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Happy Birthday Mummy, 2

Mummy with her cake

This birthday, a few things come to mind.

Your persistence … and your bull headedness.
On anything that you think is right.
In the dogged pursuit of getting help to people in need.

Your faith, rather the sheer strength and amount of it.
Even when we sorely test it :P

Your love and generosity, in every manner possible.
With your time.
And your spirit
And your dabbas

Happy Birthday, Mummy!

All your children,
(The three sons, the two daughters, the grandchild and the 4 doggies)

Hats & Boas: The Little Prince Has Them All

I might say that I read Meditations over and over, or that Morgan’s Run is the book that I love to lose myself in.

But the truth is that the pages that I’ve read the most, the quotes that shake me up the most, the lessons that I’ve learnt from the most, are from The Little Prince.

The Little Prince

The book has serendipitously inveigled it’s way into my mind and heart over the years.

I was introduced to it through an excerpt in a school textbook.
And ever since then, I’ve run across its quotes and lessons in books, in film and through people.

Even as I child, I somehow knew that the story added up to more that what the explorer and the Prince went through.
I knew the story teller was saying more than he let on.

And as I’ve grown, the book has continued to delight and offer lessons (if I care to listen)

On responsibility

“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said.

“But you mustn’t forget it.

You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed.
You’re responsible for your rose.”

On innocence and seeing things for what they are

If you were to say to the grown−ups:
“I saw a beautiful house made of rosy brick, with geraniums in the windows and doves on the roof,”
they would not be able to get any idea of that house at all.

You would have to say to them:
“I saw a house that cost $20,000.”
Then they would exclaim:
“Oh, what a pretty house that is!”

On what truly matters … to You!

“If some one loves a flower,
of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars,
it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars.

He can say to himself, ‘Somewhere, my flower is there …’
But if the sheep eats the flower, in one moment all his stars will be darkened …
And you think that is not important‽ ”

On the joy of effort

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose, that makes your rose so important.”

On looking past appearances to find true beauty

“The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen.”

I replied, “Yes, that is so.’
And, without saying anything more, I looked across the ridges of sand that were stretched out before us in the moonlight.

“The desert is beautiful,” the little prince added.

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well …”

On sorrow

It is such a secret place, the land of tears.

On love and belonging

… said the little prince. “What does that mean –– ‘tame’?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties.”

“To establish ties?”

“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys.
And I have no need of you.
And you, on your part, have no need of me.
To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes.

But if you tame me, then we shall need each other.
To me, you will be unique in all the world.
To you, I shall be unique in all the world … ”

“I am beginning to understand,” said the little prince.
“There is a flower …
I think that she has tamed me … ”

On death

“You understand … it is too far. I cannot carry this body with me. It is too heavy.”

I said nothing.

“But it will be like an old abandoned shell.
There is nothing sad about old shells … ”

Saying GoodBye

Word for word, The Little Prince has given me more wisdom and comfort and joy, than any tome I have ever read, more than even a Seneca or an Aurelius; a Wu Hsin or the Bible.

And yet, it does all this, with a story so simply and delightfully told.
I laugh at my explorer’s drawings.
I cry every time the Little Prince has to go away.

And for all this, I’ve never appreciated it all these years.
Never again.

Wishing Upon a Star

I’ll close with the same lines the comte de Saint Exupéry writes, to bring the story to its wistful end …

This is, to me, the loveliest and saddest landscape in the world.
It is here that the little prince appeared on Earth, and disappeared.
Look at it carefully so that you will be sure to recognise it in case you travel some day to the African desert.

And, if you should come upon this spot, please do not hurry on.
Wait for a time, exactly under the star.

Then, if a little man appears who laughs, who has golden hair and who refuses to answer questions, you will know who he is.
If this should happen, please comfort me. Send me word that he has come back.

All I Want to Know Is Where I’m Going to Die, so I’ll Never Go There - 00

Ok, so here goes.

I’ve always wanted to do marginalia and notes and talk to myself and share all that with … someone like me, but younger I guess.

I want to retain and understand and absorb, more of what I read.
I want to come back to what I’ve written and see if it holds up
And I want to read and osmosize1 more of what Vishal Khandelwal calls Supertexts.

I read three volumes of Taleb over the past year and a half and I wish I had written down what I learnt.
And I know now, why they’re called Supertexts
Every other day, I see something through that new lens I gained.
And I wish I could have written about the Incerto, the way Kyle has

Well, better late than never :)
The super half, gifted me a Munger trio early this year.

And so I’ll start with the aforementioned book, as I try to make sense of it.

Come along, will you?

  1. I make up fancy shit, as I go! :P 

On ‘Aha!s’ as a Hobby

This past year has been, without a doubt, a year of learning and insight for me.

I haven’t had as many ‘Aha!’ moments, since I was eighteen years old and struggling with a vengeance to read and learn to make up for lack of a college education.

I rediscovered Aphorisms for Thirsty Fish and The Song of the Bird and realized, that they were more than strange pleasant poetry or an awesome collection of stories.

I’ve found Marcus Aurelius & Seneca and realized that life and people and experiences just go round and round.

I’ve found Feynman again and realized learning is fun and a life well lived is funner :P

I’ve learnt about money and how to think about it.

I’ve found that capturing life in all its forms is gratifiying.

I’m finally learning to think :P

And these people and these books and these crafts have given me just a handful of the barrage of insights that I’ve gained this year.

And it’s made me stop longing for the four years from eighteen to twenty two, when I could learn anything I put my mind to.
I’ve realized, i can do that even now.
I might be slower.
But I’m enjoying myself a lot more.

It makes me feel a bit sorry for my late twenties and early thirties self. I feel like I was sleep walking through life
(Not too sorry though. That boy-man has had the roughest decade so far. But I would not have felt so guilt ridden and stressed then)
And in a way, that seems to be my favourite what-if.
What if my younger self automatically had what little knowledge and wisdom I’ve gained by now?
Guess I’ll never know.

I’ve discovered that next to Jesus’ commandment
A life filled with intention and gratitude is the best thing there is.

And here’s the thing.
I know I learn a little bit more every time I have these moments
But more importantly these Aha!s fill me with joy.

And being the poor endorphin addicted, homo sapien that I am, I think, I’ll spend the rest of my life chasing my Aha! moments, big and small.

On the Wisdom of Taking Action

I’ve followed The Art of Manliness blog for quite some time now.
To say that it’s changed my life would be an understatement

The articles I really love, are the ones based on philosophy.
And the ones I really love are the ones that resonated with what I already knew, or had read and forgotten

Articles that distilled the advice of old greats like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca, with the new thinkers; Taleb, Stephen Pressfield, Ryan Holiday and Cal Newport.

Turns out, most of them are written by an awesome guy called Kyle Eschenroeder.
My favourite of all his writings is an article called, “10 Overlooked Truths About Taking Action

And a few days before, Kyle and Brett decided to write a little monster called, “Screw 10 Overlooked Truths! Here’s All of What We’ve learned about Taking Action!

Well, that’s what I would have called it! :)
They decided on the classier, “Meditations on the Wisdom of Action

The first thing on my list today is to print the little sucker and bind it and keep it right next to my well worn copy of Meditations.
This is something I’ll return to again and again.
And again.

The act of “doing” is something that always scares the shit out of me.
Doing something new. Doing something that I want to.
I thank God, that I’m surrounded by awesome family and friends.
Otherwise I think, I would have been a scared turtle-in-his-shell all my life.

This book expands that little circle to now include what Seneca calls the eminent dead. (some of the guys still live, mind you :) )

Here’s a few choice morsels

“The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around. That’s all you need to know.”
–Marcus Aurelius


Books About Heaven.
Steven Pressfield relates a New Yorker cartoon in his (short) book Do the Work: “A perplexed person stands before two doors. One door says HEAVEN. The other says BOOKS ABOUT HEAVEN.”

He’s perplexed. He’s considering the book over the actual experience. It’s funny because it’s absurd… and because we know we’d have the same consideration.
Why would we deny ourselves direct experience?
Action is going to Heaven. Abstraction is reading about going to heaven.
(Reading a book can be Heaven when it’s a primary activity.)


Acting Is Dirty.
Creation is inherently messy. The Big Bang was an explosion that created everything we know. You were born into this world bloody while your mother endured the worst pain of her life.
Honest action won’t take you on a straight path. It may not make sense to you or those around you at first.
Instead, it will straighten your posture on any path you’re on. You won’t fear what others fear. You won’t regret what the others will.
You’ll have scars and remember the lessons they taught you. Others will look fragile because while they kept their training wheels on you let yourself fall down, endure the pain, and do it again.


“Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy…”.

“… but where are they.”
–Plutarch, Sayings of the Spartans

The Spartans knew they would meet the enemy and fight with courage. They didn’t ask for unnecessary information.
You don’t need to either.
Gather the minimum information you need to begin.
Then, before you think you’re ready, begin.


Motivation Follows Action.
Our fatal mistake is waiting to be motivated before we take action.

Action motivates.
I don’t feel like working out until I get my blood flowing. I’m too tired to have sex until we’ve begun. I don’t want to go to the party until I’m there.
Motivation will follow if you have the balls to go without them.

My favourites are the two examples of the principle I currently work so hard to achieve

Meditation as Action.
Meditation connects the mind to reality.
It is pure action. There is no frustration of what should be done. There is only doing.
Meditation is a right action that acts as a catalyst for more right action.
How do you meditate?
One way: Sit down. Set a timer for twenty minutes. Close your eyes. Feel the sensation of air flowing in and out of your nostrils and on your upper lip. Each time your mind wanders bring it back to the sensation. Do not get upset when your mind wanders; the point is to become more aware of your thoughts, not get rid of them. And whatever you do, don’t get upset at being upset.


Action is Waiting.
The most difficult action to take is often non-action.
Not stillness out of laziness, but out of self-discipline.
Waiting to look at your phone until your date is over.
Waiting for the other guy to stumble in a negotiation. Waiting to work out until your injury is healed.
The sniper must be patient. Warren Buffett says he makes mistakes every time he is bored with too much money.
… Patience is an action. Laziness is not.

The booklet ends with …

Everything you do matters.
Act accordingly.

So do yourself a favour, take action and go grab the free pdf booklet right now.