Growing into my place in society is a slow and long process. I planned it this way as I’ve heard so many story of people crashing after instant fame. It is scheduled to be a 3 year process and year one is basically simulating life starting from zero to minimum wage. Yes, I’ve been here a long time ago but because of pouring close to 75% of take home pay on improving my place in life and increasing experiences the amount of actual spending money/cash flow verges on below poverty.
For this year, I lived like every minimum wage slave and spent everything I got. It was already pretty good and comfortable and I realized how much my life sucked back then. I can also better understand how some people could live the life they lived while making less than me. Anyway, this lifestyle is done.
Next year, I transition to the lifestyle of a professional. I honestly cannot imagine how much more hedonistic my life will become. Before, I never understood why people say cash is king or cash flow is important, but now I understand that it determines your life style. Everything cost money, the only people who gets to experience “The life” without having to work are hot girls spending someone else’s dime. It’s funny how I thought being able to talk and beg my way into getting free shit is actually a good character trait. Little did I know that these are traits that are looked upon favorably for women, but for men, people lose respect for you.
Death of Valor
Took me a while to figure out. That last part. I believed in the American dream. Starting from scratch, never take anyone’s money and always repay kindness. I believed that being able to make it on my own will teach me important lessons in life. On top of that, I didn’t borrow anything. The most I was in debt was when I bought my first condo and took on that mortgage.
And it did teach me many lessons. I had to take a hard and pragmatic look at the true state of what I was born with and what I am good at as well as dispelling the media lies about society’s rainbow and unicorn view of human nature. I had always known about human nature and the outcome based on it, I just refused to believe it was true because it makes the world so dark and cold.
Here’s where that dark view on the world shines. One of the thing I am good at, is figuring out how a new system works. Once I was able to admit I was wrong look at human nature as a new system, I devised controlled tests that allow me to figure out the truth. Before I did this, I spent two years believing in the inherent goodness of people. That’s the reason for the soul searching/meditation/yoga period. What I learned during that time is that I suck at telling lie from truth and was deceived by quite a few shady fellow.
I “believed” in people’s good intentions and took things at their face value. That style never suited me anyway. I was always better at being skeptical and working from the belief that all people are selfish and what I think is evil and immoral are actually not when people look at the situation from the belief that they are the center of the universe. The closest approximation I can find in popular culture is Mark Baum from the movie “The Big Short”. I find that I have taken on some of his habit of asking to clarify and explain while agreeing with people who says I have no idea what I am talking about. It comes from the transition in mindset where my ego and reputation in that moment with someone I do not care about no longer matters and what matters is whether or not my theory can be disproven and I come out ahead on the outcome. Everyone else is just a guinea pig to bounce the idea off of.
It’s a major decision. I’ve been on the fence for too long as being pumped full of caffeine gave me a false sense of ability to get things done. This year, I went through numerous cycles of complete abstinence and complete immersion with coffee and have finally figured out its effect on my body. I suspect, that as I age more and my body become more reliant on caffeine, the negative effects are more pronounced. Being able to objectively list out the effects can also be partly associated with meditations which allow me to be more sensitive to changes to my internal state.
What I believe happens, when I consume 1 cup of caffeine, that is not enough to provide my body with what it needs, is that it puts me in the withdrawal state. Which means runny nose and a general sense of vertigo with headache. It also comes with a decreased sense of upbeat outlook on life. I am also less enthusiastic about completing tasks. Electing instead to repeat mundane useless things.
I had thought that caffeine helps me get things done before as well as keeping me awake. But whatever benefit I gain from longer period of wakefulness is lost with the general sense of wanting to get complex matters done. My ego is more fragile, so I tend to avoid things that have negativity with it. Once I consume enough caffeine, of course the negative traits of withdrawal goes away, but then I get stupid and prefer doing stuff that are repetitive.
Evolution of thought
Three major change in the way I think as the ramp up in cash flow increases through out the year.
First is how my purchasing habits evolved. I’d buy all the different choices to do the same thing and make a decision on which one I like best. Then I’d buy enough of the one I picked to last for the rest of my life since most vendors nowadays disappear after a few years. I also don’t bother with returns anymore since that takes too much effort and time.
Two is the fact that I no longer need to make sacrifices… Usually I can have the cake and eat it too. Insane when you think this is how the majority of people live their lives too.
Three is that I don’t criticize people in position of powers anymore. Nor do I have such an inflated ego that I believe I am in any place close enough to criticize them or make comments and suggestions. Take Trump for example. He’s a very easy target and I understand what most people think of him, but I will leave the criticizing to people who’ve been presidents before because I understand now that I do not have all the facts that someone in that position of power is looking at nor do I understand what it took to get there.
Every field gets bigger and harder as you climb up and I’ve lately been involved with more and more intense projects that I understand what it took, no matter how stupid and one sided an argument is. Comments like “You don’t know what you are talking about” or “Are you stupid?” are common and usually an indication that I am onto something. In fact, all my greatest ideas have encountered statements like this. It is similar to what silicon valley venture capitalist believes. That if a lot of people hates an idea, then they are usually on to something. Funnily, I can’t find any psychological research on this topic. Maybe one of you university psychology students who read this blog can get something started on this.
From bulking to flailing about on everything to the surgical strikes designed for a pro to the final keto diet cut today. The whole journey took 5 years. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I had a general idea that I want to be fit and the general consensus is that Brad Pitt’s body in fight club is fit. It just so happens that he is the same height as me so I looked him up. 155lb at around 10% body fat. There was a lot of theory reading, a lot of trying things out and understanding what each modification does to my body. My dad actually said that I am the first member of our family history to achieve a 6-pack.
This is one of the intense projects I took on which contributed to the evolution I mentioned in the previous section. Initially, I was skeptical about everyone claiming they can achieve strength that are twice what I was capable of. From that, I thought one of two true is the reality: everyone else is bullshitting or I am just very out of shape and am deluding myself. What do you know, it was a hard pill to swallow, but I was deluding myself.
Five years later, at my peak and before the shoulder injury. I reached 2x the average male adult’s strength based on weight and repetitions. Now after the injury, I am maintaining a 1.5x ratio. If I remember the progress correctly, it was about 2 years of stumbling about with cardio and light weight. Then 3 years of pure strength training starting from 3 times a week at 1 hour each and ending with 6 times a week at 2 hours each. The dedication needed was incredible and meeting other like minded individual whom you nod your head to everyday is also incredible.
To get there, I had to learn all about nutrition, correct forms and research everything about a cycles of working out. Now I am learning the painful lessons of recovery. Specifically injury recovery. Like every idiot, I thought my body is invincible and never planned for recovery. I wanted to reach the top too fast, just like everything else I do. This is when I began to consult with professionals in sport therapy and discovered all these new information about our body and my own experience correlates with their theory. Shoulder injuries takes about 3 months to heal. My body is not genetically made for strength but for flexibility and the bone structure is not made for pushing weights up from my shoulder. Which explains why I can never do a hand stand. Which sort of sucks since I live in North America where body strength is highly valued.
So my left shoulder has one small hairline fracture at the clavicle and a couple of knots (about 10 different places) and one torn tendon. I couldn’t lift it up higher than shoulder height and touching the skin on my shoulder makes the whole thing hurt. These all started from the hairline fracture which made the rest of my shoulder adjust to tackle the weight. The good that came out of this is I finally balanced my left side strength with my right side, the bad is that I had to stop for 3 months and set back my improvement by about 8 months.
As you can see, I went into it thinking I just need to lift. Came out knowing that there is a lot more I need to do. Lifestyle change, plans, food time and money. The biggest lesson I learned though is that the details to reaching the top is a lot grittier and to think I know what it take is to be conceited. Most people don’t want to hear about the struggle and just want to hear and see the result usually. Which contributed somewhat to the lack of information.