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3 things to keep in mind as you go through your (probably boring) day

If you’re lucky, you wont have time to read this today. If you’re lucky, you’re on some hiking trip with a group of buddies, or maybe climbing Mount Everest, maybe teaching your kid how to fish. Or if you’re really lucky, you’re taking a walk at the beach, holding hands with your loved one…


But chances are, you’re not that lucky. In fact you’re not lucky at at all – because you’re probably reading this from some office cubicle, working for some company of who’s Director / CEO / GM does not even know your name, let alone appreciate your hard work.

The thing is, when your life revolves around the work that you do, which is true for nearly all people who are employed, you become detached from the things that you are suppose to know, things that are really important. You wake up, dress, go to work, come back home exhausted, shower, sleep, wake up …. and so on. Its one of the most vicious cycles that a person has to go though in life. But the cycle goes on because people don’t know any better and even if they did want to do something about it, they would not know how to. And because the work you do keeps you in the office for a much a longer period than you actually spend at home, as a result, divorce lawyers all over the world can barely keep up with the number of cases they have to work. This is just one example in a long list of the side effects that can result from being consumed by work. And one major side effect is that you become totally ignorant to the world around you – because all you read are company documents and procedures. And reading about anything else becomes just too much of an effort unless you HAVE to do it. So you end up not knowing that….

1. Facebook is used by the CIA (and KGB)

Think about it. How much information do you have about yourself on social networks sites such as Facebook? Quite a lot. And what is stopping intelligence agencies to find this information about you? Absolutely nothing.

Before I deleted my Facebook profile, I did a little experiment. Now having had a few friends from the States which I used to chat with, I wanted to see how close I could find out about where the person lives just by their Facebook profile, and not asking them directly. And you will be surprised just how easy this was.

Now having watched a few espionage movies like 007 – I knew exactly how to proceed. First of all, she made my work much too easy for me by telling me that she is a fan of the Trail Blazers basketball team. This was after I had told her in our chat conversation that I am a Laker fan. Now if you understand a thing or two about basketball, you soon realize just how much of a blunder this could be if you’re happening to be chatting to an secret agent (or stalker). You see, the Portland Trail Blazers are a team from …. you guessed it, Portland. The city is located in the state of Oregon in the top left of the United States and it borders Canada. But before you think that she may just be a fan and could be from anywhere, please consider this – the last time the Trail Blazers were really good was in 1977, when they won the NBA Championship. In fact the last time (and only time) they have been close to that was in 1992 when they were in the Finals against Jordan and the Bulls, and we all know how that ended. Point is, the Trail Blazers have not been a good team for a while – and teams that are not good DO NOT generally win fans outside the home crowd. Which is completely the opposite for teams such as the L.A. Lakers and the Chicago Bulls. Its the same concept as to why there are so many Manchester United fans around the world … if the team wins, naturally it attracts fans. And if it wins for years as if it invented the sport, like Manchester United, you end up with Red Devil fans who are not red at all…

... and from Asia

But narrowing down where the person lives using this kind of reasoning is not reliable because after all, she could just be lying. The next obvious thing is to just look under her info tab where most people will put all kinds of personal information in there. Birthdays, schools attended, places of work etc etc. Its really enough to make a profile document out of. Now smart (or paranoid) Facebook users will not enter anything in these fields and if they do, they will only set the privacy settings such that it is only EXISTING friends that can view this info. But since I was already a “friend”, I did not have to worry about this, though the info I got there did not give me much to go on. So I did what any other agent or trainee stalker would do – look up her other friends.

And this is perhaps the biggest problem with social network sites – you can, to a certain extent, control your own  privacy settings but you cannot control of your friend’s. All I needed to do was skim through quite a few of her friends profiles – and from the ones who had not set the privacy settings to hide their data from people who are not friends, I quickly reasoned that she is indeed from Portland. And to be more specific, probably around Maywood Park. And all this took about 3 hours to gather. Just 3 hours, from a person who has no involvement (I promise)  in intelligence gathering at all. And I have not even mentioned the almost a hundred pictures she had uploaded. Pictures that included head-shots, family, vacation trips, and pictures in which she was in all sorts of positions.

It cannot be emphasized enough as to the dangers of having your life on a social network site. Law enforcement agencies are actively using sites such as Facebook to catch even hardened Mafia leaders. And please be advised that currently, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, using the power given to it by the Patriot Act of 2001 (which can be downloaded under Inspired Files), are creating dummy profiles to add as friends to “suspicious candidates”.

So as you sit there at your office cubicle and pretend to be working while you’re on Facebook, just be careful that you dont have your everything on a social network site. Because ultimately, all that data which you upload sits on some data server somewhere. And think twice before you accept an invite with that 34DD bombshell.

2. Your job is making you retarded … Literally

There is something you have to understand. The human brain is really good at concentrating when placed with a challenge and it is equally bad at doing monotonous things. When challenged, it is forced to think. And when you think, you learn. And when you learn, the brain actually makes new connections so that it will be able to repeat the task in future. This learning process is even re-enforced when one is asleep. And when you have learned whatever you needed to learn, thats when the problem starts.

Lets be clear in what I am saying. After the brain has sufficiently learned a particular task / technique / principle, there comes a point when you actually do not need to do any “active” thinking to achieve the same desired result. Thats why you don’t need any thinking to pick up that coffee mug you use every morning, and its for that same reason why Kobe Bryant is able to switch from his left hand to his right, hang in the air, and score seemingly from impossible angles … and generally make defenders look useless. Because it has been practiced over and over again.

No thinking required

Now dont get me wrong. The brains ability to learn and issue instructions without your active input is crucial to human behavior and there is probably an even more important evolutionary reason as to why we have this ability in the first place. But the problem comes when you get bored of doing that task you have learned. And the one organ in the body that does not like getting bored is the brain. The brain tends to react in several ways to this, but mostly it:

1. makes you explode it fits of rage in the office or

2. it goes to sleep (and so do you)

Its for the same reason that drivers are more likely to wreck a car when having been driving in a long straight stretch of road that has no twisting turns or anything for that matter which may be visually stimulating for the driver. But these moments are not detrimental to your IQ because they are not often prolonged. And this is particularly the problem with your job. Because as much as you may deny it – the fact there is very little time that you spend in your job while in “critical thinking” mode. Because most of the other time you are doing very routine work, and essentially your brain is in standby mode.

Now unlike being in standby mode while driving a car, which in the worst case will be for around 8 hours, the job you do will put you in a chair and your brain in standby for days, months or even years. And before you know it, you cant even recognize this, let alone solve it…

And this is precisely why the guys at Nintendo came up with the BrainAge game. Because they understand that for the brain to keep “fit” it needs to be exercised in the same principle as those muscle freeks will do at your local gym.

So unless you have a job where you always do some kind of active research, or a job that requires physical exhaustion and yes that includes sports, you need to do something about your fast plummeting IQ. Unless you dont care.

3. Maybe you should try being Alive for a change

If I remember correctly, during my senior years of high school, I think I was consistent D in English class. And its not that I was not paying attention – its just that I was not paying attention to the majority of the syllabus being taught. Because quite frankly, most of it was just useless. What was I suppose to learn from Shakespeare for example? I could hardly understand that crap. But I did it nonetheless, or at least pretended to be doing it. But in that messed up syllabus, there was one part which I found to be quite interesting. We were to be tested on the plot and themes of a movie called Dead Poets Society (1989). And it is from that movie that I learned of a phrase called Carpe diem.

Carpe diem – although used extensively in the movie as one if its central themes, the phrase actually originates from an ancient Roman poet by the name of Quintus Horatius Flaccus. The phrase itself is Latin and it stands for “seize the day” and was introduced in a poem called Tu ne quaesieris which expressed stern disapproval of a women’s (Leuconoe) tendency to worry about the future. Below is a translated version of that poem.

Don’t ask (it’s forbidden to know) what end

the gods will grant to me or you, Leuconoe. Don’t play with Babylonian

fortune-telling either. It is better to endure whatever will be.

Whether Jupiter has allotted to you many more winters or this final one

which even now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea on the rocks placed opposite

—  be wise, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes

to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have {already} fled

Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next.

Now if you want to find the next person who does not seize the day and live for the moment, take a long hard look at the mirror. When is the last time you did a random act of kindness and not when the situation you were in called for it? Probably a very long time ago. When is the last time you stopped thinking about the worries you have in your life and just took a moment to listen the sound of your beating heart? Probably a very long time ago. When is the last time you allowed yourself to just be yourself  in front of everyone without bothering about what others will think of you? Probably a very long time ago.

And trust me, this is a bigger problem than you think. These days people are actually no different than zombies. Because they go about their life with constant burden in their minds, and that really clouds them from seeing the little things that they should be appreciating. And there is another thing which people somehow just forget or tend to ignore – you can die at any moment. Irrespective of whether you are in crime riddled country like South Africa or a haven like Monaco – when its your time to die its your time to die. Simple. Death does not give a damm about those all those plans of the future and the mistakes of the past. Its really when you remember such things that you realize that should that day come for you to move on, and you spent your life bitter and constantly worried about what may or may not be…. is truly a life wasted.

what you should be like ... EVERYDAY

By no means I am saying that the world is easy to live in. Not at all. But you should be prepared that it will be that way. The problem is that people are raised with these ideas that things will always have a happy ending. From when we are kids these ideas are fed into us – Barney is always happy; the cat never catches Tweety ; and Rambo always beats the hell out of bad guys. But when you grow up, you find out that the truth is not that simple. And people are just not prepared for that reality…

Life is hard sometimes, in fact life is hard for most of the time, and you just have to weather the storm. But it is pointless to try and predict the next storm and try and avoid that one – in the same manner as it pointless to dwell on how the last storm defeated you. All that prevents you from enjoying the little moments that life gives you to be alive in the present. And if you’re not alive in the present, you’re just as dead as a zombie.

When they said life is precious – that actually included yours…


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