Warped Views of Ourselves

There is this idea of Overconfidence in decision theories where our subjective confidence in our abilities exceed the actual objective performance. For example, assign yourself a percentile in the USA for:

  • Being a good friend
  • Intelligence
  • Kindness
  • Honesty

Most of us would rate ourselves above the 50%: we are kinder, more honest, more intelligence, a better friend than 50% of the population. However, this cannot be true. We cannot ALL be above the 50% because in order to be above it, the same amount of people must be below it.

This leads me to wonder: how warped is our view of ourselves? We all work towards our ideal human, and so believe ourselves to be pretty decent people as a result: someone above the 50% of this ideal criteria.

The reality is that this is not and cannot be the case. We cannot all be above the 50%. How accurate is our self-perception?

I have believed myself to be a generous, somewhat selfless person. Giving has always been natural for me to the extent that I conjure ways to give beyond what is necessary. You didn’t ask for this, but I want to give it to you. It has recently come to my attention that although I may mean well, the execution can be poor. I assume what someone would want, but at times, they do not want it: it has a negative effect. You don’t want this, but I give it to you. A lose-lose situation: I went out of my way to do something for them that they did not want. In the end, how generous and selfless am I?

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My Incomplete Booklist

I’m not great at finishing books (or things I start in general). But there’s no shame in that. Here is a list of books I have not finished that I could maybe revisit later.

  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (At the time I was reading this, I related to the beginning to Eat. It was hard to stay focused in Pray after learning that this was an all-expense-paid trip basically. It feels inauthentic.)
  • The First Phone-Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom (I liked Tuesdays with Morrie, so I figured this would be a good read as well. He’s a good writer, but the plot just didn’t really move.)
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (I absolutely adored Oscar and Lola’s section, but got very lost when it came to Belicia’s story. )

Better than you

First post of actual organic content.

I used to think that I was living the perfect life. Or rather, that I was crafting my life to what I considered “perfection” or “good.” Help marginalized peoples: Good. Be a good listener. Live in other countries to broaden your perspective. Read books. Donate to charity. Eat fruits. Materialism is bad. Environmentalism is good. Etc. Naturally, we all work towards a life we consider “good”

But in this sense, I think I lost sight of humility, feeling that my values are superior to others. When I see someone with acrylic nails, I think that they are wasting money on material goods and shallow, superficial needs. “I am superior to you because I know what is important in life.” This goes both ways. When I meet someone who is genuine, and has depth and a profound understanding for life, I think that they are superior to me in every way. I idolize them and see them as “someone who can do no wrong.”

Maybe its not so black and white (applying the skills from therapy). Maybe I am not necessarily living the right life. Maybe I don’t know everything there is to know. Maybe my own thinking and values are just that. They are thoughts and values that work for me, but aren’t necessarily the prevailing and superior thoughts and values.

Perhaps this comes from the necessity to believe that I am living the right life. An over-compensation for insecurity. A need to reinforce my own insecurity that shakes in fear of the question: am I living correctly?

In the end, maybe there are very few ways to live a “wrong” life. And there is no exact “right” life.

 

  • What you believe to be right, doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. People have different values and ideas. One is not necessarily superior to others.

Who am I?

Name: Jennibean

Species: Bean

Why I’m here: I would take notes on TedTalks and Books with things I want to remember/ big takeaways, and found them helpful. Why not share them with the internet and also motivate myself to read more analytically?

TV Shows: The Office (Favorite), It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Currently Watching)

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Favorite Manga: The One

Meds: LExyPRo

Pet: Kandie, Maltese, 14?

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Occupation: College Student

Latest Fruit Obsession: Pomegranate

Music: Rock, Sad, Alternative Rock, etc. Currently Listening Playlist 

People I follow/am subscribed to: Mark Manson, Tomas Laurinavicius

Short Term Goals:

  • Get better at speaking Spanish
  • Get better at reading Korean
  • Create a winter break schedule so I’m not rotting away e’ry day
  • Create more things to write about on here?

Long Term Goals

  • Be a part of saving the world’s marginalized peoples
  • Marry someone who would be aligned with my goals
  • CORGI????

Fun Facts

  • Born Lefty turned Righty
  • Had a Youtube Channel of ~2000 subscribers (maybe go back to that someday)
  • I like shaving my head for funsies
  • I’m enrolled in so many courses on Coursera, but haven’t actually finished any courses…

Reading The Alchemist Part 1.2

  • “for her, every day was the same, and when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” (26)

This resonates true. I came back from college for winter break on Monday, and the past few days have been a blur of watching television shows and playing games. It’s hard to believe that 5 days have passed.

  • “In order to find the treasure, you will have to follow the omens. God has prepared a path for everyone to follow. You just have to read the omens that he left for you.” (28)

What are the “omens” we come across in our lives that we ignore? Lately, I have so much time in my hands; I could read! Instead, this voice is drowned out by modes of instant gratification.

  • “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon…A shepherd may like to travel, but he should never forget about his sheep.” (30-31)

So the old man king tells the story to our shepherd boy about this other boy was told to learn from this wise man. The wise man instructs the boy to go around the castle while carrying a spoon filled with oil. The boy does so, but was not able to marvel at the sights of the castle due to focusing on the oil drops! Next, the wise man instructs the boy to do this again but enjoy the views of the castle. The boy comes back with an empty spoon. So, we learn that there is a balance to be maintained: enjoy yourself! enjoy life! but don’t forget about your duties.

  • “I’m like everyone else- I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.” (38)
  • “[He had a choice] between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.” (40)

Spoiler Alert: he’s an adventurer 😉

So, the boy got robbed of all his money by a man that claimed to be able to help him. It made me sad. This little boy in a foreign country simply wanted to find his treasure. Why would you rob him in a country where he doesn’t know the language? It’s a cheap shot, and I don’t understand why anyone could do that… Maybe the dude needed the money. Maybe people just do bad things sometimes. Maybe people just have bad intentions.

In a sense, it is quite liberating. The shepherd boy is going to go on a real journey  in finding his treasure, rather than just hopping on a camel to the treasure’s location. You know what you’re doing Coelho.

Reading The Alchemist: Part 1.1

  • “The boy could see in his father’s gaze a desire to be able, himself, to travel the world–a desire that was still alive, despite his father’s having had to bury it, over dozens of years, under the burden of struggling for water to drink, food to eat, and the same place to sleep every night of his life.” (12)

It broke my heart to see this boy’s father give him this prized treasure so that the boy could fulfill his dream in becoming a shepherd. My parents probably have done and still continue to do this for me and my sister. This reminded me of how they had to live for survival while I have the privilege of seeking self-actualization. Thank you, mom and dad.

  • “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” (13)

 

  • “When someone sees the same people every day, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” (18)

This makes sense. When I am meeting someone for the first time, it’s cordial and friendly and I don’t expect anything of them. But when it comes to the people closest to me, I keep wanting to change them to fit my expectations of them, especially in times when I seek comfort. Perhaps I expect them to know me well enough that I feel they should know exactly what to do. Communication is a beautiful thing.

  • “[The world’s greatest lie is this:] that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate.” (20)

 

  • “It’s a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your Personal Legend. It prepares your spirit and your will, because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.” (24)

 

  • “In the long run, what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important for them than their own Personal Legends.” (25)

How much of what you do is dictated by those around you? Do you do what you do because of the people criticizing or praising you? Or do you do it for you? Here, it is more prestigious to become a financially stable baker over a shepherd, but if it is in your Personal Legend to become a shepherd, then why the hell not?

Reading with me. The Alchemist: Foreword and Prologue

Foreword

“When you want something, the whole universe conspires to help you.” -Coelho, about wanting to get his book published.

“Even if my neighbor doesn’t understand my religion or understand my politics, he can understand my story. If he can understand my story, then he’s never too far from me. It is always within my power to build a bridge.” -Coelho, 2014

Coelho is quite clearly an idealist. I scoff a little and, at the same time, wish his dream well. I wish for his vision to be true. I am in awe of his humility after such success with his book.

Prologue

“I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.” -the lake to the goddess

Narcissism is defined as excessive interest in oneself and one’s appearance. When I look into my dog’s eyes, I see myself reflected. But if a lake were to look into Narcissus’ eyes, it would see itself, which reflects Narcissus. In the end, the lake sees Narcissus through Narcissus’ eyes, who is beautiful. In a way, both characters are “narcissistic”?