Why I Don’t Get Mad at Stuff on the Internet

(What follows is a fairly boring account of my work day. Muscle through and you’ll eventually see the point.)

 

Drive my work van out to the middle of the prairie, to a little town called Bumfuck Nowhere. It’s below freezing, the wind blowing so hard that the snow flies sideways. I finally stop at a trailer and call the homeowner – no response. I see a guy outside getting the snow off his car, though behind a ranch gate. I’m not about to open the gate and go right up to him, so I call out and wave. This Hispanic guy comes up and says he knows nothing about any service and doesn’t even own the place.

 

I get back in my truck and call the homeowner one more time – again, no response. I start heading back down the road, about to begin my hour trip to civilization, when I get another call, this time from the office again. Apparently, someone’s home and waiting for me. I curse and reluctantly head back.

 

After waiting at the front door, in the blowing snow, with toolkit in hand, someone finally arrives. He’s another Hispanic man, the owner’s brother in law, but another person who doesn’t know why I’m there. I ask where the equipment would be and he takes me to the outside to the crawl space. So once again I’m in the snow, shimmying under the trailer out in the middle of nowhere. As I’m looking for the damn equipment with my tool kit in one hand and my cell phone as a flashlight in the other, I get a call from my boss chewing me out for something little I’d forgotten on a call several weeks ago. So it goes.

 

The equipment isn’t there. I head out and ask about some tanks. “Oh, those,” he says, and takes me to the laundry room. Well, there they are.

 

I get to work cleaning out the water valves, which had been completely coated in this nasty orange sludge that smells like eggs. I then go to replace the house’s sediment filter. As I’m about to spin off the housing, the whole thing breaks from the wall. Apparently, some dipshit hadn’t bothered finding a stud to drill in to and just anchored it right into the drywall.

 

Once again, out to the truck for parts. I try to mount the housing again as best I can and manage to do it marginally better. Put water to the system. Shit starts leaking. I’m back out to the truck, in the snow, again, to get the pipe wrench. Thankfully after a few turns, the fittings stop leaking.

 

At this point I’m basically done, but the homeowner’s not there to pay, so I have to call them up again. I tell them what I did and give them the price of the service, which of course they want to dispute. I’ve already given them a break by not counting the minutes on the clock I had to wait for them to call, or the time I wasted searching the crawl space, nor did I count the time spent fixing the fittings. Still not good enough. “It’s supposed to be $78”, they say. $78 for the first half-hour, I explain, and continue to negotiate. We finally hash out a deal, simply because I want to leave, and I do; I get hell out of there, back through the blowing snow.

 

I have two more services left to go and I’m already at hour 8 with no lunch break. At least overtime kicks in and I’m now making a whopping $15 an hour.

 

The reason for saying this isn’t to bitch or bore you to death with a particularly harsh work day, but to convey to you an important lesson in perspective.

 

I read about what the feminists blather about next, rape culture, misogyny, war on women – whatever garbage makes for good clickbait. I hear that the left’s Overton window is going ever leftier. I see comments on youtube that I don’t like when some subset of the manosphere gets pissed off at another.

 

But you know what? I don’t get mad. I don’t get mad because during the moments when I see these things I’m currently home, I’m warm, and I’m fed. I’m not under some crawl space in the prairie or digging my truck out of the snow. The usual frustrations that I undergo in my daily routine are real and present triggers of rage, and through them all I’m able to keep my cool. This shit on the internet is nothing in comparison.

 

I can only assume that the people raging on youtube or in some other comments section are comfortable enough to have the privilege to get annoyed at virtual shit and not, say, at some real and present danger, like when your truck slides sideways on an icy switchback (haha, I almost died, again).

 

They only get throw tantrums because they have the leisure time to waste by indulging in synthetic rage. But outside the internet, none of that garbage exists (at least I’ve never seen it). For the vast majority of people that I brush elbows with, the real-life struggles take precedence over some imagined oppression or micro-aggression.

 

I’m beginning to wonder if the internet truly is a bad thing, because it takes all the people between the angsty teenager looking for a hug-group and the bored, lonely, college-educated, middle-class, white cat-lady, and gives them an excuse to get mad at things that would instantly vanish the moment they stepped out their front door (truly, they would). They should try it sometime, especially when the weather is nice.

 

Whaler men had shit to deal with. Coal miners had shit to deal with. Ranchers had shit to deal with. Fat shaming? Body-image issues? In the fattest, laziest, most comfortable society that has ever waddled the Earth? You’ve got to be joking. Some part of me is praying for an alien invasion so at least we can resurrect some actual survival instinct instead of living in constant, unsettling annoyance at an ambiguous and omnipresent force we’re told is there but never actually touch. Cough rape culture. Cough institutional racism.

 

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No One Thinks of Liability – Advice For the Aspiring Entrepreneur

PF-Elbow

These things are sexy.

So as part of my job, I sometimes install PRV’s ((water) pressure reduction valves) in people’s homes. Quick reason why: some cities hike up the water pressure too high, almost to the point where you can blow a seal or break a pipe. PRV’s are code in new homes in most areas, but older homes along water mains can see pressure up to 120 psi, which is crazy. Crazier: plumbers charge anywhere up to $900 American to put one of these in, whereas I could do it for much cheaper – around $150. It’s not that hard to do. No need to solder and deal with a torch since it’s all compression fittings these days.

 

With an eye on the economy, just like I proposed in my last post, I figured it’d be an awesome idea to undercut the competition (plumbers) by specializing in only putting in those valves. I have the expertise and tools. There’s demand. Cake, right?

 

But I’m sure the plumbers reading this are shaking their heads, and for good reason. The one thing that torpedoed this idea before it even got off the ground was one easily-overlooked but massive consideration – liability.

 

I have seen thousands of dollars in damage done to houses. I’ve heard stories of millions spent in insurance payments because of motor vehicle accidents. Had I gone full-force into this idea without thinking of what would happen were a pipe to leak or a PRV to have a manufacturer’s defect then I would have been on the hook for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars had something gone wrong. And where would I turn? I’d have no boss or company to cover for me like they would an employee. Without insurance or a certification of some sort my ass would be chewed up by the legal system. The only way out would be bankruptcy. I would have destroyed my future prospects for just trying to touch success. It sucks, but that’s the way the world works.

 

Like the air around us, liability is something that just doesn’t enter our minds in our daily lives, yet is still everywhere. You may have an awesome idea for a business that no one has ever done before. Have you ever wondered why no one else has done it? Perhaps you haven’t considered liability.

 

The reason why plumbers charge $800 for those reduction valves is because that price takes into account training, certifications, warranties and liability, not just the hours on the clock or the parts. If something goes wrong then the plumbing company shells out anywhere between hundreds and tens of thousands to stay in business. Tradesmen like HVAC mechanics, electricians, carpenters, dry-wallers, you name it, all need to cover their ass in one way or another. All the same, you need to cover your ass.

 

Before you go full-force into your business idea, imagine the legal consequences if something went wrong and someone took you to court. How likely is that to happen and what would be the payout? Are we talking lawsuits regarding huge settlements or is this a matter for small claims court? Writing fiction, for example, has next to no liability. Being a courier or driver for rideshare company has a lot more, so look into it before you devote your life to your business.

 

Be careful out there and always remember to cover your ass.

 

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Thoughts on Multilevel Marketing, Plus Some Other Advice

In no less than one week, I have come across two of our customers in some sort of multilevel marketing structure. Even my boss at work has tried to get me and my coworkers on board with another multi-level marking thing.

 

As the economy gets worse in the west and as your opportunities dwindle, you should expect to see more multilevel marketing businesses (though renamed as “network marketing”) popping up all over the place. These companies might not even be scams. They might just be legitimate businesses with an unconventional pay structure, but others are not. Desperation can lead to people throwing skepticism to the wind and jumping headlong into a time and money sink.

 

In my opinion, most are to be avoided because if the company needed a salesmen then they’d hire a salesmen. There’d be no need for recruitment or some elaborate pay scale for you, your sponsors and the people you sponsor. So judge with caution.

 

Do they sell The Dream, or the product?

 

If you go into a seminar, which is proposed to be “exclusive”, and they start the first hour of the presentation talking about how much wealth the speaker has, how many houses they own, and how little time it took to achieve “financial freedom”, without saying anything about the product, then they’re trying to sell you on The Dream and not their business. The product is secondary, or even tertiary. The intent is to hook you with a golden carrot that’s only a few years away so that you’ll get emotionally invested and suppress any logical criticisms you might have.

 

Reputable companies typically start with their story – how long they’ve been in business, what they do, and where they want to go. The next step is to tell you about the product – why it’s different, better, or worth selling. Their approach is to make you a salesman. Taken to the extreme, this tactic tries to make you into a True Believer of Conglom-O, however even at worst it doesn’t delude you with visions of Maui. Being a salesman is tough. You know this. Companies know this. That’s why they don’t insult your intelligence when you start as a salesmen. They typically tell you what you *could* make, and don’t tell you of the fantastic dreams you can accomplish. That is left up to you. If any company is trying to sell you on a lifestyle rather than a product then it’s time to check your preconceptions.

 

You are still making someone else money

 

This is the main criticism that multi-level marketing structures use against your typical employment. By working, you make 30k (or whatever a year) while your company makes 100k from your work. This is supposed to motivate you into working for yourself and make your own money without someone taking a cut over you. Yeah, this sounds good on paper, but 1) it doesn’t jive with how an economy functions and 2) the multi-level marketing structure is STILL making money off you.

 

This particular condemnation of “making someone else money” I’ve heard many times from those of the Marxist persuasion. The workers work, get a small cut, and the capitalist makes the lion’s share of the fortune. Yeah, this sucks but looking at it another way we see that the capitalist has put millions of dollars of their money on the line in the form of a factory which employs the workers. If the factory goes under, the workers may lose their jobs temporarily but the capitalist loses their fortune. The person making money over you, like the CEO and stockholders, are trying to get their money back after fitting a billion dollar bill to start the company and they take on all the risk. That’s their justification. Call it BS if you want, and I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, but it simply is what it is.

 

Joining a multi-level marketing firm doesn’t change this. When you sell a product or recruit someone, the person above you gets a cut, as does the person above them, and the person above them, while you’ve done all the work. This structure incentivizes you not to be a salesmen but a recruiter, so that when the person below you sells something, you get a cut. This is what they mean by “building your business”. All you’re doing is getting people under you who try to recruit people under them. The truth is, someone will always get a cut of your work whether you’re in a cubicle or in multilevel marketing.

 

Recruitment is the wrong mindset

 

In order to make the computer or cell phone you’re reading this from, some men had to mine the metals to make the board, drill the oil and process the plastic to make the case, set up and launch the satellites, build the cell phone towers or lay the fiber optic internet cable, and spend years of their time writing the software to host the website. Every link on the chain had to do with someone producing something of value in order to get to this opportunity to consume.

 

This is the foundation of every economy: production. Not everyone can be a salesman or a recruiter, for someone has to design and make and ship the products. That means you can’t get more people in your network, who will get more people, who will get more people, because the economy needs to get stuff done. It needs people to produce things. Thus, wealth is about producing things of value, not simple setting up a network.

 

If you want to make real money the way the captains of industry did at the turn of the century then you have to focus on producing something new or better of value. But that’s not so easy. It requires you to have a mindset that’s observant to the needs of the economy, and a truckload of accurate foresight.

 

These “opportunities” are nothing new

 

The reason why the wealthy are wealthy is because they’ve searched for every opportunity to acquire assets in order to make them money – assets in real estate, investments, or businesses. Given the amount of time and the number of eyes searching the economy for more sources of wealth, it means that all the great ones are probably exploited already. That is what happens when the economy becomes stagnant. The opportunities for the average man to discover a new venture begin to dwindle as the entrenched wealthy continue to gain their income from their aging businesses.

 

The only time genuine opportunities arise is when the economy expands or evolves in some radical capacity. For example, if we were to open a portal to another habitable world, the opportunities for being a geologist – a field that has been tapped out to the point of uselessness on Earth – would be highly in demand. Same goes for geographers, scientists, truck drivers, builders, etc. Expansion means more jobs will be in demand. Evolution means new and different jobs will be in demand. Unfortunately, our economy isn’t doing that. There is no portal revolution, no space race, no internet 2.0 to change the world as we know it.

 

That means if you are told of a *new* and *exciting* *opportunity* then it has probably been done already. Someone got in thirty years ago when they getting was good and now you have the scraps.

 

The fact is, there are no easy ways to make money these days. No silver bullet. No perfect plan. All the truly great opportunities are locked tight as trade secrets between the wealthy. If some “opportunity” is being advertised to the general, McDonalds-eating populous then logically it means it’s a dud.

 

So here’s what you can do about it:

 

Don’t fuck up

 

Despite all the rhetoric you hear about the economy falling (and it definitely is), the life you live can be so much easier if you simply don’t screw up in the following ways:

 

1: Don’t go to jail.

2: Don’t get divorced.

3: Don’t have kids when you’re not ready.

4: Don’t become addicted to drugs, especially the expensive ones.

5: Don’t take on too much debt.

6: Don’t major in something useless.

7: Don’t fuck over your health.

8: Don’t get conned into shady business “opportunities”.

9: Don’t live in New York, San Francisco, or anywhere else with too high a standard of living.

 

If you avoid all that then you will survive, almost guaranteed. You won’t be living in a palace or driving a Ferrari, but you will be able to pay your rent, bills, food and some video games. No, that’s not very appealing but that’s the truth. The bar is set so low to maintain a self-sustained existence that I’m disappointed that there are so many people who screw it up.

 

But subsistence isn’t good enough. We all want something better. So here’s more:

 

Live unconventionally

 

The conventional plan, as exposed by the generation before us, is to go to college, get a good job, and work till you die. Obviously, we’re not inclined to do that anymore. Aaron Clarey, Matt Forney, Roosh, and many others have talked about the requirement, not necessity, to live an unconventional path in life, whether that be starting web-based businesses, living/working abroad, going minimalist, or just having multiple income streams. The burden is on you to figure out the right path for you. This is something our parents never had to do because their path was well-lit. We don’t have that privilege.

 

I’m not going to lie to you. It’s hard these days. I’m in the trenches myself. However here is the actual, legitimate good news which should motivate you to go forward: by virtue of simply being here in the underground part of the internet you have shown that you are not part of the mainstream bunch, and that you’re capable of doing things differently. We live in an age where our knowledge is increasing as the human capital of the west is decreasing. All the people your age – your competition – are getting shittier and shittier as the years go on. They’re less educated in the fields that matter, like math and engineering (despite their university degrees), and are less capable of enduring the hardships that you have likely surpassed. They don’t have the mindset of improving their lot in life or looking to overcome their challenges, and instead would rather bitch about it on social media. This is actually good news for you. That means you have a tremendous advantage over them as a person capable of providing something of value.

Appreciate Life Like A Writer

Perhaps the greatest asset a writer can have (besides the time to actually write) is the depth and breadth of experiences that can be incorporated into one’s writing, including the good and bad ones, for they are both important.

 

And that’s the key: good and bad.

 

For example, I was involved in an accident a few months ago. I was driving a loaded work van down the highway at around 70 mph when one of the back tires blew. I tried to get control, but the van pulled to the right, thankfully dodging all the other cars on the highway. It shifted to the shoulder, continued across the shoulder, onto the grass, turned a 180, then tumbled down the embankment, rolling over twice. The van finally stopped at the bottom on its right side. The roof had been ripped off the back like a can of sardines (I know that’s a cliché but that’s what really happened). The windshield was shattered and opaque with a brown coating of dirt. And there I sat, still strapped into my seat and holding the steering wheel. I had been conscious for the whole thing.

 

I unhooked my seatbelt and stood on the inside of the passenger side door, not quite sure where to go next. Neither door could be opened. The roof in the cab remained intact. By then, a few other drivers came out, asked me if I was okay – and I was. In the end, we pried the windshield from the van so I could finally get out for a much needed sit on the grass.

 

I was lucky. No one else was involved. I went to the hospital and was released in about an hour or so, since I only had a few bruises and cuts.

 

Few have been in a roll-over. They don’t know what it’s like to have all the dust and ash that has settled in the cup holders thrown into your face, or how the smell sticks in your nose for the next few days. Many have never seen the sky through the windshield careen into dirt, then become sky, then dirt again as gravity inverts. It’s a lot like a roller coaster, but chaotic and unpredictable rather than artificially constructed and safe.

 

I have since salvaged elements of that event into my fiction, because I can now describe the event from memory rather than imagination. Sometimes, a vivid imagination is enough to suffice or the only thing we can rely on. But if I had to choose from imagination over experience, then experience would usually lead to stronger writing because it is something one has already lived. Some of the greatest military fiction (or even science fiction) has come from the minds of people who have served in war and know these things firsthand. I believe this is something writers should aim for – firsthand experience.

 

Then again, it doesn’t have to be a choice of one over the other. A foundation of personal experience can boost a writer’s imagination. Both work in concert.

 

When looking at it this way, every event, whether it be good or bad, presents us an opportunity to enrich our writing in some capacity. Thus, we shouldn’t fear these events, but embrace them. Some people are so concerned about having a good time or avoiding pain that they can unnecessarily restrict the experiences available to them. However as a writer with the mindset of exploring and absorbing, even bad experiences are useful. Every failure has some utility as a learning experience.

 

But not everyone is a writer, so this advice takes a different turn for them. Many of us don’t move our lives forward with new jobs, new relationships, new relocations etc., because we become too concerned with maximizing positive outcomes and mitigating risk. As time passes, we become stagnant and resistant to change. The motivation to move forward becomes stronger if you look at life as a writer, if you imagine that you will someday be a storyteller of your own life. You will need experiences to make that story compelling. So when the opportunity comes with the risk of some hardship, don’t immediately reject it, and don’t chalk the results up to bad fortune. Rather, see it as another potential page in your story – it doesn’t matter if that page is a rising action or falling action.

 

There were times in my past where I held onto the comfort zone so tightly that I missed valuable memories. I used to think about how this or that experience would be “better” (again, maximizing utility) than sitting at home and doing what I supposedly wanted to do. That was the wrong way of thinking because my whole mindset was skewed toward pleasure instead of development. After my current job forced me out of my comfort zone and into these stressful yet necessary events, I began to push out my mind the idea that things had to be “right”. There are times now where I’m given the opportunity to see something new, something I might not even like, and take that opportunity with the notion that I will be going in to observe and experience, NOT to have a “good time”.

 

A night out that goes poorly can be salvaged in the form of a funny story or cautionary tale. A bad move or a horrible job can be remembered as a learning experience for you and others. Anything less than death itself can result in some kind of personal growth, but missing these things results in a life that’s not worth telling.

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Approaching Zen

It seems to me that many people hear of this enlightenment thing and follow the path going to the top of the mountain. Others will simply wander through life with no intent on finding enlightenment, all the while taking note of their experiences and forming their own wisdom, only to inexplicably wind up at the top of said mountain.

 

Me? I’m not a Zen master. However, I find myself changing psychologically, becoming calmer, more stoic, more accepting of things rather than reacting against them like in my college days. I suppose this comes with time and maturity. Part of it, I think, comes from the observations that I make and store for later. These things I wind up finding in philosophical circles. Apparently, they’re Zen or something. Here are a few bits of wisdom that I’ve come across, which should helpfully ease your mental pains during the current times we live.

 

Accept the world.

 

I believe it’s important to really study the world from every angle. Reserve judgment until all facets have been recognized.

 

Example: in order for a food critic to accurately appraise a meal, they must take notice of the different flavors, whether they be sweet, sour, savory, the synergy of these different flavors, the temperature, the texture, even the presentation of the meal. All these aspects come together to a cohesive whole that the food critic can understand. Once understood, they then submit judgment. If their observations are sound, if they don’t ignore critical areas or inflate others, then their final judgment will be accurate.

 

Personal bias determines what we focus on and what we ignore. This is useful sometimes because it conserves necessary brain power. However, if you want to appreciate the entire world for what it is (and there are good reasons to do so), then you must rewire your brain to take into account things that you might have passed over, as well as dim the spotlights on things we tend to solely focus on.

 

Look through this list of cognitive biases. By the end, you should start to see a single picture: you can’t rely on your snap judgments to see the world accurately. You can’t ignore what you don’t like. You can’t only focus on the things you do. Once you’ve dulled your preconceptions, then you can see clearly the world for what it is, rather than a delusion that you want to see. This paves the way toward acceptance, and accepting the reality of the world at least allows you the chance to making peace with it.

 

For example: the key facet of the Red Pill, in regards to the sexes, is to see women for what they are, both good and bad, without ignoring inconvenient facts. This builds accurate understanding, and once this understanding has been obtained, it allows us to accept women for what they are. That acceptance further allows us to change our behavior to suit this reality and find peace with the world as it is, rather than what we’d want it to be.

 

Blue Pillers will likely never understand because they choose not to see. But if they did somehow understand, by chance, then they will likely not find peace because they won’t accept what’s right in front of them, as seen in the Elliot Rodgers of the world (for he did see women’s primal instincts, he just never accepted them).

 

Most of us have already accepted the world in one certain respect. All that’s necessary is to carry it further.

 

Adjust your expectations.

 

This aspect hinges on the one I described above, but I think it’s the smallest mental change that produces the strongest, life-changing results.

 

What I said above is about whether we can clearly see if the glass is half full or half empty. Expectation determines about whether the glass should be full or empty. If you believe you’re entitled to a full glass, then you’ll be disappointed by it being half full. Conversely, if you expect no water at all then a half glass is a blessing. Nothing has physically changed with the glass, only our expectation of it.

 

Far too many crazed personalities result from unrealistic expectations. The SJW’s expect the world to be a warm, cuddly place, and are frustrated when it isn’t. The blue pill men are frustrated with women because they expect them to match men psychologically. At that point, the problem isn’t with the world, but with what we expect of it. Adjusting your expectations, in concert with seeing the world as it is, should result in a happier person.

 

Understand your place.

 

Civilization has been around for thousands of years before you, the world millions before that, and the universe billions before that. It will also continue for long after you’re dead. During this little slice of time that you are alive, there are seven billion other people with their own lives, containing their own dreams, goals, joy, sorrow, rage and pain. The systems that drive this world, whether they are political, social, or economic, are far larger and more powerful that you as an individual could ever hope to be.

 

What will keep you back from inner peace is the hubris of thinking that the world should change to suit you, or that you have the power to change the world.

 

This is where all the activists get it wrong. It is why they will struggle for a lifetime only to die angry and unfulfilled. They thought they had the right and obligation to change the world, when the world owes them (and us) absolutely nothing. We are just lucky to be here.

 

The wise man will understand that he is only a small piece of the world. It is not his duty to change it, but to find his place within it.

 

Don’t do away with anger; do away with fear.

 

Speaking of leftists and activists, the older ones certainly like to think they have found enlightenment. I can imagine the numbers of hippies who have traveled to Tibet and studied with Buddhist monks, believing they’ve gone above the usual human plebs. They write books and have lectures about finding inner peace (but not for free). They may have done all I’ve suggested above and yet they still will never reach the mountain top for one very good reason: they’re rabbits ruled by their fear.

 

If you listen to the new age gurus, they will likely tell you the path to inner peace is about taking control of your anger, or “letting go” of desire. That is, for lack of a better word, retarded, and here’s why.

 

Remember that the new age gurus are leftists, and leftists are rabbits at heart. They are people driven by fear more than any other emotion, so of course they would pinpoint anger as the worst of offenses. Anger leads to conflict, and conflict is a horrible thing because it sends flares through their amygdala. The new age gurus would piss their yoga pants at the thought of actual combat, which is why the purport to be pacifists.

 

But we don’t live in a world driven by peace and harmony; we live in a world of constant conflict and death as each living thing consumes the others. If we see the world clearly then we must acknowledge that it can be a brutal place. Sometimes, brutality must be met with virtuous brutality. Anger is useful in such a world.

 

Don’t get me wrong. That’s no license for you to become a berserker. Understand that anger has its time and place, and exists for legitimate reasons. Use it as a tool. Remember that tools are to be controlled. If you take the advice above about seeing the world as it is and adjusting your expectations accordingly then you will naturally lessen your anger without the need for a special mantra or breathing exercise.

 

Instead, focus on removing your fear. We hold onto crappy relationships because we’re afraid of being alone. We don’t pursue new ones because we’re afraid of rejection. We keep shitty jobs because we’re afraid to quit. We don’t start that business because we’re afraid to fail. Fear is the limiting factor to our vast potential while anger can be the fire that propels us into necessary action.

 

Don’t follow absolutes. Instead, learn to regulate extremes.

 

I’m not going to into ethics here. Instead, I will try to illustrate it another way.

 

There is a saying that you must strike while the iron is hot. It means act quickly so you don’t miss an opportunity. However, one could say that patience is a virtue, that one must bide their time until the right moment presents itself. Which one is right? Well, each has benefits and drawbacks. Should you act quickly to take advantage of every opportunity, even if it means being too hasty and increasing the risk of a mistake? Or should you wait, thinking it out until you act, all the while increasing the risk of missing that golden opportunity?

 

Realistically speaking, both are right in certain contexts, but you will hear people say to only act quickly, or only take your time. In trying to apply consistency to a belief or behavior, a person will take the easy route and ignore other options. The real challenge is for you to figure out when to pursue each and how far. That requires more brain power than simply focusing on one to the extreme and neglecting the other. This applies to all other spheres as well, whether they be certain behavior, beliefs, philosophies, ideologies, etc. Most people attach to a belief and struggle to push it as far as they can. However, pulling back or finding exceptions is just as important as forwarding your current belief.

 

These things, like your emotions, are tools, and the master craftsman not only knows when to use them, but when not to use them.

 

Conclusion:

 

Once again, I’m not a Zen master. I’m just a guy who has run across a few practical observations. Use them as you will, and “you should investigate this thoroughly.”

Don’t Let Your Job Work You

I’m no wolf of Wall Street, successful entrepreneur, or big shot salesman. I’m just a millennial guy who fell into the trap of useless college degree, and am now trying to find my best way through life. I’m sure a lot of you all are too. However, what I do have are some experiences and cautionary tales that might help you all out.

 

Don’t work retail

 

Just don’t. Retail is the coal mine of our generation – shitty pay, long hours and mind-numbing work. There’s just no benefit or fulfillment in it. Work happens at odd hours and on weekends, so good luck trying to sync a social life with people doing the 9-5, or with other retail people, because most of the time one of you will be working when they’re not, and vice versa. Doubly good luck to you in trying to find a holiday or weekend off for something important and not get called in.

 

(I once tried to put together a bachelor party when half the people showing up had to trade shifts for a damn Saturday night. Getting my teeth pulled would have been a less frustrating use of my time.)

 

It’s also a waste of time, and I call it a waste because retail doesn’t give you any skills that translate to other sectors of the economy (but more on that later). Retail gives you experience for other retail. Moving up means becoming a manager, which gives you the experience to be… another manager, somewhere else. Once you’re sucked into the trap then there’s no way to leave unless you motivate yourself to develop skills outside of work, in your free time.

 

If you’re really hurting for a job, work at a lumber mill or something. At least then you’d have something substantial to put toward your resume.

 

The only benefit I see to retail is the store discounts if your retailer offers them, assuming you have the disposable income to take advantage of it. Me, I could barely keep my head afloat so the 30% off on sporting goods meant nothing.

 

Pick a job that gives you skills outside of work

 

I touched on this above, but it’s a good idea to find work which will not only give you skills for another job but also on your off time. For example, I was hired as a mechanic for a water treatment company over a year ago. Learning how to install and fix the equipment allowed me to fix up my house once I purchased it. Replacing water shutoffs and removing the garbage disposal would have cost hundreds to have a plumber do it. I did all the labor for free. Remember that applicable skills in certain jobs end up saving you money outside of work. Apprenticing as a carpenter, mechanic, or plumber will have cost-savings benefits in the real world, not just a paycheck.

 

Don’t be anyone’s bitch

 

This one is extremely important and no one will warn you about it. Older guys will likely tell you to hang in there and just deal with the bullshit your job slings at you, that you, as a younger guy with less experience, should simply take it. Don’t. Here’s why:

 

I lost around $500 because I was someone’s bitch. At the beginning of my employment, I tagged along with the installer to learn the skills and regulations that went into installing our equipment. With two installs a day, sometimes in crawl spaces, sometimes with cutting into drywall, I was lucky to have a “short” day of about 10 hours. My troubles were compensated with $10 hourly and overtime (WalMart Cashiers make around $12). My stress level went up, as did the physical strain on my body, and I even thought about quitting. But I told myself that this knowledge would lead to something better. Eventually, it did. I was moved up to a service/maintenance tech when we had an opening, which was great, for a while.

 

However, the new guy who replaced me was faced with the same thing – long hours of grueling work with little pay. What made this scenario different was that this new guy was ex-military and had served in Afghanistan. He’d seen some shit, got his first confirmed kill at 17, been shot, stabbed, and blown up. So when he started to get burned out like I had, he told the vice president of our office that he wasn’t going to do the work if he wasn’t reasonably compensated, because his time and body were better used elsewhere. He said, plainly, that he wasn’t going to be anyone’s bitch.

 

The management agreed to let him have half the install commission – about $40 per install. I missed out on that because I didn’t speak up, and it was entirely my fault. I didn’t know my own worth.

 

My advice to you is that if you feel as if you’re getting screwed, then you probably are. Don’t take it. A lot of times, management knows they’re pushing you too hard but either don’t care or want to see how much they can wring out of you before you tell them to cut it out. A lot of people think that working hard means doing whatever you’re told and keeping your head down. No. Working hard means doing good work, coming in when you’re needed, working overtime when required, all with the expectation that you’re fairly compensated.

 

If you’re a good worker it means you have a lot of leverage on your side, and, if you’re truly that good, it means you don’t have to do the bitch work. Know your worth and push back if you feel as if you’re getting screwed, just plan on leaving if it comes to that.

 

Know how to balance your time

 

I love my free time. It allows me to write this blog and my fiction. I hate doing 50-60 hour weeks because my life isn’t my work. Work is just what keeps me alive. The other techs put in those hours and they miss their family and have little to no free time. In the end, they’ll look back on their lives and what will they remember? They won’t want to remember their times at the office, but they also won’t remember the quirky little things their kids have done, since they weren’t around to see it. What good is supporting them if you never see them?

 

Me, I’ve worked 60 hour weeks for pittance and worked 25 hours a week at $20 an hour (after taxes). Hands down, I would rather have more free time to pursue interests that might make me some money on the side than focus on one, single thing. These days, you need to have multiple streams of income and multiple pursuits. Those who put all their eggs in one basket – at their job – are at the mercy of forces that could take that job away.

 

It’s up to you to know where your time is better spent and make the most out of it.

 

Don’t try to find a job that will make you happy. Try to find a job that won’t make you mad

 

People who like working 60 hours a week generally like what they do (or make the money which makes them like it). Those people are also the exception, not the standard, and you will likely never find a job that you’re happy actually doing. Instead, look for a job that you’re content with, one that doesn’t stress you out. Sure, painting houses wasn’t what you were born to do. It wasn’t your career aspiration in high school. But painting doesn’t make you blow your stack on a daily basis and make you take it out on the cat/dog/partner/kids.

 

With that being said…

 

Know the other costs of your job

 

All jobs come with opportunity cost. You could always be doing something else, something you rather like, but the real world isn’t some Communist utopia where no one has to work. You need to work.

 

But opportunity cost isn’t the only cost you incur when working. Consider the level of stress. Consider the health issues involved. Consider weekends, vacations, time off, health benefits, and being able to coordinate a social life.

 

What’s the point of making $100k a year when you can never use it? What’s the point of making that money and, by the end, you’re a 32 year old guy with the body of a 65 year old man? And what’s the point of making that money if you have the shell out thousands upon thousands of dollars to repair the damage done?

 

I’m all in favor of blue-collar work and working hard, but work that degrades your quality of life rather than contributing to it is parasitical. In the end, you should come out ahead.

 

The girlfriend effect

 

This one is special and for those in LTR’s, and could be an entire post on its own.

 

Before my current job, I worked nights and weekends. Girlfriend would get home at 3:30pm. I would go work at 5pm. That left a small window to hang out, and the weekends weren’t much better. Fortunately, we were living with mutual friends at the time, so I wasn’t leaving her home alone. She was happy hanging out with people even though I was gone.

 

However, if it had just been the two of us then leaving her to work nights would have given her means, motive and opportunity to stray, if you know what I mean. Out of sight, out of mind.

 

Some girlfriends/wives are more tolerant of your absence than others, but ultimately, and ideally, they want to spend time in your company. Give it to them. The good aspects of my current 9-5 (though it’s more like 7-4) is that girlfriend has the same schedule, and we can spend nights and weekends together.

 

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention status. Chicks dig the status of your job. Plenty in the manosphere have already mentioned it, so I won’t go into detail here. Yeah, you’ll impress people with your high-status career, but remember the costs and benefits, and all I’ve explained above. Sometimes it’s worth it if the pay’s good. Sometimes it isn’t, like in cases where work comes home with you, or you have an hour commute every day. Remember to balance these aspects, and avoid time/health traps.

 

Free speech

 

This last one is becoming more important by the day. As the Social Justice Warriors fight for more power, your ability to say what you like decreases as HR managers scan your every tweet and facebook post for PC blasphemy. This is also bad news if you own a business, or are in the public eye. If you piss off the Social Justice Warriors then they will try to take away your means of income (but it’s totally, like, not an infraction of free speech since the government isn’t burning your livelihood to the ground and silencing you).

 

The good news is that not every job is like that. I’m fortunate to have a boss that gives no shits about political correctness. This is the man, who after having known him for only 10 minutes, explained how retarded it was that the “bull-dykes” in Boulder legalized going topless, not so that they would, but so they could, for equality or some shit, even though none of them will.

 

Blue collar work is generally made up of conservatives or old school liberals who couldn’t give a rat’s ass about cisprivilege. Working around actual masculine men means you don’t have to tiptoe around delicate subjects in the office, lest it offend the current HR mule. These places might not have job security in our dwindling economy, but they do have what I call ideology security.

 

Sometimes I wonder if this blog will torpedo my career prospects, up until I realize that if any job is going to can me for my genuine thoughts then it didn’t want an independent thinker in the first place. This goes back to knowing your worth and not being someone’s bitch.

 

Conclusion

 

I doubt you’ll find a job with an ideal combination of all these aspects. I don’t think one exists, but at least now you should have some additional considerations when looking somewhere. One way of looking at your work is: in twenty years will the work I’m doing be worth remembering? If it isn’t, then you are effectively erasing a good portion of your life from memory, and therefore existence.

 

Anyways, I wish you good luck.

Privilege or Oppression?

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From a single action comes evil and good entwined. In every thing there is some darkness and some light. There is never any perfect good and evil. Maybe they those concepts exist purely in the spiritual metaphysics of another dimension, but not here in the real world. When you clear your mind of bias you can then identify the good and evil in all things with just a little shift in perspective.

 

With this in mind, let’s play a game. I’m going to give you a fact of life and your job is to tell me whether that is considered privilege or oppression.

 

Men are physically stronger than women. Privilege or Oppression?

 

Privilege, right? Considering that with greater physical strength means that, in relativistic terms, the world itself and all the objects upon it are lighter and more easily moved, granting men more agency to navigate the world. One would be mostly correct in saying men’s greater strength is a privilege. But you would be only mostly correct.

 

Because of that greater strength, men are now elected and directed as society’s protectors, warriors, and hunters – careers which come with a greater risk of death. Men make up the greatest numbers of workplace fatalities, to say nothing of causalities in war either. Is that true privilege?

 

Here we have a scenario of innate, biological privilege being met with the socially imposed and non-voluntary duty to use it in service of the whole, which some might consider oppression. Just like everything has some darkness and some light, with every privilege comes some sort of balance, whether that be fewer rights, freedoms, or, in this case, forced conscription. So the question for you, reader, do the costs of the oppression balance out the benefits of the privilege?

 

Let’s look at it from the other side. Women are physically weaker than men. Is this oppression of privilege?

 

It’s oppression in the sense that nature itself has left women disadvantaged to a great degree, in defending themselves, in ability, in agency. The feminist would conclude that nature is sexist and that women are oppressed. But just as biological privilege in men is met with social oppression in the form of a duty to protect, women’s biological oppression is met with social privilege. Women are not conscripted to fight in war. The disparity in strength means she has people to fight for her rather than she fight for herself. If a 200 pound man punches another 200 pound man then it is nothing more than a fistfight, whereas if a 200 pound man punches a 130 pound woman, it is a call to arms in her defense.

 

Let’s take another example. Using the words of the feminists themselves, women are the only sex that can “create life”. Privilege or Oppression?

 

Per the female supremacists of the world, the ability to “create life” is a privilege that women hold that men do not. But with that biological privilege (no different than men’s innate strength) comes the social oppression of limiting women’s sexual behavior. In time’s past, societies recognized this power of female sexuality and reproduction, and also realized that some women didn’t know how to control this power from their impulses, creating numerous bastard children, which would then contribute to the breakdown of their little society. In response to this privilege, societies the world over forced women into arranged marriages and controlled their sexuality, thus instituting what feminists would rightly call oppression. However this oppression was a merely balancing act against the power of women’s privilege, just as men were oppressed with conscription for their strength.

 

Similarly, because women had the privilege of knowing knew who their children were, but men did not, society imposed another balancing act against women, requiring them to be chastise. And since men could not bear children, society elected them the privilege of (relative) sexual freedom.

 

When there is an innate, biological privilege that one sex has over the other, society will impose social oppression on that sex. When one sex is innately disadvantaged, or in other words oppressed, society will enact artificial privileges for that sex. Example: men are strong, but they must fight; women are weak, but they are protected. Everything is a trade-off.

 

Looking at how these rights and responsibilities come together, it’s hard to see systematic oppression on one side and/or total privilege on the other. Being born a man or women came with advantages and disadvantages, and as long as there are corresponding benefits to smooth over one’s limitations then the system should work properly. Unfortunately, one has to be intellectually honest to avoid seeing the world as black and white, and the current crop of social science academics has no inclination to see past their biases.

 

This is what feminists, egalitarians and cultural Marxists get so wrong. They don’t understand the other side of the coin because they would rather believe a narrative with a clear hero and clear villain. When looking at society, Feminists see only women’s oppression and men’s privilege, but not women’s privilege or men’s oppression. Their worldview is so black and white that many can’t even entertain the idea that there was once harmony between the sexes. No, women’s sexual freedom was repressed for no reason and without any corresponding benefit. No, men’s strength and ability was encouraged without any responsibility to go along with it.

 

This, of course, is madness. Truly enlightened people do not only see in absolutes, but rather in costs and benefits. That is why, for the feminists and egalitarians, equality in their eyes translates to injustice in the real world, for the real world in ages past might not have been “equal”, as both sexes having the exact same privileges and responsibilities, but it was more fair than this one.

 

Now we’re in an age of imbalance because of this feminist, egalitarian view. Women hold on to their ancient privilege while simultaneously being unburdened from having any and all duty or obligation. Men, however, get to keep all their responsibilities without the corresponding privilege to keep them invested in society. Hence why men are beginning to go their own way and check out of the system.

 

I say more power to them. Until we can recognize the importance of balance over equality, there is no reason to contribute to a teetering, unsustainable system.

Avoid Lifestyle Traps

There are a lot of things out there to scam and swindle money out of stupid people. I call them “Stupid People Traps”. Lottery tickets are a good example of a stupid person trap. Pyramid schemes are another. I’m sure you can think of plenty.

 

But just because those traps are easy for us to see doesn’t mean that there isn’t another level of more sophisticated traps tailored for just us. These I call “Yuppie traps”.

 

You know the career guy who drives a Lexus to work, has a wife and three kids in a little half-million dollar McMansion in a covenant community, right next to a golf course? Do you want to know the secret to obtaining that lifestyle?

 

Truly? Are you ready?

 

To have your mind blown.

 

‘Cause here it is:

 

Debt.

 

Yeah, the guys you see in the fancy car and polo shirts, or the soccer moms in the new SUV, they’re most likely up to their eyeballs in debt. I know this because I get to go into their houses and fix their stuff. Nine times out of ten they want the cheap, short-term fix to the expensive, long-term fix because they have no money whatsoever, not after spending their remaining savings on granite countertops.

 

You might think that these intelligent people (and they are fairly intelligent) are crazy or something for not keeping up with their finances. But you only think that because you’re not one of them, yet. Fair warning, you might be headed for the trap yourself. Unlike lottery tickets, which are a well-known scam, this one has never been revealed to you. It is: your lifestyle.

 

In the beginning, a young man with a decent job decides it’d be a great idea to spend some of his newfound cash on a nice luxury car. It’ll make him look good with coworkers and friends. It’ll impress the chicks. It’ll make him seem like a bigshot. It sounds like a good idea at first, and it just may work, but hold on a second.

 

Aside from having to pay a metric assload worth of car insurance, you can’t just drive a luxury car with jeans and a t-shirt. You’d look like a total poser stepping out of Ferrari or Porsche in average, Target brand clothes. This young man knows this, so now he has to spend even money on an appropriate wardrobe – nice suits, nice slacks, and $60 dress socks made with sea snail shells to wick away sweat. Yeah, those exist.

 

At this point, our young man looks the part of a big shot. He even feels like a big shot. He holds in his hand the envy of all his coworkers and crushes it at the bar with confidence. However, there’s another problem.

 

You can’t drive a nice car, with nice clothes, and take your fling back to a run-down, single bedroom, 700 square foot, garden floor condo. After spending all this money, our hypothetical young man must now pay over two thousand dollars a month (on top of car payments) to get himself an apartment in a skyrise so he can impress his dates.

 

And an impressive skyrise apartment needs impressive furniture, right? Your countertops can’t be cheap ass veneer on plywood. They have to be legit granite countertops. Let’s not forget about retiling the bathroom. Triple the square footage, triple the price. Make that quintuple, since we don’t want to forget the walls, and you can’t get that cheap crap at Home Depot either. His and hers sinks would impress. All of this is beginning to add up.

 

Let’s talk about diet. Captain Crunch won’t cut it for this new lifestyle. A young man who drives a luxury car shouldn’t be seen at a low to middle end grocery store. That’s for loser bachelors.

 

Eventually, I’m sure our young man will find the right girl to settle down with. He is “high status” after all. An “alpha male”. His girl will therefore need luxury ring and the luxury McMansion. Luxury vacations in Aspen, where skiing is not a poor man’s sport. High-end gyms and home fitness equipment in a finished basement. More granite countertops on every surface and a second luxury SUV in the garage. And hey, why not a recirculating, tankless water heater for a few grand? A house that size requires two furnaces, and plenty of insurance. Add to that not just a mortgage, or taxes, but also an HOA. Thousands come in a month, and thousands go out.

 

Our hypothetical young man lives a life perched on a fragile cliff where debt and bankruptcy wait at the bottom. God forbid he ever lose some income and get knocked down a SES or two, since his honey’s hypergamy will finish the job that debt collectors could never do. I hope he likes paying off lawyers and child support.

 

And what started all this? The poor guy just wanted to have a nice car. That’s the problem with Lifestyle: it’s a trap for the smart and wealthy because you can’t just dip your toes in or go halfway, because then you will be seen as a fake. Trying to keep up with a certain lifestyle requires buying the entire package. It’s an all or nothing game that’ll cost you far more than you imagine. Most people don’t have the foresight to recognize this. They think it’s an additional 10 grand here or there. They don’t notice all the other costs that come with it. “Lifestyle”, as it is defined by yuppies and advertisers, is simply a trap designed to swindle money out of intelligent people.

 

All those car and cologne commercials are set up that way for a reason. They’re supposed to get the most money from the aspirational 14%, which is to say, you.

 

But you shouldn’t give it to them. It’s not that worth it. Realize that there are extraneous costs to everything you buy, especially in cars and houses. For example, luxury cars aren’t built to last because the core demographic, the true yuppie rich, trades in their cars after two years for the newest model. Paying an extra $400 a month for the luxury of walking downtown from your apartment is a high price to pay considering you’d come out ahead by getting a cab every drunken night out. The difference in price between the base cost of an item and the inflated price yuppies are willing to pay can be thought of as just another tax. A yuppie tax.

 

Here’s an alternative that I personally advocate for: go minimalist. That doesn’t mean be poor, but it means dodging the allure of a certain lifestyle and buying things on a need by need, and case by case basis. Our young man could have looked at things a different way. He could have decided to keep his paid-off car, his old but functional wardrobe and cozy little apartment, and still would have been a big shot. He could have realized that trying to be a rich guy in America was a fool’s errand, and instead spent his extra ten grand on the best vacation ever.

 

Ten grand can take you literally anywhere in the world. Imagine that. You can leave town and go to a place where no one knows you, and you can make yourself into a bigshot, at least to live the fantasy for a while. You’ll get to see and experience things never seen before, and, when it’s all over, you can return to normalcy without needing to get financing on your life for the next thirty years. The kicker is that living small and vacationing big should develop a more interesting personality and bestow better life stories for our young man than the rich guy who is stuck keeping up with the Jones’ in his home country.

 

Plus, it’s cheaper in the long run.

 

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Why You Should Master Something

In Experience Trumps Education I put forward the idea that gaining knowledge firsthand through life experiences and experimentation is a better way than sitting in a classroom or reading it from a book. And a few months back also I explained that to gain that oh so necessary confidence as a man requires competence in something. That means finding something you’re good at, whether that’s playing the guitar or rock climbing. Mastery will give you the confidence in that and other areas of your life.

 

However knowing this and following through are two different things.

 

There are many reasons for why people don’t act when they know they should. Partially it’s laziness, but most of all it has to do with clinging to our comfort zones. Going out there and doing something new can not only by physically taxing but also mentally stressful, especially if you’re an introvert such as myself who would prefer pleasant solitude. In our minds, the proverbial mountain before us seems too great to climb. One might ask: why should I practice the guitar (or anything else) when the gap between novice and master is so wide that it would take years before achieving any true accomplishment?

 

A valid question, but so what? The truth is that mastery at anything takes a lot of long hours and hard work, and everyone started with knowing nothing about everything. Here are two things that should motivate you through:

 

First, don’t focus on what it takes to get to the top, focus on what it takes to learn the basics, because once you know the first 10% on a subject, you then have the foundation to learn the next 30% of that subject. It is when you master that 30% that you can now jump to understanding 50%, and from 50% to 80%.

 

In writing, where the novice sees grammar, the journeyman sees sentence structure, and the master sees orchestration. As you get deeper into any pursuit you will eventually see things in a different light, expanding your understanding to the next level. Music, writing, persuasion, business, the same rules apply universally. You cannot anticipate the complexity of a thing while watching from the outside.

 

In reality, the mountain before you isn’t as big as you think it is. Only your prejudgment is stopping you. Not only did I learn this on my own when tackling the craft of writing, but I was forced to learn this a different way through my employment.

 

I knew nothing about plumbing or machinery before I started my current job and I couldn’t anticipate the depth or shallowness of the knowledge required, but, once I learned the basics, I moved up to more advanced concepts at a fairly rapid pace. To sit me down beforehand and tell me all I’d have to learn would make me feel overwhelmed enough to quit. But I couldn’t quit. I was forced to learn on my own because I simply didn’t have the option to back out. I believe this was a blessing overall, since now I have the confidence and competence to reach out and try similar things – woodworking, electrical, etc.

 

Not only is it important to develop skills for confidence sake, but to also develop skills because they can transfer to other aspects of your life. For example, developing public speaking lends a hand to seduction techniques, and vise versa. Learning to fix an appliance gives you the knowhow to repair or build other things, like cars.

 

Secondly, and most importantly: mastery isn’t the true point of the pursuit. The zen behind building a motorcycle isn’t in the completion of the motorcycle itself but how the ongoing process changes you. It is this reason why fixing a car for decades, one that you will never drive, isn’t a totally wasted activity, neither is playing an instrument even though you will never have an audience, and neither is learning a martial art you may never use in actual self-defense. We humans need some kind of struggle and accomplishment in our lives, otherwise we become total nutcases. We go out, find a deer, spear it to death, eat and revel in the victory before you do the same tomorrow.

 

From the process, we know our strengths and weaknesses, ultimately becoming a more self-aware person as a result.

Experience Trumps Education

The best argument against higher education can be simplified in the Forgetting Curve:

 

“On day 1, at the beginning of the lecture, you go in knowing nothing, or 0%, (where the curve starts at the baseline). At the end of the lecture you know 100% of what you know, however well you know it (where the curve rises to its highest point).

 

By day 2, if you have done nothing with the information you learned in that lecture, didn’t think about it again, read it again, etc. you will have lost 50%-80% of what you learned. Our brains are constantly recording information on a temporary basis: scraps of conversation heard on the sidewalk, what the person in front of you is wearing. Because the information isn’t necessary, and it doesn’t come up again, our brains dump it all off, along with what was learned in the lecture that you actually do want to hold on to!

 

By day 7, we remember even less, and by day 30, we retain about 2%-3% of the original hour! This nicely coincides with midterm exams, and may account for feeling as if you’ve never seen this before in your life when you’re studying for exams – you may need to actually re-learn it from scratch.”

 

Think about that. The vast majority of information that you learned in school and, more importantly, that you paid for in college is now completely forgotten. Off the top of your head, can you remember and tell me the difference between an ionic and covalent bond? How about the difference between an independent and dependent clause? Why not try dividing fractions with just a pen and paper?

 

We all knew these things at one time. The reason why they don’t remain is because the information just isn’t relevant to us in our everyday lives.

 

At the start of my job, I was given blueprints and diagrams about how our equipment worked, and I got the basics of my job from a poorly-written manual from the 1980’s. Nothing in those pamphlets stuck, not a thing, but I did learn the ins and outs of our equipment and I did it by taking things apart, putting them together, and watching them work. Even though I’ve forgotten what the manuals say, I now know how to fix our equipment, and will remember for months, if not years. If I did forget, I’m sure all I’d need to do is fiddle with it and everything would come back to me.

 

Similarly, when it came to my writing, I developed a far better grasp of English grammar from actually writing, being told I was wrong, editing, then writing more. Whereas before grammar seemed like just a set of arbitrary rules, I now conceptualize it an organized structure. A formula, for lack of a better term. There is a method to the madness that the average layperson simply doesn’t care about. Part of the problem, I believe, is that they’ve never experimented on their own; they were simply told, these are the rules, do them, don’t ask why. However, experience taught me more than all the English classes in high school and college, and will likely stick with me for a long time.

 

The human mind is an excellent system of finding cause and effect through observation, then further applying those concepts toward something yet unmade. Sometimes our minds go too far and get false positives, creating superstitions revolving around, say, lucky sports jerseys. Nevertheless, we are still capable of learning a lot simply through manipulating blocks around. This information stays with us because of many things, like somatic/muscle memory, and situational/environmental cues that help us remember.

 

Sitting passively in a classroom and trying to “learn” by listening is not conducive to that in any sense. Reading books isn’t any better, since most of the words, like these, will be lost once you turn the page. That kind of learning takes place in the realm of abstraction, not reality, and thus it can easily be forgotten once those abstractions grow old and unused. Sometimes classroom learning is necessary when it’s impractical or impossible to do otherwise. However, it’s important to recognize its limitations.

 

It’s even more important for you to take this in to account when it comes to planning your life around your education. Would you still pay for college knowing that most of what you paid for will be lost? And would you still call yourself an expert if you only studied concepts from afar, having never practiced and experimented with them yourself?

 

In my opinion, the best kind of education is derived from working on the job or experimenting on your own. Don’t rely so much on books, classrooms, or lectures to tell you how things work. For things like politics and economics, that’s fine because it’s the only way. When dealing with the real world, however, you should be in the real world. Knowledge, in that sense, is one part scholar, one part craftsman.