Big fish, small pond

When granted the opportunity, it’s much better for your own self-esteem and personal success if you choose to be a big fish in a small pond, rather than a small fish in a big pond.

Here’s the issue with being a small fish in a big pond. Sure, you’re in the big pond now, but you’ll get eaten.

It’s as simple as that.

If you are, instead, the big fish, you have the perfect little pond for you to grow, nurture your abilities. You have the flexibility to fail. This is your opportunity to make big mistakes, make big strides, and try to dominate your little pond.

Then you’ll be prepared for the ocean of life. And life is the biggest pond in the world.

Here’s the thing: we don’t compare ourselves to the entire world. We compare ourselves to our neighbors—our friends in the same pond.

If you choose to be an average Harvard student, you best have a lot of grit, discipline, and determination. Because you will be attacked. You will feel lesser. And it’ll be tough. The chances of survival are less, but if you do survive, you’ll have gone through the tough aspects of a big pond already.

Take a look at this chart. The bottom third SAT scores at Harvard STILL beat the TOP third at an average school. But the graduation rate is still symmetrical to that of the average school. If you are average or below average in a big pond, be prepared to be eaten.

I’d choose to be a stellar student at a lesser-known university. This is because I don’t think I’d have the emotional capacity to handle being “average” at Harvard. Everyone is “average” when compared to the entire world; I’d like to feel a little special at least for a few more years before I enter the big ocean of life.

YouTue Video: Does your school matter?

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Here

I wrote a poem. “Here”

I hope you like it


When the ghosts of my past have left my body

When my dreams no longer keep me up at night

I will notice

That I

Am here

Here

The human sound we make is everywhere

I hear it at the restaurant I go to every year on my birthday, the same mundanely beautiful human noise

I hear it as I walk through the streets

The human noise is familiar in Switzerland, in New York, in Singapore, in Hong Kong, in Toronto

I hear it at school, at parks, at the local grocery store when the mother beside me is telling her son that they can’t buy too much candy. Even if I don’t understand her, because she is speaking German, I can hear the human noise

It’s a universal language, this human noise

I’ve spent most of my days wondering how life could be better if I only did this

If I were only somewhere anywhere else besides here

I shoulda

I coulda

If I only…

These thoughts will disappear and then rear its head again every time I realize that life is unfair

I walk and walk and walk over many zebras

Thinking that the next street will be better

Not realizing that sometimes life is a one way street

And even if the other side of the street looks better, I wonder what they are thinking about my street

The bus doesn’t stop for me, and neither should I stop for these ugly thoughts

On the nights I am alone and meditate, I see so much clearer

I am here

The human noise I make, I hear it

And it’s screaming: “I exist”

“I am here”

And so I spend more time appreciating the beauty of the present moment

Even if I don’t know why yet

Even if I don’t know how

Even if I don’t believe anything else

At the very least, I know that I am

Here

First full week

This first week back from school I’ve been the most productive I’ve ever been while at Villanova.

My classes don’t start until 11:30 and 1:30 PM on the 4 days I have class,

But I got up before 9 AM every day.

I did my morning routine, which consists of making my bed, “washroom essentials,” checking my laptop + email, meditating for 15 minutes, and then writing down my goals for the day. On some of the days, I also wrote my blog post in the morning, which is why you might’ve received emails around 10 AM.

Today I didn’t have class. I have 3 day weekends every week because I made sure I have no classes on Friday.

But I still got up at 9 AM, did my morning routine, and then I worked out for 1-hour. (In honesty, I didn’t know what I was doing at the gym though. I just lifted some weights, looked at myself in the mirror, took a picture, and called it a day).

This first full week has made me feel so good about myself and I really want to continue these habits. Habits I want to keep for my entire life.

It takes 66-days to build a habit.

I guess I’m 61-days out.

Live to trade another day

Often when I’m day trading stocks and I profit for the day, I want to keep going. I want to use the positive momentum. But what I’ve learned is that often in those instances I start trading with emotion and I end up losing partially the gains I made earlier in the day.

Even with day-trading stocks, it’s important to understand that life isn’t a sprint… it’s a marathon. And you want to be consistent and show up every morning. Take it one step at a time; live to trade another day.

Book for 2019: The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness

I was inspired by my high school teacher to share the books I’ve been reading and plan to read for 2019 here on my blog. Last year I finished 50 books, and although I did discuss a few of them, I think it would be good for me to reflect on each book I finish.

Meditation is weird because people often think that it is difficult (as I did too), which is a paradox. Meditation is perhaps the only time during the day that I actively try to DO NOTHING and allow my mind to be free.

This book, written by the Founder of Headspace, was a great introduction to the world of meditation and mindfulness and is also one of Bill Gates’ top 5 books of 2018.

As I’ve been using the Headspace app for the past 3 months (almost daily), I did already know many of the teachings that were written in this book. So, for those that don’t currently meditate, and would like to dive into the world of mindfulness and Headspace, I would totally recommend you pick up this book to learn more and hopefully drive you to continue on this path.

I would have to say that meditation and mindfulness practice has been the best habit I’ve picked up recently, and I will no doubt continue to consider this one of the best habits of my lifestyle that I hope may continue for many years. It’s amazing how 10-minutes a day can change your life.

Get it here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2MbiCLl

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Golden Mean

Aristotle has this theory on virtues called the “Golden Mean”

Virtues are things we strive to have.

However, we can have excess and deficiencies of each.

Too much courage and you have hubris. A deficiency of courage results in no action.

An excess of kindness results in obsequious behavior. A deficiency of kindness and you are an asshole.

I like to apply this theory to a lot of parts in my life. In politics, in economics, in life habits, in academics.

The Golden Mean teaches us that there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Too much money or lack thereof are equally bad. Helping someone too much and they become lackadaisical and dependent. Too many compliments and they become worthless.

Too much sleep and too little sleep equally make me tired. Too much studying and too little studying equally makes me intellectually weak. Too much exercise and too little exercise both deteriorates my body.

Find a proper balance, a Golden Mean, in your life. Don’t fall into the extremes.