I was thinking when I made the bad move, and so on.
A business I was recently invested in fell apart. It was painful for me. But I had to look at it and see what was wrong. Where did I make a mistake. At every level I went back and wrote what happened and where I might have helped better and what I missed.
If you aren't obsessed with your mistakes then you don't love the field enough to get better.
You ask lousy questions: "Why am I no good?" Instead of good questions: "What did I do wrong and how can I improve?"
When you consistently ask good questions about your own work, you become better than the people who freeze themselves with lousy questions.
Example: I hate watching myself after a TV appearance. I have never done it. So I will never get better at that.
8. YOU ARE THE AVERAGE OF THE FIVE PEOPLE AROUND YOU.
Look at every literary, art, and business scene. People seldom get better as individuals. They get better as groups.
The Beats: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and a dozen others.
The programmers: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Ted Leonsis, Paul Allen, Steve Wozniak and a dozen others all came out of the Homebrew Club
The art scene in the 50s: Jasper Johns, De Kooning, Pollack, etc all lived on the SAME STREET in downtown NYC.
YouTube, LinkedIn, Tesla, Palantir, and to some extent Facebook, and a dozen other companies came out of the so-called "PayPal mafia".
All of these people could've tinkered by themselves. But humans are tribal mammals. We need to work with groups to improve.
Find the best group, spend as much time with them, and as a "scene" you become THE scene.
You each challenge each other, compete with each other, love each other's work, become envious of each other, and ultimately take turns surpassing each other.
9. DO IT A LOT.
What you do every day matters much more than what you do once in awhile.
I had a friend who wanted to get better at painting. But she thought she had to be in Paris, with all the conditions right.
She never made it to Paris. Now she sits in a cubicle under fluorescent lights, filling out paperwork all day.
Write every day, network every day, play every day, live healthy every day.
Measure your life in the number of times you do things. When you die: are you 2 writing sessions old? Or are you 50,0000?
10. FIND YOUR EVIL PLAN.
Eventually the student passes the master.
The first hedge fund manager I worked for now hates me. I started my own fund and his fund went out of business. My evil plan was ultimately to be better than him.
After all of the above, you find your unique voice. And when you speak in that voice, the world hears something it has never heard before.
Your old teachers and friends might not want to hear that voice. But if you continue to be around people who love and respect you, then they will encourage that new voice.
There's that saying, "there are no new ideas." But there are.
There are all the ideas in the past combined with the new beautiful you. You're the butterfly.
Now it's your turn to teach, to mentor, to create, to innovate, to change the world. To make something nobody has ever seen before and perhaps will never see again.
Let's hear a story then :D
It will be in DC universe. I will name this story- Superman: The Rise Of Indian Sun God
Okay, this is Earth 21 where Superman doesn't exist, atleast not yet :D
Let me start from the beginning. God wave is a cosmic force that came out of source wall to create new Gods and in the process creating other worldly God like Sun God Rao who later created earth and so many others planets in the universe and also was responsible for creating many Superheroes (meta humans) through out universe including earth.
Krypton was one of those Planet. Kryptonians at the beginning of their civilization were aware of Rao's presence but with times they forgot as Rao was disappeared from krypton. Noone knew Rao's presence or where would he be disappeared? As the time progress, Krypton became technologically superior planet in the universe. They soon thought Rao as another mythological superstition.
CC Batson and Marlyn Batson(incase you don't know they are parents of yet to born Shazam aka Captain Marvel aka Billy Batson) were world famous archeologist from America.
They came to India to research on old Konark's Temple in Orissa
They found a lot of wall drawings were similar to Australian aboriginal people's cave drawings about Sun God.
It was this mystery that got them hooked into this.
They were using some kind of radiation meter on the temple's wall. They were facinated to find out that it was giving same kind of radiation signal as it did in that Australian cave. But the difference was that in this case radiation levels were higher as if to say some kind of power source was inside the temple or under it.
Suddenly, an Indian police came running angrily and took their equipment from their hand and threw it away shouting, "Not permitted, not permitted"
CC said to him, "You aren't understanding, there's some of kind of power source under this temple....."
Indian Police said again, "Not permitted, go to the authority"
That equipment had electro magnetic system inside and as it clashed with temple's wall, it burst with strong electromagnetic waves of current.
It shook the ground.
The whole temple was shaking.
Suddenly, a bright light flew away towards sky by shaking everything.
It almost crashed into the sky and opened a portal or warm whole to a completely different part of universe, it came to planet Krypton and destroyed it's core and went inside the baby son of Jor El, the chief of science in krypton.
Jor El was shocked by this whole incident but was even more shocked looking the fact that Kal El was completely alright.
Suddenly, alarm bells were ringing.
Jor El found out that krypton was about to be destroyed.
Suddenly, he found out about the opened portal to another part of universe and also a blue planet, he sent an android robot to find out more.
In the meantime, everyone in krypton was looking for an way out but almost all the mother ship was destroyed.
One ship was remained which was owned by Jor El.
After getting all the necessary information about this blue planet called Earth, Jor El was preparing for departure with his wife and baby son but caught by other kryptonians.
But that mothership was limited, it couldn't take all the kryptonians so there was a huge battle between them, realising the eventual destruction of this mothership, Jor El send Kal El by small spaceship to earth as he knew Kal El would be able to survive in earth atmosphere infact he will be superior to local earth people because of their yellow solar system.
There was a small-town named Satyavila outside the metropolitan city Kolkata.
A couple (Jonardon Sen and Mitali Sen) was doing a picnic in jungle area outside locality as it was romantic. They were childless so they were very romantic to each other to fill the gap in their relationship.
Suddenly, they saw a bright light came from the sky and crashed into the jungle destroying a number of threes in the jungle.
Both of them went there to see what was going on and they saw a boy child was smiling towards them holding a huge tree easily overhead!!!!
They said to each other, "Oh! My God, that's not human!!!"
But looking at the innocent smile on that boy's face they decided to bring him their home while hiding his little spaceship in a nearby cave in that jungle.
They decided to bring him up as their own.
He was named Arkya Sen. Arkya realised when he was growing up that he wasn't like other teenagers. He had abnormal strength, speed, durability and so many other ability.
But Arkya never wanted to have any powers, infact he used to be scared so that no-one could find out that he was freak
So he put in that extra bit of effort not to look anything but a human and simultaneously avoided using any of his powers and he got used to that and almost pretend to forget that he had this unnatural abilities.
Arkya just wanted a normal life.
He used to go to school and had fun with his friends, played Cricket with his friends and liked a girl who just moved in next door with her family.
She was two years older than Arkya and adult 18 years old. And she already had a boyfriend. Her name was Sana Ang, a North East Indian.
Pritam Roy was the best friend of Arkya and both of them used to spend a lot of time together. Pritam didn't know about his best friend's secret though as Jonardon asked Arkya not to disclose his identity to anyone expecting public panic.
Pritam said to Arkya, ", Come on man, you are aiming for too high, she is way out of your league plus she is senior and already has a boyfriend"
Arkya said, "I know but I can't help it man, I am thinking about her all the time"
Suddenly Mitali asked Arkya to go to Sana's house to welcome them with some sweets.
Pritam said to Arkya with a canny smile, "Ha, ha, as if you were not looking for any opportunities to go there!"
Both of them went there and knocked on the door and door opened and they saw a smiling Sana opened the door while talking on her tablet.
Arkya quickly said, "My mother is welcoming you and your family to our neighborhood and this is some sweets"
Sana just smiled at them and asked them to come in and then called her mother and went to her room.
Both Arkya and Pritam were bored talking to Sana's mom.
Later Pritam said, "She didn't even look at us, man, she was busy talking in her phone, probably with that guy she was going out, you have got no chance"
Arkya said, "I know, we are just two kids to her so no wonder she won't even look at us, okay, I will try to forget about her"
In few months later-
There was a huge storm in Satyavila.
Sana's house was damaged because of that.
Arkya said to Jonardon, "Dad, I can help them"
Jonardon said, "Okay, do whatever you can do but be very careful, remember noone should see you"
Suddenly, Sana's mom and Sana saw a blur came and before they realised what was going on, they saw themselves in Sen house.
Sana and her mom was shocked and asked to them, "What's going on?"
Both Jonardon and Mitali said to them that their house was damaged and they were unconscious because of some kind of accident related to this disaster so they brought them their home, they just woke up.
Sana and Sana's mom found this unbelievable but could not find any other explanation either so they kind of reluctantly accepted this
Arkya was smiling.
This was the first time, Sana actually noticed Arkya.
She said, "Hi! You are so cute, Arkya is your name, isn't it?"
Arkya shook his head affirmatively
They talked for a while and had fun.
As the time was progressing Arkya was discovering his kryptonian abilities one by one, he even went to that jungle to that hidden space ship to find out more about his origin but couldn't find much unfortunately.
One day Arkya decided to experiment with his powers by going to the house roof but he instead saw Sana was crying in their house roof.
Arkya asked her what happened
Sana said that she just broke up with her boyfriend.
Even though he liked that news but instead put on sad face and decided to console her.
They were spending more time together from here on.
One day Sana asked to Arkya directly, "Do you have a crush on me?"
Arkya decided to tell her everything
Sana was shocked hearing this and she said with a nice smile, "From the first day!!! I am flattered but you are just 16 years old and I am two years older than you!! And I never saw you anything more than that, I am very sorry, Arkya, but let's be true friend first"
Arkya thought to himself, "Damn, friend-zoned!!! But hey, what else was possible!??!"
One day, when Arkya was in his space ship, he saw a signal in his space ship's interface that was coming from North pole
He used his superspeed and quickly ran towards North pole and reached there after a while.
He saw another huge mothership crashed there.
It was that Android mothership which was sent by Jor El to investigate on Earth
In there, Arkya first time learnt about his kryptonian origin and everything else that associated with it.
He found a kryptonian attire.
He realised that it was different from any earth cloth as wearing it didn't feel like it could burn out when he was running in superspeed.
He tested that theory and proved right.
A few years later-
One day the whole Sen family went to the vacation in Orissa.
Konark's temple was on their bucket list as tourist spot.
When Arkya entered the temple, he suddenly realised something different about him, as every part of his body was charged up.
He didn't stay there for too long as he asked his parents to move on from that place so they went to next tourist spot.
That incident didn't feel right with Arkya as he started to research on Konark's temple.
He realised that long before that temple was made, it was considered a holy place by the locals, a place where Sun God presided which was the belief of the local people, so when a king built this unique sun temple on that place, it quickly turned into a huge tourist spot in mordern era.
As he was trying find out more about his kryptonian origin from that Android mothership, he pressed a button falsely which opened a portal to another part of universe, it was called phantom zone, it was a prison for most notorious criminals in Krypton. A kryptonian mothership came out of that
It was the mothership of war mongering General Zod of kryptonian army who wanted all the power to himself so he was fighting a war against Kryptonian regime.
But he lost and sent in the phantom zone by Zor El with General Zod's huge army and his mothership.
They quickly realised that Krypton was completely destroyed but then he tried to find out who opened the portal of phantom zone, he quickly find out from his mothership that the signal came from another part of the universe.
Zod realised that there could be a Kryptonian connection so all hope wasn't lost, they quickly journeyed towards that source and they found out about earth.
After landing on earth, they realised that earth's atmosphere was making them Superhuman.
They quickly discovered that Android mothership in North pole but could not open as it was needed a DNA signature of Jor El and if he tired to force open the mothership, it will self destroy.
Zod didn't want that as there was a technology in that Android mothership which could terra form the whole earth into Krypton's design.
He wanted this out of pure nostalgia and superior feelings of being a Kryptonian as he hated earth and his local lesser human beings and most importantly they were finding it hard to adapt with earth's atmosphere so quickly as it was uncomfortable to them
He realised either Jor El or his off spring might be living here on earth masking as human as the android mothership was opened before.
He quickly took control of earth's communication system and announced to give him the kryptonian that was living on earth as human beings otherwise he would destroy one country after another and also announced that earth's nuclear warheads were ineffective against them as Earth had no defense against them.
Arkya realised just what was coming, he was very very scared as he never expected anything like this.
As an example, Zod ordered them to destroy Himalayan Mountains.
Realising that so many will be dead, Arkya quickly put on his kryptonian attire and evacuated everyone from nearby places and saw Himalayan Mountains were decimated by a ray from the mothership. He couldn't stop himself, he absorbed the ray by himself.
This is first time infront of everyone, the whole world, Arkya made his debut as the rest of world saw with disbelief as one guy in a blue tight absorbing some kind of otherworldly force. Every media's focus was on this incident.
Arkya jumped towards that ship and punched to the sky and it flew away by its impact towards the sky.
In the head office of ABP news media house in Kolkata, chief editor, Prithvi Das, ordered everyone to focus on this story as he asked his investigative journalist Luci Jain to investigate on this.
In the next day all the headline were saying the same thing about this "Superhuman the Superman"
General Zod realised from this defeat that he needed to be more calculative as earth's atmosphere made him a God.
He decided to find out more about this guy himself hiding himself as another human being.
He quickly realised that this guy was treated as God on Earth, he was pretending as some kind of Superhero.
Zod smiled to himself and said, "Enjoy while you can, I am quickly destroying your God play"
He quickly found out everything about Arkya and his earth found family, about Sana and everything else.
Zod realised that this guy had a lot of weakness as he attached himself too much with these earth beings.
He didn't waste time anymore and knocked on the Sen house's door and as Arkya opened the door, Zod smiled at him and said, "Are you done playing this childish Superhero bullshit? Because I don't have time for your childish whim, help me open that Android mothership and I will let you go and I could have taken you DNA signature any time I wanted but that's not my style and I have nothing to fear in this world"
Arkya was taken aback by all this and said, "You are the one who attacked earth, isn't it?"
Zod said, "So you have brains then, okay, I am going to be straight forward with you, I know everything about you, and if you don't give me what I want then I will kill everyone you hold dear"
Arkya punched towards Zod and Zod quickly avoided that and caught his punch easily and said, "Surprised!!! Initially, it took a little more time to adjust but now I am figuring it out, all of your power comes from earth atmosphere, the yellow solar system, ha, ha, now we all are Gods, you can't stop anything this time"
A huge battle was started which was loosing by Arkya as despite his superpower, he wasn't a trained soldier like General Zod.
Arkya lost this battle and said, ", I will never open that mothership, so fuck you"
General Zod said, "Ha, ha, I will take your dead body if that's what needed to be done" in saying this he was beating the shit out of Arkya.
General Zod said, "You are feeling good about yourself, isn't it? Ha, ha, let's see how tough you can be when it comes to others" in saying this he ordered one of his Soldier to bring Sana
Arkya said, "No!! Don't hurt her"
Zod said, "It's up to you"
Arkya said, "Fuck you"
Zod said, "Fuck me???!!! Fuck me???!!! Do you think I won't do it, you idiot..." in saying this he snapped the neck of Sana
Arkya was shocked out of his mind seeing his love's sorry demise
Water was coming down from his eyes, as he shouted with all of his emotions, every part of his body was angry, suddenly, he found himself flying and feeling all kinds of abilities and strength that he never knew existed.
Zod smiled and said, "So we can fly also!!? How wonderful!!! Good for us!!! Ha, ha, don't be so dramatic, just open the mothership"
Arkya attacked Zod with his full might and said, "You monster, you pushed me too far, now you will feel the consequences"
After a huge battle and a lot of destruction in which Arkya completely destroyed the kryptonian spaceship and was winning.
Zod said to his army, "This is no joke, attack him together and hold him down" as they were also adapting to earth's atmosphere and discovering about their new found abilities.
Forty something Kryptonians hold Arkya down and Zod came smiling and came close to him and said, "You idiot, you are not some kind of Superhero to us, we are all kryptonians, we are all Gods here, you thought you can take a whole kryptonian army by yourself, you dumb idiot"
Arkya was like wild animal in a cage, he looked at Zod with tremendous anger and suddenly a ray beam came out of his eyes and damaged Zod's eye.
He flew away holding Zod and came to Konark's temple thinking that when he was last time here, he was feeling weak and uncomfortable, he was hoping for similar things to Zod as well
But in reality, things didn't turn out that way
as quickly Zod's eye was regenerating.
Zod smiled and said with tremendous arrogance, "This is the best you can do, you dumbass, you are going to die today"
Arkya was feeling helpless and weak in Konark's temple but Zod was completely unaffected.
He came to Arkya and took his heart out and said, "You Stupid arrogant fool, you gave your lives for these lesser beings, you deserve to be dead"
As Zod was preparing to use the heart of Arkya to open the mothership by using its DNA signature
Suddenly, he heard a familiar tone, "I think it's time for you to get back wherever the hell you came from"
Zod looked behind and saw Arkya was standing in the air and bright lights were coming out of his body. His eyes were white.
Zod said, "More new powers, I presume, good for us then"
Arkya smiled and said, "I don't think so, monster, you will find this quite surprising" in saying this he moved so fast and snapped Zod's neck and ripped apart every part of Zod's body and looking at Arkya and the horrible demise of Zod, their general, the kryptonian army flew away towards space and Arkya was feeling very tired, he became unconscious
When he woke up, he saw a huge tree like figure standing in front of him and said, "Never use this kind of cosmic power again, it can destroy earth itself, if you do I am going to be standing in your way"
Arkya saw himself in his normal state and asked about his identity
He said, "I am the God of green, I am known as Swamp Thing in the mythology, you attracted my attention as I normally don't concern myself with meta alien superhuman like yourself but you turned out to be quite different than that, you are a demi God, you have Sun God Rao's blood flowing in your vains, I believe you are last sole survival of that bloodline, you activated it's power when you were in Konark's temple, it was where Rao was resting for so many years, you will never use this power again, you could destroy universe with these powers" in saying this Swamp Thing disappeared
As Superman became more and more popular as he not only saved the earth from alien attack but also helped build the cities again and repaired all the damage
Jonardon and Mitali, both said to Arkya, "What are you going to do now, Arkya? Everyone saw your face now, it will be hard for you live now among us"
Arkya smiled and said, "Don't worry, I discovered another power of mine in which I can shape shift my appearance just enough to look completely different from my normal Superman avatar, I will remain in this look as Arkya Sen and when I have to be Superman, I will shape shift myself to my original look, by the way, I am applying for a new intern job in Kolkata in ABP newspaper under Lucy Jain"
Both of them said, "We are giving our blessings, Arkya, not that you needed it, stay safe, we are extremely proud of you, my son"
Arkya said to them, "Your blessings are more valuable to me than Sun God's bloodline, so keep giving me those, I will always be needing those" in saying this he flew away towards big metropolitan City Kolkata.
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Gita on Character Building
Human body is only for attaining God (Paramatma). etc. Therefore, if one becomes determinate on the one aim of God Realization, then man will turn towards God. On turning towards God, good qualities-good conduct come on their own, and character building begins to take place. However, if man forgets about God Realization, and begins to hoard worldly possessions and enjoy sense pleasures, then he falls down in character. He who loses his character, is not even worthy and deserving of being called a man.“Par drohee par daar rat par dhan par apabaad |Te nar paanvar paapamai deha dhare manujaad ||(Manas 7/39)Bhagavad Gita’s entire spiritual instructions are for building character. Previously, Arjuna’s sentiment was to fight the war, therefore he invited Lord and accepted Him in the form of a charioteer and became ready to enter the battlefield to fight. However, Lord’s intent was to see to Arjuna’s eternal good (salvation). Arjuna said that place the chariot in-between both the armies so that I can see who is present to fight me with both hands. The Lord, did exactly as told and placed the chariot right in between both the armies and said, that see the members of the Kuru dynasty (1/21-25). On hearing the word, Kuru dynasty, Arjuna suddenly became conscious of his family, affiliated with his body. He became frightened by the thought that all of them will die and thus turning away from his duty, said – I will not fight. To turn away from one’s duty is the main obstacle in character building. The Lord said – O’ What are you doing? It is your duty to fight, therefore giving up attachment and cowardliness, stand up to fight (Gita 2/2-3).It is only to engage man in the path of duty that Bhagavad Gita manifested. It is only in renouncing your rights and properly performing your duties that character is developed, whereas on neglecting your duties the character is destroyed. God says – “Na tvevaaham jaatu naasam….” (Gita 2/12) - Here the Lord begins His spiritual instructions and first deliberates on the body and the indweller, the perishable and imperishable. The point is that leaving aside (not paying attention to) the perishable things, pay attention to the imperishable. By doing so, character building takes place.There is one very important point, that when the aim is of the imperishable, the perishable things will come on their own. You will not have to undergo suffering for them. But if the aim and focus is of the perishable, the imperishable essence will not be attained, and one will have to worry and make an effort for the perishable. And further ahead Lord says, that see toward one’s innate duty, therefore it is only beneficial to fight the war of righteousness for a Kshatriya. (Gita 2/31). The point is that it is only by fulfilling duty that man progresses, and by going towards non-duty he takes a fall. The main thing in fulfilling one’s duty, is to renounce desires, proprietary interest and attachment. The meaning of renouncing these is that one should not have the aim of “jada”, the inert (insentient). Previously the body etc. were not ours, later on as well, they will not remain ours and at present too they are separating from us every single moment. If this kind of alertness is awakened then the aim will not be of the inert and the senses, the inner faculties will be restrained and controlled on their own. In self-control itself is the building of character. In lack of control and lack of restraint, progress is curtailed and with that the character falls.In the beginning of the third Chapter, Arjuna asks that why are you engaging me in these most sinful acts? Lord says – though these appear to be very sinful on the surface, than too one must fulfill their duties by giving up selfishness, proprietary interest, egoism, and desires. By doing so, the dreadfulness does not remain, only the action remains. Actions can be various according to one’s varna (order of life) and ashram (stage in life), but the terribleness, the filth, the passion , all lead to one’s downfall, and it arises due to desires. Keeping desires in the forefront if one reads and shares with others the spiritual messages (with the aim of money or other things), it is considered demoniac tendency and one cannot escape sins; even on listening and sharing spiritual truths, good character cannot be developed because desire is the root of all sins (Gita 3/37). However, if the aim is God, then even though engaged in worldly duties and activities, then too good character will come in them. Therefore, in the third chapter, Lord gives great emphasis on renouncing desires and doing one’s duty. Similarly, in the fourth chapter it has been said that when there is no desires, when there is no sense of pride in doership, then all actions become inactions, in other words, even while doing karma, man is not bound; because his aim is to go towards God. In the fifth chapter also says to fulfill one’s duty -Yuktah karmaphalam tyaktvaa shanatimaanoti naishthikim |Ayuktah kaamkaarena phale sakto nibhadhyate || (Gita 5/12)“He who is a Karmayogi, who by abandoning attachment to the fruit of action, attains everlasting peace (God Realization); whereas, he who acts with a selfish motive, being attached to the fruit of actions through desire acquires bondage.” Fruits (objects) are the kind that will be born and will later perish, but the desire for them is what is binding. Desire makes one fall in character. When character takes a fall, there is lack of peace and whereas building character, one attains peace. The moment there is ill feelings in the mind, one experiences lack of peace. And the moment there is good feelings within, peace immediately follows.If you are attentive, then it is every man’s experience that the more that he renounces the perishable, that much peace, joy, equanimity, good qualities, continue to come in him and the more that he desires the perishable things, that much lack of peace, discord, anguish, burning infliction, and bad qualities arise.In the sixth chapter also, it has been said to engage in God having “That” as the aim. That God is present and pervading everywhere. He who sees Me (the Universal Self, God) present in all beings and sees all beings existing in Me (Paramatma), I am never out of sight for him, nor is he ever out of my sight.Yo maam paschyati sarvatra sarvam cha mayi pashyatiTasyaahum na pranashyaami sa cha mein na pranashyati || (Gita 6/30)That man who sees other’s sorrow and happiness as his own happiness and sorrow, he is an eternal yogi -Aatmoupamyena sarvatra samam pashyati yorjuna |Sukham va yadi vaa dukham sa yogi paramo matah || (Gita 6/32)He who has the sentiments - Let there be no sorrow such a one attains God (Paramatma tattva). How can the suffering of all come to an end? How can all be happy? One who has such sentiments - their character is the highest of all. Further when the conversation lead to bringing the mind under control, then the Lord revealed about study and practice “abhyaas” and detachment “vairaag” (Gita 6/35). In other words, there too the talks are about removing the mind from the world, and engaging it in God. When talking about progress in the life beyond this world, there too the same has been intellect is only in God, he is considered the best among the yogis (Gita 6/47). He who walks the path of God, if his spiritual practices comes to an end in the middle and he dies then too he will be benefited, he will attain misfortune (Gita 6/40). Those who do work for the welfare of all, even if their work is left incomplete, he will be benefited. He whose mind and It is only eminent to be engaged in God.He who is not devoted to God, God calls him an evil doer (Gita 7/15) and he who is devoted to God, he is called virtuous (Gita 7/16). The point is that he who walks the path towards God are called virtuous and benevolent, and he who walks the path of the world is called an evil-doer. Further ahead it is said that he whose actions are pure, whose character is great, they become unyielding in their spiritual pursuits and do worship and devotion of God (Gita 7/28).
In walking the path towards God, remembrance is the key point. In the beginning of the Eight Chapter, on questioning by Arjuna, the Lord said that he who leaves this body while remembering Me, he attains Me - of this there is no doubt. (Gita 8/5).
Because whatever the sentiments and feelings that are recollected at the time of leaving the body, that alone he attains. (Gita 8/6) Therefore God says, that keep in mind and remember Me at all times - “Sarveshu kaaleshu Maamanusmara” (Gita 8/7). Then God said something extra-ordinary that he who remembers Me at all times, for him I am easily attainable.
Anayacheta satatam yo maam smarati nityasah |
Tasyaham sulabh paarth nitya yuktasya yoginah || (Gita 8/14)
To remember God is a divine trait. It is innateness the root of good character. The meaning of being in remembrance of God is - that remembering and recollecting the innate relation that we have with God, that very relationship, is the one only real relationship. I do not have a relationship with the world. I have only assumed a relationship with the world, therefore this relationship does not last. It is clearly seen that the relationships we have in this birth, they were not there in the previous birth, and they will not be there in the next birth. In the same way this world is constantly changing, but God is the same, as Is, and I myself am also the same. Therefore my relationship with Paramatma is eternal. Remembering this itself is recollection and remembrance (smruti). Thinking can also be of the world, but “smruti” can only be of God. On having such recollection and remembrance, good character is axiomatic.
He who is inclined towards God, becomes the best of all. There is greater gains among those who walk the path of God with aim of God, than the gains that come from Vedas (holy texts), sacrifice, austerities, charity, visiting holy places, fasting etc. (Gita 8/28).
Therefore inclination towards God is considered to to be the sovereign of sciences (king of all knowledge), most mysterious, supremely holy, most excellent, directly realizable, endowed with virtues, very easy to practice and imperishable (Gita 9/2). God finds Himself to be so easy to attain, that “he who with devotion offers a leaf, a flower, a fruit, water etc. I partake in that thing., (Gita 9/26). Therefore, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice (yajna), whateer you bestow as a gift, whatever you do by way of penance, dedicate it all to Me, then you will be freed from bondage of actions having good and bad results; and freed from them you yourself having completely surrendered shall attain Me (Gita 9/27 – 28).
Whether a man is evil or good – he must not worry. The main point is that that he is engaged in God. On becoming engaged in God, his bad conduct cannot last. He can very quickly become righteous and he attains eternal peace (Gita 9/30-31) . Women folks, Vaisyas, Sudras, and even those that are born of sinful wombs taking refuge in Me, attain the Supreme God. (Gita 9/32-33). However many different “jaatis” that are present, of these externally there is the separation due to nature, but from within all are a part of God. Therefore in worldly relations, the importance is of conducting one’s self according to one’s “Varna,” but in the path of spirituality, there is no importance of “varna” etc. because in the form of divinity (being a part of God), every one’s true nature is pure and all are equally entitled to God. God says, that “Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, adore Me, prostrate to Me, thus making yourself steadfast in Me, and entirely surrendering to Me, you will reach Me.” (Gita 9/34). The point of all this is that only be engaged in Me.
In the tenth chapter on Arjuna’s pleading, God described His super human powers and His Universal form. The essence of what He said - “I am all pervasive in the World. Wherever you see something extra-ordinary, (glorious, brilliant, powerful), know it to be a manifestation of a spark of My splendor” (Gita 10/41). That specialty is due to Me alone. The point is that wherever whatever you find brilliant, abundant, remarkable, there too, the sight should turn towards God. There after he says “what is the reason for you to gain detailed knowledge? I stand supporting the entire Universe, with a single fragment of Myself.” (Gita 10/42) On hearing this, Arjuna, desired to see that Universal Form of the Lord, in Whose single fragment is the entire Universe. The Lord bestowed Arjuna with “divya chakshu” (special divine vision) to behold this sight. * On seeing the divine vision, Arjuna became perplexed, became filled with fear, became charmed. Then God said that this is your foolishness. I am the same One, then why are you fearful?
In the twelfth Chapter, Arjuna asked “he who worships the Imperishable and the Unmanifest and he who worships God with attributes (bhaktimarg), which of the two are better versed in yoga? (Gita 12/1). The path of the Imperishable, Unmanifest (jnana marg), are using their own effort, but in the path of “bhakti” the dependence is on only God. In the path of the Imperishable, divine attributes, discrimination and detachment etc. have to be acquired, but in the path of devotion, on taking refuge in the Lord, divine qualities, good attributes and conduct are automatically and naturally acquired (Gita 12/7). Therefore God says that “you give your mind and intellect to Me alone, there upon you will live in Me alone.” (Gita 12/8). God says - the devotee who is living in Me alone, is most dear to Me. As such, all the beings are dear to God, but he who takes refuge in God, he is most dear to God. Simply by being devoted and engrossed in God, good qualities and conduct come on its own, without any effort.
In the thirteenth Chapter, God describes the path of knowledge (of the Imperishable), and while he describes good qualities such as “absence of pride” (amaanitva) etc., he brings up “Unswerving Devotion to Me with sole dependence on Me alone” – ”Mayi chaananyayogen bhaktiravyabhichaarini” (Gita 13/10). In the Fourteenth Chapter also there is talks about devotion “bhakti” - “He who worships Me with unadulterated devotion, rises above the three modes and becomes eligible, for attaining Brahma”. (Gita 14/26). It is only due to affinity with attributes (gunas) that demonaic traits are born, due to which births in higher and lower forms take place. On walking the path of Divinity (God), one rises above the three modes.
In the fifteenth chapter God reveals His extra-ordinary glories and radiance and says that I am the Supreme Personality (Supreme Soul) over both the “Insentient” (Perishable) and “Sentient” (Imperishable Embodied Soul). (Gita 15/16-18). He who knows Me as the Supreme Personality, the Highest Person, is “sarvavid” the knower of all, and he worships Me, with all his being. (Gita 15/19). Divine traits naturally manifest in him who is devoted to Me and worships Me. Therefore in Sixteenth Chapter, God gives the description of “Divine Traits”. But, he who has become distant from God, who only wants to nourish his own body, to engage in sense enjoyments and in hoarding, demoniac tendencies manifest in him. God elaborates at great length those demoniac traits in the Sixteenth Chapter. He says, Divine traits leads to liberation, whereas Demoniac traits lead to bondage. (Gita 16/5), and such a person attains birth through 8.4 million different wombs (Gita 16/19) and goes to hell. (Gita 16/20).
In the Seventeenth Chapter, the Lord describes the three modes - of goodness (sattvic), passion (rajasic) and ignorance (tamasic). Even on seeing this, the goodness and divine sentiments are among those that have a disinclination for the world and inclination towards God. They rise above the sentiments of passion and ignorance. Thus those who perform the acts of sacrifice, penance and various acts of charity for God, then such acts are of the mode of goodness and they are liberating. (Gita 17/25). However if they are done for the world, i.e. with aim of honor, fame, pleasure, rest and relaxation etc. and sacrifices, austerities, charity etc. done with negligence and ignorance, then they become of the mode of passion and ignorance.
In the Eighteenth chapter, God elaborates in great detail, Sanyaas (Sankhyayoga) and “tyaag” (Karmayog). In the end God concludes that leave dependency of all dharmas, and only take refuge in Me.
“Sarvadharmaan parityajya maamekum sharanam vraja |
Aham tvaa sarvapaapebhyo Mokshayishyami maa suchah || (Gita 18/66)
All the work in the world, all accomplishments, all progress, all is encompassed in that one – “sharanagati” (taking refuge in the Lord”. God says that all the sins that are there, evil qualities and conduct, I will free you from these. You do not worry. By My grace, the divine traits will come naturally, on their own.
Just as a child that stays in his mother’s lap, gets provided for, is nourished, taken care of and he grows, similarly, on taking the refuge in the Lord, all the good traits and conduct will come unknowingly. Building of character will take place on its own.
In this manner, in the entire Gita if one sees then there is only one point - walking the path towards God, i.e. becoming inclined towards God. The aim of going towards the Lord is itself an aid in preventing the fall of one’s character. All evil qualities and conduct come from desire for sense pleasures and hoarding. Of this, the importance of money and dependence on it, leads to the worst downfall. By this, man’s character goes down. When character takes a fall, people talk ill of him and he is dishonored.
A man who has fallen in character, he is lower than even animal and those dwelling in hell; because animal and hellish ones are suffering the consequences of their past actions, and are moving towards human birth, but by incurring sins, a characterless man, is moving towards animal life and hell! Association of such men is the kind that will lead to downfall. Therefore it is said -
Baru bhal baas narak kar taataa |
Dusht sang jani deyi bidhaataa || (Manas 5/46/4)
Therefore for improving your character, become inclined towards God, that is – I am God’s and God is mine. I am not this world’s, the world is not mine.
The mistake that man makes is that which is not his, those thing that belong to the world, he considers them as his own, and that which is actually his, i.e. God, he does not accept as his own. As such, if it is seen, the things of the world are his only for proper use. But for himself, God is his very own. Because the things belong to the world, therefore they have to be offered to the world for serving and man himself is God’s, therefore he must surrender himself to God. Neither he has to take anything from the world, nor does he have anything to take from God. If something is to be taken, then let that be God Himself.
By desiring things of the world, one establishes a relationship with the world. Desire arises from attachment, i.e. desire arises by considering the body, wife, son, wealth, etc. as mine. Now if we think and accept the body, wife, son, wealth etc. as our own, can we say we have an independent right over them? Can we keep them as long as we like? Can we stay with them forever? If the answer is No! Than what is the difficulty in getting rid of the sense of mine-ness? By leaving the erroneously accepted sense of mine, desires will not arise. When desires do not arise, automatically there will be a feeling of mine-ness with God; because God is eternally ours from time immemorial and God is ever-attained. On having sense of mine-ness with God, feelings and conduct will be purified.
Body, wife, son, wealth, house, various possessions, are they real or unreal – this doubt may arise, but our relationship with them is unreal, of this there is no possibility of doubt at all. On knowing the unreal as unreal, the unreal relation is renounced very easily and on becoming inclined towards God, the eternal relationship with God is automatically awakened. Thereafter good character and conduct comes on its own and man becomes a role-model of good character, in other words, his character becomes one that is worthy of respect.
Yadyadaacharati shreshthasttdevetaro janah |
Sa yatpramaanam kurute lokastdanuvartate ||
Whatever an ideal person does, he is followed by others, as well. Whatever standard he sets, the world follows the same.”
A person of good character is never dependent. An ideal person is entirely independent, capable, eligible and entitled.
Narayana ! Narayana !! Narayana !!!
From "Kalyaan Path" in Hindi by Swami Ramsukhdasji
Never In My Wildest Dreams
You came into my world like high beams on some two lane highway in the middle of a desert night; just as I lost the fight between thirty more miles and pulling over for a nap until sunrise. Fracturing my momentary dream into a million pieces of panic and surprise as your light burned through the lids of my eyes and your horn’s noise grabbed at nerves that shook my insides alive.
I remember the giant halo of your glow and light coming head on, the fog in my brain was overwhelming, as muscle memory spurred both hands and they registered on the wheel. My grasp was wrapped tight and pulled sharply, sending me into a wrenching swerve; a sudden desperate attempt to avoid our impending collision, as you careened head long my way. In the moments that came, I couldn’t tell if you were slowing or attempting to avoid the obstruction of my vehicle that had wondered into your lane. I only knew the fear as my life flashed before my frozen, bulging eyes. I felt my knuckles strain, threatening to rip flesh, as they pulled against the tension of my grasp on the wheel.
I remember feeling my knee slam under the dash as terror took me and I over compensated. With pang in knee, I stabbed my foot back down at the break. I remember the feeling of gravity shift as my vehicle began to swerve and my body flatten into the door panel as I began the fight to regain control of my vehicle, careening down that lonely highway.
I remember my body recognized and felt something I couldn’t have truly felt. At least something felt different, this specific time, than any other before or after. Both the fear of loosing control and this new feeling are forever linked somehow. It was something I felt as my shoulder pressed into the drivers side door panel: the feel of the gravel beneath my tires, not in the normal sense of peeling out, or hot rodding around a turn, or when you are navigating a gravel incline and a tire slips, spinning a bit. But, I remember feeling every, single, piece, of gravel, as my tires slid over them, like they were brail desperately attempting to be read by someone with an untrained hand.
And suddenly, I remember, I was fighting gravity to avoid being thrown into the empty passenger seat next to me; with the dutiful assistance of my seat belt I remained square in seat. By this point my perspiration was beading at my brow and my palms were slick and damp. The smell filling my nose was terrible: rubber skidding across tar and the metal chemical burn of clutch mixed with burning metallic fumes of locked, red hot breaks. The noxious smoke produced from the instant tire tread wear of tires attempting to grapple with the texture of pavement at sixty miles per hour and the dust thrown up from the narrow desert road was thick in the air as my vehicle began to spin violently. This must have been one of my wildest dreams.
Your tail lights passed by my view out the front windshield a few times before I came to a slow, lazy roll backwards, eventually coming to a halt on the pavement; vision now dizzy and disoriented. My motion had not stopped however. The spinning had turned my head into one of those twirling carnival rides and transformed my extremities into shaking nerve noodles, who’s vibration emanated from my core.
Regaining my composure, I found myself immediately worried about who I had almost collided with and what state they were in; my concern seemingly met with reply as your hazard lights lit up from the tail lights of your vehicle ahead. I remember blood pumping in my temples as I raced toward your vehicle, grateful to be alive, and grateful you were still on the road and in one piece as well. Closing the distance to your flashing hazards just hoping you were okay. I felt embarrassed and foolish for putting myself, and you, at risk not stopping a few miles back. I prayed you were not scared or upset with me. Not knowing what to expect as I slowed to a jog nearing your vehicle, I took in the details of the multiple spins my vehicle completed as it whipped round and round directly down the center of the highway. I took in the sight of fresh tread on the pavement left by my tires, scrawled like a signature of some artist signing their work of near miss.
I remember as I looked up again to where your vehicle had come to a stop, that you too where now running my direction. As we approached each other I could tell we both did a quick visual assessment of each other, our vehicles, the tire tread scrawl on the road. We asked each other if the other was okay and learned no harm had come to the other other than shaken nerves and a bit of embarrassment on my part.
I remember hearing your laugh for the first time as we sat on the side of that highway in the middle of the night and lost track of time. We talked about everything, and nothing, as we watched the stars and smiled at each other honestly. Morning came faster than either of us expected announcing it’s a rival gloriously. The sunrise was exceptionally beautiful that morning. As we peacefully watched, finally pausing in conversation for the first time since we met, we took in it’s orange, blue, yellow, and pink shifting colors sharing glances at each other now and then, smiles and blushing cheeks as we did.
As the morning sun’s heat set upon our skin and the brightness of the desert view began to become overwhelming you turned to me with a smile. I remember taking your business card and the electricity fire through my fingertips as our hands touched for the first time.
Your touch felt so exotic then, like some distant land I had read a million books about and knew every detail of but had only learned from in the texts written in those pages. I imagine I looked like an adventurer, captivated and in awe, as they stepped of an old steam engine train onto a new landscape. Amusing the locals watching a new traveler standing starstruck seeing, smelling, and feeling the foreign environment they had read so much about but were only experiencing in person for the first time.
As I put your business card into my wallet, so many unknown feelings and pressing questions that I wanted to ask you were coming to my head fighting each other for place in line and internally pleading for one more second of your time. They were interrupted by one major new question I hadn’t considered so distracted by my internal conflict.
When would I would see you again? This question was followed by an even larger: Would I see you again? I was so caught off guard at their staggering weight I remember feeling intimidated by how much it meant to me. I chickened out. I didn’t ask and though in that moment didn’t know what to do with myself, or my shaken emotions, as we said our good byes.
Before you turned to depart I managed to make sure you too had my number and awkwardly, shuffled back, half facing you, half trying to walk away. I could tell you noticed in the words your smile always seemed to hold.
I remember you driving away and the stress I felt realizing we were going in opposite directions for the first time since we met and how something immediately felt missing in my world. I remember kicking myself not wanting to end up just some guy who you met and called you down the road or being just a story of a time you almost got hit head on by some guy in the middle a desert one night. A bit late, but just in time, I buckled my seat belt and decided not to become that guy. I threw my vehicle in drive and accelerated after you. Headed in your direction for the first time.
My heart raced as I drove fast to catch up to your vehicle once again and as I pulled up behind you, obnoxiously got your attention with my horn and the flashing of my lights. I couldn’t believe I had chased after you like a crazy! What would you think of this? Was I crazy?
As you stepped out of your vehicle your beauty was staggering and I confidently acknowledged, almost applauded myself; I had made the right decision. I jogged up to you on the pavement of that two lane highway and blurted out “When will I see you again?!”. Your laugh told me everything as it often did, I would learn.
I canceling my plans, my new job would have to wait, or I’d find a new one when I got to my destination. I suddenly had you placed at the center of my life’s main screen and didn’t for one second consider what else was on outside in my periphery. Everything seemed like it mattered just a little bit less than the focus my mind found when trained on you. I spent the day with you, headed in your direction. We played, both lost in the world together, on a new adventure, and loving every moment of it.
By that evening I was already in love, and knew it as for the first time I watched the sunset reflect forever in your eyes. I will never in my wildest dreams forget your smile when I admitted my love to you as we watched those stars again, together, that second night.
I also remember how we really met, and this isn’t it! Not even close! But it sure could have been. I mean, some things are similar to how we met all those years ago. You do remember don’t you?
The night we first met we were hurling in each other’s direction at a million miles per hour and barely missed colliding. That near miss put us into permanent dance as we orbited each other - dancing in and out of each other’s life, always friends, lovers, strangers, family; whatever we needed to be for the other at that specific moment in time. The first night we met I knew I had met the most amazing woman and I couldn’t believe that I had finally found you; never in my wildest dreams did I think you were really out there.
We did watch the stars and talked until the sun came up. We also spent the next day playing together and I really did watch the sunset reflect forever in your eyes. I did fall in love with you, only immediately, almost at first sight.
My love switch flipped the very moment you said “Hiiii” that way you did. Your mysterious brown eyes - strands coloring them wonderful, as your cheeks smiled for days. They reached into me latching onto my heart and I did not resist the comfort of your grasp. There was just something so familiar in the way you drew me in and made a place for me in your world. I felt like I had seen this smile of yours before somewhere and it belonged right after that “Hiiii”, and right in front of me. There was also something so familiar in the way you said my name, always smiling, you giggled a lot more back then.
I chased after you and that smile, following the echoes of that giggle from that moment on without any regret and loved every moment you chased me back laughing as we played. I remember how grateful I was getting to know you, and how grateful I always will be to have spent all the moments we shared through the years, building our story. The rest of that story and how we really first met is ours. A story to be remembered another time I think.
I remember the many other things that are similar in the story I have told but happened completely differently, to a completely different moment, in a completely different part of our story that I’d like to share in this letter to you. I think it is supposed to help...telling you these things, we always shared our deepest feelings with each other and It’s hard holding them all by myself. I’m working on it, love, I promised. Writing these letters to you and the chapters of our time together contained within.
In this part of our story, the true part of this story, and part of our chapters I’m sharing in this letter is a moment where I remember a collision that happened head on and it all started with a phone call.
I remember we were both asleep at the wheel and wholly unprepared as I raced down the highway to you. I remember how sudden the impact came after I reached your side. I remember the pain and jarring as your light in my world, that light that engulfed my vision completely, was in a moment no longer present. I remember my confusion as my momentum came to a complete, and immediate, stop. I remember that I didn’t even have time to scream or brace myself as everything in my world shattered in a devastating explosion and all it’s shiny pieces showered into the air around me. I remember that I didn’t even have both hands on the wheel as my life turned upside down. I remember that there was no seat belt to fasten me in as my breath choked in my throat, stalled, as if suspended mid air.
I remember the look, taste, sound, smell, touch, and feeling of every, single, thing, in that hospital room. I remember the smell of my tears in your hair. I remember how soft your skin was and that your fingernails were not painted like they normally were as I held your hand. I remember the feeling of my nerves as they achieved complete pandaemonium within me. I remember I was trembling as I struggled to breath between crying, then breathing, then crying, tasting the snot running from my nose mixed with the salt that clung to my face as I sat at your side. I remember hearing the sobs in the room as your heart rate monitor stopped blinking. I remember that exact moment you left me. I remember all of the feelings I felt at that moment as my emotions burned deep within and imprinted them as if by brand, permanently emblazoned on my soul. I remember not having the words for them then and I still do not have words for them now.
I remember every single detail, reflected in the pieces of my world as they crashed to the polished surface of the tiny room’s grey and white checkered tile floor. I remember that for the first time in a long time we were no longer running toward each other, or in the same direction together, and you weren’t there to make sure I was okay. I remember praying that you would be okay but my heart didn’t hear the echo of yours anymore to be sure. I remember hoping you were not lonely just minutes after you left and began crying: differently, because I didn’t know how to be there for you like I promised I always would be. I remember wanting so badly to chase after you, especially in the months that followed your funeral to keep that promise I made. I remember wanting to make sure you weren’t alone and be by your side as you took off on this new adventure to make sure you got under way okay. I remember trying to lighten my mood and joke about you making a new friend jealous, telling them about a guy that loved you unconditionally in another life. But, I remembered I could not chase you this time; I couldn’t be there to hold you if you happened to fall in love with him and he broke your heart. There was no catching up to you minutes down the road, just to see your smile again and hear you laugh at me for being silly. There was no way to pick you up off the ground and piece your heart back together with pieces of mine if it was broken this time.
I can only hope you receive all the letters like this one and that you are able to answer my call when I get home. We can meet in the middle of some two lane highway in the clouds, talking about life down below, or everything, or nothing, and laugh at the concept of time.
I can’t wait for that moment I see you again and we can remember all the years since the night we first met and remind each other how that story really went. I want so badly to be reminded exactly how it feels seeing the sunset reflect forever in your eyes like I used to.
I remember you every single day and wrote this letter to remind you: that more than anything, I patiently wait to learn how we finish our story, because never in my wildest dreams, could these stars be as beautiful as I remember, all those moments, I spent watching them with you.
The best thing you can learn from Inception of 'Alphabet' by Larry Page
This is something best I've read in long time, so just wants to keep this piece in my collection.
Written by: James Altucher
========================I visited Google a few weeks ago and, after almost getting arrested, my mind was blown.
First, Claudia wandered into the garage where they were actually making or fixing the driverless cars. When they finally realized she was wandering around, security had to escort her out.
We got scared and we thought we were going to get in trouble or thrown out.
Then we met with a friend high up at Google and learned some of the things Google was working on.
Nothing was related to search. Everything was related to curing cancer (a bracelet that can make all the cancer cells in your body move towards the bracelet), automating everything (cars just one of those things), Wi-Fi everywhere (Project Loon) and solving other “billion person problems”.
A problem wasn’t considered worthy unless it could solve a problem for a billion people.
So now Alphabet is aligning itself towards this strategy: a holding company that owns and invests in other companies that can solve billion person problems.
It’s not divided up by money. It’s divided up by mission.
I want to do this in my personal life also.
Just analyzing Larry Page’s quotes from the past ten years is a guidebook for “billion person success” and for personal success.
Here Are Some Of His Quotes:
"If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning."
To have well-being in life you need three things:
A) a feeling of competence or growth.
B) good emotional relationships.
C) freedom of choice.
Being able to wake up excited in the morning is an outcome of well-being.
Feeling like every day you are working on a billion-person problem will give you those three aspects of well-being.
At the very least, when I wake up I try to remember to ask: Who can I help today?
Because I’m a superhero and this is my secret identity.
"Especially in technology, we need revolutionary change, not incremental change."
Too often we get stuck in “good enough”. If you build a business that supports your family and maybe provides for retirement then that is “good enough”.If you write a book that sells 1000 copies then that is “good enough.”You ever wonder why planes have gotten slower since 1965? The Dreamliner 787 is actually slower than the 747. That’s ok. It’s good enough to get people across the world and save on fuel costs.It’s only the people who push past the “good enough syndrome” that we hear about: Elon Musk building a space ship. Larry Page indexing all knowledge. Elizabeth Holmes potentially diagnosing all diseases with a pin prick.
Isaac Asimov wrote classic science fiction like “The Foundation Series” but it wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up writing 500 more books, writing more books than anyone in history.
Larry Page keeps pushing so that every day he wakes up knowing he’s going to go past “good enough” that day.
What does your “good enough” day look like. What’s one thing that moves you past that?
"My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society."
Whenever I’ve managed companies and have had the small opportunity to be a leader I’ve judged my success on only one thing:
Does the employee at night go home and call his or her parents and say, “guess what I did today!”
I’m not sure this always worked. But I do think Larry Page lifts all his employees to try to be better versions of themselves, to try to surpass him, to try and change the world.
If each employee can say, “who did I help today” and have an answer, then that is a good leader.
Empowering others, empowers you.
"Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future."
The stock market is near all time highs. And yet every company in the original Dow Jones market index (except for GE) has gone out of business.
Even US Steel, which built every building in the country for an entire century, has gone bankrupt.
Never let the practical get in the way of the possible.
It’s practical to focus on what you can do right now.
But give yourself time in your life to wonder what is possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.
We’re at maybe 1% of what is possible. Despite the faster change, we’re still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. I think a lot of that is because of the negativity… Every story I read is Google vs someone else. That’s boring. We should be focusing on building the things that don’t exist.
Sometimes I want to give up on whatever I’m working on. I’m not working on major billion person problems.
And sometimes I think I write too much about the same thing. Every day I try to think, “What new thing can I write today” and I actually get depressed when I can’t think of something totally new.
But I am working on things that I think can help people. And if you are out side of people’s comfort zones, if you are breaking the normal rules of society, people will try to pull you down.
Larry Page didn’t want to be defined by Google for his entire life. He wants to be defined by what he hasn’t yet done. What he might even be afraid to do.
I wonder what my life would be like if I started doing all the things I was afraid to do. If I started defining my life by all the things I have yet to do.
"Many leaders of big organizations, I think, don’t believe that change is possible. But if you look at history, things do change, and if your business is static, you’re likely to have issues."
Guess which company had the original patent that ultimately Larry Page derived his own patent (that created google) from?
Go ahead. Think a second. Guess.
An employee of this company created the patent and tried to get them to use it to catalog information on the web.
So Robin Li, an employee of The Wall Street Journal, quit the newspaper of capitalism (who owned his patent), moved to China (a communist country), and created Baidu.
And Larry Page modified the patent, filed his own, and created Google.
And the Wall Street Journal got swallowed up by Rupert Murdoch and is dying a slow death.
"I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society."
A friend of mine is writing a novel but is afraid to publish it. “Maybe it will be bad,” he told me.
Fortunately we live in a world where experimentation is easy. You can make a 30 page novel, publish it on Amazon for nothing, use an assumed name, and test to see if people like it.
Heck, I’ve done it. And it was fun.
Mac Lethal is a rapper who has gotten over 200 million views on his YouTube videos. Even Ellen had him on her show to demonstrate his skills.
I asked him, “do you get nervous if one of your videos gets less views than others?”
He told me valuable advice: “Nobody remembers your bad stuff. They only remember your good stuff.”
I live by that.
"If we were motivated by money, we would have sold the company a long time ago and ended up on a beach."
Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to be academics. When they first patented Google, they tried to sell to Yahoo for $1 million (ONE MILLION DOLLARS).
When Yahoo laughed them out the door, they tried to sell to Excite for $750,000.
Excite laughed them out the door. Now an ex-employee of Google is the CEO of Yahoo. And the founder of Excite works at Google. Google dominates.
Money is a side effect of trying to help others. Trying to solve problems. Trying to move beyond the “good enough”.
So many people ask: “how do I get traffic?” That’s the wrong question.
If you ask every day, “How did I help people today?” then you will have more traffic and money than you could have imagined.
"Invention is not enough. Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. You have to combine both things: invention and innovation focus, plus the company that can commercialize things and get them to people."
Everyone quotes the iconic story of Thomas Edison “failing” 10,000 times to get the electric lightbulb working.
I put failing in quotes because he was doing what any scientist does. He does many experiments until one works.
But what he did that was truly remarkable was convince New York City a few weeks later to light up their downtown using his lights.
The first time ever a city was lit up at night with electricity.
That’s innovation. That’s how the entire world got lit up.
"If you say you want to automate cars and save people’s lives, the skills you need for that aren’t taught in any particular discipline. I know – I was interested in working on automating cars when I was a Ph.D. student in 1995."
Too often we get labeled by our degree and our job titles. Larry Page and Elon Musk were computer science majors. Now they build cars and space ships.
David Chang was a competitive golfer as a kid, majored in religious studies in college, and then had random gopher jobs in his 20s.
The gopher jobs all happened to be in restaurants so he became familiar with how the business was run.
Then he started probably the most popular restaurant in NYC, momofoku. A dozen or so restaurants later, he is one of the most successful restauranteurs in history.
Peter Thiel worked as a lawyer in one of the top law firms in NY. When he quit in order to become an entrepreneur, he told me that many of his colleagues came up to him and said, “I can’t believe you are escaping”.
Escaping the labels and titles and hopes that everyone else has for us is one of the first steps in Choosing Ourselves for the success we are meant to have.
We define our lives from our imagination and the things we create with our hands.
"It really matters whether people are working on generating clean energy or improving transportation or making the Internet work better and all those things. And small groups of people can have a really huge impact."
What I love about this quote is that he combines big problems with small groups.
A small group of people created Google. Not Procter & Gamble. Or AT&T.
Even at Apple, when Steve Jobs wanted to create the Macintosh, he moved his small group to a separate building so they wouldn’t get bogged down in the big corporate bureaucracy that Apple was becoming.
Ultimately, they fired him for being too far from the corporate message.
Years later, when Apple was failing, they brought him back. What did he do? He cut most of the products and put people into small groups to solve big problems.
Before his death he revolutionized the movie industry, the computer industry, the music industry, TVs, and now even watches (watch sales have plummeted after the release of the Apple Watch).
All of this from a guy who finished one semester of studying calligraphy in college before dropping out.
Studying the history of Apple is like studying a microcosm of the history of how to create big ideas. Larry Page is recreating this with his new corporate structure.
We don’t have as many managers as we should, but we would rather have too few than too many.
The 20th century was the century of middle-class corporatism. It even became a “law” called “The Peter Principle” – everyone rises to their level of incompetence.
One of the problems society is having now is that the entire middle layer of management is being demoted, outsourced, replaced by technology, and fired.
This is not a bad or a good thing (although it’s scary). But it’s a return to the role of masters and apprentices without bureaucracy and paperwork in the middle.
It’s how things get done. When ideas go from the head into action with few barriers in the middle.
To be a successful employee, you have to align your interests with those of the company, come up with ideas that further help the customers, and have the mandate to act on those ideas, whether they work or not.
That’s why the employee who wrote much of the code inside the Google search engine, Craig Silverstein, is now a billionaire.
Where is he now? He’s an employee at online education company, The Khan Academy.
If you ask an economist what’s driven economic growth, it’s been major advances in things that mattered – the mechanization of farming, mass manufacturing, things like that. The problem is, our society is not organized around doing that.
Google is now making advances in driverless cars, delivery drones, and other methods of automation.
Everyone gets worried that this will cost jobs. But just look at history. Cars didn’t ruin the horse industry. Everyone simply adjusted.
TV didn’t replace books. Everything adjusted. The VCR didn’t shut down movies.
The Internet didn’t replace face to face communication (well, the jury is still out).
"What is the one sentence summary of how you change the world? Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting!"
Not everyone wants to create a driverless car. Or clean energy. Or solve a billion person problem.
But I have a list of things that are uncomfortably exciting to me.
They are small, stupid things. Like I’d like to write a novel. Or perform standup comedy. Or maybe start another business based on my ideas for helping people.
Every day I wake up a tiny bit afraid. But I also try to push myself a little closer in those directions. I know then that’s how I learn and grow.
Sometimes I push forward. Sometimes I don’t. I want to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I do think there is an important artistic component in what we do. As a technology company I’ve tried to really stress that.
Nobody knows what the definition of Art is.
How about: something that doesn’t exist except in the imagination, that you then bring out into the real world that has some mix of entertainment, enlightenment, and betterment.
I don’t know. Something like that.
Certainly the iPad is a work of art. And the iPad has created works of art. And when I first saw a driverless car I thought, “that’s beautiful”.
I’m going to try and put my fingerprint on something today. And maybe it will be art.
The idea that everyone should slavishly work so they do something inefficiently so they keep their job – that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That can’t be the right answer.
We’ve been hypnotized into thinking that the “normal life” is a “working life”.
If you don’t “go to work” then you must be sick or on the tiny bit of vacation allotted to you each year.
What if everything you did you can inject a little bit of leisure, a little bit of fun into it.
I have fun writing, except when I think I have to meet a deadline (work). I have fun making a business that people actually use except when I think about money too much (work).
When you are at the crossroads and your heart loves one path and doesn’t love the other, forget about which path has the money and the work, take the path you love.
We want to build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone. We want to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush. There aren’t that many things people use twice a day.
What a great idea for a list of the day!
What are ten things that can be invented that people would use twice a day?
You need to invent things and you need to get them to people. You need to commercialize those inventions. Obviously, the best way we’ve come up with doing that is through companies.
I was speaking to Naveen Jain, who made his billions on an early search engine, InfoSpace.
He just started a company to mine rare earth minerals on the Moon.
But his real goal is extra-planetary colonization.
Somehow we got around to the question of why have a company in the middle of that. He has billions. He can just go straight for the colonization part.
He said, “Every idea has to be sustainable. Profitability is proof that an idea is sustainable.”
You may think using Google’s great, but I still think it’s terrible.
K. Anders Ericsson made famous the “10,000 hour rule” popularized later by Malcom Gladwell.
The rule is: if you practice WITH INTENT for 10,000 hours then you will be world-class.
He then wondered why typists would often reach a certain speed level and then never improve no matter how many hours.
After doing research, its because they forgot the “With intent” part. They were satisfied with “good enough”.
You have to constantly come up with new metrics to measure yourself, to compete against yourself, to better the last plateau you reached.
Google is great. But it can be better. Having this mindset always forces you to push beyond the comfort zone.
Once they changed the way typists viewed their skills (by recreating the feeling of “beginner’s mind”) the typists continued to get faster.
We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.
Many people argue whether or not Google has succeeded at this. That’s not the point.
The point is: Values before Money.
A business is a group of people with a goal to solve a problem. Values might be: we want to solve a problem, we want the customer to be happy, we want employees to feel like they have upward mobility, etc.
Once you lose your values, you’ll lost the money as well. This why family-run businesses often die by the third generation (“Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations).
The values of the founder got diluted through his descendants until the company failed.
I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. Since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. In fact, there are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name.
Our parents have our best interests at heart and tell us how to be good adults.
Our schools have our best interests.
Our friends, colleagues, sometimes our bosses, sometimes government, think they have our best interests.
But it’s only when everyone thinks you are crazy that you know you are going to create something that surprises everyone and really makes your own unique handprint on the world.
And because you went out of the comfort zone, you’re only competing against the few other people as crazy as you are.
You know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know that if you don’t have a pencil and pad by the bed, it will be completely gone by the next morning. Sometimes it’s important to wake up and stop dreaming. When a really great dream shows up, grab it.
For every article I’ve ever written, there’s at least ten more I left behind in the middle of the night thinking I would remember in the morning.
I have to beat myself in the head. I . Will. Not. Remember….Must. Write. Down.
It’s hard to wake up. And that’s the only thing worth remembering. It’s hard to wake up.
I have always believed that technology should do the hard work – discovery, organization, communication – so users can do what makes them happiest: living and loving, not messing with annoying computers! That means making our products work together seamlessly.
This is a deep question – who are you? If you have a mechanical hand, is that “you”?
Conversely, if you lose a hand, did you lose a part of you. Are you no longer a complete person? The complete you?
If an implant is put into your brain to access Google, does that effect who you view your self to be?
When books were invented, memory suffered. We no longer had to remember as much, because we can look things up.
Does that make our brains less human?
I bet memory has suffered with the rise of Google. Does this mean our consciousness has suffered?
When we created fire, we outsourced part of our digestion to this new invention. Did this make our stomachs less human?
With technology taking care of the basic tasks of our brain and body, it allows us to achieve things we couldn’t previously dream possible.
It allows us to learn and explore and to create past the current comfort zone. It allows us to find the happiness, freedom, and well-being we deserve.
Over time, our emerging high-usage products will likely generate significant new revenue streams for Google as well as for our partners, just as search does today.
This is it. This is why Larry Page has re-oriented Google into Alphabet.
Don’t waste your most productive energies solving a problem that now only has incremental improvements.
Re-focus the best energies on solving harder and harder problems.
Always keeping the value of “how can I help a billion people” will keep Google from becoming a Borders bookstore (which went out of business after outsourcing all of their sales to Amazon).
How does this apply to the personal?
Instead of being a cog in the machine for some corporation, come up with ways to automate greater abundance.
Always understand that coming up with multiple ways to help people is ultimately the way to create the biggest impact.
Impact then creates health, friendship, competence, abundance, and freedom.
But this is also why he created Alphabet and put Google underneath it.
To save the world. To save me.
Original article appeared here: http://inc42.com/buzz/20-things-ive-learned-from-l..