Musings on 2009

5 minute read

- Work -


Life is what happens to you when you're making other plans. I got sidetracked by struggling to make a business. But don't regret it for even a moment. Learned a lot about the real world. Changed from being a meek guy who liked to hide behind email to someone who has now learned to "work the room."


Reinforced, the hard way, that "you’re not here to write code; you’re here to ship products." — JWZ


Ironically, after a startup experience, I think I will be a far more cooperative person in a corporate environment, because now I realize the problems and hardships faced in each role in a company.


Realizing that it all boils down to psychology. Understand the other person's psychology and only then you can navigate through life.


My new law: "Never ever assume that people have made their decisions rationally.". People take decisions for all sorts of reasons, just don't assume that the reason was rationale.


Realizing that self-confidence comes from within. Everybody has their own talents. So what if I can't code like geniuses? When I work with intensity, I can get the job done. Good enough, I think.

- Life -


You don't make decisions, decisions make you.

What Matters

What matters to me is force and family.


Good times and bad times, both don't last

(Drawing by Jessica Hagy)

Realizing how often you lose friends that you care about. Good friendships last ~2 years only.

Real Troubles

Don't worry about the future.
Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective
as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.
The real troubles in your life
are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind,
the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

-- Baz Luhrmann


As humans, we will always be in the pursuit of something.

At the end of the day, all we want is to be missed and to know that we have made a difference.


t3rmin4t0r says:

Rationality, Decisions ... I've basically put up blog posts which say the same, I guess :)

But the pursuit thing means more than it's made out to be. The Chase is often so much more fun than the actual take down ... keeps you going, the fires burnin' and you feel ALIVE!

Kevin Rodrigues says:

It is so true that all we want is to be missed. That song by Baz Luhrmann provides a lot of wisdom about our life and how to live it.

Harishankaran says:

Very well listed. :)

srid says:

re: Rationality

Another way to look at it is the fact that the neo-cortex evolved much later in the evolutionary scale ... prior to which there was only the primitive brain (amygdala) that had had to make shortcut decisions (fight or flight, for instance) in order to preserve replicating genetic information across generations. Also relevant is this study on fear by Mr. Joseph LeDoux:

"""The most significant of LeDoux’ experimentation with regard to fear is that the sensory input to the brain is split at the thalamus into two streams – one to the amygdala and one to the neo-cortex. The input stream to the amygdala is quicker – 12 milliseconds as opposed to 25 milliseconds to the neo-cortex. Less information goes to the amygdala quicker – it operates as a quick scan to check for danger."""

As, today, feelings come prior to thoughts, instinctual passions/beliefs have greater control over humans than rational thoughts. An extreme example being stampedes, while normal everyday examples include the various feelings/emotions/beliefs.

I suggest reading 'The Selfish Gene'.

Bharath says:

Friendships / Relationship lasts a lifetime..... when it is based on 'no expectations' or the expectations are set to a right degree on every instance of communication.....


Girish says:

Hi Swaroop,
This is one of the best posts....
Life learnt lessons!!!

Swaroop says:

@t3rmin4t0r While I agree, there needs to be a balance. Without seeing results, a person can just get bogged down.

@Kevin Yep!

@Harishankaran Thanks

@srid Very interesting insight... so is "less" information more prone to "fight or flight" responses as opposed to "more" information? And when we mean "more", do we mean more information about the environment/expectations or the task itself? ... Yes, "Selfish Gene" has been on the to-read list for a long time :-/

@Bharath Yes, but practicality overrides that. For example, once people become busy and you don't have in-person meetups, you'll drift apart no matter whether you like it or not, no matter how well-intentioned.

@Girish Thanks

srid says:

SWAROOP: is “less” information more prone to “fight or flight” responses as opposed to “more” information?

Nope, it is "certain" (sensory) information that trigger fight-or-flight instinctual response (followed by the full suit of passions) more than other kinds of (sensory) information. Eg: the sight of a snake, or hearing someone insulting your work/belief. .. because these certain information reach the amygdala faster than it can reach the neo-cortex.

SWAROOP: And when we mean “more”, do we mean more information about the environment/expectations or the task itself?

As LeDoux is primarily talking about sensory information, then it refers to the sensory data coming from the environment (although one may also consider internal thought/imaginations triggering the amygdala).

The central point of LeDoux's study quoted above is that "The input stream to the amygdala is quicker – 12 milliseconds as opposed to 25 milliseconds to the neo-cortex" .. which implies that the amygdala receives information (even if less) much quicker than the neo-cortex (even if it would receive more). Thus, the amygdala pumps instinctual responses (of fear, aggression, nurture and desire) much earlier than the neo-cortex could form sensible judgement about the sensory data.

This is why we often find it unable to 'control' our emotional reactions. This is why this world is full of war, murder, rape, torture, domestic violence, corruption, despair and suicide. This is why morality never fully works. This is why something radical must happen in the brain (paddling around the surface is not enough) for there to be peace and harmony on planet Earth.

SWAROOP: Yes, “Selfish Gene” has been on the to-read list for a long time :-/

This book is surprisingly very readable too. I can say this is the best book I've ever read.

Swaroop says:

@srid Amazing. This puts the "count to ten" trick in perspective! As well as "A: What were you thinking? B: I wasn't... I was so [insert emotion here]".