Of moderation and penetration – finding happiness through limitation

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Legend says that once Alexander the Great conquered the mighty Persian Empire and dethroned “the King of kings” he wept dearly, for in his mind there were no more worlds left to conquer. It had been his life’s sole purpose to defeat his enemies and one day there were none. Eventually this led him to ever more insane undertakings and his own loyal men rebelled against him. It wasn’t defeat which led him to ruin, but victory itself.

I believe there is an Alexander in all of us, for we all crave in conquering the unconquerable be it love, fame, riches or life itself, but I don’t think we actually understand what that entails. Our very physiology doesn’t help us either, as from an evolutionary perspective, we never quite evolved to live in a world of plenty. In essence we were given unquenchable thirsts for certain stimuli because our biological systems knew they had to assign a high importance to them given their relative scarcity, with the caveat being that we were never meant to succeed at satisfying them.

Hence we enjoy sugar to the point of becoming diabetic, hence we enjoy rest and relaxation to the point of lethargy and decline, hence we enjoy sex to the detriment of other aspects in our lives and so on and so on. These were not vices we were ever meant to fully satiate.

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The Comfort Trap

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Well, it’s been almost half a year since I last updated this collection of my writings, last we spoke I’d recently thought I was getting drugged and robbed in the desert, and I had made a fool out of myself on that last leg of climbing a mountain. But overall, I lived in terror, trying but failing miserably from escaping my destiny of having to go back to Mexico.

Fortunately for me though, one of the several hundred job applications I’d sent out in the last few months actually bore fruit and I got an online interview. Unfortunately for me though, at the time I was in one of the hippiest hostels I’d ever been at, where it wasn’t uncommon to see the guests making opium tea and smoking pot whilst sometimes screaming about their drug use to anyone in earshot.

Needless to say, this wasn’t the ideal place to have an interview at; but I managed to find a corner of a room where I more or less pretended everything was in order, and it all went according to plan.

Fast forward a couple months, where I had to go back to Mexico for the UK visa and I’m finally back in London working as a financial journalist. It took over a year of struggling, applying to dozens of jobs per day (with the final tally being upwards of 800!) but it worked out, despite having essentially given up at one point. To say I’m ecstatic does not begin to cover it, not only did I beat the odds but managed to come out on top as well.

There was certainly a sizeable portion of luck involved but this would’ve been close to impossible without putting considerable amount of effort on my end as well. I guess this the key to life: to take enough punches and keep fighting until you get a lucky break.

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People you meet on the Road VI: Disappointment, Charlie Chaplin and Yogurt

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Whosoever said that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover was a hypocritical son of a bitch. Humans are programmed to desire, rarely to appreciate. We may not like this side of ourselves, but pretending to be immune to it altogether is silly. In all likelihood these pretensions to the moral high ground may even lessen your enjoyment of things, as you force yourself to do things you don’t particularly enjoy just to prove a point. Truth be told, the performance of an experience is almost as important as the content thereof.

To easily illustrate what I mean, I shall say that I recently had a wonderful meal at a Moroccan restaurant. Yet not content with this, I decided to top it all off with a dessert. Last time that I’d been there someone had talked me into trying the yogurt, and I must say that it was a delicious experience.

This time around though they lived up to the Moroccan lifestyle far too much, as empires rose and fell faster than the time it took for me to get my dessert. Eventually I decided that my sweet tooth wasn’t worth the wait; hence I stood up and went to the cashier to pay, rather than wait a second more. On the way there, you had to pass through the kitchen and I saw one of the cooks spooning out a yogurt from a shop container into a bowl.

When my waiter saw me attempting to leave he tried to get me to stay, and I did, but by then the spell was broken. I saw the farce for what it was, far from the homemade traditional yogurt I thought it was, it was simply a store bought one in a fancy presentation and with nuts and berries to further disguise it. This realization should not have altered my enjoyment of the final product in any shape or form. I had, after all, been more than satisfied with ordering it on other days. Yet it suddenly didn’t taste as well as it once did, because it left behind the bitter taste of lies.

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In Defence of Pickup Artists

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Ever since the publication of “The Game” by Niall Strauss in 2005, the term “pickup” has become a dirty word. I don’t blame society for associating the term with a skeevy underbelly of humanity. What else were they supposed to make of the weirdos who purposefully dressed in silly clothing and went out trying to fuck anything with a hole between their legs by saying mean things to them?

This crass imagery has persisted for the last decade, and it’s unlikely to leave us any time soon. But, if for nothing more than wanting to play devil’s advocate and for the benefit of my limited audience, I’d like to come to the pickup community’s defence. I, among possibly millions of others, was also introduced to the idea of being able to approach women anywhere because of that book.

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Why I approach Women on the Street

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To question one’s purpose in life is about as normal of a human activity as one could possibly do. Recently, I had a long and very frank discussion with a girl about how one ought not to rush love and how the right partner will find you. She viewed it as unnatural and unhealthy to expend so much mental energy on women and approaching them. I naturally scoffed, tell that to my 19 year old kissless, hugless and virgin self, I thought to myself. Had I kept doing the exact same thing that I had been doing, I would’ve likely died alone, and very  frustrated.

In the words of Woody Allen “eighty percent of success is just showing up” – for years I’d failed to turn up and then one December I decided to show up. Life took a turn for the better after some initial road-bumps. I cannot say with certainty where I would’ve ended up had I not met people who helped me change lanes, but I’m sure that I wouldn’t have gone down a positive road.

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Hostel Fondle – or why all miseries shall soon pass

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I’m writing this article on my phone from my hostel bed late at night, because this is how I deal with stuff – I write. I’m currently in Split, Croatia. Wishing that the infernal creaking of the bed springs next to me would stop.

In the bed adjacent to me there’s a pair of irrefutably drunk tourists having sex. Paying no mind to any passing soul that comes by. A part of me feels angry, disgruntled that they don’t have the decency to go to a romantic toilet stall, just like any other proper fellow might have done (Truth be told, I have never understood bathroom pulls either, smelly and disgusting is not on my sexual bucket list). But if I am quite frank, what I think most people would not admit to, but I will, is that I cannot help but feel jealousy just as well.

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Tyranny by numbers – or why being stupid can sometimes be good

 

Imagine if you will, a world of such mathematical exactitude that a formula is devised. This formula is nothing short of magical, for it can predict what truly makes a man happy. This equation knows nothing else but the contents of your heart and how best to achieve them. It can tell you whom to love for the happiest life, what to eat for the most satisfying and nutritious meals that your body needs, what to do to be satisfied, and what choices to make so as to have no regrets.

On first instance, this seems like a miracle from the Heavens. After all, who doesn’t want to be happy? Nobody wakes up wanting to be miserable, it’s just that life has this way of piling up such emotional weight on you at times, that it’s difficult to carry all that, as well as lift your frown. So, naturally, you’ll try to use such a formula.

What perhaps you’ll realise is what I did a couple of days ago. For the first time, in a long while, I am in a large city – Zagreb, to be precise. I decided that it had been some time since I had a Summer romance. I fondly remember what I used to have in the past, and thus I decided to try to recreate it.

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