On happiness: a simple way to a bit more happiness.

10 May

Happiness is not a problem, we make it one.
We perceive it as one!

You’d think that if I felt miserable, I’d just go and do the opposite form whatever’s making me miserable. But it’s not so easy, is it? So many things tie us down and so many things we perceive as important take precedence over our own happiness.

For me, it’s work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a lazy person. Far from it. I enjoy working, and have been working since I was about 14 doing everything from massages to system administration. I love to work and later spend the money I made. But the way we work nowadays is what really tires me. Cubicles, white tiles and the sound of never stopping printing machines.

But let me not get into that. I want to see if I can come up with some guidelines on how to live better, for my own sake as much as yours.

Today, for many people, more money means more happiness. We can see that in this sophisticated graph I came up with:

Happiness Graph, money/happiness relation

But that’s not true!

Since we’re tackling money here, think about what you do with the “excess” money you have or to be technical, discretionary income. How do you spend it? Or, better yet, if I gave you $10 and told you to spend it as you wish, how would you spend it? On yourself, most likely. And that’s where one foundation of happiness lies. Do not spend on yourself.
Now, to avoid “you want me to walk in rags and be hungry!?” comments (if I get any that is), I don’t mean you should go on a pilgrimage and and let people take your worldly possessions. Banks will do that for you, at least the latter part.

No, I mean to say that the more you spend on others, the happier you will be. Remember that $10 I gave you. Don’t go on a shopping spree in the dollar store, but wait. Give a thought.
How about you get something for that girl in the store next to your place, or a flower for your mom, or a tip for the homeless guy who greets you every morning as you hurry off to work? There is actual research by Michael Norton that directly shows the correlation between giving and how happy we are:

Happiness Graph, giving/happiness relation

While that graph is not really precise ( no shit, right ), you get the point. If you give a part of you through a gift, the smile you get in return will make your day better. Or the week. You might just like it and turn it into a habit. A habit of giving small things to make people feel better, even a tiny bit.
You might find the tiny bits accumulate over time, maybe…maybe giving you back a good laugh, a hug or something entirely else. You never know, until you try.

Let’s try?

Cap ou pas cap?

On cheating, scheming and graduating.

9 May

Most high school students admit to cheating.

“All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity is easy. Stay away from easy.” – Scott Alexander

What does this say about the students, professors, repercussions and institutions? It used to be that cheating was done by a few, and most often they were the weaker students who couldn’t get good grades on their own. Today, the stigma is gone. Everyone does it, everyone knows someone who does it. The reasons differ though. Weaker students cheat to pass and to keep their heads above the water. Better students cheat to maintain a perceived level of excellence, because a 4.61 GPA surely means less career options as opposed to a 4.62 GPA.

Is it too much to ask the students not to cheat?

Well, in theory, no. We all know what society perceives as moral and right, and cheating is not in that category.
Today, we have students strolling into classrooms carrying iPads, iPhones, laptops and every other gadget you can think of, technology that makes it so very easy to cheat, copy, find and quickly pen down missing information. Who can, then, expect them not to cheat? Surely there are individuals who shun cheating, but in general, most of us have cheated at some point, and probably way more than once or twice. There were, most likely, no repercussions and the gains were evident and quick, in the form of a grade boost ( if we’re talking education ). So can we expect them not to cheat?


Bottle labels, cheat sheets, Google, copying, plagiarism, the temptation is too high. How to counter it then, and so, effectively produce a better quality student? Well, if the temptation is too high, so should the risk be.

What do you think?


The cult of the average or how it all began.

7 May

“So, that’s what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That’s what they needed. People are fools.” – Charles Bukowski

Remember that one thing you enjoyed doing back in high school or elementary school? That one thing that you felt comfortable with, knew you were good at and could imagine yourself dealing with day in and day out?

Painting maybe, dancing…hell, I don’t have to remind you. You already know.

As children we have this massive potential to be whatever the hell we want. Just imagine, if you were taken back to the 5 year old you, the things you could do! You could even be an artist if you wanted to!

But ( and there’s always a “but” ), you didn’t do what you wanted to. And why? Because you were told you can’t make a living out of it. You were told there was no money in it, and that was given as reason enough. Reason enough that giving up on what you love seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

Is it? Sitting in your little cubicle ( I’ve been there ), you are cheated out of life. You are a number and nothing more. A number that gets to be moved around as you get hired, fired and hired again. A number that gets grouped with a bunch of other numbers and forms a uniform line of gray dots that doesn’t do bad. But it also doesn’t ever stand out.

Shawn Anchor

So why do we do this? Safety, minimizing risk, avoiding being different? Probably. But why are your eyes fixated on that one dot, that one guy that stands out? Because you envy him. And you should. I actually know that guy, he’s pretty awesome. He’s me. I got bored with the boring and I stood out. You can do the same.

Cap ou pas cap?

I’ll write about a better life. Yeah, that’s as good a topic as any.

7 May

What do you ( as of yet non existing followers ) do in life? Does it make you happy or miserable?
Do you get up in the morning ha…scratch that. I sound like a self-help book from the shelves of Barnes&Noble.

People, I’m annoyed by the world today. And I don’t mean in a depressed, about to cut my own veins way. I’m actually doing pretty well in life, so no need for all that gushing blood.
I’m annoyed by the world today because everyone is telling me what to do. Somehow, every damn self proclaimed authority finds it proper to tell me how to life my life, brush my teeth and wipe my ass. And it’s like that for everyone.

To summarize a life of an average person: get up, shit, piss, eat, go to work, make money for someone else, go home, shit, piss, eat and have sex on the anniversary of whatever sort of relationship you’re in, get two weeks of vacation and feel happy about it.

And this, my friends, is a joke. It’s a magnificent joke really, quite a master piece. The thing is, we’re not the ones laughing. We’re the grueling, sweating, stinking mass that makes the joke dig in.

And I, for one, have had enough.

I will find a better life, a better morning, a better sun, a wider horizon.

Cap ou pas cap?

The (un)necessary post

7 May

I wonder if anyone ever reads the first post on a blog? I know I never do. I mean, people start following a blog when it has some content and who scrolls all the way to the oldest post just to see what someone scribbled in there at 1 in the morning?
If someone is reading this, then welcome (sincerely)! This is to be my very first blog, I guess a sort of a canvas for a brain that has too much content and too few exhaust pipes (save for ted.com and game of thrones).

As for the content of this blog…Jesus, I don’t know. I suppose I’m looking for conversation. Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.

So engage me in conversation..

I promise I’ll engage back.

Cap ou pas cap?